Swarm

Swarm by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, Deborah Biancotti Read Free Book Online

Book: Swarm by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, Deborah Biancotti Read Free Book Online
Authors: Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, Deborah Biancotti
over it.
    â€œGo around!” she shouted, pointing past the truss toward the main entrance. A few of them obeyed, and started to guide the others, and Chizara edged toward the DJ platform.
    She climbed up, pulled out her phone for light, and found Kelsie huddled, wide-eyed, against the crates of vinyl records.
    â€œAre you okay?”
    â€œI’m not sure.” Kelsie stared out into the distressed dancers.
    â€œWhat happened?” Chizara bent and took hold of Kelsie’s shoulder. “Did you have some kind of seizure or something?”
    Kelsie stared at her. “You think I did this?”
    â€œThe music went wrong first, then—”
    â€œIt didn’t start with the music. We had them going great, but then . . .” Kelsie stared at her hands. “I couldn’t recognize anything. Not my decks, not the records, nothing!”
    â€œIt wasn’t you,” came a voice from the darkness.
    Chizara swung the light. “Nate!”
    â€œThere were two of them.” He swept the beam from his own phone over the crowd. “Dancing in the middle of the floor.”
    â€œWait,” Kelsie said. “I felt them. The ones who were totally into each other?”
    â€œAnd using powers. Something that cut through everyone’s connections. I could see it.”
    â€œWhat?” Chizara said. “You mean Zeroes did this—on purpose ?”
    â€œWon’t know until we find them. If I turn the fuse box back on, can you get the work lights up?” Nate asked. “No music, no spinning spots. Just stop this panic!”
    Chizara nodded. “Work lights only.”
    Nate headed off into the darkness, and Chizara took Kelsie’s hand. “So, other Zeroes have finally come to town. Sorry I blamed you.”
    â€œNo, I totally lost control.”
    â€œMe too. Whatever they are, they’re powerful.”
    â€œThey broke the crowd into little pieces.”
    â€œIt’s okay. We’ll fix it.” Chizara felt along the dead pathways around the room, getting ready for the electricity to flow again, but also trying to spot the two new Zeroes.
    Now that the terror was over, she was pissed. How dare they come in here and—
    A chunk sounded in Chizara’s mind as the room tried to reignite around her. She held the power back from the DJ system, from all the fancy lighting tech, and let it through to the room lights.
    For a moment everyone’s faces were naked in fear and confusion, mouths agape in the stark, ordinary light. But then they saw where they were, the shape of the room, where the exit was. Some recognized friends, and everyone started pulling themselves together.
    Nate jumped onto the old theater’s stage and stood, arms wide, calming the crowd. “Sorry, everyone. We’ve obviously had a technical malfunction.”
    The hubbub quieted. Gratefully, Chizara submitted to his Glorious Leader charm, and she felt Kelsie’s hand relax in hers.
    â€œBut it’s all under control now,” Nate went on. “Just make your way toward the exits, please—take it slow, so no one gets hurt.”
    Then he signaled across the room to Chizara and Kelsie, and pointed.
    â€œYep, that’s them,” Kelsie said.
    A tall white guy with a half-shaved head was shoving people out of his way. His girlfriend was tiny, but just as pushy.
    â€œThey look pissed about getting shut down,” Kelsie said.
    â€œNot as pissed as I am. All that energy we had going withthe crowd, they stole it. Sucked it away like, I don’t know, dance-mob vampires.”
    Nate was still onstage, keeping everyone calm. But he was watching the pair with fascination. He probably wanted to quiz them on how their power worked and ask them to join up.
    Chizara just wanted to kick their asses.
    â€œI’m going after them.” She pulled away.
    â€œYou sure?” Kelsie called out, but Chizara had already plunged into the crowd,

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