Compliance

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Book: Compliance by Maureen McGowan Read Free Book Online
Authors: Maureen McGowan
Tags: Paranormal, Juvenile Fiction, Fantasy & Magic, Dystopian
would have felt it more strongly inside.
    In the distance, a group of six Comps peels off from the larger formation and heads toward us. Not toward
us
, exactly, but toward the battle between the Shredders and the boy, who’s still fighting with everything he has. Most of our group is on their feet. A hand lands on my shoulder and, startled, I look up. It’s Cal.
    “Did you come forward for a better view?” I ask, distaste in my voice.
    “Down in front,” someone shouts.
    I sit and he crouches beside me. “I came up to make sure you were okay.”
    Cal gasps, and I turn back to the window. The six Comps who peeled off have opened fire with huge guns—Auts that shoot three bullets a second. Even though Larsson assured us that there are layers of bulletproof glass in front of us, the gunfire’s loud, like slabs of concrete dropping off a building.
    A few of the Shredders charge the Comps, but it’s no use. Bullets tear into their dry flesh, smashing bones until the Shredders drop to the dust. Our recruit class falls silent. I’m not sure if anyone’s breathing.
    The exed boy’s still lying face-down, one hand pinned by the spike. Is he dead? The Comps turn to leave, and I pray that he’s faking his death, that he’ll get that spike out of his hand and escape once the Comps leave. Maybe he’ll even be found by an FA Soldier. They monitor the broadcasts, and if they don’t already know that this kid was expunged, they will soon.
    A few yards away, two of the Comps stop, turn back, and stride toward the prone boy. My throat closes. The Deviant remains still even as the Comps stand directly above him.
    They ready their guns, and the boy grabs one of their legs by the calf, pulling the Comp off his feet. But this last-ditch effort is futile. The other Comp opens fire and the dust around the boy darkens with blood.

CHAPTER EIGHT
    E XHAUSTED, I STARE at a System screen in the study room. My muscles are so tired that I feel like I was the one expunged this afternoon instead of that poor kid, but my mind’s still running at full sprint. As much as I know I need sleep, I’m not sure I could drift off even if I had time to lie down.
    I don’t have time.
    Later tonight, I’ll go to meet Clay. He’s supposed to be in our designated meeting place every night at 1:00 AM , and I’m supposed to go at least weekly or whenever I have something to report. I’ve been going nearly every night these past three months, but with the bombing and my meeting with Mr. Belando, I haven’t seen Clay since we saved Arabella three nights ago.
    Even though I haven’t found Adele Parry yet, I’m goingtonight to convince Clay to give me more names. COT recruits only get access to the most basic HR records, but I’m determined to find new clues. Finding Adele would convince Clay that Rolph was wrong to slow me down.
    I’ve clicked through search menus for what feels like hours, but I can’t get to the parts of the System I need. I’m also keeping my eyes open for Mr. Belando’s mole, but I’m more focused on my main purpose—saving Deviants, finding Adele.
    “What are you doing in here all alone?” Cal’s voice comes from the hall.
    He’s standing in the doorway, his body silhouetted by the light behind him.
    “Studying.” I shut down my screen.
    He crosses the room and rubs my shoulders. “Everyone’s in the rec room playing on the SIM. There’s a tournament. You should come.”
    I shake my head. “Too tired. I think I’ll turn in.”
    “You won’t make friends if you don’t make an effort to get involved.”
    “You and Scout and Jayma are enough friends for me.”
    Disappointment mixes with the concern in his eyes. He’s right. I should try harder to get along with our classmates. This very small thing for Cal is the least I can do. Plus, I’m supposed to be spying on my classmates for Belando. If there’s even a chance I can play a part in stopping a bombing on the President’s Birthday, that’s a valid cause

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