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Maximum Ride: School's Out-Forever

If you've already devoured James Patterson's #1 bestselling blockbuster MAXIMUM RIDE: THE ANGEL EXPERIMENT, stop right here—just turn the page, and hold on tight!

As for the rest of you-well, where have you been? Meet Max, Fang, Iggy, Gasman, Nudge, and Angel, six absolutely unforgettable kids. With some major problems. THEY'RE BEING HUNTED BY KILLERS. BUT WHO?

It's even worse than that. Max is sure that a microchip has been inserted under her skin-leading freakish forces of evil to ambush them at any moment...AND WORSE!

She and the others are supposed to save the world. BUT FROM WHAT? WHEN? AND HOW?

Max will stop at nothing to find answers. One thing she does know: it's got something to do with an astonishing ability they have that no others can claim. THEY CAN FLY.

Max's heart-stopping quest to protect her "family" and investigate the mind-blowing mystery of her ultimate destiny continues in the scariest, strangest, and funniest James Patterson thriller yet.

THE ANGEL EXPERIMENT WAS JUST A TEST DRIVE. NOW, BRACE YOURSELF FOR THE MAXIMUM RIDE!

Chapter 8

“Iggy!” I yelled, as cold panic ripped right through me. Not Fang. Please let Fang be okay. “Over here!”

Then Iggy and I flew beneath Fang, supporting him. I felt Fang’s dead weight on me, saw his closed eyes, and suddenly I felt as if I couldn’t breathe.

“Let’s land, see what’s wrong!” I told Iggy, and he nodded.

We flew hard toward the narrow, rocky shore edging the black ocean. Iggy and I landed awkwardly, Fang limp between us. The younger kids scurried over to help us carry him to a flattish, sandier place.

Stop the bleeding, said the Voice.

“What’s the matter with him?” Nudge asked, dropping to her knees next to Fang.

Checking him out, I saw that Fang’s shirt and jacket were soaked with blood, the dark fabric gleaming wetly. I tried to keep my face calm.

“Let’s just see what we’re dealing with here,” I said steadily, and quickly unbuttoned Fang’s shirt.

Now I saw that the shirt was shredded, and beneath it, so was Fang. Ari had managed to do this . . . obscenity.

Nudge drew in a quick gasp when she saw the damage, and I looked up. “Nudge, you and Gazzy and Angel rip up a shirt or something. Make strips for bandages.”

Nudge just stared at Fang.

“Nudge!” I said more firmly, and she snapped out of it.

“Uh, yeah. Come on, guys. I have an extra shirt here . . . an’ I got a knife. . . .”

The three younger kids moved away while Iggy’s sensitive hands brushed Fang’s skin like butterflies.

“This feels real bad. Real bad,” Iggy said in low voice. “How much blood has he lost?”

“A lot,” I said grimly. Even his jeans were soaked with it.

“Jus’ a scratch,” Fang said fuzzily, his eyelids fluttering.

“Shhh!” I hissed at him. “You should have told us you were hurt!”

Stop the bleeding, the Voice said again.

“How?” I cried in frustration.

“How what?” Iggy asked, and I shook my head impatiently.

Put pressure on it, said the Voice. Press the cloth over it and lean on the wounds with both hands. Elevate his feet, Max.

“Iggy,” I said, “lift Fang’s feet. Guys, you got those strips ready?”

The Gasman handed me a bunch, and I quickly folded them into a pad. Placing it over the gaping slices in Fang’s stomach was like putting my finger in a dike to stop a flood, but it was all I had, so I did it. I pressed both my hands over the pad, trying to keep a steady pressure on it.

Under Fang’s side, the sand was turning dark with his blood.

“Someone’s coming,” said Angel.

Erasers? I looked up to see a man jogging along the shore. It was almost dawn, and seagulls were starting to wheel and cry above the water.

The man slowed to a walk when he saw us. He seemed ordinary, but looks could be deceiving, and usually were.

“Kids, you okay?” he called. “What are you doing out here so early?” He frowned when he saw Fang, then looked scared when he figured out what all the dark wet stuff was.

Before I could say anything, he’d whipped out his cell phone and called 911.

Copyright © 2006 by James Patterson

Read by Valentina de Angelis

Valentina is cast for James Patterson's Maximum Ride - School's Out-Forever. She co-stars with Joan Allen and Sam Elliot in "Off The Map", directed by Campbell Scott. She has appeared in Law and Order SVU and in the new CBS hit series Love Monkey. She has also appeared in over 50 commercials, narrated voice-overs, and did a guest stint on Saturday Night Live. Click here to see photos of her in the recording studio!

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