You are holding an urgent and vital narrative that reveals the forbidden truth about our perilous times....
This is the astonishing testimonial of Wisty and Whit Allgood, a sister and brother who were torn from their family in the middle of the night, slammed into prison, and accused of being a witch and a wizard. Thousands of young people have been kidnapped; some have been accused; many others remain missing. Their fate is unknown, and the worst is feared—for the ruling regime will stop at nothing to suppress life and liberty, music and books, art and magic...and the pursuit of being a normal teenager.
Part One | NO CRIME JUST PUNISHMENT
ONE OF THE MOST TERRIFYING THINGS in the world you can never hope to see is your parents, wide-eyed, helpless, and truly scared out of their wits.
My parents. I thought they could protect us from anything. They were different from other parents...so smart, gentle, accepting, knowing...and I could tell at this moment that they knew something Whit and I didn't.
They know what is going on. And they're terrified of it, whatever it is.
"Mom...?" I asked, staring hard into her eyes, trying to get any message I could, any signal about what I should do now.
As I looked at Mom, I had a flash, a collage of memories. She and Dad saying stuff like "You and Whit are special, honey. Really special. Sometimes people are afraid of those who are different. Being afraid makes them angry and unreasonable." But all parents thought their kids were special, right? "I mean, you're really special, Wisty," Mom had said once, taking my chin in her palm. "Pay attention, dear."
Then three more figures stepped forward from the shadows. Two of them had guns on their belts. This was really getting out of hand. Guns? Soldiers? In our house? In a free country? In the middle of the night? A school night, even.
"Wisteria Allgood?" As they moved into the light, I saw two men and...
Byron was a kid from my high school, a year older than I, a year younger than Whit. As far as I knew, we both hated his guts. Everyone did.
"What are you doing here, Swain?" Whit snarled. "Get out of our house."
Byron. It was like his parents knew he'd turn out to be a snot, so they'd named him appropriately.
"Make me," Byron said to Whit, then he gave a smarmy, oily smile, vividly bringing to life all the times I'd seen him in school and thought, What a total butt. He had slicked-back brown hair, perfectly combed, and cold hazel eyes. Like an iguana's.
So this jerk extraordinaire was flanked by two commandos in dark uniforms, shiny black boots that came above their knees, and metal helmets. The entire world was turning upside down, with me in my ridiculous pink kitty jammies.
"What are you doing here?" I echoed Whit.
"Wisteria Allgood," Byron monotoned like a bailiff, and pulled out an actual scroll of official-looking paper. "The New Order is taking you into custody until your trial. You are hereby accused of being a witch."
My jaw dropped. "A witch? Are you nuts?" I shrieked.
Copyright © 2009 by James Patterson
Elijah Wood's recent film credits include the Shane Acker animated film "9" produced by Tim Burton, George Miller's animated film Happy Feet, Liev Schreiber's adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer's best-selling novel Everything is Illuminated, and Michel Gondry's critically acclaimed Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind. Additional credits include Sin City, based on Frank Miller's graphic novel, Ang Lee's The Ice Storm, and the Lord of the Rings trilogy directed by Peter Jackson. Wood recently started his own record label, Simian Records, and is an active member and supporter of The Art of Elysium, a nonprofit organization that encourages working actors, artists, and musicians to dedicate their time and talent to children who are battling serious medical conditions.
Spencer Locke has appeared in numerous television shows including: Without A Trace, Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide, Phil of the Future, That's So Raven, and Cold Case. She has also appeared in the feature films: Spanglish, Monster House, for which she received an Annie Award Nomination for Voice Acting, and Resident Evil: Extinction.