When Whit & Wisty were imprisoned by the wicked forces of the totalitarian regime known as the New Order, they were barely able to escape with their lives. Now part of a hidden community of teens like themselves, Whit and Wisty have established themselves as leaders of the Resistance, willing to sacrifice anything to save kids kidnapped and brutally imprisoned by the New Order.
But the One has other plans in store for them: He needs Wisty, for she is "The One Who Has the Gift." While trying to figure out what that means, Whit and Wisty's suspenseful adventures through Overworld and Shadowland lead to a jaw-dropping climax and conclusion: the highly-anticipated fulfillment of the heart-pounding opening prologue of book one... The Execution of the Allgoods.
Book One | The Girl with The Gift
WELL, AT LEAST it's their heads anyway.
Our parent's photos are on a twenty-foot billboard, their faces looking lost and lonely in this abandoned rail yard. And below their mug shots are words that never cease to chill our bones:
THREE MILLION B.N. REWARD
For Information Leading to
the Apprehension and Arrest of
BENJAMIN ALLGOOD and ELIZA ALLGOOD
for Heinous Crimes Against Humanity and the New Order
Text messages to "Informant2020"
or visit your local N.O. Intelligence Office
Sure, we know our parents are wanted criminals—for the same bogus reasons we are. But having it in black and white for all the world to see—and slapping the pathetic price of three million beans on their heads!—is a cruel reminder that this nightmare may never come to a happy end.
Wisty, as usual, reads my mind and throws me a semihopeful bone. "They're still free," she points out quietly.
"At least they were," I say,"whenever this poster was put up." The paper does look a little weathered—faded, frayed, and even torn at the edges. We both fall silent as the powerful smell of aging books' brittle pages—full of dreams, stories, tragedies, laughter, and imagination—seems to swirl out from the open door of the trailer and smother us with the bittersweet memory of home.
How can you make peace with something when you don't even know what that "something" is? We can't know whether our parents are alive or dead or being interrogated in a New Order prison or... banished to the Shadowland like Celia. Are they suffering? Is there anything we can do about it? Or are we as helpless and useless as I feel right now?
I punch the billboard so hard my fist goes right through the pressboard backing.
Then I pull my hand out and try to pretend it didn't happen. Wisty gives me a concerned look, and I shrug. I'm sure my knuckles are bleeding, but I don't feel a thing.
I glance at her worried, grief-strained face and quickly look away. I have an urge to hug her, but I need to show her that I'm not letting my emotions take over. I swallow a golf ball-size lump in my throat and take Wisty's hand. "Let's get out of here."
There are no people on the outskirts of this eerie town. Just broken windows in warehouses. Streets strewn with rubble. The only new construction appears to be enormous video billboards and loudspeaker towers.
As we make our way to the town center, I imagine what it might have once been like here. Quaint. I see a redbrick high school, jungle gyms, a park with a gazebo, an overturned tricycle. A pang of sadness grips me. It reminds me of our old town—church steeples, neighborhood grocery stores, and actual trees.
Now I'm even more homesick. For Mom, Dad, home—even school. A little.
"I wonder where everybody is," Wisty whispers.
"I don't," I answer, maybe a little too quickly. "I mean... I don't really want to know".
And then I hear this: "You don't?... don't?... don't?... don't?... Why, Whit?"
I whirl my head around. Wisty stares at me.
There was definitely a voice. And it wasn't Wisty's. Or mine.
It was Celia's voice.
Maybe this is a ghost town. Literally.
Copyright © 2010 by James Patterson
Read by Elijah Wood, Spencer Locke, and Peter Giles
Chapter 1 to 21