The 100 (The Hundred #1)(9) by Kass Morgan

“So we don’t have any medicine?” Bellamy asked, frowning in concern.

Clarke looked at him, startled. “I think the medical supplies kits were thrown out of the dropship in the crash. We’ll be fine, though,” she said quickly, the lie shooting out of her mouth before she had time to make her features match it. “We’ll be okay for a while. The human body has a remarkable ability to heal itself.…” She trailed off as her eyes settled on the bloodstains on his stolen uniform.

Bellamy grimaced as he glanced down, wondering if she was thinking about the Chancellor. Bellamy hoped he’d survived—he had enough blood on his hands already. But it probably didn’t matter one way or another. Whoever the Council sent down with the next group would most certainly be authorized to execute Bellamy on the spot, regardless of the fact that the Chancellor’s injury had been an accident. As soon as Octavia was well enough to move, she and Bellamy would be out of there. They’d hike for a few days, put some distance between themselves and the group, and eventually find somewhere to settle down. He hadn’t spent months poring over those ancient survival guides he’d discovered on B deck for nothing. He’d be ready for whatever was waiting for them in those woods. It couldn’t be worse than what was going to come hurtling down from the sky.

“How long until she’ll be able to walk on it?”

Clarke turned back to Bellamy. “It’s a pretty bad sprain, so I’d say a few days until she can walk, a week or two until it’s fully healed.”

“But possibly sooner?”

She tilted her head to the side and gave him a small smile that, for a moment, made him forget that he was marooned on a potentially toxic planet with ninety-nine juvenile delinquents. “What’s the rush?”

But before he had time to respond, someone called Clarke’s name and she was gone.

Bellamy took a deep breath. To his surprise, the simple act cleared his head, leaving him more awake and alert. It’d probably turn out to be toxic, but every time he inhaled, he sensed something unnamable but intriguing, like a mysterious girl Kter But it who wouldn’t meet your eyes but passed closely enough for you to catch a whiff of her perfume.

He took a few steps closer to the trees, anxious for a better look but unwilling to stray too far from Octavia. They didn’t look like any species he recognized, but then again, the only Earth botany book he’d been able to find had been about plants native to Africa, and he thought he’d heard Wells say they were on the East Coast of what had once been the United States.

A twig snapped next to him. Bellamy whipped around and saw a girl with a long, narrow face and stringy hair. “Can I help you?”

“Wells says everyone who’s not hurt should collect wood.”

A thread of irritation coiled around Bellamy’s stomach, and he gave the girl a tight smile. “I don’t think Wells is in any position to be giving orders, so if it’s all right with you, I’m going to worry about myself, okay?” She shifted uneasily for a moment before shooting a nervous glance over her shoulder. “Off you go,” Bellamy said, motioning her forward with his hands. He watched her scurry off with satisfaction.

He craned his neck and stared up at the sky, his eyes drinking in nothing but emptiness in all directions. It didn’t matter where they were. Any spot on this planet was going to be infinitely better than the world they’d left behind.

For the first time in his life, he was free.

CHAPTER 8

Glass

Glass spent the rest of the night on Luke’s couch, grateful that Camille didn’t ask why she refused to sleep in Carter’s old room. They’d decided that it was best for Glass to stay hidden in Luke’s flat until the shift change at 0600, when there would be fewer guards on patrol.

She’d tossed and turned all night. Every time she rolled over, the bracelet dug into her skin, a painful reminder that while she was in danger, Wells was hundreds of kilometers away, fighting to survive on a planet that hadn’t been able to support life for centuries. It’d always been his dream to see Earth, but not like this. Not when it might still be toxic. Not after seeing his father shot right in front of him.

As she lay staring at the ceiling, she couldn’t keep her ears from searching for sounds in the darkness. The faintest murmur from the other side of Luke’s door was enough to turn her stomach. The silence was even worse.

Just as the circadian lights began to creep under the front door, Luke’s bedroom door opened, and both he and Camille staggered out wearily. Clearly, neither of them had slept much either. Luke was already dressed in off-duty civilian clothes, but Camille wore only one of Luke’s old undershirts, the hem of which skimmed the tops of her slender thighs. Glass blushed and looked away.

“Good morning.” The formality in Luke’s voice made Glass wince. The last time Luke had said those words to her, the two of them had been in his bed, and he’d whispered them in her ear.

“Good morning,” she managed, shoving the memory out of her head.

“We need to get that bracelet off.” Luke gestured toward her wrist.

Glass nodded and rose from the couch, shifting uneasily as Camille looked back and forth between her and Luke. Finally, she crossed her arms and turned to him. “Are you sure this is a good idea? What if someone sees you?”

Luke’s expression darkened. “We talked about this.” He spoke quietly, but Glass heard the note of frustration in his voice. “If we don’t help her, they’re going to kill her. It’s the right thing to do.”

The right thing to do, Glass thought. That was all she meant to him anymore, a life he didn’t want on his conscience.

“Better her than you,” Camille said, her voice trembling.

Luke leaned over and kissed the top of her head. “It’s going to be fine. I’ll take her back to Phoenix and then come straight home.”

Camille sighed and tossed Glass a shirt and a pair of pants. “Here,” she said. “I know it’s not up to your Phoenix standards, but you’ll look a bit more believable in this. You aren’t going to pass for a sanitation worker with that hair.” She gave Luke’s arm a squeeze and then slipped back into his bedroom, leaving Glass and Luke alone.

Glass stood holding the clothes awkwardly in her arms, and for a moment, they just stared at each other. The last time she’d seen Luke, she’d have thought nothing of changing in front of him. “Should I…” She trailed off, gesturing toward Carter’s room.

“Oh,” Luke said, reddening slightly. “No, I’ll just… I’ll be right back.” He retreated to his bedroom. Glass changed as quickly as she could, trying to ignore the whispers that escaped through the door, stinging her skin like pinpricks.

When Luke returned, Glass was dressed in a pair of loose gray pants that barely clung to her h*ps and a rough blue T-shirt that chafed her skin. Luke surveyed her critically. “Something’s still off,” he said. “You don’t look like a prisoner, but you definitely don’t look like a Waldenite.”

Glass began to smooth the sides of her wrinkled trousers self-consciously, wondering whether Luke preferred being with a girl who looked at home in these clothes. “It’s not that,” he said. “It’s your hair. Girls don’t wear it that long here.”

“Why?” she asked, realizing with a small measure of guilt that she’d never even noticed.

Luke had turned and began rummaging through a small storage bin against the wall. “Probably because it’d be too hard to take care of. We don’t get the same water allotment on Walden that you do on Phoenix.” He turned around with a look of triumph on his face and produced an ancient-looking stained cap.

Glass gave him a weak smile. “Thanks.” She took the hat from Luke, their hands brushing, and placed it on her head.

“I don’t think we’re quite there yet,” he said, surveying her with a frown. He stepped toward her and removed the hat with one hand, and with his other, reached over her shoulder to gather her hair, gently twisting it into a knot on top of her head. “There,” he said in satisfaction, placing the cap on top.

The silence stretched between them. Slowly, Luke reached up and tucked a few stray strands behind Glass’s ear. His rough fingers lingered on her neck, and he looked into her eyes, unblinking.

“Ready?” Glass asked, breaking the spell as she stepped to the side.

“Yes. Let’s go.” Luke stepped back stiffly and led her out into the hallway.

There weren’t as many circadian lights on Walden as there were on Phoenix, so although it was technically dawn, Snic"27" the corridors were mostly dark. Glass couldn’t tell where Luke was leading her, and she clenched her hands to keep herself from reaching for his.

Finally, Luke stopped in front of the faint outline of a door. He dug into his pocket, producing something Glass couldn’t see and holding it up to the scanner. The door beeped and slid open. Glass’s insides twisted as she realized that wherever Luke took her, he’d leave a trail of log-ins and access codes. She couldn’t bear to think what would happen when the Council figured out that he’d helped an escaped criminal.

But there was no other option. After she said one last good-bye to her mother, she’d wait for the guards to find her. She wouldn’t try to see Luke again. She couldn’t ask him to risk his safety for her. Not after what she’d done.

A faint light flickered wearily to life, casting a dirty, yellowish glow over machinery Glass didn’t recognize. “Where are we?” she asked, her voice echoing strangely.

“One of the old workshops. This is where they used to repair the Earthmade equipment, before it was all replaced. I came here for some of my training.”

Glass started to ask why the guards would train here, but bit back the question. She always forgot that Luke had already started his mechanical apprenticeship when he was accepted into the engineering corps of the guards. He rarely spoke about that part of his life. Looking back, Glass was ashamed that she hadn’t tried harder to learn about Luke’s world; it was no wonder he’d turned to Camille.

Luke stood next to an enormous machine, pushing different buttons, his brow furrowed in concentration. “What is that?” Glass asked when it started to hum ominously.

“A laser cutter,” Luke said without glancing up.

Glass hugged her wrist protectively to her chest. “No way.”

Luke gave Glass a look that was equal parts amusement and irritation. “No arguing. The sooner we get that thing off of you, the better your chances of hiding.”

“Can’t we just figure out how to unlock it?”

Luke shook his head. “It has to be cut off.” When she didn’t move, he held out his hand with a sigh. “Come here, Glass,” he said, beckoning her over.

Glass’s feet locked into the floor. Although she’d spent the last six months imagining Luke calling to her, she’d never thought that a piece of deadly machinery would be involved. Luke raised an eyebrow. “Glass?”

Glass took a tentative step forward. It wasn’t like she had anything to lose. Better to have Luke slice her wrist off than a medic inject poison into her vein.

Luke tapped a flat surface in the middle of the machine. “Just put your hand here.” He flipped a switch and the whole machine began to vibrate.

Glass trembled as her skin made contact with the cold metal.

“It’ll be okay,” Luke said. “I promise. Just hold still.”

Glass nodded, too afraid to speak. The humming continued and was soon accompanied by a high-pitched screech.

Luke made a few more adjustments, then came to stand next to her. “Ready?”

She swallowed nervously. “Yes.”