Home > I Am Number Four The Lost Files The Forgotten Ones (Lorien Legacies The Lost Files #6)

I Am Number Four The Lost Files The Forgotten Ones (Lorien Legacies The Lost Files #6)
Pittacus Lore

CHAPTER ONE

MY EYES FLY OPEN, BUT I DON’T SEE ANYTHING. Just darkness. My lungs feel weak and heavy, like they’re coated in a thick layer of grime, and when I cough, a cloud of dust swirls around me, making me cough more until I’m about to hack up a lung. My head is throbbing, foggy and immobile. My arms are pinned to my sides.

Where am I?

As the dust settles, my coughing finally subsides and I begin to remember.

New Mexico. Dulce. Wait—did all that really happen?

I want to believe it was all just a dream. But by now I know enough to realize that there’s no such thing as just a dream anyway. And this was no dream. I was the one who brought this place down. Without even knowing how I did it, I took the power that One had given me and brought a whole government base crashing down to its foundations.

Next time I pull a stunt like that, I’ll wait till I’m not in the place before I tear it apart. It made sense at the time. I guess I have some things to learn about having a Legacy.

Now everything around me is silent. I’ll take that as a good sign. It means that nobody’s trying to kill me anymore. Which means that they’re either just as buried as I am, or they’re dead. For now, I’m alone. One is dead. Malcolm and Sam are gone—they probably think I’m dead too. As for my family, they’d prefer it if I was dead.

No one would even know if I gave up here, right now, and there’s part of me that wants to. I’ve fought so hard. Isn’t it enough that I came this far?

It would be so easy just to stop struggling here, to stay buried. To stay forgotten.

If One were still here, she would toss her hair impatiently and tell me to snap out of it, to get over myself. She’d tell me that I’m not even halfway finished with the job she left me with and that there are bigger things to worry about than myself. She’d remind me that it’s not just my life that hangs in the balance.

But One isn’t here anymore, and so it’s up to me to tell myself those things.

I’m alive. That in itself is amazing. I’d triggered the explosives in the armory with the full knowledge that it might be the last thing I did. I’d done it so Malcolm Goode, the man who’d started to feel like some kind of dad to me, could escape with his real son, Sam. I figured that if they got away, at least I would have died doing one good thing.

But I didn’t die. For now, at least. And I figure that if I’m still alive despite everything, there has to be a reason for it. There’s still something I need to do.

So I try to slow my racing heart, breathe steadily, and assess the situation. I’m buried, yes. But there’s air here, and I can move my head, my shoulders, even my arms a little. Good. My breathing stirs up more dust and that shows me which way is up, and also that there’s a little light seeping in from somewhere. And if there’s any light at all, it means I can’t be too far from the surface.

There’s no room for me to move my arms, but I struggle anyway, trying to push against the shattered stone and concrete I’m trapped under. It doesn’t do any good, of course. I’m not a vatborn with genetically enhanced strength or even a natural powerhouse like my adoptive brother, Ivan. I’m tall but slight and built like a regular human, with only moderately more physical ability. I’m not even sure if the most highly trained of the vatborn would be able to dig his way out of here; there’s no way I have any shot at all.

But then One’s face enters my mind again—her wry, affectionate eye roll, the way she would look at me like, Really? That’s all you’ve got? And something occurs to me. It’s not all I’ve got. Not anymore. I may not have strength, but I do have power.

I focus on the rocks around me, knowing that, with my Legacy—the Legacy that One gave me—I can shake all this debris clear. I close my eyes and focus on it, picturing the rubble shaking and splitting, moving away from me until I’m free.

Nothing happens. It doesn’t budge. Move, dammit, I think, and then I realize that I’ve actually said the words aloud without meaning to. Either way, the rocks don’t pay any attention.

Suddenly I’m angry. First I’m angry at myself: for being so stupid, for being so weak, for not having mastered the gift that One gave me. For getting myself to this place at all.

But it isn’t my fault. I was only trying to do what was right. It’s not myself I should be angry at—it’s my people, the Mogadorians who got me here. The Mogadorians, who worship brute force and believe that war is a way of life.

Soon I can feel my rage coursing through my body. Nothing in my life has ever been fair. I never had a shot at all. I think about Ivan, who was a best friend to me. We grew up together, and then he betrayed me. He tried to kill me—more than once.

I think about my father, who didn’t think twice about letting the Mogadorian scientists experiment on me with machines that had been completely untested and came close to frying my brain. It was nothing to him to risk sacrificing me for the cause.

And what cause was that? The cause of creating more destruction, of killing more people and gaining more power for himself. But power over what? When we’d conquered Lorien, we’d left it a lifeless, destroyed husk of a planet. There was nothing left on Lorien to rule. Was that what we were going to do to Earth too?

For people like my father, that’s not the point. The point is war. The point is winning. To him, I was just another potential weapon to be used and discarded. That’s all anyone’s ever been worth to him.

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