Authors: Amy Rose Capetta
Copyright Â© 2015 by Amy Rose Capetta
“Blessings from the Stars” from
What the Heart Knows: Chants, Charms, and Blessings
by Joyce Sidman. Copyright Â© 2013 by Joyce Sidman. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
All rights reserved. For information about permission to reproduce selections from this book, write to Permissions, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 215 Park Avenue South, New York, New York 10003.
The Library of Congress has cataloged the print edition as follows:
Capetta, Amy Rose.
Unmade / by Amy Rose Capetta.
Sequel to: Entangled.
Summary: “Cadence is in a race against time and space to save her family and friends from the Unmakers, who are tracking the last vestiges of humanity across the cosmos.” âProvided by publisher
[1. SurvivalâFiction. 2. Science fiction.] I. Title.
This one is for my mom.
(after the Passamaquoddy song)
We are the stars, who sing
from a distant place.
Yes, you are alone in your orbit,
as we are.
Yes, your light burns fiercely,
as fiercely as ours.
The thin wind of loneliness
may howl around you,
suck the breath from your fire.
But look before you
and behind you.
Look above you
and below you.
See how many other hearts are burning,
burning as brightly as yours.
We are the stars.
We sing with our light
in our vast, brilliant constellations:
Do I dare disturb the universe?
âT. S. Eliot
The white planet looked perfect from far away.
Everyone should have been there when it slid and locked into view, but Cade was alone, so no one saw her in front of the starglass, hands capped to her chest. No one was there to hear the words that flooded out, the rich and steady river of curses.
“Snug. Snug, snug,
snug it all.
Cade stood at the center of the control room, not moving, but it reached out of her like raysâthe need to get to the surface. To land on this cloud-breathing planet. Down there, somewhere, she had a mother.
Cade started to dance.
Hands first, shoulders, feet.
A few months ago, she never would have let this happen. It was a hard line she'd drawn in the imaginary sand a long time ago: No dancing. The music she'd pounded on her guitar had been for listening purposes. If other people dressed themselves in her rhythms, brushed and slid her notes against their skin, that was their choice.
But Cade's hips were breaking the old rules. Going rogue. Nudging air.
She danced to the song in her head, a song no one else could hear. It was ready whenever Cade reached for it, stitched out of the thoughts of the people around her. It wove brightly into her brain. Overwhelmed her, as much as the first time she'd felt it. But Cade had come back from the brink of death for that song, and she wouldn't stop listening until all of the humans scattered through space came back together, the way they were meant to be heard.
Starting with her mother. One slim thread of the song was formed out of notes Cade knew, captured in old footage of her mother and watched by Cade, every day for months. It hadn't been easy to pick her mother's notes out of the song and follow them across wide, dark bolts of universe.
But now they blared back at Cade from a white-clouded planet.
She bent and molded a hand to the floor. “This is the place, Renna,” Cade said. “Res Minor.”
The name of the planet splashed against the song in her head. She liked the way they sounded together.
“What do you think?”
The ship had nothing to offer, not after so many days and weeks of flying at top speedâtoward Cade's mother, away from the Unmakers. Renna had done her best. Now the floor under Cade's feet rolled slow.
“Sorry.” Cade patted Renna back into a resting state.
Cade picked herself up and pulled out charts, trying to set a course. But she kept checking the view of Res Minor in the starglass, and then the door, until she was turning in circles, waiting for someone else to get caught in her centrifuge of happy swears and dancing and almost-almost-there.
Cade had been in good company ever since she was peeled back from the edge of the black hole. There had been Renna to answer her moods with a fitting rumble, Ayumi to listen to her guitar with amber-wide eyes, Lee to poke into the bedroom three times a day with a questionable meal on a tray.
Cade had gotten used to having someone. But now there was no one, and now it was time.
She ran out of the control room, down the chute. The feeling in her wouldn't go quiet, and she needed a crew member to share it with. Lee and Ayumi were running Human Express deliveries, and Rennik had been avoiding her, and that leftâ
Cade almost clipped the point of Gori's elbow as she rounded a turn in the chute. In Gori's normal state, he could tuck into one of the small bunks set in the wall of the ship, with room to spare. But in a slight rapture state, with his gray skin swelled and stretching, he overflowed the bounds of the bed and got squarely in Cade's way. She knew he was tuned in to the movement of dark energy through the universe, but the puffed mass of his cheeks made him look like one big allergic reaction.
Cade reached for his shoulder, but the feeling inside her amplified things. She tried for a gentle tap and landed a supercharged punch.
“Wake up!” Cade said.
She had already punched him. She might as well commit.
Gori stared up and shrank back into himself, the blank of his eyes swapped out for a harsh, measuring stare.
“I have no use for sleep,” he said.
Cade guessed he had even less use for dancing.
“I saw Res Minor,” she said. “And heard it. It's the place we've been searching for.”
Gori gathered his gray robes around his shriveled gray toes.
“We have to go,” Cade said. When Gori made no move bigger than a robe-swirl, she added, “Now!”
“Now is an invention,” Gori said. “All time is one time.”
This was one of the Darkrider's favorite mottoes. But Cade was in no mood for mottoes and robe-swirls. When she came back from the black hole and found that her old, pinched ways wouldn't do, she had changed. Pried herself open. Gori could snugging well do the same.
She sat with him on the bunk. Closer than he likedâshe could tell by the increased rate of his blinking.
“Did you have a mother?” Cade asked. “On your planet? When you were a .Â .Â .” “Baby” couldn't be the right word. Not for him. “A little pile of robes?”
Gori narrowed his eyes, and his face compacted into new wrinkle-patterns. “No.”
“Well, then maybe you wouldn't understand.”
Cade chose not to add that her own understanding of the mother concept was limited. For most of her life she'd thought her mother was dead, or run off, or that she'd never existed. Then came the revelation that her mother was a spacesick who,
might be dead, and now her mother was a song.
How could Cade explain all of that? This was one of the worst parts of openness. It came with the burden of words, so many words, all of which had to be found and flattened into the right shape.
Cade closed her eyes.
“There's a pull in having a mother,” she said. “A complicated pull. It knots you. In a good way.”
Cade shook her head. She could name the loud feeling nowâhappinessÂâbut only because it was leaving her. It scrubbed against frustration as it went.
“You wouldn't understand,” Cade said again.
“I had no mother,” Gori said. “But I did not spend all of this life in absence.”
Cade chanced a look at his loose, non-raptured skin, the inward curl of his shoulders. Gori was a Darkriderâmore connected to the infinite, snarled workings of the universe than she could imagine. He was also the most alone creature Cade had ever met. Gori had lost a planet. Cade had lost one boy, but sometimes he'd felt like enough to build a world on.
This was the wrong time to think about Xan, about the black hole and its bright heart. The boy she hadn't been able to save. Every time was the wrong time to think about Xan, so Cade didn't mind when the memory was knocked out of place by a gentle tap-and-slide.
A ship docking.
“See?” Cade asked as Renna perked under her feet. “There
a now, and a good one too.”
She raced down the rest of the chute and let the news about her mother swell to the surface again. The dock sprang open. Leeâwho, most days, could be counted on to haul even Cade's most complicated thoughts out of her headâmade her entrance in no shape to listen. She swung into the main cabin with a bloody smile and a blackened eye.
“So,” Cade said, news held back, even though it scrabbled at her stomach. “You had fun?”
Lee bounced on her toes, which added to her height, and tossed her hair out of the knots that she always wore. She flourished her fists, kicked invisible shins. “Best fight I've gotten into in years! Best kidney punch, courtesy of me. Finest drubbing in a public fountain, also my handiwork. Richest, blackest black eye.” She pointed at the rim of dark shine. “Sweet universe, yes. It takes all the honors.”
“Did you win or lose?” Cade asked.
Lee stopped pummeling the air long enough to pin Cade with a confused look. “I
Behind her, Ayumi whisper-stepped into view. She took up the smallest possible fraction of the dock frame even though she was taller than Cade, more fleshed out than skinny-sharp Lee. Ayumi's dark curls were slicked with reddish dust, her arms scored with bruises. She stayed quiet. A breakable quiet.
The lively flare of Lee's mood and the dangerous tremble of Ayumi's stretched Cade in one direction, then another. Keeping up with people's emotions was like being forced to make constant key changes.
“Someone came after us,” Ayumi said.
“That's the Express.” Lee fended off a new set of memory-foes. “Someone's always after us.”
Ayumi shook her curls. Particles dropped to the floor, rust-flake red. “Maybe someone, maybe always. But never like this.”
“Right,” Lee said. “Usually we're beset by amateurs! But this crowd? They really knew how to beset someone.”
Lee's bravado levels fell within the normal range. But Ayumi's concern rang a warning bell deep in Cade's system. “What happened?”
Lee headed for the center of the room and cocked her leg against the bottom of the chute. “We set up in Eastwall. Close to the crowds, far from the headquarters of the local force. Lots of new customers this time, but I don't complain. People need us to take their messages and most-treasureds, so we do.” Cade knew how it worked. She'd been part of it once. But now that she was Unmaker-hunted, mother-obsessed, she didn't have the time or the freedom to help with runs. Cade never would have thought she'd miss the long lines and the hope-crusted eyes of the Human Express. People sick to connect with their families. But she did. “Pick-ups ran their course, no problem,” Lee said. “Drop-offs wereâ”