Authors: Lissa Price
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Text copyright © 2014 by Lissa Price
Jacket photograph copyright © 2014 by Radharani
All rights reserved. Published in the United States by Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House LLC, a Penguin Random House Company, New York.
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Enders / Lissa Price. — First edition.
Sequel to: Starters.
Summary: “With the Prime Destinations body bank destroyed, Callie no longer has to rent herself out to creepy Enders. But Enders can still get inside her mind and make her do things she doesn’t want to do. Like hurt someone she loves”— Provided by publisher.
ISBN 978-0-385-74249-8 (hc : alk. paper) — ISBN 978-0-375-99061-8 (glb: alk. paper) — ISBN 978-0-307-97524-9 (ebook)
ISBN 978-0-449-81071-2 (intl. ed.)
[1. Science fiction.] I. Title.
Random House Children’s Books supports the First Amendment and celebrates the right to read.
digital short stories
Portrait of a Starter
Portrait of a Marshal
Portrait of a Donor
To Gene, my favorite Ender
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My hand went to the back of my head and I swore I could feel the chip underneath my skin. But I couldn’t, of course; it was buried deeply under the metal blocking plate. It was just the surrounding scar tissue I felt, hard and unforgiving.
I tried not to touch it. But it had become an obsession to finger it like a splinter in a palm, or a hangnail on a thumb. It haunted me all the time, even here, making sandwiches in the kitchen. Helena’s kitchen.
Even though she was dead and had left the mansion to me, I couldn’t help but be reminded daily that it had been hers. Every choice, from the sea-green tiles to the elaborate island in the center of this gourmet kitchen, was hers. Even her housekeeper, Eugenia, remained.
Yes, it had been Helena’s crazy plan to stop the Old Man by using my body to assassinate Senator Harrison. But it was my fault that I had volunteered to be a body donor in the first place. I had been desperate to save my little brother, Tyler, then. Now I couldn’t take it back, any more than I could get
rid of this horrible chip stuck in my head. I hated the thing. It was like a phone the Old Man could call anytime, a phone I had to answer and could never disconnect. It was the Old Man’s direct line to me, Callie Woodland.
The last time I had heard from him was two days ago, while I was watching his precious Prime Destinations being demolished. He had sounded like my dead father, even used his code words:
When hawks cry, time to fly
. I’d been thinking about that ever since. But as I stood at the kitchen counter spreading the last of the peanut butter on whole wheat, I decided that it had been the Old Man playing tricks on me. Cruel, but no surprise coming from that monster.
“Finished?” Eugenia asked.
Her crackly Ender voice cut through me. I hadn’t heard her come in. How long had she been watching? I turned to meet the scowl on her wrinkled face. If this was my fairy-tale life, living in this castle, she would be the ugly stepmother.
“That’s enough. You’re emptying my entire pantry,” she said.
That wasn’t true. I’d made several dozen sandwiches, but our pantry could feed us for a month. I placed the last one in the insta-wrap machine, and the thin veg-wrap encased the bread instantly with a high-pitched zip.
“Done.” I tossed the sandwiches into a duffel bag.
Eugenia didn’t even wait for me to leave before she began wiping the counter. I’d obviously ruined her day.
“We can’t feed the whole world,” she said, scrubbing invisible stains.
“Course not.” I closed the duffel bag and slung it over my shoulder. “Just a few hungry Starters.”
As I put the bag in the trunk of the blue sports car, I couldn’t get Eugenia’s disapproving glare out of my mind. You’d think maybe she’d be nicer, knowing my mother and father were dead. But somehow she resented me for Helena’s death. It wasn’t my fault. In fact, Helena had almost gotten
killed. I slammed the trunk. Eugenia only stayed because she adored Tyler. That was okay; I didn’t have to answer to her. She wasn’t my guardian.
My hand went to the back of my head, and I absentmindedly scratched at my chip wound before I caught myself and stopped. When I looked at my fingers, my nails were dirty with blood. I winced.
I pulled a tissue out of my purse and wiped them as best I could. Then I walked out the door of the garage that led to the garden. Mossy stones, wet from the morning dew, led to the rose-covered cottage guesthouse. The place was quiet, no movement behind the windows. I knocked on the rough-hewn door, to see if he was back, but no answer.
The handle turned with a squeak. I poked my head inside.
I hadn’t been inside his cottage since we’d all moved into the mansion. The place had taken on Michael’s scent, a mix of artist’s paints and freshly cut wood. Even when we had been squatters, he had always managed to smell good.
But what really marked the place as his was his amazing drawings, which covered the walls. The first one showed thin Starters with hungry, haunted eyes. They wore ragged layers of clothing, water bottles draped across their bodies, handlites banded around their wrists.
In the next image, three Starters fought over an apple. One lay on the ground, hurt. My life just a few months ago. But the next drawing was even tougher to look at.
My friend Sara. A Starter I had hoped to rescue. I’d told Michael about her and our time together at Institution 37, the nightmarish place where marshals had locked me up with other unclaimed Starters. The sketch showed Sara after she had diverted the guards’ attention away from me and ended up ZipTasered, clinging to barbed wire as she was dying. Michael had never met her, but like most street Starters, he was familiar with desperation and bravery. He portrayed the willing sacrifice in her eyes.