“ET.” Heidi rolled her eyes as she shook her head. “How stupid is that nickname?”
“Very,” I said, leaning forward. “How bad are the outbreaks?”
She repeated basically what Daemon had shared. “But the thing is, no one is going in or out of those cities, and there’s been some strange shit posted on social media from those areas.”
“I created a fake account to try to check to see how James and some of the others that we knew were doing. I didn’t want to log in to mine in case they were tracking that. When I was able to check last, he was okay, but schools have been shut down, businesses closed.” Heidi tucked a piece of her hair back from her face. “He’d posted about a curfew and how the army had come in, pretty much taking over. There was this one post…” She trailed off, shaking her head.
“What?” I looked to Emery.
“I think she’s talking about the posts about the dead.”
“Yeah.” Heidi’s shoulders rose. “He said that soldiers went around in his neighborhood, telling everyone that if someone got sick, they were to hang a white towel out the window or their front door. One of the houses next to him ended up putting one up. He posted that the next day he saw them carrying out three body bags.”
I pressed my hands to my mouth.
“And then the last post was about the others.” Heidi folded her arms around her. “The ones who got sick but didn’t die.”
“The ones who mutated?” I said behind my hands.
“I guess so,” Heidi replied. “He wouldn’t know that, but he’d posted something about him thinking they were the real reason the army was there. He said that people were acting weird. Attacking others and just, I don’t know, raging out. He posted that nighttime was the worst. All you could hear were these screams. Said it sounded like something from a horror movie.”
Having seen with my own eyes what Sarah and Coop had done, I couldn’t even begin to imagine what it was like if dozens or hundreds more were going through the same thing. “What is the army doing? Straight up shooting them?”
“I don’t know,” Heidi said. “His last post was right before we reached Arkansas.”
Fear was a bolt to the system. “Oh God.”
“I don’t know if anything happened to him. It seems like the social media was just turned off in Columbia and the other cities, but the news keeps telling everyone that things are under control. That fewer and fewer people are getting sick. If that’s true, why would they shut those cities off completely?”
I let that sink in. “They don’t want the world to know what’s happening. That want everyone as unprepared as possible.”
“And for the most part, people are going about their lives like nothing has happened and as if it can’t touch them.” Emery leaned back. “We met up with those two in Arkansas. I had no idea that was who they were. Why would I? I’ve heard the stories and was told they were dead.”
“Who are they?” I asked, hoping for once I’d get an answer.
“From what I know, Blake was a hybrid the Daedalus often used to spy on recently mutated hybrids. See if they were viable—able to control their abilities and be of use to the Daedalus. Several years ago, he’d been sent to Petersburg, West Virginia, and enrolled in the school Kat and Daemon attended. The Daedalus knew that Kat had been mutated, and they wanted firsthand accounts. They had no idea who Blake really was until it was too late. He killed one of their friends—a Luxen who Dee had been seeing. Adam Thomson.”
Adam. I sucked in a sharp breath, knowing instinctively that their baby was named after him.
“There’s a lot more to it. The guy was or is a master manipulator and liar. He ended up getting Kat captured by the Daedalus, and while she was with them, Jason Dasher had her fight other hybrids—namely, Blake. She killed him,” Emery said. “Or at least, that’s what she and everyone believed.”
“Dear God.” I scrubbed my fingers down my face. No wonder they didn’t want Kat to know until Daemon returned. “How is he related to Luc?”
Emery lifted a shoulder. “I don’t know how Luc knows him. All I know is that he met him a couple of times, but I wasn’t around then.”
I had no idea if Emery was telling the truth or not. It was something I was going to have to get out of Luc.
“He knew me,” I said, dropping my hands to my thighs. “I think he was there when I was at the Daedalus, being trained.”
“And turned into the badass Trojan that can have disappearing tattoos?” Heidi rose from the arm of the chair and plopped down next to me. “Because that’s what it kind of reminded me of. Or embedded stones … tattoos or stones that moved.” She smiled when my gaze met hers. “It was really cool looking.”