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Witch & Wizard: The Fire

Whit and Wisty Allgood have sacrificed everything to lead the resistance against the merciless totalitarian regime that governs their world. Its supreme leader, The One Who Is The One, has banned everything they hold dear: books, music, art, and imagination. But the growing strength of the siblings' magic hasn't been enough to stop the One's evil rampage, and now he's executed the only family they had left.

Wisty knows that the time has finally come for her to face The One. But her fight and her fire only channel more power to this already invincible being. How can she and Whit possibly prepare for their imminent showdown with the ruthless villain that devastated their world-before he can truly become all-powerful?

In this stunning third installment of the epic Witch & Wizard series, the stakes have never been higher—and the consequences will change everything.

Book One | Blood Holiday

Chapter 6

Wisty

IT'S LIKE I'M swimming, my long red hair swirling around me. I'm swimming, only my goggles are foggy and my air tank has just run out of oxygen. My lungs are burning so much I think for a second that I might be flaming out and can actually feel it for the first time. The girl who can set herself on fire. Some Gift.

There seems to be a ton of people surrounding me, and none of them looks like my brother. Where is Whit? I vaguely remember him carrying me, but what's happened since then? Is he sick? Is he being tortured somewhere by my skeletal captors?

Two kids stand over me, prodding my arm with a stick. The bigger one, a freckle-faced show-off with a chipped tooth, is answering a question the other has asked.

"She's the red-haired witch, dummy. Not very good at it, is she?"

I focus through the pain and summon all my energy to fix the little braggart with a long, withering look. To my utter satisfaction, the kids scamper away in horror. "She'll change us into rodents!" Freckles yells. Ah, my reputation has preceded me. Somehow, it feels like an overwhelming relief that I can still strike fear into the hearts of children. Exhausted, I collapse back into the cushion of sleep.

The next time I open my eyes, it's dark, and there are candles everywhere. Everyone in the room looks shell-shocked, like they've just received the worst news. My heart starts to race until I see my brother. He's across the room, standing with some grubby-looking little girl, and I feel such a sense of relief I almost pass out again. I wish I could get his attention, but I don't have the strength to move.

An older man with a weathered face and a braid running down his back is leading some kind of vigil. These people, whoever they are, have lost someone. My heart aches for them; I know what loss feels like, too.

Believe me.

"Let's not let them take everything from us yet, though." The weathered man looks from face to face, eyes fierce. "Let's sing for family. Let's sing for hope."

The crowd of filthy, gaunt survivors all hold hands, and there's barely enough space in this tiny basement room to fit them all. The whole place is radiant with candlelight, and the broken glass dangling from the ceiling shimmers.

Then the singing starts up.

It's low at first, and then, as more and more voices join in, the volume builds, like the vibrations of a bell or the mournful echo when you trace a finger along the lip of a glass. You feel it inside you.

It's so beautiful, you almost have to turn away.

When I realize what they are singing, it's like an arrow to my chest. "Silent, Silent." even buried under all this grief, I can see Dad's expressive face mouthing the words over our heads on Holiday eve, hear Mom's sweet voice dancing along the verses. A sob catches in my throat as I hum along to the familiar melody, tears streaming down my cheeks.

I lock eyes with Whit across the room. He's looking at me like his heart is breaking, like he's saying good-bye. To me. I shake my head. No. No.

The candles are blurring again, I'm drowning in darkness.

Silent, silent.

But I'm not ready to go.

Not yet.

Copyright © 2011 by James Patterson

Read by Elijah Wood and Spencer Locke

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