Everyone in this new world has a number. From 1 to 789000, that is a person's name. The Evens are the police force, the government, the rulers - the Odds are the criminals, the rebellions.
I am 987. This is my story.


15. Home

I brace myself against the ladder, tucking my knees up against the rusty metal. Dan is disappearing over the top, and if I don't get over now, he's going to have a right go at me.

I swing myself up and over smoothly onto the concrete roof. The night is cold and windy and if it wasn't for my new hairstyle I wouldn't be able to see. Dan has laid the bomb - a black plastic box - down in the centre of the roof.

The doorknob from the ground to roof staircase rattles and I raise my gun. It bursts open and Alan and Hada come through. I slip the pistol back into the holster and watch them work their magic. Alan and Hada are geniuses with electricals.

I look out over the plain grey city, the wind starting to whip my hair out of it's neat knots. My eyes skim over the library, the school, my home -

My home.

I suddenly feel like someone has punched me in the stomach.

Memories of 798 and 451 flood back to me. 798 whining about food, 451 hiding her scars. They are not happy images, but they are there.

Dan spots my face. "Amarie, you OK?"

"I - "

"Quick! It's set!"

Hada interrupts me as I begin to reply. Alan shoves me towards the ladder and I climb down shakily. Without even asking, Tess and Fabian take off running, and we go with them.

We sprint through the streets, taking an opposite route to my house, thank God. As soon as we're far away enough, Hada presses the detonator and the world seems to have fallen silent just to listen to this explosion.

The noise is delayed - the big ball of flames come first. A millisecond later the boom hits us so hard I'm almost knocked off my feet. Smoke rises in clouds and flames lick at the sky. Little debris come raining down.

We turn and run, without looking back.


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