RESIST is the sequel to the brilliant and compelling BREATHE. Sarah Crossan is the Carnegie short-listed author of THE WEIGHT OF WATER.
In a world in which the human race is adapting to survive with little air, the stakes are high. Resistance to the Pod Leadership has come apart. The Grove has been destroyed but so has the Pod Minister. Quinn, Bea and Alina separately must embark on a perilous journey across the planet’s dead landscape in search of the rumoured resistance base Sequoia.


5. BEA

I wake up on the cold station floor, and Quinn is missing.

‘Petra,’ Jazz mutters, and tries to sit up. She lets out a screech, crumpling back on to the tiled floor. I slide closer and elevate her leg using Quinn’s rucksack. This should help stop the bleeding. Then I take her head in my lap. ‘I thought it was only a nightmare,’ she says. She begins to cry, and I can tell from her eyes that it has nothing to do with the pain in her leg.

After a few minutes, a noise echoes through the station. ‘Quinn?’

‘Coming!’ And he’s with us again. ‘I heard a scream,’ he says, and lowers a rusting, dented solar respirator on to the floor.

‘It was me,’ Jazz admits.

He pushes his hair away from his eyes and crouches next to her. ‘How bad is it?’ he asks. Cautiously, he presses his hand to her forehead.

‘I’m fine,’ she says, and leans away from him. Her eyelids flutter as she courts unconsciousness again.

Quinn turns to me. ‘I found a ton of those respirators. This place must have been swarming with drifters, but there’s no one here now. You’ll be fine.’ He smiles, but it looks forced.

‘What are you talking about?’ I swallow hard.

‘Hear me out, Bea.’

‘No,’ I say.

‘We can’t carry her across the country.’

‘You’re leaving?’

‘One of us has to get help, and I won’t let you go out there alone.’ I don’t want to be without him. Not again. Not ever. I try to speak, but the words get trapped in my throat, and I cough. He pats me on the back. ‘Give me the map and let me go,’ he says.

‘Where? Where will you go, Quinn?’ My voice is a squeal.

‘I’ll find Sequoia. How hard can it be to locate a building big enough to house a whole movement? Someone will be able to help, and I’ll be back. Alina will be there.’ He lowers his voice. ‘Jazz doesn’t stand a chance if we all stay here.’

‘There has to be another way.’ Now I do cry as the weight of what’s happened and what will happen crashes down on me. I want to be stronger: I just don’t know how.

He wraps his arms round me, holding me up as much as embracing me. ‘I’ll be back. I promise,’ he says.

My parents made a promise like this, and it was the last time I ever saw them. I let him hold me. But I don’t believe him.


‘They work. I checked,’ Quinn says, unloading another respirator, and pressing his hand against the solar panel bathed in light from above. He turns a knob on the top, nudges it with his foot and we listen to the old thing grind to life. ‘And they’re mobile, so you can carry them . . . if you have to.’ I nod even though the respirators are enormous; I’d never even be able to lift one. ‘But you should stay here, so I’ll know where to find you,’ he says.

Beside me, Jazz mewls and turns over in her sleep.

‘What day is it?’ I ask. I want to feel grounded to something reliable, predictable. And unless I know when he left, how will I know when to expect him back? When to stop waiting?

Quinn blinks and calculates using his fingers. ‘Monday,’ he says. ‘Or Tuesday. Let’s say Monday. Look, every time the sun comes up, throw something in there.’ He points at a tarnished water fountain attached to the wall.

‘And when should I stop counting?’

‘Bea.’ He sighs. ‘I’ll be back.’

‘Don’t go,’ Jazz says, waking up. She winces with pain. ‘Can’t you give me a piggyback? I’m light. I’m really light.’

She’s already sweating a fever, though she’s shivering. ‘You need to conserve your energy,’ I tell her.

Quinn buttons up his coat. ‘Tell me this is for the best,’ he says. ‘Please tell me I’m doing the right thing.’ I don’t answer, but follow him outside into the derelict city. The sunshine has melted some of the snow. The air is still frigid. I tuck my chin into my chest.

‘Your air won’t last long,’ I say.

‘Stop it,’ he says.

You stop it,’ I say.

‘Bea . . .’ He takes my hand, lifts his mask and, pushing back my sleeve, kisses my wrist. I close my eyes, and he takes off my glove and kisses the palm of my hand. Eventually he has to put his face mask back in place, so he wraps me up in his arms. I rest my chin on his shoulder. ‘I can’t read you,’ he says.

‘I can’t read myself any more.’ I take a deep breath and push my hair away from my face. ‘If Jazz dies, and you don’t come back, I’ll head for Sequoia,’ I say.

He looks up at the rows of broken clerestory windows set into the red brick of the station and nods. ‘Give me two weeks. You can survive here for two weeks.’

‘Yes,’ I say, but we both know Jazz won’t make it that long.

We stand for a few moments longer, holding hands and looking at our boots in the sludge.

‘Why did it take me for ever to see you?’ he asks. He puts his hands round the back of my neck and pulls my head towards him so that our foreheads touch. ‘I love you. You know that, don’t you?’

I nod, but I don’t tell him that I love him too. Maybe he’ll be back, maybe he won’t; my love won’t change what happens.

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