Unbreakable by Kami Garcia




  Digital Galley Edition

  This is uncorrected advance content collected for your reviewing convenience. Please check with publisher or refer to the finished product whenever you are excerpting or quoting in a review.

  Copyright

  This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.

  Copyright © 2013 by Kami Garcia, LLC

  All rights reserved. In accordance with the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, the scanning, uploading, and electronic sharing of any part of this book without the permission of the publisher is unlawful piracy and theft of the author’s intellectual property. If you would like to use material from the book (other than for review purposes), prior written permission must be obtained by contacting the publisher at [email protected]. Thank you for your support of the author’s rights.

  Little, Brown and Company

  Hachette Book Group

  237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017

  Visit our website at www.lb-teens.com

  Little, Brown and Company is a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

  The Little, Brown name and logo are trademarks of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

  The publisher is not responsible for websites (or their content) that are not owned by the publisher.

  First Edition: October 2013

  Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

  Garcia, Kami.

  Unbreakable / by Kami Garcia. — First edition.

  pages cm

  Summary: “Seventeen-year-old Kennedy Waters discovers she is a member of an ancient secret society formed to protect the world from a powerful demon determined to find a way out of his dimension and into ours. She joins the Legion on a mission to find a weapon that can defeat the demon”—Provided by publisher.

  ISBN 978-0-316-21017-1

  [1. Demonology—Fiction. 2. Secret societies—Fiction. 3. Supernatural—Fiction. 4. Love—Fiction.] I. Title.

  PZ7.G155627Unb 2013

  [Fic]—dc23

  2012048435

  10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

  RRD-C

  Printed in the United States of America

  Contents

  Copyright

  Dedication

  Epigraph

  Chapter 1: Sleepwalker

  Chapter 2: Scratching the Surface

  Chapter 3: Blackout

  Four Weeks Later

  Chapter 4: Grave Jumping

  Chapter 5: Dead Ends

  Chapter 6: Sinister Lullaby

  Chapter 7: The Legion

  Chapter 8: Proof

  Chapter 9: Liabilities

  Chapter 10: The Marrow

  Chapter 11: Ophthalmic Shift

  Chapter 12: Fingerprints

  Chapter 13: Cold Iron

  Chapter 14: Wonderland

  Chapter 15: Girl in the Yellow Dress

  Chapter 16: A Break in the Line

  Chapter 17: Middle River

  Chapter 18: A Good Mother

  Chapter 19: Dark Water

  Chapter 20: A Sliver of Light

  Chapter 21: Sunshine

  Chapter 22: The Box

  Chapter 23: Marked

  Chapter 24: The Only One

  Chapter 25: Hearts of Mercy

  Chapter 26: Within the Walls

  Chapter 27: Unearthed

  Chapter 28: Florida Water

  Chapter 29: Sons of Disobedience

  Chapter 30: Death House

  Chapter 31: Devil’s Trap

  Chapter 32: Heat of Hell

  Chapter 33: Black Dove

  Acknowledgments

  For Alex, Nick & Stella:

  None of the imaginary worlds I create

  compare to the real one I share with you.

  There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.

  —Henry David Thoreau, Walden

  CHAPTER 1

  Sleepwalker

  As my bare feet sank into the wet earth, I tried not to think about the dead bodies buried beneath me. I had passed this tiny graveyard a handful of times but never at night, and always outside the boundaries of the peeling iron gates.

  I would’ve given anything to be standing outside them now.

  In the moonlight, rows of weathered headstones exposed the neat stretch of lawn for what it truly was—the grassy lid of an enormous coffin.

  A branch snapped, and I spun around.

  “Elvis?” I searched for a trace of my cat’s gray and white ringed tail.

  Elvis never ran away, usually content to thread his way between my ankles whenever I opened the door—until tonight. He took off so fast that I didn’t even have time to grab my shoes, and I had chased him eight blocks until I ended up here.

  I heard muffled voices and froze, listening.

  A girl wearing blue and gray Georgetown University sweats passed under the pale glow of the lamppost, on the other side of the gates. Her friends caught up with her, laughing and stumbling down the sidewalk. They reached one of the academic buildings and disappeared inside.

  It was easy to forget that the cemetery was in the middle of a college campus, especially when I walked deeper into the uneven rows. The lampposts vanished behind the trees, and the clouds plunged the graveyard in and out of shadow.

  Something moved in my peripheral vision—a flash of white.

  I ignored the whispers in the back of my mind urging me to go home. Instead, I scanned the stones, now completely bathed in black.

  Come on, Elvis. Where are you?

  Nothing scared me more than the dark. I liked to see what was coming, and darkness was a place where things could hide.

  Think about something else.

  The memory closed in before I could stop it….

  My mother’s face hovering above mine as I blinked myself awake. The panic in her eyes as she pressed a finger over her lips, signaling me to be quiet. The cold floor against my feet as we made our way to her closet, where she pushed aside the dresses to reveal a notch in the wood.

  “Someone’s in the house,” she whispered, pulling a board away from the wall to reveal a small opening. “Stay here until I come back. Don’t make a sound.”

  I squeezed inside as she worked the board back in place. I had never experienced absolute darkness like that before. I stared at a spot inches in front of me, where my palm rested on the board. But I couldn’t see it.

  I closed my eyes against the blackness. There were sounds—the stairs creaking, furniture scraping against the floor, muffled voices—and one thought replaying over and over in my mind.

  What if she didn’t come back?

  Too terrified to see if I could get out from the inside, I kept my hand on the wood. I listened to my ragged breathing, convinced that whoever was in the house could hear it, too.

  Eventually, the wood gave beneath my palm and a thin stream of light flooded the space. My mom reached for me, promising the intruders had fled. As she carried me out of her closet, I couldn’t hear anything beyond the pounding of my heart, and I couldn’t think about anything except the crushing weight of the dark.

  I was only five when it happened, but I still remembered every minute in the crawl space. It made the air around me now feel suffocating. Part of me wanted to go home, with or without my cat.

  “Elvis, get out here.”

  Something shifted between the chipped headstones in front of me.

  “Elvis?”

  A silhouette emerged from behind a stone cross.

  I jumped, a tiny gasp escaping my lips. “Sorry.” My voice wavered. “I’m looking for my cat.”

  The s
tranger didn’t say a word.

  Sounds intensified at a dizzying rate—branches breaking, leaves rustling, my pulse throbbing. I thought about the hundreds of unsolved crime shows I’d watched with my mom that started out exactly like this—a girl standing alone somewhere she shouldn’t be, staring at the guy who was about to attack her.

  I stepped back, thick mud pushing up around my ankles like a hand rooting me to the spot.

  Please don’t hurt me.

  The wind cut through the graveyard, lifting tangles of long hair off the stranger’s shoulders and the thin fabric of a white dress from her legs.

  Her legs.

  Relief washed over me. “Have you seen a gray and white Siamese cat? I’m going to kill him when I find him.”

  Silence.

  Her dress caught the moonlight, and I realized it wasn’t a dress at all. She was wearing a nightgown. Who wandered around a cemetery in their nightgown?

  Someone crazy.

  Or someone sleepwalking.

  You aren’t supposed to wake a sleepwalker, but I couldn’t leave her out here alone at night either.

  “Hey? Can you hear me?”

  The girl didn’t move, gazing at me as if she could see my features in the darkness. An empty feeling unfolded in the pit of my stomach. I wanted to look at something else—anything but her unnerving stare.

  My eyes drifted down to the base of the cross.

  The girl’s feet were as bare as mine, and it looked like they weren’t touching the ground.

  I blinked hard, unwilling to consider the other possibility. It had to be an effect of the moonlight and the shadows. I glanced at my own feet, caked in mud, and back to hers.

  They were pale and spotless.

  A flash of white fur darted in front of her and rushed toward me.

  Elvis.

  I grabbed him before he could get away again. He hissed at me, clawing and twisting violently. I dropped him, my heart hammering in my chest as he darted across the grass and squeezed under the gate.

  I looked back at the stone cross.

  The girl was gone, the ground nothing but a smooth, untouched layer of mud.

  Blood from the scratches trailed down my arm as I crossed the graveyard, trying to reason away the girl in the white nightgown. Silently reminding myself that I didn’t believe in ghosts.

  CHAPTER 2

  Scratching the Surface

  When I stumbled back onto the well-lit sidewalk, there was no sign of Elvis. A guy with a backpack slung over his shoulder walked by and gave me a strange look when he noticed I was barefoot, and covered in mud up to my ankles. He probably thought I was a pledge.

  My hands didn’t stop shaking until I hit O Street, where the shadows of the campus ended and the lights of DC traffic began. Tonight, even the tourists posing for pictures at the top of The Exorcist stairs were somehow reassuring.

  The cemetery suddenly felt miles away, and I started second-guessing myself.

  The girl in the graveyard wasn’t hazy or transparent like the ghosts in movies. She had looked like a regular girl.

  Except she was floating.

  Wasn’t she?

  Maybe the moonlight only made it appear that way. And maybe the girl’s feet weren’t muddy because the ground where she’d been standing was dry. By the time I reached my block, lined with row houses crushed together like sardines, I had convinced myself there were dozens of explanations.

  Elvis lounged on our front steps, looking docile and bored. I considered leaving him outside to teach him a lesson, but I loved that stupid cat.

  My mom bought him for me one day after I came home from school crying. We’d made Father’s Day gifts in class, and I was the only kid without a father. Mine walked away when I was five and never looked back. My mom had wiped my tears and said, “I bet you’re also the only kid getting a kitten today.”

  Elvis had turned one of my worst days into one of my best.

  I opened the door, and he darted inside. “You’re lucky I let you in.”

  The house smelled like tomatoes and garlic, and my mom’s voice drifted into the hallway. “I’ve got plans this weekend. Next weekend, too. I’m sorry, but I have to run. I think my daughter just came home. Kennedy?”

  “Yeah, Mom.”

  “Were you at Elle’s? I was about to call you.”

  I stepped into the doorway as she hung up the phone. “Not exactly.”

  She threw me a quick glance, and the wooden spoon slipped out of her hand and hit the floor, sending a spray of red sauce across the white tile. “What happened?”

  “I’m fine. Elvis ran off, and it took forever to catch him.”

  Mom rushed over and examined the angry claw marks. “Elvis did this? He’s never scratched anyone before.”

  “I guess he freaked out when I grabbed him.”

  Her gaze dropped to my mud-caked feet. “Where were you?”

  I prepared for the standard lecture Mom issued whenever I went out at night: always carry your cell phone, don’t walk around outside alone, stay in well-lit areas, and her personal favorite—scream first and ask questions later. Tonight, I had violated them all.

  “The old Jesuit cemetery?” My answer sounded more like a question—as in, exactly how upset was she going to be?

  Her posture stiffened, and she drew in a sharp breath. “I’d never go into a graveyard at night,” she responded automatically, as though it was something she’d said a thousand times before. Except it wasn’t.

  “Suddenly you’re superstitious?”

  She shook her head and looked away. “Of course not. You don’t have to be superstitious to know that secluded places are dangerous at night.”

  I waited for the lecture.

  Instead, she handed me a wet towel. “Wipe off your feet and throw that away. I don’t want dirt from a cemetery in my washing machine.”

  Mom rummaged through the junk drawer until she found a giant Band-Aid that looked like a leftover from my Big Wheel days.

  “Who were you talking to on the phone?” I asked, hoping to change the subject.

  “Just someone from work.”

  “Did that someone ask you out?”

  She frowned, concentrating on my arm. “I’m not interested in dating. One broken heart is enough for me.” She bit her lip. “I didn’t mean—”

  “I know what you meant.” My mom had cried herself to sleep for what felt like months after my dad left. I still heard her sometimes.

  After she bandaged my arm, I sat on the counter while she finished the marinara sauce. Watching her cook was comforting. It made the cemetery feel even farther away.

  She dipped her finger in the pot and tasted the sauce before taking the pan off the stove.

  “Mom, you forgot the red pepper flakes.”

  “Right.” She shook her head and forced a laugh.

  My mom could’ve held her own with Julia Child, and marinara was her signature dish. She was more likely to forget her own name than the secret ingredient. I almost called her on it, but I felt guilty. Maybe she was imagining me in one of those unsolved crime shows.

  I hopped down from the counter. “I’m going upstairs to draw.”

  She stared out the kitchen window, preoccupied. “Mmm… that’s a good idea. It will probably make you feel better.”

  Actually, it wouldn’t make me feel anything.

  That was the point.

  As long as my hand kept moving over the page, my problems disappeared, and I was somewhere or someone else for a little while. My drawings were fueled by a world only I could see—a boy carrying his nightmares in a sack as bits and pieces spilled out behind him, or a mouthless man banging away at the keys of a broken typewriter in the dark.

  Like the piece I was working on now.

  I stood in front of my easel and studied the girl perched on a rooftop, with one foot hanging tentatively over the edge. She stared at the ground below, her face twisted in fear. Delicate blue-black swallow wings stretched out from her
dress. The fabric was torn where the wings had ripped through it, growing from her back like the branches of a tree.

  I read somewhere that if a swallow builds a nest on your roof, it will bring you good luck. But if it abandons the nest, you’ll have nothing but misfortune. Like so many things, the bird could be a blessing or a curse, a fact the girl bearing its wings knew all too well.

  I fell asleep thinking about her. Wondering what it would be like to have wings if you were too scared to fly.

  I woke up the next morning exhausted. My dreams had been plagued with sleepwalking girls floating in graveyards. Elvis was curled up on the pillow next to me. I scratched his ears, and he jumped to the floor.

  I didn’t drag myself out of bed until Elle showed up in the afternoon. She never bothered to call before she came over. The idea that someone might not want to see her would never occur to Elle, a quality I’d envied from the moment we met in seventh grade.

  Now she was sprawled on my bed in a sea of candy wrappers, flipping through a magazine while I stood in front of my easel.

  “A bunch of people are going to the movies tonight,” Elle said. “What are you wearing?”

  “I told you I’m staying home.”

  “Because of that pathetic excuse for a guy who’s going to be the starting receiver at community college when we graduate?” Elle asked, in the dangerous tone she reserved for people who made the mistake of hurting someone she cared about.

  My stomach dropped. Even after a few weeks, the wound was still fresh.

  “Because I didn’t get any sleep.” I left out the part about the girl in the graveyard. If I started thinking about her, I’d have another night of bad dreams ahead of me.

  “You can sleep when you’re dead.” Elle tossed the magazine on the floor. “And you can’t hide in your room every weekend. You’re not the one who should be embarrassed.”

  I dropped a piece of charcoal in the tackle box on the floor and wiped my hands on my overalls. “I think getting dumped because you won’t let your boyfriend use you as a cheat sheet rates pretty high on the humiliation scale.”

  I should’ve been suspicious when one of the cutest guys in school asked me to help him bring up his history grade so he wouldn’t get kicked off the football team. Especially when it was Chris, the quiet guy who had moved from one foster home to another—and someone I’d had a crush on for years. Still, with the highest GPA in History and all my other classes, I was the logical choice.

 
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