Endgame Novella #2

Free Endgame Novella #2 by James Frey

Book: Endgame Novella #2 by James Frey Read Free Book Online
Authors: James Frey
only the two of them left, Jamal and Shari. He doesn’t want to, doesn’t think it’s right, but sees that there is no other way—climbs on, hangs on, lets her tow him the 100 meters to safety, whispering only, “You’re like a superhero,” once, midway up.
    At the top, he kisses her, holds her in his arms while the passengers lavish her with gratitude, but he says nothing more, only, “I have to go make sure my mother is okay,” and then, with a squeeze of her hand, he’s gone.
    In the wake of the earthquake, the city buzzes with gossip. Many speak about the cable car, and the mysterious girl who saved its passengers and then slipped away before she could be identified and rewarded.
    Shari says nothing to anyone about it. She goes straight home, makes sure that her house is intact and her family safe, and then she waits.
    That night, Jamal comes to her.
    They sit in her yard beneath the stars, Tarki wandering through the grass, flashing his feathers as if to distract them from what is to come, but there can be no more delaying.
    â€œSo, what was that back there?” Jamal asks, finally. “Are you Wonder Woman? Batman?”
    She forces a laugh.
    And then, finally, she tells him the truth.
    â€œThis is going to sound insane,” she begins. “But you have to trust me.”
    â€œI will always trust you,” he says. “And nothing you tell me could be more insane than what you did today. That was . . .” He shakes his head. “That was incredible. You were incredible. And I mean that literally, like beyond the credible. Beyond belief.”
    She sighs. He has no idea how far his credibility will need to stretch if he’s to believe what she has to tell him.
    â€œThe story, my story, starts thousands of years ago,” she says. “When our Harrapan civilization began. When the beings came from the stars.”
    â€œCome on, no jokes, this is serious,” Jamal complains.
    She quiets him with a look. Then tells him the whole story. The Makers. Endgame. The oath sworn by generations of Harrapan. The Player.
    When she finishes, there’s a long silence.
    â€œDid you hit your head or something?” he finally asks.
    â€œYou’re just screwing with me, then.”
    â€œSo you’re telling me, seriously, that you’re part of an ancient bloodline—”
    â€œWe,” she says. “You are Harrapan too. I will be your Player too.”
    â€œOkay, that we are part of an ancient bloodline that someday soon will be wiped out, along with the rest of humanity, when aliens come back and pit a bunch of teenagers against each other in some perverse global cage match, and you’ve spent your entire life training to be one of them? And in less than two years you’re going to be this Player thing, and then you’ll have to give up everything in your life to work and train and maybe get yourself killed by a bunch of murderousteenagers, or maybe some masochistic aliens, if it comes to that?”
    â€œThat’s not precisely how I’d put it,” Shari says, “but yes.”
    â€œNo,” he says. “No! This is the twenty-first century, and you’re a smart girl; you can’t possibly believe this crap.”
    â€œI do,” she says. “As do my parents, and my entire family, and many of the families you’ve come to know well. As, I believe, your father did. I’ve asked around. He was afraid of Endgame. Had he stayed, he would have been asked to devote himself to preparing for the final battle . . . to helping me. He wanted a more normal life, beyond the shadow of apocalypse, and thought if he ran away, he could find it. Even if it shamed his family. Even if it meant leaving everything he knew and loved behind.”
    Jamal stiffens. He nearly leaps to his feet. “Don’t do that,” he says. “Don’t bring him into this

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