The Dark and Hollow Places (Forest of Hands and Teeth)
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There are many things that Annah would like to forget: the look on her sister's face before Annah left her behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, her first glimpse of the Horde as they swarmed the Dark City, the sear of the barbed wire that would scar her for life. But most of all, Annah would like to forget the morning Elias left her for the Recruiters.
Annah's world stopped that day, and she's been waiting for Elias to come home ever since. Somehow, without him, her life doesn't feel much different than the dead that roam the wasted city around her. Until she meets Catcher, and everything feels alive again.
But Catcher has his own secrets. Dark, terrifying truths that link him to a past Annah has longed to forget, and to a future too deadly to consider. And now it's up to Annah: can she continue to live in a world covered in the blood of the living? Or is death the only escape from the Return's destruction?
From the Hardcover edition.
I’m okay to keep running and I nod, cold air searing my lungs as I try to catch my breath. His hand grasps my own tightly, pressing me back when we approach intersections to make sure the way forward is clear. More alarm bells start to ring, the night growing crowded with shouting. Ahead of us a group of Recruiters rounds the corner, shoulders set and gazes intent. They’re wound tight, weapons flashing, and I try to tug my hand from the stranger’s. I need to get away from their advance. But
between us and leaving the dead to stumble after. My hand’s curled tight around the sharp edge of the metal door guarding the stairway. One side of it’s scarred and dented while the other’s still smooth and shiny. As I turn to the darkness I catch my reflection: wide eyes, blood smeared around my mouth. I grip the machete tighter, instinct screaming that it’s an Unconsecrated staring back at me. I can’t catch my breath, startled terror zinging through my body. What if I am one of them? I relive
stairwells with me following and trying to memorize the pattern of turns. He pauses in front of a plain door that looks no different from any of the others and pushes it open, stepping back for me to go in first. The room’s pitch-black, no windows or light source of any kind that I can tell, and I hesitate in the entrance. Ox slides past me, letting the door slowly swing shut until it falls against my back, only a narrow sliver of illumination from the hall penetrating the darkness. I swallow
thought I could make it. I thought I could run with him and bring him here.” Tears course down his face. “It’s been so long since I’ve had to deal with the Mudo. You have to understand, I’m so used to them ignoring me. I’d forgotten …” He shakes his head. “They were on me too fast. There were too many for me to get away. I tried to hold him away from them.” He’s shuddering uncontrollably. “Oh, God, he was screaming and crying and I was trying to keep him safe. That’s all I was doing was trying
I haven’t told Catcher my thoughts on how to escape. How maybe I can get us to his ship. “I think I have a way off the island,” I say hesitantly. Catcher freezes, his breath held as if he isn’t sure he heard me correctly. I pause, a bit uncertain about how to voice my thoughts. “The other night I was on the roof and I made a balloon out of a cloth bag and hot air from the fire. I was thinking about balloons from the before time—pictures I saw in a museum when I was a child—and I wondered if I