Home > Monsters of Men (Chaos Walking #3)

Monsters of Men (Chaos Walking #3)
Author: Patrick Ness

“War,” says Mayor Prentiss, his eyes glinting. “At last.”

“Shut up,” I say. “There ain’t no at last about it. The only one who wants this is you.”

“Nevertheless,” he says, turning to me with a smile. “Here it comes.”

And of course I’m already wondering if untying him so he could fight this battle was the worst mistake of my life–

But no–

No, it’s gonna keep her safe. It’s what I had to do to keep her safe.

And I will make him keep her safe if I have to kill him to do it.

And so with the sun setting, me and the Mayor stand on the rubble of the cathedral and look out across the town square, as the army of Spackle make their way down the zigzag hill in front of us, blowing their battlehorn with a sound that could tear you right in two–

As Mistress Coyle’s army of the Answer marches into town behind us, bombing everything in its path Boom! Boom! BOOM!–

As the first soldiers of the Mayor’s own army start arriving in quick formayshun from the south, Mr Hammar at their front, crossing the square towards us to get new orders–

As the people of New Prentisstown run for their lives in any and every direkshun–

As the scout ship from the incoming settlers lands on a hill somewhere near Mistress Coyle, the worst possible place for ’em–

As Davy Prentiss lies dead in the rubble below us, shot by his own father, shot by the man I just set free–

And as Viola–

My Viola–

Races out on horseback into the middle of it all, her ankles broken, not even able to stand up on her own–

Yes, I think.

Here it comes.

The end of everything.

The end of it all.

“Oh, yes, Todd,” says the Mayor, rubbing his hands together. “Oh, yes, indeed.”

And he says the word again, says it like it’s his every last wish come true.

“War.”

[TODD]

“We hit the spackle head on!” the Mayor shouts at the men, aiming his Noise right in the middle of everyone’s heads.

Even mine.

“They’ll be gathering at the bottom of the road,” he says, “but that’s as far as they’re going to go!”

I put a hand on Angharrad’s flank beneath me. In under two minutes, the Mayor had us up on horseback, Morpeth and Angharrad coming running from round the back of the ruins of the cathedral, and by the time we’d hopped up, stepping over the still unconshus bodies of the men who tried to help me overthrow the Mayor, there was the army taking messy shape in front of us.

Not all of it, tho, maybe less than half, the rest still stretched up along the southern road to the hill with the notch on it, the road to where the battle was sposed to be.

Boy Colt? Angharrad’s thinking and I can feel spikes of nerves all thru her body. She’s scared nearly half to death.

So am I.

“BATTALIONS READY!” the Mayor shouts and immediately Mr Hammar and the later-arriving Mr Tate and Mr O’Hare and Mr Morgan snap salutes and the soldiers start lining up in the right formayshuns, twisting thru each other in coils and getting into order so quickly it almost hurts my eyes to watch it.

“I know,” the Mayor says. “It’s a thing of beauty, isn’t it?”

I point my rifle at him, the rifle I took from Davy. “You just remember our agreement,” I say. “Yer gonna keep Viola safe and you ain’t gonna control me with yer Noise. You do that and you stay alive. That’s the only reason I let you go.”

His eyes flash. “You realize that means you can’t let me out of your sight,” he says, “even if you have to follow me into battle. Are you ready for that, Todd?”

“I’m ready,” I say, even tho I ain’t but I’m trying not to think about it.

“I have a feeling you’ll do well,” he says.

“Shut up,” I say. “I beat you once, I’ll beat you again.”

He grins. “Of that I have no doubt.”

“THE MEN ARE READY, SIR!” Mr Hammar shouts from his horse, saluting fiercely.

The Mayor keeps his eyes on me. “The men are ready, Todd,” he says, his voice teasing. “Are you?”

“Just get on with it.”

And his smile gets even wider. He turns to the men. “Two divisions down the western road for the first attack!” His voice snakes thru everyone’s head again, like a sound you can’t ignore. “Captain Hammar’s division at the front, Captain Morgan taking the rear! Captains Tate and O’Hare will round up the rest of the men and armaments yet to arrive and join the fray with the greatest despatch.”

Armaments? I think.

“If the fight isn’t already over the by time they join us–”

The men laugh at this, a loud, nervous, aggressive kind of laugh.

“Then as a united army, we will drive the Spackle back up that hill and make them regret the day they were EVER BORN!”

And the men give a roaring cheer.

“Sir!” Captain Hammar shouts. “What about the army of the Answer, sir?”

“First we beat the Spackle,” says the Mayor, “then the Answer will be child’s play.”

He looks across his army of men and back up the hill to the Spackle army still marching down. Then he raises his fist and gives the loudest Noise shout of all, a shout that bores right down into the very centre of every man hearing it.

“TO BATTLE!”

“TO BATTLE!” the army cries back at him and sets off at a fierce pace outta the square, racing towards the zigzag hill–

The Mayor looks at me one last time, like he can barely keep from laughing at how much fun he’s having. And without another word, he spurs Morpeth hard in the sides and they gallop into the square after the departing army.

The army heading off to war.

Follow? Angharrad asks, fear coming off her like sweat.

“He’s right,” I say. “We can’t let him out of our sight. He’s got to keep his word. He’s got to win his war. He’s got to save her.”

For her, Angharrad thinks.

For her, I think back, all my feeling about her behind it.

And I think her name–

Viola.

And Angharrad leaps forward into battle.

{VIOLA}

Todd, I think, riding Acorn through the mash of people crowding across the road, each of them trying to run away from those awful horn blasts in one direction and the bombs of Mistress Coyle in the other.

Hot Series
» Vampire Academy Series read online
» Crossfire Series read online
» Fifty Shades trilogy read online
» Kate Daniels Series read online
» Black Dagger Brotherhood Series read online
» Cassandra Palmer Series read online
» Rosemary Beach Series read online
» Sea Breeze Series read online
» Too Far Series read online
» Shatter Me Series read online
» Thoughtless Series read online
» Marriage to a Billionaire Series read online
Most Popular
» Drawn into Love (Fluke My Life #4)
» Nightchaser (Endeavor #1)
» Right Where I Want You
» Tangled Like Us (Like Us #4)
» Be the Girl
» Playing for Keeps (Heartbreaker Bay #7)
» If I Only Knew
» Vengeance Road (Torpedo Ink #2)
» 99 Percent Mine
» Free (Chaos #6)
» Work in Progress (Red Lipstick Coalition #3
» Moonlight Scandals (de Vincent #3)