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    Copyright 2013 by Amy Rose Capetta

    All rights reserved. For inormation about permission to reproduce

    selections rom this book, write to Permissions, Houghton Miin Harcourt

    Publishing Company, 215 Park Avenue South, New York, New York 10003.

    Houghton Miin is an imprint o

    Houghton Miin Harcourt Publishing Company.

    www.hmhbooks.com

    The text o this book is set in ITC Slimbach.

    Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

    CIP data TK

    Manuactured in TK

    TK 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

    45XXXXXXXX

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    PuRe stAte A qam ym ha cao

    b dcrbd a a mxr of ay ohr

    C H A P T E R 1

    Saturday night, and Cade was headed to the one place on An-

    dana that she didnt hate. The one place where she could be

    around other humans and almost stand it.

    First she had to put on the right armor: black skirt, black

    gloves. Spiked her lashes with a bit o black market mascara,

    checked the eect in a broken-tipped triangle o mirror. Added

    two matching oil slicks o eyeliner. Grabbed her guitar.

    Slapped and echoed up the metal ladder, out o her glori-

    fed cement bunker, into the empty-stomach rattle o the des-

    ert.

    Her ootprints crumbled in the sand as soon as she shited

    her weight. Each breath was dust and dust and air in that

    order. Each breath made her lungs curl into fsts, ready to

    fght their way back to some blinked-out mother planet aplace she would never see because it didnt exist.

    Cade swung her guitar case over the line that meant the

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    end o the Andanan deserts and the beginning o Voidvil. It

    was a real line dunes on one side, and, on the other, build-

    ings that shot like dark fngers out o the sand.Cade didnt love the deserts o Andana. But she wanted

    to peel o her own skin and give it a frm shake when she

    thought about living in Voidvil. It was a human town really

    a human trap a place where people piled on top o each

    other deep and high in apartment towers crusted with the

    black o fre escapes.

    On the bubbled-tar sidewalks at the edge o town, men and

    women stared at Cade and her guitar case. Smiles crawled

    onto their aces. The closer she got to the center o town, the

    louder the voices grew, the closer skins got to each other, got

    to her, sweating to close the in-between inch. The lips here

    smiled too, but the eyes were empty, glassed-and-gone with

    spacesick.

    Cade didnt have spacesick.

    She had something worse than that.

    Her destination sat deep in the ground, a blister under nine

    stories o pressing, smelling, never-stopping human. Cade

    dropped down a corkscrew o stairs into the wet-stone smell

    o Club V.

    The room wasnt much when she looked at it. A small

    stage, set back and painted the shiny black o an insect shell.

    The space was good or a crowd, but hal-crammed with a

    glass bar that Cade wasnt old enough to drink at. Four lawsgoverned the humans on Andana and this, o course, was one

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    o them. Not that she cared. She wasnt there to uzz hersel.

    Or ade out. Or meet people, even.

    Or meet people, ever.Youre late, said the owner, a nonhuman who liked to tell

    humans that his name was Mr. Smithjoneswhite. He held a

    drink, something amberish on the rocks, with one o his long

    arms. He had six o them, and two legs, spanning out rom

    a central nervous system that was actually central. He could

    regrow a limb i he had to, in a process that was flled with

    pus and ascination. Handy in bar fghts, too.

    Youre late, he said again, and Cade wondered i he was

    trying to start a bar fght, right now, with her.

    I dont go on or two hours.

    Be on stage, he said. On time. His accent was thick,

    like he was slurping the words o a plate. Cade could speak

    passable Andanan, but he insisted on English. Didnt want her

    mangling the mother tongue.

    Its the setup, he said, waving one limb at the stage. Isnt

    it? Its taking you too long. Too much time staring at yoursel

    in the mirror. It was a low and unoriginal punch. Humans

    were the only species that used mirrors. Other species knew

    what they looked like without a bit o glass-and-backing, or

    had gone past a looks-based understanding o each other.

    Too good to make a bit o talk with me, little girl? Mr.

    Smithjoneswhite asked, rattling his slow-melt ice at her.

    Cade put her tongue between her teeth, to keep herselrom grinding them to white dust.

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    Just make sure I get paid.

    She shouldnt have come back without seeing the money

    rom last week. O the our laws that Cade and all the hu-mans on Andana had to live with, the frst one declared that

    they werent cleared or work. Too weak. Not built or the cli-

    mate here, and defnitely not built or space. So they bartered

    and black-marketed. It was clear that Cade had a talent, so o

    course someone like Mr. Smithjoneswhite was willing to step

    in, fll out the ofcial orms, shue a ew coins into her hand

    at the end o the night. But last week had been two sets, three

    encores, shameless cheering, no coin. And she slithered back.

    It was a sour move, because it showed Mr. Smithjoneswhite

    how much she needed this place, needed it more than the

    money.

    Ill see you get paid, he said. From the drink sales to-

    night.

    Cade looked up into his ace a blur o eatures, like it had

    been stamped by someone with a shaky wrist. Right, she

    said. For both weeks.

    He tipped the end o his two upper limbs, his version o a

    nod. Cade swept past, and kept up the stomping and scowl-

    ing. But or the frst time in seven days, she elt something

    other than pissed o.

    Because Cade was at the club or the same reason as every

    other Saturday. She would wait out the amateur screechgasm

    o the opening acts, bits o oam tucked into her ears as in-surance against awulness. She would take the stage, set up

    her amps and pedals, and give a tender squeeze to the pegs

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    5

    on the neck o her impossible, unscratched, cherry red guitar.

    The color o a ruit no one had eaten in centuries, and still, it

    looked delicious.Plug in.

    Turn the volume up. up. up.

    Drown the unbelievable noise that crashed through her

    head.

    The Noise was the barrier, the thing that kept Cade rom living

    with other humans. They made so much scurrying, screech-

    ing, nattering sound, and when that hit the Noise, pressure

    changed, and she was sure her brain would start leaking out

    through her nose.

    Cade kicked the metal skeleton o a chair to an isolated

    backstage spot and sank her head between her hands.

    She knew there must have been a time beore the Noise,

    but it was roped o, along with a ew glaring, all-white memo-

    ries o her most primitive years. People in white. White rooms.

    White lights, clean and sharp as a seven-blade knie. Cade

    wanted to look at those memories but she didnt have clear-

    ance, even inside her own head. She was stuck with the years

    o less-than-lie that had passed since shed been dropped at

    the Parentless Center on Andana.

    And she was stuck with the Noise. It wasnt a clear stream

    o words or music or even random screeches o sound. It was

    those things and more unclear, unwashed, unbearable.There were dierent strands o it. Frequencies. Sometimes she

    could pick them out, sometimes she had to cave and crumble.

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    Cade was a smashed radio, all the stations o the universe

    pouring in.

    The opening acts Andanans on sand-skin drums, aband with our lead singers, a lone man on a battered trum-

    pet came and went. Cade set up the stage in record time,

    eeling the shit o muscles under skin. She never needed help

    with even the heaviest o her amps, and she never elt tired,

    and she never got sick. Two girls even younger than Cade,

    dressed in some kind o plastic strings and spacetrash, stood

    at the corner o the stage and whisper-shouted about it a

    avorite snatch o gossip at Club V.

    Shes not human, not all human.

    Some Hatchum in her bloodline, you think?

    She doesnt have the double pupils. Or the orbital. Any-

    way, they dont snug humans.

    Something snugged something to make her.

    Yeah, but what?

    Cade made a note: Play an ear-obliterating chord in their

    aces.

    She stood in the center o the stage and held Cherry-

    Red just held her, the weight welcome and sinking. The di-

    erent colors o the lights warmed into her. Blue on her right

    side, red on her let, a whole row o colors pressed up hot,

    breaking over her back. It was enough to convince her that all

    lights should have color. Not the dark nothing o space, or the

    bright nothing o the desert sun.Cade fddled with the strings until her fngertips were sat-

    isfed. I they ft just right, she could play harder and aster

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    than anyone in Voidvil. And when she did that, the Noise

    retreated i only a little bit. Last Saturday night, shed been

    onstage and she was sure that or a moment shed e

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