Read an Excerpt
I Am Number Four
By Pittacus Lore
HarperCollins Copyright © 2011 Pittacus Lore
All right reserved. ISBN: 9780062116550
In the beginning there were nine of us.
We left when we were young, almost too young to
I am told the ground shook, that the skies were full
of light and explosions. We were in that two week
period of the year when both moons hang on opposite
sides of the horizon. It was a time of celebration,
and the explosions were at first mistaken for fireworks.
They were not. It was warm, a soft wind blew in from
off the water. I am always told the weather: it was
warm. There was a soft wind. I've never understood
why that matters.
What I remember most vividly is the way my grandmother
looked that day. She was frantic, and sad. There
were tears in her eyes. My grandfather stood just over
her shoulder. I remember the way his glasses gathered
the light from the sky. There were hugs. There were
words said by each of them. I don't remember what
they were. Nothing haunts me more.
It took a year to get here. I was five when we arrived.
We were to assimilate ourselves into the culture before
returning to Lorien when it could again sustain life.
The nine of us had to scatter, and go our own ways. For
how long, nobody knew. We still don't. None of them
know where I am, and I don't know where they are, or
what they look like now. That is how we protect
ourselves because of the charm that was placed upon us
when we left, a charm guaranteeing that we can only
be killed in the order of our numbers, so long as we stay
apart. If we come together, then the charm is broken.
When one of us is found and killed, a circular scar
wraps around the right ankle of those still alive. And
residing on our left ankle, formed when the Loric
charm was first cast, is a small scar identical to the
amulet each of us wears. The circular scars are another
part of the charm. A warning system so that we know
where we stand with each other, and so that we know
when they'll be coming for us next. The first scar came
when I was nine years old. It woke me from my sleep,
burning itself into my flesh. We were living in Arizona,
in a small border town near Mexico. I woke screaming
in the middle of the night, in agony, terrified as
the scar seared itself into my flesh. It was the first sign
that the Mogadorians had finally found us on Earth,
and the first sign that we were in danger. Until the
scar showed up, I had almost convinced myself that
my memories were wrong, that what Henri told me was
wrong. I wanted to be a normal kid living a normal life,
but I knew then, beyond any doubt or discussion, that I
wasn't. We moved to Minnesota the next day.
The second scar came when I was twelve. I was in
school, in Colorado, participating in a spelling bee.
As soon as the pain started I knew what was happening,
what had happened to Number Two. The pain
was excruciating, but bearable this time. I would have
stayed on the stage, but the heat lit my sock on fire.
The teacher who was conducting the bee sprayed me
with a fire extinguisher and rushed me to the hospital.
The doctor in the ER found the first scar and called the
police. When Henri showed, they threatened to arrest
him for child abuse. But because he hadn't been
anywhere near me when the second scar came, they had
to let him go. We got in the car and drove away, this
time to Maine. We left everything we had except for the
Loric Chest that Henri brought along on every move.
All twenty-one of them to date.
The third scar appeared an hour ago. I was sitting
on a pontoon boat. The boat belonged to the parents of
the most popular kid at my school, and unbeknownst
to them, he was having a party on it. I had never been
invited to any of the parties at my school before. I had
always, because I knew we might leave at any minute,
kept to myself. But it had been quiet for two years.
Henri hadn't seen anything in the news that might
lead the Mogadorians to one of us, or might alert us
to them. So I made a couple friends. And one of them
introduced me to the kid who was having the party.
Everyone met at a dock. There were three coolers, some
music, girls I had admired from afar but never spoken
to, even though I wanted to. We pulled out from the
dock and went half a mile into the Gulf of Mexico. I
was sitting on the edge of the pontoon with my feet in
the water, talking to a cute, dark-haired, blue-eyed girl
named Tara, when I felt it coming. The water around
my leg started boiling, and my lower leg started glowing
where the scar was imbedding itself. The third of
the Lorien symbols, the third warning. Tara started
screaming and people started crowding around me. I
knew there was no way to explain it. And I knew we
would have to leave immediately.
The stakes were higher now. They had found Number
Three, wherever he or she was, and Number Three
was dead. So I calmed Tara down and kissed her on the
cheek and told her it was nice to meet her and that I
hoped she had a long beautiful life. I dove off the side of
the boat and started swimming, underwater the entire
time, except for one breath about halfway there, as fast
as I could until I reached the shore. I ran along the side
of the highway, just inside of the tree line, moving at
speeds as fast as any of the cars. When I got home, Henri
was at the bank of scanners and monitors that he used
to research news around the world, and police activity
in our area. He knew without me saying a word, though
he did lift my soaking pants to see the scars.
In the beginning we were a group of nine.
Three are gone, dead.
There are six of us left.
They are hunting us, and they won't stop until
they've killed us all.
I am Number Four.
I know that I am next.
Excerpted from I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore Copyright © 2011 by Pittacus Lore. Excerpted by permission of HarperCollins. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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