The Adoration of Jenna Fox (Jenna Fox Chronicles 1) - Page 35

I turn to Mother. ‘Is there anything else?’

The tears flow. Her face is desperate. ‘Jenna, what difference does it make? You’re still my daughter. That’s all that matters—’

My clumsy feet. My legs.

Oh, God no.

‘Stand up,’ I say. I rise to my feet. Mother looks at me, confused. ‘Stand up!’ I yell. She stands, inches from me. We look eye to eye. We are the exact same height. ‘How tall are you, Mother?’ I whisper each word distinctly, like a string of knots in a rope I am clinging to.

‘Jenna?’ She doesn’t understand. She doesn’t know what I’ve seen. In the last video that Lily told me to watch, where I blurt out my height. Fear twists her face. She doesn’t answer.

‘How tall are you?’ I demand.


I collapse back into my chair, shaking my head. Mother is mumbling, rambling, saying something that is all noise for me. I finally force myself to look at her. ‘Tell me everything.’

‘What?’ she says, pretending she doesn’t understand what I’m asking. She does. I see it in her eyes, a frantic back-step, hoping all this will go away.

‘How much is me?’

Her lip trembles. Her eyes pool.

Lily intervenes. ‘Ten percent. Ten percent of your brain. That’s all they could save. They should have let you die.’

I try to understand what she is saying. I watch her mouth move. I hear words. Ten percent. Ten percent.

And then Mother is suddenly fierce. A lion. Within inches of my face. ‘But it is the most important ten percent. Do you hear me? The most important.’


I lie in

my bed. I stare at the ceiling. Claire paces. Leaves. Comes back. Pleads. Informs. I listen but I don’t respond. Lily comes in, too. Watches. Whispers to Claire. Steps closer to me. Leaves. And comes back.

They don’t know what to do with me. Father is coming. Claire called him. Hours ago. It is now the middle of the night. Two A.M. He will explain it all, Claire says. When he gets here. He will make me understand. And yet she sits on the edge of my bed and tries to explain herself.

‘You were burned so badly, Jenna. We tried everything. Even with all the temporary grafts, you were losing so much fluid. We had you stabilized for a few days. I was so hopeful. But then the infections set in and we were losing you fast. The antibiotics weren’t working. There wasn’t time for a lot of decisions. Your father pulled me into a closet, Jenna. A closet! That’s where we had to decide. He whispered to me the only possible way of saving you. We had to make a choice—save you the only way we knew how or let you die. Any parent in the world would have made the choice we did.’ Her hands knead the side of my bed. She stands. Circles my room. Returns to the end of my bed.

‘We had you moved. Immediately. To a private facility. A private room. All physicians on your case were dismissed, except for the ones who worked with your father at Fox BioSystems. The infection was moving so rapidly through you. Your father actually injected you with the nanobots while you were in an ambulance en route to the new facility. They had to start the brain scan right away.’


She stands again. Her face is alert. Careful. Bright. She is encouraged that I spoke. She shouldn’t be.

‘Your veins were collapsing. We weren’t sure how much longer your heart could last. Blood circulation is critical for a good scan. They take at least six minutes. Vital organs were already shutting down. By the time they got you to surgery, your heart had stopped twice. They had the Bio Gel waiting. They saved as much as was still viable.’

She comes close. White. She falls to her knees beside my bed and takes my gashed hand in hers. She holds it like it is keeping her from dissolving away. ‘The butterfly, Jenna. That’s what they call it. The heart of the brain. That you still have.’

And the rest. My memories? My history? Those aren’t all in the butterfly. What is the rest? How am I remembering so many things? Nearly everything now. Except the accident.

I close my eyes. I want her to go away. I don’t want to talk about butterflies or hearts. I don’t even want answers. I don’t want her. I feel her cheek against my hand. Her breath. Her need. And then she slowly lets go and leaves.

I open my eyes again. My room is dark. The silence of the house is a heavy blanket. It pins me to my bed.


There was a moment in the darkness when the fear lifted.

Tags: Mary E. Pearson Jenna Fox Chronicles Science Fiction
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