After surviving a deadly plague outbreak, sixteen-year-old Savannah thought she had lived through the very worst of human history. There was no way to know that the miracle vaccine would put everyone at risk for a fate worse than un-death.
Now, two very different kinds of infected walk the Earth, intent on nothing but feeding and destroying what little remains of civilization. When the inoculated are bitten, infection means watching on in silent horror as self-control disappears and the idea of feasting on loved ones becomes increasingly hard to ignore.
Starving and forced to live inside of the abandoned high school, all Savannah wants is the chance to fight back. When a strange boy arrives with a plan to set everything right, she gets her chance. Meeting Cole changes everything. Mere survival will never be enough.
I move into a crouch behind the windowsill and slowly peel back the curtain. Liam simply continues to sit on a chair at the other end of the living room, not wanting to get too close to whatever is going on outside. He claims he’s seen enough of these things to last him a lifetime, and I can’t say I blame him, but I have to see for myself. I’d been hoping there weren’t as many out this far, but we’re seeing them pass by every few hours, heading away from the city.
Even here, we aren’t safe.
I watch as a group of at least a dozen of the infected shuffle on past the window. I don’t want to know what has attracted their attention; I just don’t want it to be me.
We got out of Cleveland three days ago and have been holed up in suburbia ever since.
Liam keeps telling me that I should just accept this for what it is. That these people should be dead but aren’t. He says the word zombie at least three times an hour, but I can’t bring myself to even think it. That’s ridiculous. My best guess is some insane form of rabies. That’s a thing, right?
The group turns off at the end of the street and I let the thick, pale purple curtain fall back into place. Liam is still sitting on the chair, just watching me.
“All clear?” he asks.
“For now.” I get up and head over to the kitchen. The power went off last night and it still hasn’t come back on. At least we got to watch the news for awhile, not that it told us much of anything. People everywhere are panicking—no surprises there. I sat there, just waiting for someone to blame this whole thing on terrorists and for Liam to look at me with disgust, but the moment never came. This disease, whatever it was, is home grown.
Our current mission in life, besides not being eaten ourselves, is to eat anything that could start to rot. Gotta keep busy with something, so it might as well be food. “Want anything?”
“I’ll take the last glass of milk,” he says before quickly adding, “if that’s okay with you.”
Things have been awkward ever since Liam picked the lock on the back door and got us into this bungalow. It’s like once we were out of immediate danger, we had no idea what to do with ourselves. Even after living with him for three days, I barely know this guy.
As far as we can tell, the original inhabitants of 3632 Birch Avenue were a couple of little old ladies who prided themselves on needlework and tea sets. While the tea is definitely appreciated, a computer would have been extremely helpful—while there was still power, that is. I have no idea where this house’s residents are now, but I’m hoping they are in the midst of an impeccably well-timed vacation.
This food won’t last us forever, and more than anything, I want to know what’s going on outside of this house, outside of Cleveland. How far has this thing spread?
As I pour a glass of milk for Liam and a glass of orange juice for myself, I wonder how much longer my cell phone battery will last. I’m trying to wean myself off of looking at it constantly to see if I’ve missed any calls or texts to conserve power. I still haven’t heard from either of my parents. I know what this probably means, but I’m not ready to face it. Not yet.
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