Genre: YA Thriller
Word Count: 72,000
Former computer prodigy, seventeen-year-old Pete has felt like a one without a zero ever since a solar storm knocked technology off-line and plunged the world into darkness. Craving order in the post-Flash chaos, Pete stays sane by following three simple rules:
1. Go to work. (Ignore the fanged human-beast hybrids lurking in the shadows.)
2. Forget about technology. (Ignore that your brain has started working like a computer.)
3. Don’t interfere with ex-girlfriend Jeze’s life. (Ignore that she’s the only person you’ve ever trusted.)
He’s doing a fine job of surviving until the creatures he sees out of the corners of his vision stop ignoring him. Desperate for answers, Pete turns to Jeze for help, not realizing just how dangerous the search for the truth will be.
When Pete shows up running from invisible monsters, all Jeze wants to do is dump his crazy ass on somebody else. After all, crazy is crazy is crazy, and she’s got enough to worry about when her days are full of the one thing she hates the most—the dark. But then Pete’s apartment is bombed, and Jeze starts to believe his monsters are real. Scarier still, Jeze realizes that she’s crushing on Pete, even though caring for people always leads to loss. That loss comes quickly, since whoever is controlling those monsters snatches Pete to get at something implanted in his brain.
If Jeze can’t get to him in time, he just might die, and with him her chance of happiness--and oh yeah, the freedom of the world.
I hesitated in the dark foyer. Headlamps passed by me on their way to the even darker mid-morning outside. Footsteps stirred dirt from the floor, and dust floated through the yellow beam in front of my eyes.
I turned my key in the rusted-out mailbox so hard I thought it might snap.
Nobody else stopped to check their mail. Why would they? The U.S. Postal Service had stopped delivering mail two years ago. Call me an optimist. Scratch that. Call me a creature of habit. I shuddered. On second thought, don’t call me a creature of anything.
My eyes darted around the small entryway. Get ahold of yourself, Pete. Even if you saw something in here, that wouldn't mean that it really exists.
I turned the key harder. The door to my mail slot popped open. Key still intact. I looked inside. Nothing. I stuck my hand in, just to be thorough, and it brushed against something folded along the side of the mailbox. There was something there. Something that hadn't been there yesterday.
I snatched my hand back as if it had been bitten by a spider—a scenario which, after all, held the higher statistical probability. I bent down to shine my light into the rusted box. Empty. Had I imagined it?
That wouldn't exactly have been out-of-character for me either.