Chapter One

Honestly, I never expected the apocalypse to be real.

I mean, it's something my friends and I would jokingly talk about, like, 'If the purge ever happens, come to my house! We can camp out there and survive together!' Then we'd all laugh, as if it were something from a fiction novel or TV show.

But, oh boy, were we in for a treat.

Hi. I'm Dallas Riman. Long story short, I'm an eighth-grader at some no-name town in some no-name state. Sorry, but I can't really tell you much beyond that, lest they find this recording and come after me and my friends.

If you haven't yet heard news of what's happening, consider yourself lucky. Because I wish that every day. But it is happening. And, to be honest, I'm not sure it's ever going to end.

You might be wondering what the heck is going on. Hell, I wonder that every second.

Let's rewind, to the day it all started…

It was a Saturday morning. I was trying to sleep through my sister's marching band practice, but it was hopeless. Her mellophone was the loudest instrument in existence (although, who am I to complain; I play percussion).

Groaning and grumbling, I pushed myself out of bed and flopped to the floor. I didn't bother to change or brush my teeth, instead trudging down the stairs in my PJs to pour myself a cup of coffee.

"Tuesday!" I yelled, searching through the fridge. "Where's the milk?"

Her playing faltered just long enough for her to say, "I dunno."

I stomped down the stairs to the basement, dodging the occasional spiderweb, and made my way over to the storage-room-slash-storm-shelter, where we kept our extra fridge, among other things. I rifled through it, grabbing a package of bagels but coming up empty-handed in terms of milk.

I muttered a curse and slammed the door shut.

"Hey, Tuesday!" I shouted, grinning slightly as I hear her annoyed response.


I ran back up the stairs, tossed the bag of bagels on the counter, and grabbed the car keys as I called, "I'm heading to Target! Do ya need anything?"

"We're out of granola bars," was her reply from the living room. "You're not taking the Corvette, are you?"

I quietly put back the keys I'd grabbed and snatched another pair. "...No."

I glanced over and saw her disapproving face. "Just 'cause Mom and Dad are on a business trip, that doesn't mean you get to drive Dad's car. Besides, you don't even have a license yet."

I scowled at her. "So? I'm tall. I can pass as sixteen. And I'm a good driver; nobody would even guess that I don't have a license."

Tuesday crossed her arms. "Fine, but I'm not going to bust you out of juvie when the police catch a fourteen-year-old kid driving a stick shift."

I smirked and once again seized the keys for Dad's Corvette, along with my wallet and phone.

"AND DON'T GET STARBUCKS!" I heard her yell as I made my way out the door.

Naturally, I stopped at the Starbucks drive-thru before heading to the grocery store.

Even for a Saturday morning, Target was packed. I had to squeeze my way through crowds of people just to reach the milk, and don't get me started on the aisle with granola bars in it.

Surprisingly, the candy aisle wasn't too full. I was able to easily grab some gummy bears and Milk Duds without accidentally elbowing someone or stepping on their toes.

I waited about half an hour just to check out, and I ended up buying about twenty gazillion packs of Pringles and Kit Kats because Tuesday loved them and they were on sale for, like, forty percent off.

On my way to the car, a guy about Tuesday's age stopped me. "Hey," he said, a friendly smile on his face, "you're Tuesday's little sister, right?"

"Yup," I responded flatly.

He picked at a small envelope before handing it to me. "This is for you guys. With what's coming, you may need it."

Before I could ask him what he meant, he walked away rather quickly.

I tore open the envelope and was met with a confusing sight: a coupon for 50% off at a hunting store.

With a shrug, I shoved it into my wallet and walked over to the yellow Corvette.

On the drive home, I noticed traffic was heavy.

My phone rang, and I paused my loud music to put it on speakerphone. It was my friend, Oliver. Well, technically my sister's friend, because they met when they were in seventh grade and are the same age, but most of my friends were in Tuesday's grade anyway.

"Hey Dallas," Oliver said.

"Hey, Lee. What's up?" I asked.

" 'What's up'? Don't you ever watch the news? Or check your phone for alerts?"

I frowned. "Um… not really…"

I could hear him sigh. "Ugh. Just look at your notifications or something. There's some rumors and shit going around, and I want you to hear them. Also, tell your sister. She's not answering her phone."

I laughed. "Yeah, I'm not surprised. She's practicing for band right now."

Oliver paused before saying, "What's that blowing sound? Are you driving?"

"... Maybe."

He chuckled. "Of course you are. Lemme guess - your dad's Corvette?"

I grinned. "You know me too well."

I heard some noises in the background before Oliver declared, "Damn. I gotta go. Just remember to check those alerts, alright?"

I raised an eyebrow, even though he couldn't see me, and replied, "Alright."

"Hey Tuesday!"

My sister took a minute before glancing up from her book. "What? Wait, hold on… you got Starbucks, didn't you."

The corner of my mouth twitched upwards. "Have you checked your phone or the news? Lee said something about some big important shit or whatever happening soon."

Tuesday frowned as she picked up her phone. "You know I don't like it when you curse-" Her eyes widened.

I tried to peer over her shoulder at the screen. "What is it?"

She slowly set her phone down and grabbed the TV remote instead of answering, pressing the power button to turn it on.

It was tuned to the news, and she rewinded a bit before pressing the play button.

"-an unknown source," the news lady was saying. "This message was sent to us at approximately 3:30 this morning. Again, we are not aware of who sent it."

An image of a piece of paper was projected onto the screen. Tuesday paused the show so we could read it:

Congratulations. Your town has been evaluated, and it will be the testing site for our new serum. One hundred children will remain in their homes, and everyone else will be evacuated. No exceptions. All chosen will be obligated to participate. You will know if you have been chosen.

Do not ask to be chosen. You will not want to be chosen.


"We are still unsure of who has been chosen, but the stores are being emptied as we speak. Nobody knows quite what is coming, but many have numerous theories and are stocking up on survival gear and food-"

Tuesday shut off the TV. "That showing was from yesterday."

All I could say was "Oh boy."

My older sister opened her mouth to say something, but the doorbell rang loudly before any words could escape her lips.

We both jumped.

Tuesday tossed down the remote and got up to go answer the door. I followed close behind.

Surprisingly, it was my best friend, Ash. They had a backpack on, and their old Tahoe was parked in the driveway. They were about seven months older than me, so they were technically old enough to get a learner's permit. Of course, they used their permit for way more than just driving to school.

(Tuesday thinks I'd been a bad influence on them, but I'm pretty sure it's just them.)

"What's up?" I asked them.

A worried expression was plastered across their face. "I went out to get some food, and when I came back… my parents were gone. My little sister, too."

Tuesday and I shared a nervous glance. "Did you watch the news yesterday?"

Their eyes widened as they said, "D-do you think that's what this is all about?"

"I don't think it's a coincidence that my parents both had business trips to leave for yesterday," I said grimly.

Ash's eye twitched. "Do you think we're these special 'chosen' kids they're talking about?"

I didn't know whether to smirk or scream. I settled on a shrug. "Probably."

Tuesday raised an eyebrow but said nothing. She whipped out her phone and began typing madly. Only moments later, she looked back up at us with an expression somewhere between a smile and a grimace.

"Our friends are having… similar issues," she informed us.

"Our friends?" I questioned. "Like who?"

She glanced back at her phone. "Uhhh," she muttered, "Oliver and Alex, so far. The others haven't responded yet."

"Well." I looked through my wallet before pulling out the coupon. "Who wants to go shopping?"