Chapter One

When Genesis woke up that morning with muscle aches in places she failed to notice for the last sixteen years, lung shattering coughing fits, sporadic sneezing and a headache which made her eyes burn, she knew next to nothing about the food chain.

She did not care where humans fit in the pyramid and she believed it was right at the top. She did not know humans barely ranked in the second tier from the bottom, together with pigs and anchovies. Carnivores like tigers, lions and crocodiles were at the top, and little did she know that soon she would be a top-level predator, who only consumed meat.

After dragging herself from her bed, getting dressed and walking the mile to school, Genesis thought her day could not get any worse when she saw Natalie walking toward her.

She felt bone tired and thought she was probably coming down with something. She had also noticed one or two other kids hacking their lungs out when she walked onto the school grounds, a little more than ten minutes ago, so there had to be something doing the rounds.

When Natalie reached her, she started talking fast, “Megan told me Vanessa told her that you broke up with Brandon via text last night.”

“Yeah,” Genesis said without looking at her.

“But, Genny, Brandon says he didn’t hook up with Vanessa at the party last night. Every story has two sides and maybe you shouldn’t be so hard on him. Let him explain.”

“Sure,” Genesis replied with a shrug and then coughed. Again.

“Genny. Are you even listening to me? People are only making up stories because you were home feeling crap, and you know how jealous everyone is of your and Brandon’s relationship.”

Genesis looked at Natalie with an amused look on her face.

“Plus, he was drinking quite a bit.” Natalie turned Genesis to face her. “Your boyfriend lov...”

“Ex-boyfriend,” Genesis corrected her, trying hard not to cough in her face now that she was facing her directly. “Whatever,” Genesis said as she shrugged her shoulders and turned back to her locker.

“Not whatever. The point is, he was drunk. I really think the two of you should talk.”

“The point is he cheated and it’s not the first time. I’m sorry, but I don’t want to go out with someone who makes me feel insecure.” Genesis stopped talking and started coughing. It was as if there was something stuck in her throat and no amount of coughing and hacking could dislodge it. “I believed his lies the last time, and I’m not going to again. He’s already had his second chance.”

“But he really loves you, Genny,” she said with a whine in her voice.

Genesis rolled her eyes, not bothering to hide her annoyance with Natalie.

“You’re really grumpy when you’re sick, you know? Also, Brandon looked really heartbroken when I saw him this morning. He didn’t even smile.”

Genesis felt the earth tremble beneath her feet as everything around her swirled together as if someone had taken a paintbrush and dragged it through wet paint.

“Genny, are you okay?”

As the pain in her forehead exploded, Genesis opened her mouth to scream, but no sound could get past her sore throat. She hung onto her locker door as if it was an olive branch and she was drowning in an endless ocean.

“Genny!” Natalie screamed.

Genesis hacked another cough and felt the strange tickling feeling in her throat fade away until it was gone. She noticed a strange silence in her body. She had stopped breathing.

“Genny? Talk to me,” Natalie begged as she looked at Genesis with concern.

Genesis felt her first sliver of hunger. She could hear every heartbeat in the building, and strangely, it sounded like a synchronized marching band, with only here and there a beat out of sync. She could smell Natalie’s blood and for a crazed moment all she wanted to do was rip Natalie apart and eat her flesh until she burst at the seams.

Had she turned into a monster?

“Natalie, I’m okay. Really,” Genesis said, trying to convince herself it was so although panic rippled through her. She did not know what was going on. Did she die? How come she was still here?

“Your eyes have gone all funny, and you’re really pale. Maybe I should walk with you to the office.”

“No, I’m fine. It’s probably just from this headache,” Genesis lied because her headache had miraculously disappeared.

“Well, at least you’ve stopped coughing.”

“Yeah. The cough syrup must’ve started working, at last.”

Instead of going to class with Natalie, when they walked past the nearest bathroom Genesis quickly excused herself. Thankfully, the room was empty, and she checked each of the five stalls to make sure she was alone.

On the wall opposite the stalls, there were two sinks and against the wall, above the sinks, there was a large mirror. She hung her bag from the door handle, reluctant to drop it onto the floor and then turned to the mirror to have a good look at herself.

The girl looking back at her from the mirror had the same blue eyes and long, black hair. The same cheekbones, chin and nose, but her face was insipid and pale.

Genesis had always had a natural rosy hue to her cheeks, but now they were white as if all the blood had been sucked right out of her skin.

She knew from this day forward her life would never be the same. She knew it. She could feel it.

Her heart had stopped beating.

Her lungs had stopped breathing.

Blood was no longer pumping through her veins.

Genesis waited a few minutes until she was sure everyone had gone to class, and the halls would be empty. She left the bathroom, hurrying to the doors which led outside.

She was so intent on getting home, she did not notice Brandon until he stepped in front of her.

“Hey, Gen. Didn’t you get my message?”

Genesis looked at him annoyed. “I can’t talk to you now.”

“I’m sorry...”

Genesis shook her head as she tried to push past him, but he held her back.

“Why did you break up with me, Gen? That’s all I need to know.”

Her head snapped back so she could glare at him. “You cheated, Brandon. Again.” She felt a red-hot anger well up inside her and wondered what it would be like to devour him, all at once. She felt so hungry, even though she should be technically dead if her heart was not beating and she was not breathing.

He looked over her shoulder, trying not to make eye contact. “You know I wouldn’t...”

“I know you would.” The anger she felt boiled over and she shoved her body into him, forcing him to take a couple of steps backwards until his back connected with the wall behind him. She did not realize how close she was to him until their bodies were almost pressed together. “I am having a really shitty day, so I don’t need any of your lies.”

He looked scared. “What’s going on with you, Gen?”

She did not back away from him.

“Gen?” He asked.

“You smell really...” She stopped herself from saying delicious.

“Genny, you know I really love you, don’t you?” He reached up to touch her face.

“I want...” She could not say the words. She refused to even think them. This was wrong. All wrong. She did not really want to eat his flesh, especially his brains, did she?

She pushed away from Brandon and ran for the doors.

All she wanted to do was get home.


Gen is an experiment. She is the first of her kind. Her name is Genesis.

They call the place where they are kept The Land of Odd, a school where, after having undergone the change, she and nine others like her will train to become the buffer between humanity and disaster - that is, if they make it through the change.

Derek de Beer releases a dangerous virus at Heathrow Airport and causes the world to slip into the dark ages with a speed that could not have been foreseen by the CDC.

It is tough being away from their parents and their old friends, but when Genesis discovers the lead scientist is keeping secrets about the outside world, she must look deep within herself for the courage to embrace her destiny - with a little help from her new zombie friends.