Disclaimer: All related to the Uglies books belongs to Scott Westerfield.

He stared out the window longingly, the occasional tear blurring his already-imperfect vision. His very world was on fire.

Literally. The streets were crowded with panicked, screaming people trying to escape. The cars were bursting into flames, people were lying broken on the ground, and some had just simply given up, sitting on the curb, giving themselves willingly to the death that surely awaited him. The spores had been released and infected all the oil in the city, and it was complete hell.


He turned at the sound of his name being called, and he found his mother running toward him, sobbing. "Oh God, Michael," She cried, hugging her son to her chest, kissing his head affectionately. Michael couldn't help but hug his mother back, despite the fact that a terrifying ruckus was occurring outside their window. "Your father is dead," She suddenly whispered in his ear, her voice cracking, and Michael stepped away from his mother, horrified.

She shook her head, tears making their way down her cheeks, and he bit his lip. Michael was going to be strong for his mother. He had to be. They were going to die, and he was going to be brave, for the both of them.

"Mom, we have to go," He suddenly realized. He gripped her hand comfortingly, and slung the knapsack he had prepared years before over his shoulder. "Come on. We're going to leave."

His mother followed him hesitantly out the building, and he led her to an alley between two buildings. It was safe from harm, at least for now. Michael closed his eyes and leaned against the wall, and then shot back up and into action. He wordlessly handed supplies to his mother, giving her a second knapsack that he had stored in the alley. You could say Michael Youngblood liked to be prepared.

Of course, he couldn't have done it without help. This was all because of Scope, his best friend, who had predicted that their era would fall soon. And everyone had believed him to be mad... Michael bit his lip, struggling not to cry out because he had been so disloyal to his best friend. Scope was going to die in the asylum now because no one had believed him before, and Michael was going to live because he hadn't believed him before.

Michael finished packing the extra supplies and his mother wore it snugly on her back. He grabbed her hand and squeezed it, glancing at her worn face. Wrinkles wound around her forehead and beneath her eyes, which still held an affectionate twinkle despite the losses she had suffered. Michael whispered an "I love you, Mom," before gripping her hand tighter and plunging into the hell.

A cacophony of sounds awaited them out in the panic. People were trying to escape, giving up on cars now, and just carrying their most prized possessions with tears streaming down their faces. Some were going back, trying to save their loved ones, and Michael realized with guilt that some were not going to leave now that they had lost theirs. Michael swallowed, holding back tears, as he wondered how his father had died.

Mrs. Youngblood let out a bloodcurling scream. A car had exploded just a measley two feet in front of them! The fire licked at their feet, seemingly appearing out of nowhere, and Michael stared, transfixed. His mother nudged him and they continued on, at a fast sprint now.

Michael refused to let himself look at the people surrounding him, most with the same purpose as he: to escape with their lives. The forest was just ahead, and if he and his mother could just get into the brush, they would safe from harm. He ran faster despite his mother's pleas to be slower, and immediately regretted it as she screamed again, a scream filled with agony.

He turned around to find his mother on the ground, nursing her ankle, biting her lip so she would not cry out. Michael opened his mouth to speak and tasted blood, realizing he'd been biting his own lip the entire time they'd been running.

His mother's eyes found his gaze, and she smiled, ignoring her pain. "Go on, Michael," She encouraged, silent tears dampening her face. "You leave old me here. I should stay with your father, anyway."

Michael froze. He had to make a choice. He instinctively turned to the forest. It was so close, just a few meters away... He could reach it in seconds. And if he took his mother with him, they would be so slow, having to take care of her twisted ankle now.

But if he didn't... If he abandoned his mother now... He would be left with no one, absolutely no one, to call a loved one. He would have one more to add to his list of the lost, which now included his father and Scope. He would be alone, and he surely couldn't survive by himself.

He rushed to his mother's side, slinging her arm over his shoulder and helping her get up. She hopped on one foot, and Michael knew they were a ridiculous pair. He couldn't help but smile with every bounce as they inched closer and closer to safety. Michael rubbed his mother's back reassuringly as she winced every time her ankle skimmed the ground, but he began to laugh hysterically as they reached the forest.

They were safe! They were going to live! They were here, ready to start a new civilization, to start over with the other survivors! Michael observed the forest around him, and suddenly found an opening behind the trees. He pushed aside the bushes curiously, and grinned happily when he saw the sight.

It was beautiful, and the sky was the color of salmon, pink mixed with little bits of orange, and, occasionally, white. Grass was infinite her in this land, and a river ran carelessly through the open valley, as though seperating two different worlds.

"Perfect." He whispered to no one but the wind, knowing he was going to change the world.

And so began the era of the Pretties, the Uglies, and, of course, the dreaded Specials. Michael began a family and had children, and his children had children, and their children had children, and so on. As generations grew, one Youngblood stood out from all the rest.

It was Tally Youngblood, and she was going to change the world, just as her own ancestors had.