A/N: Hey. What you happen to be reading is my own FAYZ-fic. (Pretty sure it's a law of GONE writers on Fanfiction to try out one) Anywho, this won't be a carbon copy of the first book at all, instead my own view on how something like this could happen.
And yeah, that's that. I hope you enjoy this thing! :D
252 Hours 13 Minutes
Ethan was sat in the middle of his chemistry exam when it happened. One second the raspy breath of the exam moderator who so desperately tried to hide the fact that she chain smoked was grating on his ears. The next it was gone.
He knew he shouldn't, but curiosity got the better of Ethan. He looked up to the front of the exam hall. The large countdown timer was still ticking away, 15 minutes left, but the entire moderation team was gone. And so had half of the students in the exam hall. A chill ran down Ethan's spine as he looked around; none of them were due to leave yet, no matter the circumstance, yet it seemed that every other student had just disappeared.
"Where'd Maia go?" the voice of Charlotte, a short dumpy girl with greasy blonde hair in crude pigtails and oversized glasses sounded out in a whisper, conscious of the fact that she was risking disqualification from the exam.
"Beats me," another boy, somewhere from the back of the hall said. "Probably wherever all the teachers and Lukas went." Ethan looked back to see Ryan standing, shrugging his shoulders. Ryan was a tall kid who moved from Pakistan when he was four. They generally got along, but Ethan wouldn't really call Ryan a friend.
"Darcy's gone too!"
"So's Rolan!" The anxious voices of the students got to Ethan, and he took several deep breaths, trying to calm his breathing. Whatever had happened wasn't normal, that was for sure.
Just then, the doors to the exam hall burst open. Every head turned to them, half expecting the others to walk back in. Instead, what they got was a pair of confused students. Ethan recognised them as Ebony and Raoul. They were two years below him in school, so he didn't really interact with them much, but they lived in the same neighbourhood as him. And from the way their hands were entwined, it was clear they were dating.
"Hey," Ebony said, her voice echoing around the large room. "Have any of you seen Mrs Terrell? She just vanished from our English class." Ethan, along with a few others, shook his head.
"Same situation here guys," Ryan replied flatly. "Half the people here have just upped and left." He didn't seem too concerned, but more perplexed than anything.
"Hold up a second," Lynn, an Asian girl with mid-back length hair adorned with accessories and braces said, standing up. "Haven't you guys noticed anything?" Ethan stared at her blankly. "No? Well, just look around you. Notice anything odd about the people who vanished?"
"They're all either in our year group or an adult," Charlotte said.
"Right," Lynn replied. "And notice anything about the age range of our year group?"
"Fourteen to fifteen," Raoul said, seeming to be half in a trance.
"And notice something about those in our year group who vanished?"
"They were fifteen." Ethan said, realising that he hadn't spoken yet.
"Exactly," Lynn said. "Doesn't this remind you of anything?"
"Wait, but Darcy was fourteen," Ryan interjected.
"Actually, today's her fifteenth birthday," Charlotte said.
"That's beside the point," Lynn said, taking control of the conversation once more. "So, think about it: everyone over fifteen suddenly vanishing, the kids left behind. Think back five years to California." Seeing a sea of blank stares, Lynn sighed. "Perdido Beach Anomaly?" Nothing. "Fallout Alley Youth Zone?" Still nothing. "The FAYZ?" Finally, flickers of recognition.
"You mean that town where the kids were trapped in that dome caused by some retarded kid?" Jake, a lean kid with spiked ginger hair and narrow green eyes said. He wasn't the brightest of the bunch, he was actually dyslexic, but when it came to anything sport related, he was the star student.
"For a better word, yes," Lynn said.
"Didn't those kids get freaky powers?" Charlotte questioned, her voice shaky. "I heard that those kids were the ones that destroyed the town."
"Yeah, they did," Lynn responded. "But that was because some of them had ingested radiation from the meteor containing the Gaiaphage and the power plant's fallout. I don't know about any of you, but the last time a meteor hit anywhere near here was at least a couple of centuries ago. And the nearest power plant is fifty miles away, so chances are there won't be any 'freaky powers'."
"But didn't the kid that caused the FAYZ have some freaky power?" Ryan added. Lynn's expression faltered for just a moment, before her steely gaze returned.
"He did," she said slowly. "But there was never any concrete proof that he was the sole reason behind the barrier."
"Wait a sec," Ebony said. "If there aren't any powers, then surely that means that there isn't a barrier?"
"That could actually be true," Lynn said, her eyes lighting up in the realisation. But another serious expression crossed her face. "However, if there is a barrier, we know nothing of it. The FAYZ was a perfect sphere with a diameter of twenty miles. For all we know, there could be any shape of any size encompassing us. It could even cover the entire country, or even the planet."
"Great," Ryan said. "You're the only one with half a clue about what's going on, and even you know nothing of any real use. So, any ideas about what to do?"
"I'd say the best thing to do right now is go home," Lynn said. "We should go see if perhaps it was just the school that was affected. And if not, round up any younger siblings and either head home or somewhere you feel is safe -"
Lynn was cut off by the rumbling sound of an engine. All eyes turned to the far side of the room, with the still counting down timer. Five seconds left of the exam. Not that anyone had finished it. And then, a large blue car crashed through the wall, sending plaster and dust flying everywhere. Everyone leaped from their seats as the vehicle spun across the exam hall, crashing into the sturdier wall on the other side. A bicycle fell of of the roof, clattering to the ground. The exam papers fluttered about in the air for a moment, before gently floating to the floor. Desks were overturned, and tyre tracks were embedded in the floor. The car's alarm started blaring for a moment, but Ryan stuck his arm through the smashed window, and turned it off.
"Anyone hurt?" Lynn asked, standing up, brushing dust from her skirt.
"No, Charlotte said. "But my glasses broke." She pointed to the right lens, as if to enforce her point.
"Oh Jesus," Louis, a short pale kid with curly black hair said, scrambling to his feet. "Oh Jesus. It's the apocalypse, the end of the world. We're all gonna die!" An anguished cry of horror came from his lips, and he ran through the hole in the wall, outside, sobbing. Everyone else also stood to their feet, but nobody moved, all eyes on Lynn.
"Ignore him," she said. "Just stick to the original plan: head home, check for parents or any other adults. If not, find any younger siblings and bring them to the safest place you can think of for them. And don't do anything stupid." She didn't mask the sniping glare that was aimed in the direction where Louis ran off to.
"What about you?" Jake asked. "What are you gonna do?"
"I suppose go to the mall," Lynn said. "My mother works there, and considering it's pretty much the heart of the city, confused kids will likely go there. I'll give them advice if they end up going there."
"So you're playing leader?"
"Well, at least someone's doing it," Ryan said. "The last thing we need is people going crazy over this."
The conversation died down, and slowly, the kids in the exam hall began to walk out. The majority of them took the hole in the wall, not wanting to see if any teachers were still around. Ethan, however, walked with Ebony and Raoul through the halls of the main school building, looking around for any sign of adults.
"Nobody," he said after checking the fifth classroom in a row.
"You've only checked five rooms," Ebony said flatly.
"I know that," Ethan replied. "And they're all English classrooms; I'm pretty sure there'd be a lesson going on in there."
"Not necessarily," Raoul added. "If it was the oldest year group, then there's a chance that everyone vanished at once."
"You're right," Ethan said with a sigh. "And besides, I need to look for my friends as well, see if they're okay."
"So long as they're not fifteen, they should be wherever their lesson is," Ebony said calmly. She was a small, petite girl of African descent who always had a mature, wise outlook on life. It alienated her from the majority of her peers, but Ethan appreciated the outcasts. He wasn't really an outcast though, more of one of those kids that just gets through life without ever drawing attention to himself. Which suited him just fine; he wasn't too keen on the idea of being a social creature.
"Where would your friends be right now?" Raoul asked. Ethan found that Raoul was kind of like Ebony in a sense; he didn't originate from this country, his family resided in the south of France, and as such had the slightest of accents. His olive skin and long dark hair helped him to stand out from the crowds somewhat, and he shared the same outlooks as Ebony. No wonder they were together.
"Biology," Ethan replied simply.
"That's on the other side of the school," Ebony said with a sigh. "Oh well, we'd better get over there."
They continued down the halls, the odd kid coming up and asking them if they'd seen their teacher. The answer was always no, and each time they quickly returned to their classroom, unsure of what else to do. Ethan hoped that they'd eventually get the message and go home.
Passing through the empty lunch hall, the three of them reached the elevator that led up to the science classrooms. Ethan punched the button, and the silvery door slid open. They stepped inside, and after one more push of a button, the elevator rushed up to the top floor; the science classes. They stepped out, and straight away the smell of various chemicals reached Ethan's nose.
"Which room are they in?" Raoul asked.
"The one at the far end," Ethan said. "You know, the one with the automatic doors?"
"Oh, yeah," Ebony said. "I was supposed to be in there next period."
"If what Lynn says is true, though, there won't ever be a next period," Ethan replied grimly.
"Unless there isn't actually a barrier," Raoul said hopefully. "Which I doubt."
"Yeah," Ethan said, trying to keep calm. "Now come on." The two younger students nodded, and they walked down the halls quickly, the principal of not running embedded in their brains. Not that there was anyone around to tell them otherwise.
As they drew close to the classroom, the automatic doors slid open, revealing the classroom. The classroom was devoid of any adults and over fifteens, like everywhere else. Which only left about four students, each of them looking out of the window, their faces pale. Looking around, it was clear that they had been in the middle of some sort of experiment when the vanishing happened. On the teacher's desk was some kind of plant hooked up to a tube. A steaming fluid was slowly dripping into it, spilling from the plant pot onto the floor. Text books were open on the same page, showing some complex diagram of a plant. Pens were scattered on the floor, and a half finished chemical equation was on the board. And at the window were the four remaining students: Ria, a brash, fun loving girl who was on a different wave length to Ethan; Tom, a quiet, intelligent boy that was known for his high grades; and Ethan's two friends: May and Chris. May was one of those people that always made the best of every situation, and this attitude was what had drawn Ethan to her. She had long brown hair that was currently done up in a simple braid, and had large green eyes that always seemed friendly and inviting. Chris looked the complete opposite to Ethan. Whilst Ethan was average height, with black hair and brown eyes, Chris was tall and lean, with soft looking blonde hair and bright blue eyes. He was also incredibly friendly with everyone, and was always the guy to go to with any troubles. As well as this, Chris was also a whiz at most school subjects, putting him in a favourable light with most people. It was a wonder that the two of them had been friends. But they'd known each other since they were seven, so they went a long way back.
"Ethan," May said with relief in her voice. "You're okay!"
"Yeah, I am," Ethan replied.
"How was the exam?" Chris asked, worry on his face.
"Oh, it was pretty boring," Ethan said. "Up until half of us taking the exam vanishing and the car crashing into the exam hall." Chris' face went grim.
"So it's not just us," he said.
"Lynn says that it's like the Perdido Beach Anomaly that happened over in California," Ethan said.
"The one with the barrier and the mutants?" May inquired.
"The very same," Ethan said wryly.
"If that's the case..." May said, reaching into her pocket. She pulled out her phone, and dialled a number. "No signal."
"Who'd you call?" Chris asked.
"There's a chance his phone might be switched off," he explained. "Try emergency services."
"What?" May said. "But that's only for the worst of emergencies."
"And this isn't?" Ethan added.
"You're right," she sighed, before typing in the three crucial numbers, and held the phone up to her ear. Nothing. "Damn it."
"This isn't good," Ria said, her face a deathly white. "What do we do?"
"Lynn says to either go home or wherever else you feel safe," Ethan said. "Lynn's going to the mall, if you want to see her about anything."
"That sounds like a plan," Tom said. "C'mon Ria, let's go see Lynn." Ria nodded, and the two of them walked out of the classroom, vanishing along the hallway.
"So now what?" May asked.
"I guess we get out of here, for starters." Ethan said. "I say we go home, and see if our parents are there. Also," he tugged at his collar, "to get out of these choking uniforms."
Suddenly, a ringing sound blasted out, and all four of them pressed their hands to their ears, trying to block it out. Ten seconds later, the sound stopped.
"Just the lunch bell," May said, sighing. "It sounds so much louder now that everyone's -" She never finished her sentence, as less than a second later, a chorus of screams filled the air.
Ethan, Chris, and May looked out of the window, watching as a sea of students aged eleven to fourteen rushed out from the main building, their panicked cries audible through the double-glazed glass. All at once, they ran through the main gates, before the crowd parted down the different roads, everyone rushing towards homes, other schools, parents' places of work. The entire display struck fear deep into Ethan.
What he was seeing wasn't just a panicked mob; it was the end of the world as he knew it.