After a lethal pathogen introduced by a comet attacks the hormones of puberty, nearly all of the world’s adults die. Abby helps her brother and baby sister survive the apocalyptic nightmare, but she is helpless against the biggest threat of all: the deadly time bomb of adolescence.
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I wanted to write a story about a brother and two sisters who, in the face of an apocalyptic nightmare, helped each other and “never gave up.”
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I have a family and I have friends. I ‘borrowed’ different strengths, weaknesses, and personality traits from these individuals. After you sketch out the characters, at some point they come to life. Then it’s a matter of listening to them, rather than telling them what to do.
Bang! Bang! Bang!
Awakened by the loud pounding, Abby shot up in bed and looked at the clock–7:20–she was late for school! No, it was Saturday, she remembered, the first day of spring break.
The ferocity of the banging frightened her–someone was striking the front door hard with the meaty part of the fist. She raised her bedroom window shade and gaped out at the sight – she might as well have been on another planet. The sun radiated deep purple and waves of comet dust shimmered in the cloudless lavender sky.
But what was a lobster truck doing on the Couture’s front lawn across the street? There had been some kind of accident, she thought. The truck had smashed through the white picket fence and scattered boards outward from the point of impact. The wheels had mashed up a pile of sod where they skidded to a stop. The driver must have gone to the Couture’s house first to get help, but Mr. and Mrs. Couture were very old. They were probably still sleeping. So then the driver came here.
Abby ran into the hallway. “Dad,” she shouted. “Dad. Dad.” The banging sent chills down her spine.
She passed by Toucan’s room. “Cheeries, Cheeries,” her sister called out, standing up in her crib. Abby knew that something wasn’t quite right. Toucan should have been up and dressed an hour ago. She should have eaten already. Why hadn’t Dad made her breakfast?
“Be right there, Touk,” Abby cried and raced into her parent’s room.
No Dad. The bed was made. Abby pressed her nose against the window, thinking he might have fallen asleep in the back yard last night. The lawn chairs were empty. But the blanket from Dad’s chair was missing. Toucan kept calling out.
On her way to Jordan’s room Abby lifted Toucan from her crib and lugged her on her hip. Her brother was fast asleep. “Jordan, wake up!” she shouted. “Wake up!” When he didn’t stir, Abby waded through the mounds of dirty clothes on his floor and gave him a sharp poke.
He blinked, momentarily confused. “Get out!” he shouted angrily.
“Jordan, a truck crashed across the street!”
Bang. Bang. Bang… His eyes widened. “What’s that noise?”
“The driver’s at the door. He needs help.”
Jordan rolled out of bed and raised his window shade. “Whoa. Purple. Where’s Dad?”
Abby gulped. “I don’t know.”
Still clutching Toucan, she joined Jordan. From this angle, she could see the side of the lobster truck. MARSH SEAFOODS. She knew Colby Marsh, a burly eighth grader. Sometimes his father drove him to school in the truck.
“How do you know it’s the driver?” Jordan said.
“I just do. Let’s go.”
Abby gripped Toucan tighter as they crept down the stairs. Bang. Bang. Bang. The door vibrated like a drum. Abby thought that only a crazy person would keep pounding like that. What if it wasn’t Mr. Marsh?
She felt a sudden stab of fear. Nobody locked doors on Castine Island. “The door’s unlocked,” she whispered to Jordan.
“Lock it,” he said. “I’ll look out the window.”
Abby breathed easier once she had hooked the security chain in place.
“Huh?” Jordan exclaimed. “It’s only Kevin and Emily.”
Kevin seemed surprised that someone had finally opened the door. He was in his pajamas and his cheeks were glistening wet. Abby had never seen him without his glasses. He looked different–younger than thirteen. Emily, wearing a nightgown, stood behind her brother with a blank expression, absently twisting strands of her long brown hair. She had always reminded Abby of a fawn, timid and shy.
The road was empty, silent… none of the usual bustle of Saturday traffic heading out to the harbor. It was like an eerie dream. A crashed truck. The sun and sky different shades of purple. Shafts of lavender light spearing great swirls of dust. Not a single car, not a gull soaring overhead. Dad mysteriously missing. Her neighbors, distraught and half dressed, saying nothing. Abby stared at them and they stared back.
Toucan pointed with a crinkled brow. “Kevy, sad.”
The words broke the spell. “Our parents …” Kevin buried his head in his hands and sobbed. When he looked up a moment later, Abby had never seen such a sad expression. “They’re dead,” he cried.
Scott Cramer has written feature articles for national magazines, optioned a screenplay, and worked in high-tech communications. The Toucan Trilogy –Night of the Purple Moon, Colony East, and Generation M– are his first novels. Scott and his wife have two daughters and reside outside Lowell, Massachusetts.
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