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This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang, but a whatever.
The whateverpocalypse. That’s what Touré, a twenty-something Cambridge coder, calls it after waking up one morning to find himself seemingly the only person left in the city. Once he finds Robbie and Carol, two equally disoriented Harvard freshmen, he realizes he isn’t alone, but the name sticks: Whateverpocalypse. But it doesn’t explain where everyone went. It doesn’t explain how the city became overgrown with vegetation in the space of a night. Or how wild animals with no fear of humans came to roam the streets.
Add freakish weather to the mix, swings of temperature that spawn tornadoes one minute and snowstorms the next, and it seems things can’t get much weirder. Yet even as a handful of new survivors appear—Paul, a preacher as quick with a gun as a Bible verse; Win, a young professional with a horse; Bethany, a thirteen-year-old juvenile delinquent; and Ananda, an MIT astrophysics adjunct—life in Cambridge, Massachusetts gets stranger and stranger.
The self-styled Apocalypse Seven are tired of questions with no answers. Tired of being hunted by things seen and unseen. Now, armed with curiosity, desperation, a shotgun, and a bow, they become the hunters. And that’s when things truly get weird.
Praise for THE APOCALYPSE SEVEN
“Doucette’s ’seven’ aren’t just ‘magnificent’—they’re also entertaining as hell.” —Scott Sigler, New York Times bestselling author of the Infected Trilogy
“The adventure I’ve been looking for! Never once did I know what to expect, and I loved being proved wrong at every turn. Far more mind-bending than a book this fun has any right to be.” —Zack Jordan, author of The Last Human
“[A] riveting postapocalyptic outing… Doucette’s vibrant prose and unique premise make for an enticing adventure.” —Publishers Weekly
“A cinematic, speculative exercise in which a ragtag band saves the world, kind of.” —Kirkus Reviews
O N E
Outside was exactly the right kind of wrong to paralyze him temporarily.
He lived one side quest from the middle of Central Square, a place where the traffic was so bad that the only rational response to it was to move to the country and raise animals. But he was used to it, in part because he had no car, and had no real interest in driving one in the future, especially given the aforementioned traffic.
What was interesting was that everyone else apparently decided moving to the country was a good plan, overnight. They left be- hind the animals, though.
It was dead quiet, except for birds, and he never heard birds before in the middle of the city, regardless of the time of day. What movement existed was non-automotive in nature: squirrels, mostly, plus a few rats, and something that looked a lot like a bobcat.
He ran to the corner and found more of the same. A family of raccoons was walking down the median strip of Mass Ave., evidently going shopping. Ahead, a hawk swooped down to nab a chipmunk. Up a side street, there was a four-point buck just staring at Touré like the two of them were in the middle of an insurance company commercial. He was chewing grass from a patch in the middle of the road where there shouldn’t have been any grass.
Likewise, there were climbing plants all over the sides of the buildings, and the sidewalks were riddled with cracks from an eruption of tree roots.
Nature had exploded.
And still, there were no people. Even the panhandle corridor — where all the homeless congregated to see who had any smokes left — was empty. Those dudes didn’t have the money to get out of town, never mind head to a farm or whatever. It made no sense.
Touré kept running, from block to block, looking up and down every street for some explanation. A sign, maybe, like hide-and- seek Day starts now. Touré Is IT.
He didn’t stop until he reached the front of the twenty-four- hour store he should have been hitting the night before. It was a point of pride for the owner, Stefan, that this place never closed, for any reason, ever. Nor’easters, hurricanes, police actions, it didn’t matter. Unless it was the end of the world, Stefan said, he’d have the place open.
It was closed. The conclusion was inescapable.
“Touré, my man, the world ended and you survived it,” he said, to nobody. Because there was nobody. He was the last man left on Earth.
He sat down on a bench, and started laughing.
Excerpted from The Apocalypse Seven by Gene Doucette. Copyright © 2021 by Gene Doucette. Published and reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.
– 7 Winners will receive a Copy of APOCALYPSE SEVEN by Gene Doucette.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
GENE DOUCETTE is the author of more than twenty sci-fi and fantasy titles, including The Spaceship Next Door and The Frequency of Aliens, the Immortal series, Fixer and Fixer Redux, Unfiction, and the Tandemstar books. Gene lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.