Gone by Michael Grant
(Not literally Gone, it's just called that).
'In the blink of an eye.
Everyone except for the young. Teens. Middle schoolers. Toddlers. But not a single adult. No teachers, no cops, no doctors, no parents. Gone, too, are the phones, internet, and television. There is no way to get help.
Hunger threatens. Bullies rule. A sinister creature lurks. Animals are mutating. And the teens themselves are changing, developing new talents - unimaginable, dangerous, deadly powers - that grow stronger by the day.
It's a terrifying new world. Sides are being chosen and war is imminent.' Gone, Michael Grant 
Gone is set more or less in the modern era, and follows the story of Sam (and a few others), a young man who (unusually for these sorts of books) doesn't wake up to discover the world is changed, but has it changed right before his eyes as every single adult disappears without warning. Like Lord of the Flies, this book is about the survival of children in a world without guidance (and like Lord of the Flies, is a book that highlights that children do not have an innate level of innocence about them at the end of the day). You can't help but wonder which of the characters will most resemble Piggy.
Gone is the first book of a series by the same name.
Click below for the full synopsis (click to open/close):
The story opens with Sam in school right after the adults had gone. One second a class about the Civil War (American) and the next, no more teacher. A fellow student named Josh is found to have disappeared too and the door opens to reveal another student called Astrid Ellison (nicknamed Astrid the Genius for her intelligence). She asks where their teacher is, telling them that she had witnessed her maths study group disappear. She, Sam and Quinn (a friend of Sam's and fellow surfer) go to her classroom where an incomplete chalk spelling of polynomial is written. An investigation of the teacher's lounge reveals much the same and panic rivals with exhilaration amongst the students. It becomes clear the everyone fifteen and above has disappeared from the world. There are some students panicked by the loss of their parents, other younger students excited at being free to do as they please, but the general mood is worry, especially as the televisions, phones and Internet do not seem to be working. Sam helps relax a panicking Quinn before deciding to get away from the school, worried at how the panic might develop. He takes with him Quinn and Astrid but as he leaves he finds himself wondering if he was the cause for what had happened.
The streets are deserted, no cars in motion as they make their way down the empty roads. Students around them leave the school in various groups that alternate between concern and myopic excitement. They reach Quinn's house, though they find no trace of his parents and Quinn finds consolation in the belief that God had taken his parents (as opposed to an unnamed phenomenon that didn't promise an afterlife). From there, they head to Astrid's house, again to discover missing parents. Sam is infatuated with her but has never had the courage to talk to her (explaining how he knew where she lived, having followed her home one day intending but failing to talk). Within the house, Astrid tells Sam about her younger brother Pete, who is a severe autistic (meaning an individual who totally lacks any social empathy with which to engage with others). They are unable to find Astrid's younger brother and they instead move on, as Sam helps console Astrid.
The story switches perspective to that of Lana with her grandfather, as she is driven along, having spent a week with her grandfather away from her parents as a punishment for being caught sneaking vodka out of her house with a young man. As they drive along, her grandfather disappears, resulting in the young girl being caught in an accident as her grandfather's car veers off the road. She comes to, face down with her right arm broken. She escapes the truck's wreck, comforted partially by her dog, Patrick, as she lies beside the truck, a broken thing.
We return to Sam's perspective as he arrives at his house. As we've come to expect, he cannot find his mother, though he isn't keen on going in. Quinn comments that all the adults had disappeared, but Astrid remarks that fifteen is hardly a cut off age for adulthood, many of the fifteen-year-olds she had known were children themselves. He tells Astrid and Quinn to make themselves at home while he went up to change. Upstairs reveals something that Sam did not want the others to know about, a ball of luminescent light that had appeared one night when Sam had been terrified by the darkness. It remains in his closet, an impossibility that had appeared when Sam needed it. Sam had hidden it beneath a pile of clothes, though it was an unsubtle deception. He is called downstairs by Astrid who had found his mother's laptop still open on an email half-written.The email concerns Sam and leaves a cryptic message about a character referred to as 'C' in the message, causing Sam to suggest that they move on, he clearly does not want questions to be raised about him or around him for fear of what else might be revealed, though he himself doesn't understand the context of the email.
Sam leads them towards the plaza, sticking to the rationale that the majority of youths would assemble in that area as if any adults were still around they would have gathered there. The closer they get, the more kids they see converging towards the plaza. There, a group of children have gathered to watch a fire as it spreads through one of the buildings looking out onto the plaza. Sam can see that the fire threatened a nearby kindergarten and hardware store. Sam grabs two kids he 'sort of' knew and details them to get the children out of the daycare before detailing other kids to grab hoses from the hardware store and spigots. He tells his classmate Edilio along with a few others to get hoses from the fire department, pointing out that without adults, they were the fire department, they couldn't just watch passively. As Sam directs the youths, he suddenly hears a voice within crying for a mother that no longer exists. Given a wet cloth to put about his face, Sam enters and finds a young girl who to his surprise, (terrified by his wrapped appearance), raises her hands to shoot flames towards him. The blast of fire misses him and appears to act much like napalm, sticking to the walls. As the girl raises her hands again, Sam reacts, a blast of light coming from his palm and striking the girl. He picks up the girl, who appeared to have collapsed and staggers through the smoke-filled building to a window. To his surprise, after smashing the window, a pair of arms take the child from him before he too is grabbed and helped down a ladder. As he lies, recovering with Astrid providing him with an oxygen tank, he spots the other boys getting to work with a hose attached to a fire hydrant, though his thoughts are on the girl. He is no longer the only freak. But rather than comfort him, this worries him.
In the gathering night, Sam spots Orc (a nickname for one of the boys) and his crew unsuccessfully attempt to start a fire with the wooden poles from the hardware store, though he also notes that they kept metal baseball bats and small sledgehammers on them. He doesn't wish to bring up the issue of the little girl, worried that she is dead, that he would be required to deal with it by mentioning it. Astrid tells him that she hadn't found Pete, though of his two friends, Quinn worries him most, his attitude aggressive and confrontational as a result of the stresses he'd been going through. He is also disturbed by the way the children appear to turn to him for leadership. Feeling a need to ease the fears of the children around him, he tells them not to worry, to 'chill.' Something that is repeated as if it were gospel, highlighting the trust placed in him. Astrid confides in Sam that the one place her younger brother might be was Clifftop, a luxury resort hotel where her mother often played tennis. Quinn, Sam and Astrid head off towards Clifftop, only to be stopped by Howard, one of Orc's crew who tells him to bring back something for Orc, who appears to be only half-heartedly listening. It's clear that these boys, armed with metal bats are the rougher group from school and aren't afraid to get their own way by force.
As they walk, Quinn comments that the sound of the surf was off slightly, the sea sounding more like a lake than an ocean, while Astrid remarks that she thought the horizon was higher than it should be, two mysteries in a world already overturned by an even larger one. They hear a dog barking, another worry for the future as the dogs and cats may end up going feral without owners. They enter the abandoned hotel and head to the tennis courts, only to see a wall. A wall that lets light through while remaining opaque, but a wall nonetheless. This wall stretched up, fading into the night sky and cuts across the tennis courts. A thrown tennis ball bounces off it, though Sam tells the group his fingers felt burnt after he touches it. Quinn picks up a metal chair and beats on the wall for a while, working out his frustrations though the wall is unaffected.
The story switches over to another fourteen year old called Albert, who enters a McDonald's. He's always enjoyed cooking and finds himself taking inventory of the fast food joint before eventually deciding to learn how to cook and serve the food, donning a McDonald's cap as he does so. He offers two seventh graders a soda while he teaches himself from the manual in the backroom. The reader is then returned to Lana, who is still alive. She is still alive, consumed by pain and fear, though kept company by her faithful Patrick who had already scared off several vultures. However, as she lies there, a mountain lion appears. It is chased off by Patrick though the dog is badly injured as a result. She finds herself passing out once more, her wounded dog in her hands.
Meanwhile, Astrid manages to figure out how to make a pass key from the hotel reception for every room though after checking each room they are still unable to find Pete. They find the wall cutting through one of the rooms, and Astrid surmises that the wall is probably circular, that it most likely encircled the entire city. As it is midnight, they decide to spend the night at the hotel. He shares his fears about leadership and responsibility with Astrid who tells him that day he had saved them when a bus driver had a heart attack (by taking the wheel and stopping the bus), she had thought him brave and courageous. As they go to sleep though, he is still tormented by the worries brought on by his powers and by the thought of others with similar abilities. While he doesn't think he himself created the wall, he feels that someone may have done so. At the plaza, a young girl called Mary is exhausted taking care of the toddlers, forced to act as a surrogate mother for all of those young girls. With no alternatives, she goes out to see if she can have some help caring for them. She finds help in the form of Howard who tells her he would wake Orc to get her the help she needed to care for the children as long as she remembered who had done her favours.
Sam is woken the next morning by Astrid who tells him that she had been trying to determine the height of the wall. She is certain that at its minimum it is a few hundred feet high, but she also worries that it is possible it may be a dome. Her explanation is interrupted by the arrival of Edilio, seated in a yellow backhoe, a construction machine. He tells them about the wall, though they already know and sets about attempting to dig under it, only to find that the wall appears to descend as far as it rises. Astrid asks Edilio if he would like to accompany them in the search for her brother. They intend to try her father's workplace next. He agrees, though Sam feels a surge of jealousy from it, wondering why Astrid thought he was not sufficient. Rather than use a car, which Sam feels would be unsafe, they instead think to use the hotel's golf carts. Fortunately, Edilio has driven such vehicles before with his father, making it easy to decide who should drive. Their drive is interrupted by Astrid demanding they stop. She goes to examine a seagull before telling the group that the seagull was not quite a 'normal' seagull, displaying traits more familiar with a bird of prey.
As they approach Chevron Station in their golf cart, they spot movement ahead. Worried, they decide not to stop there and Sam jokes that they should just wave and smile, telling any kids they were in a hurry. What does emerge is Cookie and another boy, both armed with mallets and part of Orc's gang. They demand Sam and his group to stop though he ignores them and carries on, beginning a short chase which ends with Howard being entirely unable to catch any of them... Until five minutes later they pull over because Orc's gang catches up by using a hummer. Quinn jumps and makes a run for it, Sam chases though by the time he gets over there, two of Orc's thugs are already setting about his friend. Sam dives at Cookie and manages to grab his bat, by which time Orc has used his bat to knock Edilio down. Astrid begs them to stop, getting between Orc and Edilio. She tells him that they had only wanted to look for her younger brother. Howard steps in to say that they should be paying respect to 'Captain Orc' who was in charge after Sam had left. They taunt him telling him that Orc had had to step in to restore order because Sam was never around, he would play hero then disappear as he did when he stopped the bus all those years ago. They go on to tell him that they would take his golf cart as tax. They are let go with the warning to bring something nice back for Orc who headed the FAYZ (Fallout Alley Youth Zone).
We cut back to Lana once again who is still alive, though by now she can smell the rot in her arm and fears the gangrene or the vultures would claim her before long. She calls out for Patrick who heads over, no longer mortally wounded but in fact, very healthy. She is puzzled at first before she starts to wonder if she had done it when she had held her dying dog and wished he wouldn't die. She does the same with her arm, only to pass out. When she comes to, she is shocked. Her arm is fine, the break healed and gangrene gone. She moves on to heal her leg, though weakened and left hungered by how long she had lain there. Once healed, she stands up, telling the vultures perched on the wrecked car that they had waited for nothing.
Sam and the group move off on foot to the jeers and laughter of Orc's gang. Quinn is angry at Sam for the beating he'd got, telling Sam he'd made the wrong call, something Sam agreed on, though what hurt Sam most was the fact that Howard had been right. Sam did not want to step up, he did not want to lead, to have the responsibilities thrust upon him. Quinn argues with Sam, angered at the fact that their friendship is altered by Sam's position as leader of their group, yet he himself does not wish to lead anyone either. The group wonder whether the disaster that has befallen them is at all related to the radiation leakage at 'Fallout Alley.' They find bikes and take them, using them to make their journey shorter. They stop at a large security gate and play stone, paper, scissors to decide who goes over. Sam loses and climbs over the gate, though manages to cut himself on the razor wire. He enters a security booth where he finds a key-pass for the facility as well as a gun locker. He hesitates at the gun locker, thinking for a moment of using the guns on Orc's gang but eventually convinces himself to stay well away from the level of violence. He opens the door for the others, telling them his delay had been him looking for a shirt. The nuclear power planet provided power for the entire area and was designed to be as safe as could be expected, even featuring domes designed to trap any potential containment breaches. However, one of the domes had been hit by a meteorite in the past. Within the power plant's control room they find Pete, sitting on a chair, playing with a handheld video game. She heads over to him to ask if he is hungry. Pete is only four years old at best but even at that age, Astrid is forced to make sure that the autistic child is not distracted while she talked to him. When she goes off to get some food though, Pete begins to get upset, so Sam offers to go instead.
Their worries are raised when they see a map of the surrounding area that detailed the fallout radius. The red zone or danger zone's circle happens to coincide with the barrier that they had seen at the Clifftop. Mary, still working at the daycare, is struggling. The help that Howard had provided was insufficient (baby nappies for toddlers and a young man who shouted threats at the children), but she is helped fortunately by two twins who had volunteered their help. Under such stress, she decides to have a coffee, but is so exhausted that she accidentally spills some on a child. With the toddler crying and the twins arriving to ask what had happened she flees instead, running back to her home. At her home she is tempted by the ice cream her parents had stocked in the fridge. She had had an eating disorder when she was younger that resulted in her being about forty pounds overweight. She used to take Prozac to control those urges, though she ends up microwaving a pint of ice cream so that she might drink it all. After that, she manages to regain control of herself and sorts out two bags of supplies (food and cleaning equipment) for the toddlers, takes a Prozac pill, purges herself and decides to head back to the daycare. There are only two pills left.
It is too dark for Sam and the group to head back on foot (as Pete would not be able to cycle with them). So instead, they take gurneys and use them as beds, choosing to remain the night in the power planet. Edilio has managed to find five sets of radiation suits for them 'just in case' though Astrid tells them that the reactor was not leaking radiation. There are no alarms, even if the danger zone coincidentally matched the barrier they saw. Unable to sleep, Sam decides to try sneaking out of the room but is startled by a rat causing him to walk into a glass display. The crash of noise wakes Pete who screams and screams. Sam tries to apologise only suddenly finding himself unable to breathe, as if hands were wrapped around his throat. As Astrid comforts Pete, Sam slumps, growing fainter by the minute, but before he collapses into unconsciousness his palms push out at nothing and there is a sudden bright explosion of light. Sam comes to ten seconds later with his concerned friends hovering over him. Frightened by the light, the group of them flee the power plant and Sam is in no position or condition to explain.
Outside of the power plant, Edilio confronts Sam and Astrid, telling them he knew something was up. The light matched the light he had seen in the building on fire before he had pulled Sam out the windows. Caught out by a suddenly angered Edilio, Sam admits to his powers, though Quinn at first is unable to believe his best friend could have hidden something like this from him. Sam is unable to show Quinn these powers because they only come about in times of great need or stress. Astrid admits that she had suspected as much from when she had first met him, and was well aware of Pete's powers, one of which is the ability to teleport people. Sam goes on to tell his group of friends that his power had once greatly harmed an individual, and was responsible for taking his step-father's hand off (at the time he'd thought his father was attacking his mother). Astrid comments that such powers break the known laws of physics, though she could not give any clue as to why or how. Normal seemed to have gone out the window long ago. The group decides to keep Sam and Pete's power secret, keen to avoid trouble with the other children.
They return to the plaza, exhausted, only to spot groups of children moving towards the church, congregating in a large crowd as they do so. Curious, they follow the other children headed that way. They see four vehicles approaching at a stately pace, expensive, large cars. The cars pull up at the top of the plaza and disgorge lots of kids from the Coates Academy. They wear their school clothing like a uniform and form up before the crowd at the plaza. A solitary figure stands up in the third car, a convertible and addresses the crowd, introducing himself as Caine Soren. He appears as a charismatic individual, though the discipline of his own 'people' and the consummate ease with which he talks to people worries Sam. He tells the assembled crowd that he has a plan, that they would see the adults again. He greets Captain Orc but is surprised for a moment when several people in the crowd say that they would rather Sam spoke for them than Orc. Caine heads over to Sam to shake his hand too, asking if he was related to Connie Temple (his mother). Sam is suddenly hit by the realisation that perhaps the mysterious C mentioned in the email his mother had left incomplete referred to Caine. The group, several Coates students and some of Orc's gang are taken into the church to talk. Caine introduces Computer Jack, who he tells them might be able to restore a communication network for the phones and begins to detail several ways in which the various groups might come together to form a community, taking charge in a subtle manner. This causes Howard to jump up and tell him that Orc didn't work for anyone, letting Sam see a flash of anger from Caine, quickly hidden.
Despite the fact that Orc and Howard were standing, armed with bats, one of Caine's inner circle, Diana Ladris, is watching Sam as if he were the greater threat. An earthquake seems to hit the area, causing the crucifix within the church to collapse down on Orc and Howard (who manage to dodge it), killing Cookie (who doesn't). Caine displays a complete lack of empathy, telling the group that their nurse had been chosen when one of the young women run over to assist Cookie, saying she had been trained in basic first aid. Computer Jack ends up talking to Astrid, despite instructions from the head of security (one of Coates Academy's students, Drake Merwin). He starts talking freely to her as Astrid tells him she thinks he gets used by the other Coates students, and suspects Drake of being a bully (which Jack confirms) though as Jack starts to tell Astrid that Caine has powers he is interrupted by Diana Ladris who tells him she hoped his little brother was alright, that she had thought he had left the church because of that (no doubt a 'subtle' threat). Diana leaves with Jack, taking him to Caine, and Jack is surprised when she covers for him, telling him Jack had just been lost. Caine is revealed to be the main villain of the tale, telling Diana to record Astrid's 'power level' which Diana is able to tentatively rate at 'two' (Caine's is four). Though Diana volunteers to keep an eye on Sam for Caine (who considers Sam to be a threat to him), she tells Caine that she had not had a chance to 'read' him. Once again the story cuts to Lana who is still alive, and travelling with Patrick down the road. She comes across a barrier and is unable to cross it, her dog refusing to even approach it. They are saved however, when they find a small cabin with water.
Sam and his group of friends have taken up residence in the firehouse, Sam having accepted the position of fire chief (though simply because others had wanted him to). He hopes that no one would actually require his assistance, though they had already had once incidence of a reported fire (which turned out to be a microwaved can on fire). It has been three days since Caine and his people had taken control. Three days with no rescue, but acceptance of their condition had seemed to set in. Already though, life has changed. Drake and his sheriffs use violence to control the young men and women, using bullying and fear to ensure that their orders are obeyed without question. That all changes that night when they hear a young girl pleasing for help. Bette, one of their fellow students had been hit by Orc and was being chased by him and his gang, all of them armed with bats. Sam refuses to budge, despite Quinn begging him not to get into a fight again (as Quinn had suffered badly last time). Sam is thrown off balance by Orc as he swings his bat at him, despite ducking the blow, though it is Edilio who knocked Orc down. The fight is interrupted by Drake as he tells everyone to stop moving, even knocking down Orc after he tried to get back up. When Orc charges him, he simply takes a bat from Chaz (one of the boys with Orc) and beats him down with it. Drake asks Sam what had been going on, and Sam tells Drake that Orc had been hitting a girl, telling Drake that he wasn't go to let Orc do that. Drake seems rather unaffected by that and turns to Chaz, asking what it had been about, to which Chaz mentions that Bette had been using 'the power.' Drake seems satisfied at the reasoning, passing Sam a newly written rule set. He tells the group that there are to be no magic tricks before sauntering off with Orc. Sam and his group offer to take Bette into the firehouse with them to help tend to her injuries, but Bette refuses, so Sam leaves to walk her home.
By this point, Quinn harbours some antagonism towards Sam, angered at his friend for playing the hero, for expecting Quinn to join in. He's frustrated and clearly wants nothing to do with Orc and his gang. When Sam returns, he gets into an argument with him, telling him that normal people might find people like her dangerous. Sam snaps at him, demanding that he stop using the term 'normal people' all the time. Edilio acts as a peacemaker by asking them to read the new rules. The first, Caine is mayor, the second, Drake is sheriff and can appoint deputies. Third, Sam is Fire Chief and responsible for responding to emergencies. Fourth, no one may enter any store or remove anything without permission from the mayor or the sheriff. The seventh rule says that everyone should pass information on bad behaviour to Drake, the eighth reads that people will not perform magic tricks or any other action that causes fear or worry. The ninth, the area is in a state of emergency and there could be no questioning of the people performing their official duties. The tenth, most worrying of them all, the sheriff may overrule and create any rules that are needed to keep people safe. Sam is angered at Quinn's acceptance of the situation but Quinn points out that the reality was, the bullies made the rules now and that the normal kids might end up using the kids with powers as scapegoats for their problems.
Dahra finds herself acting as the area's physician with nothing more than a reference book to help her. She is the young woman who had seen fit to care for Cookie's health and has ended up as the effective doctor, though the job is stressful and hard. She is met that day by Mary who has a younger girl with her. The young girl had been complaining of a stomach pain. She herself is unable to provide much help, but after she offers some advice, Mary tentatively asks her if she could discuss something confidential. Mary tells Dahra about the fact that she takes Prozac, Dahra provides her with pills after deciding not to push her too closely as to why she needed them. They are interrupted by Bette's arrival, injured from Orc's earlier attentions. She dies before they are able to help her from internal bleeding within her skull. They go to notify Edilio at the firehouse and hold a service shortly after. As the ceremony breaks up, Orc and Howard appeared, watching, though no one spoke to them and they left after a few minutes. Sam's group is furious at the situation but Sam himself feels powerless and doesn't wish to get involved. He has no desire to play hero and is concerned with the way he had felt when he first discovered his power, feeling as if he was experiencing a rush. Astrid comforts him, telling him that he isn't the sort of person to become corrupted by his power. She tells him that it isn't in his character, and that he also had her.
The story switches over to Albert, the kid who had ended up running the McDonald's as he walks back from the funeral. He finds himself walking into Perdido Beach's county library branch. The place hasn't been touched since the FAYZ (Fallout Alley Youth Zone). As he reads through an encyclopedia he is distracted by a yellow tabby cat which disappears before his eyes. It appears on his head, claws digging in making Albert yelp with pain. He tries to hit the cat with the encyclopedia in his hands but succeeds in only hitting himself, finding the cat clear across the room. As the cat launches itself at Albert again, he holds up his book in defence and watches in terror as the cat somehow appeared inside the book, its body joint with the book in his hands. The cat dies as Albert stares at it before he drops the book and flees. He stops, returns and takes the book to show to Astrid. Astrid is silent as she examines the book, finding the cat's body fused with the book before she helps deal with Albert's scratches.
Lana meanwhile, is safe at the cabin, fully recovered but is alerted by Patrick when her dog suddenly get up and watch the door, hackles up. She hears something outside the cabin and a garbled whisper calling her to come outside. She discovers that she rather desperately needs to pee and decides to run to the outhouse satisfied that Patrick was calmer and less agitated. On the way back though, Lana encounters a coyote. Though it is large, about the size of a wolf, and three or four others come out of the gloom. She makes a run for the cabin, surprising the coyote by running at and past it. Fortunately for her though, something jumps out at the coyotes, leaving them busy enough for her to make it inside. The next day, she finds one of the coyote's dead, barely a hundred feet from her door. A snake is in its mouth, though Lana had been sure that last night she'd seen that snake fly. To admit it though would be to admit she was crazy.
On the eighth day of the FAYZ, Sam, Quinn and a Coates girl named Brooke were part of 'search team three' as they check houses to ensure that their electricity and water were off. If anyone found devices they didn't understand, they were to make notes for Edilio who seemed to be able to figure out mechanical items with ease. While Sam admits to himself that Caine had good ideas, such as the implementation of a short-wave radio network and this current search, he is angered by the fact that Caine had refused to act against Orc. They encounter a house with a dead baby within. Sam ends up dealing with the body and nearly comes to a fight with Quinn when his friend tells him he didn't want to go in there, even after Sam had done the grisly work of disposing of the remains. Instead, Brooke offers to help. Sam tells her to notify Edilio to dig another hole and open the windows, telling them he'd deal with his own house.
Inside the house, he eventually notices his mother's laptop is missing. He races upstairs to find his ball of light still there, though someone had torn down the weak hiding place for it. Someone knew. His mother's bedroom had been ransacked too, and the grey box that his mother kept with her will and his birth certificate is also missing. He suspects Caine to have taken it, which means that Caine knew Sam had the power. He takes his bike and cycles back to the plaza, spotting Mary, John and the twins Emma and Anna who helped deal with the toddlers. He spares a moment to chat with them and as he is leaving, Emma asks him to wish them a happy birthday. It sinks in a moment later and he returns, asking what birthday. As he asks Emma and Anna, Anna reveals it would be their fifteenth birthday. Sam asks what time of day they were born and as he asks, Emma disappears. Anna disappears six minutes later, holding onto Sam's hand for comfort.
Elsewhere, Drake arrives before Caine and Diana to report the same thing that Sam had experienced. He had been watching the two twins and as Caine had predicted, the two had disappeared upon reaching the age of fifteen. Drake dislikes Diana, something that had become all-out hate when he'd decided to look up Diana's psyche evaluations after the FAYZ and found his file in her file's place with a smiley face and the words 'sadist' written on it. Computer Jack appears with Sam's mother's laptop, telling them he'd managed to hack it. His is dismissed haughtily and the group examine the grey metal box first, discovering that Caine and Sam share birthdays. Diane teases Caine, telling him that they might be related. Neither of them knew their respective fathers after all. Caine refuses to accept it and after Diana comments that the diary on her computer reveals that Nurse Temple (Sam's mother) had been aware of Caine's powers, Drake makes an ill-advised joke about Caine being given up in favour of Sam. Caine slams Drake into a wall with his power and stands over him, furious, telling Drake to remember who the boss was.
Astrid is seated on the porch of her house when she spots Sam, pedalling furiously towards her. She'd been waiting for him because Sam had promised to come by to take her to the grocery store and after sharing a kiss with him earlier, was nervous. Sam approaches, visibly upset, as he tells her about the two twins and their disappearance. Sam has only five days before his disappearance. His conversation is broken by Astrid having to check on her brother. On the sidewalk, they spot Panda, Quinn and a Coates kid called Chris. They had thrown a rock at her brother and were laughing. Sam is furious that Quinn is involved with them, though he decides to take no action. When Astrid and Sam go to the store to pick up food they are met by Howard who demands to see their shopping list, telling them that certain foodstuffs had run out. Panda returns, angering Sam though doing nothing, until Drake Merwin attacks, a trap sprung. They grab Astrid and Sam, tieing his hands with a plastic tie and placing a Mylar balloon on them, to prevent his 'powers'. He is told his brother wishes to see him (though Sam is unaware that Caine is his brother). As he is brought away by Drake's people, he spots Quinn, though Howard simply taunts Sam with the knowledge that Quinn had betrayed him, telling him exactly where they'd be.
He meets Caine who is disappointed that Sam does not seem to care who his father is. As Sam refuses to cooperate and even taunt Caine, he is flung around the room by his powers, time and time again. He does however, cooperate when Diana points out that Astrid is in the tender loving care of Drake Merwin. They are interrupted by Drake who tells Caine he lost Astrid, that her younger brother had managed to teleport them to safety. Diana and Caine theorise that perhaps Pete was as powerful as Caine was. Caine directs Drake to kill Astrid and Pete, to shoot them before they even saw him. When Astrid had been kept prisoner by Drake, she is forced to call her brother a retard for his amusement before Pete teleports them away. The event shames her, though her immediate concern is their safety as she tries to work out where she should take Pete and where she might be able to meet up with Sam. She decides upon the room in the Clifftop where they'd spent the night earlier.
Sam meanwhile is trapped and left alone for the time being. He is rescued by Quinn who apologises, telling Sam he hadn't realised what they were going to do. Though Sam is so angered that he tells Quinn to stop calling him 'brah'. They are no longer brothers. When Quinn asks where Sam thought Astrid would go, Sam tells him the power plant. They make their way down to the firehouse, picking up Edilio before moving to the marina. From there, they manage to steal a boat, but not before they spot Orc chasing them down the pier armed with a bat. They manage to escape by boat and Sam tells Quinn to shout back to Orc, to let him know what Sam made Quinn do it, that they were going to the power plant before punching him. This is all a deception (Quinn is hurt to find out), and they instead begin to move towards the Clifftop once they are out of sight of Orc and his gang.
Drake has armed himself with a hunting rifle and an automatic pistol and makes his way to Astrid's house. Failing to find them after a ten minute search he decides to light the house on fire, just in case they teleported back to the house again. From a distance he spots Sam's deception, but unlike Orc, he spots Sam turning the boat around and works out that she might be at Clifftop. Drake gets to the hotel before Sam, where Astrid is waiting. Astrid cannot escape as before because Pete too calm to teleport them (it being an instinctual response rather than a chosen decision). Just before Drake enters the room, she drops down through the window to the balcony on the floor below. She tells Pete to be quiet, and for a moment they have Drake convinced, until Pete begins to moan, being unable to operate his Game Boy. Drake hears the moan, stops cursing and unable to get a clear shot on them, climbs over the window to head towards them. Without warning though, he suddenly gives a yell and falls past her, landing and falling unconscious on the ground. Above Astrid is Sam, who has arrived just in time.
As Sam and his group of friends take the boat back out to sea, towards the barrier there. He stops the boat and tries diving into the water, but as far down as he can go with his breath he continues to find the barrier, implying it is spherical in shape. Sam swims back to the boat and Quinn suddenly alerts him that a boat is coming fast, from town. A fast speedboat approaches, with Orc and Howard aboard. They try to outrun the vessel, but swiftly discover that their boat cannot match the speeds of the speedboat heading towards them. Astrid asks if Sam can use his power as Orc threatens to run them down. Sam tries to use the boat's short wave radio to communicate with Orc and Howard, buying some time until Caine's voice comes across the radio, commanding Orc and Howard to take them down. Sam continues to run his boat away from Orc's speedboat but just before the speedboat collides with his boat, Sam rams his boat against the barrier to slow it down. The speedboat, clipping Sam's boat is sent flying to crash against the barrier, though Sam's boat is badly damaged and they end up in the water, thrown from the impact. They re-board their boat, damaged though it is. Orc's boat has stalled, and Orc himself is in the water, furious. Sam dives into the water, with a small length of rope. He wraps the rope around the speedboat's right propeller, successfully jamming the speedboat. But as Sam swims back to the boat he is attacked by Orc. With no escape available, Sam turns Orc's momentum against him and slams him against the barrier, causing the large bully a huge amount of pain. Sam manages to return to his boat and they make their escape. Over the radio, Howard reports their failure to catch Sam.
Meanwhile, Lana has gone for a walk, exploring some of the cabin owner's surroundings. He had evidently been some sort of gold miner, (this being the conclusion she draws from gold bars she has found stashed in the cabin). She decides to explore a mine near the cabin, but as she stands by the entrance of the mine, from the side of the mountain a pack of coyotes return, racing towards her. She dashes into the mine. The coyotes are barely phased by the rocks she throws in their direction and once more talk. The pack leader tells her 'no humans here.' She is attacked though finds the attack abruptly stopped when the coyotes begin to look towards the deeper parts of the mine. Instead, she is told to walk, forced to go deeper into the mine. She meets 'it', something she cannot bring to words nor truly explain because she never really 'sees' anything, though she hears a voice explode in her head only to pass out. She awakes later to find herself outside the mine, where the coyotes had dragged her, waiting patiently.
Sam and his group make their away ashore, far from the urban area where Caine ruled. In the closing dark, they camp amongst the trees where Quinn tells Sam he should really learn how to utilise his power. Astrid helps him learn to use his powers, though Sam is disheartened when he discovers that anger is the key to using them. Lana is meanwhile forced to run, running with the coyotes as they force her to stay with her, nipping at her when she falls behind. When the Pack Leader tells her to run faster, she stops to ask why they kept her alive, why didn't they want to kill her. She is told that 'the Darkness says no kill,' giving a name to whatever she had experienced in the mine. The Darkness had told the coyotes that she would teach the Pack Leader, teach her how to kill humans, gather larger packs, effectively organisation and controlled violence. The Pack Leader fervently hates humans, though Lana suspects this mentality originates from the Darkness, giving it an evil ambition to destroy and kill. However, Lana outsmarts the simple creatures, forcing the Pack Leader to accept to her terms, to take her back to the cabin. The Pack Leader accepts, unable to consider failing or altering the Darkness' orders.
Back in the FAYZ, Computer Jack is woken by Diana who tells him they would be going back to Coates Academy shortly. One of their students, Andrew, was due to disappear shortly and Caine wanted to set up a controlled surveillance to discover what happened when people disappeared, to try to work out a way in which he might save himself. However, her visit is not out of mere kindness. She tells Jack that while he'd been sleeping, before he woke, she'd held his hand, allowing her to know he had developed a power. Jack's power has manifested in the form of super strength. When Jack tries to tell Diana that he knew that she had read Sam but hadn't told Caine, she simply points out that her word was worth alot more than his. She tells him that she owns him now, by promising to keep his secret safe, Jack must work for her, loyal to her before any other.
Out in the forest, near the barrier, Edilio spots a snake, yelling as he backs off. It is in a hole though as Astrid goes to take a look, she quickly calls Sam over, warning him not to startle it, that it might be capable of short flight. As Sam takes a quick look, Astrid tells him she could spot vestigial wings, another mutation that had occurred in too short a time period, adding to what she had seen with the cat and seagull. Though without any real understanding of their situation, the best Astrid can offer is that they may not be in 'the universe' as it was scientifically understood anymore. The laws of physics have been broken by the mere existence of these powers after all. She points out that if this were another, separate and contained universe, there may be nothing on the other side of the barriers.
Caine along with Diana, Computer Jack, Drake and Panda make their way towards the Coates Academy by car. As they approach the gates to the academy however, they realise something is off, the gates are unmanned. Drake opens the gates for them, but as they approach, they realise something is wrong. One of the rooms is badly scorched and damaged. When Panda refuses to enter, Caine slams him against the academy's walls using his powers, only for Panda to get hit again when the front door opens and groups of students pour out. All of them have their hands encased in cement, a simple solution that Caine had ordered Drake to do as a way of preventing those with powers from using them. They cry for food, having been left unfed and alone after Benno disappeared (the thug left in charge). As Drake enters, he is blown down by a sonic boom though Caine responds by using a pile of bricks and firing them in a stream into the building. Caine taunts Andrew, and as they enter they spot him, with all the fight gone out of him. Caine is angered when Andrew points out that Benno had disappeared resulting in a power struggle. Diana soothes his anger by telling him that sometimes birth certificates were filed wrongly or written incorrectly. They decide to film Andrew, directing Jack to set up cameras.
Sam is walking with his friends when they hear the howl of a coyote, though he tells them not to worry, unaware of the changes the coyotes have experienced. As they walk, Quinn continues to tell Pete 'Hawaii' repeatedly, in an attempt to ensure that if Pete teleported them he might take them there rather than within the FAYZ. They hear the coyotes closer this time, and decide to head roughly away from them. They stop when they spot a cabin in the woods before moving up to the door. From behind them, Lana screams for them to get inside. As they attempt to close the door, Sam is attacked by a coyote, grimly aware that he is dying, unable to defend himself. He is saved by Lana who uses one of the gold bricks from earlier to kill the coyote. Lana manages to heal Sam using her powers and they introduce themselves to each other. Lana shares the story of her survival with the others. As they cower within the cabin, the coyotes outside demand that they come out, that Lana had been promised by the Darkness to teach them. The coyotes start trying to break down the cabin's door, prompting Edilio to try to find more nails to secure the door. As they hide in the cabin, Caine has managed to convince Andrew to remain lying on a table filmed by Computer Jack. Andrew believes that if he is able to utilise his power, he might be able to remain in the FAYZ provided he uses it until after the point of disappearance.
Andrew manages to keep himself on the table, while his powers are being used, for twenty seconds after his date of birth, though as soon as he stops, exhausted, he disappears. Unfortunately for Caine, the result in inconclusive as it may have been that the date of birth was incorrect by such a small amount of time. However, it is Computer Jack who discovers something unusual about the disappearance, spotting through a frame by frame analysis of the camera footage that Andrew had suddenly turned on the spot to look at a green 'fog.' He seemed to be accepting, even willing to touch whatever it was, and immediately after, disappeared. Jack surmises that it is possible that Andrew's subjectively experienced a moment that existed within only the few seconds between frames. Caine agrees with Jack, telling him that some form of creature or deception is at play.
At the cabin, the coyotes have returned with flaming torches, something which Lana tells them must have been the Darkness' doing. Lana begs Pack Leader not to set fire to the cabin, though the coyotes set the cabin on fire, ignoring her pleas. With no recourse, Sam uses his power to fight against the coyotes, helping scare off the pack with blazes of light. As they escape, Sam tells them that the time for hiding was over, this time they would deal with Caine. Drake, accompanied by Panda, and a boy named Chunk spot Sam's powers in the night and Drake decides he would ensure that Sam never managed to reach Caine, after all, Drake was the person who had rounded up the kids with powers at Coates Academy. And he hadn't needed any powers to achieve that. As Sam and his group make their way out of the forest they are met by Drake, who threatens to shoot his friends if Sam doesn't come with him. He also refuses to let Sam's friends go, knowing full well that Sam might attack without such leverage. He is taken to Coates and instead of meeting with Caine, Sam is taken to a concrete mixer and told to place his hands into the wet concrete, still threatened by Drake, Sam feels he has no choice and does so, Drake also has the others locked in concrete too. Drake is crowing his successes as Caine arrives, showing Sam to him. Sam spots Astrid bumping her concrete block against Pete's, and realises that he had to buy her some time, prevent Caine from realising what she was doing. He does so by telling Caine to be careful of Lana, who was a healer. He tells Caine that Lana is able to heal any injury though Drake rather malevolently decides to give Sam a chance to demonstrate by shooting him in the knee. As Sam collapses, Astrid succeeds in knocking Pete's gameboy to the ground and moves to dash it with the block of concrete her hands were encased in. Without warning, all the concrete blocks disappear, freeing the kids with powers. Sam's power burns Drake's entire arm, causing his shot aimed at Pete to miss, though Sam faints shortly after.
Sam comes to, healed by Lana, and now leader of a small band of youths with powers. He even forgives Quinn as they group together and begin to march back to town, intent on setting things right. Howard is told by Mary that Sam is coming back to town, something that terrifies Howard even as he is taunted by Mary that his time was up. Howard dashes over to Orc's house and tries to rouse him. Orc had taken up drinking alcohol shortly after Bette's death, and when finally woken by Howard, he tells him that he had to fight Sam. After talking with Orc, Howard realises that there would be no way for him and Sam to be able to compromise, so they decide to stick with Caine. However, though Caine was made with them, right now, he needed them. Up at the Coates Academy, Drake is in great pain and with no options available to them, Diana and Caine prepare to amputate his arm, though Drake offers numerous threats for that, begging to be just killed instead as the pain was too intense. Caine uses his power to hold Drake down while Diana saws his arm off.
Down in the town area, Sam is organising the kids with powers, though he sends Edilio off, telling him to take a car and go to the power plant, letting Edilio know about the automatic rifles he had found in the guard checkpoint. Sam's military preparations are interrupted by Albert who continues to run the McDonald's. He tells Sam that he thinks he would be able to prepare and serve a thanksgiving meal which was next week, though Sam and Caine were due to disappear in three days. Sam decides to humour him and tells him that there would be no problem with it.
Lana is at the medical office with Dahra and has just finished healing Cookie, something Dahra sees as a miracle. Cookie is amazed at his recovery and is grateful, incredibly so. He tells Lana that he is able to do anything she might want, and thinking smart, Lana tells him to see Sam, that there was a fight coming. She collapses on a couch and falls asleep. When she wakes, she makes herself a pizza, enjoying more normal foods and she decides to throw away her own clothes, realising how badly they smelt. After that, she goes out for a walk in the dark, spotting a car (presumably Edilio) make its way through the town. However, as she walks on she suddenly spots Drake. Lana tells Drake he didn't need to take her away, that she would have healed him anyway, though her pleas fall on deaf ears as she is kidnapped by the one armed thug. Orc and Howard are discussing what to do, and though Orc insists he could beat up Sam, Howard is aware that with the army Sam had assembled, they had no chance. They spot a car approaching and decide to intercept it, but find themselves suddenly chased by something in the dark. The car stops and Howard spots Panda, though he too is attacked. They find themselves victim of the coyotes because Pack Leader is still following instructions from the Darkness and insists that Lana come with him. Drake tells the coyote he needs her to heal his arm. Howard intervenes, telling Pack Leader that they might be able to reach an arrangement.
In the town, Sam meets Astrid with Edilio and tells her that he wanted to speak with her, though he would prefer is Pete didn't listen in on it. In addition to recovering the weapons from the power plant, Sam had examined the recordings from the security feeds, something which shows Pete as the cause of the FAYZ when he disappeared every person during a meltdown (panicked by the klaxons). Astrid jumps to the defence of her smaller brother, though Sam tells her that actually, Pete may have saved their lives. The plant's meltdown had stopped, though on the video it did not appear that any of the adults before the FAYZ were able to stop it. Pete may have put them all in a strange situation, but he appeared to have saved their lives in doing so. Lana is brought back to the mine along with Howard, Drake and Pack Leader. Within the mine, they meet the Darkness, and it communicates to Drake through Lana, using her like a puppet. It examines Drake and tells Pack Leader that it had found a much better teacher. The Darkness would use Drake to teach the coyotes how to kill humans and in return it heals Drake's arm, though the arm that regrows under Lana's hand is not made of flesh.
Edilio tells Sam that he has managed to practice with some of the automatic weapons, as has some of the other boys, though Sam is horrified at the thought of having to arm and teach the people under him to use their powers to fight. Sam is told that Orc had arrived at the town by himself, and Sam, confident in his powers decides to meet him. Orc had been injured badly by the coyotes but when he tells Sam that they had ripped a hole in his gut, Sam demands he speak sense. In answer, Orc reveals that his stomach was covered in gravel where the skin used to be. He comments that it was spreading over his body and didn't hurt anymore.
At Coates, Caine is busy helping those loyal to him repair the damage to the hole he had caused in the earlier power struggle, though the wall they tried to repair had collapsed twice already, not being a simple matter of just using concrete and bricks. Diana had always been a manipulator and when the two of them had first come together as friends, Diana had been the dominant one, the one who had been able to twist Caine around into using his power for her benefit. Caine loved her, and she abused that with ease, though their relationship had reversed in roles as Caine's powers developed. Without warning, Caine and Diana are surrounded by a swarm of coyotes, though Drake's voice announces that they were friends. Lana and Drake approach, though Diana is horrified by Drake's arm, a long, tentacle-like thng that wrapped around his torso. Drake demonstrates the arm by using it to whip at Diana, drawing blood. He apologises insincerely, then turns to Caine, asking him when they were going to take down Sam.
Sam tells his group of friends that he is confident that Caine would attack tomorrow evening, confident that Caine's ego would prompt him to attach even though the two of them were due to disappear shortly. Astrid nominates Edilio to replace Sam after he disappears, telling the youths with powers that she chose Edilio for his power to gain respect and trust. Sam decides to have Quinn guard the preschoolers and finally asks Astrid to stay back, having organised a place for her to hide and watch the coming battle. Sam clearly does not wish the person he loves to be endangered by the fight. Astrid tells Sam she had been praying for him. They confess their love for each other before Astrid brings up her power, something she had written off as intuition before. She tells Sam that when she touches a person she is given some sort of idea of their 'importance' through a metaphor of a shooting star. She tells Sam that while she didn't know what might happen to him tomorrow, she knew that he was the brightest star she'd ever seen.
Diana wakes Computer Jack and tells him that it was time he delivered on his promise. She takes him through the Academy and tells him that she needed him to go to Perdido, the town by car, to go by himself. Jack is terrified of Drake and complains that if he does that, he would be hunted down by Drake, but Diana replies, telling him if she didn't do it, she'd scream and tell Caine that he'd been caught trying to escape. Jack agrees reluctantly and Diana directs him to find Astrid and tell her about Andrew, letting her know that it might be possible to remain if someone manages to use their power, but also to let her know that people would be tempted by something with a goal of taking them away. She wants him to tell Astrid so that Sam might be able to remain as a viable target of Drake's hatred, otherwise she was worried that Drake might go for her and Caine would be unable to stop him. As Jack tries to leave the Academy he is spotted by Howard and as he leaves he can see Howard running for the Academy's interior through the rear view mirror. As he is stopped for a moment by the Academy's gate and realises that he is being chased, spotting a pair of headlights. He is terrified because he feels that Drake must be giving chase. However, thinking fast, he utilises the one advantage his SUV has over the sports car chasing him and turns off onto a dirt road. Jack manages to elude the car chasing him as a result, but isn't sure how to get to Perdido Beach, terrified of turning back and potentially meeting the people chasing him.
Sam is woken by a young man called Taylor who tells him that Caine is coming, having spotted six cars coming from the Academy. He tells Taylor to check if they were going to stop at the town's store or if they would split up. He was going to go straight to the square and does so after waking up the others around him. Astrid talks to Sam via the walkie-talkie and tells him that she had seen the cars turn away from the store and head to the school. Taylor returns, and tells Sam what she had seen, that she'd seen Caine and Diana but hadn't seen Drake at all. Sam is confused by their plan, not understanding why Caine had chosen to go to the school and at daylight too. He decides to go with one of the powered kids from Coates who he had rescued (a girl called Dekka) to the school, thinking that perhaps he might be able to end it without even bringing in any of the others.
Jack had decided only to travel at night, not wanting to be found as he makes his way down the dirt road at a crawl. However, Jack now realises he has no choice but to make it to Sam because there is no way that Caine would accept him back and Jack could only be sure that Sam could protect him if Sam didn't disappear. Jack suddenly swerves to avoid a rabbit, driving the SUV into a field but as he does so, a pickup truck goes past and turns after him, coming from the other direction. It stops and turns after Jack's car, causing Jack to panic. He crashes in a field and is met by a boy and a girl, neither of them are Drake to his relief, but he still finds himself on the business end of a shotgun. They ask him who he is, and he tells them he is called Computer Jack. He begs not to be shot, though the boy and girl tell him that he was on their land. When Jack answers the boy's question about his name, telling him it is because he is good with electronic machines, the boy asks if he'd be able to repair a Wii. Jack tells him he could, but he needed to get down to Perdido Beach. The boy tells him that if he repaired his Wii, he would ensure his sister didn't shoot Jack.
As Quinn turns up at the daycare he greets Mary, though Mary tells him she didn't want him to be around the preschoolers with his gun. They both admit that they are terrified of the situation, though Brianna, a kid with impossibly fast speed as a power, tells them that she felt she had to fight, to ensure that Drake could not possibly be allowed to do as he had done before. Astrid warns Sam through the walkie-talkie that Panda was armed with a gun but otherwise there had been no change. No being able to sneak up on Panda, Dekka and Sam charge him, and after a few near misses and a deliberate shot from Sam's light above Panda's head, Panda panics and drops the gun, running off. After storming in, they discover only a single boy called Frederico, who attacks them but is easily subdued. He tells them that Caine and Drake had a plan, that they had gone out the back the moment they arrived. Sam contacts Astrid but is unable to make out her reply, though can hear the fear. He realises he had been tricked by Caine.
In the town, Quinn and Brianna spot a swarm of the mutated coyotes heading towards them through the town for the daycare. They pull up a ladder but not before they spot Drake amongst them. Brianna urges him to shoot Drake, though Quinn finds himself unable to do it. The coyotes storm the daycare causing panic amongst the children and fear as Isabella and John, two of Mary's helpers and knocked down and pinned by the coyotes. Drake arrives, causing Mary to yell at him though he simply uses his new arm to whip Mary, ordering her to shut up. He tells her that he and Pack Leader had agreed, no killing or eating of the children until Whip Hand (their name for him) told them they could. Panda, who had run away, goes straight to Caine and tells him that Sam had fallen for the bait. Caine is gleeful that Sam had fallen for his trap, so delighted that even Diana's ribbing cannot get to him, though he does sour when Diana asks him whether Jack had been caught yet. Caine is furious when Bug, a kid with chameleonic powers, tells him that Sam was just at McDonald's eating, seemingly unconcerned by the situation. He suspects Sam is up to something and decides to strike now rather than wait for Sam's birthday. Caine's megalomania manifests itself as he explains to Diana, after another ribbing, that he planned to become ruler of the FAYZ, that he deserved as much with the powers he had. Diana goes to far when she teases him for his shy behaviour when Caine tries to kiss her, earning his anger, and allowing Caine to realise that Diana really was afraid of him underneath her tough exterior.
As Sam waits in the square, unsure how to proceed against Drake, he is approached by Bug who tells him that Caine had sent him to deliver his terms. His terms amount to gathering Sam's supporters in the square, disarming all of them and moving the powered kids into the church. Bug tells him that he is under orders not to return without Sam's reply, yes or no. To disagree to Caine's terms is to allow Drake to let the coyotes loose on the children. With no choice, Sam agrees. Thinking quickly he contacts the Edilio and Astrid, who meet him. He has at best a half hour if he can delay his people, ensuring that it took a while to organise their surrender. In that time, he shares his plan with the two of them.
Within the daycare, the children are startled by Taylor's sudden appearance as she announces that she had brought food. Seeing the coyotes, she throws the food aside and disappears, 'blinking' away. The coyotes including Pack Leader pounce on the food, their hunger winning over cunning. Before Drake's eyes, several coyotes are lifted up into the air and blasted by Sam from outside the building. Through a hole blasted in the wall, Edilio pokes his head in and tells Mary to get the kids down. Shortly after that, Sam's light blasts through the building at waist height incinerating a large number of coyotes. Dekka releases them from her unseen position and the coyotes all flee, despite Drake's furious shouts. Drake dodges the beam and escapes and though Quinn spots him, he remains unwilling to shoot him. Brianna spots Drake stop to hide behind a dumpster and despite Brianna warning Sam, Sam is still caught by Drake. Unable to stop Drake pinning him, Quinn intervenes, firing (and missing) at Drake. Though Drake threatens him, Quinn prepares to line up another shot, forcing Drake to leave Sam and run. Sam tells Quinn never to be sorry that he didn't want to kill someone and thanks him for saving his life. He takes Brianna with him and directs her to find out where Drake was as he heads to the square. The powered kids remain in the church with Astrid, while Sam waits in the square with the other kids, waiting for Caine to arrive. Caine and his gang get into their vehicles as Bug reports that Sam is agreeing to the surrender, though as they travel towards the square, they spot Pack Leader's coyotes dashing away from the town. He stops them, convincing Pack Leader to come back with him.
Howard has meanwhile run away from Caine's camp and found Orc who is by now, mostly made of stone, though still animated. He remains upset at Bette's death, convinced that the change that happened to him was God's punishment. Howard offers to help Orc get more beer when Orc tells him that there was almost none left. Within the square, Taylor appeared before Sam telling him that they were coming, though she corrects him, telling him that the coyotes were coming. As the coyotes attack, Jack arrives ahead of Caine's cars and dashes towards Sam, begging to be saved, though Sam is focused on attacking the coyotes where he can (which is hard due to the crowd of panicked people). Caine taunts him and uses his powers on the church, causing the entire building to shake. As he collapses the church, Edilio arrives with three other boys, armed with machine guns. They attack the coyotes as Sam gives chase after Caine, furious after he witnesses the church collapse. As the chaos spreads, Sam chases Caine into an apartment building but is clipped by a large wooden beam, shattering his elbow as he follows him. Caine prepares to deliver a killing blow only to be dazed by Brianna, armed with a hammer. Caine then escapes through the same hole that he blasts Brianna through and as Sam tries to chase Caine, the building collapses on him.
While Sam was fighting with Caine, Quinn fights the coyotes, firing his rifle, fighting with the other armed kids in a desperate bid to stop the wild animals from continuing their attack. As the fight goes on, Drake hears the coyote howls and realises that the battle has commenced, that he should get involved rather than hide. He leaves his house and spots two figures also heading to the square, and discovers they are Orc and Howard who had been headed over to grab some beer for Orc. Drake whips them both, causing Orc to stop and begin to attack him.
Within the church, Astrid is in pain and in fear for Pete's life as he lies there with a lump of plaster on his head. She prays, trapped beneath the wreckage but is rescued by Dekka who uses her powers to help free her. Caine is exultant, having defeated Sam. He can see Drake and Orc battling, though is angered when Pack Leader tells him haughtily that Diana had told him to stop. Caine tells Pack Leader to do as he pleases, causing her to tell Caine that he was insane, that it explained why Sam's mother had given him up. Caine slaps her, but his focus is instead on a blast of green light that fires into the sky. He hurls debris at Sam when he spots him walk out of the building's wreck, though Sam blasts the debris apart as he approaches.
Astrid with Pete's limp body are rescued by Dekka, though she is met by Caine as he retreats to the church's ruins and sees an opportunity, taking Astrid hostage. Caine taunts Sam, telling him that he couldn't fire while he had Astrid as a shield, that he could also ensure he wouldn't disappear unlike Sam. Diana starts to tell Sam but is blasted by Caine's power and flung out into the square. However, by doing so, he is forced to release his grip on Astrid and Sam raises his hand at Caine. Time slows for Sam as a voice tells him that it is time. He sees his mother before him who goes from inviting him to come with him to ordering him to, though Sam refuses, he cannot leave Astrid now. As he refuses, Caine is brought into the strange, timeless area. Caine is furious that Sam had not fallen for the disappearance, thinking Jack had managed to tell Sam. Caine also refuses his 'mother' whose body changes into that of a monster. The monster rages at them, telling them it would have them yet, that it was their future. It tells Caine that he would come to him willingly before it disappears and time resumes. Caine raises his hand to attack Sam but Sam is faster, pinning his brother by placing his hands on his head. He begs his brother to stop, and though Sam has him, he decides not to kill Caine. He tells him instead to leave and not return, though Caine promises to return and get revenge. Diana leaves with him to Sam's surprise and as he leaves, Caine drags Drake away with him, using his powers to take the changed youth away. Lana goes to heal the wounded, Pete included while Edilio tells Sam he would get the backhoe, there are alot of holes he'd need to dig.
The book ends with Sam giving a speech during the thanksgiving meal, to the applause of his fellow FAYZ inhabitants as he thanks all of them and praises the ones who had died for them, though as Sam and Astrid decide to spend a happy moment together on the beach, Caine is being led by Pack Leader to the Darkness.
Food for thought
Gone reads extremely similarly to Lord of the Flies by William Golding, the theme being a story about how children attempt to survive in a world suddenly bereft of parents. The story has a twist on the usual coming-of-age story as these children are forced suddenly to stop being children and start being adults without any of the guidance that would normally come. Worse, in addition to the usual tensions and the extra tensions thrust upon them, they have to deal with the fact that their very world and selves are changing too.
The book also is surprising for a young adult fiction. Most young adult books treat their settings as 'safe' places. People don't usually die (at all) and more often than not violence is something that happens without the intensity of more mature thrillers. Gone delivers a darker, edgier world than the usual young adult fiction which gives a pleasant surprise. It does however, like Lord of the Flies, make a point that children are not innately innocent. It is a common belief that children are born innocent, but Gone is a book that aims to show that children, just like adults are capable of both great heroism and great cruelty. The cynic in me loves that because I find I agree with the sentiment. In schools there are always 'bullies,' little despots of little worlds. But in a world where suddenly there are no consequences then it seems reasonable to assume that bullies would go on to become cruel tyrants.
Sustainability is also a problem. Here is a world run by children who start their new world with little realistic understanding of the economy they have inherited. Through the story there comes an understanding that food supplies cannot last, but at no point does anyone suggest trying to determine whether they can make a sustainable living within the FAYZ, suggesting that they may simply be too myopic to really realise the importance of that. In a dire situation, hope is a powerful tool, providing the strength to keep going, but it should always be tempered with practicality. Plan for the worst, hope for the best is the motto I have in mind here. Though there is a question of whether it is fair to expect children to plan ahead so far, to entirely give up on the hope that their authority figures will rescue them (which is a very powerful thing for young adults in bad situations). There's a potential comment here though about the sustainability of our own ecosystem. It's pretty clear in the closed world of the Fallout Alley Youth Zone that sustainability isn't feasible. Resources are being consumed (literally) and not being produced and the book holds a mirror to our own world. Just because our world is large and visually infinite does not mean that it has infinite resources or can support infinite demand.
On a final note, as is common with many young adult books, the villain is given a name of significance, taking the name Caine after Cain (from the bible story of Cain and Abel). Much like the bible story, Caine is all set to kill his brother over jealousy and anger and indeed his punishment (though he fails where Cain succeeded), is to wander the Earth like his namesake in the Hebrew text. Caine's rather callous intelligence and charismatic leadership is also linked to Cain who is described as a city-builder.