By 7:15, both buses reach the parking lot of the local Greenway superstore. Mrs. Wooly is able to drive her bus to safety, right through the store’s front doors. The high school bus is battered heavily and overturns in the heavy downpour of hail. Mr. Reed and several students, including Trish, are killed or badly injured. Overcome by smoke, Dean just wants to stay under his seat and sleep but Niko drags him to the safety of the other bus before theirs explodes. Fifteen students and the driver were on the high school bus when the hail started, but only Jake, Brayden, Niko, Astrid, Josie and Dean make it to the safety of the Greenway superstore.
Mrs. Wooly takes charge indie the store and gets everyone situated. When Dean’s younger brother Alex, a computer geek, realizes that no one’s minitab is connecting to the Network, he freaks out. With lots of back-ups in place, the Network should always be functional. The loss of communication with the outside world means that no one will know about the bus accidents. Mrs. Wooly leaves the six high school students, two eighth graders and six elementary kids in the Greenway to go for help. She tells them not to go outside or let anyone in.
The kids head to the electronics department after lunch and find a flat-screen television that doesn’t depend on the Network for a signal. The older kids are shell-shocked as they watch CNN. It turns out a volcano on a small island in the Atlantic violently erupted and triggered a megatsumani that destroyed the East Coast of the United States. It brought down the Network and caused the freakish weather occurring across the country. It is the worst natural disaster in history. Feeling numb, the little kids gather up some candy and everyone gorges themselves. They eventually fall asleep only to be violently shaken awake the next morning by a massive earthquake. The store is still standing but things have fallen and broke. The television now only has sound. They hear talk about the rarity of the earthquake when a breaking news announcement is made. The residents of Colorado and neighboring states are warned that NORAD’s chemical weapons storage facilities were damaged and are warned to stay indoors and seal all outside openings.
The kids gather the necessary supplies from the store to seal off the front doors around the bus. When they are finished, Dean realizes that the AC unit is on and needs to be turned off. The older kids cannot figure out how to turn it off, so several of the older boys go onto the roof to seal off the store from there. They are soon stopped in their tracks when they discover a large black cloud spiraling up and spreading across the sky over NORAD. It looks like a giant ribbon pooling in the sky.
What exactly is happening not only in Monument but around the world and can 14 kids survive what seems the end of the world in a mega superstore?
The action in this book really picks up towards the end to set up for the sequel Monument 14: Sky on Fire.
Visit Emmy Laybourne's website.