Zippy Green never meant to fall in love with a girl, but when she does, her ultra-conservative father tries to send her to anti-gay camp. At the Kansas City airport, however, she hides inside a giant suitcase and sneaks onto an airplane headed not to the camp, but to Seattle, where her online love Mira lives. Halfway through the flight, the plane barrels out of control and crashes into the ground, knocking her unconscious.
When Zippy awakens, she finds that most of the passengers have vanished. She doesn’t know what’s happened, but she’s determined to find out. She begins a quest on foot toward Seattle, and along the way, she meets a teenager with a concussion, a homeless man with a heart condition, a child without a shred of bravery, and a terrier named Judy. Together the group discovers that more than two-thirds of the world's population have mysteriously disappeared. But that's only the beginning...
All Zippy wants is to find her Mira, but before she can she has to contend with two outside forces. The first is her homophobic father, who does everything in his power to keep her from the girl she loves. And the second is extinct creatures of all shapes and sizes, including living, breathing dinosaurs, which have replaced the missing population.
“Hello?” I said. “Is anyone here?”
“Bring her to me!” the loud voice beckoned. A flame shot toward the sky.
Four hands grabbed me and ushered me to the center of the maze, where my father, wearing a red dress, sat on a large thrown, a gold crown on top of his head. He crossed his legs, and faced me with an evil grin.
“There you are, my dear,” he said. “I’ve been waiting for you.”
“Dad! Please! You have to stop this—”
“Silence, you insolent dyke!” he shouted. “Bow before me!”
“I will not!”
“Bow before me or die!”
I turned to the soldiers. They carried spears and rifles, and were dressed like poker cards. Two of them pushed me to my knees, to the scratchy red carpet.
“Daddy, please,” I said.
“It is time you change your devilish ways.”
“I’m not the Devil,” I said, and jumped back to my feet. “I’m your daughter.”
His eyes opened wide. “How dare you defy me!”
My dad rose from his royal chair and tossed back his hair, which was darker than usual and at rock star length. He strolled up to me, his lips pursed, his dress blowing behind him in the increasing wind. He brought a cane up to my face. I surveyed the scepter; it had the head of a Tyrannosaurus rex.
“Bad things are coming for you, Zipporah,” he said, and pressed the metallic staff against my skull. “If you don’t see the error of your ways soon, you’re going to die out there, afraid, disgraced, and alone.”
“Dad, with all due respect, you’re the one wearing a dress here.”
He struck the dinosaur head against my shoulder. “Send her away! I want her out of my sight!”
Four of the soldiers grabbed my shoulders and whisked me up into the air and back toward the hedge maze. His right-hand man—a smarmy politician—laughed next to him.
“Shall I make the order?” the henchman asked. “Off with her head, right?”
“No. Worse,” my father said. He tossed his cane aside and brought his hands to the sides of his throne. “Off to Moral Inventories!”
“What? No!” I shouted. “You can’t!”
“And not just for the summer!” my dad screamed as I disappeared around the corner. “For eternity!”
I tried to free myself from the soldiers’ grasps but they had me in a death grip. They marched in unison, their feet slamming against the ground with echoing thuds, their faces emotionless.
The soldiers hoisted metoward a two-story cabin with fire, not smoke, roaring out the chimney. When I reached the front steps, a tall, pale figure emerged. He wore a large brown sweater and tan cargo pants. His head was bald, his neck was bruised with a dark orange color, and his eyes were bright red. He opened his mouth to reveal a slithering snake tongue.
“Welcome to MoralInventories,” the thing said, reaching all six of his arms toward me. “Come inside. We’ll make you right at home!”
“No! No, please!”
He chuckled and pulled me away from the soldiers, with all but one of his hands, up the steps toward the cabin, as thunder and lightning struck the ground behind me and large pellets of rain landed on top of my head. He used the last of his six hands to cover my face.
“We’re gonna take good care of you,” he said.
“Please, no!” I shouted, as he pushed me into the darkness.