Blind Hunger is the 2011 novel debut by American author Araminta Star Matthews. It centers around a small town during a zombie outbreak, in which all the adults turn into monsters while the children are left to survive on their own.
The story begins with a short prologue detailing a breakthrough scientific serum that causes new fruit to continue growing up to seventy-five days after the plant has died. This, in theory, will be one step further into ending world hunger. However, one of the masterminds behind the experiment foolishly consumes one of the untested fruits and quickly succumbs to death, revealing that the serum isn’t as safe as first thought.
A teenaged boy named Bryan and his girlfriend Rachel have just dropped her younger sister, Kiley, off at the middle school. They drive toward their own high school, only to discover it utterly abandoned. Kiley also finds her middle school to hold the same empty status, and encounters an equally baffled boy named Max, and both decide to try their luck at the high school, meeting back up with Rachel and Bryan.
Nearby, a nine-year-old child genius named Sage has just killed both of her parents who had turned into zombies, and is now fleeing from her home through the woods. The kids at the high school hear her yelling for help, and guide her out of the woods into the parking lot. Bryan, Kiley and Max listen to Sage as she tells how she killed both of her parents who had turned into monsters, convincing them all that being outside is no longer safe. Before heading inside the high school, they first search the premises for Rachel, who had previously gone missing. Bryan discovers her behind the school, only she is in the same mindless, violent state as Sage described her parents being. After a brief confrontation, Bryan survives by beheading Rachel with a pair of garden shears.
Leaving just four of them now, the kids break into the high school and take refuge in the library. After discussing priorities, Max leaves the library alone in search of the cafeteria to gather food, but runs into an old acquaintance, now in full zombie form. Max manages to defeat him, but not before, unfortunately, he is bitten on the arm.
Back in the library, Bryan is flipping through a stack of newspapers when he comes across a story about a truck spilling a bunch of chemicals into a nearby creek feeding the lake; thus, the chemicals would contaminate the town’s drinking water. Bryan and Sage attempt to theorize why it would only affect those over sixteen (Rachel being older than the rest of them), but come to no solid conclusions.
Using the library’s computer, Sage logs onto the Internet and finds an email from her friend, Amanda, who lives three hundred miles away. Sage discovers that Amanda is also experiencing the same infectious outbreak in her area, and that she and almost a dozen other kids have secured themselves in a warehouse for the time being. Sage, Bryan and Kiley come up with a plan that involves collecting a supply of food, weapons and science equipment and heading off for the warehouse Amanda described.
Max returns to the library with a bloody, gnawed arm. He tells the others how he’s learned the zombies have a sort of echolocation system similar to bats; meaning the monsters rely more on motion than vision. They devise a plan that would jam the zombies’ frequencies by distracting them with sprinklers, loud noises over the intercom, and rolling all the sport balls from the gymnasium in the parking lot as they fled. First, however, Sage performs an improvised cauterization and stitching of Max’s arm.
Afterward, Sage emails her friend Amanda telling her to prepare for their arrival, and Kiley and Bryan venture outside to collect supplies and retrieve the car keys from Rachel’s body. They run into their share of trouble, but manage to return safely enough. With weapons and other supplies handy (including a sample of Rachel’s blood), the group turns on the sprinklers and broadcasts an Internet radio station over the intercoms as they flee out the building and into a zombie-infested parking lot. The four kids are forced to fight their way through the hordes, and Kiley is tackled and bitten multiple times before Max and Bryan drag her into the car.
The book ends as the kids drive away from the town and head toward the warehouse, implying a possible sequel for the future.
Craig Garrett, writer and co-creator of the comic Robot Lincoln and Zombie Jackson, described Blind Hunger as “Monster Squad meets the Breakfast Club, with a dash of 28 Days Later.”
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