Agony slingshots readers through the first 24 hours of the nuclear apocalypse. Think The 7 1/2 Deaths OF Evelyn Hardcastle meets This is the Way the World Ends.
Brandon stands on Palm Ave, having just been struck by a Nissan Skyline, when there’s a flash on the east horizon, near Century City. The bomb has struck Los Angeles. At first, Brandon thinks it’s the eye of God reducing him to ash. Or a concussion.
Who can say in a year like 2020?
But when Brandon’s mind returns to the moments before being struck by the Skyline, he hopes it’s just the weed. It isn’t. The bomb strikes again and again, each time sending Brandon back to the beginning. He can’t escape without his ex (Penelope) or what’s the point of living? But he’s too high to drive himself. No one believes the bomb is coming. His only hope is…
Yolanda is a black trans woman running from a traffic stop turned sex assault when she nearly runs over a strange white boy (Brandon). She thinks giving him a ride will create an alibi for her. In truth, she’s slowly being turned into his puppet. Every thirty minutes, when the bomb resets Brandon, he tests new things to say, ways to act, trying to influence Yolanda like a hacker endlessly attempting to gain control of a computer.
By exhausting limitless possibilities over these lives, Brandon discovers certain words hypnotize people. He moves through the chaos of a panicked evacuation and violent rioting like a mouse living inside a cuckoo clock, surviving only because he’s memorized where the pieces will be and when. He’ll need all these powers, not only to convince Yolanda to drive around a total stranger, or convince Penelope to ever trust him again, but to achieve the most impossible task of all… escaping Los Angeles in under thirty minutes.
Is there any way to survive the end of the world?
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