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Eve of Man

Giovanna Fletcher


  The Christmasaurus

  There’s a Monster in Your Book

  There’s a Dragon in Your Book


  Billy and Me

  You’re the One That I Want

  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the authors’ imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

  Text copyright © 2018 by Giovanna and Tom Fletcher

  Cover images copyright © Getty Images and Shutterstock

  All rights reserved. Published in the United States by Random House Children’s Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York. Originally published in hardcover by Penguin Random House UK, London, in 2018.

  Random House and the colophon are registered trademarks of Penguin Random House LLC.

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  Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

  Names: Fletcher, Tom, author. | Fletcher, Giovanna, author.

  Title: Eve of man / Tom and Giovanna Fletcher.

  Description: First American edition. | New York: Random House, [2019] | Summary: In a world where no girls had been born in fifty years, Eve arrived and, having been protected from the dangers of a ruined world, is now sixteen and expected to renew the human race.

  Identifiers: LCCN 2018012941 | ISBN 978-1-9848-3011-1 (hardcover) | ISBN 978-1-9848-3012-8 (hardcover library binding) | ISBN 978-1-9848-3013-5 (ebook)

  Subject: | CYAC: Fantasy.

  Classification: LCC PZ7.F6358 Eve 2019 | DDC [Fic]—dc23

  Ebook ISBN 9781984830135

  Random House Children’s Books supports the First Amendment and celebrates the right to read.





  Also by Giovanna and Tom Fletcher

  Title Page




  Chapter 1: Eve

  Chapter 2: Eve

  Chapter 3: Bram

  Chapter 4: Eve

  Chapter 5: Bram

  Chapter 6: Bram

  Chapter 7: Eve

  Chapter 8: Eve

  Chapter 9: Eve

  Chapter 10: Bram

  Chapter 11: Eve

  Chapter 12: Bram

  Chapter 13: Eve

  Chapter 14: Bram

  Chapter 15: Eve

  Chapter 16: Bram

  Chapter 17: Eve

  Chapter 18: Bram

  Chapter 19: Eve

  Chapter 20: Eve

  Chapter 21: Bram

  Chapter 22: Eve

  Chapter 23: Eve

  Chapter 24: Bram

  Chapter 25: Eve

  Chapter 26: Eve

  Chapter 27: Bram

  Chapter 28: Eve

  Chapter 29: Bram

  Chapter 30: Bram

  Chapter 31: Eve

  Chapter 32: Bram

  Chapter 33: Bram

  Chapter 34: Eve

  Chapter 35: Bram

  Chapter 36: Bram

  Chapter 37: Bram

  Chapter 38: Eve

  Chapter 39: Bram

  Chapter 40: Bram

  Chapter 41: Bram

  Chapter 42: Eve

  Chapter 43: Bram

  Chapter 44: Bram

  Chapter 45: Eve

  Chapter 46: Bram

  Chapter 47: Eve

  Chapter 48: Bram

  Chapter 49: Eve

  Chapter 50: Bram

  Chapter 51: Bram

  Chapter 52: Eve

  Chapter 53: Bram

  Chapter 54: Eve

  Chapter 55: Bram

  Chapter 56: Eve

  Chapter 57: Bram

  Chapter 58: Eve

  Chapter 59: Bram

  Chapter 60: Bram

  Chapter 61: Eve

  Chapter 62: Bram

  Chapter 63: Bram

  Chapter 64: Eve

  Chapter 65: Eve

  Chapter 66: Bram

  Chapter 67: Eve


  For our boys


  On the first day no one really noticed. Perhaps there was a chuckle among the midwives at the sight of all those babies wrapped in blue blankets, not a pink one in sight. Individual hospitals would’ve thought nothing of it. They wouldn’t have known that this day of blue was only the beginning.

  On the second day they frowned, confused, at another twenty-four hours of blue.

  Just boys.

  How baffling. Still, they assumed it was nothing more than coincidence. The Y chromosome was just making more of an appearance than usual.

  On the third day the media made light of it—It Really Is a Man’s World. That brought the situation to everyone’s attention. Doctors and nurses realized theirs wasn’t the only hospital to go blue. Blue was taking over. Not just entire hospitals, not just entire countries, but the entire world.

  Where had the pink gone?

  With approximately two and a half million babies born each week, half of whom were usually girls, the sudden imbalance couldn’t be ignored. World leaders were called together with the most respected scientists to try to understand what was happening and discuss measures they could take to monitor the situation. They had to find an ethical way of working—they didn’t want to strip people of their human rights. That was what they said.


  At first it was a phenomenon, but soon it was threatening the survival of humanity, leaving us all on the brink of extinction. That was when governments stopped being nice. When women became more controlled and oppressed than ever before.

  Compulsory tests were carried out. To start with, pregnant women were screened to identify the sex of their unborn children. Then, as more time passed with no females born, all women under the age of fifty were examined in an attempt to determine the cause of the blue generation.

  Sex was encouraged—those in power wanted lots of babies in the hope that the odds would eventually favor girls. And there were girls—they were spotted in utero, bouncing around in the amniotic fluid and nudging their mommies with their flailing arms and legs.

  Not one survived.

  Eventually those cases disappeared. There was no pink to be seen…or lost.

  Science battled for years. And years. And years. No cause was found. There was no breakthrough. Without a cause there could be no cure. The future of humanity was ticking away with the biological clocks of any remaining fertile women.

  They would never give up, the world was told. They would save the human race. Somehow.

  And the people played their part. They prayed. Prayed to many gods to grant them the rebirth of their kind. For a long time it seemed no one was listening. The people prayed harder, for longer, calling on different all-powerful beings with urgency. They unearthed old relig
ions, forged new ones, and muttered their worshipful chants with longing.

  Then, after a fifty-year female drought, a miracle happened—and it didn’t occur in a sterile science lab.

  Corinne and Ernie Warren had been married for twenty-five years. They’d always wanted children, but it seemed Mother Nature wasn’t on their side. Corinne suffered miscarriage after miscarriage until eventually the couple gave up their dream to become parents. She was struck off as a potential carrier when she was forty-three. They accepted the failure with much sadness and a hint of relief. They’d been beaten down by grief so many times. They were broken, but at least they had each other to cling to.

  Eight years later, at fifty-one, Corinne unexpectedly fell pregnant. Naturally. She and Ernie were thrilled, but full of fear. What if this baby was taken from them like all the others? They couldn’t face another miscarriage.

  Like every woman, Corinne was screened—but, unlike other women, she and Ernie welcomed the tests. They wanted to be sure their baby was fit and healthy—they wanted to do all they could to ensure the safe arrival of the little being they already loved so much and for whom they would do anything.

  Their hearts leaped when they saw their creation stretching on the ultrasound. Their baby. Their joy.

  For the midwife dealing with Corinne, the screening process had become routine—a monotonous series of tests, invariably with the same outcome. She didn’t expect to see anything but blue.

  But there it was.


  And her appearance made quite an impact.

  It caused a panic. The result in that examination room sent shockwaves of hysteria rippling around the globe. People couldn’t believe that good news had come at last. They were longing to be told more about the couple who offered them a glimmer of light.

  But Corinne’s medical history of miscarriages, her age, and the fact that no girls had survived in utero in decades were causes for concern. Corinne and Ernie were moved into a specialized medical facility to maximize the chances of the pregnancy going full-term. Other than daily scans, no tests were carried out. This time Mother Nature was allowed to take her course—at least until there was any reason to interfere. Perhaps it was time to trust the human body again.

  Corinne and Ernie understood the need for monitoring their baby’s development and the desire to keep their daughter safe. They were happy their child was as special to others as she was to them. They didn’t resent the restrictions placed on them. Or that they were allowed no visitors at all. They agreed they’d do whatever it took to bring their baby safely into the world.

  There were complications in the delivery room. Mother and daughter were left fighting for their lives. Corinne died soon after giving birth, having fulfilled her life’s ambition to become a mother.

  Ernie was grief-stricken, unable to deal with the loss of his wife. Incapable of being a father.

  He never held his daughter.

  Never kissed her.

  Never told her he loved her.

  And what of the baby girl?

  The world had waited for her arrival with bated breath, longing for the news that their hopes had been realized, that their girl had been born.

  She had.

  Against all odds, she survived.

  She was the first girl born in fifty years.

  They called her Eve.

  She represented the rebirth of the human race. She was the answer to their prayers. She was all they cared about, their final hope.

  Eve was the savior of humanity.

  I am Eve.



  Good toes, naughty toes. Good toes, naughty toes. Good toes, naughty toes…

  I watch my feet as they extend into a perfect point, then flex them, feeling the pull of my calf muscles and enjoying the breeze on my skin as I sit with my legs dangling over the Drop.

  I love it here. Outside. Basking in the warmth of the sun. Heights don’t bother me, which is a good thing: I can’t remember a time when I didn’t live above the clouds in the sanctuary they built for me in which I sleep, eat, learn, and grow. Everything I could ever need is here, within the vast half-bubble of the Dome, where the glass lets the beauty of outside in. Sunbeams bounce off every surface.

  Up here in my home above the clouds, I can’t be seen, or see, thanks to the white cloud lying between us. A constant veil hides the world and me from each other. Occasionally I’m sure I can see shapes from the city below, but that might be my imagination.

  Still, I need to be closer to it. I need to experience it. That’s why I love sitting on the Drop. This is my spot, my place to escape to at the end of a walkway to nowhere. It is the perfect quiet space in which to mull over the day and my future.

  Our future.

  The future.

  “There you are,” Holly says, walking through the glass doors several meters behind me, as though there’s anywhere else I’d be.

  I’m rarely completely alone out here. Or, rather, I’m never out here for long before she shows up. Without tearing my eyes from the beautiful view, I raise a welcoming hand. It’s not her fault she interrupts my quiet time. She’s only doing as she’s told. They want to hear my thoughts—especially now, ahead of tomorrow. So they send her to find me. Holly. My best friend. My constant companion. My anchor. I was in class with her a few minutes ago discussing William Shakespeare’s ability to turn tragedy into near comedy. She had some interesting thoughts, which I found intriguing and insightful—sometimes I learn as much from her as I do from whoever is teaching.

  Holly is different now, though. She’s less studious and more…accessible.

  “Nice shoes,” I say, spotting the orange slip-ons as she sits beside me. Her honey-blond hair is unmoving in the wind, yet she pulls her denim jacket a little tighter, as though she feels a chill.

  It amuses me that they don’t keep her in the same outfit all the time. They select what she wears each day or at each session. Why bother? Perhaps it’s to show what’s expected of me, or to inspire my own fashion sense, because it’s not as though I can learn from others like me. I am the only girl.

  I’m never directly told what to wear. I can choose from any of the items they’ve placed in my wardrobe: mostly vintage garments collected from decades past—geometric prints, bell-bottom pants, shoulder-padded jackets, or pretty shirtdresses.

  Yes, I still have the freedom of choice. Take today. This morning I opted for a floaty turquoise summer dress with a dainty white floral pattern. It falls below my knees, exposing an inch or two of naked flesh above the lace-up brown boots I’ve teamed it with. I’ve seen photos of similar dresses worn with a wedged heel, sandals, or espadrilles, but my footwear must always be laced and tied when I’m out on the Drop. No slip-ons for me. Not here.

  It isn’t the same for Holly, which irritates me, although only in the sense that it’s a sloppy move on their part. Why implement a regulation, give her to me, then leave a murky area where we aren’t tied to the same rules? It makes a mockery of her, and I don’t like that.

  I try not to sigh too heavily, and avert my eyes. I weave my fingers through the ends of my long brown hair, which has become tangled in the breeze.

  The Mothers used to style it for me when I was younger. Their designs were too intricate for me to grasp back then, but now I have hours to play with my hair and I’ve become quite the expert. I can twist, knot, braid, pin…The possibilities are endless. For which I’m thankful. It gives me something to do. I used to be allowed to experiment with makeup, but now I wear it on special occasions to ensure it’s not wasted. As the demand for these products isn’t what it once was, there are no new supplies. What I have has to last me.

  “So, tomorrow,” Holly starts, breaking the silence.

  “Wow, straight in there.” I half laugh, turning to see her pale green eyes twinkling
as she stares straight ahead. Sometimes she tiptoes around these subjects, leaving me on edge and defensive, as I’m unsure where she’s leading the conversation. Other times, like in class, all focus is on the work. I prefer it when it’s like this. I like her more. It feels more genuine. Almost real.

  “It’s a big day,” she states, shrugging her slender shoulders.

  “Biggest of my life.” I nod in agreement, my expression serious now. I want her to think she’s pulled me in and that I’m ready for a deep and meaningful chat. “Well, apart from my birth—that was monumental.”

  “No big deal, really,” she replies, trying to hide the smile lurking at the corners of her mouth.

  “Hardly breaking news,” I quip.

  “Exactly,” she breathes. “Tell me about him, then.”

  “I’ve got a whole file on him inside. You can go and have a look if you like. Or you could bring it out here?” I suggest cheekily, knowing she’s already aware of what’s in it and that she couldn’t bring it out here even if we were allowed objects on the Drop.

  “Are you trying to get rid of me?” she asks, wide eyes sparkling.

  “Now, why would I do that?” I laugh, my thoughts turning to the stranger I’m set to meet. Potential Number One. “His name is Connor…From the pictures I’ve seen he looks pleasant enough.”