Dean Grieder is late for the high school bus, so he rushes outside. In his haste, he does not stop to hug his mother. On the bus, Niko Mills points to Dean's shoes, letting him know that the laces are untied. Dean proceeds to put in earbuds for his minitab; however, it is dead, despite having charged it the night before.
On their way to school, it begins hailing, with the hailstones being so large and numerous that the roof begins to dent and the windshield to crack. The bus driver drives the bus into the parking lot of a Greenway, where the bus flips over and slides to a halt. Dean takes cover under a loose seat. He witnesses Mr. Reed bleed out and die from his makeshift shelter. Dean also witnesses Josie Miller get pelted by hailstones, including one that nails her forehead. He wants to help, but his body wouldn't move; thankfully, Niko pulls her under a seat.
Astrid Heyman moves to the front of the bus to try and break the windshield. She asks Dean to help her, but he just stares at her, unable to say a word. The bus begins to fill with smoke, which makes Dean sleepy. Mrs. Wooly returns to rescue the high school students. Niko goes to the front of the bus to get Dean, who is nearly unconscious from the ever-thickening smoke. Once out of the smoking bus, Jake Simonsen carries Dean to a seat on Mrs. Wooly's bus; Dean vomits on Jake, having breathed in so much smoke.
Mrs. Wooly drives the surviving high school students into the Greenway. Niko gets a thermal blanket for Dean; Mrs. Wooly gives Dean three Advil, some cough syrup, and a gallon of water; and Alex Grieder, Dean's brother, gets clean clothes for him.
Inside a bathroom, Dean changes with Jake and Brayden Cutlass. He is uncomfortable changing in front of them because they were well built and he was not, but does so anyway. They talk about the hail briefly. Dean gives Jake a new sweatshirt as an apology for throwing up on him earlier. He jokes that it'll go good with Jake's eyes, which leads to the trio laughing for quite some time.
Mrs. Wooly holds a makeshift meeting, where she assigns Jake in charge. She tells all of the kids that she will be going to the nearby hospital, and that they are not to leave until either she or their parents return. She tells the teenagers that they must protect the younger ones in case of rioting and looting. Dean goes to the Office Supply section, where he finds a notebook and pen to write about the incident while it is still fresh in his mind.
While Astrid is making pizza for everyone, Dean makes slushies for all of the younger children. He surprises all of them by mixing the flavors. Chloe is initially annoyed because she wants her slushie to have raccoon tail-like stripes, and Dean is unable to make the stripes thin enough to her liking. Dean tries to get Josie, who is in shock, to eat some pizza, but to no avail. While everyone is eating, the metal security gates close over the entrance of the Greenway, essentially trapping them all inside.
Dean and Alex go the Media Department, where they find an old flat-screen TV. Alex turns it to CNN, where the anchors inform them of the series of disasters which led to the hailstorm. The anchors also reveal that three of the five satellite centers have been destroyed by a megatsunami, which has led to National Connectivity being down, as well as explaining why the minitabs aren't working. The fourteen children eventually pull up sleeping bags and fall asleep in the Media Department.
Dean and everyone else are woken by the foreshock of an 8.2 earthquake around 8 a.m. They take shelter under the tables in the Pizza Shack. During the aftershocks, Dean takes cover under the same table as Astrid, noting that "This was certainly the closest I'd ever been to her." After the earthquake has subsided, Dean and Alex go to the Media Department to find most of the technology destroyed. However, the flat-screen TV from the day prior has working audio, despite the damaged screen. Alex manages to fix it, and they catch an interview surrounding the recent earthquake. They are informed that a chemical weapon leakage occurred from NORAD's storage facilities in Colorado, and that everyone should shelter up.
Niko wants to create a protective barrier over the metal security gates at the front of the Greenway. He sends Dean and Brayden to get duct tape; whereas Brayden hastily grabs as many rolls he can carry, Dean takes the extra minute to tie his shirt into a bag in order to carry even more rolls. After using the duct tape to seal the edges of the newly create wall, Dean suddenly realizes that the AC is on.
Niko, Dean, Brayden, Jake, and Alex all go to the Operations Center located in the Storeroom to find the main controls for the AC. Brayden begins to press elements on the flat screen for the AC in order to turn it off, but he instead makes it worse by increasing its intensity. Niko, Alex, and Dean volunteer to go onto the roof in order to shut off the AC units manually. Before going up, Jake gives Dean industrial-strength air masks for them to use.
The trio find Sahalia, who was planning on leaving via a home safety fire-escape ladder, on the roof already. However, she stopped upon seeing an ink-like cloud pouring into the sky — the NORAD chemical agent. The ducts to the AC unit are perforated and full of holes as a result of the hailstorm the day prior. Niko has Sahalia get them a sledgehammer while him, Alex, and Dean attempt to collapse the main duct by jumping on it. Sahalia returns and Niko uses the sledgehammer. As the chemical cloud closes in on them, Dean goes to fetch the air masks, which he had left by the roof hatch. Dean turns to give one to Niko when he begins to feel sick from the chemicals, and feels the urge to kill Niko. He lurches at Niko, only to be tripped by Alex. Dean begins swinging, swiping, and biting at Alex, who tries to pull him back inside through the roof hatch.
At the bottom of the staircase, Dean attempts to attack Jake, but is quickly tackled and pinned by his target. Niko returns, wondering what is wrong with Dean. Brayden and Niko both begin to react from their exposure to the chemicals, with the former acting paranoid and the latter blistering all over his skin. Jake has Alex get rope to tie up Dean.
While Niko and Brayden are washing up, Dean no longer has the urge to kill or injure anyone, and he is untied. Dean feels terrible about having attacked his brother, and cleans up Alex's wounds with bactine. Afterwards, all of the older kids begin talking about NORAD's chemical weapon. While talking, they hear someone rattling on the gate.
Everyone goes to the front of the superstore, where a man wants to be let inside. When Jake refuses (due to all entrances being locked), the man grows irritable, shouts profanities, and shakes the gate even harder. Dean begins to sing "Yankee Doodle" as a way of distracting all the younger children, who are scared by the man. Eventually, they join in singing and he is able to lead them away from the gate.
Alex and Dean listen to the TV, where a news anchor is revealing that the chemical agents affects people based on their blood type. Dean's blood type is Type O. Exposure results in the person becoming "deranged and violent". Dean feels uncomfortable afterwards, believing everyone to be looking at him.
After Astrid has a meltdown, Dean and Alex go to the Home Improvement aisle. Dean and Alex are both glad Alex's blood type is Type B, because the worst consequence to exposure is sterility. Dean begins comparing his brother to their father, as well as drawing similarities between their brotherly relationship and the relationship of their parents.
The children begin waking up and having to use the restroom, so Astrid takes them all to the woman's bathroom. Dean begins writing again in his notebook; Brayden tears out a page and taunts Dean, but stops once Jake tells him. Suddenly, Ulysses runs out of the bathroom screaming; inside is complete chaos. Niko believes that the chemical has contaminated the water, and is affecting all of the children and Astrid. Niko and Jake go inside the bathroom to help Batiste, who is being strangled by Astrid. Dean is about to go inside too, but is stopped by Sahalia, who warns him that he might become enraged if he is exposed to the water. Instead, he restrains Chloe, who is also Type O.
Jake is trying to restrain Astrid, who is Type O as well. However, she escapes from his grasps and runs elsewhere into the store. Brayden taunts Dean to go after Astrid, saying that "You two are perfect for each other." Dean bites Brayden on the scalp before being knocked unconscious.
Dean wakes up not remembering what happened, tied up in a beanbag chair. Chloe is nearby eating Butterfingers, and he asks her to get his brother. After much persuasion, she leaves to find Alex. After he is untied, Dean decides to get new clothes for Batiste, who is in a sleeping bag. In addition to the clothes, he gets Batiste an Advil and a Popsicle, and gives him a back rub afterwards.
Dean attempts to make dinner. It ends up being mostly Tater Tots because he burns the green beans and dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets to a crisp. While eating, he attempts to have a conversation with and give food to Josie, but to no avail. Around ten, everyone begins to go to sleep. However, Dean hears one of the younger children calling out to their mommy in their sleep.
Dean and Batiste make eggs and bacon for breakfast; Dean covers a plate of food and leaves it out for Astrid. Alex estimates that only 2200 of the 7000 residents of Monument, Colorado are alive. Dean tells his brother to hide those numbers and to not show anyone else them, for fear of scaring the others.
A short time thereafter, Dean and Alex have a Monopoly marathon. Dean's strategy consists of buying everything; Alex sticks to buying only "the railroads, the utilities, and the light-blue properties (Vermont, Connecticut, and Oriental Avenues)." Alex wins the first game and Dean wins the second game. The third game is interrupted by the smell of pizza. Dean thinks Astrid has returned, but it is merely Niko.
At lunch, Niko proposes cleaning up and organizing the store. This leads to Brayden figuring out Niko is a Boy Scout, and he begins cracking jokes at Niko. In anger, Niko attacks Brayden. Jake tries to break them up, but after Niko pushes Jake into a cabinet, he too begins attacking Niko. Dean tries to separate them, but is punched by Brayden, so he retaliates instead. The four are interrupted by an air horn. They stop fighting and see Josie standing on the counter, who announces they will be having a ceremony to honor the dead as well as an election the next day.
After dinner, Dean and Alex finish their final game of Monopoly, which ends in the latter winning. Dean observes the younger children all following Josie like a mama duck. Josie later approaches Dean, and asks him to write something for the next day's ceremony. With some persuasion, Dean agrees to write something.
- ↑ Monument 14 (2012), p. 41
- ↑ Monument 14 (2012), p. 72
- ↑ Monument 14 (2012), p. 86
- ↑ Monument 14 (2012), p. 99
|Characters in Monument 14|
| Monument 14: Alex Grieder · Astrid Heyman · Batiste · Brayden Cutlass · Caroline McKinley · Chloe · Dean Grieder · Henry McKinley · Jake Simonsen · Josie Miller · Max · Niko Mills · Sahalia · Ulysses|
Other: Cory Booker · Mr. Reed · Trish Greenstein · Mrs. Wooly