- "Fourteen kids. One superstore. A million things that go wrong."
- — Tagline for Monument 14
In Emmy Laybourne’s action-packed debut novel, six high school kids (some popular, some not), two eighth graders (one a tech genius), and six little kids trapped together in a chain superstore build a refuge for themselves inside. While outside, a series of escalating disasters, beginning with a monster hailstorm and ending with a chemical weapons spill, seems to be tearing the world—as they know it—apart.
From Chapter 1: "Tinks", and included on the back cover of the novel:
Your mother hollers that you’re going to miss the bus. She can see it coming down the street. You don’t stop and hug her and tell her you love her. You don’t thank her for being a good, kind, patient mother. Of course not—you launch yourself down the stairs and make a run for the corner.
Only, if it’s the last time you’ll ever see your mother, you sort of start to wish you’d stopped and did those things. Maybe even missed the bus.
But the bus was barreling down our street, so I ran.
Monument 14 spans across twelve days, from Tuesday, September 17th to Saturday, September 28th, 2024. Some days span across several chapters, while others take up only a single chapter. The twelve days are listed below along with the chapters that take place on that day.
- Day 1 (September 17; Chapters 1-3) — "Tinks", "Space Blankets", "Metal Gate"
- Day 2 (September 18; Chapters 4-8) — "Eight Point Two", "Ink", "The Gate Rattler", "Blood Types", "Water"
- Day 3 (September 19; Chapters 9-10) — "Air Horn", "Mama Duck"
- Day 4 (September 20; Chapters 11-12) — "Ceremony", "Elections"
- Day 5 (September 21; Chapter 13) — "Greenway 2.0"
- Day 6 (September 22; Chapters 14-15) — "The Power of Pancakes", "My Food Aisle at Night"
- Day 7 (September 23; Chapters 16-17) — "A Lady", "Rum",
- Day 8 (September 24; Chapters 18-19) — "I Meet Painkillers", "Lice and Other Vermin"
- Day 9 (September 25; Chapter 20) — "We Get High"
- Day 10 (September 26; Chapters 21-25) — "The Hatch", "Breakfast with Outsiders", "Mr. Appleton's Story", "Buses Have Types, Too", "Hands"
- Day 11 (September 27; Chapters ) —
- Day 12 (September 28; Chapters ) —
| Spoiler warning!|
Read at your own risk!
Dean Grieder's mother hollers that Dean is going to miss the bus. Dean rushes outside without hugging his mother. Meanwhile, his brother, Alex Grieder, is taking the bus for the elementary and middle school students. Among the students on Dean's bus are Jake Simonsen, Astrid Heyman, Josie Miller, Brayden Cutlass, and Niko Mills. On their way to school, it begins to hail. The hailstones increase in size to the point that they are denting the roof and cracking the windshield. The bus driver, Mr. Reed, drives the bus into the parking lot of a Greenway superstore. The bus flips onto its side from the ice on the road. Mr. Reed and several students, including Trish Greenstein, are killed in the collision or by the falling hailstones. Others are injured, with Josie being the worst, having taken a large hailstone to the head. Smoke begins to fill the bus, and the surviving students attempt to escape the bus, but to no avail.
The elementary and middle school bus crashes into the main entrance of the Greenway. The bus driver, Mrs. Wooly, returns in her bus for the high school students, using an ax to break open the rear emergency exit. Niko rescues Dean, who is suffocating from the smoke. The survivors are loaded into her bus, and Mrs. Wooly drives back into the Greenway. The high school bus explodes not long thereafter.
Inside the Greenway, the grammar and middle school students are in the Pizza Shack. Mrs. Wooly sends several of them to retrieve medical supplies and clothes. Niko gets emergency blankets for Josie and Dean, who are both in shock. After everyone has changed into clean clothes, Mrs. Wooly holds a makeshift assembly. She tells them all the she is going to walk to the ER at the nearby hospital, since her bus has two flat tires. She assigns Jake in charge until she returns. She sends the younger kids to pick out puzzles and games from the Toy Department in order to warn the teenagers about possible rioting and looting. As she leaves, Mrs. Wooly gags from the sight of several deceased Greenway employees outside.
Astrid, who worked at the Pizza Shack over the summer, begins to bake pizza for everyone. As they are eating, three metal security gates descend across the sliding doors and windows in the front of the Greenway, trapping them inside. Alex and Dean find an old flat-screen TV in the Media Department. CNN is broadcasting the series of disasters which unfolded that morning. A volcano eruption on the island of La Palma triggered a megatsunami a half-mile tall, which crashed into the eastern coast of the United States of America at 4:43 a.m. (Mountain time). This was responsible for the massive hailstorm which struck Monument, Colorado. In addition, because three of the five satellite centers were located on the East Coast, the National Connectivity is down, which renders most electronic devices, including minitabs, functionally useless. Everyone grabs sleeping bags and go to sleep in the Media Department.
Everyone is woken by a massive 8.2 earthquake around 8 a.m.. They all take shelter under the tables in the Pizza Shack. The aisles are all a mess from items having fallen off of the shelves. After the aftershocks have passed, some of them head to the Media Department. The flat-screen TV from the day prior is damaged. Alex is able to fix the audio. The news channel is broadcasting, and informs those around the TV that there was a massive chemical weapons leak from NORAD as a result of the quake, and that they should take shelter immediately. Niko takes lead, having the older kids and teens retrieve duct tape and plastic sheeting. Alex finds two staple guns. They build a protective wall over the security gates as a means of preventing the chemical agent from getting inside the Greenway. Just as they near completion, Dean realizes that the AC is still working.
Niko, Dean, and a few others go to the Operations Center located in the storeroom. In an effort to turn off the AC, Brayden begins pushing random buttons, which only results in the AC's intensity increasing. Niko, Alex, and Dean plan on going to the roof to turn off the AC units manually. Jake fetches them industrial-strength air masks. On the roof, the trio find Sahalia, who was planning on leaving the Greenway. However, she decided otherwise when she saw a huge, ink-like cloud forming over the horizon — the chemical agent from NORAD. The ducts for the AC are damaged and punctured from the hail, so they must be destroyed. Niko sends Sahalia to find a sledgehammer. Once she returns, Niko begins to hammer at the duct in an effort to collapse it. The chemical agent is closing in on them, so Dean goes to grab the air masks he left by the roof hatch. However, Dean suddenly becomes irrational angry, and wants to kill Niko. He attempts to lunge at Niko, but is tripped by Alex, who drags him back inside. Niko successfully collapses the duct before following them.
Dean continues to attack Alex before being pinned by Jake. Brayden begins acting severely paranoid, while Niko's skin begins blistering up. Dean is tied up to prevent him from attacking anyone else. The others wash up and change clothes in order to get rid of the chemicals they were exposed to. Dean's anger eventually subsides, and he too cleans up. Niko's skin returns to normal. Sahalia gets Niko, Dean, and Alex pink tracksuits with fluffy pink slippers to wear. The older kids meet up to discuss the chemical agents. While doing so, a man begins rattling on the main gate. He wants to get inside, but is told by Jake that all entrances are locked. The man becomes increasingly aggressive, shouting profanities and rattling the gate harder. Dean, Alex, and Astrid begin singing "Yankee Doodle" in order to distract the little kids, who are frightened by the man. It eventually works and the children follow them away from the security gate.
Around 3 p.m., the younger kids all take naps. The older kids are in the Media Department, listening to the news again. The anchor informs them that the chemical agent affects people based on their blood type: people with Type A will develop severe blisters, internal hemorrhage, and organ failure; people with Type AB will suffer from "paranoid delusions and possible hallucinations"; people with Type AB will either suffer no consequences from exposure or "long-term reproductive difficulties and sterility"; and people with Type O will become "deranged and violent". Niko is concerned about their air and power; Alex assures him that since the chemical agent is greenish, yellow light is still able to get through to the solar panels. The children wake up a short time thereafter, and Astrid takes them all to the bathroom.
Not long after the children go into the bathroom, Ulysses run out screaming. Inside the bathroom is chaos: the twins are hiding under the sinks; Chloe is biting Max's scalp; and Astrid has Batiste pinned to the wall, choking him. Niko believes the water has been contaminated by the chemicals. Niko and Jake go inside to stop Astrid and help the others; Sahalia stops Dean from entering; and Brayden doesn't enter due to his own cowardice. Dean restrains Chloe, while Niko performs CPR on Batiste, who passed out from being strangled. Jake tries to subdue Astrid, but is unsuccessful, and Astrid runs and hides somewhere in the store.
All of the kids are washed in a kiddy pool with bottled water and their clothes changed. The contaminated water and clothes are sealed up and moved to the baby stroller aisle, which has become the Dump. Niko later creates latrines to use, since the bathroom is no longer an option, and the big kids would rather not use pull-up diapers.
As everyone goes to sleep, one of the kids was sleep-talking, calling out the word "mommy". Brayden shouts for them to shut up, and the calls seized.
The next morning, Dean and Batiste make eggs and bacon for breakfast, as well as outfit the kitchen with additional appliances. Dean leaves a plate of eggs and bacon for Astrid. Alex meets with Dean, and estimates that 2200 of the 7000 people in Monument are alive. Dean tells Alex to not tell anyone else about those numbers.
Meanwhile, everyone else has been doing other things: Jake and Brayden have been elsewhere playing air hockey and Ping-Pong, with Sahalia watching them and acting as a cheerleader; Max and Ulysses are drinking Coke and eating chocolates; Batiste is coloring a Bible stories coloring book with magic markers; Chloe is playing with Barbie and Bratz dolls; and the twins have built a small house out of boxes. Dean and Alex decide to have a Monopoly marathon to pass the time.
The brothers stop midway through their third game due to the smell of pizza. Dean thinks Astrid has returned, but it is actually Niko. Jake, Brayden, and Sahalia show up to dinner drunk from alcohol. Niko wants to get things organized, but Jake believes Niko simply wants to take over. Niko counters that he just wants to "Be prepared" for anything that could happen. Brayden figures out that Niko is a Boy Scout, and begins mocking him. Niko tackles Brayden, which leads to them, Jake, and Dean all fighting. The fight ends when an air horn goes off. Josie is standing on the counter, and informs them all that the next day they will be having a ceremony to honor those killed as well as an election to determine a leader.
The younger kids all follow Josie around. She gets them all fresh pajamas, sleeping bags, air mattresses, and pillows. They set up in the Media Department, and Josie tells them a fairy tale in which Mrs. Wooly returns and saves them in a new bus. The story puts the children to sleep. Josie asks Dean to write something for the ceremony, to which he agrees.
Caroline suggests that everyone dresses up for the ceremony. Her and Henry wear matching plaid clothes. Dean brings them to the ceremony, where Josie has made quite a set up. Chloe is striking wind chimes to attract everyone. Sahalia shows up with a guitar. Jake and Brayden are still hungover. Astrid doesn't show up.
Josie begins the ceremony by talking about Heaven. Sahalia then plays and sings a song by Insect of Zero. Dean reads his poem afterwards. Josie leads everyone in lighting candles and placing them in the center, with Jake lighting Astrid's. Josie leads them in a simple song with each of them holding a photo she cut out from various magazines. Batiste concludes the ceremony by reciting the Lord's prayer, which is full of errors in its recitation.
Dean decides during lunch that he will select one of the younger kids each day to help him make the meals for the day, with Chloe being the first helper. Jake and Brayden miss lunch entirely. Josie is waiting for them before she starts the election. The duo make a grand entrance by performing a football touchdown in the Pizza Shack. Dean thinks that they are both high based on how they are speaking and moving. After their performance, Niko gives his own speech. Alex counts the ballots, and Josie announces that Niko has won. Jake congratulates him before leaving with Brayden to get drunk.
Niko wakes Dean at 7:08 a.m. to make breakfast. Ulysses appears in Batman pajamas to help, and they cook huevos rancheros. Niko is finishing a map of the store for Operation Restock. He assigns everyone (except for Jake, Brayden, and Astrid) to cleaning a particular section of the Greenway, with debris and damaged items being put in the Dump. He proposes them working for three hours until noon, taking a break for lunch, and working three more hours before stopping for the day. All of the children (except for Sahalia) are excited to be cleaning.
Jake and Brayden have created a bunker in the Sports Department. Rather than cleaning, they spend the day drinking beer, playing laser tag, and making a bigger mess in that department.
For dinner, Dean and Ulysses make cheese enchiladas. Once again, Dean leaves a plate of food out for Astrid, but unlike before, is too tired to leave a short note with it.
Batiste is Dean's helper for the day; for breakfast, they make stuffed pancakes with fresh berry syrup. There is enough for everyone to have thirds. While everyone is eating, Niko offers Josie some coffee, but she says she drinks tea. Dean wants to spend some time with Alex (having seen him sparsely the past day); however, Alex has work to do with Niko.
Dean is taking a plate out for Astrid, but runs into Brayden and Jake, neither of whom were at breakfast. The duo has set up a bowling alley using bubble bath bottles and a heavy yoga ball in the Women's Department. Brayden knows the food is for Astrid, but Jake wants some since he say Astrid eating trail mix the day before. Dean gives them the plate of food before leaving.
Lunch is curried tuna fish with almonds and currants on toast, with dulce de leche cupcakes for dessert. Niko asks Jake if he can be the Head of Security, to which Jake says he'll consider. Jake seems more upbeat than usual, complimenting Chloe and discussing football with Max and Ulysses; however, he continues to ignore Sahalia. Meanwhile, Niko flirts with Josie, which makes Brayden jealous.
Josie's secret assignment has been improving everyone's living quarters. She has decided that the dressing rooms in the northwest corner of the store are most suitable, as the floor is made of bamboo instead of carpet; in addition, they offer privacy. Josie asks Dean to help take down the some of the walls dividing the individual four foot-by-four foot dressing rooms to make the prospective bedrooms bigger. She plans on having the younger children use the handicapped accessible six foot-by-ten foot dressing rooms; the teenagers can instead use four foot-by-eight foot rooms. Dean attempts to set up Josie with Niko, saying that Niko would be better at this than him; Josie responds that Niko is too uptight and formal. While they are working, Brayden shows up looking for Jake. He offers to help since he has experience framing houses. Dean leaves them to work on the living quarters.
Later on, Josie unveils their work to everyone else. In addition to making the rooms, they have set up a living room outside the dressing rooms, complete with throw rugs, bean bags, tables, chairs, lamps, and a library. The wall separating the men's and ladies' dressing rooms has also been removed. The area is nicknamed the Train after Ulysses's observation that it resembles a train.
Josie eats dinner with Jake and Brayden. Niko attempts to join in their conversation, telling a story about having to make lean-to shelters on a particularly cold camping trip at Yosemite. However, Jake interrupts him with a story about Fat Marty making a grease bomb that ended up smoking up rather than exploding, which leads to Josie laughing. Niko and Sahalia are jealous of Brayden and Josie, respectively.
Later that night, after the Greenway's lights have dimmed down, Dean realizes he has forgotten his notebook in the Kitchen. He goes over to grab it, but hears laughing. He finds Astrid and Jake together, the former eating the plate of food Dean had left out from dinner. Astrid begins to cry, as she misses family and friends and is overall scared. Her and Jake begin to kiss, which turns into them making out. Astrid begins to undress, and just as Dean thinks things are about to turn personal, Jake stops and heads back to the Train, leaving Astrid alone. She dresses back up and climbs on top of the ice tea shelves. She removes a roof panel, which reveals a sleeping bag and books. Dean hates himself for having seen Astrid topless.
Caroline and Henry are Dean's helpers for the day. They make scrambled eggs and chocolate chip waffles for breakfast. Dean is unable to look at Jake. Niko announces a change in plans for Operation Restock — the big kids will continue cleaning the store, and Josie will be teaching the younger kids like school. In addition, Niko and Alex have been working on a power plan to conserve energy. Lights will only be on in the Living Room and Kitchen; elsewhere, the store will remain dark and require flashlights. All of the children except for the twins are thrilled about this.
During work time, the big kids consolidate the frozen food into the freezer in the Kitchen. Dean is annoyed at Niko and Alex because he is unable to spend time with his brother. Dean wants to play Monopoly, but Alex is playing Stratego with Niko. After dinner, Alex talks to Niko about some video walkie-talkies he has found and has been working on.
After lights out, Jake wakes up Dean and the other older kids, as there is a woman outside the storeroom who wants to be let inside. Niko has Josie stay with the younger kids. Inside the storeroom, Jake shows them a video intercom that shows a woman outside, her face covered by a shawl. She pleads for them to let her inside while they debate on whether or not to let her in.
Dean proposes using a ladder and the roof hatch. Immediately after his proposal, the woman lets out a scream and vanishes out of sight of the camera. They hear the Gate Rattler telling the woman that this is his store before beating her up. They hear her body being dragged away, and presume her to be dead.
Niko enters a state of rage, and begins to strike his own face and knock over boxes. He blames the woman's (presumed) death on himself and his inability to plan fast enough. After getting his attention, Dean and the others calm him down and convince him that it wasn't his fault. They leave the storeroom, with Jake proposing they all get a drink.
Jake pours everyone shots of rum in the Kitchen. Jake cracks a few lighthearted jokes about Niko being a Boy Scout. Niko tells everyone about when he lived in Buffalo, New York. He says that he used to date a senior while he was a sophomore, which Brayden doesn't believe. The conversations transition to talking about having sex, and Jake jokes about Dean's virginity. Jake proceeds to talk about Astrid. Dean, who is heavily drunk at this point, accuses Jake of not loving Astrid, while simultaneously revealing his own love for Astrid.
Dean reveals to the others that Jake has "named her [Astrid's] body parts after Disney princesses!", which results in Jake leaping at Dean. Jake beats up Dean, but is pulled off by Niko and Brayden. Jake calls Dean a "sneak" and a "pervert". Josie appears and rushes to Dean's side. Jake storms off, and Niko and Brayden both look guilty. Dean then pukes (most likely from the alcohol).
Josie cleans up Dean and brings him back to bed. While he sleeps, Dean has feverish dreams of Jake punching him in the face in different places.
Dean wakes up feeling "like I'd fallen off a ski left, then fallen down a black diamond mogul field and been hit by a Snowcat." He goes to Jake's room to apologize for what he had said. However, he lies to Jake, saying that he had spoken to Astrid rather than spied on them. Jake accepts the apology, and decides to help Dean, who has a broken nose. He sits Dean in the living room while he gets some medical supplies. Jake gives Dean some painkillers and demi-roids before pouring hydrogen peroxide into his nose. He sticks cotton into Dean's nose, and Dean begins to feel bad about lying.
The children return, wondering what happened to Dean. Max is confident that Dean was beaten up, but Dean tells Max that he had simply fallen off a shelf. Max tells a story about his aunt Raylene being domestically abused by her husband, Mack, and originally saying she had just fallen off a ladder. Josie then tells everyone to get their bathing suits on, as the children have lice and everyone needs to get washed.
Everyone goes to the Dump, where Josie has set up a couple of big plastic tubs, Nit-Out shampoo, and gallon jugs of distilled water. Dean observes Brayden giving Josie a kiss. Sahalia arrives not dressed in a bathing suit, but instead a white T-shirt, short shorts, and long woolen leg warmers. While Josie is cleaning Ulysses, Sahalia goes to straddle the other bin, her backside facing Niko, Jake, Brayden, and Dean. She then pours a bottle of water over herself, revealing too much skin in the process; when she gets up and faces the boys, they are able to see her breasts and nipples through the shirt. Josie quips that Sahalia's shirt "is totally see-through" before ultimately grabbing a towel to wrap around Sahalia.
Dress Your Marines in WhiteEdit
- Main article: Dress Your Marines in White
Dress Your Marines in White is a short story featured in some versions of Monument 14. It serves as a prequel to the novel, and gives backstory surrounding the chemical weapon at NORAD.
- The narrator's name is not revealed to be Dean until page 14.
- The date is not known until page 45, when the news channel is making an announcement about NORAD having a breach in their chemical weapon storage facilities after the earthquake.
- ↑ Monument 14 (2012), p. 164
- ↑ Monument 14 (2012), p. 165
- ↑ "Lice and Other Vermin." Monument 14, 2012. p 173
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|Novels and Companion Stories in the Monument 14 Series|
|Dress Your Marines in White (#0.5) · Monument 14 (#1) · Jake and the Other Girl (#1.5) · Sky on Fire (#2) · What Mario Scietto Says (#2.5) · The Most Important Meeting In My Life by Max Skolnik (#2.6) · Savage Drift (#3)|