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The Only Ones

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The Only Ones

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"Call it coincidence, call it fate. This is the place you come. There's no one else. This is the entire world."These words welcome Martin Maple to the village of Xibalba. Like the other children who've...
"Call it coincidence, call it fate. This is the place you come. There's no one else. This is the entire world."These words welcome Martin Maple to the village of Xibalba. Like the other children who've...
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  • "Call it coincidence, call it fate. This is the place you come. There's no one else. This is the entire world."
    These words welcome Martin Maple to the village of Xibalba. Like the other children who've journeyed there, he faces an awful truth.
    He was forgotten.
    When families and friends all disappeared one afternoon, these were the only ones left behind.
    There's Darla, who drives a monster truck, Felix, who uses string and wood to rebuild the Internet, Lane, who crafts elaborate contraptions, and nearly forty others, each equally brilliant and peculiar.
    Inspired by the prophesies of a mysterious boy who talks to animals, Martin believes he can reunite them with their loved ones. But believing and knowing are two different things, as he soon discovers with the push of a button, flip of a switch, turn of a dial . . .

    From the Hardcover edition.

  • Chapter One

    The Mainland

    The stars melted away. Martin had rowed through the night. The next time I see stars, he thought, it won't be from the island and it won't be from the ocean.

    For through the first spits of morning sunlight, he spied the mainland only a few hundred yards ahead of him. The island had ten houses, while the mainland had hundreds. Dozens of docks lined the water's edge, and countless boats bobbed quietly in a harbor. Many of the boats were half submerged. A few were almost entirely covered in water. Broken masts stuck up through the froth like stubborn little birch trees.

    Seagulls circled above him as Martin guided the boat up to a dock. He climbed out and scanned the surroundings. Streets and paths wound their way through the town and into hills in the distance. Cars were strewn everywhere--along the streets, in the streets, even in the grass, which was as high as Martin's shoulder. Martin had never seen a car before, but he knew that they were "boats with wheels and windshield wipers," as his father put it, and in nearly every book Martin had read, they were the preferred manner of transportation.

    Many of the buildings near the dock were decorated with signs announcing things like the coldest beer in town or fine dining for fine folks. Martin hadn't eaten in a day, and while he was accustomed to going without a meal or two, the row from the island had left him ravenous.

    He made his way down the dock and entered the first building he came upon, a modest construction with a hand-carved sign above the door that read the barnacled butcher.

    The first things he noticed were the red stains on the floor. Then a scattering of meat- and marrow-picked bones. Lingering scents of rot and feces hit him next. It had seemed a reasonable place to find a meal, but he had read far too many books about murderers and monsters. He wasn't going to risk meeting such things.

    For now, he would explore the rest of the town. Perhaps he would meet someone. Perhaps someone would know where to find George. It had been almost two years since he had seen a soul, and he desperately needed to see one now.

    But there wasn't anyone anywhere he looked.

    Without even a sliver of warning, a fog hustled in. Martin became blind to everything more than a few yards away. So he kept to the winding streets, hiking for more than a mile and dodging car after car--some with their windows open and their seat cushions torn into tidy little nests; all abandoned and splattered white with gull guano.

    If there's not someone, he thought, then there must be something that can tell me where I am and where I should go.

    For now, the best the world could give Martin was a pile of waterlogged books, pouring out onto the street. He stepped over them and onto a wild, dewy lawn, where he found a series of plastic tables overturned on the ground, their legs sticking up and hugged by weeds. Next to one table, he found a sign. He lifted it, wiped away the mud, and read: Gently Used Books--Support Our Renovations This Saturday and Sunday.

    He placed the sign down and squinted through the fog at a building across the lawn. He could barely make out a line of steel letters on the brick entryway.


    It was chillier inside. And dark--so dark that Martin had to let his eyes adjust for a minute before taking a step beyond the doorway. There was an odor, a mustiness, but nothing like in the butcher shop. The floors were relatively free of debris, and as he made his way past a large wooden desk, Martin drew in a breath of relief.

    Thousands of books filled dozens of shelves. A few books lay open on the floor, but for the most part,...

About the Author-
  • AARON STARMER earned his bachelor's degree in English from Drew University and his master's degree in cinema studies from New York University. He received an entirely different kind of education working for 10 years as an expert in travel literature and a specialist in African safaris. His first novel was the comic children's adventure Dweeb. He lives with his wife in Hoboken, New Jersey.

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    Random House Children's Books
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