The hunters became the hunted as the Revenants formed packs and brought down the military blockades. Bowing to the pressure of human rights groups, the government still resisted airstrikes. More attempts were made to quarantine. More blockades were compromised. The ranks of the infected swelled.

Reports from overseas indicated the infection had somehow crossed the ocean, but no one was sure just how. Rumors abounded of foreign entities attempting to invade while America was dying on her knees, and Mac supposed that escaping invaders had taken home more than just their survivors. Portugal was wiped out in a fortnight. Destruction marched with brutal efficiency across Europe and down into Australia. When South Africa fell, Iceland alone was the only country free of the infection.

It was estimated that within two years, ninety-eight percent of the world’s population had fallen victim to the Revenant Virus. With the exception of small pockets of survivors, everyone was infected or dead at the hands of the infected.

One hundred twenty-two years later, the Stronghold’s elders speculated that the survivors numbered a mere two percent of the world’s population, which had been nearing eight billion at the onset of the Upheaval. Mac thought that was optimistic; you could just look around and see there was no way more than a hundred million people had survived. The Stronghold itself, rumored to be one of the biggest survivor settlements in what had once been the United States, numbered only a couple thousand people, and many of those had come in groups from other parts of the region.

Leonard stopped at the bottom of an iron rack leading upward into muted sunlight. It took Mac a moment to realize it was the iron skeleton of a staircase. The concrete treads had crumbled away long ago and the iron was rusty, but it looked sturdy enough.

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