James Levi Stump is a sixteen-year-old junior that attends Force-Pointe High School. He has always been highly intelligent, boasting an impressive IQ of 160. Spending most of his free time reading medical journals or looking under the microscope at school, he’s never had much of a social life. In fact, he’s never had a social life at all. As smart as he is, there’s one thing he has never excelled at: social interaction.
For nearly all his life, James has only had one friend: Kelly Azusa. Their families have always been extremely close, and the two of them have known each other since they were in diapers. But, while Kelly quickly made friends when the duo started elementary school, James never saw the need. Kelly always stayed close to him, though, and even tries to get him to come out of his shell and make some more friends, but James never does. He gets anxious whenever he’s put into a social setting, he even sits as far away from everyone as he can at lunch.
His interests are almost exclusively academic. His greatest joy in life is reading medical journals about immunology and infectious diseases. If he had his way, he would spend all his time in a lab, looking at specimens under the microscope, or delving into his research and working on his projects. He excels at biology, biochemistry and statistics, as well as English and history.
The only class he struggles in is physical education…mostly because of the physical part. It’s not entirely his fault, though. His lifelong tormentors, a group which he refers to as the Hyena Gang because of their idiotic laughter, love to cause him trouble whenever they can, and phys ed is the perfect time to do it. They can tackle and trip him all they want and they never get in trouble.
James’ life of loneliness and isolation is about to change in a drastic way when two new students arrive at FPHS, even more drastically than he realizes. As he starts to make friends with the two new kids, he notices that he and his new group of chums are being followed by a strange woman that nobody else seems to notice. Is she really there, or is she simply a figment of imagination?
Unfortunately for James, the woman is the least of his worries. Something is creeping behind the walls and in the vents of the school, something more terrible than he can even imagine. And whatever the things crawling around the school are, they’re draining the students and faculty at the school of their energy.
As if life hadn’t become complicated enough, James and his friends suddenly find themselves face-to-face with the strange woman, who offers them a choice, a choice that will decide the fate of everyone at their school, perhaps everyone in the entire city—but no pressure.