It’s a remarkable fact that everything is made of atoms,
yet atoms are made of empty space.
99.9999% empty space.
And so it is.
If you squeezed all the emptiness out of humanity,
what’s left over would occupy less space than a sugar cube.
The universe began with light. Now humans are vanishing, dronics are watching, and bands of orphaned children are hiding in the dark. But a 12-year-old amnesiac and a pint-sized boy-genius are about to unravel a mystery that just might save the world:
Where have all the people gone?
WALBY & STICKS is the story they’d’ve come up with if Mad Max, Stephen Hawking, and Harry Potter had all gotten together to write a middle grade adventure. It’s set in a post-apocalyptic world where nature has reclaimed the land, and humans have all but disappeared in a mysterious phenomenon called the Vanishing.
The story explores the concept of science vs. magic through the Mulder/Scully dynamic of the two main characters. 11yo Sticks — a disillusioned genius á la Artemis Fowl, and a pure scientist — relentlessly logical in his examination of the world. And 12yo Walby Jade — a wildly emotional amnesiac, and mini-La Femme Nikita — who seems to have something magical sparkling in her blood. Though no one knows exactly what.
Together, the odd pair set off into the world where orphans are the last remaining target of the Vanishing. They try to piece together Walby’s past, following a trail of clues, which eventually leads them back to a hidden lab and training camp, run by a motley group of survivors. But when the truth about Walby’s past is revealed, Walby & Sticks finally realize the key to solving the mystery has been inside her this whole time…
A secret that could bring and end to the Vanishing for good.
Unless it kills her.
Which Sticks has determined is highly probable.
Sticks goes back to the lab in search of answers, which he believes lies hidden in the origins of the universe: black holes and stardust, string theory and big bangs. But Walby believes what lies inside her is something more elusive than anything Sticks could test in his lab. They’ve all heard rumors and whispers of magic, but no one really knows how it works; she’ll have to figure that out on her own.
It’s a miracle she doesn’t Vanish herself or demolish more than half the school. But as the man behind the Vanishing slowly comes in to focus, it becomes clear that that their only hope is to try and bring science and magic together as one. As everybody bands together for the only fight left that matters…
The fight for the children of the disappeared.
Please also take a look at After the Vanishing for additional illustrations from Sticks own notebook, meant to be integrated with this project.