The Fabrication of Eden Pruitt







In a near-future America, where Freedom of the Press is no more, 18-year-old Eden Pruitt and her parents move to Eagle Bend, Iowa on the cusp of her senior year. After her first day of school, she comes home to an empty ransacked house. When she returns with a police officer, a stranger answers the door and claims the house belongs to him. Eden panics, especially when she realizes she can’t remember chunks of her day.

At the police station, the officer takes Eden’s fingerprints. She’s already in the system—not as Eden Pruitt, but as a disturbed runaway named Ellery Forrester. The officer finally gets in touch with her parents, which comes as a tremendous relief. But when they arrive, they aren’t her parents. Eden has never seen them before in her life. They claim a traumatic brain injury has messed with her memory. The police stand by as the man who claims to be Eden’s father sedates her against her will.

She wakes up in a strange bedroom. She overhears the woman speaking on the phone, and recognizes the voice on the other end, but can’t place it. She attempts to escape, but the man intercepts her. They’re taking her to a doctor. On the way, Eden jumps out of the moving car, causing a multi-vehicle pile-up. When she runs, her path crosses with a young man claiming to have answers.

21-year-old Cassian Gray is hardened, street savvy, attractive, and runs in dangerous circles. He brings Eden to a college dormitory, where they search for answers with a punk rocker conspiracy theorist named Cleo.

Here’s what they know: a high-stakes gambler wrapped up in the world of Underground Fighting is after Eden. He goes by the name Mordecai.

It makes little sense. Eden has nothing to do with the illegal sport of fighting, which was banned twenty-one years ago after The Attack, a nuclear assault on American soil that killed millions and irrevocably altered an increasingly divided nation.

They also know a bookie named Yukio has been shot and killed. Eden’s parents have vanished with no online trail to prove they ever existed. And Cass not only lives off the grid like a criminal, he’s a fighter for the Underground. According to him, he found out Mordecai was after Eden and intervened.

Cass breaks into drone surveillance and finds footage of Eden coming home from school, then rushing out of the house. Seconds later, two men arrive and take Eden’s bloodied parents away in a van. Eden can’t remember any of it—not coming home after school, not running away. Cass contacts a professional hacker to see if they can get footage from the security system inside Eden’s home, and Cleo suggests hypnotherapy.

While it doesn’t help Eden remember what happened that day, it brings up another memory—a doctor bending over her, speaking with a familiar voice—the same one who was speaking with the woman pretending to be her mom. His name is Dr. Benjamin Norton. He’s a retired military doctor with a connection to Eden’s father. They find her dad’s picture in an old online paper, but his name is different. Her mother has a different name, too. The names lead to another article, dated six days before Eden was born. In the photograph, her mother’s stomach is flat.

Eden tries outrunning her confusion on a treadmill in the basement of Cleo’s dormitory. Without noticing, she’s turned the treadmill to max speed—20 mph without breaking a sweat.

The next day, Eden spots the man pretending to be her father in the lobby of Cleo’s dorm. While attempting to escape, Cass and Eden are ambushed in a parking garage. Cass fights. Eden is shot with a tranquilizer dart. She regains consciousness in the back of a truck. Cass is injured and unconscious when a text message arrives from the hacker. It’s footage from inside Eden’s home. She watches herself—not the two men—attack her parents.

Their captors bring them to Dr. Norton, who isn’t the enemy, but an old friend of her father’s. The man pretending to be Eden’s father is Jack Forrester, who is also an old friend of her father’s. They’ve been trying to get Eden to safety ever since her real father sent Dr. Norton an alert three days ago.

As Dr. Norton treats Cassian’s injury, Eden’s mind spins. The footage on the phone. Running 20 mph. Jumping out of a moving car without sustaining an injury. The realization that she’s never been sick—despite getting tubes put in her ears, if that’s what they actually did to her. In a state of shock, she slices her hand open with a knife and watches it heal before her eyes. 

What is she?

Dr. Norton tells her the truth. He admits that he never put tubes in her ears, but a scrambling device so nobody could track her. Before she was Eden Pruitt, she was Subject 006, created by the most infamous terrorist in history—the man responsible for The Attack, Karik Volkova. This is who Eden is—a weapon created by evil for evil, and her father was sent by the CIA to destroy her. Only he couldn’t. She was an innocent baby. But now? She’s an eighteen-year-old girl with enemies inside her. Millions of enemies that can make her do horrible things against her will. It seems like only a matter of time until she’s controlled again. She wants these enemies out of her, but Dr. Norton doesn’t know how to do it. They travel to Chicago to visit Cleo’s mom, a neurosurgeon named Dr. Beverly Randall-Ransom.

In Chicago, Eden and Cass visit Yukio’s girlfriend to see if they might find a lead on Mordecai’s identity. There, Eden comes upon the truth Cassian has been hiding. He didn’t simply hear that Mordecai was looking for a girl named Eden Pruitt. He was hired by Mordecai to find her. He was hired to find two girls, in fact. He found Eden, but he never found the second girl. Eden kicks Cass out of her life.

Eden discovers the other girl is the real-life Ellery Forrester, Jack Forrester’s daughter. Who is Subject 005. As soon as Eden’s dad sent the emergency alert to Dr. Norton, Dr. Norton alerted Jack and Jack got his daughter and his wife on a flight out of the country.

Eden discovers she has her own network. Upon hacking into it, Jack unlocks a wealth of information, which helps them concoct a plan to rescue her parents. They also discover that Eden has a self-destruct function. While this horrifies Dr. Norton and Jack, Eden is relieved. Here is the preventative measure she’s been searching for. Should she be controlled again, she wants someone to carry out the self-destruct function. She doesn’t want to attack anyone against her will ever again.

Dr. Norton and Jack refuse to use it. Eden finds someone who will—Cassian. He stopped fighting because he was afraid of the monster he became when he stepped into the ring. So he took himself out of the ring. Should it become necessary, she needs someone to take her out, too. He owes her. Cassian agrees, but struggles with his role, especially as his feelings for Eden grow.

Finally, Mordecai calls. He wants to make a trade. If Eden hands herself in, he will release her parents. It’s time to execute their plan. She meets him at an undisclosed location, where she pretends to be under his control. As they head to Mordecai’s underground compound, Cass isn’t sure whether he will have to carry out the self-destruct function. Is Eden pretending to be under Mordecai’s control, or is she actually under his control?

At the compound, Mordecai orders one of his henchman to take Subject 006 to an examination room, and to dispose of her parents. Eden goes into full-on fight mode. She battles an army of security guards and rescues her parents, but not before her father is shot twice and Mordecai gets away.

Her father is rushed to Dr. Beverly Randall-Ransom, who saves his life. Jack and Cassian discover two more teenagers in Mordecai’s compound—a missing 18-year-old boy named Barrett Barr, and an unidentified female of the same age. These are Subjects 003 and 004. Cass interrogates Mordecai’s henchman. Instead of cooperating, he takes a pill laced with cyanide and utters, “For the Monarch” before dying.

Eden’s father recovers under Dr. Beverly Randall-Ransom’s care. Meanwhile, Cassian finds Mordecai’s true identity and determines to track him down.