Leila Ossarian

Leila never felt like she had much going for her other than her aptitude for math. Her older sisters told her this was a dumb thing to be good at. Easy for them to say. They were slim and beautiful, talented at everything they put their hands to, while Leila was only talented at…numbers. And eating. So while her lovely dark-eyed sisters danced, played the piano, wrote poetry, and won local beauty pageants, Leila comforted herself with pizza and calculus.

The pandemic wiped out Leila’s family, leaving her in shock and then oddly smug to realize that she had managed to outlive her precious, oh-so-special sisters.

With her neighbor Cassie Thompson, Leila set about the business of day to day survival. Short rations and daily physical exertion gave Leila curves—the right kind, this time. Boys who had never given her a second look stopped their foraging to stare. Sexy clothes that would’ve looked ridiculous before now suited her. Every time she looked in a mirror, she was thrilled. Too bad Cassie insisted the mirrors in each house they stayed at be covered. She was probably just jealous.

Who needs math now? A lot of things about the pandemic suck, but for the first time in her life, Leila is beautiful. She has access to thousands of empty shops and houses full of pretty clothes and jewelry. Boys are actually interested in her. Sure, she’s infected with Telo like everyone else and she’ll probably die soon, but in the meantime, she’s going to have as good a time as she can.

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