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The protagonist of the story, Ann Burden is a 16-year-old girl living in Burden Valley, a valley named after her family as one of the initial inhabitants of the land. Ann is a very strong, self-sufficient girl who lives on her own for many years after her family perishes in the deadness beyond the valley. The book is written as though it is Ann's journal which she has kept since the disappearance of her family. Entries include information about Ann's daily life and experiences, including her first spotting of Mr. Loomis. A very relatable character, Ann goes through everyday problems just as we all do, even in her compromised state.
The primary antagonist of the story, John Loomis is a scientist who helped create the "safe suit," the radiation-proof suit that he wore in order to get to Burden Valley, the same suit that cost his associate Edward his life. Upon reaching the valley, Mr. Loomis bathes in a radioactive stream and comes down with intense radiation sickness, which Ann helps him through as best as she can. After Loomis recovers from his sickness, he becomes quite insane and begins attacking Ann, causing her to flee to the surrounding woods. As the book comes to a close, Ann abandons Loomis in the valley, taking his safe suit and going into the deadness.
Faro is Ann's brother's dog. He left when Ann's family disappeared but then returned after quite a while. He plays a large role in the book as he is essentially Ann's last hope. At one point, he inadvertantly aids Loomis in hunting for Ann, primarily because he wishes to be with Ann because she is a familiar face and smell. Faro ends up dying when he falls in Burden Creek and contracts horribly fast-moving radiation sickness.
Ann's Mother, Father, & Brother
At the beginning of the story we learn that Ann's entire family left in search of others who had survived the bombing. However, they all die of radiation sickness shortly after their departure.
Edward is scientist as well as associate of Loomis'. Edward is killed by Loomis because Loomis fears that Edward is going to steal the only safe suit ever produced, the only thing that can protect anyone from the deadness.
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