London’s drowning. Good thing you live by the river.
This is the way the world ends, not with a bang but with a never-ending series of variants and waves.
Good thing John was awake to smell the smoke. Just don’t ask him why he was up in the first place.
Sunshine, warm and soft, fell through the open window onto Dagny’s face. It was early, and the sun had not discovered what it would be angry about today. It would. It was nearly the end of April. The sun had been angry since the last week of March. But now the sun was still halfContinue reading “The Day the World Came to Town”
June wakes up in the middle of the night, knowing something is wrong. The problem is figuring out what.
Maybe it wasn’t fair, but there were only hours left so what did fair mean anymore, anyway? It was outside a CVS, of all places. Why would they keep it? Was it even theirs? Who else could have owned it? He didn’t know a thing about that sort of thing. As the clock wound down,Continue reading “The Forecast is Storms”
The song cut out as the radio started blaring a test of the emergency broadcast system beginning with its usual discordant WEEEEEEEEHHHHHH. Mack cut it off and left it. They were almost to the parking lot of the trailhead, anyway. Next to him, in the passenger seat, Lois shifted. Out of the corner of hisContinue reading “Pre-Apocalypse”
Spring had finally come to the Biddies, but only because Marietta had said it had.
Birdie had spent the night pacing in front of her bed, tossing this way and then immediately getting uncomfortable and turning back the other, pacing some more, being mad at Wendy, and then being mad at herself, staring out the window at the stars like some kind of sad movie heroine, and finally falling into broken, unsatisfying sleep as she gripped a pillow to her chest. All the while June slept a deeper sleep than he had since he had stumbled into town, not even waking when she had stubbed her toe while pacing.
There were three ways to survive the Blues, and they were not equal. The worst was also the rarest.
With equal amounts of relief and leg cramps, Roll and Jack waded across the ill-named Lazy River. The icy water rushed by up to their knees, trying to knock them over and carry them away. A couple of times Jack almost let it. It might have been easier to just let the river drag him away from the raiders; he’d just have to push himself toward the eastern shore. The pack on his back kept him upright. It was heavy. It was unwieldy. It was his duty.
Birdie kept herself at a jog as she went through the mall, peering into the stores. If she went any faster, if she started to run, the panic would set in. There was no reason to panic. Not yet. He’d be here, somewhere. The good memories the lit-up mall had brought to her were gone. There was only one memory, the same memory her mind retreated to whenever she became stressed.
She woke up afraid, because it was a Tuesday and for her Tuesdays were historically terrible. It wasn’t every Tuesday. It wasn’t even most Tuesdays. But anything bad that had ever happened in her life had happened on a Tuesday, and now it had been fifty-two Tuesdays since a single thing had occurred. Rather thanContinue reading “Another Tuesday”
They didn’t know what else to do. So they went to the beach. It wasn’t far but it was a slow walk. Lynnette’s ankle was twisted badly if not completely broken, and Ronny was just tired. Tired. It seemed like the right word and the wrong one at the same time. It wasn’t strong enough,Continue reading “Beach”
John Robinson sat at the kitchen table in front of the wood fireplace and wished he had a scotch. Oh, he could have one if he really wanted. He was staring at the bottle in its cardboard case, sitting at the top of the liquor cabinet. No one would say a single word to him if he poured himself a little into one of the tumblers and ‘partook,’ as his Daddy used to put it. But, as far as anyone knew, no one was making scotch anymore. And if they were it wasn’t getting to the Biddies. He had to be choosy about scotch. Everyone had to be choosy about everything, really.
On the corner of Astoria and Sunday on the ridge above Broken Hearts were four Victorian homes. In happier times this was referred to in the town as the Biddies’ Corner, known for the four old women who had lived there and spent much of their lives together in one house or another, playing bunko and drinking gin. Not a one of them had survived, although the word had been Mrs. Rockby had tossed herself down the cellar stairs before the disease could get her.
The little town of Broken Hearts in the mountains of Colorado looked very pretty. All of the lights were off, of course, and there were no cars parked along the side of Main Street. But the street and the sidewalks had been shoveled and salted. The trees that lined the street had been trimmed. Most of the windows of the shops and cafes and the bank weren’t just intact, they were clean and decorated for Christmas. The few windows that had been broken had been neatly replaced with large sheets of plywood. It looked like a charming, functional hamlet, and the man walking down the middle of Main didn’t know no one lived there at all.
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