The 10-alarm blaze displaced 125 people. Several cars exploded as the fire spread from house to house. Local news reports showed plumes of smoke drifting for miles away from the fire. The following morning, Callie paused on the walkway on her way to the bus stop. The acrid odor of smoke hung heavily in the air. On this quiet morning surrounded by silent houses, it conjured an eerie sensation.
There was no traffic. The combination of smoke and silence triggered a survivalist impulse. The lyricism of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road came to mind, bringing forth images of charred trees and a world laid to waste. The post-election on her phone promised a bleak future. A worldwide dystopia run by a coalition of dictators was to come, and the time to plan for revolution is now. It feels like it’s already over, and the sixth extinction has come to pass, Callie thought as the bitter tang of soot settled around her. This is what the apocalypse smells like.