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Peshtigo: An After the Fires Went Out Short Story

by Regan Wolfrom


Copyright © Regan Wolfrom 2012

I woke up this morning to a room bathed in a sickly gray light, the sun still choked by the smoke. The wildfire had moved further north, but that smoke and the floating ash still hung low over whatever trees and buildings remained along the shore of Catfish Lake. It felt weird having watched it all from this little island, the fire and the destruction, almost like sitting up in the bleachers while everything happened just out of reach.

But that’s life these days, everything’s getting crazier and the crazy’s moving closer to home. Mom tells me that there was a time before I was born when California was rich and Michigan was poor, when people believed our country was beyond things like martial law and insurgency.

But I never wanted to know about the news. I didn’t want to feel scared all the time.

Dustin was still sleeping when I got out of bed; I gave him a quick poke and he grunted a few curses at me. There’d been little seduction last night as he’d brought me to his bed, when both of us were well past tipsy and with the adrenaline making us crazy... whatever romance there’d been had long since drained away.

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