It begins with a fading odor and darkness. Lights out, dark as night. Outside the college building, there are flames, lumps of metal and flesh, and no one moving. When Asher finds his car, he's surprised it works and he drives aimlessly, trying in vain for a radio station, any sign of life.
Recovering his wits, he parks at a truck stop and loads up with things that might be useful. In the dark, someone runs into him and urges him to flee. The thought of maybe having to repopulate the world doesn't appeal to either of them -- Asher is gay, and Sandy isn't sure what she/he/they are.
Sandy knows a place they might hole up while the world dies around them. It's a cabin that belongs to a friend who might be there.
Sandy's friend Wade turns up the next day when there's light, again. Are Wade and Sandy an item or just friends? Asher feels like odd man out, but survival is their first priority. Can relationships be sorted out, later?
Other than some muffled thumps and some continuing dinging sounds, it was so silent, so dark. I went straight to the door of the truck stop and wrenched it open. Looking down, I saw it had been stuck on a thick blob of something, something that might have been human at one time. Ick. The less time I was in here, the better. I started grabbing things I thought would be good to have, almost at random: scissors, flashlights, batteries, food, bottled water ... I made half a dozen trips out to the car, filling the trunk and part of the back seat. Then, on my last trip in, I grabbed some toilet paper and a pair of sunglasses I liked, laughed at myself, and then grabbed several folding knives and a slingshot. Ooh, what a dangerous boy I was! I should have had a Red Ryder BB Gun, but I'd probably just shoot my eye out, right? Hardy har har.
Luckily, I'd tossed everything but the toilet paper in my pockets because something moved near me on the way back to the car. Something -- or someone -- stepped out from behind a lump of metal and said, "Stop right there!" I screamed and tossed the toilet paper in the air. Luckily it hit the thing -- person -- right in the head and I ran the rest of the way to my car, shrieking and gasping.
Then the voice came again, "Hey, idiot, will you just wait a minute? What a fucking sissy! I'm not going to hurt you! I just want a ride, a fucking ride, okay? You big coward. Scared of a -- yah!" and the person the voice belonged to was running toward me, grabbed my arm, and hid behind me. "Something moved," it hissed. I couldn't tell if it was male or female. The person (and by now at least I knew it was a person, which was comforting) just sounded terrified.
I said, "Let go of me and get in the car," slammed the trunk down, and climbed in, myself. As I turned on the lights, I saw shadows moving, and those green, flickering little lights started up again. Was everything going to burst into flames here, too? Yes, why yes, it was. I was glad I had parked near the edge of the lot, so I could pick my way back out over a clear path.
As I pulled back onto the highway, there was a mushroom of red behind us, and the green sparks danced everywhere in the rear-view mirror.
After about ten minutes I had to pull over. There wasn't any traffic moving, only those ubiquitous lumps that challenged every idea I'd ever had about end of the world scenarios. It was stupid; it shouldn't be real. Maybe it wasn't. Maybe ... it was.