After the Apocalypse
Chapter 6: Not So Minor After All

by Mark Bollman--> and Steve Donohue

Ron's revelation struck the group speechless.

"What could that be, then?" asked Adam. "Maybe a fire?"

"Maybe that's why the power's out," said Steve Harig. "A big fire in a power plant-could be enough to knock out all the electricity."

"To the south?" asked Lou Pezet. "Isn't the electrical grid for camp to the north of here?"

Jerry Reid, who had cast his eyes in another direction, soon interrupted a general murmur of conversation about power engineering.

"Brother! Look to the east!" he exclaimed. "It's the same thing that way!"

Heads turned to scan the eastern and western skies, where the same strange glow was visible. Whatever was going on, it was now quite clear that its scope was massive. No mere fire was causing this aerial spectacle. As everyone looked on in confusion, a low rumble filled the air and seemed to penetrate every corner of the camp for several minutes.

"Wow!" said Ron. "I wonder what that came from?"

By now, most of the banquet crowd was wandering outside the dining hall, and everyone had seen the sky and heard the mysterious thunder.

"I wonder..." said Dave Woods, his voice trailing off. "Could that be from…a nuclear blast? Fires, explosions-it all makes sense."

"But in all directions?" asked Mark Hunt. "That would mean-my God!"

"Exactly," said Dave. "This is it. Somebody has nuked Detroit, and Flint, and who knows what else. Could be most of the country-maybe even the world."

Oddly, Dave's theory didn't inspire a lot of panic among the throng. The magnitude of his declaration was far too much for anyone to comprehend immediately.

"So are we gonna die?" asked Tom Lee. "Shouldn't there be all sorts of radiation coming through here now?"

"If it's coming, it'll take a little while," said Dave. "Fallout usually starts about 30-45 minutes after the explosion. Depending on when that was, we could be in danger, or not. It's really hard to say. Since we didn't hear any actual explosions, I guess that nothing landed too close to us. That could mean that we're not gonna get hit too badly. On the other hand, if something's coming, we're definitely better off inside."

No one needed to be told twice. There was a surprisingly orderly parade into the dining hall, and various people started spinning theories to account for what they had-and hadn't-seen.

"You know, driving up tonight, there was something on the radio about a weird storm system coming through Pontiac this evening," said Lee Gardy. "Maybe that's why nothing much is happening; maybe there's some wind or rain that's keeping things down."

"Good point," said Tom Ray. "A good rainstorm could wash a lot of fallout out of the sky. Plus, the fact that we're still alive now probably means that a lot of the radiation isn't coming this way."

"So what do we do now?" asked Adam. "Are we stuck here, or what?"

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