The Hole — Chapter 2

A Novel of Supernatural Apocalypse

Aaron Ross Powell

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Evajean rolled down the window. “Jesus,” she said.

“Is this the farthest out you’ve been?” Elliot asked.

Evajean shook her head. “I went to Walmart before Henry got sick, but once he started — Once things got bad, I didn’t go out again, I stayed home.” Evajean rolled the window up and leaned back in her seat. She closed her eyes. “I didn’t know things were this bad.”

Elliot weaved around an empty car. He drove sixty feet and pulled sharply right to avoid another. Beyond dense suburbia, the smell was gone. It was a smell he hadn’t realized he’d grown used to. Out here, the bodies were too dispersed to maintain the stink. But the roads were clogged with vehicles. Some had their doors open, their passengers missing. Others were closed, the windows fogged with the evaporation of rot.

Charlottesville was hell — burned buildings, burned trees, gouged lawns, smashed street lights, limp power lines. Elliot drove past a pet store. He got a domestic feeling, backtracked, stopped, and got out. He told Evajean he wanted to check. She nodded and laughed, humoring him.

They broke the store’s front window and searched cages, scoring a puppy — black, sleeping, now on the bench seat in the back of the truck’s cab. It had to be starving. They’d find it food.

Elliot started the engine and pulled back onto the road.

Evajean picked up the puppy and put it in her lap. She scratched its head. “I always thought it would be gorier,” she said.

“What?” Elliot said. He slowed, pulling around a capsized VW bug.

“The end of the world,” she said. “In the movies, everyone’s killed and torn up, there are bodies and fires.”

“There were fires,” he said.

She shrugged. “I guess I thought there’d be more. More dead.”

“You can smell them,” he said. “They’re all inside.”

Evajean nodded. “It doesn’t seem like enough,” she said.

Elliot thought it probably was enough. He thought Evajean wasn’t making any sense. He cut her slack: she’s…

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Aaron Ross Powell

Host of the ReImagining Liberty podcast. Writer and political ethicist. Former think tank scholar.