Inspired by the Lolo Complex forest fire of last year, which literally took place on the other side of the hills from my parents’ house (they were fine).
I knew what to expect when the cops got to my house. The air was full of mist, the sound of helicopters and sirens nearly constant. I’d seen this on TV a hundred times, watching my husband work.
“We’re evacuating,” I said, beating the cop to the punch.
“That’s right, ma’am,” he said, outlined in flickering violet light. “The incursion is about to cross the highway and the air—”
A sound interrupted him like an elephant trying to imitate a jet engine. I knew the howler couldn’t be as close as it sounder, they can’t breathe good air, but this was still the first time I’d heard one in real life.
The cop jerked at the noise as if stabbed by a cattle prod. Sweat visibly leaped out of the skin of his forehead.
“I know what to do,” I assured him. “Move upwind. Shut the windows. Don’t talk to toymaker worms. Don’t worry. My husband fights these things for a living.”
I shut the door and called to the boys. “Come on, kids. We’re going to grandpa’s house!”
Props also go to Daniel Heard’s “Banjolnir,” which got me thinking about alien incursions, and…is that Steven King’s “The Mist” in there somewhere? Monsters? Of course not! I must have been thinking about my own alien environmental catastrophe!