.Photo taken by me in Piscataway, NJ, 2008.

Today’s a good day to read Judgment Passed by Jerry Oltion, from Wastelands, a collection of post-apocalyptic short stories. The premise is that the Rapture occurred, and all humans were taken from the earth, but Jesus forgot about six astronauts who were in space at the time. After completing their mission, they return to earth to find all of civilization empty and undisturbed: “Nothing to greet us but wild animals and abandoned cities full of yellowed newspapers, four years old.”

Mom? Dad? Where are you guys?

Like Kevin (who, as you know, assumes his family’s disappearance is a result of Santa Claus granting his wish to never see them again), the astronauts vacillate between joy at the solitude; a reckless, free-for-all indulgence; loneliness;  regret; and also a sense of purpose.

You can read an excerpt here.

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