After the volcano, the ash never stopped. The skies were darker and going outside all you could do was cough and choke. Experts on the TV said that we were looking at an endless winter, at crops failing, at more deaths from the choking dust. They said to be sure to be ready for a long time without food, but all the stores had been picked clean. There was looting everywhere else, and when the police cracked down it turned into rioting.

I had probably a few weeks worth stashed away in case of an emergency. I loaded it all in my car and called my girlfriend over, and we drove out of the city. The back roads were mostly empty, and even with the sky filled with ash it was still a beautiful drive.

We stopped an hour before sunset in a little remote town on the mountains and ate at the diner there--they still had some things, at least. We drank coffee and watched the sun go down. With all the ash and dust in the air it was the most spectacular sunset we'd ever seen. There would be many more like it, of course, but there's something special about the first sunset on the end of the world.

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