Apocalypse 2020: January, day 32

It's a little after one. Friday night revellers should be trickling back from the city to their suburban homes, but the streets are empty, eerily quiet. I am at the top of a hill, looking south. Below me is the Calwell Ambulance Station. Canberra's suburbs are spread out, tucked into the low ground between the hills, separated by stretches of grass and scrub that are the homes of kangaroos and rabbits. Tonight the dusty brown paddocks around the ambulance station are floodlit. A small army is massing: dozens of firetrucks are lined up, grouped together by their fire station or town of origin, like little Jastas ready to fly into battle. The baggage trains - utes piled high with equipment, EWPs and heavy vehicles, a refrigerator truck. There are people moving back and forth, busy with equipment and packing and food. From here they are tiny, silent, little toy soldiers trotted around by invisible hands.

I feel a rumble and the helicopter circles again. These vultures are usually diurnal but tonight they are still wheeling above. The wind has dropped, and the smoke is drifting across the horizon to the east. Above me Alpha and Beta Centauri point to the Southern Cross. The clear stars trick me into believing the night is cooler than it really is.

Across the valley the spot fires dot the slopes of the hills like campfires. The campfires are stretched along three hills. The right flank is at the crest of a ridge, commanding the best view of the valley. The left flank is ranged down the near slopes, marking a boundary that twists and writhes with the undulations of the land. Between, the vanguard, more and more lights flickering into life and crowding towards us.

Behind them, the red glow lights up the southern end of the mountain range. The armies of hell, massing for tomorrow's assault. They bring their own weather system: as soon as the sun hits their left flank it will generate enough heat to fuel high winds, sending ember attacks kilometres ahead of the main fire front. As the day heats up there may be pyrocumulonimbus.

In the silence of the empty roads, and the circling of the helicopters, is the unspoken terror of the fire tornado.




1. I was on a hill AWAY from the fire. I am specifying this because large numbers of dickheads have been going TOWARDS the fires to take photos. DON'T DO THAT.

2. Here is a video of the first recorded fire tornado. It was taken about 5km from here in 2003 and is the reason why this whole town is Really Fucking Twitchy right now.

3. I'm packed, ready to evacuate, and will not be hanging around. reQuest might be updated late if tomorrow turns dramatic - or if the weather is so hot that the laptop shuts down, which happened a lot today.

We were here on E2 the last time this happened, Nemoysn and me.  Orpheum was up on a hill watching the fires then. Apparently he ain't round here much any more.

This is the third time in my 42 years that I've seen fire come in off the Brindabella ranges. Months of drought have stripped the colour out of the landscape... smoke has stripped it out of the horizon and the sky. During the day the sun is so hot everything looks shades of white...now it's a warm grey, with a few nearby eucalypts close enough that I can still see some green through the haze.

E2 doesn't look the same now either...nor do we. There's a button to click to put in a link for gods' sakes...and I have no idea if I need to put in little end of paragraph tags. It's been a long time...I'm no longer married to the man I wasn't yet married to then...and I see Orpheum has a son. But the cat who arrived in my life at the same time as E2 is still here - stretched out on the deck, disdaining the airconditioning. Her cat carrier has been in the car for weeks - there's been a few days of knowing that if the wind changes it's me and her and we're heading north.

Cool Man Eddie informs me that someone still likes my writeup titled "How to calm a cat in heat". Same cat, again. Thanks, Eddie. Glad you're still here.

I have recently contracted a flesh eating virus and have lost my right leg. I am still in the hospital dealing with dialysis and other complications. I called the ambulance Dec 16th with shortness of breath. Then went through a 9 day nightmare of occasionaly gaining consciousness to find myself restrained with a tube in each end of me, drugged up enough to not understand what was happening. I finally woke up to find myself missing a leg, sporting a bed sore that would require surgery and months to heal and for some reason my weak left ear had gone completely deaf.

I then transferred to another hospital. I died while checking in but they were able to revive me. It is now a month later. I am still in the hospital. I am on dialysis. I am still fighting the bed sore. My body is weak but I can sit up for about 20 minutes before the pain from the sore forces me back to bed.

My family would appreciate any help you could give. I apologize for the lack of good links. I wrote this on a phone from a hospital bed. https://www.gofundme.com/f/2h4nf-test

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