Duncan's Colony (Magill's Literary Annual 1983)
Between the Southwestern desert and the sea, eight people await nuclear holocaust. They have not chosen one another but have been chosen by Duncan, the colony’s organizer, from among the thousands who replied to newspaper ad. “How odd,” one of the colonists muses, “to advertise Survival as though it were a new cereal.” Not all have been chosen, for Carillo, a Vietnam veteran and now a revolutionary, simply wandered in from hiding in the desert. As Michele writes, the colonists are like the wise men of old; they watch the stars and dream, “not of the rise of a new kingdom, but of the fall of the old.” They think not of a life to come, but of their lives as they were.
Michele tells the greater part of the story. Duncan has selected Michele, who is a poet, to tell their collective story (“every apocalypse must have its scribe”), but Michele has used writing only to kill time while her husband worked. She had dedicated herself to her husband Mark, who has now willingly allowed her to leave him to go to the colony, where she fears she will die alone. Free now of her husband, Michele nevertheless finds herself yielding to another man’s assertion of “the old order of things”: she becomes Pinosh’s lover.
Another of the women in the colony, Andrea, has accompanied her husband to the colony, though, after twenty-three years of marriage, they had applied for an annulment and find neither pleasure nor comfort in each...
(The entire section is 2522 words.)
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