Recollection by Rebecca Long

She huddled under a freeway overpass, ripping coupons from an old newspaper with shaky hands. It reeked of gas even here, even through her mask.

Cases of water: BOGO.

$5 off baby formula.

She didn’t know if a store would take them. If there were stores to take them. Every town she’d passed had been deserted. Emptied, rather. She peered through the dark toward the city, a collection of cratered buildings still glittering neon.

Pocketing the coupons, she gazed down at the infant strapped to her chest. She lifted her respirator to smell her daughter’s head. Honeysuckle, even still.

REBECCA LONG — Rebecca is a writer and editor based in Boston. Her work has appeared in Teen Vogue, The Guardian, The Boston Globe, Current Affairs, VICE, Electric Literature, Polygon, and others. She writes the Look Again column for Observer and is an independently approved critic on Rotten Tomatoes. Visit her website,

Art by AUDRA KERR BROWN — Audra is a writer, photographer, and creator of The Flashtronauts! YouTube channel. Follow her on Twitter: @audrakerrbrown.