Deng felt the two heats: the air all around them and the heat at their backs. He saw the dried shrubbery, imagined that as he watched it was wilting even further , in the new heat, about to burst into flames. This was just his imagination; they were a good day’s march in front of The Wall of Fire. The hot wind they felt now was just a precursor to The Great Hot Wind that preceded the flames.
That first night they had slept and they were awakened by The Great Hot Wind. After that they marched fast and slept little.
Deng had seen the The Wall of Fire, seen the strangers who came to light it. Most of the people in his village resented those strangers, and resented The Wall of Fire. Deng, however, had talked to the strangers, and now understood Global Warming. It explained the droughts. Things were not going to get better. Deng was young, and not afraid of the future, however challenging.
When they went into the city and watched the TV, they saw the pictures of the great fiery ring from space. Many of the villagers were angry and afraid, but Deng thought it looked beautiful. Yes, the city was now gone, eaten by the flames (Deng assumed someone must have taken the television. Was it somehow hidden by one of the refugees who had joined their numbers?) but many of the people would survive and thrive in a new location. Maybe Sudan wasn’t the great country they’d been led to believe.
The Elders had told them they were going to Egypt, and maybe to France. Deng had read that France was full of racists. He wanted to go to America. His Father said they had racists in America too, and they weren’t letting people in, now that The World was in Exodus.
Deng knew he could find a way. This wasn’t the end. This fire around the world was going to be a new beginning. He could feel it.
Editors note: This was the program for the Set The Equator On Fire benefit, The Ks second-to-last show.
The Loneliest Blacksmith