When Billy—an earnest young man robbed of his future—finds himself lost in the apocalypse, bereft of possessions, prospects, and hope, there’s really only one thing left for him to do: fall in love with a woman he can never hope to have and pursue her across the ravaged wasteland of tomorrow.
Domestic terrorism—fueled by climate change, virulent geopolitics, and economic collapse—has engendered an autonomous Homeland Security spinoff called the Public Safety Division. Its agents appropriate resources and address perceived threats with the impunity of a third-world junta.This post-contemporary tale of love and vengeance follows Billy in his descent from the illusory security of a crumbling middle-class existence into tomorrow’s cascading necrosis. In a boxcar one bitter night he encounters the alluring and enigmatic Jill, a fellow refugee who feeds him and seduces him and with whom he falls irreparably in love.
We accompany both of them before and after that chance meeting. Jill’s story—a checkered past caroming between the extremes of ecoterrorism and covert service with Public Safety Division—unfolds through a series of journal entries, each delving deeper into a muddy, bloody past. While Billy, mentored by a seasoned tramp, knows he will do whatever he must to find her again. Thus we follow their respective journeys, traveling by freight train and foot, across a desiccated landscape degrading from what might have been to what brutally is.
Billy’s metamorphosis from naivete to knowledge carries him in Jill’s wake until their journeys converge first with one another’s, then with that of their mutual quarry—Joe the Reaper, the architect of ruin who has poisoned Jill’s past and stolen Billy’s future—at the end of the torturous road they were all compelled to follow.