Her hand was bleeding again. This time, it was the skin on the inside edge of her thumb, right where her mother used to put electrical tape to stop her from biting, which never worked.
Maggie swore it was getting hotter in her little silver Buick, but the thermostat assured her that it was still forty-seven Celsius. She eased off the brake to slide forward another ten feet before reluctantly grinding to another halt. The smoke outside was too thick to open the window or the vents, so instead she just sat in the heat. Her thighs stuck to the leather seat as she fanned herself with a dog-eared edition of Vanity Fair.
The alert of the wildfire had come while she was in the office. Everyone had gone quiet as the tinny radio voice warned that the evacuation of Fort McMurray was only the beginning, that Anzac should be ready too. She shrugged it off at the time. Fort Mac was ages away. She’d declined the company’s…show more content… A quick check of the alarm clock confirmed that it was too early for visitors, and the hair on her neck stood up. She threw on her bathrobe before heading to the door. She was shaking.
An RCMP officer was waiting for her, fully uniformed and sweating. “Ma’am, an evacuation has been called. You need to get out. Understand?” the officer asked without preamble. She was not unkind, but her words had a repetitious quality. Maggie’s was not the first house she had visited.
Maggie could hear her neighbour loading up their cars, lit by the motion-detecting lights attached to their garage. Their children were asking why they had to leave, loudly enough to be heard clearly over the long lawn. The car door closed on their complaints, and Maggie realized she could smell smoke.
“Ma’am?” the officer asked.
Maggie nodded, shaking herself. “I understand, thank you,” she answered in her best under control voice. The officer gave her a last searching look, before crossing her lawn towards the next house in