• Isherwood Williams, a college student, is working on his thesis at Black Creek when he finds an old miner's hammer and is bitten by a snake.
• Ish spends several days in an old cabin recovering. He thinks part of his sickness might also be from some infection.
• After recovering, Ish decides to drive home and notices there are no people around. He finds a one-page newspaper that confirms that most of the population has died from a virus. He discovers that there are no radio broadcasts, and that all the towns he passes through are abandoned.
• After arriving home and discovering his parents gone, Ish survives in their home and tries to signal to others from his porch, but finds no one.
• Ish decides to try to find people, so he walks and drives through the city, meeting an old drunkard, a dangerous couple, and a hermit. He decides none...
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