• Ann Burden can see smoke in the distance, convincing her that someone is coming toward her small valley.
• Ann has been alone in her valley since shortly after the war.
• Ann's family and another couple went outside the valley to gather news, but they never came back.
• The valley is almost completely untouched by the nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons used against the United States in a week long war.
• Ann watches the progress of the stranger and begins to worry that it might be someone who means her harm.
• Ann decides to hide all evidence of her existence and climb up to a cave in the hills over her valley.
• Ann worries about what will happen when the stranger arrives because she is not sure she can survive a winter in the cave.
• Ann thinks about Burden Creek and how all the fish in...
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