Trying to think of something to write this morning, I came up with the following idea. I’m posting it here as a writing prompt for other writers. If you end up using this prompt, please share your story with me. I’d be curious and excited to see what you do with it!
Everyone has to permanently evacuate (the city? the state? the world?). Contamination, war, incoming asteroid strike, global catastrophe, whatever. Each block or section of a populated area has a designated “sweep” person, someone who goes through the area after everyone has evacuated to make sure no one is left behind.
Our protagonist is one such person. She is a loner, grew up an orphan, so she’s excited about events—she’s not leaving anyone or anything behind, and relishes the fresh start. Show the pang of loss from her POV as she moves through houses along the block: photos and other mementos left behind, a home that will forever after be empty, etc. She comes to understand how hard this is for most other people.