I looked around to notice that I was standing outside of a great wall. It’s raining, and appeared to be late October. The encampment was located at what used to be part of a residential neighborhood on the south end of town. The outskirting homes were vacated during the original chaos, the chaos that started it all.
I ducked into a nearby house to avoid the spotlights emanating out of the base. “How will I scale this wall..” I thought earnestly of my friends trapped inside. “We should never have rejected their offer” I mumbled regrettably. Now that Elgoog controls every aspect of life, resistance is criminal. “The architects and managers of these space-age business enterprises understand that the balance of power in world politics has shifted in recent years from territorial bound governments to companies that can roam the world” Re-education is all part of the Now era (as the Now people call our present) and remaining unknown to Elgood is punishable by death… if we got lucky. He wondered if it was even possible to get his friends out before it was too late…
Oh, Alex… I promise I will save you. Also, Shitty Jim. He’s kind of a dick but whatever.
In this now world, our protagonist, as I sometimes call myself to build up my own fragile morale, used to roam with ease, however now, anyone who attempts to be separate of Elgoog is subjected to being classified as a Terrorist. “Everywhere, traditional securities, especially those provided by the state, are in disarray” It doesn’t matter that they are essentially innocent, the crimes that they have committed are classified as being far more sinister: remaining human.
In this age after The Chaos, no one is allowed to exist without being part of the Database. The Database is what monitors and violates, it keeps those numbered within it safe.
Those who survived the original Chaos begged for Elgoog to take them in. Eventually, those who did not take part of the Elgoog’s “Elgoog Plus” database were considered dangerous outliers. It was because of human error that we are in the age of Now, and the faceless suits in control convinced the remaining masses of this. Now there’s just the few of us left. Trying to keep out of the reach of Elgoog Plus.
The sun was falling in the sky. I was creeping through the remains of what was once a pretentious gated community. I heard the distant whirr of a Follower in the distance. I had to get inside quick. It was the only way I could possibly stay out of its tracking beams.
I didn’t have much time to choose my new home. I chose the Green one. It was my favorite color in the Old World. A stupid reason, but at least I had a choice… for now.
I climbed through one of the many broken windows in what had once been the home of a happy family. As my feet touched the floor I saw a broken photo frame with a picture of a happy family in it. I pulled it from it’s frame and looked into the eyes of the family in it. So many families gone now… Seeing such joy was alien to me now. I missed the Old World.
I remember the before times. My old man didn’t believe any of the stories. My other old man did. I could see his flustered dinner table rants in my mind like it was just yesterday. He would say, corn bits dribbling out mouth in anger, “Seth, Preppers know the scenarios – any major crisis from economic breakdown, to civil unrest and riots, an EMP, natural disaster or plain out martial law can bring things to a halt with shocking quickness. And chaos is nearly always the end result.”
My other Dad would just scoff. “Richie, you’re a fool. You’re reading too much damn Infowars.”
I shed a tear. If I could just one more day with those squabbling fools…
I was interrupted in my thoughts. I heard a rustle in the shadows coming from the kitchen.
Should I check it out? It could be a survivor.
I looked around my surroundings for anything that could possibly protect me if it was anything that might do me harm. The house had clearly been looted at some point long ago.The first thing I saw was a smashed up mini-microwave that had been stripped for parts. Obviously someone had taken most of the valuable parts out to make a more suitable weapon. Nobody needed to make frozen dinners in the apocalypse. God, what I wouldn’t give for a Hungry Man right now. I laughed. I was a hungry man. I hadn’t eaten in days. I tried not to think about it. I saw that whoever had taken the parts left the Quartz FryPro Mini Radiator Shuffle. I picked it up, careful not to cut my hands on the shards of glass left inside.
I picked it up and walked towards the kitchen. Several old popcorn kernels fell onto the floor.
“Who’s there?” I inquired.
Silence. Just the sharp arctic wind blowing through the cracked remains of windows in the house.
I moved forward and the kitchen came into view. It was fucked. Blood was everywhere. I saw what I think might have been a rotted corpse of a child. in the corner. I looked away. I knew I had to survey the area for threats but it was too grisly. After all this time scavenging, trying to stay alive, I still couldn’t stomach atrocities happening to children. Obviously. whoever lived here before should have left sooner.
My mind started to wander and I thought about my parents again. Richie knew something was coming and Seth didn’t believe him. If only he would have listened they still might be around today.
I heard the sound of glass shattering. I quickly looked to my right and saw that what was previously the only intact window in the house was now shattered. Someone had been here. Just now. When I was too busy reminiscing about shit that didn’t matter anymore.
I threw the microwave to the ground and jumped out the window.
Suddenly, I felt a sharp pain in my right abdomen. My vision went blurry. I looked up to see what had happened but all I saw was light. Bright lights beaming straight into my skull.
“DO YOU WANT TO BE RE-EDUCATED?” a cold voice blared directly into my brain.
I thought of Alex and the others. I thought of shitty Jim. I thought of my family. I thought of freedom. Sweet, glorious, freedom.
“Fuck you!” I screamed through the pain.
“Then you can join your friends.”
Everything went black.