Dystopia

2021. North Korea launches biological warfare on the USA, with a virus that kills all it infects within hours. The rate of infection increased as the deadly virus spreads, decimating armies and bringing the country to a halt. Researchers try in vain to cure the virus, but quickly succumb to it.

There is one thing North Korea doesn’t account for. The virus infects anyone who inhales the airborne menace, but only takes hold and kills those with a weakened immune system- those around 25 and up. Mid-twenties become a gamble as any moment could be the moment you keel over, collapse and die.
*
2037. Brooklyn. The city barely functions as a pale shadow of its former glory. The city has descended into a gangland of petty thieves and brutish teenage intimidation. The last adult died in 2032, leaving no law enforcement, and no laws. This point in history, this revolutionary event that changed Brooklyn forever, is known as the ‘Dies’, referring to the many deaths. Kids keep together in ‘families’, small groups that look after each other. The bigger, older families rule over the younger ones. This is the story of two families.
*

10 15 2037
I’m Katy, and I’m keeping a diary. I heard that’s what all of the pretty girls did before the Dies. I’m a girl, I’m 12, tall and skinny, and I got black hair. My family reckons I’m pretty, they reckon I’m nim. But they’re pish. They’re just kids. I’m starting this diary ‘cause I’m the only one that can read and write. My parents taught me before they died. They were some of the last ones alive before the adults all died. They were cops, so we got hit-sticks and shoot-sticks, so we don’t get picked on. I hide them in the wall. Only Ty knows. The other kids are so pish that they’d go and get them if they knew. We live in a little house we made from wood and scraps we’ve found around. My parents helped us before they died. Three of the four walls are old empty buildings. We’ve built it up and made it safe, with a roof, and a floor, and four walls. We’ve made our home in a little alleyway in North Brooklyn, near the Condo Graveyard.
*
When the all of the adults died, the kids quickly took all matters from food to safety into their own hands. Families who were older and smarter boarded up the houses and took them over. The slower ones would fortify alleyways with corrugated iron, whatever they could find. They developed their own form of English, a common voice between the families. The cold is never a problem, after Global Warming brought up the average worldwide temperature by 6o Celsius. Long Island is flooded; the ice caps have well and truly melted. Fair Lady Liberty stands over the mess that New York has become, looking over the city, waves lapping at her feet.
*

Beep beep. Beep beep.
Text received from: Adam. Read now?
He presses the key under ‘yes’.
It reads:
Got fd 4 2nit. Mt bk at hus.
He smiles, turns, and starts running.
*
Though there were few rules between the families, there was a basic moral code. No hurting the little kids, no hurting the pregnant girls, and above all, don’t touch the supplies. The supplies were power stations, water taps and rivers, and soil. Very few people, only a few older kids, knew how to fix up the machines that kept the city from returning to medieval times.

The city is run down, dank and dark in many places, and would seem appear as a lawless wasteland to most. However, in the run down houses and the shacks made from little more than planks of wood and corrugated iron, hives of life exist.
*
10 16 2037
I sent Ryan, Bert and Jilly out with Ty to check out for food tonight. It’s safest at night. I don’t think they’ll find anything nom. Last find is gonna be too mouldy soon. Reckon I should explain who they are. I’m the oldest in the family. 12 years, 10 months and 19 days old, I am. Ty and Eddie are my brothers. Ty is 10, Eddie is 8. Sometimes we miss mum and dad. Ty is second in charge, after me, of course. Eddie reckons he’s hot sauce. He’s pish, but he is a good kid, really nim, with big round eyes. We also got Ryan, Bert and Jilly, like I said before. They’re triplets. 7 years old. They quick, they are. They know what each other is thinking, all the time. Then there’s Josh, who’s 8, Jeff, who’s 6, and Pen, which is little for Penny, who is 6 as well. They’re all sitting around the oil drum fire. It’s getting late, almost time for first lookout to start peeking out, and the rest to go to bed.
*

10 17 2037
Pish Ty. What a pish. He drinks the smelly red water. I tell them ‘no you don’t drink it. It’s smelly ‘cause it’s bad. It won’t be nom.’ But he drinks it anyways. It had bugs in it too. He just says he was thirsty. Now his head and neck is warm and he’s shivering. This is not toy. Not toy at all.
He did get back with a lot of food though. We’ll be eating fine for good few weeks.
*
Beep beep. Beep beep.
Text received from: Boss. Read now?
He presses the key under ‘yes’.
It reads:
Katys gt big fd. Sw last nite. Get?
He presses reply, and types:
Ye. C U thr in 20. brng ppl.
He glances at his watch. 10:14 pm.
*

It is 10:34 pm. Katy has sent the kids to bed. She and Eddie crouch on the roof of their little home. A dark figure darts along, ten metres in front of them. They stop and stare. Silence. Then a crash. They jump up. One of the kids flicks the old light bulb on underneath them. Shouts come from a group of tall boys, 15 or 16, silhouetted against the moon and flickering street lights. All at once, they run at the flimsy excuse for a house. All around, yelling and screaming kids are heard. Eddie scrambles down in time to see Jilly, Penny and Jeff crying in one corner, and most of the food gone. Katy jumps down, landing on all fours, and comforts the kids, and Eddie runs out, after the laughing and hooting boys. “Hey pish-heads!” He shouts. “Come back with our food! It’s our nom! Come back!” He shouts and shouts till Katy comes out with a moth eaten blanket and drapes it over his heaving shoulders. They sit on the ground and she strokes his dirty hair, listening to his silent sobs. They sit and watch their breaths rush away with curling steam in the cold Brooklyn air.
*
10 17 2037
It’s late tonight. This is pish. Not toy. Not toy at all. Me and Eddie were peering for sentry, when Adam and his boys come to take our food. Stupid Ty. ‘Don’t get seen’ I tell him. ‘You do, and the bigger families with the strong boys come and take it.’ We only got enough for a day or two now. At least they didn’t find the shoot-sticks and the beat sticks. Ty said he checked them, and all of them are still in the wall. I don’t like to show them. Then they get even more to come and rough us.
*

It’s sunrise. The silent streets and still fog contrast with the shouting and frenetic actions of the night before.
Adam sits crouched with the rest of the boys, still wide awake with adrenaline from the night before. He picks up his phone and dials.
Big Boss is standing at the base of a street light. His dark eyes peer through his matted fringe at the disheveled Prospect Park.
His phone vibrates in his pockets, playing a tinny rendition of a techno song that was popular years ago.
He flips it open and puts it to his ear.
“Yeah… ok… and Trilby says we have more than what the kid gave to us? Toy. See you then.”
He closes the phone with a smug smile.
*
10 18 2037
Today, everyone but me and Ty went out to find food to fill us up for a bit. I told them to bring nom stuff for Ty. Maybe it’ll make him better. Ty got a lot worse. He’s gotten warmer, and his eyes start darting around sometimes. He vomits a lot. I spent the day with him, with a blanket with water on him. Eddie spent the day, after he got back, playing with the kids, making sure they don’t realize how little food we’re left with.
*

When people got sick, they stayed sick unless they could fight it off. It wasn’t uncommon for people to simply get a cold and never shake it off.
*
Sunset. Adam comes running through the entrance to his family’s home and almost falls over the table in the centre of the room, narrowly missing the poker game going on. No matter how times have changed, there are still people with time for poker.
“Guys. Guys”
They look up from their cards as Adam stops to catch his breath.
“I saw Katy’s kid brother with some nim littlies today. Even after our raid, they’re still gathering food. I don’t know if they realize how hard food is to find these days. We gotta keep at them till we can find out where they are getting it.”
*

11:54 pm. Katy’s family are all asleep. No one sits on sentry.
*
11:56 pm. Eddie stirs in his sleep.
*

11:57 pm. Rushed footsteps crunch gravel.
*
Midnight. Eddie sits up in his bed. He hears hushed voices outside.
*

12:01 am. Eddie steps outside, careful not to wake the others.
*
12:02 am. One shot rings out across the sleeping city.
*

10 19 2037
Last night. Oh god, last night. What a pish of a night that was. About midnight, everyone but Ty wakes up to the sound of shoot-sticks. The kids were confused, and, I gotta say, I was really really scared. After we were all awake, Ty started moaning and sweating and rolling around. He’s getting sicker. To top it all off, we still can’t find Eddie. What can we do? I have to be the one to be strong, I gotta keep all the balls in the air. What happens if one falls on the ground? What happens then?
*
A bloodied body lies sprawled across the pavement, a single bullet hole through the chest. Blood still slowly spreads as the sun rises over the cooled city, as snow starts to fall for the first time in years. Eddie’s eyes and mouth are a vignette of a single, failing moment of confusion and fear, marking the end of a life barely worth living.
*

10 20 2037
We found Eddie. I wish we hadn’t. When the sun came up, we all got up, shivering. As we looked around and got outside, blankets wrapped to stop the falling snow from freezing us stiff, I got a feeling like there was rock in my stomach. Dread. The kids all started crying, their tears freezing on their face. We all walked slowly towards the dark mound, scared of what we will find. I’m never gonna forget Eddie’s face. He looked so baffled, so sad and still. We carried him back to our home, blood still seeping from the hole in his chest. Oh god. Oh god. Why?

When we got back with Eddie, we covered him up with blankets. Ty was awake when we walked in. The moment he saw Eddie, he fell back and started sobbing and shaking. ‘My fault, my fault’ he said over and over again. He said for me to check the wall. One shoot stick was missing.
*
On the 18th, while everyone but Ty was out, Adam came to visit. While Katy was out getting more water, he snuck into the home, standing over Ty, whispering to him. He promised Ty a cure for his sickness, promised him enough food for years and years, told him everything a 10 year old boy wants to hear. He offered it all in return for a gun.
*

Snow falls over Brooklyn, a blanket of cold peacefulness, the white purity contrasting with the horror of the previous week. It is six days since Eddie was shot. On the 22nd, Ty, the betrayer, succumbed to his illness. They were both buried in the graveyard with their parents: the collection of weathered headstones, marking rows upon rows of perfectly aligned graves, serve as a single collective reminder of another time, when Man feared and believed in hope and God.
*
It snowed for another three days. The city was covered in a white blanket; Lady Liberty watched over solemnly, her crown and flame topped with white. Katy took care of her family as best she could. Two names are carved crudely onto the headstone of Katy’s parents shared grave, on one line, ‘Eddie’, and on the second ‘Ty’.
*

10 18 2039
Today, it’s two years since Eddie died. The kids are growing up, but I don’t think they remember him. The big black dog looms over everyone, ready to pounce. Everyone is getting wearier, more jaded. No one has learnt anything. Nothing has changed with anything since then. At least it snows now.

Dystopia

DonnyJay

Joined October 2009

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