Father, Science Teacher, and Author Benjy Wood. I intend to complete a serial novel here on Hubpages, so If you like Chapter 1 let me know!
And Then There Were None: Chapter 1
And then there was none…
“Through consciousness, our minds have the power to change our planet and ourselves. It is time we heed the wisdom of the ancient indigenous people and channel our consciousness and spirit to tend the garden and not destroy it.”
“They didn’t listen. They never listen. The politicians, the talking heads, the apathetic voters, they didn’t listen. It never should have been about natural or manmade. It was happening, and it should have been about what the hell are we going to do now?”
Once upon a time I had a life. A good life. I had a wife, two kids, a dog, and a normal job as a science teacher at the local high school. My life was not extraordinary nor was it boring, it was just a good life. Weekdays full of soccer practice, and weekends full of swimming and mowing the lawn. I used to hate yard work, but now I’d kill to spend three hours mowing the yard and drinking cold beer. Now I’m sitting here shivering my butt off eating a charred parasite infested rabbit that I killed in the old city square this morning.
Once the world population hit 8 billion the food scarcity began. Industrialized agriculture did everything that it could to meet the ever increasing food demand, but eventually the fertile agricultural lands were stripped bare. With dwindling food supplies riots broke out in the major cities of the world, and governments began to topple one by one.
It’s been fifteen years since the US government officially dissolved. And twenty since it unofficially broke down. The former United States has been fragmented into regions some with local governments, and some more or less controlled by roaming militias and mob rule. Life in the New Republic of Texas has its ups and downs. The current “president” of the republic refers to himself as Teacher, but would more appropriately be called Enforcer.
Of all of the regions the New Republic have begun to show signs of civilization with a standing army, a return to basic services such as water and emergency care, and has a functional civil law enforcement in the form of appointed sheriffs that are responsible for maintaining peace and building civil services in large regions known as sectors. “That’s where I come in”. Each sector is run by an Elder that is appointed by the teacher to serve as a figurehead, and “leader” for the sector.
Five years ago I found myself in the position of the newly appointed position of Sector One Sheriff: New Dallas. The job came with a small home, a salary of 500 Republic credits, a high powered rifle, and a life expectancy of six months.
Sector one is one of the most important sectors as the Teacher hopes to establish it as the capitol of the New Republic. At the time of my appointment Sector One was also one of the most violent and unruly sectors in the state. The residents of Sector One where no more prone to violence than any other sector, but there were simply too many of them. At the time approximately half a million refugees were attempting to live in Sector One with resources to support about 200,000.
April came, and so did the rain. Life in Sector One became more difficult during the rainy season as the ground dwellers began to surface from the tunnels, and as the mosquitos began to transmit the annual scourge of malaria, hybrid flu, and a host of other vector-borne diseases.
Today began like every other spring day. I woke up, stretched to shake off the joint pain from sleeping on a “mattress” made of woven together rags and scraps of old clothes. Then I made my morning cup of “coffee”. Since the collapse actual coffee was no longer available a substitute by the name of “Sweat” arose. For the caffeine addicts like myself local entrepreneurs had developed a disgusting sludge made from synthetic caffeine, water, sugar, and a trace amount of methamphetamines.
After downing my first cup of sweat, I swept the water from the nights rains from the main room of my house into the street. As a sheriff I had been given a decent shelter on the outskirts of New Dallas underneath the remnants of the old Highway 75. Unfortunately my position in the new society did not protect me from the near constant spring flooding.
As I swept the water from my humble abode a horseman quickly rode in and made a fast stop at my feet.
"Sheriff Swift, you need to come with me now"
"two things. Who the hell are you, and what can't wait until I finish my cup of sweat?"
"I'm the elder's assistant, The Elder was murdered this morning"
© 2020 Benjy Wood