Author: Ldihawk PM
One family torn apart in a post-apocalyptic world struggless to survive and find each other. Multiple povs of a mother, father, daughter, and a cat. Some profanity and mild violence.Rated: Fiction T - English - Chapters: 11 - Words: 8,148 - Reviews: 2 - Updated: 07-29-12 - Published: 07-27-12 - id: 3045414
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The Things that Faded: Christine
It was the smallest things that faded first in the days after the war. They faded like old photographs first with a dusting over and a loss of intensity; then with a curling at the edges that spread until they crumbled to dust and at last were lost. The luxury of perfume and store bought clothes faded first. Electricity, fresh fruits and vegetables, and soap followed. Once there were grocery stores filled with every variety of food and I remember foolishly complaining about prices. There were department stores and malls and massive shopping centers selling everything. There were movie theatres and opera and symphony orchestras. Now, there are black markets selling dehydrated, canned, and dried foods, secondhand clothing, and certain luxury hygiene products. There are ragged settlements hundreds of miles apart in rural areas that elude military attention—pockets of normality.
After the war, everything changed. Two years ago, the Pentagon launched missiles at the Middle East killing thousands. No one knows how the attack started or who was responsible, but within hours, we were at war. It was ultimately blamed on a computer error. The nuclear counterattack destroyed Washington, Los Angeles, and Chicago and crippled New York. The resulting radiation changed the climate of the United States and slowly killed millions more. With the collapse of order, the Front seized control, but by then, there wasn't much left to defend. Military police stomped through cities shouting "Dissention is death" killing those of us they had sworn oaths to protect. In the rural areas surrounding the cities, ash still falls like snow. Children played in it at first not realizing the danger. Not that it mattered. Most of them were already dead after the first flash. The combination of fallout and the bioattacks that followed resulted in a population that was almost completely sterile. The unfortunate fertile were taken as breeders to ensure the survival of humanity. They live out their lives until their bodies are exhausted or they are barren.
I have a husband and daughter. Once, I had a husband and a daughter. Once upon a time we lived in a house in the suburbs of Vancouver with a cat—an impossible luxury. I was a surgical nurse in that life. Now, I live alone in a small cabin in St. John's, Nova Scotia and spend my time hiding from military police and praying I don't contract a modified strain of smallpox or measles. At my age, it would be fatal. David was taken to a focusing camp and forced into military service if he survived transport and health screenings. My daughter, Shannon is in another camp with thousands of other children being reeducated—trained for early marriage and breeding. Our invaders believe that reeducation must begin early while the mind is still supple. She turned eight this month—I stop myself. Nothing is certain. She is my ghost child kept alive only in a photograph.
Hope is oxygen to me stolen in short breaths. I musn't allow myself to breathe it in too deeply. One day, my hope could get me killed.
David, sometimes at night I imagine your flesh blowing away like dandelion fluff in the wind. I imagine you a pile of bones lying amid so many other faceless skeletons—in death there is no identity. When I have these dreams, I wake up screaming. Wherever you are love, fight.
I have contacts now close to the camps and I'm trying to get enough to trade for information. No one accepts money anymore—although paper can be burned for heat and coins melted down for bullets. Everything is obtained by trade.
I can't sit idle anymore. There is water to be collected and purified and I have to live. I shield my eyes from the sun scanning for signs of military jets. Kneeling by the stream, I collect two buckets of water letting the coldness ease the pain of callused fingers. The water is deceptively clear today and I wonder what it would cost me to take a drink. Inside, I open a packet of water purification tablets and drop them in watching them fizz. Then, I boil the pots on the wood stove to reduce the chance of endospores. Even the smallest things must be removed.