Shattered States - 1st attempt

    Anyone who is my age or older can break there lives into two easy parts, before and after. Before we let our country fall about, and the chaos afterwards in what we have let our country become. I was so oblivious to it all, typical of someone in their mid twenties. I was too worried about my own issues; too worried about what might happen instead of what was happening. I knew that the marches and protests were going on but I honestly just couldn't get myself to care. I was too worried about applying my self in my new career, worried about working the extra hours to get to the next position. There always was a next rung to think about, there never was there time to just enjoy where you are. I really think that is the biggest regret that I have in my life so far, that I wasn't able to enjoy the here and now at the time when it was the most important, that I wasn't able to see the signs of what was to come. Somewhere deep in dreams I foolishly think that somehow if I had noticed what was going on that I personally could have stopped it.

     On those rare nights that I can sleep, I find myself in a world that continued on from what was. I see in my mind the glowing beacon , and I walk the streets in an idealized version of what was before. I feel a joy that does not exist in the world these days. I am whole again, and those that I have lost along the way are walking behind me. I walk the streets of old Chicago and hear the roaring hum of the el-trains. Suddenly I find myself mysteriously at the bean looking into the reflection with all that was and see a twisted reflection of what is now looking back at me. I reach my hand up to the smooth surface as the dark twisted reality I see is so terrifying I want to scream. Instead of the vibrant lights and cacophony of voices on the side that was I see myself standing alone in the dark in the side that is. I see the bombed out buildings, I see only a smattering of lights emanating from the buildings that are still intact. In the near distance I see a flag set of flags flying, the bottom is the flag of the city of Chicago, the middle is the newish flag of the Great Lakes Province, and the highest is the flag of Canada. As my hand reached the surface of the bean the smooth cold metal surface gives way, there is a ripple effect as though someone dropped a rock in a pond of water. The surface suddenly gives way and I feel myself pulled up and into the bean, seconds later I am suddenly fully enveloped inside.

     On these nights I usually jolt awake in a cold sweat. I sit there in my bed, alone as I drink in all the emotions that I try to suppress in during the day. My mind forces me to deal with the emotions that I so desperately try to ignore. I am left with a deep feeling of loss, regret, and the slightest tinge of hope. In reading about the psychological effects of the fall the first two are more common than anyone would care to admit. The later emotion is the rare one, even I do not know what that means, why any of this situation would give me any hope.

     Many of us in the Chicago area count our blessings that we ended up where we were. There was so much chaos and confusion when everything started. When I think of those days the overwhelming emotion that comes to me is panic. I can remember so many incidents of running in pure panic, but for the life of me can't remember from what. If I try to explain to someone what was going on in those days I go to an almost text book version of what happened.

     We know that there was a massive EMP that took out communications in the majority of the nation for weeks. As the EMP went off and people panicked in the darkness and disconnection the capitol was attacked. Details even now are still sparse, we do not know the cause. They picked a great time, most Senators were in DC as the Senate was in session. The president was in residence at the white house and having a meeting with the vice president, when suddenly the bombs went off. Nearly instantly wiping out the majority of our federal government. Our country which should have coalesced in the face of such a tragedy, strengthening our bond, shattered instead into a million pieces.

     What followed was pure anarchy, each and every state on their own. Our neighbors up north were the saviors to Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan; those state governments asking for help from the Canadian military to keep peace in the areas. Illinois made an alliance with Missouri, Kansas, Ohio, Iowa, and Indiana. For the last few years leading up to the fall there had been a growing discontent with modern mores. Many of the rural areas had subscribed to a neo-traditionalism that harkened back to the days when we didn't rely on technology to do our work, there was much talk of the affect that God being absent from our everyday life had on us as a whole. They saw that the rising sea levels and temperatures was God  showing his disdain for the disrespect that we have shown His gifts. There was a growing disconnect between the  Chicago area and the rest of the state, but the alliance of states needed many of the cities financial resources and was content to let Chicago stand alone as an area of weak mores. When the new Alliance tried to pass laws limiting the use of electricity and technology; outlawing any religion outside of christianity; outlawing homosexuality and fornication outside of marriage, the people of Chicago rebelled. Many of Chicago's iconic buildings were destroyed or damaged in the ensuing conflict. Chicago reached out to the Canadians just neighboring in Wisconsin and Michigan and were offered salvation just as there defenses were ready to fall as the Canadian army swept in and turned the tide. The alliance accepted the occupation of Chicago because it needed to retain a good trading relationship and relied heavily on the Canadian currency as the most stable Currency in North America. Soon afterwards the new areas were officially annexed by Canada and the new Great Lakes province was formed.

    With all of this strife and conflict why would Chicagoans feel lucky to have ended up where they did? Under Canadian law we have flourished more than most of our immediate neighbors. We are still able to live our lives under basically the same moral system that we always new. Out of the corpse of the United States of America grew several smaller nations, many combining to form less small nations. The major powers left are the Alliance - now known as the Breadbasket, based on their mainly agricultural economy, the Confederacy, a collection of the southern states, the republic of Texas, New England and the Isle of California.

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