Author : V.M. Bannon
They came for the treasury first. I talked to somebody who used to work there, and they said that it was like watching a timer tick down, those numbers rapidly falling down to nothing.
Then the banks shut down. They told us that it was for our own protection, but when we couldn’t even get on the website to check our balances, we knew that it was over.
Nobody was angry, I don’t think. We were just too stunned. We thought they’d turn back on. Then the lights went out.
It’s surprising how tenuously your life is actually held together. How little you can do for yourself. I remember being a child, reading history books and marveling at how silly all my ancestors were. Couldn’t they just use matches to light a fire? Or flip a switch?
But that required a whole network of unseen people. The engineers and maintenance workers and truck drivers and the gas station clerks that worked nights.
Normal, though, is what you are used to. We became normal, slowly. Readjusted. Centuries-old instincts resurfaced. We all grew to like the taste of fresh caught meat, although we still dreamed of bacon wrapped in plastic
It was the hipsters that fared the best, ironically. Their seemingly stupid hobbies of basket weaving and potato farming became useful in this new world. It bothered the hell out of them.
Eventually the world moved on enough that people had children. Children who would gather ’round the fire to hear about things like air conditioning and canned food with the kind of awe we had already numbed ourselves to by the time we were their age.
They would sit around, mouths in perfect o’s. Eventually one kid, usually the biggest and bravest, would push forward and say “but it wasn’t really real, was it? If it was really real, you wouldn’t have let it go away, would you?”
And then whoever was telling the story would hold up a finger, dig around in their pockets, and pull out a phone. We’d held onto them, palm sized reminders that it had not all been a dream.
The children would gather round it, clicking the sides. Sometimes there would be just enough battery that it would light up, telling you that it was dead. When that happened, the children would all look at the storyteller as one, faces still lit in the only electricity they would ever see, and know that it was true. It had all happened. We were the ones who let it.