Author: Julian Miles, Staff Writer
We’d all seen the predictions, and everyone had seen at least one post-apocalyptic movie or series.
Some of us were foolish enough to think we were ready. No matter which flavour of apocalypse story preferred, we’d all missed one critical point.
The two decades leading up to the final breakdown were marked by unprecedented levels of largely propaganda-induced divisiveness. The reasoning was simple: if we were arguing amongst ourselves, we weren’t picking on those who oversaw us.
Those self-obsessed bastards did their job too well.
When it finally fell apart, when the lingering fears of law and consequences were removed, the people didn’t coalesce into survival-oriented tribes co-operating to reach an unknown future: they turned into ravening packs of anger-driven fanatics determined to deal with all those who differed in opinion.
Amongst bloody battles and gruesome massacres, those ravening packs fragmented as internal disagreements went from denunciation to murder in minutes. When internal strife reduced a pack to chaotic groups, bigger packs tore them apart. No thought of any future, nothing in reserve. Scorched earth tactics and petty genocide covered the land in ashes, bones, and horrific totems.
Initially, those who fought also preyed on those who hid, because those in hiding invariably had stockpiles of supplies. After stripping those havens, the meanest packs turned to cannibalism. The biggest thought themselves actually powerful, then got themselves annihilated trying to breach the few fortified cities.
I wonder what life is like inside those spiked rings of electrified walls and towers? I don’t think their strategies are as good as they thought, and the war that burned London to the ground without a single gate opening tells me they didn’t manage to leave all of the rabid factionality outside. I doubt anyone paused to keep a record of the reasons. If they did as I do, I’d like to read their diary – if it survived. Only to assuage my curiosity, though, because the lessons learned no longer have any relevance in this aftermath we now fight through. Sometimes I wonder if there’s somewhere in the world where people farm and live in peace. I don’t know if it exists, but I am sure it’ll be somewhere untainted by that which was laughably called ‘western civilisation’.
The watch fires of Brighton are burning low tonight. An evening drizzle has turned to rain, and I can see shadows moving under the trees by the Old London Road.
They’ll attack over and through the barricades at Preston Park after midnight. It’ll be a brief and brutal raid that’ll cost both sides precious able-bodied people. Those who retreat will be saddened by their losses but buoyed up by the supplies they gain. They’ll settle back into their camp below the flyover, sentries slightly inattentive because of the victory. The ebullience of winners, however brief, is always a vulnerability.
It’s all the advantage we’ll need when we rappel from the flyover to take their lives, what they took, and everything else they have.
We’re a small group, merciless, but without hate for any of those left out here. We will survive, and the particular hatred behind that is what drives us: one day, somehow, we or our progeny will be waiting for those who rule the cities when they finally emerge.
Despite having discussed other options for ages, we remain unanimous: vengeance first. There is a toll to be paid, and we will exact it for all those who cannot.