Monday, January 30, 2006

St. Augustine

The really sad thing is they lost touch with most of their friends and families. Tragedies were reported from all over the planet. Roofs collapsing under the weight of the snow, transportation routes cut off, people simply freezing to death in absolutely frigid temperatures. The winter finally broke in late April, but it took till the end of may for most of the snow to melt, some places it was June before the snow was gone and that’s around Jacksonville. The cities to the north weren’t as lucky, winter still broke but the summer that they had was what would have been deemed a summer in the arctic.

A couple of my parents friends managed to survive and headed south as soon as they could, knowing we were in Florida (I was already alive by the time they made it and found us). A lot of services were in taters across the globe; news didn’t travel as fast though many means of passing information along were still in use. The Internet was still functioning to some degree and passing information along. TV and radio still worked so everyone got the full-scale horror of what had happened. Countries like Canada and Russia were virtually non-existent, those that had survived were moving south by whatever means they could but there was very few of them. I learnt more about this over the years growing up.

That summer it turned out was a good one, at least for me; I was born, and I was a healthy baby boy. So I guess when I said I was Canadian it was only half true because I’m also American because of where I was born. It doesn’t really matter because there isn’t all that much of Canada left for me to go back and visit.

We moved out of Jacksonville shortly after I was born, coincidentally about the time my parents’ friends found us. We headed south, we weren’t intending to go far but we wanted to get out of the city; the breakdown of services was more pronounced in cities, the police were simply not able to deal with the crime and looting especially when people ran out of money and lost their jobs. We moved to a town called St. Augustine; that’s where I grew up and that’s where we’re still living. Close enough to a city to get its support and to help support it but far enough away that there’s some isolation and safety.

Friday, January 27, 2006

My name is Joseph Smythe

My name is Joseph Smythe and I’m a Canadian, I was born in the first winter and I turned 19 a few weeks ago. I live in one of these communities I just mentioned. My parents managed to survive the very first winter by sheer luck, they took a vacation in early December to the Dominican Republic. The winter had already been a hard one so they decided to go warm up for a week before Christmas. Their return flight to what was the city of Toronto never managed to get back. They boarded the plane and were told that there was a snowstorm but they had been cleared to take off. No one though anything of this because these types of things happen when you live in Canada.

I’ve heard my dad recount the story, after about an hour in the air the pilot came on the planes PA system and announced that they had been diverted to Miami because the storm around Toronto wasn’t letting up and a second one was coming in south of it. The pilot neglected to mention that Washington was already under three feet of snow and more was coming it was like the old movie The Day After Tomorrow but not quite as bad. By that I mean there was none of the flash freezing and gargantuan snow fall that they showed; it took time.

The plane landed in Jacksonville, Florida in the end because the Miami airport was full and they were expecting even more planes. That’s where we started that first winter, Jacksonville. States of Emergency were declared throughout Canada and most of the northern states, planes were refused permission to fly there and to land there so my parents did what they had to, with a temporary visa to stay in the US my dad did what he had done each winter as a kid, he shoveled snow. This is how they were able to scrape by. Even then this first winter was harsh, over 15 feet of snow ended up falling in Jacksonville that winter which kept my father and eventually mother quite busy and able to survive. But this was the beginning of the mess. They never left Florida and they count their blessings every day that they survived.

Friday, January 13, 2006

The Coming Winter

Dawn broke a very steely grey on August 9th, which matched the coolness of the air. Patches of frost could be seen in the open fields, it was obvious that it was getting colder as each day passed. The frost would be gone before noontime but it stuck in the mind, winter was coming and it would be worse than the winter before. The growing seasons had been bad in the local communities; ever since the war they had almost always been bad. There had been stories that in the olden times there were marvels beyond belief in this world but now it was a desolate place where winters killed almost as many people as the spring and summer brought into existence.

People used any means possible to survive now, at first it was roving bands of roughians but that had stopped almost 20 years ago, after the first winter. Sure there were still bands of thugs here and there but they were sparse and much more organized than before. The first winter taught them a very valuable lesson; at least for those that survived, there is strength in numbers and preparation.

Many people didn’t survive the first winter after the war, when it came it came with such a fury that none had seen in the past. It was as if Mother Nature had decided to repay humanity for the damage that had been done to her. The war itself crippled most countries, killing billions; leaving the rest to fend for them selves and to protect them selves. Where there had been strong nations now there were tatters and bands of mini states. Within the first couple years it became clear that the easiest way to survive initially was within communities. These cities weren’t large, they housed a few thousand each at most, and they were extremely efficient in how they worked. Everyone did their part to survive but still the winters got people. Some regions were harder hit than others, the northern areas were hardest hit, countries like Canada survived intact but it really didn’t matter because the winters came and nature took over. In the more northern countries of the world the first few winters killed all but a small group of the survivors and those that did survive very quickly started moving south.

All told the worlds population went from close to 9 billion before the war to about 250 million across the planet after the first war. Most of the technology that had been attained was lost, damaged or set aside in order to survive. After 20 years people had learnt to survive and now they were ready to start putting the pieces back together, it was the young generation those born in the first year or two after the war that wanted to reestablish some of what was in the past, to better survive the winters, to see what happened to the rest of humanity.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The New Year!

Happy New Year Everyone! Regular story posts will resume this week on Friday!