Tuesday, 16 August 2011
F3 - Cycle 44 - "TEMPEST FUGITIVES"
This weeks F3 challenge is inspired by the 'unrest' we are experiencing in the world today - be that social or economic.
This story was sparked off by the recent unrest and rioting in the UK.
How much longer? That’s all I can think of; surely this has to end some time?
The looting started soon after it became apparent that there wouldn’t be enough food to go around. Pretty soon people were raiding shops for any other ‘tradable’ items to barter for bread and milk. Gangs broke into warehouses and ‘appropriated’ food, fuel, anything that could have a price in the days to come. It didn’t take long for society to falter. Food supplies finally ran out as the transport system ground to a halt, crops rotted in the fields and in the land of canned goods, the man with a tin opener was king.
The motorways became graveyards where vehicles littered the carriageways as a frightened population tried to flee the anarchy in the streets. Some died in their cars through thirst or hunger, scared to escape the congestion on foot; others died trying to protect what little they’d managed to take with them. Ransacked wagons with their doors ripped open lay like huge dead animals, the remnants of their cargoes spilling out into the breeze, carrion to be picked over by both the opportunist and the desperate.
It’s been six months now. The night curfew echoes with cries and shots and with no power to transmit or receive, the Great British Public no longer sit watching the TV to live vicariously through 'Big Brother' or 'Britain’s Got Talent' or any of the interminable ‘soaps’ and dramas. Until the power ran out the TV networks were swamped with news reports and when the internet was still alive the constant chatter on social networks meant fact became far more curious than fiction.
With the breakdown in society and police backed into submission the army had been called in to deal with the situation. They managed to create enclaves where it was possible to survive but the vast majority of us are on our own in this. Ingenuity and lessons from a time before microchips may be all we can rely on as we all learn to ‘make do and mend’.
A few months have knocked our civilisation back into the dark ages, where it’s every man for himself, jealously guarding the pitiful scrap of territory they believe to be their own. The ‘have’s’ and ‘have not’s’ fought it out and we became a nation of ‘I will take’s’.
Cynically, I think how much we probably deserve this ‘payback’ from a society as smashed and broken as those shop windows; we wanted a better life for the next generation, they wanted rights without responsibilities and now they are biting off the hand that feeds them.
What good, now, the politicians’ posturing and promoting initiatives and treating the ‘symptoms’ of a sick society rather than dealing with the root cause of the canker that has sapped all sense of pride and self-worth? Too late, the horse has bolted and a 'free for all' has become a 'free for none'.
‘O brave new world,’ Shakespeare’s Miranda breathed, ‘that has such people in it’. Even with my sparse education I recall she marvelled at a world unknown to her. Now our world will need to be more than brave if we are to survive this current tempest.
Another volley of shots. More shouting. A disquieting litany as I pull the blanket tighter. I can’t remember what it’s like to settle down to sleep without fear. Surely it must end soon?
But then I remember – it’s 2012. Perhaps those doom-prophecies were right after all, foretelling the demise of civilisation and rise of anarchy as the harbingers of Armageddon.
The saying goes: tempus fugit, time flies. Is time really running out and are we merely fugitives from the tempest?
Is this just the beginning of the end?