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“You had better get that fucking gun out of my fucking face man or I am going to fucking stick it up your fucking ass.” Rain, was feeling diplomatic.
“What my friend here means sir is that we mean you no harm, and I am sure she would never think of doing anything with your gun sir” If the expression on my face could talk it would say ‘Jesus Christ Rain, shut the fuck up, this crazy yokel has a fucking cannon pointed at our face, don’t piss him off!’
“You ain’t here for scrap?” The man holding the gun was dressed in a pair of worn but clean work pants, and a button up flannel shirt. A green John Deer cap covered salt and pepper hair. His face was middle aged, but hardened, a look we had seen a lot on our travels. The end of the world has a way of doing that to people.
What followed was a tense, but civil, discussion about local gangs, scrap metal thieves, and ham radio.
“So now that you know we are not here to steal your tower, could you please put that gun down.” I had gotten pretty tired of staring into the double barreled depths of the thing.
“Hell this aint even loaded, names Jason, Jason Devires.” Jason lowered the gun and reached out his hand, pausing only to wipe it on the leg of his pants.
“My names Quentin, and this is Rain.” To her credit Rain extended her hand and made nice with a man she would have happily killed moments ago.
“You all look a bit hungry, here follow me.”
Jason took us back over the hill and our jaws dropped. Before us was a vibrant village teaming with people.
“Holy shit, how are all these people able to live here, we haven’t seen anything but po-dunk wasteland for miles…no offence” Rain was as surprised as I was to see a thriving village tucked amongst the rolling hills.
“Ha ha, you haven’t heard about ‘the miracle of Watkins Glen’, let me show you around” Jason led the way and we followed.
Watkins Glen NY, was little more than a tourist trap in the finger lakes region before, known more as a place to buy collectible magnets in the shape of New York state than as a hub of habitation. But now it was a thriving town of more than 20,000 people. The reason being.
“Mother fucking wind turbines,” Jason pointed to the top of a nearby hill, two large wind turbines could be seen slowly turning in the breeze, “Them fuckers were on there way out to Cape Cod, but some dumb rich yacht owning idiots decided they liked the view better than the free electricity, so they been sitting in a warehouse here for years.”
It seems that some rich power plant magnates had gotten religion and were trying to put up a giant wind farm just off of Cape Cod. The even richer, blue blood, oil and coal magnates had a different idea. They didn’t want to despoil their pristine ocean view with a bunch of wind mills. For years they had tied up the proceedings in court. I guess Ophelia didn’t care either way because she ground their mansions along with everything and everyone else on the Cape into a fine powder.
“We ‘borrowed’ a crane from the old quarry, and set them up on top of the ridge, lucky for us some Dutch engineers were here for some wind conference when the new weather hit, or else we wouldn’t have been able to figure out how to set them up. A little digging, some concrete and a whole lot of steel later whalla! Watkins Glen is the only fully wind powered town in New York, maybe all the US. We sunk every last penny we had into this operation, and a good thing too, cause now money ain’t worth shit, and we got the only power source that don’t cost a million dollars for hundreds of miles!”
Watkins Glen had other surprises, a biodiesel refinery that turned used vegetable oil into fuel and glycerin used for soap, solar thermal panels for hot water, two communal gardens that produced an abundant crop of produce, a school, a working hospital, and Jason’s favorite part.
“This is my baby, my very own wind powered ham radio set!” Jason led us to a tiny shack several hundred yard from the tower.
“Ham radio? Has the internet died in the last two weeks, why use such old technology?”
“No man, you can still get internet, hell the power grid still works, but its all failing, the internet is just America and Europe and parts of Asia now, the rest of the world can’t afford to keep the servers running, and if we didn’t have our wind turbines we would be paying all our money for power to keep the lights on, don’t you see man, that shit is old news”
Jason was nice enough to let us sleep on his floor. We stayed in Watkins Glen for the next couple of days, helping out on the farm, doing small tasks; in exchange we got food, shelter and good company. It was tempting to think we could stay there for a longer period. But we both knew that we would have to leave this wonderful little town and continue on our journey.
I thought a lot about what Jason had said, about the internet being old news. I shuddered to think of a world with out the internet, the pinnacle of information sharing, arguably one of mankind’s greatest inventions, gone because we couldn’t keep the lights on. It had been weeks since we last heard anything from the greater world; Jason let me borrow his laptop to check up on news.
Ophelia was still making her way around the Atlantic. She was now just off of Brazil, killing whoever was still close to the water, and destroying hundreds of acres of rain forest. One could almost think she was doing it intentionally, trying to keep the trees from soaking up any carbon that would keep her from her nice global warming induced fuel source.
In the United States eastern seaboard cities had largely been evacuated; pictures were all over the net of the last people to leave New York City. It was a stark reminder that while we had been pedaling our bicycles through gently rolling hills, the rest of the world had been falling apart.
On a whim I decided to see if the site hosting the cat food recall forum was still up and running. In what now seemed like another life, I used to post the results of my crazy ravings here, a subtle vanity. I wanted people to know that I knew things, but didn’t really want anyone “real” to read it. That’s why I did it all under an assumed name and used the back ass end of the internet to post my findings.
I typed in the familiar but obscure URL, making sure to get the series of question marks, slashes, and numbers correct. I was stunned when I saw what FireFox presented me.
I ran into the other room where Rain was taking a shower, throwing open the door before I could even think. Rain stood naked, sun warmed water streaming down her body, her long blond hair in a wet heap down her back. Her pale skin was decorated from head to toe in colorful tattoos, her nipples pierced twice each. Down both sides of her ribs the now familiar row of scarified stars stood out against the paleness of her abdomen. I couldn’t help but notice that she shaved all of her pubic hair revealing a small hoop through each side of her vaginal lips.
“Q! What the fuck man!” Rain seemed surprised but didn’t make any move to cover herself.
I quickly threw my hands over my eyes, blushing deep red, but undeterred.
“I’m sorry Rain, but we have to go, now! I found Jake and Marla, they are alive, and in New York City.”