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The View

is this a Utopian life?

By Bruce Curle `Published 5 months ago 15 min read
The View
Photo by Marina on Unsplash

The outside world was unknown to her, but she could see a glimpse through the window in his room. She had never really known what the outside world was like. The war had been over for twelve years now. She was only six months old when the first nuclear weapon was fired at a city in the far eastern part of Europe. After that, it seems every nation, tribe, religious or political group used it as an excuse to settle old scores or debts they felt were owed to them.

Through the window, she could see the debris of the old city, with dust clouds blowing through the debris in the streets. She had heard stories of survivors still out there in the rubble of what once had been a mighty city full of art, culture, commerce and joy. She doubts this could be possible, though; she heard of radiation sickness and how some of the weapons used burned the skin right off humans and animals alike.

She stepped away from the window and returned to her studies of what the World had once been. She paused for a moment from her studies to look at the calendar on her computer; she would be nineteen in a few days, and if she did not finish her studies, she would be required to attend mandatory civil or military service. Should she pass her exams, she could delay or skip this service altogether, especially if she went into one of the essential training modules like medicine, teaching or construction.

She returned to her studies of what started as the "Russian-Ukrainian War." Three. She ended as World War NATO nations gave the Ukrainians many weapons, food, and supplies until the Russian leadership became very angry. It seemed the Russians did not like something about the Ukrainian government. This led to the Russian invasion in February of 2022. According to Russian news of the time, this mission was to liberate the Ukrainian people from their government that was being seduced by Western Europe values. But somehow, this rescue mission turned into a slaughter of Ukrainian Civilians angry.

She paused from her studies for a moment and tried to think of her first memories. She remembered the loud sirens when she was three and the loud bangs and explosions that were very scary. She remembered her mother stumbling when she was four, falling asleep, and never waking up. She remembered the man with a white collar around his neck telling her that her mother was needed in heaven.

She scratched her head and went back to her studies. The Russian leader got angry at this NATO and Western Europe and sent a message to the United Nations. She looked up this United Nations for a moment, and after reading a little, she shook her head, saying, "They did a lot of good in 2023, gunfire broke out, and they tried to kill each other on the podium."

She took a small sip of water and returned to her studies; The Russian leader sent this message saying that unless countries stopped supplying weapons to the Ukrainians within twenty-four hours, a strategic nuclear strike could be carried out on the Ukrainian capital and other cities. Twelve hours later, they sent a second message demanding the Ukrainian military pull back twelve kilometres from a city called Kherson within twelve hours.

She took a bite of a small sandwich. She remembered seeing an old video of kids complaining about certain luncheon meats and bread, and she was grateful for anything she could get. She wondered if these children were still alive as adults now. She wondered if they starved, died in battle, or nuclear waste took their lives.

She thought she needed to focus on her lessons closer, take another drink of water then go back to the computer fine. She thought about when she played card games when people bluffed or pretended to have certain cards. Often these people turned out to have what they claimed and won th. The twenty-four-hour warning came and went, and reporters and governments claimed that the Russians were bluffing.

Back to her studies, she read more on her computer screen. The Russians sent a final warning and advised civilians and foreigners to leave the capital and certain other cities within the next twelve hours. For the most part, the World again ignored the warning, and fourteen hours after the warning, the first nuclear bombs of the Russian-Ukrainian war detonated on the capital and a city called Odesa.

The capital's death toll and material destruction were enormous, and buildings and cultures that had survived numerous wars and revolutions were gone in a few seconds. A ghostly haze of radiation hung over the few ruins that remained. The safety of the subway system could not save everyone from radiation and choking gas fumes.

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An hour after the blast struck the capital, the port city of Odessa was struck. Freighters in port vanished in the radiated heat explosion blast. Hotels and clubs a year earlier had rung in 2022 with merriment were gone in a wink of the eye. Now famine, disease and the full horrors of a nuclear holocaust would occur in 2023.

Many international aid agencies immediately started sending supplies toward various borders. These agencies were scared more bombs were to follow, so this aid was dropped at the borders in the hope some Ukrainian authority would be able to take these to the people in need.

Since the war began neighbouring countries had experienced a flood of refugees, but in the days after the nuclear assaults, the stream of refugees went from a flood to a tidal wave.

Many nations condemned the use of nuclear weapons, and others used this as a cover to settle old disputes. A Serb Bosnia War started six hours after the first atomic bombs destroyed the core of the Ukrainian capital. A friendly nation to the Russians invaded the Ukrainian with support from three thousand Russian troops.

A day after the nuclear attack, while many nations talked hard about sanctions and taking Russian assets, North Korea sent over three hundred Drones over their border with South Korea. South Korean air defences nearly buckled under this air-born assault. South Korea responded with an extensive artillery bombardment in retaliation which led to the North sending large columns of troops south for the first time since the 1950s. The North Koreans blamed American aggression and the sellout of traditional values in the south for the attack. American forces in South Korea supported the South Korean military against this massive assault.

She read how some nations openly questioned the limited American response to these rogue nations on peaceful neighbours. Other countries compared it to the disorganized withdrawal from Afghanistan. Many wondered where the Americans were in all these actions, even though hundreds of Americans were dying at the border between North and South Korea.

Within the week of the nuclear strikes, much of Africa was ablaze in civil or border wars. Israeli troops were fighting once more in the Golan Heights as it faced numerous terrorist attacks within its borders.

Ten days after the nuclear strikes, Russia asked the Ukrainian military to surrender immediately or face a Nuclear Holocaust like the World had never seen. One Russian leader believed that the Ukrainian problem could only be settled by bombing it into the stone age and turning it into a melon and turnip field. The next day a hidden sniper ended his life.

China began repatriating Taiwan by force two weeks after the first nuclear weapons were fired. This started with a three-day bombardment from the air and sea. Two American warships were sunk, and the United States appeared to be woken from its' slumber. Warships from Australia, and New Zealand, joined an American fleet and attacked Chinese warships Near Taiwan. A second fleet shelled North Korea for the first time since the 1950s.

She slowly got up and stretched, and went back towards the window. She wondered what it was like for the people in this city when they knew the rockets and missiles were approaching. Did they pray, or did they run? She saw some photos where people went crazy in the street, shooting at law enforcement or shooting journalists and film crews. For the briefest moments, she thought she saw a diminutive human form moving between relics of civilians.

She wandered back to the computer and watched a newsreel of the time. A young female journalist from somewhere in the United Kingdom reported that several missiles had struck the city of London, but none were nuclear. It seems St Paul's Cathedral was burning, and the reporter mentions that this also happened in the last world war.

A month after the first nuclear strike, it appeared India and China were in a full-scale border war. In the past, troops had fist-fought and attacked each other with small weapons, but this time, with helicopter gunships, missiles, and tanks. Both sides had used lethal gas bombs on the front lines.

After these events, things started to fall apart quickly, and the few attempts to stop any growing conflicts failed quickly. Desperate calls for peace or truce were answered with gun battles in the chambers United Nations. Two grenades were tossed, causing the death of officials.

Later the same day, Nuclear weapons were fired at Russia and the United States. This was followed by a dirty bomb detonating in a New York subway nation.

The entire World was at war before some form of sanity began to return; over two billion people were either killed in the conflict or died as a result. New strains of covid spread across the globe as starvation and plagues circled the plant.

She turned off the computer and finally finished reading all she was required to read. Tomorrow she would eat a small meal, change into her best clothes and face the examiners.

Success meant the possibilities of a future; failure meant she could be outside in a radiation suit cleaning the landscape.

She turned off the lights as she left the room and slowly walked down the corridor. She found many of her friends in a frenzy. It seemed that a younger boy had been caught on a restricted internet link. She went down the corridor to see the boy being cuffed, yelled at and mocked by others.

Everyone knew the penalty for opening up communication with non-allies, even for playing a game. She had seen this happen a few times before and wondered why this temptation was left so unguarded and easy to do.

"Traitor!" screamed one girl as she tried swinging at the boy as he went by.

"What did he do exactly?" she tried to ask the girl.

The girl looked into her eyes, 'Well, Rebecca, he was playing some game with someone from the eastern zone. I hope they send him out."

Rebecca knew exactly what that meant, and the boy could be shoved out of an airlock into the old city to survive on his own. The boy to her looked no older than eleven or twelve. She did believe that such a severe punishment would be given to a child. In the past, only adults or older teenagers were subject to being sent outside.

She hurried back to her room, not believing the chaos she was seeing; they were supposed to be above such things now. She lay on her bunk as the other residents of Bunk Room 104 entered. It seems everyone was talking about the caught traitor.

Surmene stopped by her bunk and smiled slightly, "Examine day tomorrow?"

"Yha," she replies.

"Well, you pass. You will leave the seven of us and move to a four-bunker room.'

The following day, she went to the study room and slowly approached the Headmaster's window. She was shocked and horrified to see the young boy wandering outside. Justice had indeed been swift.

She prepared for her exam as best she thought she could. She wondered if this new utopian society was any better than the World outside. She walked into the exam room, not quite knowing what would happen.

Two hours later, during her exam, she came upon an essay question she had never heard of this before. It must have been something new recently added to the tests.

"Write between 1,000 and 10,000 words on the causes and effects of the Third World War and your opinion of the war."

This question took some time to answer. As she entered the third hour of the exam, she hit the complete key on the exam and stood up. An examiner came over, entered a code on the computer, and asked her to follow them.

Rebecca had never heard of this once more unless someone did poorly or was accused of cheating. She truly felt that she did not commit either offence. She was led to a large chamber she had only been in once. This is where the Council met for important meetings or to try people for offensives breaking the "Order of Law."

She was directed to a chair in the center of the room and told to sit. The examiner motioned for her to stand. The examiner did not speak again until a dozen of the Council appeared and sat in their chairs.

"This is Rebecca Standworth?" one of the Council said in a deep gravelly voice.

The examiner faced the Council and replied, "It is."

Another Council at the far end of the chamber table spoke in a quieter voice, "Examiner, thank you for your service; you may be excused."

The examiner did not look at Rebecca as they silently left the chamber. Rebecca stood there, getting very frightened. She did not know what she could have done to be sent here.

Another councillor spoke, "Sit, child. Do you know why you are here?"

Rebecca sat down feeling very confused and thought she might pass out. In a sheepish voice, she spoke, "No,"

"Speak up," a councillor barked out at her.

She cleared her voice as best she could, "NO!" she bellowed out.

One of the councillors that had not spoken, " Rebecca Standworth, answer me this with a yes or no. Have you looked out of the Headmaster's window?"

Another councillor that had already spoken interrupted, "Beware, we already know the truth."

She looked at the group for what seemed like an eternity before she cleared her voice and replied, "I would not lie, yes I have, especially while studying in the adjoining room yesterday."

A short council member sat up as high as she could in her chair, "You do know that you could be punished as an adult for doing this?

"Yes," Rebeccas replied as she tried to put on an adult face.

Several of the council members whispered amongst themselves. One balding heavy-set council member looked her over from her seat, "Honesty is always best. This essay you wrote was flagged immediately. Have you ever communicated with someone from the eastern or central zones?"

Rebecca was shocked by this question. She barely knew where these zones were. Her knees began to shake as her voice trembled, " I, I never have to my knowledge."

"You could have then?" said a council member.

Another one blurted out, "Time for a vote!"

"I am not ready. I have not read the complete file on this girl yet." said another.

" Was your father an active member of the Easter Alliance or just a passive member?" groaned out another member.

The council member in the center that had not spoken stood up. "Enough! She bellowed out like a roaring lion. Everyone became silent as she said," I have been on the Council of Elders the longest and have paid a high price to gain this position. Rebecca Standworth, you are an independent thinker and soul. This can be good but also very dangerous." she paused, looking left and right. "Independent thoughts can bring prosperity or doom to our community. I believe I speak for the community and this Council."

The entire Council stood up silently. The senior councillor motioned for her to stand.

Rebecca stood up awkwardly as she felt a painful headache and was afraid she might become sick. She was so scared for the first time that she could remember.

"Rebecca Standworth, you will be sent out of this community with four others, given supplies and maps, and sent out on a special assignment. Should you return with the assignment completed, you shall find yourself in a place with limited authority," she said as she stared at Rebecca. "Should you fail in this assignment, you shall be banished forever and considered an enemy of this community."

The examiner entered the room again as the council members left through two doors, one at each end of their table. All except the senior member who had sat in the middle. She stood staring at this young woman.

She looked deep into the young woman's eyes, "Rebecca, succeed, and you might one day be someone like me. Fail, and your grave will be the badlands or the ruins. Every two months, a group goes out. I was in the first group and returned successfully; only two others have done this. " A moment later, she turned and disappeared through the right door.

The safety and security of the complex were about to be gone. She spent three days with several different people preparing to be sent out. She met the boy accused of communicating with the community's enemies on the third day.

The outer door opened, and I entered the old World with four others. The true horrors and joys of the planet Earth awaited this little group. The truth of the planet awaited her.

The Outside World by Warren Curle, 2020

Author's Note -

This story is written and created for a Vocal Media Challenge.

I discovered this story took a life of its own as I wrote and prepared it. I have prepared a sequel should there be interest in following Rebecca's life outside the safety and insanity of "The Community."

This story may appear on other sites in the days to come.

Thank you for reading and commenting.

FableShort StorySeriesHistoricalFantasy

About the Creator

Bruce Curle `

A Fifty something male that enjoys writing short stories, scripts and poetry. I have had many different types of work over my lifetime and consider myself fairly open minded and able to speak on many topics.

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  • Mark Gagnon5 months ago

    I enjoyed this story. You chose war to destroy humanity in your piece while I chose climate change in mine. The end result is the same, devastation and a path forward. I'm looking forward to part 2.

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