Friday, March 12, 2021

States of Change Chapter 32: Gopher (Minnesota)

States of Change is an ongoing work of serial fiction.
The speculative story-line seeks to inspire thought on ethics, culture and our planet's future.

The year is 2076, decades after Oosa's defederalization. 
Fifty independent States have forged unique societies from revolutionary technology and ideology

"All Men Created Equal. Go for it!"

The bellyache command launched the platoon out of their hiding places. Not one of the soldiers knew the connection of that phrase to Oosa's three century old, now defunct, independence declaration. It had simply become the cornerstone virtue of Minnesotan life. A few decades ago there might have been a morsel of intellectual freedom in it, to counter state oppression. Today, libertarian anarchy had subsumed the state so the epithet was simply a call to claim resources as nature intended, with equal opportunity for all. 

Wallace raced straight for the Fell castle. Being as it was well before dusk this wasn't totally insane. His six brothers in arms managed a bit more stealth as they weaved through the heaps of car chassis strewn about as makeshift barriers to the warehouse entrance. As for actual arms, it was unlikely any firearms would be discharged. It had been years since any of the tribes had managed to acquire ammunition. Much easier to adapt rebar, axles, and rifle barrels into the blunt weapons deserving of survival-of-fittest tribesmen.

Although close-in fighting was the norm, Wallace had expected the stray projectile to be thrown from the roof as they approached the loading dock doors. Had his tribe successfully caught the watch off guard? His men converged at the corrugated doors, their edges battered by years of break-ins and makeshift modification. The moon behind them lit the courtyard as planned to give the advantage in any confrontation to retake the warehouse castle that had been theirs up until a few months ago. The faction of workers led by his brother had ousted Wallace and his loyal team. Reggie really ought to have killed them for now the second shoe of justice would fall.

Shoulder to the wall adjacent the access door, Wallace called out a gruff "Report!"  From opposite corners of the loading bay, Sven shook his head while Aubrey shrugged his shoulders indicating no-one in their squads had seen enemy soldiers let alone run into any kind of resistance.

"Two plus two. Go for it!" he announced. The team systematically brought their iron rods into play. Clanking and creaking rang out but only for a few seconds as they successfully breached the main doors. It had been locked with a latch but not barricaded in any significant way. Rolling the door open, Sven's team swarmed into the old warehouse that had once served as a storage hub for whatever business had occupied it forty years ago. Aubrey kept watch with his two reports and Wallace strutted inside to reclaim was his.

The gibbous moon had risen enough now to throw light through the collapsed roof of the structure. Debris lined the walls and a pale heap at the center of the space came into focus. The dead bodies of two dozen men were laid out in a ritual circle piled three feet high. The corpses were all naked but were scrubbed squeaky clean and neatly arranged to form a Wicconian wishing well.

"Fuck all. Liber-all!" said Wallace. The damn witches had done their worst again. Who can say how the uprisings started. Some say the Amy-Zon revolt had established its ritual meme twenty years ago up in the Twin Cities. Still the common word was that the whole ritual was a lie, fake news and commie disinformation. His youngest wife believed the stories though. "Possession leads to being possessed," she would occasionally mutter.  He slapped her good every time. Why couldn't they get with the program reality had dealt them. Men did the fighting, women did the homing. 

Wallace walked through his men up to the great circle of rotting human flesh. His brother lay there somewhere piled in the ring of death. At its center every last woman and child sat back to back, dead stares facing outward. Arms around each other, defiance and misery. The only way these damn women could hurt the men was to take away the future. Sadness tickled at his mind so he corralled it in and massaged it into anger. 

Grimacing, Wallace half nodded to his team to move out. 

"Nothing for us here. Let 'em rot. We go west."

Not a single man took pause. Wallace was their Alpha. They followed. 

The sun peaked over the horizon at the tribe's back. With equality of determination they sauntered forward to find something to live for. 

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