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America's Final Beginning
By Michael S. Hewitt
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2012 Michael S. Hewitt
All right reserved.
Chapter OneNearly Powerless
Miles towed a cart with all his possessions riding in it. As he walked along the empty street he pondered what had happened to his life. The world had changed so dramatically in just nine short months, but those changes grew from small seeds planted more than a hundred years before. What was once the United States of America had become the Tri-State Americas Province governed by the Global Socialist Authority; a new world government the likes of which Joseph Stalin could have only dreamed. The left was in control without balance or restraint.
More than daunted, but not destroyed; Miles feared for his family, his countrymen and the world. His voice cracked a bit as he wondered if his mother, father and sister were even still alive in what was once Virginia. Basic things like communication that had always been taken for granted were simply non-existent. It wasn't that long ago when Arlington was only a two-hour rail trip away. Miles had made the jaunt many times to see his family, but by this point it might as well have been on the dark side of the moon. As he strode along the grey and empty streets he muttered the obvious question, "What must we do to free America from this hell?"
At 42, he had always regretted not having children, not settling down. He was 6'2" with sandy brown hair and in top physical condition. A strong, good looking guy with a solid education; he'd had plenty of opportunities. His career always seemed to take priority and that decision, more than ever before, offered him comfort. Miles was glad he'd not brought children into this ugly socialistic world, but he felt even more alone because of it.
He remembered how world peace had sounded so good to so many people. Who could say 'no' to no more wars? Wonderful, except there was more death in this new police state called earth than had ever died in any war. He considered how the march against faith had become a faith of its own; with the monolith called government set forth as its God. He remembered how socialists had accused American business, both big and small, of being mean-spirited, greedy corporate tycoons employing clever tactics to enslave us to their products and production lines. They had raved about how much better the world would be when capitalists were replaced with people that cared. Miles shook his head in disgust, scoffing at the happy-faced, but self-gratifying and grossly intolerant so-called progressive world government that had replaced individual liberty and freedom.
The Global Socialist Authority used its military and police force against a disarmed population to instill acceptance. But, what made their brutality more burdensome is that we did this to ourselves; we traded our freedom for this ugly new world. That trade quickly proved to be our last and worst trade.
As a former Manhattan-based investment broker and retired U.S. Armed Services captain, Miles was one of the first to fall when known capitalists and defenders were identified and thrown to the bottom of this new two-caste system; elitists and the vast majority rendered dirt poor and desperate.
The bank building where Miles once worked had been seized by the Guardians of Peace, a Global Socialist Authority policing organization put in place to crack down on resistors. The Guardians of Peace quickly earned a reputation for being like Lenin's Cheka or Hitler's Gestapo in their maintenance of martial law. They were a political police charged with ensuring totalitarian authority. They certainly had nothing to do with law and order, much less peace.
Even still, Miles considered himself one of the lucky ones. Most of those that resisted, lots of people he knew, had not been seen or heard from since before the American flag was lowered for the last time; a symbolic act of power broadcast worldwide via Global Network News on Memorial Day, May 30. 2029.
It was two months since the flag came down and still only limited power to the electric grid was allowed. And, even at that, it was only once per day for thirty minutes. It was the same across all of what was used to be America. Their goal was to seriously limit any attempt at energy storage while allowing enough electric power to deliver their propaganda to the very few that still had an operating Intervision Square. The vast majority had long lost access to electronic media and received their propaganda-driven news in the form of leaflets that were airdropped daily.
Just blocks away from Miles in a conference room located within the former United Nations building, Assistant Provincial Director Colonel Katrina McKeon delivered televised reassurances to those few that might still be watching:
"Your new Global Family cares about you and your children's welfare and safety. Give us your faith and we will secure a future for you. Trust your government before your neighbor; work with us in the final stages of public disarmament for our wellbeing and yours.
"Have no fear. The days of weak or strong economies and nations are behind us. We all have the same, earn the same and are protected by the same. We have made it past the days of success or failure. Our time has come and we are now one with each other. There is no purpose for national pride and I strongly encourage you, my new friends, to embrace Global Pride. This is what you have; what we have. It is what we need for our success. You no longer need to fear nationalistic ideas for we give you Global Ideals. Borders gone; we have put an end to the fabled, but flawed melting pot, and have won the world over with multiculturalism, for you."
Someone whispered in her ear and for a brief moment she hesitated and then returned to the micro. "Lastly, we love you all and want only the best for each of our Global Citizens, but resistance will be met swiftly. Please be warned; for the good of the many we will cleanse from this world those that resist."
An aid replaced Colonel McKeon at the micro as she walked from the room. "Assistant Provincial Director McKeon loves every one of you, but will not be taking any questions today. She asks that you support our effort to cleanse our Global Family of all that was and promises more liberty in days to come. Once we have reached an appropriate level of security and have certain verification that the evils of capitalism and its conservative poison have been put down you will be able to enjoy some free movement within your sector, some services will be restored and your press will be revitalized. Thank you and Honor to our Global Socialist Authority."
The GSA had worked for years, generations, under many different names and organizations worldwide. So, it was true that the leaders of this new communism were not the first in history to promise something from nothing, but there was no historical equivalent for their determination and greed.
Many nations had succumbed quickly to the promise, but others had resisted with great might. America was the last to fall, and the one nation needed most to deliver the tenets of tyranny worldwide.
Throughout the last century the 10 Planks of the Communist Manifesto had been woven into the fabric of American politics and culture like a slowly injected disease from a hypodermic needle. The architects, authors and designers were long gone, but their plan for America and the world lived on. The promise of entitlement and protection proved more enticing than work ethic and achievement for many. That's how the decay from within began.
This war without bullets must have seemed an easy victory to its final benefactors, but winning the peace would prove to be an entirely different thing, indeed.
Chapter TwoEchoing Tears
Miles trudged on with no real direction in mind. As he walked along the nearly empty streets he thought New York City seemed soulless with either no electric service or periodic brown-outs. There was none of the old hustle, bustle, lights and traffic. The city that never sleeps looked cold and dead.
The looting and rioting of the first few weeks following America's economic collapse had ended long ago. During the worst of it, angry mobs had burned out or glommed on to almost everything in their path. They'd pilfered Intervision systems, jewelry, anything and everything, until they realized that without a functional society such things had no value. After the first few days of mayhem, food and water became the only commodities worth the risk of life and limb. When the obvious sources of food and water were gone, the mobs seemed to just evaporate. Finally, the city had been reduced to abandoned vehicles; burned-out or broken store fronts and a serious challenge for survival. The financial capital of the world was beyond destitute.
Worse than the view for Miles was the smell of death, sewage and uncollected garbage; standing near the corner of Broadway and 36th, the olfactory assault was so bad that he paused to fashion a kerchief from a piece of torn shirt to cover his nose and mouth.
His eyes watered and he could hardly see, but he clearly heard a woman sobbing. There were a few others walking nearby, but they didn't react causing him to question himself. Was it his imagination or couldn't they hear; or perhaps they didn't dare to hear. Miles cleared his eyes and began following the cries. Curled up in an embryonic pose in what was once a grand foyer to a building from America's glory days Miles found the source of the echoing tears.
A nearly naked woman tried to cover herself with the remnants of her shredded clothing. She was lying on the cold cement shivering and looking more alone than anyone he'd ever seen. Her face was bloodied and bruised and there were streams of blood that had run down both her legs and dried. She had obviously been beaten and, Miles assumed, raped. He reached out and called to her, but she paid no attention to him. If anything, she reacted with muted fear.
Miles pulled his cart up into the foyer so that it couldn't be seen from the sidewalk. He gathered some clothing from the cart and covered her and then sat down beside her. Without words, he simply slid a canister of precious water over to her and waited. She stopped sobbing and after a good long while she reached out for the water. As she drank Miles introduced himself, "I'm Miles Carlson. What can I do to help you?"
Almost an hour passed and the entire canister of water with it. Finally, the woman looked up to Miles, "My name is Leigh. Why are you helping me?"
Miles was surprised by her voice and taken aback by her question. "Because helping one another is the right thing to do, Leigh."
She glared at him, "Three Guardians did this to me. Are you going to serve them justice? That would be the right thing to do!"
Miles drifted off for a minute to his younger days when his father had complained that young people defined being wrong as being caught. Now it seemed that being caught was no longer a problem either. Instead of addressing her question he asked, "Do you have family or friends in the city?"
She looked up at Miles with fire in her eyes, "Don't feel like you've got to take care of me, I'll be fine!"
Miles was shocked at her reaction and could tell without doubt that the answer was no. "That's not why I asked. Soon we should get moving. We need to get someplace where you can get cleaned up anyway. Do you think you can walk?"
Her tone changed. Softer and lighter, "I think so, but I don't know. Let me try to get to my feet." She stood, but was very wobbly. Miles reached out, but she pulled away. She realized in only seconds that she wouldn't stand for long without his help and grabbed his sleeve to regain her balance. That it was Leigh's decision made it different, more acceptable and less threatening to her.
Miles picked up the shirt that had been covering her and hung it around her shoulders. "Put this on and I'll get you a pair of pants."
She almost laughed, "This is very nice of you, but this stuff isn't going to fit and I, for sure, won't be able to walk in those!"
Miles straightened out a place on his cart and with a friendly gesture guided her to get on. He handed her a hat and suggested that she hide her hair and enjoy the ride.
Just as Miles had hoped, she might pass as a sickly old man in her dirty clothes all hunkered down on his freight cart. As he pulled the cart with Leigh on it down the sidewalk he looked back at her and shook his head in silent disgust for what had come to pass. He still couldn't understand how Americans could have simply thrown it all away.
As Miles pulled the cart behind him he remarked to himself', 'she must weigh next to nothing; it's like she's not even there.' Looking back at her again he thought how petite and refined; she didn't look like a sickly old man at all to him. Underneath the dirty clothes, the bruises and ugly hat she was a beautiful woman. He guessed her to be in her early 30s. He imagined that before America's defeat she could have been an American princess. Yes, with her blonde hair, deep blue eyes, pouting lips, turned up nose and high cheek bones she was stunning. Even then she looked innocent beyond words. What had happened to America and to this woman stung Miles with anger and fear for the future.
After several blocks Miles cautiously pulled the cart into the main lobby of an abandoned condominium tower. Miles helped Leigh from the cart and led her slowly down a flight of stairs and directly to his secret water supply: drainage and relief valves for a 50,000-gallon, fresh-water storage tank housed fifty stories above, at the top of the tower. The tank was put in place to decrease sway in high winds and it was well hidden for ascetic purposes. The condominiums had long since been ransacked and gutted by looters, but the water supply remained undiscovered by anyone else. After the city public works was shut down finding fresh water had become a matter of life and death. Miles resisted staying long for fear of giving up his secret supply. It wasn't that he didn't want to share, but he didn't want to die either. He replenished his canisters and called for Leigh to move faster. Within 15 minutes they had left the building with their water canisters filled and Leigh feeling slightly refreshed.
At least physically it didn't take long for her to recover. She found more suitable clothing, but continued to hide the fact that she was female. The city grew more desperate with each passing day and the last thing she wanted was to draw the attention of more government animals or anyone else for that matter. With few options and justifiable fear, Miles and Leigh spent their days constantly on the move looking for food and new shelter for each night. There were still small packs of people in the same situation on the island and most were hungry to the point of being dangerous. Miles and Leigh avoided them as if there might be no tomorrow.
While walking endless hours they shared their fears and each told the story of their life before America's political defeat. As Leigh described the life she once had Miles listened intently. For him learning about Leigh and reminiscing was comforting and helped to pass the time.
Still proudly, Leigh announced that she'd graduated near the top of her class from the Duke University School of Nursing and Miles retraced his days at the University of Virginia ROTC. Following graduation he went on to be an officer in the U.S. Army. Leigh landed a position as a Geriatrics Nurse at New York Hospital Queens. Her career ended after six years when the United Health Care System was terminated by the new government.
Miles' career seemed to vacillate back and forth throughout the years between the Army and corporate America. He'd leave the army and then get called back to active duty every time there was a conflict somewhere in the world. Both their careers ended along with almost all American careers in January following the November TSA Ratification in what had been described as a temporary economic transition.
Leigh was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Miles in Arlington, Virginia. Her step-father had been a successful lobbyist for a government workers labor union. Miles' father was a Colonel in the Army. Leigh's mother was a teacher in the public school system and Miles had a stay-at-home mom.
Excerpted from America's Final Beginning by Michael S. Hewitt Copyright © 2012 by Michael S. Hewitt. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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