This is the original beginning of the draft meant for the wargames storyline and written as the journal from a survivors point of view, it goes without saying the dates have changed in the book draft.
Written by a survivor of the 2012 chain of events, eight years later in 2020
I have decided to write down everything that happened back in 2012, not really sure why or who will ever read it but it seems to be a good idea at this moment in time, the way things are going most of us won’t be around much longer to do anything.
I remember the night before on December the 21st 2012 and everything was as it should be, with Christmas around the corner you could feel the excitement in the air along with the cold chill whishing though the opening in the car window, after all December is always cold.
The Christmas lights were up and every now and again you could hear Christmas carols from one shop or the other down the main street, my mobile phone was going mad and was receiving one text after another, no doubt people wishing me merry Christmas and other such jollities that Friday evening, Christmas was on Tuesday of that year so for many this was the start of a long holiday.
Once home I fired up the boiler and lit the fire and started to check my E-mails and text messages, it was going to be a busy weekend as we were planning a big family get together for the first time in a couple of years for Christmas, so planned on an early night after everyone had been replied to.
I remember waking at 5.00am, which I never do and usually sleep like a log all night but woke up sweating, I got up and checking the radiators in the bedroom but they were off, in fact the boiler was programmed for 6:30 but it seemed very warm.
I checked the programmer for the heating but was still off so went back to bed, I laid there for a while but realised I wasn’t able to get back to sleep so decided to get up and have a coffee, even then I felt something wasn’t right but couldn’t quite put my finger on it.
After coffee I put the TV on for the news but all I was getting was white snow and after trying to reboot the satellite box to still nothing decided to give it a miss and turn on the computer instead while I was planning what to say the TV company when I rung them after 9:00am to tell them I have no signal.
My computer booted up fine but when I tried to connect to the internet it was telling me I had no connection, at this point I was really getting annoyed, I’m not and wasn’t a technical person so just thought it was a glitch in the system as I then tried phoning their helpline to find I had no dialing tone or a working landline phone.
Now all three events so far at this point had now got me really annoyed and at that point I hadn’t realised they were all provided by different companies and just reached for the mobile phone instead……nothing, no signal either.
All the time this was going on I hadn’t realised it was getting light outside and what looked like lightening flashes every now and again across the sky wasn’t backed up by the expected thunder rumbles, but it couldn’t be thunder it’s December and winter, I may not know much but thunder and lightening needs warm air.
During one of these lightening flashes the lights flickers and the computer went off, nothing unusual there as any power break shuts down the computer, I was used to that living out in the country.
I checked out of the window and fully expected there to be a frost on the car windows but they were clear, the sky seemed to have a pinky hue to it, like it does sometimes before a storm and the heating still hadn’t fired up, but was still in shirt sleeves and feeling warm, the thermometer in the kitchen was reading 25 degrees at 6:00am in the morning in December, something really is not right here I remember thinking.
As a last attempt to try and find out what was going on, or at least to hear another voice I turned on the radio to white noise, not a single station setting worked, I never did like digital radios.
I went to go out to the car and start it up, I always do this in the winter to warm it up before I go out but as I walked out of the front door there was no temperature change, it was as warm outside as it was inside, the flashes in the sky were still going on but still no thunder.
Living in the house alone has its advantages but on that morning I just needed to talk to someone, anyone.
I drove the six miles to the nearest fuel station, mainly to see if their phone was working but instead arrived to what looked like chaos, there were cars and people everywhere, they looked at best confused and some just as annoyed as I was earlier.
I walked over to one guy and asked what was going on.
“Oh who knows, they can’t sell petrol because the card machines aren’t working, the cash machine has packed up and now they say the pumps won’t work because the computers won’t switch on, so you won’t get fuel here mate, besides everything at home has packed up, I didn’t even know what time it was as all my digital clocks was dead, I thought it was a power cut but my lights and kettle were still working, I reckon we are getting some kind of a freak storm brewing and it’s causing power surges”.
I walked away even more confused than most of the people at the fuel stop, but I suppose at least my clocks were working, but then again they were wind up and battery types with hands rather than digital displays, maybe it was a freak storm coming.
I drove across to the town and on the way it looked as though some cars had been abandoned along the road for no apparent reason, I drove to a friend of mine across town, he was a wizard with all things electrical, maybe he could tell me what was going on, there were people everywhere and for this time on a Saturday morning was very unusual.
My friend was a night owl and sleeps during the day, really into his internet and website building and involved in many electrical projects, but this time in the morning he should still be up.
I walked up his drive and rang the bell, in fact I remember ringing it five times and thinking he must be in bed and started to walk away, behind me I heard the door click open and standing there in a partly opened door was my friend Shane, I started to walk back but his expression was not right, it looked like he had seen a ghost.
As I walked forward, he pulled me through the gap in the door, checked the street in both directions and quickly shut the door.
He looked agitated and sat down in an armchair, I sat opposite him with a coffee table between us, he leans forward and said “ Nothing works” he looked around the room as if to see if anyone else was listening, “I’ve been on the old shortwave radio since five this morning, it still works, it seems that we had some kind of a solar storm at five this morning and has knocked out anything with silicon chips, the satellites are not working, the internet had disappeared, most computers won’t even start”.
I looked at him and could see him searching my expression, I thought for a second and said, but my car works and that has a engine management system and from what I know that works with silicon chips”.
“Was it running at five this morning?” he asked.
“No” I said”
“Then its ok for now, anything using silicon chips at five either running or on standby now doesn’t, for some reason the storm event has got to them”.
This explained the cars I saw on the way through town, they must have been running at 5:00am this morning.
I looked back at Shane and said, “But that means nothing is working, what about the banks it’s nearly Christmas and they are all computer operated, why is my radio not working and yours is?” I asked.
“Mine is older and transistor based, and doesn’t have a single silicon chip in it, that’s how I made the connection, people all over the world are effected it’s not just here, I’m not sure what is going to been done about it and even if they can, they can’t fix everything at once surely”.
I remember that over the next few days we got to see and hear just how bad these solar flares were and what havoc it was causing, there wasn’t just the one, it seemed to of happened about every 48 hours, we didn’t feel or hear anything except the lightening flashes still occurring in the sky every few minutes, anything that did work would fail and slowly over the next week or so nearly every device and vehicle that had silicon chips in, no longer worked, we heard disturbing stories of planes dropping out of the skies and hundreds if not thousands of people dying as a result, we couldn’t confirm it as little communication was available, even the news papers stopped.
Raids had become the normal thing of a night, people stealing food from shops and others pumping fuel from the tanks of cars and petrol stations, older cars were still running, if they had fuel, the police or military could do little, with no or next to no communications systems by the time they arrived the raiders had long since gone.
By New Years Eve the government had declared marshal law and put curfews in place and were shooting on sight any raiders they did find, I don’t remember anybody celebrating the beginning of 2013.
The first few weeks of 2013 was much the same, then power stations began to shut down one by one as the fuel deliveries they needed failed to arrive, trains were at a stand still and public transport no longer ran at all.
A black market in food and fuel quickly sprung up and they would gladly swop you one for the other or for cash or valuable metals, the banks had managed to start operating but in an old fashioned way, no machines just over the counter service and you were given a book so you and they knew what your balance was, they also had armed guards everywhere, this quickly followed the demise of my own car as I had been out at the time of one of these solar flares, again I heard nothing or saw no more than the flashes we had grown used to, the sky still had a pink hue to it and was still sitting at around 25 degrees, the car just stopped, I was now a pedestrian.
The only real communications were by old radios, and there wasn’t many of those around, I only knew of Shane’s, some people had older transistor radios but little was broadcast as all of the old analogue signals were switched off earlier in 2012, or by mail, the Post Office had set up a weekly service but was very slow, again all their machines had failed and had to go back to hand sorting and delivery, it was probably quicker to walk there and do it yourself.
Crime was rife, and you could almost guarantee if it wasn’t nailed down it would be gone by the morning, most shops by the end of January 2013 were abandoned or raided and had their windows smashed and goods taken and finally at the end of the month so many banks were raided and robbed the banks all shut down, the government issued everybody with ration books for food and water and flyers were delivered countrywide saying,
“ No further money will be issue via public access, due to the continual robberies and lose of life you will now use ration books for food and water, an armoured delivery will come to each town centre once a week and give you what you are entitled too under the now new laws anyone that has funds in the banks will be put towards feeding the nation, anyone caught stealing and conspiring to steal will be arrested or shot on sight, we endeavour to correct some of the main issues such as power and water supplies but until such a time water will also be available from the town centre delivery vehicles”
At this time many people stopped working, and I don’t blame them, with the lack of transport and usable vehicles they couldn’t actually get there and if they did they wouldn’t get paid, those that did get paid in cash soon stopped when the employers themselves ran out of money or supplies, losing power was the last nail in the coffin and the country, well I would also guess the world as well, ground to a halt.
The authorities and big organizations were trying to get things going but were failing, People were dying because of lack of hospital beds, machines and power, food was getting scarce as deliveries stopped or at best slowed right down, the people had taken most things into their own hands, everything was a complete shambles.
Those that did have money, fuel, food or even valuable metals, kept it quiet, if it was found out they had stuff stashed at their homes the next thing was an armed raid.
I had always up to this point been an honest person, but even I succumbed to dealing with the black market traders when I wanted more water and food than the ration books allowed, they called at my house one day and asked if I wanted anything, I said “Yes water mainly and a shot gun and ammo” he looked at me and said “And what can you pay with?” I pointed to ten gallon cans of fuel I siphoned from my own defunct car, “Ok” he said and appeared an hour later with twenty gallons of water and a 12 bore shotgun plus 40 rounds, at least I knew what ten gallons of fuel is worth, and at least I can protect what I have whatever it takes.
Shane wasn’t so lucky, after dealing with one black trader, as they had become known, his house was robbed at gun point and Shane was shot dead trying to save his radio.
The following few months were much of the same and was glad to be out in the country, I would hear from passing traders and those moving elsewhere about how bad the towns and cities were with huge numbers of shootings and raids still going on, I never went to the door without the shotgun but never seemed to need it in the beginning then one day in April still in 2013 three guys came to my house, I can honestly say I was terrified when I saw them, two of them stayed with the big 4×4 they arrived in and one came to the door with a shotgun cradled in his arms, I answered with mine loaded and cocked.
“Hey mate” he said, “You want to sell that 4×4 on the front?”
I looked at him, he could of come and stole it for what it was worth, with the engine management system totally inoperative and no fuel, as I had already sold it, was worth nothing to me even at only two years old I asked what he was offering.
“I got twenty gallons of water, half a salted pig and a 20 kilo bag of potatoes, what you think?”
I of course agreed, his name was Adam and to this day we remain friends and I was also part of his group for nearly seven years.
You would think we can all adapt and adapt we were doing but this was just the start, no one could even of imagined the trail of events yet to come, when you look back now you still find it hard to imagine some of what did occur.
The year of 2013 past much the same, the temperature never changed nor did the skies I guess the solar flares were still happening but without hearing or seeing them. It was anybodies guess.
The summer came and went and as December approached I had decided to go and join Adam and his group, it was getting a bit dangerous where I was living on my own and have had a few confrontations over that year, I had acquired or ‘bought’ a small motorbike to get around and also an old shortwave radio, most of my time was spent searching for other radio users across the world and was slowly becoming a night owl like Shane was, I had heard many stories about what was going on and it didn’t sound good so at least being with Adams group would make me feel safer.
He had a house about forty miles away and was fully protected and guarded, the people there number around seventy and look after each other including, from what I hear, growing food and keeping animals for milk and meat, sounds ideal, so loaded a backpack collected my shotgun and fired up the bike for the forty mile trip, not far you may think but back then you could be ambushed anywhere along the way.
Adam said he would send a few guys and a truck to clear the house, he said they may as well make use of the stuff as someone else most certainly will.
A few months later Adam came back and told me he had been past my old house, and it was occupied by what looked like a group of black traders, they even took a pot shot at him as they drove by, even Adam wasn’t going to stop and say hello.
A months or so after that, it must have been around May 2014, I can’t quite remember the dates but will never forget 2014, I awoke to what sounded like a fizzing electrical high voltage cable, I remembered that sound from a few years before when it was damp or wet the overhead cables would fizz, I went outside to find everyone looking at the sky, the flashing was still going on but the colour of the skies had turned to more of a purple colour, the fizzing was coming from up there in the skies.
You know that feeling when you know the rain is coming or a big storm? You can feel it, the temperature changes and everything goes dark, well this was the same except it didn’t get darker nor did the temperature change, well it may have been slightly warmer but not like in a storm, this went on for a few hours then suddenly a crack of lightening hit everywhere around us, two people in Adams group and compound were also hit, one died instantly and one was badly burnt, I rushed inside to the radio to see if anything was being said on the air waves, one contact I had was in Russia and they had experience two strikes followed by thunder and then heavy rain, we haven’t had much rain since December 2012 so was quite excited by the idea of rain, he was speaking partly English and Russian and sounded in a panic, the signal was weakening, then as loud as could be said he shouted don’t go out in the rain it burns.
I rushed back outside to tell Adam but it was too late the rains were there and people were falling to the ground with what looked like acid burns to the skin, I tried to find something to cover me and pull them inside but was impossible, I went to try and help and an arm pulled me back inside, it was Adam, I watch as one girl tried to rescue her husband from the rain and covered in a blanket only to fall instantly beside him and succumb to the burning rains, we lost 28 people that night all those that were outside in the rain died, it was no different across the world the airwaves were full of messages of burning rain taking down hundreds of thousands and maybe millions of people, it knew no mercy, men, women children and animals died at the hands of the lethal weather.
I remember the quiet of the following morning, an eerie quiet, the birds no longer sung in the trees and doubted many birds were left, as it turned out there wasn’t, within weeks the tree’s started to die, along with the grass the plants and the crops we had all planted for next year, the rain had destroyed everything in its path.
The night of the first rains we had a big funeral fire, once the rain stopped, for those that died and all the animals we had in the compound, our meat and milk supplies now gone and unsafe to eat, I will never forget that smell of burning flesh and even writing this can remember the smell, I remember asking if there was such a thing as a God, are we so bad that we deserve this?, I didn’t get an answer that night or since.
Much of 2014 was more or less the same, the rain was lethal and continued to take down more people despite being warned about the rain, you knew it was coming by the fizzing in the sky for a few hours beforehand, I would guess it probably halved the worlds population that year and decimated the wildlife and farm animal population to next to zero, animals had to be kept inside at all times during the rains which sometimes would last days and because they had become very valuable. Our group was now smaller. So didn’t need as much but over the following year we expanded to be one of the biggest safe houses in the area, we watched the landscape change from a green vista to an arid and barren desert within a matter of several months, life would never again be the same.
The authorities had their own plan afoot and were looking for people willing to help them rebuild the nation in return for food, water and a safe environment to live away from raiders and rain, they came to our group one day with these wonderful offers we were all asked one by one what we could do for them, many of us were just ordinary people with no skills and was turned down, those with engineering skills, doctors and other useful people was what they were after, out of 267 people in our group they picked 32, and 32 excepted, they didn’t remain with us and no doubt hoping for a better life, I did consider it if I was asked but decided to stay with Adams group and besides I was turned down as my only working skill was keeping people out of prison, back then we were known as solicitors and was of no use to the new order of things to come.
The following six years were, shall we say, was a challenge, the authorities did build safe areas, or cities and were all covered in from the rains and secure from raiders, although to start with some of the braver raiders did get in and steal their food supplies and fuel they had stockpiled but now would be best part impossible, the cities were and are now self contained but from what I hear it’s not a life for me, you get food and water and work for the city, that’s it, no life as such, nothing belongs to you, if you fail at work you lose your right to be there and can easily become an outcast.
They have food, water and fuel stockpiles all over the countryside hidden away from raiders and some in fortified compounds, the Cities are all numbered, and I believe our nearest one is called City 21.
And then there are the Enforcers, the Enforcers are the military units of the City and only have the interests of the City in their remit, we don’t count, we are outcasts, the un-chosen, raiders and survivors, I have heard of many raider groups taking on the Enforcers and winning, especially when they are moving food and fuel supplies back to the City, its become a bad world out there and we ourselves have been attacked many times by bad groups, most raiders are traders and steal to survive or barter to groups like ours, most raiders are ok and even barter among each other but some groups are just out for themselves and will take anything and kill for the sake of it.
No doubt in the coming years it will get worse out here, there are rumours the Cities are producing their own food and water and their vehicles run on methane gas, which again they make themselves, out here we get what we can get which now is getting less and less, if we want it we have to barter for it or steal it ourselves.
We are guessing around three quarters of the worlds population has died or perished since 2012, either by the lethal rains, lightening strikes or shot by raiders and other gangs, many because of hunger or disease, making it easier for those that remain, but now there are two worlds, the Cities and the rest of us, we have not seen or heard of any women that are pregnant since 2012 either, which will have an impact on the worlds future, if we have one.
The dates on the calendar have long since meant anything, some of us have even forgot what year we live in, these times have just become known as the survival wars.
Copyright; Peter Wake