Along the derelict pier, people from all walks of life could be seen, all wandering aimlessly.
A family leaning together on the handrail, looking towards the horizon, hungry and with a sad look of desperation. No one knows what was going on in their minds, what brought them to take their children to the end of the pier on this cold sunset.
Beggars cowered in corners, trying to fight the elements. Too weak to ask for assistance, or beg for scraps. They were very young, and very old, all sharing the same thousand-yard stare.
And yet, loving angels stood next to them, offering what they could in order to bring a glint of hope, to bring them back from darkness.
Along the beach there was a mix of familiar camping and fishing sailboats.
For those that made the choice of living on the sea-side, the days were either filled by going into troubled waters to make ends meet, producing nets, or preparing freshly caught fish to distribute among the locals.
The nights were alight along the sandy commune with bonfires, where some would sleep to prepare for the next day, and others would party, and mourn those lost at sea.
Money stopped existing. It still existed physically, but wasn’t used as a commodity. It made no sense being attached to a construct that would complicate even further the status quo. The new world had no need for it. Besides, new money was impossible to create.
“THE SPARK IS GONE!”
The only sentence that filled the front page of a newspaper. It lied on the floor, crumpled and dirty. It was the last publication, just before all energy was siphoned into nothingness.
Not all was gone, though.
Electricity was not flowing through power lines.
There was no light at night to keep us warm and safe.
The roads were filled with debris and abandoned cars…
But for some unexplained reason, a few vehicles were spared from the energy purge. My van was one of the “lucky ones”.
In a state of emergency, those that had working vehicles were encouraged to either donate them to the ruling order, or allow them to be used as carpool to help others in need of a ride.
“Can I help you?”, said the volunteer guarding the makeshift parking area.
While moving along the beach, I was completely left to my thoughts and had drifted towards where I needed to be. Time and distance gone by without me taking notice.
“Here to pick up my vehicle”, I mentioned, while showing my permit and ID.
The man looked at the permit with sourness and sadness. I was the first person to arrive at his post today.
He wished he didn’t have to do this job. He wished he could have just forged his own documents and taken one of the three vehicles parked in that special area. He wished he was able to run away from all this misery and find somewhere else with a semblance of the old world.
But no. The world was too far gone for one to take advantage of the situation. And there would be dire consequences if he did.
“Just a moment”, he muttered as he moved toward his post, where the candle light was.
The parking area was a shelter for people in limbo. They were given a number, and had to wait their turn to be taken to their destination. No favors, no favorites.
The more fortunate, next in line, could already be inside the vehicles. There they could finally rest, knowing that their time has come to go where they needed to be.
“Move along”, said the volunteer, as he handed me the documents. He gripped the documents tightly the moment that I grabbed them. “Thank you for your service”, he added, as if by obligation.
“Thanks. Doing what I can”, I replied, and he softened his grip. I fold the documents and put them in my back pocket. From the other back pocket I take out a pack of cigarettes and light one with a match.
Walking towards my van, I notice a few vagrants following me.
“Hey!”, said one, introducing himself as non-menacing as he could. “Where did you find those cigarettes?”
I inhaled for a bit to show I wasn’t feeling threatened. After exhaling, I replied that “A family south from here make them from tobacco leaves their family brings from the farmland”. I give them the pack of cigarettes and matches. “Ask around for the Jones’, they are known further south”.
“Thanks a bunch, man”, another replied, feeling happy about the cigarettes. “Today is a blessed day!”
Reaching my van, I notice quite a few people already made it their home. They are all fast asleep. I step away and go somewhere else for a bit.
A provider was serving food in the parking area. It was lit by candle light and food was cooked on a salamander stove. I get in line and wait for my turn.
As I return to the van, I knock on the window. One of the people inside wakes up and looks at me. I give them a rolling signal, gesturing that we’re ready to go.
They unlock the door on the driver seat and open it.
“Good evening, sir”, said the one in the front passenger seat, with great care, trying not to offend me. “I hope it’s alright that we rested our eyes for a bit before you arrived”
“Sir? Thanks, but I think you are a few years my senior. We’re all brothers in this world.” They all sit up straight and put on their seat belts. “I have some bread and freshly made coffee. Help yourselves!”
It felt like they have slept for quite a few hours. The coffee was a much welcome gift.
“So, where are you all going?”, I asked, as I turned on the ignition.