At first, the sounds were like thunder. Once and again they repeated themselves, a little bit louder each minute that passed. People were hiding in their basements or in any other structures below ground but were still very close to the bombs. They normally fell for hours, at least two, and then they would stop for another two hours until they came back. It was particularly awful at night, because people had no electricity and they feared something worse could happen in the dark, even worse that a foreign force dropping bombs on their heads. They just stayed there and prayed, if they believed in something. If they didn’t, it was a lot harder to imagine a way to go back outside alive.
Every single person, even children, now knew that the world had been crumbling down for at least fifty years but no one had really noticed. That was until, all of a sudden, the most powerful country in the powerful got very extremist and started killing their own. People around the world saw it happening and they couldn’t believe their eyes. But as many times before, they did nothing, as they were scared they would get a blockade or some sort of attack just because they wanted to defend the lives of so many that had been massacred. And what the TV showed was only the tip of a very bloody iceberg. If people had known, they wouldn’t have feared, they would have done something. But that didn’t happen and it was only two years after that that the war starter. Ironically, it had nothing to do with mass murders but with a fishing boat.
Since that happened, the world had seen five awful years of fire, misery and death. People talked about safe havens around the world but they all sounded so perfect, so ideal, that the general population thought they were only a fantasy created by those who didn’t want to realize what their reality was. They were prisoners in their own country, having to eat whatever they could find and surviving as animals, as rats. Some escaped to the countryside but things were supposed to be worst there because of the open spaces and the use of more horrible weapons that one could ever imagine. The country was dead.
Besides, they had been cut off from the rest of the world, so heading to the borders was useless as they were all under surveillance. And the truth was that even beyond those fences, life was exactly the same. So why bother in running, escaping and hurting the shitty body one had only to be in a place where things were exactly the same or maybe worst? People survived and they openly welcomed death, but on their terms. No one died of old age anymore but it was the objective of many to die that way. Most people died in the streets, with a shot to the head and probably not even fired by enemies but by other hungry people.
Rumors were always heard. People had begun a rumor, maybe based on the truth, that a group of rebels had been working before the invasion had happened. You see, before the country was attacked daily, there used to be what people call a “puppet government”. A crazy military man, as they all are, had formed an alliance with the extremist nation that attacked them. He sold the country to them in exchange of letting him live and rule. And they did let him do that but only for some years until he was killed and the occupation really began. It was during that time that several “terrorist” attacks took place. It was them, the rebels.
But now, it seems, the rebels didn’t existed anymore. Apparently, the government killed them all and then the government itself was killed so nothing remained from the past. News came every so often, from people that had managed to salvage radios or television sets. They said they had heard other countries been taken or an uprising somewhere very far. But even if all those things were true, people knew that they weren’t enough. Those things were happening so far away that they would never get any help. They just knew how their lives would end and they didn’t want to do anything about it. Why change what is inevitable? They just waited for the end and that was it. No more believing in miracles, or in any fantasy about rebels and war on the other side of the world. They were dead and that was the only truth.
People survived eating small rodents that they found among the rubble after the airplanes had stopped bombing. There was no building standing and it made no sense for them to keep bombing them but they did it anyway. Some people believed that they didn’t want to use real soldiers in order to keep in line people that were already scared and enslaved, in a way. Another rumor was that soon they would come and build factories and that all those people in the basements would be made to work there, making uniforms, guns, helmets and so on. It was the normal thing to do by any foreign oppressive power, or so said the elderly. But no one knew and no one cared enough to think about it.
A person’s day consisted of hearing the bombing all day, trying to sleep at least two hours and then go out of the hiding place in order to find food. That was it. There was no entertainment or time to be happy or joyful. Those things had died with the war. Any kid who laughed was severely spanked by their mother and learned, the hard way, that there was nothing to be happy about in this world. Some people moved around the city, trying to get more food and it sometimes worked. Some of the ponds and lakes still held water and some fish so it was only a question of how to get them. That would have been a nice way to spend an evening but these people saw it as a way to survive so there was nothing nice or good about it. It was just something they had to do.
Suddenly, one day the bombing stopped altogether. It was not that they had decided to do less bombings; it was that they just stopped. People were scared then, more than ever. The invasion, the full scale one that they had feared for so long, was finally at their doorstep. Mothers decided to teach their children how to be obedient and how to lower their head before the foreigners. They wanted them to live, even if they had to be submissive and enslaved. Nothing could be worse than been a human rodent. They waited, and waited, and waited, but the invasion never came. They never saw a single soldier come their way but that didn’t make them calm down. Maybe they had decided to test a new weapon on them… Maybe they were going to be destroyed for good.
But that never happened. A year after the bombings stopped, when the grass started to grow again, as the trees and crops, a battalion arrived to the ruined capital city. People were scared and ran away but they soon noticed those soldiers weren’t wearing the flag used by the extremists. They were wearing a white patch only which many remembered as a sign of peace. That week, five battalions arrived to help the people and teach them how to rebuild and feed themselves. The community was alive again and people, for the first time in many years, felt good about smiling and dreaming. The children were especially happy and their parents could finally have a calm heart.
Many bodies were buried in huge mass graves. And it was then that they realized that their liberators were locals. Not all of them but many and they told them their story. Apparently, they were the ones called rebels back in the day and they had to flee the country before it went to shit. They said that many stayed behind but were killed. Those who remained hid in boats or planes bound for other parts of the world. Their stories were then so different and fantastic but they untied again at what they called the Big Battle. It had happened about a year ago and it had been the turning point for the war. The extremists were cut off of their resources and then their capital was taken. Their leader was hanged.
That’s why the bombings had stopped. For all effects and purposes, the war was over. The rebels talked about the sacrifice that many had done in order to get their freedom back and that’s why now they wanted every country to stand up again and become a better version of themselves, to become something that people could look up to in the future. War had to be a thing of the past, something only mad men would think about and those mad men had to be put away, their freedom taken before they could take anyone else’s.
The world had died but then, it’s heart started beating again. Will there be another chance? Will we survive again to our own demons and stupidity? Let’s hope this time it sticks.