The lights went out slowly, in the end. I don’t know why we were expecting a big bang or a war or something like that.
First it was a village in Wales, or Sligo or Kansas that would just disappear off the grid. Gone. Places you wouldn’t notice. The electricity companies had been running on empty for years anyway. They noticed when one or two places ceased to take what little power was there but figured that it meant there was more for the cities so best not to draw attention.
Slowly, little by little villages died. No one in the cities knew. Why would they? They hadn’t left their iron towers in years, decades. Trips to the countryside cancelled as the oil ran out and petrol became scarcer.
It had been well managed. People had been prepped for it to happen – the oil running out. The governments had gained further control over the populace in minor ways. Ways so tiny that no one really noticed or complained. In fact most people championed the moves, made to keep us safe, safe from all that threatened us in our shiny commercialism.
So when the people in power realised that the oil would be gone they took steps, said that electricity would be rationed – for our own good. The armies, which had been ramped up with conscription and drafts, appeared on street corners, to keep us safe. To make sure that no rioters or looters would interrupt our “peaceful” lives.
And we worked on, like ants, not really caring much about a bigger picture, about what the rest of the world was doing, blindly watching the news or trusting the internet to keep us informed.
But then again the governments knew that too.
The internet was peppered with stories to distract from real news and real news was discredited as the ravings of conspiracy theorists. When the lights went out in the cities it was too late. We hadn't realised how badly we needed the light. How close we were to the barbarians we had bombed. How our “civilisation” was a mere sheen of gloss over a rotting table..
Three days of fear, and sitting, and not panicking because we knew the army would come to save us.
Except the army didn’t come and save us.
The army saved the people who paid them. The rest of us, we were worthless. All our work had gone to making sure the elite were protected, that the elite had food and compounds squirreled away, hidden from us mere tools.
In a word, we were fucked.