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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Ronald is going towards San Diego when he makes a wrong turn and he comes to a ghost town where there are a few people..but things turn awry when he learns that he has somehow leapt forward in time and then he learns a grim and grisly truth about what happened to earth due to a nuclear war in his past.....

Submitted: July 04, 2015

A A A | A A A

Submitted: July 04, 2015



I remember making a turn on the highway from Los Angeles to San Diego, a wrong turn which made me pass through a hamlet that I knew not. A wooden board had the words ‘Crimea’; population 3000 scrawled on it. It was a very small town and I decided to make a stop at an eatery named ‘ Souls roll in’. It was an awkward name for an eatery. However I proceeded to enter it. An old woman stood behind counter staring at me. She was small and frail looking. There was not a single word of welcome or any courtesy on offer. I asked her for a chicken sandwich and a can of coke. She just muttered 4 dollars in a barely audible voice. I looked around and strangely there was not a soul in sight. Where were the people I thought to myself? I looked up at the old woman and asked her where the folk were in the town. She stared at me out of her deep blue eyes and she raised a finger against her lips and whispered ‘They see you but you cant see them’. On this reply, I thought that the old woman had lost her marbles and walked away back to a seat where I munched on my sandwich. Looking out of the window, I saw that the road was lined on both sides by houses that were similar in design. Was this a ghost town of some sorts, I thought. Why there was not a single soul that I could catch sight of. I paid my bill and decided to walk upto one of the houses and check what was up? So I paid the bill and left the eatery. I got into my Toyota Camry and put the keys into the ignition but it would not start. So I pulled up the hood and checked to see what could be wrong? I had been lost in my thoughts when I heard a voice. It startled me. Turning around I caught glimpse of a pretty young woman who had suddenly appeared out of thin air. She walked upto me and introduced herself as Betty. “You’re new and not around from here” she said. I nodded my head in affirmation. “ Is there a mechanic here ?”, I asked her. She tossed her hair and told me that there was one a little down the road. Betty asked me to follow her. So I left the car and walked down the lane lined with small, neat houses. “ Where are the people?” I asked her. She looked up at me and answered “ This is a small ghost town, most of the folks live here but work in the city” she said. I told her about the board that mentioned a population of 3000. She looked up at me and laughed. “Well to be precise, only about five hundred people live in this town and during the day, Crimea, gives a haunted look to the many people who drive through it” she said. At last we stopped before a garage of some sort where a middle aged person was peering under the hood of a Chryseler. When he saw me, he left everything where it was and walked upto me. He was happy to see Betty. Sticking out a hand towards me he introduced himself as “Ricky”. “Nice to see a stranger in this god damned town” he added. I was now sipping that can of coke I had bought and was feeling woozy for some odd reason. The last thing that I remember was passing out. When I finally recovered my senses, I woke up in a strange room which was barely furnished. I was lying on a bed with my hands and legs bound with a piece of rope. For the first time my eyes fell upon my watch and I saw the dials spinning wildly. Now why in the world would this happen I thought. I caught sight of my mobile lying on the cabinet placed besides me but even the numbers seem to be constantly flickering and changing on the mobile. I then decided to flex my biceps and try to loosen the rope. Though I was strong and muscular, I couldn’t loosen the knots. The door to the room suddenly flung open and I saw Betty walking in accompanied with a man dressed in a doctors overalls. He was of medium height with curly, short brown hair and a pair of glasses that seemed to be perched too low on his sharp, pointed nose. At first looks, he looked like a mad scientist. Accompanying him was Betty. Strangely Bettys face was passive ‘and she did not extend any greetings or sign of recognition. It was the wild looking doctor who spoke. “ Welcome to our town, Mr. Ronald Taylor”, he said. He must have noticed my surprise for he spoke and said “ I have your wallet and identification card with me and I am surprised what that we have some person from the past with us”. I was amazed, dumbfounded and flabbergasted. “ Now look here sir” I said. “ I don’t know who you are and what you want from me but what do you mean I am from the past. Just what do you mean?”. “It’s the year 2090,” he said. “And it is September”. “It can’t be, it’s the year 2013” I said. “What you say is true but as incredible as it may seem, it seems that you have managed to travel forward in time. Somewhere there was a ripple in time and you seemed to cross over”, he said. “Just who are you?”, I asked. “Well I am Dr.Richard Wagner and I hold a doctorate in “Quantum Physics”. Betty here just ran into you by chance. She noticed your vehicle model and was a little perturbed since it’s a model which isn’t in use anymore. Infact we don’t have vehicles anymore here in the future.” “Do you always welcome guests from the future this way? Why am I bound?”, I asked. “ I am sorry but had we told you the truth, you might have reacted rather violently” said Richard. Betty added “ It was safer this way”. Richard looked towards another nurse who had strolled in and asked her to unbind me. Having done so, I sat up for the first time after being conked out. I tried standing but was still a little bit woozy. However after gulping down two glasses of cool water and munching onto the sandwiches that one of the nurses brought me, I felt much better. I then accompanied Richard and Betty and we entered a huge sprawling office which was tastily decorated with a wooden bureau and a shelf holding a lot of books and magazines. I noticed a calendar with the year 2090 stamped on it. I could not believe my eyes. It was hard for me to absorb this. Dr. Richard sat behind the desk and Betty sat to my right. Reaching out, he handed me a document which read “The 3rd World War and the Aftermath”. My hands shook as I grabbed the document and perused it. Betty meanwhile got up and walked out of the room. Silence pervaded the room as I read through the document. According to it on the 3rd of March, 2025, the USA, its European allies, India and Israel commenced a third world war against Russia and its allies which included China, India, Japan, Turkey and Pakistan. The war lasted exactly two days and multiple atomic devices were burst which sent 300 million tonnes of smoke into the stratosphere blocking upto 80 percent of the sunlight from reaching Earths surface in the Northern Hemisphere and upto 45 percent in the Southern Hemisphere. Temperatures dropped by more than 20 degree Celsius in large areas of North America and 30 degree Celsius over much of EURASIA including all agricultural areas. It added that minimum temperatures dropped below freezing in the largest agricultural regions of the Northern Hemisphere effectively wiping out agricultural areas and causing the outbreak of massive famines. Global precipitation had reduced by fifty percent owing to the cold becoming one of the major reasons why the crops failed in addition to the icy temperatures. Over 6 Billion people perished due to the sudden change in climate, due to the excessive exposure to radiation and due to famine and hunger. Starvation had been one of the leading causes for death. Cities became ghost towns where only the dead lay. But the document did not tell me how the people managed to survive. How had they adapted when the dinosaurs had been wiped out when during a suspected ice age. I looked towards Dr. Richard and asked him where Crimea was located and he pointed me a place on the map. There was a place named Pitcairn Islands, Madagascar. It had been renamed Crimea. The population was a mere ten thousand made up of enthusiasts who wanted to live on islands close to nature. It was perhaps one of the few places which managed to survive the effects of the nuclear winter. “But I did not see any people within the town today” I said to Dr. Richard. Dr. Richard walked upto a small television hanging mounted on the wall. A picture of a beautiful young woman covering a festival in Crimea came on. Next to the sea upon the beach, thousands of men and women of all ages seemed to be enjoying themselves swimming, dancing, talking, playing, running, walking, strolling, eating, sleeping and lots more. “It is the festival celebrating life” said Dr. Richard. “We celebrate it every month”, he added. The sight and images of people and life somehow restored me to a degree of normalcy though I was still down and depressed after reading about the third world war and the subsequent nuclear winter which wiped out billions of men, women and children. Man had nearly gone extinct. It was hard to believe that something like that could have happened. It was however all the more spectacular and mind blowing to conceive that I had somehow travelled forward in time. “You will be amazed to learn that the concept of states, governments, armies, nations etc. have ceased to exist after more than 5 billion people were wiped out during the nuclear war aftermath”, said Dr. Richard. “Today those who managed to survive the nuclear war are all united; they work for one another and with another. They have set aside their differences and prejudices to build workable communities and societies that cherish and celebrate life and value humanity. We have built schools that inculcate discipline, tolerance, patience and virtue. Children are taught from a very young age to value life and not material possessions. They are taught to settle their conflicts amicably and not through violence. We have built a society where men and women are not pitted against one another but for one another. Our cherished goals and objectives lie in building societies free of any crime and ensuring that the members of our societies and communities are looked well after. There is no concept of class difference or status or benefits accorded with status and wealth. Each member of the society has an important role to play in the upkeep and development of Crimea. Experts from various fields of science and technology work together to lay down the foundations for the work to be carried out by professionals in respective fields and hence objectives are laid down and targets achieved within a framework developed and managed by these experts. What we have is an egalitarian society over here. It does not suffer from the impacts of materialism. Small Business Units work to produce the bare requirements of a small population which runs into a few thousand and offer their goods at an affordable price to the people. Each man, woman and child is provided free shelter and the bare necessary items to live a reasonable life. Education and healthcare are provided free of cost.” “Doctor” said I. “I am just trying to recover from the shock of learning what has happened to me and what has happened to the world in the future. Is there some place where I can get a few clothes, some food and a bed to sleep for I feel very tired?” “Of course there is Ronald and Betty will take you there” answered Doctor Richard. Picking up the phone, the doctor called for Betty. Betty soon arrived and the doctor requested her to provide me with all I had requested him. He also provided me with a letter which signified that I was a special guest and that I should be entertained with whatever I wanted wherever I went. Of course the learned doctor was also the head of the Committee which managed and organized everything for the upkeep of this small society. I looked towards Betty who was smiling and quite changed since I last saw her. She had a lot of questions to ask me regarding the times from which I came, about how life was and about what I did and whether I had any family. I on the other hand was still wondering if all of this was a terrible nightmare of some sort and I wished I could pinch myself and wake up in the time that I belonged to. Of course, I was only twenty eight and still not married. Back in Los Angeles, I had been working as a writer and a best-selling book named “What our tomorrows hold?” Strangely and eerily, the novel talked about the possibility of a conflict causing great catastrophic damage to the world.

© Copyright 2018 Tahir Hamid. All rights reserved.

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