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America Gone - Six and Seven

by Vil


November 9, 2019

3 Years Since the Bombs Fell

__________________________________

"Some people say a man is made out of mud," the old man grumbled.

"Isn't that 'Sixteen Tons' by Ernie Ford?" Evans asked through a mouthful of salad. "You know it, don'tcha, Austin?"

Austin sighed and nodded, already remembering the words to the song. "I'm not a singer, though."

"Oh, c'mon, kiddo!” the governor said, lettuce falling from his lips.

"He ain't no kiddo," Grandpa McHale said softly.

"He ain't no adult either," the old man replied.

Austin looked between the two of them, wondering if he should say anything. "Why am I here?" he asked quietly.

"Well, kiddo--”

“He ain’t no kiddo.”

“--we’re just gonna wait on your sister and make y’all an offer.”

A few moments later, there was a knock on the door. The golden handle turned downward, and Emma stepped inside. "Sorry I'm late," she said quietly. "Austin, when we're done doing whatever it is we're doing here, Mom and Dad need to talk to you."

He nodded and turned back to the governor and Grandpa McHale. "Why are we here?" he repeated.

Evans swallowed a mouthful of salad before standing, moving towards a map hanging on the wall. It was just like the one Grandpa McHale had shown them the previous week-- underlined cities were capitals, circles ones were destroyed-- but sharpies had been used to mark out the lands of the new nations.

"If you'll do it," the old man began, "you're going on a little trip with Ginger."

"The Congresswoman?" Emma asked.

Grandpa McHale nodded. "McCloy and I confirmed her as an Ambassador this mornin', before dawn. That idiot Smith decided she couldn't do it alone-- callin' all of us experienced folk old-- and said we needed two young'uns to go with her. Well, y'all were the youngest responsible folk I could think of."

"And if we refuse?" Austin asked.

"We don't get an Ambassador to Texas and you stay here with me. Your parents'll explain some stuff if you go see'em."

The twins exchanged a glance before looking back at the map and the governor. "What route would we take?" Emma asked reluctantly.

"Well, the fastest way would be to take th' river," Evans said. "But for safety... goin' through Mississippi and into Louisiana. We're gonna let Ginger and Smith decide for themselves. Your parents have already said you can go."

“I-- what?” Austin looked at the two old men incredulously. “Are you serious?”

“Did a bomb drop on D.C.?” Evans asked rhetorically.

The twins exchanged a second glance, as if to say to one another I will if you will.

“What happens if we succeed?” Emma asked.

“The Union survives,” Grandpa McHale answered. “We can fight against the fascist threat and start rebuilding.”

“And if we fail?” Austin asked.

“Pray that these guys aren’t as bad as Hitler.”

__________________________________

“Ginger, you ready?” Evans called.

“As ready as I’ll ever be, Perce!” she replied cheerfully. “And with these two young’uns to listen to my droning stories, you should finally get some silence when you go to have your scotch tonight."

The governor replied with a hearty laugh as Austin helped the older woman climb onto a modernized horse-drawn covered wagon. The blinds had been let loose to keep out any bugs, and a small supply of food and extra clothes had been shoved under a seat. Three blankets and several pillows sat beside Emma, who sat at the back of a wagon.

“Th’ guns are loaded?” Grandpa McHale asked. “Y’all have enough shells?”

“We’ll be fine, Grandpa,” Austin answered, climbing up front with Ginger after a moment or two. He turned and waved to his parents who were leaving in the wagon they’d brought to Jackson, Abby at their side. “Stay safe!” he called.

“We love you!” Emma added.

“We love you, too!” Luna and Alistair replied, Abby wildly waving beside them.

“Well, that’s all the goodbyes,” Ginger said. “Alright, now...Up now! Up!” The horses hooked to the covered wagon slowly started to move forward. “Hep now, hep!”

The horses started to switch to a steady gallop, heading westward, then southwest.

“Well,” Ginger said after a few minutes. “Ain’t this excitin’? I haven’t left the country since Bush Junior was in office, way back in the summer of ‘08.”

“Where did you go?” Emma asked.

“Canada,” Ginger replied.

“Why did you come back?” asked Austin.

“It wasn’t America. Sure, this or that was better here or there, but there’s nothing like the good ol’ red, white, and blue. Besides, I’m a Southerner. I was born in Lafayette (luh-FAY-it; yeah, we’re weirdos here), and I will die in Lafayette.”

“And if we die in Texas?”

“I’ll die in Lafayette, and no one’s changin’ my mind,” she responded. “Now, Austin, be a good young’un and take the reins. These hands are tired of driving.”

__________________________________

A few hours later, the trio and their horses were nearing the outskirts of Tennessee, just a few miles into what was formerly Mississippi. “We can stop here for the night,” Ginger said, taking the reins from Emma, who had hopped up front after a rest stop. “Whoa, now, Ronald. Whoa, Nancy. Whoa.”

The “First Horses,” as Austin dotingly called them, slowly came to a stop. Emma hopped off of the wagon to unhook them. Ginger and Austin followed, helping to tie the horses to a nearby tree.

“At this rate,” Ginger said, making sure the horses were secure, “we’ll be in Beaumont within a week.”

“And then?” Emma asked. “What do we do after getting to Beaumont?”

“I’ll fill you in once we’re set for the night.”

And so, part of their supplies were unpacked, and they established a small camp. Ginger would sleep sitting up in the wagon due to a back issue; Emma and Austin would sleep under the stars. All three would take turns on watch throughout the night. Ginger lit a fire, while Emma and Austin worked together to boil water and start cooking. Once their small stew was complete, they all sat side by side on three rocks.

“Now, young’uns, we’ve been given a special mission,” Ginger began. “Three years ago to the day, the United States suffered the worst terrorist attack since September 11, 2001. It is our duty to rebuild and reunite that America against the fascist threat that has arisen in the west. As such, we’re being sent into the strongest, most independent part of the south: the Republic of Texas.”

Austin nodded. “And? What are we doing once we get there?”

“I’m gettin’ to that if you’ll be patient,” the old woman said. “We’re going to talk to President Amy Vance herself and explain what we know. It’s a daunting task. Trust me, I know. But your grandfather and I believe that if Texas and its oil fall to the West, then democracy will die in America forever.”

__________________________________

New Characters:

Vice President Adrian Wilkes

Governor Esa Schwartz

__________________________________

November 12, 2019

Three Years, Three Days After the Bombs Dropped

__________________________________

The young black man narrowed his eyes as he listened to Godfrey Smith repeat his orders over the radio.

“Adrian, seal the deal. Get it done. I didn’t send you to Kentucky to play negotiator.”

“But, sir, if I may--”

“You may not, Adrian. Those are my orders.”

“Of course, Mr. President.”

Wilkes turned the ham radio off and sighed, straightening his tie and standing up. After a moment or two, he turned and stepped back outside, into the hall, heading into the meeting room he had left not an hour ago. Inside, a young Cherokee woman sat at the head of the table, a dozen or so others packed in around her.

“Yes?” she said, clearly expecting results.

“He won’t change the deal, Madam Governor. I tried, really, I have.”

“I want the room,” she replied. There was silence between the man and the woman for a few minutes, even with everyone gone. Then--

“I want you in the Senate as badly as you want to be there, ma’am. I don’t know why he wants you here.”

“Because he’s playing party politics,” Schwartz answered.”I was a Republican, and he’s not, and he won’t forget I was one. Even though I’m a Liberal Republican.”

“I’m sorry, ma’am, I really am.”

“I know you are, Mr. Vice President. That’s why I need a favor.”

Wilkes nodded for her to continue.

“I want the Electoral College to be replaced with a county-by-county system, and I want the 28th amendment gone.”

“And then?”

“Kentucky will have joined by then. I’ll sign that treaty as soon as I return to my main office. But I don’t want Smith shoving us around for years to come. There’s only one man that can take the presidency in 2020, and that man is William McHale.”

Wilkes looked away. “I’ll tell Smith that you’ve accepted the invitation. When I get back to Jackson with whoever ends up in your delegation, I’ll inform the old man personally.”

“I will,” she replied. “There’s a tidbit at the end that says that this treaty requires my resignation. I can’t appoint myself to the Senate, but my Lieutenant Governor can when he rises as Acting Governor.”

“You’re a sly one, ma’am, I’ll give you that much.”

“My friends call me Esa.”

“And mine call me Wilkes.”

“Well then, Wilkes,” the governor said, raising a shot glass, “I think this is a good start to a beautiful friendship.”

__________________________________

Personal Notes/Commentary:

I normally wouldn't compile these chapters together, but they were so darn short and un-detailed that I just didn't see the point in posting them at their lengths. There was nothing to add on from there without prematurely spoiling plot points , and I'd rather post two short chapters together than do that.

Focusing on the story thus far, hopefully some things are starting to come together. You may have noticed I included no notes at the end of Chapter Five; honestly, I wrote it but deleted the note because I did not sit right with me to have a few personal words after showing you a glimpse of the "Fourth Reich," though it's based in America rather than Germany.

The characters are, I hope, starting to become more alive for you readers. If they aren't, let me know; I'll see what I can do.


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Thu Sep 03, 2020 7:58 am
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HarryHardy wrote a review...



Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening/Night(whichever one it is in your part of the world),

Hi! I'm back for more...

First Impression: So these chapters were a lot to process but I can see sort of like four or five subplots in this one carrying through the overall arc of it. Each one is going along nicely. The overall pacing of these two chapters work pretty well too. Definitely excited where this is going even though i understand none of the politics.

Anyway let's get right to it,

"Some people say a man is made out of mud," the old man grumbled.

"Isn't that 'Sixteen Tons' by Ernie Ford?" Evans asked through a mouthful of salad. "You know it, don'tcha, Austin?"


Pretty neat start there. No idea what that song is but its good to reference a few things from the real world like that.

A few moments later, there was a knock on the door. The golden handle turned downward, and Emma stepped inside. "Sorry I'm late," she said quietly. "Austin, when we're done doing whatever it is we're doing here, Mom and Dad need to talk to you."

He nodded and turned back to the governor and Grandpa McHale. "Why are we here?" he repeated.


Probably should have asked that earlier Austin but okay take your time.

Evans swallowed a mouthful of salad before standing, moving towards a map hanging on the wall. It was just like the one Grandpa McHale had shown them the previous week-- underlined cities were capitals, circles ones were destroyed-- but sharpies had been used to mark out the lands of the new nations.


So sharpies have somehow survived the nuclear attacks. This made me laugh for some reason. I don't know why.

Grandpa McHale nodded. "McCloy and I confirmed her as an Ambassador this mornin', before dawn. That idiot Smith decided she couldn't do it alone-- callin' all of us experienced folk old-- and said we needed two young'uns to go with her. Well, y'all were the youngest responsible folk I could think of."


Well that seems kind of convenient that they just happen to be the only ones...I mean maybe mention like two three and then they were chosen cause of them being responsible or something. Otherwise it just sounds a little too lucky that they were chosen.

"Well, the fastest way would be to take th' river," Evans said. "But for safety... goin' through Mississippi and into Louisiana. We're gonna let Ginger and Smith decide for themselves. Your parents have already said you can go."


Poor kids having everything planned out before they get asked about it.

“Did a bomb drop on D.C.?” Evans asked rhetorically.


Did he now? Just kidding...I have theories...

“The Union survives,” Grandpa McHale answered. “We can fight against the fascist threat and start rebuilding.”

“And if we fail?” Austin asked.

“Pray that these guys aren’t as bad as Hitler.”


Very action movie one liner style ending there which is cliche but I love that so who cares.

The governor replied with a hearty laugh as Austin helped the older woman climb onto a modernized horse-drawn covered wagon. The blinds had been let loose to keep out any bugs, and a small supply of food and extra clothes had been shoved under a seat. Three blankets and several pillows sat beside Emma, who sat at the back of a wagon.


That's a pretty neat description that you've got there. Gets a pretty nice image into one's head.

“Th’ guns are loaded?” Grandpa McHale asked. “Y’all have enough shells?”


I assume he's talking about shotguns 'cause you usually call all the other stuff cartridges. Shells are usually for like tank rounds and other heavy artillery. Or maybe this is slang and I overthought this. Anyway...just dropping some knowledge courtesy of Professor Harry.

“It wasn’t America. Sure, this or that was better here or there, but there’s nothing like the good ol’ red, white, and blue. Besides, I’m a Southerner. I was born in Lafayette (luh-FAY-it; yeah, we’re weirdos here), and I will die in Lafayette.”

“And if we die in Texas?”

“I’ll die in Lafayette, and no one’s changin’ my mind,” she responded. “Now, Austin, be a good young’un and take the reins. These hands are tired of driving.”


Weren't they only driving for like a few minutes. How did she get tired so fast? Or did this time skip more than I thought because if so it really is not clear that you did that.

The “First Horses,” as Austin dotingly called them, slowly came to a stop. Emma hopped off of the wagon to unhook them. Ginger and Austin followed, helping to tie the horses to a nearby tree.


Very creative name there.

“Now, young’uns, we’ve been given a special mission,” Ginger began. “Three years ago to the day, the United States suffered the worst terrorist attack since September 11, 2001. It is our duty to rebuild and reunite that America against the fascist threat that has arisen in the west. As such, we’re being sent into the strongest, most independent part of the south: the Republic of Texas.”


Sounds like a speech that he practiced in front of the mirror so if that's the effect you were going for well done if not...umm make it a little more natural sounding.

“I’m gettin’ to that if you’ll be patient,” the old woman said. “We’re going to talk to President Amy Vance herself and explain what we know. It’s a daunting task. Trust me, I know. But your grandfather and I believe that if Texas and its oil fall to the West, then democracy will die in America forever.”


Talk about high stakes...good to just give the readers the full weight of what's going on. It really does add to the whole experience.

“Adrian, seal the deal. Get it done. I didn’t send you to Kentucky to play negotiator.”

“But, sir, if I may--”

“You may not, Adrian. Those are my orders.”

“Of course, Mr. President.”


Well someone is being strict.

“Kentucky will have joined by then. I’ll sign that treaty as soon as I return to my main office. But I don’t want Smith shoving us around for years to come. There’s only one man that can take the presidency in 2020, and that man is William McHale.”


I assume that's Grandpa and that would be awesome.

Wilkes looked away. “I’ll tell Smith that you’ve accepted the invitation. When I get back to Jackson with whoever ends up in your delegation, I’ll inform the old man personally.”


Okay, them going forward with planning for that without informing him seems a little risky but I guess they know there is no chance that he would say no.

“My friends call me Esa.”

“And mine call me Wilkes.”

“Well then, Wilkes,” the governor said, raising a shot glass, “I think this is a good start to a beautiful friendship.”


And I think I've seen that line somewhere but I forgot. Pretty nice ending though. Little hope in this one unlike the previous two chapters and that balance is nice to have.

I normally wouldn't compile these chapters together, but they were so darn short and un-detailed that I just didn't see the point in posting them at their lengths. There was nothing to add on from there without prematurely spoiling plot points , and I'd rather post two short chapters together than do that.


Umm you know you can flesh out chapters. Add some descriptions...get a little elaborate with it...like where on Earth this last conversation happens, maybe a bit more scenery as they go riding along. That sort of thing can help you make it longer because otherwise these two really are quite short. Although I can see why you can't exactly join them together.

The characters are, I hope, starting to become more alive for you readers. If they aren't, let me know; I'll see what I can do.


Most of them are which is nice although now I am having trouble keeping track of all of them cause there are so many and only like three of four are memorable if you get what I mean. They have personalities but only a couple of them have memorable personalities.

Aaaaand that's it for this one.

Overall: Overall I am still really liking where this is going. You're doing a ton of worldbuilding that's being laid out really nicely and overall its just been a really fun story so far. And our new characters in this one seem like pretty nice people, all those conversations were also pretty well done. Nothing much else to point out I think. Looking forward to reading more!

As always remember to take what you think was helpful and forget the rest.

Stay Safe
Harry

Image




Vil says...


Again, awesome review! To answer your questions--

Yep, he's talking about shotguns. Seemed most Grandpa McHale-y.

She's a 60, 70-something-year-old lady. She tires out kinda quickly XD

It takes me a while to do descriptions. Sometimes, it comes naturally. Other times... not so much.



Stringbean says...


This isn't even my work and I love this review XD



HarryHardy says...


You're Welcome!! @Vilnius

@Stringbean - Why thank you kind stranger :D

Hmm yup Grandpa definitely makes me think of a good ol' pump action 12 gauge
Oof....I completely forgot her age
Ahh well....relatable...descriptions are hard. Its just a tip in case ya want to extend chapters a bit. :)



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Thu Aug 13, 2020 2:26 pm
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starlitmind wrote a review...



Hey there! I'm back for your next chapters :D

I think the characters are coming more alive! I do feel that Austin and Emma could be characterized more, as I can't really separate them as well as I can, say McHale. But then again, this was only chapter six, and you have time to give them more personality and characteristics so they'll become their own, if that makes sense!

I think you do a pretty good job of building tension. I like how you end scenes with "heavy sentences," which really set the mood for me. Your grammar is also pretty great, and I've read some of your wall posts about this story. The avatars you made for your characters are pretty cool! I'm just going to point out some grammar/random stuff. Sorry if it's a bit on the shorter side!

Isn't that Sixteen Tons by Ernie Ford?


Is that a song name? If so, song names go in quotes.

“What happens if we succeed?” Emma asked.

“The Union survives,” Grandpa McHale answered. “We can fight against the fascist threat and start rebuilding.”

“And if we fail?” Austin asked.

“Pray that these guys aren’t as bad as Hitler.”


Oof, that's tough.

“As ready as I’ll ever be, Perce!” she replied cheerfully. “And with these two young’uns to listen to my droning stories, you should finally get some silence when you go to have your scotch tonight.


Small thing, you're missing your end quotation here.

“Now, Austin, be a good young’un and take the reins. These hands are tired of driving.”


Didn't she just start? xD Haha

Once their small stew was complete. They all sat side by side on three rocks.


I think you meant to combine these sentences. The first sentence isn't actually a sentence by itself.

There’s only one man that can take the presidency in 2020, and that man in William McHale.”


I believe you meant "is William McHale."

Ooh, the seventh chapter was quite interesting. I feel like you could even combine it with the sixth chapter, because it reminds me of those little scenes at the end of a show's episode that foreshadow what's to come in the next episode, if that makes sense? But of course you don't have to, it's just a random suggestion! :D

Overall, this is progressing quite nicely! I'm excited to see where this goes and who is behind the bombings. I hope this helped!




Vil says...


Thanks! I'll fix those grammar errors immediately.

It just didn't sit right with me to combine them, mainly because they're on different days-- the 9th and the 12th of November respectively.



starlitmind says...


Oh true true, I forgot about that, sorry xD



Vil says...


It's fine! XD I almost forgot that they were on separate days until I skimmed through the top bits of each to see which characters I had added.




There is a difference between being poor and being broke: broke is temporary; poor is eternal.
— Robert Kiyosaki