Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for language.
Grandpa McHale owned a small farm in Salt Water Springs, on the edge of the town. The house was two stories-- three bedrooms, two bathrooms. A bull was eating grass in the backyard while a cow cared for its calf. A few chickens wandered about, keeping near to the hen house in the side-yard. A few more houses like this were scattered about, a few larger ones in the distance-- mini ranches belonging to a few more well-off or well-to-do families.
Alistair, Luna and Abby sat on a swinging chair that hung from the rafters of the porch roof; Grandpa McHale, Austin, and Emma each sat in a rocking chair. Birds were singing in the afternoon sun, and occasionally a mouse could be seen scurrying about its business. The yard was fairly neat, an ancient and scarred weeping willow sadly swaying in the gentle wind. Already, the grass was yellowing, though the air was not crisp and cool. It was quiet, apart from the creaking of the porch swing and the singing birds.
Grandpa McHale disturbed this silence by lighting a cigarette. He took a moment or two to smoke before sighing and looking at his family, stroking his graying whiskers.
“Alright,” the old man said quietly. “First things first, here’s what’s happening.”” He paused for a moment to collect his thoughts. “America, quite obviously, has gone to sh-- hell. From what I know, the South has had it better than the north, excluding Texas. There are eight new nations that have popped up-- that we know of, at least.”
He stopped again and stood, going inside to retrieve a map. It was labelled with the various nation-states that had arisen in the south plus the Coastal States. Nashville, amongst other cities, had been marked out-- they were gone. Jackson and a few others were underlined. Austin recognized Charleston, and he remembered how they passed through there rather quickly on their way down. He pushed away the memory-- he and Emma had hated it there.
“Tennessee is best off,” he said. “Jackson is the federal capital, Memphis is the state capitol. We’ve got electricity, purified water, semi-normal food, that sort of thing. Lord knows how, but the old TVA stuff is still working, mostly. Volunteers from all over are working on everything they can. I never thought I’d say it, but thank God for FDR…”
He trailed off for a moment and continued again.
“To the immediate south, we’ve got that Redneck Republic. It’s most of Alabama, part of Mississippi, and just a little bit of Georgia and Florida. Bombingham-- Birmingham is their capital."
"Wasn't it called Bombingham in the sixties?" Luna asked.
Her father nodded. "Completely different reasons, but yeah."
The old man nodded, taking in another puff of smoke from his cigarette. "About half of Texas, all of Louisiana, most of Mississippi, and a little bit of Arkansas make up the Independent Republic. Beaumont’s their capital… Part of Kentucky’s reorganized, they’re based in Prestonsburg.”
Austin nodded.”West Virginia and Virginia have chosen Charleston as their capital."
"How was it?" his grandfather asked.
Emma groaned; Abby said, "These two pushovers didn't like it. They said it was too militaristic."
"Anyways," Luna said again, "that leaves the Coastal States and the fascists, right? What's up with them?"
“Down here, the Coastal States have most of Florida, parts of Georgia, and pieces of the Carolinas. The FSA…”
Grandpa McHale sighed and took another deep breath of smoke.
“Most everything west of the river, plus half of Illinois, belongs to the Fascist States of America. There's a new Hitler over there, or my name's not William Brennan McHale,"
“Who?” Luna asked.
“No one knows,” her father admitted. “We think it was someone higher up in the government-- probably a Cabinet member-- not sure who it is for sure, though. I think it was the Secretary of State, William Jaspers. Never trust a Dixiecrat.”
“Daddy, no politics,” Luna said.
“Can’t help it,” he said. “When Governor Tristan was killed, Lieutenant Governor Evans took command. He appointed me Senator.”
“He… he what?” Luna asked, perturbed.
“Appointed me Senator,” her father repeated. “Senior Senator, to be exact. State Rep Amanda McCloy from Jackson was made our other Senator. I’ll be leaving to go back to Jackson in a few days. Monday, to be exact. And today’s Friday, so I’ve got some packing to do.”
“But--” Luna stopped. “Then Smith has really claimed the presidency?”
Grandpa McHale nodded. “And he was re-elected under the recently passed Presidential Act of 2019, in which the remnants of the legislature agreed, unanimously, with Congress to make him POTUS until 2024.”
Luna sighed. “Let me guess… an amendment was passed, because Tennessee is more or less the only state in the Union?”
He nodded again. “Yep. And when stuff goes back to normal, the states are gonna look a lot different. In the east, at least. I reckon some’ll join up with Canada before all’s said and done.”
Emma looked between her mother and grandfather. “...would someone please explain what you both just said?”
“Grandpa works for the new president,” Austin said slowly, trying to make sure he had followed them correctly. "The new governor made him a Senator with McCloy. The state capital's Memphis, which is where the legislature and stuff will work. The DC remnants are going to Jackson. Does that make more sense?"
"Kinda... but he mentioned Canada--?" Emma began, but trailed off.
"He thinks a few of the northern states might join up with them."
“Yeah, that’s about it,” their grandpa confirmed. “You catch on quick.”
Austin smiled. “Thanks.”
“Well,” Alistair said after a moment or two of silence, “we’ve come this far. Might as well go to Jackson.”
“Fine,” Grandpa McHale said, “but don’t blame me if I shoot you instead of dinner.”
“Daddy,” Luna warned. “Stop it.”
“Fine,” he grumbled before quietly adding, “for now.” There was a pause, and then, more loudly-- “We’ll leave together on Monday. The McKinnons will take care of Daisy, Rodney, and little Bella while I’m gone. We’ll take the horses from the Petersons.”
“Sounds like a plan,” Emma said.
And with that, they headed inside to freshen up for lunch.
Sorry about the shorter chapter!
If you have any ideas that you'd like to see in this post-apocalyptic-type American world, shoot me a PM-- I might be able to work your idea in. All ideas are welcome!