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We got news that the United Nations was disbanded and its members executed. Keeping any of them alive meant risking the formation of splinter groups that could grow in power. Add to that the fear of secrets coming to light about its inner circle of members. Properties belonging to the UN were bombed as was the Vatican, the last bastion of hope for many.

Followers of the Catholic faith had no one to look up to and continued to call for the release of the Popess who could not be traced for a long time.

No one dared to protest since the last one held in 3030 led to a full-scale massacre in the old Italy, later renamed zone 1901. We were powerless to do anymore to preserve life as we knew it.

Orders were given to eliminate all protestors. Only very few escaped the slaughter as gunfire rained down on them from all angles. YouTube footage showed how those who were unable to find an escape were simply minced by tanks.

Donny was the one who was determined to keep that memory alive. “Do you guys remember the protest of 3030? We cannot allow that memory, to die. One day we will restore world order and no one will resort to violence anymore. We will have world peace. I will personally see to it.”

At which point, we would usually burst out laughing or tell Donny to shut up. He would shake his head and with brimming tears, would accuse us of not caring enough about Earth.

It was no use getting oneself killed if you had a chance of figuring out what to do, or even just supporting someone who had a plan. There were those of us who were forever hopeful that life would change for the better and just maybe it would happen while we were still alive.

It was startling the first time we watched people drink their own blood in an effort to slake their thirst. We were in a mall. Someone was trying to buy a cool drink but the shops were all out of stock. We had become used to dramatic outbursts from random people in the street, so we took little notice and sauntered past as we continued to window-shop.

There was a commotion as people in front of us turned to watch a wailing women. Then they gasped and we turned our heads to watch her bite into her right arm wrist and draw blood.

“I am thirsty, dammit,” she screamed repeatedly in desperation. Others ran towards her but instead of stopping her, wanted to drink her blood too.

“Noooo.... She shouted. Drink your own blood!”

From then on a bleeding body became a source of sustenance. in their desperation for any liquid. It didn’t matter if it was a dying dog or a human. Most of our animals too were annihilated. A dog was a rare sight as it would be chased down until sucked dry. We no longer bothered to keep pets.

It was only shocking the first few times, thereafter it became acceptable; No longer a moral issue to debate someone else’s choice of survival.

We often talked about our little pooch, Daisy, no doubt stolen by some desperately hungry person.

Speculation was rife that the Hindis would rather eat a dog meat than beef but this was vehemently denied by every Hindi we knew.

A sickly smell of rotting carcasses hung in the air even after breeding-stock of all manner had been decimated by butchers who had all closed in quick succession. India, the last unofficial supplier of beef, could no longer supply anyone.

The underground pipeline had been shut down completely. Smugglers had all been eliminated and no-one could be trusted. Trust had become an immense challenge. It no longer existed. Children betrayed parents. Parents betrayed children. One was not required to trust. The moral code had changed and along with it, society’s mores in general.

Hindis who were heard wailing en masse in the streets, cursing those who dared to steal their cows for sacrilegious reasons. By their standards, everyone else was evil.

We had run out of options and cows were roaming freely in the streets. What were we to do? There was a saying that the cows would one day run parliament and that very thought spurred us on to make better use of them. It was a waste as far as everyone was concerned. Not only were the streets ankle-deep in maggot-infested cow dung but the stench was unbearable.

Cattle became useful amid limited options. Dried cow dung made good fires in winter, it fertilized the soil and gave us another chance to recultivate land, or at least try. In many parts of the world, nuclear contamination prevented us from growing anything viable.

Children were dying. Mothers were crying and fathers had to take drastic measures to ensure the survival of their families. In the beginning there were diplomatic negotiations with Hindi priests who kept enormous stores of milk, but they kept repeating the same refrain.

“Oh, but you see, God will punish us if we desecrate the holiest of animals. It gives us life-giving milk and for this reason, it is forbidden to kill a cow.”

Finally, when our patience wore thin, groups of men were organized to lead the cows down to the forest during the night where they were milked. The bulls were slaughtered and cooked. In the beginning we would make fires in the subterranean caves but the pollution was overpowering as the stench of smoke commingled with blood, carcasses, entrails and skins. The huge amount of smoke raised an alarm to our suspicious activities.

The Hindi priests had their own scouts follow our trail to report on our plans. For a while we managed to evade them until one day, a clever scout disguised himself as a non-Hindi and made it all they way into the caves. There was chaos when the Hindis found out and all hell broke loose.

The Hindi police whipped us with their batons as they tried to drive the cattle from the caves amid the cheering of staunch followers who came to line the road to the city in support of their leaders.

We had to come up with a new plan, so we lay low for a while as we plotted our next move. The rescue group decided to capture smaller herds and stagger the action groups to cause confusion, diverting the Hindis from the main raids.

The first few raids proved to be very successful and we saved many of our people, including many young Hindis who had turned from their superstitious ways. Only the older folk expired, holding on to their deeply-entrenched beliefs.

As word spread of our successes, the action groups were driven deeper into the forests to cover their tracks and when they ran out of ground, simply took the cows openly and slaughtered them in full view of the Hindis who were petrified by superstition and fear of repercussion from their gods. They too, were suffering but fear of the gods prevailed over their own survival.

“Oh, fuck your gods,” someone once shouted in frustration amid the wailing and pleading. We stood holding our breath, expecting repurcussions, but there were none. They were overcome with fear. We turned and left the scene, in case of a delayed reaction. Days later we were still enquiring if anyone had taken offence but apparently, it wasn’t the first time they’d heard someone swear at their pantheon of gods.

Our struggles continued until there were no more cows to milk or bulls to slaughter as demand outstripped supply. It was twenty years since the last protest against the dog-eating nations and no-one could care what people ate anymore. They had to eat to survive.

At that stage, vegetarians were eating their own clothes since fresh produce could not be found or grown anywhere and hydroponics was all but forgotten due to the lack of water.

When my dad’s restaurant closed, we kept the building, including the walk-in fridge. This secret saved us allowing us to stockpile meat and milk indefinitely without anyone knowing, except we were the only people not losing weight, so it became a challenge to keep lying.

It was difficult to ration our meals to ensure that we lost weight steadily. Eventually, we decided to share our supplies with a small band of loyal friends until it was completely depleted. At least an endless supply of ice ensured that we had water. We had to be vigilant about guarding this secret as the marauders were becoming ruthless and thought nothing of destroying entire families to make their point.

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