19th December 2070, Suffolk, England
At the moment Maddy and I are having a picnic with our (and only likeable) neighbours, Frank and Sally Crumberson, and their son George, 7 years old.
It's nice to see the two kids get along so well together. Frank and Sally are watching over them while I write in my journal. Still today I count myself so lucky for bringing over my solar-panelled laptop; even paper is rationed around here, and supposedly this isn't the poorest region of England.
Oh! Maddy's just fallen over. Ah, that's nice, George helped her up. They are really sweet together. I could watch them all day, besides; I'll do whatever it takes to get my mind off my wife.
It was one month ago now, in fact one month today. It was time for our scheduled visit to the Noble Wolf continent. Strange to think that less than half a century ago, the land that used to be on the other side was called France. That makes me think of our next door neighbours; Jean-Marc and Marie-Luce. Annoying pair those two, but, when they sense I'm feeling really down, they invite Maddy and me round for some wine and cheese. Only very small amounts of course. I share their tragedy that they have to spend so much of their savings just to get a taste of their home. But of course just like the other 97% of the French population that moved out of the country to escape Nazism, they have to suffer in silence.
What I would do to get a taste of real, locally produced cheddar.
I should probably feel ashamed that a larger percentage of the French population decided to decline the Offer than the English. But when I think about it, there were always a heck of a lot more racists and homophobes in England back in the old days. Well, at least that's what it felt like.
It's turned back to Britain here now, we have all of Ireland with us, Scotland decided to drop its efforts to split from us, but none of that is because they wanted to. It's because once they realised that the global economy had been split up, that the whole world's money had been unequally divided between the Noble Wolf Continent and The Atlantic-Australasian Alliance, they were forced to join up with us again, because, it was no longer about fighting for economic power, if we didn't stick up for each other and spread our resources between whoever was left, we'd be lost. Alone we were pathetic against Them, but together...at least we had something.
Ugh. I've lost my train of thought, haven't I? Well, nothing these days is ever just good, nothing.
We had just arrived at Berlin train station, because, even though the Noble Wolf Continent was filthy rich compared to the rest of the world, fossil fuels had almost completely run out, and no-one was allowed to use them across the entire planet, just in case. Apparently ours was the last ever train of new visitors only, I wondered why.
The three of us were met aberrantly by a man and woman in discrete but smart uniform. Of course, they both had blond hair and blue eyes, just like the majority of people I saw rushing around the station. The man had a strong build and a square jaw, his hair tapered and cut to an army-style length. The woman was lean but healthy looking; her hair shone radiantly and had looks to kill. Nope. No surprises there. My opinion on being here grew more fastidious by the second.
I looked around at the other passengers who had just gone off. My family was one of the only ones that had blue eyes and blond hair, the rest hadn't, no surprise that we were getting 'special' treatment then.
"Good afternoon Mr and Mrs Quincey, my name is Bernadine and my colleague here is Ritter. We have been sent to you to offer a personal invitation to Emperor Ulrich Wolf's palace. He has requested a personal meeting with you to explain the ways of life here on our continent and to offer you the chance to reside here with us, to leave behind the poverty that I'm sure you have had to suffer since you arrived in London." spoke the woman, her accent was surprisingly faint, like she'd come from somewhere not even close to Germany.
"No thank you." I answered immediately. Being forced to endure a tour of what could be at the cost of what we would be made to resent was repulsive enough, I sure as hell didn't want to listen to Hitler's heir talk to me himself. I would rather vomit until the end of time.
The man raised his eyebrow at me. "You are turning down an invitation to see the Emperor himself? Usually people say yes, even if it is because they want to strangle him while he speaks."
"He's not even worth that!" I spat back at the man. Tina instantly put her hand on my arm in a miserable attempt to stop me from lashing out at the man.
"Honey, don't." she protested. I turned to look at her, shock flaring from my eyes. She tried to convey through hers that she didn't want to get cuddly with the Emperor either, but I wasn't in the mood to be 'sensible' like her.
"We'll go." My wife finally said to the woman. She nodded curtly before escorting us to a black sedan, obviously by Ford.
As we travelled in silence towards the terrifyingly unknown, I gazed out into the new metropolis that was Berlin.
Skyscrapers taller than the eye could see and painted in chrome, or with a gun metal finish, so perfectly polished that it hurt my eyes just to look it at them.
On the roads there were no longer cars, instead these transparent balls that gyrated around fixed seats inside. I saw no steering wheels, no handbrake, nothing except a touch screen panel that floated a couple of centimetres from the circumference of the spheres. The people inside them rarely touched these screens anyway, the only times they seemed to use them was to call someone or look at a sat nav.
It was like the man (who was now driving) read my mind.
“The only reason we’re in an old fashioned car is because you can’t afford those back in England, he didn’t want to shock you straight away with new technology.” I didn’t even need to guess who ‘he’ was.
And pretty soon, we arrived at ‘his’ palace. It was definitely ostentatious, that was for sure.
Once we stepped out of the car, the woman said “now if you would please like to follow us”.
Tina stepped forward with Maddy’s hand in hers. After a few steps Maddy realised I wasn’t following. She stopped and tugged on Tina’s arm. Then they all stopped and turned to look at me.
My wife shot me a look saying ‘what are you doing?! Stop showing us up!’
“Just because I came to this place doesn’t mean I want to talk to this…” I was on the verge of violently shouting obscenities about this abomination named Ulrich Wolf, the son of the infamous Dieter Wolf.
“So you don’t want to hear what he has to say, what he has to say to us all? We’re getting a chance to speak with this man, to find out the truth, to find out some answers.” Tears started streaming down her face now.
“I don’t want to live in this reality any more if I can’t know what’s going on, Lyle. Please, just take my hand.” She waited until she realised I wouldn’t ever be doing such a thing. Maddy ran back to me, obviously just as scared from the aura of this place just as much as I was.
Her head dropped, but then she turned her back to me and followed the followers into the chamber where she would never return from.
Not as a sane woman anyway.