The revolution started in August. I guess that’s not really true, the gears were set in motion a long time ago.
Back in twenty, twenty six when oil ran dry was probably when it started up. Some people say that it was instant economic collapse. It’s odd that they can have such cognitive dissonance about something that they lived through but I guess it helps them sleep at night.
In reality it was slow, slow in the way a wound in the gut kills. It didn’t run out all at once see. At first prices just skyrocketed, people like me who relied on a vehicle to get to work had to take the bus for the first few months. Then they raised the prices on them at another grueling pace. By my birthday I walked to the train station for fifteen minutes then another half an hour to work.
I can still remember the great swaths of people walking the highway because they couldn’t afford the trains raised prices or weren’t going that way. They wouldn’t have been able to take a bus because they had all been shut down. At that time there were still people driving a car, big CEO’s and government officials.
It wasn’t for another year until most companies collapsed under their own weight. Many went because they were unable to keep schedules, others because they could no longer hire from out of town. But not the Oil companies, they kept chugging, they always kept chugging. Just like the steam engine symbol of Saudi Exell Petroleum.
The first night sleeping in a commune was what did it for me.
I had lost my job in the middle of twenty, twenty seven. I tried, like most, to use my savings, my four oh one kay, to keep my life afloat until it was over. Until I could find another job. Until something could restore that way of life. I thought at the time that what I had currently saved would last me four years after retirement.
It didn’t even last me four weeks. It’s not like I didn’t skimp by either. Bought the cheapest food I could and barely ate at all. Rent in my building went up and so did power, alongside the bus and train but I hadn’t noticed at the time. I managed to get an extra week in my apartment because the property owner could never get the police to show up and eventually hired some internal security.
I’ve gotten used to seeing those security badges they had flashed before they knocked me out and left me the alley. With my stuff littered throughout but mostly in the garbage that was when I swallowed what was left of my pride.
That first night was more than unsettling. I knew that many people had turned to this but I had never seen myself as well off so I had expected myself to be one of the first to come to this.
There were several abandoned buildings in the city but even they were watched by the security teams. The commune members that found me trying to sleep in the park took me to the warehouse where they were undisturbed.
I guess it was just more bad luck that had made it that night, the night that the warehouse was raided.
There was screaming, a lot of screaming. The security teams bashed and dragged out everyone they could before the rest of us made it out the back. They had waited there of course and did much the same for those running away. They didn’t knock me out, once I saw them outside I fell to my knees and sobbed.
There wasn’t a trial or a hearing, the commune and I were all immediately imprisoned. They tried to say that it was ‘resettling’ camp or some shit like that. But it felt like school again, they can say it’s not a prison but you still have to wear a uniform and you’re not allowed to leave.
I spend five months there, eating grey slop for breakfast lunch and dinner, working most of the day to pay for it. The food had some kind of suppression agent, during the nights I never dreamed and my thoughts were always muddled.
To this day I don’t know how I got out of the cycle, eat, work, sleep. My body just rejected the food some how, I refused to eat or drink for two days. By then the guards had noticed this and tried to get me away from the rest of the inmates but somehow I got away from them. I got away from the camp, it wasn’t really constructed to stop me.
I found my way to the outskirts of the city and had to fend for myself. No-one lived out here anymore so I wasn’t disturbed for at least a few weeks. Soon I found more people like myself who had walked out of the camps. A couple of people and me soon became crowd and me.
Eventually we grew brave, we went back to the city and kidnapped some zombies from the camps. Sure enough after two days without the grey slop they started asking questions like what they could do, who was in charge, one of the others who had walked out under their own power took command. This was probably around August.
In our recklessness we tried several more times to free more zombies. It had worked for while, saved probably about two hundred people. But the last time we did it was one time too many. We were ambushed by some guards. Half our group weren’t just captured, they were killed on the spot. Our leader was among those killed, I’ll never forget the look on her face because it was the same blank stare of one of the zombies.
It had been a while since we had last came in, they had since built a series of TV screens around the empty streets. They flicked on as we had managed to get away from the death of our raiding party. I couldn’t hear what was said because I was running but I remember what I saw before the announcement they were making. That relentless symbol, it had changed since I last saw a glimpse of it but the feeling was the same. The moving, chugging steam engine of S.E.P.