“Forbidden Future: Blurb:
More than fifty years ago, wicked winds, carrying deadly diseases, swept across the land, and their ancestors fled to a protected valley. But now the easy-to-gather food and fuel are used up, and the people struggle to feed themselves. The goods their ancestors had brought with them are worn out, and life is hard trying to feed and provide for themselves.
Zuri, Udo, and Tau love each other, but have to meet in the forest to make love. The people decide to go to the city to look for food and fuel. It’s Zuri who finds the ancestors’ truck and asks for a gift in return—that she, Tau, and Udo could be together. Their request is granted. Then everyone plans for the trip to the city. It’ll be very dangerous, but the three of them will be together. But will they find any food? Will they even survive?
He limped slowly up the long hill, leaning heavily on his cane. From time to time he stopped, breathing heavily, but he always began walking again, a little slower perhaps, the cane digging deeper into the grass as he leaned harder on it, but he persisted all the way until he finally reached the top.
When he arrived there, he rested both hands on the walking stick then lowered himself to the grass, dropping the last nine or ten inches onto his ass with a slight thump and an expletive.
Dammit, I don’t know why I come here. It always makes my knees ache and I always have to rest. Yeah and getting up is always a bitch. Gonna be a helluva bitch again today.
He smiled. He knew why he came. It was the only connection left to his childhood. A world long gone that almost no one else could remember. He was only fifty-eight years old. Not so old perhaps, but these days few people lived past forty. Life was just too damn hard. He had a dim memory of attending an eightieth birthday party. For his grandmother? Or likely his great-grandmother. Who knew anymore? But what he did know, what he still saw clearly in his mind, was the crowd of really old people, people in their eighties, nineties even, who’d been at that party.
Ah yes, it was more than fifty years ago though. Before everything had changed. Before…
He looked around him, taking in the panoramic view he’d expended so much pain and energy to see. Every time he came here, he was aware it might be the last time. The last time he could look into the distance and see the high buildings of what had once been a city. It was crumbled now, ruined, with wild grasses growing up in the cracked buildings. With houses and apartment blocks fallen down over what had once been freeways.
The people he lived with—or more accurately, the parents and grandparents of the people he lived with—had escaped from that big city and made their home here, next to a fresh-flowing river, in a lush valley where crops grew well. Where they were protected from the wicked winds that raced across the land, destroying houses and pushing down trees. Winds that for the first ten years had carried diseases that killed anyone exposed to them for too long. Winds that even now sent everyone scurrying indoors to shelter until they blew themselves out, even though no one had died from wind-borne diseases for many years now.
No one knew exactly what had happened. He was much too young then to understand more than the desperate scramble to leave the city and travel as far and as fast as they could. Until they came to the valley and there they stopped and hid and sheltered and stayed, building a new home.
But he remembered the city and yearned for its conveniences. For lights that went on when he flicked a switch. For foods that stayed cold on hot days, and for the ability to heat and cook food in moments, instead of it taking hours. The young children thought his stories about his childhood were just stories since almost no one alive had lived in the city. But although he’d only been a child then, his mind was not deranged. His memories were clear. However, he’d learned not to speak of them anymore. So here he came to look, to remember, to wonder what the children growing up in the valley would have for their future. So much hard work to produce food and fuel,and so little time to appreciate anything of beauty. No time for joy or learning. What would their lives hold?
As he sat there he came to a decision. He would insist on all the children being taught to read and write, would teach them himself maybe. Even though everyone’s days were full of the hard work needed just to stay alive, and fuel was much too scarce to be wasted lighting the village after dark, he would find a way to instill basic literacy in the newest generation. If they were ever to have time for leisure, ever to be able to provide more than the basic necessities, it would only happen through people trained to think of more than mere survival. People trained to appreciate beauty and learning. It was up to him. He would rise to this new challenge.