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Twenty Fifty-Five:

Prophecy or Science Fiction?


Alice C. Bateman


The year is twenty fifty-five, and I'll be one hundred years old in a couple of months. There are no more longevity charts to tell us when we should expect to die, and I still feel the way I did in my mid-forties before the earth flooded. Better even.

I don't know how long I might have left on this planet, so I am going to use up the paper and pens I've been hoarding to write down what's been happening in my own small world. And maybe a bit about what I've come across in other parts of the countryside where I've travelled.

There have been no mass communications for over fifty years now. It's a good thing that when all the electrical generators were swallowed up by the water that the vast majority of people were, too. There is no way that most of them would have been able - or content - to cope with a world that was suddenly non-electrical. No conveniences. No lights, no heat, no water from a tap...

When I think of the luxuries of those days, I can't imagine what anyone ever found to complain about. Nobody ever really had to fend for themselves. Those few of us who've survived here and there have found out the hard way that preparing a meal is so much more complicated than picking up a frozen dinner at the corner store!

If you eat meat, you have to hunt it, kill it, skin it and cook it, if you're lucky enough to have some kind of fire-starter. I personally do not eat animals, but with the perennially warm climate we have now, I have no trouble finding sustenance.

I began stockpiling Bic lighters and wooden matches about two years before the flood, so my little group has never been without fire. I couldn't understand at the time why I was doing this, but I had already learned to obey my instincts, or my inner voice, by that time. Naturally, I've always given a handful of either matches or lighters to other groups we've come across. I've always believed that we should help others as often as we possibly can, just so long as we're not hurting ourselves at the same time.

When I think back to the end of the last century, it doesn't surprise me in the least that God decided to give this planet a rearrangement. Mankind had become so arrogant, so full of themselves and their own accomplishments. They seemed to begin to think they were gods themselves. At least that's how it appeared to me and some others I used to talk with way back when. I sure do miss some of the people I used to know.

I lost my train of thought, drifting off and thinking about old friends. I think I was talking about the way too many men and women had become. They somehow seemed to always forget who made their advancements possible. Did someone just think up the idea for the first camera, for instance, or did God maybe plant the seed of the idea in that individual's brain? I have always maintained that I am merely an instrument of God, and that all I do is at His bidding. He has been a hard taskmaster for most of this long life, but all the things He gives to me more than compensate for anything He asks me to do.

He's given me the wondrous privilege of having children, and the necessities like air to breathe and water to drink, for example. In the years since the floods, people have once again begun to see that the presence of an infant in the mother's womb is a blessing, not an inconvenience to be gotten rid of at the first opportunity.

That used to make me so angry! Literally millions of babies slaughtered every year! Thank You, God, for putting an end to the evil practice of abortion, among many other things that we were doing to ourselves and to the being that we inhabit.

The few of us who are left are ecstatic when the seed of life is planted. Those of us who are beyond reproductive age are sad that we can no longer embrace the sacred mission of nurturing a new life to its blessed birth.

I myself was abundantly blessed with seven wonderful children before the flood, and four more of the same since. I have only one of my daughters left close to me, Melissa, the youngest, bless her heart. The others have fallen to love or adventure along the way, and settled elsewhere.

Oh, have I mentioned that we travel around for about six months every year? Myself (who most everyone simply calls Mum or Nana), Melissa and her husband and children. Or some assortment of this group. And John who is, to his own amazement, one hundred and thirty-three years old, and the father of my four youngest children. He is still as charming and debonair as he was on the night we met, long ago at my oldest son's wedding.

A grand passion was born the moment my hand touched his for the briefest of instants during conversation. A current flowed between us, and neither one of us, much as we tried at first, could deny it. I can still remember the old, old song that we first danced to, one called "Strangers in the Night." Very appropriate, because that's what we were.

The few years John thought he'd be able to give me have turned into fifty-seven wonderful years, the only truly happy ones of my life, besides my long ago childhood.

You should have seen the look in his eyes when he held our first newborn child, our daughter Morgan. It warmed his soul and mine, and the baby's. It was a wonder to behold, the amazement on his darling face when he realised that he and I together had created a whole new human being. One that looked like him, right from the very beginning.

With my first seven children, you could tell at a glance they belonged to me. When I arrived at my oldest son's wedding, Alex and I both heard many comments about the strong resemblance between us.

But the other four, they look like John. I remember the afternoon I waited and waited for him to swallow his doubts and come to my house. The hours seemed endless, while I argued in my head with him that it would surely be better to spend his time with me than mourning the wife he had lost eight years previously. A stubborn Irishman, John felt he was betraying his love for his wife by getting involved with me.

At the first opportunity, I told him the same thing I'd told my children when we'd been expecting another new family member. The expansion of love to include other people does not diminish your love for the others. Love multiplies, it shouldn't divide.

Obviously, I finally convinced him that he would be better off spending his time with a live woman than pining for a dead one. If not, I wouldn't be sitting here talking about our life together.

Chapter Two

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