The U.S. of After Chapter 53
Oh, it was so good to finally have a shower and sleep in a bed. And air conditioning! I had forgotten how good it felt to sleep in a cool room with no crazy people outside trying to steal my stuff. Anya slept in the bed next to me. They told us we could all stay together, and that we were going to be bussed over to the Mercedes Benz Superdome for a “briefing” before loading up on all the ships to go to a new city.
The ships in Quarantine Bay were so many and so big. From our barracks we could see aircraft carriers, battleships and a cruise ship or two. I was hoping that if they planned on putting us on any of the ships we would get to ride on the cruise ship. I just thought the others would be so cramped and a bummer to ride in.
More and more people were coming to New Orleans every day by raft, boat, horse and on foot. They fit all the people in our group on a Greyhound and after a short ride we were getting off the bus in front of the giant domed structure. I felt like we were all going to a game or something, but I kind of felt weird with all the armed guards, their faces all intense. They didn’t even talk at all, and Gideon told me that they wouldn’t even joke around, kind of like those guards you hear about out in front of Buckingham Palace.
Well, we all piled into the stadium where there was a stage set up down on the field and the lights had been turned on. Some of the bulbs were busted out and the place smelled kind of musty and it was sticky hot in there. They didn’t keep us very long, but the buildup took a while. Some guy I couldn’t really see well walked up onto the stage and grabbed a microphone.
“Attention,” he said, and I could see that he was wearing a suit and tie. “I will keep this short, but this is the best place we could come up with to get a message out to all of you at once.”
The crowd started to get quieter, and there was a dull roar of voices that went away. All of a sudden you could hear yourself breathing it was so quiet.
“Thank you,” he continued. “I am so glad to welcome all of you to one of the ports we have set up to transport the rest of humanity to the shining city of New Jerusalem. I am sure you have many questions, and we have representatives of our new government aboard every sector of every ship that are now preparing to take you to your new home. Many things have happened in the year since the war. We have seen a decrease in cases of Volos as God has provided a vaccine that is being distributed at the ports just outside of New Jerusalem. We are also able to feed more and more people each day with new advances in food production. The human race will indeed rebuild and thrive. We are here to inform you that these ships in the harbor will take you to your new home where you will enjoy a peaceful, carefree existence, a life of prosperous wealth and opportunity thanks be to God. The busses outside will take you to your destination at the ports. If you have any belongings that need transport, we have already made arrangements for them to be packaged and carted aboard. If you have any questions, feel free to ask the governmental representatives on the section of the boat to which you have been assigned. Thank you, and peace be with you.”
And that was it. Pretty much it. They then started herding us back to the busses and I noticed that the guys with weapons were standing in lines along our path, all of them quietly looking at us, no expression at all, just quietly looking Scooby-Doo spooky.
On the bus ride to Quarantine Bay I sat next to Anya who was giggling and laughing as Clayton made faces at her. Gideon sat in the seat behind me, and when I turned around he was sitting there all stoic and quiet, his dark hair falling in his eyes.
We heard music as we got off the bus, and it was the first time I’d heard music in so long I didn’t really know what to think about it. It was light, classical ye-oldie stuff. It kind of caught me off guard and threw my mind into a spin. Clayton started dancing, sort of. He can’t really dance. This caused Anya to laugh and giggle again and it took my mind off the fact that we were about to board a boat to who knows where, but there would be peace and prosperity and God knows what else. We lined up to get our ticket, a little metal disc that had the name of a ship on it.
Please be a cruise ship. Please be a cruise ship. Please be a cruise ship.
It was an aircraft carrier.