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Chapter One : Forsaken times

The early-Monday sun peeked into the pub casting a long shadow on the trees and street below. The nosey light reached Ashley’s face, waking him up. He looked at the D-I-Y calendar; the bold font read 29 MARCH 2023. Despite this, he didn’t get up. Though, he wished that he was dreaming. Annoyed of being deprived of that, his eyes twitched, from the miscellaneous noise coming from downstairs.
“I win again”, smugly proclaimed Oscar quickly looking up past his “Magic” cards to see a fully defeated Scott behind his glass of water. “Want to play again?”
Scott, who had planted his forehead on the table, let out a tiny. “Now I just feel bad for Alex”, he raised his head, laughed, and handed him a pound and a half worth of coins. “Far better than I am, do you think you could take someone on later downstairs, well tomorrow I mean. I’d bet on you winning, and I’m not just saying that y’know.” He handed Oscar his cards back and sorted his own, binding them with an elastic band and a hum.
Oscar sat up and had a sip of his water. He solemnly spoke, “beating people only annoys people now. They see the victor as a cheat, how’d someone win with shit dealt hands like ours. We do well for ourselves, more so than others. ”
“So I get to keep my playing partner and his ideas,” Scott stood up slinging his backpack onto him, chuckling to himself. “It seems like a win-win!”. He walked to the door, picked up a pen from a tray, and filled out a form. “See-ya”. The sound of footsteps going downstairs punctuated his departure.
Oscar heard Scott and Hunnain talking faintly through the building until they stopped, soaking up the silence until he heard Ashley. As he walked down the stairs he asked. “Has he really gone?” Oscar responded with a nod and a sip from his glass. “Today was an all-around day-off,” Ashley looked out the windows to see a bright, brisk day. “That’s all.”
“I don’t know,” Oscar gestured his free arm into a shrug. “He must get quite a bit of money off of gardening, it would make sense I mean.  Hunni’s downstairs just so you know.”
“She is?” He asked with confusion in his tone.
“Yeah, heard her down there just before you left your room, talking to Scott”
“I’d better go down then,” And he left Oscar in the room.
Oscar breathed in the silence again and wondered if people had forgotten what a day-off was. Though he wondered if the stress from a year ago was still present. 
For the first time in a while, he thought about life before everything changed. March twenty-twenty-two. Earthquakes had gently rattled the British Isles causing less damage but changed the protrusion of the cliffs of Dover. The corona pandemic in this area devolved itself into being harmless baffling scientists and kickstarted a mass evacuation of the south. This, however, was totally in vain. As the effects of what had caused the earthquakes not even a month later had affected the whole of the British mainland. Just like in the south, an evacuation order was issued to older civilians and officials to go to camps in Nova Scotia. There was no attempt to evacuate teenage children however as the country had to be populated in some capacity, though escape via the channel is legal.
Oscar wondered if things were better now. This was the world they were promised. Right?

Quote:"This was the world they were promised. Right?"
Nice ending to tie into the next chapter!
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Hi! SetAsync#7868

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