2076: A Revolutionary Tale: All Systems Have Failed

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I have often wondered and have been fascinated with what the future will be like. 2076: A Revolutionary Tale: All Systems Have Failed is a story where “A handful of corporations own and operate the country and food is used as a means of oppression.” (from the Prologue)

And….I really like finding out what inspired an author to write. This novel was inspired when the author’s life long companion Beverly remarked, “All systems have failed”. (when speaking about America)

Stephen G. Mitchell states,

I fear for my country. I am angry and sad to think of what we have lost. I want to help fix it. 2076 is a tale about two unlikely lovers fighting to survive in an America six decades from now that is suffering the results of our actions today…

Excerpt ~ Chapter 1: BRINGING DOWN THE HOUSE

As told by Aelena Hall:

I mounted the fire escape ladder hand over hand in the dark, clinging to the rungs, the climb all the more difficult because of the enormous bulk of my disguise. A few feet from the top a dog barked and I froze. When it didn’t bark again I continued on, heaved myself over the balustrade and landed on the roof. Rising cautiously, I peered back over the side. Far below I could see the guards milling around the front gate and pacing in the lighted gun towers along the formidable wall that surrounded the estate.

I turned quickly and scanned the flat roof. Rising from its center was a forest of antennas, microwave towers and satellite communication dishes. The dishes looked big enough to communicate with the stars. Bending low, I ran toward the soaring maze of technology pulling off my clothes and squeezing between the guy wires and masts that held it up. Wriggling out of my fat-suit, I stripped down to my underwear and spit out the awful dental prosthetic that I’d had in my mouth all day. It left a bitter taste and I was wishing I had some fresh water to rinse my teeth when the clammy night air hit my skin and I began to shiver.

My clothing was padded with an explosive gel—my whole fat-suit was a bomb—and I itched all over from wearing it. I lifted the explosive-laden garment and packed it around the base of the largest satellite dish, then stepped back covered in goose bumps to make certain I had placed it as close to the center of the cluster of dishes and towers as I could. The detonator was in my hand and I armed it as I ran to the edge of the roof, wriggled over the side and started back down the ladder.

My pale skin in the lights reflecting off the smoke-filled, polluted sky must have looked like it had a spotlight on it because the dogs started barking again and wouldn’t stop. I heard men shout and looked over my shoulder. Tiny soldiers were pointing up in my direction. To try and get all the way down the ladder to the ground and make a run for it now was impossible. I went as far as the balcony, hopped over the railing and slipped back inside through the French doors to the bedroom.

Grandfather was still there waiting for me in case I needed help, the top of his wooly-fringed head shining with sweat. The old black man blanched and stared when he saw me come in.

“What?” I said.

“Um-hmm. Last time I seen that much white skin, I was puttin’ turkeys in the roastin’ pans for Thanksgivin’.”

“They spotted me,” I rasped. “They’re coming! I need something quick to put on.”

He hobbled across the room, threw open the doors to a huge wardrobe and stood back to examine its contents. There were enough ball gowns inside the closet to dress a cotillion of debutants. “Near as I can tell,” he mused, “the missus, she was just about your size.”

I handed him the detonator to hold, grabbed the first dress that was handy—some gold lamé thing—stepped into it and had him zip me up. It was snug and I had to hitch up the bust, but it fit all right. I fluffed my hair in a hopeless attempt to look presentable and saw that Grandfather was staring again.

“Now what?” I said, checking my reflection in the mirror to make sure nothing was hanging out.

He clucked his tongue. “Don’t believe there’s been another woman in this house as beautiful since the missus passed.”

I looked again. The person gazing back at me in the glass wasn’t me. I had never worn a gown of this kind, certainly never one that draped and folded the way this one did. A familiar bitterness welled up. “The reason I can get into a dress like this is because I was raised on food my parents stole. It’s what got them killed, and unless I get lucky it’s what’s going to get me killed tonight.” I snatched the detonator away from him. “Now let’s get out of here.”

We stepped cautiously back out into the hallway. Loud voices were coming from below and the sound of jackboots were echoing on the marble entry floor.

Grandfather’s eyes grew huge. “Keep out of sight while I try and draw them off.” He bolted down the hall in a kind of spastic hop, dragging his bad leg behind him and stripping off his shirt as he went.

The damn dress I was wearing was too tight to run in and I tripped over the train trying to keep up with him. I called in a loud whisper for him to stop, but he ignored me. By the time I got to the top of the right-hand staircase, he had made it around to the center of the balcony between the two staircases and was waving his arms, showing off his naked, scrawny chest and taunting the Peace Corps troops who were charging up the stairs toward him with unslung weapons.

I pressed back against the wall.

Grandfather took off again, running around the square balcony to the other side, shouting and flailing along like an old gray seal with one bad flipper. We were on opposite sides of the soaring entry hall now. He was trying to hold their attention so they wouldn’t notice me and there was nothing I could do to stop him. The guards thundered up the left-hand staircase after him, the laser sights on their rifles bouncing red dots off the walls. Then, to my horror, the crimson beams found their mark and locked onto their target, lighting Grandfather up with tiny red pinpoints of certain death.

I screamed and the guards turned and saw me standing on the other side of the square. “Bastards!” I shouted. “Stinking cowards! He didn’t do anything!”

Without realizing it, I was waving the detonator around. They must have seen it because they began running in my direction, pointing their lasers and locking their sights on me. I looked down. There were so many red dots on me I looked like I had chickenpox.

I’m guessing the reason they didn’t fire was because of what I was wearing. I looked like a guest, not an intruder, and I don’t think they wanted to be responsible for killing a WALLED-IN by mistake. I put my hands in the air and smiled sweetly as they rushed toward me. When they were directly under the center of the house, halfway between me and Grandfather, I pressed the button on the detonator.

There was a horrific explosion as flames roared down and caved in the ceiling. In an instant, tons of marble and concrete fell down and buried the soldiers under a pile of smoking rubble. In all the dust and confusion, I couldn’t see a thing. All I knew was that the house was coming apart and I had to get out of there. I bolted down the stairs running like a mummy in a gold cocoon. Screams and shouts were coming from the packed ballroom. At the bottom of the stairs I spun around trying to figure which way to run. The front door was out of the question; they would see me trying to escape. And then I realized…I didn’t look like a renegade bomber, I looked like a frightened houseguest. I didn’t have to run from the guards; all I had to do was run for my life along with everybody else.

A piece of flaming debris crashed to the floor beside me and exploded in pieces. Mobs of people were trying to squeeze out the front door and I started to follow. I glanced back and saw gilded cherubs and nudes falling like cannonballs from the ballroom ceiling onto the party-goers below. It was a gratifying sight…until something caught my eye and I gasped.

Standing stock-still in her party clothes on the edge of the dance floor was the precocious ten-year-old girl that I’d met and taken a liking to earlier that evening. She looked up, staring open-mouthed at a nasty-looking gold angel that was teetering on the wall above her, about to fall. I ran toward the child, clawing my way blindly through the stampeding tide of guests, and tackled her hard. We went sprawling across the floor as the angel crashed to earth…then the darkness closed around me and everything went black.

*****

2076: A Revolutionary Tale: All Systems Have Failed is available on Amazon!

*****

“The price of food is going up right now. Imagine what it will cost in sixty years. Keep in mind all the damage being done by fracking, pollution, abuse of natural resources, political corruption, the mindless greed of the haves vs. the have not’s and the way mother nature with her arsenal of earthquakes and hurricanes seems to have turned on us. This is 2076. This is a United States that is now a third world country. This isn’t just a really good dystopian novel, it’s a window into a possible future for all of us.”~ Review by Karen M. ~ Dystopian Thriller

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