Title: Nicholas – Longing for a Solution
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Nicholas was not a native to the southwest territory of ex-America. In fact he had grown up in the ex-UK near Plymouth in a small town called West Looe, which had become a rather fortified village owing to the fact that there were many roaming gangs. Obviously, the UK was no longer a vibrant country, but a worn-out shell of its former status as a world power. But that could be said for the world at large, it was just worn out.
When he turned twenty-one, Nicholas announced to his parents that he was finished with them and the country he no longer had any respect for and was venturing out on his own. He told them he had signed on to work as a deckhand on a ship that was heading to ex-America and the city of New Orleans. He was resolute in his desire to flee; he informed his parents that he didn’t care if he died in this adventure as it was preferable to wasting away in this ancient village that had lost every ounce of charm it might once have had. They wished him well and helped him pack his bag and were secretly happy to be rid of him. “One less mouth to feed”, they said to each other later that night.
On a very stormy mid-April morning, he bid his parents goodbye, and headed out for his new adventure. They watched him through the window of their small home as he wandered off and knew that he would never be back. He made his way to the port and soon, Nicholas boarded the ship, settled into his bunk, and introduced himself to the other crew members. They looked at him like he was batty, as no one really cared who he was. Nicolas got the sense that this might not be the gratifying trip to ex-America he was hoping for. Yes, there would be hard work, which he was used to, but a little companionship would also be nice.
After six days at sea, Nicholas was certain that he had made a very awful mistake. The work was much harder than he could have imagined, his comrades were anything but nice, and he realized that being on the ocean was an unbelievable bore. To make things even worse, the ship had to outrun a number of pirate ships that now seemed to control the Atlantic ocean. As a result, he and three other crew members were assigned to be on constant lookout duty. Two on and two off for twelve-hour shifts. The one positive was that the ship seemed to be rather swift, so outrunning these pirates was not very difficult.
After months of monotony and danger, they were only a few days away from New Orleans. To be off this ship would be a monumental relief. But during these months of drudgery was also a bit of luck, Nicholas had met another young man, Aaron, from Oxford and they had become fast friends. During their time looking through binoculars for pirates, they discussed what they might want to do once they landed in ex-America. “Get drunk, find some girls, and have a grand old time,” they told themselves. Oh, were these two boys in for a surprise.
It was the end of July when they reached port near New Orleans. The two lads were filled with excitement as they disembarked and put their feet on solid ground once again. It felt good to not feel their body swaying back and forth to the rhythms of the Atlantic.
But disappointment is the foundation of the world at this point in its history. Nicholas and Aaron saw in New Orleans what was obvious throughout the world – a bedraggled city that only handed out cold offerings of depression. They understood within twenty-four hours that there was nothing here for two young men. It was time to move on, but move on to where?
Ever since Nicholas was a teenager, he had been meditating to calm his anxiety about his future and the future of the world. He was longing for a solution to his lack of possibilities for his life. Every path he thought about seemed fraught with danger. On the ship across the Atlantic he spent hours meditating on this issue with the hope that on landing in ex-America his fortunes would change. But after scouting around this now dreadful city, fortune changing was not looking like a possibility.
The day after arriving in New Orleans, the two despondent young men leaned back against a broken-down fountain near the abandoned St. Louis Cathedral. It was hot and humid and sweat covered every inch of their bodies. A shadow crossed their faces, and they looked up at a very tall, black woman in dark clothing. She stared down at them. “Hello, boys, I’m Dahlia. You ready to get the hell out of here?”
Nicholas squinted through the sun and replied, “Where are we going?”
“San Luis in southern Colorado. Lots of spirit travelers camping out there. And I’m not going alone, so you in?” she said to them.
Nicholas and Aaron looked at each other and replied, “Hell yes.” Neither of them seemed at all suspicious of this woman. They wanted to move on, and she was offering them the chance, so they took it. They followed Dahlia to an electrified vehicle that looked like it had been created by some sci-fi military research center. It was big and brawny, with huge tires, and a vast array of solar panels on the roof. No need for gas for this crazy truck. They climbed in and were soon on the way out of downtrodden New Orleans.
They introduced themselves and gave her a bit of their story on how they came to be in New Orleans. They had plenty of time to get to know each other on the long trek to Colorado. Soon they were on the road through Texas, New Mexico, and into Colorado. It took them a little over five days to reach their destination, with just a few skirmishes here and there.
San Luis, a town founded nearly three hundred years ago, in 1851, was now surrounded with a very high fence with guards located at the southern and northern entries to the town. Dahlia and the boys pulled up at the southern entry as six guards pointed their guns at the fortified vehicle. Dahlia got out with her hands held high. One of the guards, a big, tall scraggly man, dropped his rifle on the ground and yelled, “Dahlia baby. You made it.”
He ran over to her, lifted her up in his arms, “Welcome to San Luis, girl.”
Yes, and Nicholas made it too. It wasn’t much, but it was a start and something he could maybe build on. That’s about all you could ask for in a world that had crumbled apart. So Dahila decided to hook up with a spirit group she had traveled with in the past. Nicholas and Aaron said goodbye and thanked her for saving their asses when things looked rather bleak. The two young men decided to join forces with another spirit traveler group that was going to head toward the western part of ex-Colorado. They hung around San Luis for a few more days and then were off on the next leg of their adventure. They were both hoping for the best.