If you listen carefully to the rhythm of the city, every now and then, its urban beat would be interrupted by shrieks of frustration. The frustration stemmed from the inability to read, the loss of data, tripping in a puddle of mud or the tragic loss of battery time. Those significantly audible shrieks were frequent especially during the first few weeks, when there was still hope of civilization, technology and light.
Whispers of conspiracy theories would be heard in cafes, restaurants, bus stops and metro stations across the busy metropolitan.
“They are doing this on purpose,” one would hear as they crossed the street with the aid of a flashlight or one of those fancy phones with built-in light. At night, people walking in the street could be identified from the faint bluish lights that led them through the pitch-black city. They seemed like guardian angels perusing the city for escaped demons.
One by one, each citizen stopped shrieking as the darkness became a regular part of their daily life. Slowly and methodically, the darkness lasted longer with every passing week. In a couple of months, after all of the shrieks died and all the protests died, light became a rare commodity. Precious phone calls to loved ones announced the same state in several cities around the world.
Nights became a time when only ghosts, fools and criminals decided to roam the dim streets. Fear and survival instincts prevented the rest from wading through the dark. This meant that days were busier than they have ever been, but quieter and more relaxed. This paradox existed because the lack of technology forced the hurried to slow down and procedures once finished in a few minutes to take days. Streets filled with bikes, skateboards and roller blades.
After the food and medicine ran out, urbanites soon transformed into the people they once dubbed “low-lives”. Those who wished to remain civil migrated –on foot– to the country. It meant days of endless walking with little or no food and whatever contaminated water they found on the way. It also meant subjecting themselves to unknown perils during the night. Many found the sacrifice worthy so as not to turn into those rabid creatures once known as human beings.
Exploiting others soon became the norm in cities around the world. The lack of commodities with which to trade meant that an able human soon became sellable. Good looks and health became burdens as the freaks, the ugly and the sick were disregarded as worthless. To make for easier filtering, the worthless were marked with a stamp on their foreheads created out of burned flesh and agony. There was life –for the first time– in rejection.