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Twenty Fifty-Five:

Prophecy or Science Fiction?


Alice C. Bateman


It's so different now, I find it hard to find ways to describe to anyone who might read this exactly what it was like at the change of the millennium. People who are used to walking or riding a horse somewhere, as they are now, have a hard time picturing what it must have been like to travel at high speeds over the ground, let alone what it was like to fly in an airplane.

In fifty-two years, there have been three new generations born who never knew about these things. Let me try to tell you a bit of what it was like.

Believe it or not, we had lights at the touch of a switch on the wall, we had water that ran out of shiny chrome taps, showers that poured water as hot as you wanted it all over your body. You stood under the shower tap and let the water wash away the dirt and the cares of the day. Of all the conveniences that we had to make our lives comfortable and easy, the shower is one of the things I miss the most.

The closest thing I can compare it to is a waterfall, something which very many of you probably have not seen either. Try to picture a hollow log, with water flowing into and through it will great force. Hot water, that is. Then picture yourself standing naked under this stream of running water. Relaxing, right?

But we had many other things. Man had progressed to the point that we could pick up an instrument called a telephone, and talk to each other from anywhere in the world, instantly. When I think of the days when I turned the ringer off because I was too busy working at something to pick up the phone, I think that sometimes I would give anything to be able to hear that phone ring and hear one of my children on the other end. These days, I have to rely on messages passed from strangers travelling in my direction, or on our own travels to visit everybody.

Or on inner conversations. Without the convenient but disruptive phenomenon of electricity, I have found that my own inner channels have been opened up to the extent that I can communicate with one of the kids or John simply by closing my eyes and thinking about them. A part of me is even still sceptical that we really do talk, but I have had confirmation of inner conversations so often that I can't doubt the ability.

Not everything we had before the floods was good. We had weapons of such vast destructive might that we could have killed all of mankind and the planet itself in only a few blasts. It is impossible to describe the weapons to you, nor do I want to, for fear that someday they might be reinvented. I hope that this particular knowledge of the past times will never be resurrected.

Our own abrupt destruction was a very real and terrifying possibility that too many generations had to live with. That is probably another reason that we're living healthier and longer. We are not constantly bombarded by the threat of our own imminent demise, or live battlefield scenes from around the world showing us other people's gruesome deaths. I personally ceased to watch TV long before the flood, choosing not to partake of the daily diet of bad news.

We had so much noise in those days! I don't mean the birds starting to sing at three-thirty in the morning kind of noise, either, or my music's noise. We had the noise of fast vehicles always racing by the open windows, night and day, the noises from the TV and radio, noise from the neighborhood. Back then, I despaired of ever hearing real silence again.

People lived all crowded together side by side in cities. I'm sure most of you have heard the word, but I'll try to describe what it felt like.

The only thing I can think of to compare it to in this world are the stars. Picture all of the stars that you could see from the highest point you can imagine, on a clear night. Now, picture all of those stars squeezed into one small wooden box. That was kind of what it felt like to live in one of the cities, like a star squeezed into a box with millions of others.

I know, I lived at one time or another in most of the major cities, and I will try to tell you about them at some point. They were the Canadian cities, of course. I didn't like the US military position at the time, so seldom even visited there. The whole world was much too fierce, with a war being fought somewhere or other at any given time.

Canada, where we lived, was relatively calm militarily. But anyone aiming a weapon at the United States would surely have hit us. We seemed to always follow the leadership of our big brother, the US. With a five or six thousand mile undefended border, I guess Canada's leaders thought it was a good idea.

When you really think about it, drowning the old days and old ways was a lot cleaner than many of the alternatives that mankind was set to inflict on itself.

Chapter Six

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