11 March 20XX +1
My Dear Lucilius:
Xerxes brought tidings today: We have heard from the Outside World.
“Outside world” makes things sound a bit more extensive than what has actually happened: apparently someone in three towns over has found a way to boost a signal up and over the mountain. The signal moved from the next town to our town, before going on down the road. That is almost 33 miles by car, - a long, twisty 33 miles mind, with one small mountain range in between - more or less in immediate contact with each other.
There are, of course, a great deal of technicalities that I know nothing about in this. My grasp of radio was always limited to turning the unit on in my truck and having music or talk come out of it. Something I had always claimed I had wanted to do, someday – until someday became “too late”.
The news, of course, is what one would anticipate given the situation we find ourselves in, which is to say not terribly good. What we have experienced here seems to be repeated throughout the area – food limitations, fuel limitations, general angst about what will be coming in the Spring. The town at the far end of the radio chain – Let us call it “North Town” - had a few issues with random travelers but not too many (Winter travel here in the best of times being difficult, adding to the fact that we are now in a world of essentially no fuel). The travelers were, apparently, politely and quickly shuffled on their way.
The town of origin for the signal – “South Town” - had its own issues: the river ran high enough and fast enough through town that the main bridge collapsed. They had an outbreak of some kind of disease – Xerxes was not clear on the details – that resulted in a number of deaths.
With contact, of course, there is some level of hope as well. No-one on either side of the relay has heard any kind of rumblings of movement of people or government. And while it was a tough Winter – tough if for no other reason that all were suddenly living in the 19th Century – many have survived. People that live here in these Winters are more prepared than what would have been your average citizen, living in an Urban environment. Tough environments encouraging tough people is not just a chance phrase.
It strikes me, as I write this, that you yourself have a ham radio license. I wonder (to myself, having no idea if these missives will ever make their way to you) if that might a method whereby we could once again make contact? That thought brings me joy, even in the face of what appears to be the beginnings of a very long and hard Spring and Summer.
Your Obedient Servant, Seneca