02 June 20XX +1
My Dear Lucilius:
Bothersome news from the Near Abroad.
As you may recall, one of the realized benefits last year from what has become the loose association of communities that surrounds us is that a ham radio network established – or re-established – itself (to be fair, I never really understood how such things work). While I am certainly not “in the know” on anything, Young Xerxes apparently is. He has occasionally mentioned news which has I have noted and let pass out of my brain as it really had no impact on my own small world.
This afternoon, he brought a different set of news.
Nothing truly focused of course: rumors of trouble in outlying homesteads, of homes burned and available supplies taken. No crops are bothered, but apparently livestock is slaughtered, sometimes for food and sometimes for the sheer waste of life. To date, anyone located at any of these locations has not been heard from.
It is all quite ominous of course, and even he discussed it in somber tones.
I have always known such things were possibilities, Lucilius. I have even imagined what life in the urban centers must look like now – and one of those urban centers is only 1.5 hours from here, so it is not as if this the sort of thing that is vapid fantasy on my part. And logically of course things would run out in the cities at some point and start to radiate outward. The question, of course, was how long it would take.
There are a number of factors that would control and mitigate it, I imagine. One is simply survival of the sort of element that would do that. Another is the availability of fuel to enable wider ranging activities – travel by foot takes a long time, and I cannot imagine more fuel is being refined as we speak.
Perhaps in my hopefulness I had not hoped that such things would happen so soon. But it appears that they are, whether I theorize them as unlikely or not.
It is not the event itself that distresses me, upsetting as the thought of violence is. It is fact that in the space of less than a year we have apparently entered a more barbaric era so quickly.
I fear that once such collapses as civilizations occur, it will be rather hard if not impossible to resurrect civilizations so quickly. The Dark Ages were not only dark – they were long.
Your Obedient Servant, Seneca