Eighth Circle (Chapter 7, page 1 of 6)


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Chapter 7

Allain Entwhistle turned the knobs on his long-wave radio. A tantalising sound of oriental music was coming through the ether. He knew it was oriental because he had a collection of recordings that he had excavated from an archive dating to the time of The Fall. The guardians didn't care about the past and let you dig anywhere so long as you kept out of forbidden areas.

Allain had books that he had excavated. It was surprising how well they had survived the nuclear war and other calamities that ravaged the planet. Someone had taken great care to preserve them. They had been stored in sealed containers by people who wanted to leave something to posterity as their world collapsed around them.

One was an atlas. It showed a planet teaming with people. Huge cities once covered the globe. Allain glanced at the map on his wall. It was the official map, issued by the guardians, and showed the planet as it was now. All households were required to display it in their living room.

If the map was to be believed, all of Planet Earth had been reduced to a cinder except their island. They had escaped annihilation and were hanging on against the odds. Much of their country was barren wasteland and the rest would soon follow without continual care and vigilance.

Allain's blood boiled whenever he saw the map. It was part of the web of lies and deceit put out by the guardians. They wanted people to believe they were the only humans left alive. That was nonsense and they knew it. The sound of music wasn't coming from outer space. It was coming from the other side of the world. The radio waves had bounced around the upper-atmosphere to reach them.

Only long-wave transmissions could do that. The radios people were allowed to have in their houses were short-wave. They relied on dishes and were easy to control. Short waves couldn't escape into the ether like long waves. The long-wave radio, that he had built, used a length of wire as an antenna. It ran along the top of his fence and was disguised to look like part of the fence.

Allain was the technical expert of Plaid Koerno, the resistance movement fighting the guardians. His job was to gather information and find out what was happening elsewhere in the world. Long-wave radio was one way and birds were another.

The geese, that spent the winter on the local ponds, flew out over the western ocean in spring and returned in autumn. They were the same geese as those illustrated in the old books and it was reasonable to assume that they went to the Great Western Continent just as their ancestors had done before The Fall.

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