For the people of Hatchet Falls, South Dakota
- could it even be called "South Dakota" anymore? Did such a thing exist? - the end came swiftly. One day, everything else was there, and the next, it wasn't. What had happened remained a bit of a mystery. They knew they were present. They knew there were other people alive within the Great Plains itself, perhaps even as far away as Minneapolis. (Old Man Stubbins
had heard the chatter on his HAM radio, before that went kaput.) But they also knew that beyond this tiny area was a wasteland, a world beyond recognition.
They had not been brave enough to send riders after only one horse returned from the first expedition, white-eyed with terror and unable to be calmed. They had to put the horse down.
For a time, they welcomed stragglers who made their way across the great North American continent and found their way to Hatchet Falls. The town, less than 500 people before the fall, was growing at an astounding rate. They had the radio tower to thank for that. Somehow, Jenni Sanford
, just 17 at the time, had figured out a way to override the signal, to broadcast one message: Come to Hatchet Falls, followed by latitude and longitude.
They, of course, had shut off the transmission after the incident.
The town was governed by a town council, at the head of which was the mayor, Brent Olsen
. Mayor Olsen was growing old, and his eyesight was failing him. He had been instrumental in striking the truce with the nearby monastery
that provided for both Hatchet Falls' growing citizenry and the monks there. The two were locked in a kind of symbiosis, a symbiosis that made the deputy mayor, Shaun Poe
, blanch. He was young - 30 - and a native and counted himself lucky that he and his wife Trish
were visiting town for a summer vacation when the end came. The town was suspicious of his "city folk" ways, but they had to admit that the policy he and Mayor Olsen had come up with in those dark days still worked. Anyone who wanted entrance to Hatchet Falls was allowed it, provided they would work for the betterment of the community and agree to the town charter. Aside from a few small scuffles, the peace had held for five years, five years more than neighboring towns - now ghost towns - had been able to hold on.
But Mayor Olsen was old and the townspeople didn't trust Shaun, and no one was sure what would happen once Mayor Olsen died. By all rights, the mayoral office should pass to Shaun long enough to hold an election, but democracy is tenuous when you're the last democracy left.
The rest of the council consisted of Jenni Sanford, now 22 but even more brilliant; Dale Josefson
, an old classmate of Shaun's and the closest thing the town had to a doctor; and Diane Romanesko
, head of the local schools. Advising the board were Sheriff Isabel Isaacson
, sheriff before the fall and damn certain she would be sheriff for years after, and Brother Francis
, from the monastery.
But out in the town were close to 2,000 souls, standing together to try to keep out the darkness that had shut out much of the world. And yet even they knew that darkness is hungry, that safety is not a sure thing, that freedom and liberty and all those good things are the first things to go in times of uncertainty.
And uncertainty was just around the corner.
(OOC: Welcome to Hatchet Falls! I've tried to give you a wide variety of possible starting places up above. I've bolded settings and characters that will be important. I ONLY ASK you leave me Shaun and Trish, as they are, roughly, the center of this story. If you want to pick up one of the characters above and take off, go for it! If you want to start out the story in the wasteland, struggling to make it to Hatchet Falls, go for it! Or if you want to start off with a quiet scene of a mother trying to find food for her kids, go for it! There's more than enough material in this world - which I've been toying around with for the better part of 15 years now - for us to have a LOT of fun, I think. If you have any questions about the setting, please do ask. IF YOU WANT TO JOIN THE GAME, PLEASE SAY SO IN THIS THREAD.
All - even the unapproved - are welcome, but letting me know ahead of time will help me work you into the story more gracefully. So pick up one of my dolls to play with or create your own. But let's get going!)