by Max Barry

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by Last plains. . 397 reads.


The Manifest of Destiny:

What killed the American experiment was not the question of slavery, of stateís rights, of personal sovereignty, or threats from beyond her borders. No, what what killed America was God almighty, spewing forth his righteous judgement from beneath the earth itself. You see, manifest destiny was Americaís folley, and our slaying of this landís native residents was our sin. It was their land to begin with. Godless or not, they just wanted to be left alone. But we couldnít evade our own pride. Our hubris. Our ambition. We thought ourselves better than the Indians. Itís why the rockies blew open, and peeled over the land with fire and pestilence. Every man, woman, and child in the Plains thought it was the end of days. Truthfully, and for all intents and purposes, it was.

From one horizon to the next, and then reaching off to meet another, the sky turned to smoke. Burning ash fell from the heavens and the sun hid from man in shame. Whole field of crop withered, livestock died in droves, and a pestilence beset our neighbors: the black lung. From the peaks of the Rocks, all the way to the Mississippi, and as far south as Amarillo, our punishment made its presence known; nobody really knows how far north it got. If that wasnít enough, the bitter cold and blasting winds that came with it were the final nail in our coffin. That retribution lasted for nearly forty years. All it took to bring the United States to its knees was four.

It came in 1856, that hand of God, and within months people out east began to go hungry. Water flowing through the great rivers of the land turned yellow and green with sulfur, poisoned so much so that no man in his right mind would dare water his crops with it, let alone drink of the stuff. As famine set in, and the government became more and more powerless to stop it, the whole thing came tumbling in on itself. States broke off, claiming the government inept. Mobs burned down entire cities in anger. Militias formed and new lines were drawn in the sullied earth.

The America that was, had gone. All that remained was the memory.


In 1856, the supervolcano in the northwest of the Wyoming territory erupted. The physical result upon the land was a rupture in the ground that swallowed several dozen square miles of earth, and left a gaping maw full of little more than lava. The eruption itself sent a pyroclastic flow that travelled as little as twenty miles, and as many as a hundred, in all directions leading away from the epicenter. Needless to say, all that was once alive in that path was killed. Subsequently, the amount of debris, smoke, and ash that was pushed into the atmosphere produced a massive cloud which covered a sizable majority of the midwest, reaching as far east as the Mississippi river initially, and eventually spreading over much of Appalachia and the Great Lakes region. The west coast of North America, protected by the Rocky mountain range, was spared this fate. However, in the east, the cloud remained over the land for nearly forty years, with ash raining from the sky like snow for months afterward, literally burying some cities in it. The inclement weather that followed led to floods of uncontrollable mud that brushed away buildings and towns like feathers in the wind. With no sun to shine through, crops failed and people began to starve. Desperation turned to civil unrest, and civil unrest into a motley, confused civil war with no clear sides, and no clear winners. Half a century after this calamity, the former United States is a number of individual nations with varying creeds, almost all somewhat disparate from the nation that was.

Last plains