The horse galloped swiftly down the road to Brüssels, capitol city of Europa. Once this road had been a thoroughfare of the of the Hanseatic trade, horses much like this one pulling carts laden with wares from the east to trade here in the heart of the peninsula on the valley Rhine. Sometimes came soldiers: Marching, with cannons in carts, riding on horseback, carrying guns, and eventually driving tanks. After the near self-destruction that was the European Civil Wars, this rue became a thoroughfare for trade again. Cars and trucks bustled along laden with wares, commuters, and tourists. Then came the dark times, when the fossil fuels of Earth were nearly used up and the children of Europa left her to war for the scraps that could yet be wrought from the ground to the south and to the east. Our boom of fortune at its end, the old technologies returned to use, and horses once again rode men to Brüssels, now to parlay as well as trade. Europa had made a solemn vow not to let postoil society be a return to the dark ages. The blitz of energy that propelled Europa through modernization was not yet extinguished.
The swiftly galloping horse carried somber news to Brüssels from the east: the oil wells of Caspasia were finally dry. Now only the beerbrewing traditions of Europa were the sole producer of her fuel. Ethanol, now too valuable to drink, now powers the trains and the lights of the wealthier teil. Expense, however, has returned horses to the mainstay of transportation. In a world of only 4 billion people of which 2 billion are over sixty, a horse gallops under the reins of a twenty-three year-old boy. Carrying messages is his first summer job - saving to purchase a horse of his own. He will not be considered an adult til his 40th birthday.
Holding tightly to the reins, this lad doesn't contemplate that he may be one of the last generations of men. He has already had himself sterilized to avoid the trouble of offspring from his amorous relations among men and women. The horse messenger job was a gift of the oldre man whose compagne he is. His parents hope that their only child will see through this profitable relationship to marriage, but the young lad fancies a village girl of 35. "Children can be so thoughtless of their futures!" The old pavement cracks under the hot sun and frozen winters imperceptibly slow to the man and his horse. The road has hardly changed to him, but frequenters of the century club in town faintly recall the highways of their youth. Just one symptom of an infrastructure few remember how to repair and even fewer care to. Electricity is too expensive and the permafrost has rendered plumbing superfluous anyway. The postoil cooling had been much worse than predicted. Unfortunately science of the Oil Age was, as is usually the case, overconcerned with the present to the detriment of the future. Many an elementary student has lamented that global warming wasn't permanent.
Entring the city and headed for Parliament the rider passes the Al-Bruxelle Masjid and wonders for a moment what it was like when infidels roamed these streets.