The stars were bright, much brighter than they used to be. It was probably because the city wasn’t polluting the sky with light. It was cold out, much below freezing. The wind was blasting him with everything it had. He pulled the collar of his parka up around his neck as high as he could and closed the drawstrings of his hood down around the edges of his mask. He inhaled, then looked at his watch.


He had been walking around the city for almost 13 hours. He hardly noticed. When the roar of the city wasn’t there to remind him of his existence, he tended to get lost in his own mind. This happened a lot. His military issue parka was warm, if thin. He adjusted the strap of his rifle on his shoulder and stood up. Break time was over.

He took the box of c-rations he was eating and put it in his bag. He could use the cardboard of the box for fuel in his cooking fire when he got back to his home. The foil wrappers, however, he tossed aside. No use for those; they were covered in oil and miscellaneous ink and other coatings. Moving to the edge of the roof, he looked out over the city; or, rather, what the city used to be. It was nothing but silhouettes of buildings at this point, punctuated clearly by the shine of the moon and the dim light of the stars. The city had been sleeping for almost 30 years now.

It’s almost pretty, the man thought to himself, So peaceful.

“Time to get a move on,” he said aloud, his words radiating out with no ears for them to fall upon. Adjusting his rifle sling for the second time, he turned around and walked toward the door of the roof he was on.

As he descended the stairs down to ground level, the sounds of his boots echoed on each stone step of the empty stairwell, and he soon reached the last flight. It was a mostly quiet life, and he didn’t mind that. The only sounds he heard were those from himself and the occasional collapse of a structure somewhere distant.

He hadn’t seen another person since he left home almost three years ago.

Has it already been three years?

Solitude was nice for the most part, and not needing to worry about rationing supplies or food for more than one person was a plus, but if he got injured or sick, he was left to fend for himself.

It was a lonely existence, one of sadness and despair. Without someone to talk to, you have the chance to get lost in your own thoughts.

He was in the lobby now, at the glass doorway leading outside. The glass was shattered. He walked out through the doorframe. The soft crunch of his boot in the snow collided with the strain of his mask as he breathed in. Ruined cars and busses littered the side of the streets. Most of them were rusted and the interiors rotting or rotted out.

Apparently, people used to use them for transportation. Big, bulky, metal death traps moving at speeds too high to comprehend for him. He hadn’t been alive to see the collapse. He was born into this world, and it was all he knew.

It was snowing now.

He looked out around him. Fresh snow everywhere; not a footprint to be seen. Makes sense, since he came in through the back of the building. Still walking, he passed car after car for blocks. He looked at his watch again.


It would be good for him to head back to his home, he figured. First, he needed to get his bearings. He looked up at a street sign. He had found a map of the city when he had first entered it, and had committed the strange writing to memory. He knew exactly where he was. It’ll be about a two hour walk back from here.

His stomach growled. He had eaten his last c-ration when he was on the roof. He would have to wait until he got back in order to stave off his hunger. Oh well. It was his fault for eating it sooner than he should have.

The moon shone directly overhead and illuminated the intersection he was standing in. A full moon. Looking up at it, he saw just how beautiful this world really was.

I guess I can make it, for you, he thought.

And then he started walking.