Chapter 2:

Chapter Two

Bookworm at the end of the world


Alexander's walk back to his base from the apartment building was much longer, compared to the trip to it since he was now hauling roughly half to three-quarters of his body weight in food and books. He still took the side streets to avoid any roaming scavenger gangs.Bookmark here

He made it back to his base just as the sun was setting, if the day was a harsh reality then the night was a nightmare. He resided in an old underground train station that had been cut off from the rest when a train derailment blocked off the tracks. Scavengers didn't bother with train stations as there was very little in the way of food or alcohol, they preferred to hold themselves up in bars or restaurants, but the prime real estate for scavenger gangs was hotels.Bookmark here

Alexander walked down the steps to the station and was relieved to see his base exactly as he left it. He had a king mattress lying on the floor in the corner of the station near the bathroom, there was his fridge plugged into where an old vending machine used to be. He had used the vending machines to form a short barricade at the bottom of the stairs. The books that he had collected following the disaster were in big random piles all over the station floor.Bookmark here

Alexander threw the bags of stuff he'd collected from the apartment over the barricade and leapt over himself. He emptied the books from the bags and stacked them into another pile. The piles of books, as well as the vending machine barricade, served to inconvenience any would-be invaders.Bookmark here

Alexander put the food he'd collected next to his fridge and went to lay down on his mattress. He grabbed the book that he'd been reading from the floor and started to read. He noticed something was off however, he looked over and a man was sitting on the floor beside a pile of books.Bookmark here

"Hello Oscar, good to see you still how my madness is manifesting itself," said Alexander
"I am not a manifestation of madness, I'm a manifestation of your subconscious, there is a difference," said, Oscar
"And what is that difference?"
"I'm not encouraging you to do anything counterproductive to your survival, nor do I directly affect your conscious thoughts"
"I'm used to you however so why do I feel something is off"
"Have you checked the entire base?"
"Everywhere except the bathrooms"
"Then check there and get back to me"Bookmark here

Alexander got up from his mattress and went to check the bathrooms starting with the men's. He found it just as empty as always, no one at the sinks or the urinals and the stalls were all empty.
He then heard the sound of someone running coming from the women bathroom.
Alexander chased after the sound through the main area of the station, he could see the person running was a woman with long straight brown hair.
She was around 5'7 and very slim, she was trying to make her way around the piles of books on the floor when she tripped and fell to the floor. Alexander caught up to her and she pulled a large knife out and pointed it at him while she lay on the floor.Bookmark here

"Who are you, and what are you doing in my base," he said
"I'm the one with the knife I'll be asking the questions here," she said
Alexander pulled out his axe and said "Axe beats knife, now answer my questions"
"My name is Elizabeth, I came into your base needing to use the bathroom, when I saw you weren't home I decided to use your bathroom then get the hell out of here, fearing you might be crazy, a scavenger or both"
"I'm not a scavenger as for being crazy,  who can tell in this messed up world," He said
 He put his axe away and said "you're free to go just don't tell anybody about this place alright"Bookmark here

Alexander walked back to his mattress and tried to start reading,  but Elizabeth had followed him.Bookmark here

"Aren't you going to get going"
"Why are you letting me live"
"You aren't a threat why should I, I already had to kill one person today in self-defence, I'd rather not have to kill again today"
"Could I possibly stay here?"
"Don't you have a base of your own?"
"No, I've mostly just been wandering"Bookmark here

Bookmark here

Alexander couldn't leave the girl to wander the city without a base to hunker down in she might get caught and spill his location. He decided it would be in his best interest to let her stay with him.Bookmark here

"You can stay here, but you have to help me collect food and stuff from other buildings," He said
"Sure I can agree to that, do you have a spare mattress," She said
"No I don't, sorry but I can help you move one from one of the neighbouring buildings, basically the only thing of use left in them"
"Alright can we go now"

Alexander put his book down and said "No, it's nighttime out there, wait until morning, if you want you can sleep on a pile of books, preferably the cookbooks  or you can share mine if you're comfortable with that"
"I'll take the cookbooks," she saidBookmark here

Alexander watched her pick up random cookbooks and try to assemble them into a bed-like shape, this was going to take some getting used to but at least with her around he might not go mad from loneliness. He was glad she hadn't heard him talking to Oscar earlier or she would have already concluded he was crazy. He didn't think he was crazy either, at least not yet anyway.Bookmark here

N. D. Skordilis
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