Bookworm at the end of the world
Alexander woke up to the sound of his alarm, he dismissed it with a swipe of his finger. He got out of bed still gripping his axe in his left hand just as he had all night. He walked past Elizabeth who was still fast asleep and into the station's office where he kept all the cooking appliances. He put the kettle onto boil and put bread in the toaster, a few minutes later he walked back out into the main area of the station carrying a plastic tray loaded with coffee, toast as well as sugar, milk and assorted spreads. He placed the tray between his mattress and Elizabeth's mattress shaped pile of books. Elizabeth was still sound asleep, Alexander was beginning to wonder how she survived this long when she slept like a log. he considered whether or not to wake her, then decided it would be a waste if the coffee and toast went cold.
He took a deep breath in and in a voice just shy of a shout he said "Wake up, Breakfast"
Elizabeth shot up like a zombie rising from the dead and mumbled "Breakfast"
She swung her legs around so she was sitting upright on the edge of her pile of books, she spooned sugar and added milk to her coffee and began to sip at it.
"Good morning sleep well," Alexander said
"As well as can be expected on a pile of books," she said
"Well if we had gone and gotten a mattress last night, we wouldn't have to worry about sleeping as we'd be six feet under"
"Are things really that bad here?"
Alexander was confused by that statement, believing surely Elizabeth knew what the situation around here was.
"Where are you from?" He asked
"Towards the outer west of the city, it's not that bad out there aside from the lack of food and people" She answered
"Well you went the wrong way, you should have gone west, there's a group out there known as Reboot, they supply food shelter and protection in exchange for work in the farms, factories and other places out that way, they're the reason we still have power"
"If you like them so much why aren't you with them?"
"because the distance between here and their territory is too far I'd likely die on the way, I'd also have to abandon all this and do you know what the scavenger would use these books for"
"Fuel for their fires, which is why I plan to keep gathering books and just surviving until Reboot conquers this territory"
"Sounds like a good plan"
Alexander smirked from around his coffee cup and said "It is, now What have you been doing till now to not know anything about what's been going on"
Elizabeth took a deep breath and began to explain "Immediately following the disaster I locked myself in my deceased Doomsday prepper neighbours basement, there I waited out the time listening to the radio for news, but none came and eventually I ran low on food so I took what I could carry and set off for the city centre in search of more survivors,"
Alexander nodded his head satisfied with her explanation.
"Your story checks out, I think its important for you going forward to know what the current situation is, so I'll explain if you're ready to listen," He said
"Just tell me I feel incredibly ignorant right now" She responded
"Following the disaster, there was a lull I suppose you could call it the calm before the storm, almost everyone did as you did hunker down and waited for the news, then they all exhausted their supply of food and Scavenger gangs began to form, to outer west Reboot who I mentioned earlier, to the north The Fortifiers they're a neutral group focused on securing their territory, to the east The Nomads they hold a small fairly secure territory and are focused on looking for other survivors, towards the south The Hunters who are focused on hunting down heinous criminals from before the disaster, together these four groups have a pact of non-aggression with the mutual goal of containing or eliminating the city centre groups"
"Wait so a group of vigilante murderers are the good guys," Elizabeth said in shock
"Compared to the guys in the city centre yeah, you have The Puritans religious fanatics who mass execute people who don't agree with them, The Black leathers and White coats rival biker gangs who cause chaos everywhere they go, The Beast of 666 a gang of thugs who take what they want and are not afraid to spill blood, lastly there is The Suicide pills a group of former drug dealers who control the remaining populace through the distribution of various drugs chief among them those that can inflict death"
"Who's territory are we in?" Elizabeth asked
"That's what makes the scavengers even more dangerous, they don't have specific territories they just roam the city centre randomly killing anyone and taking mostly anything" Alexander answered
Alexander and Elizabeth finished their breakfast in complete silence. Alexander took the tray back into the office, He came back out and picked his axe up sticking it onto his backpack which he swung onto his back.
"Alright you ready to go get your mattress?" asked Alexander
Elizabeth stuck her knife through the belt loops of her jeans and said "I'm ready"