I almost fell on my way down the ramp. It was much steeper than I had anticipated. Very unfriendly. Here, let us build here a building of knowledge, and then let us raise it; it is after all a building of knowledge. Now then here are the stairs that lead up to our illustrious building. Can you picture them? Perfectly formed concrete slabs that demand respect for their—but wait, wait, here is a person who is bound to a wheelchair, an old infirm man, a young woman pushing a hand buggy where her young child sleeps. Shall we grant them access? Let us be tolerant, considerate even, and build a ramp, but let us put it way over here, a bit hidden, a bit out of the way; and let us make the slope inaccessibly steep.
Forgive me. Down I went, like a child learning how to walk. Only the sounds of my foot shuffles and my dead hand grasping at the hand rails reached my ears. I noticed that the area seemed eerily void of any of those creatures. I didn’t mind, not really, but I wondered why there was such a complete absence of their presence. It didn’t seem coincidental that environs of this library was empty of them. Is knowledge their crux? Had humanity forsaken the library’s treasure trove of learning sometime before whatever cataclysm befell them? Or even, yes, I like this, had some persons sequestered all of the information for themselves, and human ignorance led to the world’s current decay and destruction? What thoughts are these? So much cynicism. Was this who I was? If so, then I suppose that is that, but that was then.
Suddenly, Kabroomble! Though perhaps, Shaboomwoom! Even, Broogffh! Or whatever onomatopoeia a gun discharging makes; hear it. I heard it; “violence!” it rang out; “death!” it proclaimed. At a different time its shriek would have alarmed all who heard it; thrilled hearts. But now in this world of death and decay what did it stir within those unlucky few who have survived the cataclysm that has uprooted everything that they had ever known? They live on the very cusp of death everyday, at all times. Wrought with guilt for having survived, consumed by fear from the undead atrocities that stalk amongst their consciousness, their hearts weighted heavy by the insurmountable responsibility of rekindling the fire of humanity; what savageries do the survivors turn to? How quickly do they give up hope?
The gun shot’s echo faded. It was close. Another way in, I reminded myself as I began my trek around the library. Truly, there had better—oh, a door ajar. A balding head blocks its way shut. There is a pool of blood seeping down the walkway. I opened it. A splatter of blood and brain stared me in the face before it led a short trail down the door. I looked down at the dead man. His eyes were jittering around in their sockets, a hole in his forehead trickled out a steady stream of blood. Though I had seen mutilated bodies and brains, entrails even, I felt queasy at the sight of this dead man now before me. His life had not been taken against his will. He chose it (his hand still clutched the gun). It is pointless to ask why, I’ll never know. I cannot mourn his death either, I didn’t know who he was, but I am sorry for his lonely death, only so much, for I’ve seen corpses fare much worse than his.
Lucky me though, I suppose, for his death inadvertently propped open this door. Isn’t that how it always is? “Too bad for you, yay for me.” It is written everywhere in this city, from the disrepair of some buildings and areas I’ve wandered past, to the opulence of others. It saddens me to see that during my absence humanity has made little progress in learning to treat each other equally. What other failures of humanity will I learn within these walls? Hmm…? But first, I suppose I ought to dispose of this body somehow.