Cleaning up the Last Town in the World
He pushes his yellow little cart up and down the high street each morning, as soon as it is quiet enough to do so. He hums to himself, murmurs snatches of half-remembered lyric, singing along to the songs only held in his head. He still carries his phone and its precious cargo of music but since the power went out it’s just a dead weight in his pocket, another habit he simply can’t let go of. Like the cart, and the slow walk, cleaning up the high-street.
Another of the clubs is burnt out, he notices, the third one this month. It’s windows stand smashed and the stonework blackened. He’s surprised that its not still burning; surprised that someone bothered to put it out at all, and the realisation that someone, somewhere must still care makes him smile, thinly. He carefully sweeps up the broken glass and other debris, adding what he can to the cart and making sure the larger pieces are thrown back into the building, and carries on down the street.
As he reaches the end of one side, he turns around and can see the full length of his domain. The sun is slowly rising into the morning sky, turning the blood-red night sky a vivid orange, that will linger until nightfall. He misses Blue Skies, from before, but those days are gone, and the orange is as a good sign as any, and he continues on, past cars abandoned and burned, down the other side and back towards home.
Whatever the nihilists of the nights revelries have left, at least today there are no bodies. A few, lying on streets, may not have long left but for now he simply carefully pushes their unconscious forms to one side – must keep the thoroughfares clear for decent folk – and makes sure they are covered from the cold. A lesser man, he knows, would check them for money, or valuables for barter, but it was a line we was yet to cross. Besides, the scavengers of the late night would have been here already.
His lonely walk reaches the end of the high-street, now cleared of glass and litter, now as fit as these dark times will allow for the footsteps of the everyday man. He goes back to his room, cold and without power, to await another night, and another morning walk, always hopeful that the next one will be the last.