THE ABYSS : ALEX
She told me she was half-Chinese, half-French and half-Scandinavian. I didn't explain to her how she couldn't be a hundred and fifty percent of a person, mostly because she was the first person I had encountered in a good while, and whether she was this or that didn't really matter. She told me to not throw rocks into The Nethron, which was what she had dubbed the continental hell hole.
"You could hit someone in the head," she explained, her strange accent decorating her voice with an exotic flair.
I thought it was a joke. In my days of ever darkening humour I found it hysterical, so I laughed so hard that she hit me. Apparently it was a sin to laugh at the dead, but wouldn't that make her sin greater? Had it been a joke, perhaps, but for her The Nethron was nothing short of holy.
She offered to bring me with her, as long as I promised to not throw any more rocks into The Nethron. I promised I wouldn't, for despite her being a lunatic (likely as a result of shock), I wanted much rather to be in the company of someone completely insane than to spend another day alone in the wasteland that surrounded me.
She told me her name was Alex, and I answered shortly after that mine was Trent, and that was about all we said to each other for the first hour. Among the plethora of things we could have talked about, silence felt the most comfortable. I was quite content just having company, so speaking wasn't something that rushed to my mind. In fact, among the last days I spent alone I wondered if I still possessed the ability to speak and had held an imaginary conversation between myself and a rock. Later I'd throw the rock into The Nethron as the result of a fierce argument.
Alex brought me through a suburban area that hadn't completely fallen apart. One backyard was in fact undamaged and a couple of apple trees were still standing, bearing fruit. We filled our backpacks with them and carried on forward and smiled stupidly at each other as we took our first few bites of the fresh apples. It was the first good day in a long while, and it seemed she felt the same. I tried remembering what a good day used to be like, way back when I still had a family and friends to be with all the time, also remembering that much of that time I was alone in my room playing games or "socializing".
We spoke of our past lives. I had once dreamed of setting up a successful business, although I never knew what kind. I wanted to live a life where my success depended only on my own efforts. Little did I know that the do-or-die-lifestyle would force itself onto me as if some sadistic diety was playing a game with me. Alex had worked part time in a jewelry store, although wore little of it herself. Mostly because her pay was crap and the glitter was not. She did however carry a small memento given by her mother. Hidden under a cloak of thick brown hair was an earring, a simple thing, but important to her nonetheless.
At sunset we lit a fire using one of the dozens of lighters I had harvested during my early scavenger hunts, and while the early autumn nights were mild, the heat was a pleasant comfort. The view from the half hilltop that we had climbed was nice, at least considering what we had to look at. Chuncks of land protruded out of The Nethron, allowing us to identify places we knew we had visited. I noticed a mascot from a Japanese cartoon standing outside a door that led to nothing. I used to visit that place everytime we went to the city, buying some geeky toy, or comic books, if I had the money for it.
"Do you think there are more people alive," I asked her. The question had suddenly popped into my mind.
"Down there," she replied, pointing down into The Nethron.