Something Beautiful

“It’s not what I expected.”

Ren took a drag of his cigarette, and flicked it aside as he stared up at the Seattle Space Needle. The enormous building was tilted to the side dangerously, on the verge of collapse.

“Well, nothing can be trusted enough to be expected, these days,” Ren whispered in that gruff, raspy voice that he’d had ever since that drifter hit him in the throat with a crowbar.

Every city they’d gone to was dead, save for those too stubborn or too crazy to leave behind the wreckage of what had once claimed to be a great country.

“Eh. We should get going and scavenge for supplies. I’ll bet we can still find a few canned goods in some of the stores, at least,” Pete said, scuffing his foot in the dust that coated the street before he walked off. It was only when he realized there was no sound of footsteps in his wake that he realized Ren wasn’t following.

Ren stood, eyes still fixed on the dilapidated skyscraper, silent. “Come on, we should get moving before any mercs spot us.” Still, he stood silent.

Ren cleared his damaged throat and said, “It could’ve been something great, you know.”

“It could have.” They stood in silence for a few spare minutes before Pete suggested once again that they move on. Ren spared one last glance over his shoulder, before they continued onward to walk the streets in search of survivors.