I look around and see a police car up the road. With luck there will be a gun in the car and then I can end this agony. No Reader... No People... No Nothing... I can't live forever like this. The car does have a gun. I pick it up and sit on the ground crying. I put the gun to my head, my hand on the trigger...
"Oh... I can't be the only one left alive." I cry out loud one last time. "Can ANYBODY hear me???"
My voice echoes in the streets but no one answers me. The gun is shaking as I pull back the trigger. Oh anything is better than this misery of being alone...
Just as I'm about to put the trigger, I see something familiar through my thick glasses. It is a building that I remember going to a thousand times as a child. Is that the Public Library? I have not been there in years. Since I got my reader I have been downloading all my stories over the internet. Now there is no internet. I put the gun down and wipe my glasses. It is not a mirage. It IS the library. "There are books in the library," I tell myself. "LOTS of books waiting to be read."
I run to the steps of the library. The wind has blown leaves all over them. I slip on a leaf and almost fall. I catch myself. I'm so excited. I must be more careful though. Up the steps I run and stop at the door. I hope it is unlocked. The door creaks open. The smell of books fills my nose. Standing in the doorway I peer in. Thousands of books greet my eyes.... everywhere I look there are books.
Walking over to the counter where the librarian should be, I can see there is no one behind the counter. Good... I don't want to see any more dead bodies. I pick up a book and feel the pages. The paper cuts my finger but I don't care. I can read! There are books for a hundred lifetimes here. I think of all the books I want to read. I start making a pile on the counter.
Smiling as I dance through the library I am no longer alone. I have Hemingway... Byron... Holmes... Clemens... Emerson... Longfellow... Fitzgerald... and even my beloved Poe to keep me company. I find the book of poems that my wife ruined. Now it is mine forever, to read at my whim. I even find David Copperfield. Good... now I can finish the story.
The rest of the day is spent sorting through the books I have piled on the counter. I pick up a book and try to read. It is dark in here. I need to find somewhere in the light to read. Looking around I decide to pile my books out on the steps in the sun. It is a glorious day I can sit and read comfortably there. I have a few hours until sunset I can start reading my Poe or finish my David Copperfield. "Hummm... Which shall I read first?" I ask myself.
As I bend down to pick up my first book, I stumble on a leaf and my glasses fall off my face. I can hear them shatter as they hit the ground. I pick up the broken remains of my glasses. I am blind without them! I try to read a page of a book. The words are all blurry. I can't see!!! "That's not fair. That's not fair at all. There was time now. There was all the time I needed...! That's not fair!" I burst into tears, surrounded by my books, I can now NEVER read.
The best laid plans of mice and men... A small man with glasses who wanted nothing but time. He is now just a part of a smashed landscape, just a piece of the rubble, just a fragment of what man has deeded to himself. A small man...in... the OZLAND Zone.