Trying to reassure someone whose name you can’t remember. Trying to provide comfort, to "get through to" them, and falling over yourself. Trying to ease their suffering, and only compounding it further.

It all must feel so worthless in the end, so broken down, hollow and empty. Like you tried to stop a building from being condemned, and all you did was nudge around a few pieces of trash, maybe kick up some dust. Like you never could have fixed anything, and if you did anything at all, it was make it worse by trying.

It’s a strange thing to know in your heart that you ruined a friendship by trying to be a friend. It is strange to know it’s not even that strange.


Six months ago, a makeshift radioactive bomb went off in lower Manhattan. One hospital on the upper side managed to only sustain the force of detonation, shattering the glass and shaking loose the fixtures. Thankfully, the backup generators still worked when the island’s electricity went out, but they were a stop-gap by design, and as the doctors passed each other on the way to comfort their patients, the looks they gave each other betrayed the reassurances they gave their wards.

One of the boardrooms was converted to a sleeping area. Some slept. Nobody knew how much radiation had reached the building, but did it matter? Well, maybe. There might be a future, one way.

Slowly, things fell apart completely until everything was untenable. By that time, though, everyone had been evacuated, and all that was left were the crumbled ruins. Nobody who knew any better ever dared to go back. It’s not like you want to relive that kind of horror. It’s not like you could believe there was a way to repair what was broken. It’s not like anyone wanted to even try to do anything but forget.