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The world is black and grey, rust and cinders. It’s cold. The sun hasn’t broken through the clouds in a very long time. The greyness permeates everything, covers everything, makes the world seem hazy and unreal, like a ghost of its former self. What little lives scurries to safety, filled with fear.

But not everything is afraid. There are boot prints in the ash. Big, heavy boots. The left foot drags a little. Nothing follows the prints. Everything flees before them and all that’s left behind is desolation and destruction. The wearer of the boots moves in the open. Does not scurry. Does not hide.

The scrape of leather soles against the pavement is the only sound, except for the wind. There’s a purposefulness to the steps made through the dirty, empty streets. This could be the only person with a goal, a plan, other than just to survive. The boots continue until the swirling dust closes behind them and the afraid behind to re-appear.

Then the rains come, slicing through the boot prints and washing them away, like they never existed.