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Amidst ruins, the survivor imagined the surroundings as it once existed.

Carefree in their play, children nonetheless avoided nurtured beds of flowers.  Dogs ran about emitting happy barks.  Teens walked with hands interlocked, their path teasing the shadow of centuries-old trees.  People of age watched from benches, smiling, taking in another day, remembering their youthful scampering.

It happened so fast.  An incendiary video statement went viral.  Places of congregation hummed with the discussion it sparked.  Facebook and Twitter seethed with clashing oppositional points of view.  Opinion followed too much of a geographical line, its magnetic pull bifurcating the nation along a fault extent since its formation.

The military served in war zones halfway around the world, unable to help.  Mobs overran those in country, and people of experience assumed the lead.  Facing a choice, soldiers joined their home side.

The splendours of cities lay in shards, their individual names inconsequential.  Each suffered similar fates.  For the living, those who walked with pain of body and heart, who felt the throbbing want of an empty belly, reasons mattered not, nor would the verdict of historians in the years ahead.  Who cares about winners when only losers exist?

Outside cities, people managed survival, in a malevolent way.  Hate ruled, not by continuing the points of argument, but for hording and refusing to share.  The hot flare of a month-long war segued into distended anarchy, mass starvation, and the sweep of disease.

She walked the ruins, knowing all of this, remembering the lost, aware of the challenges to survival.  Yet, something inside knew she would survive.  She would find food and carve out shelter.

She stooped before a dandelion bedazzling in the summer’s bright sun, absorbing its resilience.  From this, hope seeded in Catherine, and she embraced a will to build it different.