It has been a though day so far. I've fought my way past survivors, smugglers and soldiers. People just trying to make it in this world. Sneaked past Infected, survivors, smugglers and soldiers who did not do so. Living in this world, where breathing the wrong air can end your life as you know it. I've been escorting a girl through this once thriving city. While escorting her to her destination, I've spent a ton of time scrounging around. Checking out every corner, of every building that allowed me access. Most of these buildings would have been condemned in the better days. Now, just having walls and a roof is enough for a building to be considered in a good condition.
Behind every wall, around every corner, someone could have been lurking. A survivor. An Infected. Yet I still did it. Still looked in every drawer, still looked in ever nook and cranny, still turned around every corner knowing it The first thing I saw around each turn, could have been the last. I had to. It was the only way to survive.
Then, after narrowly escaping a swarm of infected, I see it, standing on an old wooden crate.
A Ming Vase.
I look at it for a while. The centuries old vase surviving in this environment was a miracle. I looked at it once more and thought to myself “It's worthless”.
The only way this vase could have gotten me anything useful was if I somehow met a crazy coot who collected these. You couldn't use it to carry water. And if I did take it with me, keeping it intact would be a whole new distraction. A distraction I was not willing to take for an uncertain pay-off. Not with my life, and that of the girl I was escorting on the line.
I started wandering the room, looking for useful items. In the better days, this vase could have been so valuable that no insurance company would even insure it. Now it was worth less than an aluminum can, empty or full with, well, anything. It was worth less than an egg, a hand-full of raisins. Even a plain brick had more value. It shown a light on what was really important in this post-pandemic world. The superficial value of objects was gone. The only things of value were the things that could sustain life. Then the thought hit me, maybe all the things that we value now, were all the things we should have valued in the better days. Maybe the idea of a decorative vase having more value than an egg was part of what made the better times messed up. Maybe if we had discovered the real value of things before, before the event that started the pandemic- Then I heard it. The sound of pottery shattering to pieces, followed by “Sorry, Sorry!”
The girl had bumped into the vase and broke it. I couldn't even be mad. She broke a centuries old artifact, and I couldn't even be mad at her for braking it. I was more concerned about the sound it made when shattering. Who knew if there were infected around to hear it. Even the volume of her saying sorry was room for concern. But not the vase. Any deal I could have made for it would not have been worth the hassle of carrying it. It was worthless. Then I notice where we are. A museum. Full of centuries old artifacts. I scrounge around some more. The once proud display cases smashed. The once valuable items now worth less than the brick I pick up from the debris. I hear sounds from the other room. I hold my brick ready to defend myself from whatever is around the corner. A brick, the most valuable item in a whole building full of centuries old artifacts.