The Curator Begins

Summary: As his society collapses, former professor Harold Strider tries to save the treasures of the past.

Harold Strider walked out of academia and into the decaying streets. He loomed like a tall black monolith, an obsidian stiletto with a short gray beard and hair. The professor cocked the hammer of a Remington 1858 beneath his trenchcoat, a garment reminiscent of a century prior. He did not have to wait long to use it.

A would-be robber ambushed him from an alley, a gangbanger with a pistol as ugly as Tupperware. Strider knocked the weapon aside with one hand, the other ramming the barrel beneath the thug's chin with aggressive alacrity. The hammer of the percussion revolver dropped, filling the alley with the sulfuric stench of acrid black powder. He strode through the gunsmoke past the body with long, contemptuous steps.

Harold Strider entered the cellar door of a long-abandoned house, each step creaking precariously beneath him. With a flashlight in his free hand, he scanned along the brick walls for signs of disturbance. He approached an unmortared, loose brick at waist level. He knelt down before it, carefully removing it.

Doc Strider shined the light within, illuminating the cache inside. With gloved hands, he gingerly and carefully withdrew a sealed plastic bag. Inside was an ancient manuscript, a scroll of Egyptian papyrus. Carefully sliding it into his coat pocket, he made an expedient exit back up the stairs. He already knew where it belonged in his bunker.

Doc Strider returned to where he'd grown up, ardently believing in his mission. His peers ceased caring why the water and power only sometimes worked in this part of town. They'd long ago withdrawn to gated communities and affluent enclaves. Posterity deserved to know why. To accomplish that, he had a collection to curate.