In a world where it's survival of the fittest, no one, not even Ben, is sure how he's lasted this long.

The world had gone to hell in a hand basket. It was a phrase his mother had used when talking about politics and how horrid they were or when the neighbor ladies got particularly catty. Ben would sometimes wonder how often she'd used it now that...but then he'd stop.

It'd all happened so fast, as if one day everything had been normal. They had playoffs to go to and nothing had been wrong. No one knew what'd happened, what was happening. The dead were walking and eating people. It was like some horrible nightmare. And for a while that's what he told himself. For the first few days that's how he'd copped, telling himself that he'd wake up soon. Then he'd be at home, getting ready for breakfast so he could catch a bus. He'd hug his parents before he left, that he'd tell them he loved them. But until then he kept telling himself the same thing.

You'll wake up soon.

You'll wake up soon.

Oh God, please wake up soon.

It didn't work.

He finally snapped out of it once Travis got tired of hearing him mutter the same thing over and over. Ironically, Ben finally opened his eyes to this new world, but only when the right one was swollen and black.

"Sorry man." Travis apologized without sounding like he really meant it, as Ben finally came out of his delusion to look at him with a blank expression that moved into confusion. "You were getting worse than the dead."

Ben blinked a few times then winced as his eye protested the action and he brought a hand up to cover it, then he listened and looked for the first time in days. Some people were crying, some were trying to get through on phones that'd stopped working a long time ago, a big group was huddled around their band teacher who was fiddling with a radio, far too many were just quiet.

Then there was the moaning coming outside. No one seemed to be paying much attention to it anymore but the doors were blocked and the lights were turned down. Everyone kept their voices low and occasionally glanced at the door.

Travis sat down next to him, leaning against the wall and stayed quiet for a moment surveying the gym as well.

"...sorry." Ben finally answered after a moment, his friend just shrugged in response before handing him a granola bar that he'd missed out on earlier. Ben realized he was hungry and grabbed it from him nodding his thanks.

Travis sighed after a second, "The world's gone to hell." he said in a matter-of-fact way that proved he'd had no such illusions about waking up to normal life.

"In a hand-basket." Ben answered without really thinking about it and he felt more than saw Travis give him a baffled look before smiling a bit.

"That's one way to put it."

AN: Not sure how long this will be. I've always felt really bad for Ben, I know he gets a bad rap and by all rights he really does deserve it. He is a wondrous screw up but...I have a feeling if I was in his sort of situation, I would be too. I'm no hero, and no matter what kind of good intentions you have, sometimes they all amount to nothing.