Oh, how he hated Aqua-O’s. Weeks and weeks of eating nothing but the stuff (with no milk) made it as dry and tasteless as sawdust.

“But everyone loves Aqua-O’s”, screamed the brightly-colored cereal boxes surrounding him, “With essential vitamins and minerals along with a great taste, what’s not to love?” The mascot of the cereal brand was Captain Hydro, the kind sailor/sub-marine captain who spent his days spreading the sweet deliciousness of Aqua-O’s to the people of the city. Hundreds of Captains grinned at Roland from the boxes that lined the shelves, and as he reached for another box they all gave him an encouraging thumbs-up.

              Cringing, Roland opened the box and grabbed a fistful of the colorful green and blue flakes. Ocean-themed, of course. This was no comfort to him. Since the disaster the ocean had stopped having a beautiful, comforting presence and assumed a sinister, lethal one. All of his friends were probably killed by its hand, and if the leaks were any indication, he would be next.

              He was lucky to have lasted this long, he knew that of course. Like it or not, he had to admit a cereal-warehouse was a good place to be trapped in. There was plenty of (terrible) food, a restroom, and all the kindergarten-level puzzles he could possibly want to solve on the back of cereal boxes (he considered himself a master at finishing mazes). And the cereal itself might taste like cardboard, but it was enriched with every nutrient one could possibly need. The food scientists had done a good job with that.

            But still, as he saw it, the only the only way he was getting out of here alive is if the mainland sent rescuers down sometime soon. And with every passing day, that hope seemed less likely. An alarming whining sound had started somewhere in the warehouse roof a week ago, and the consistent, protesting groans coming from the walls and ceiling were steadily increasing. He knew that he couldn't stay here forever.

         He forced his jaw up and down then swallowed. He reached for another handful. God, he hated it, but he was hungry. When it was empty he added it to the foundations of what he fancied would be his cereal-box house someday- he had gotten one wall up and relatively sturdy, and had already built himself a bed. Besides puzzles it was the only thing that occupied his time. He was considering the possibility of making himself a cereal-box wife when the rows of fluorescent lights above him suddenly flickered and went out, plunging him into darkness.

The End

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