Eight people entered the Compound, one in a hurry with six following in a large pack and a final one holding a large rifle menacingly. Echo disappeared off to the living quarters straight away, avoiding any questions from the two women.
Origin took Hope's hand in his and kissed it gently. He did the same to Passion before introducing them to his motley crew of survivors.
"Thank you so much for this. So, should I introduce you to us?"
"I've got a better idea." Hope said simply.
* * * * * * * * * * *
She had arranged the tables in the main room, laying them out so two could sit at each.
"You're all familiar with the concept of speed dating aren't you?"
Everyone else in the room looked at her in shock. She smiled her infectious smile and showed the people to their seats. It was then that Hope had a bizarre feeling:
She fell into a daydream. A flashback from the earlier world.
"Welcome to the Lonely Lovers speed dating group. I'm."
She could only hear a man shout loudly as the younger her said her name.
"Now, take your seats, we're about to begin."
She smiled broadly, showing off her whitened teeth.
She fell back to the present.
"Right. Take your places and we'll begin."
Origin sat opposite Hope and smiled. She gave him a brief spiel that she had spent a long time planning:
"My name is Hope. I don't know much about my past but I do know that I am strong and independent. I'm reliable and that's probably why I'm the leader here."
She said it very quickly, eager to find out more about this mystery man and not waste time learning about herself.
"My name is Origin. At least that's what everyone is calling me. I founded this band of survivors and so I suppose I'm our leader."
She put her hands down on the table after gesturing for him to carry on. He took her hands in his and looked her in the eyes.
"We could form an alliance. We could work together for the best of our groups."
"If you stay here, you are here under my leadership." She was stern.
"So how have you lot survived?"
"We hid in my church. Took refuge in a large priest hole. Survived on minimal food. Minimal water." As he spoke, his voice wavered and lowered. It was like he was reliving it. "One of us went insane. They couldn't deal with that claustrophobic life. One morning, he just left. I was the only other person awake at the time and had to pull the door shut to keep us safe. But there was a little crack. I saw him die. He was ripped apart and just left there to rot. I can still hear the screams in the night. They kept him alive as they tore him to shreds."
Hope held his hands.
"You're safe here."
She looked at the saddened man and began to admire his rugged appearance. She blushed as she realised that she found this religious man quite attractive. But she couldn't have any form of relationship. She knew that.
"So how did you survive?" he asked.
She looked to her friends and colleagues in the Compound. Passion was flirting with some young man who was clearly flirting back - she suspected it was the lack of contact with anyone else that had prompted that reaction. Echo was talking technical with some other young man although she could have confused the interest with which they were talking for more flirting. Wolf was showing a very scared woman how to hold a handgun. Hope couldn't help but chuckle at her friends.
She turned her attention back to Origin.
"Well? How did you guys survive?"
"How long has this apocalypse been going on for?"
"It must be... Coming up to about ten years now."
"You stayed in a priest hole for ten years??"
"We started off by moving through the houses of the neighbourhood and we did that for about three or four year then we moved to the church. So what have you been doing for the last ten years?"
She took a while to figure out the answer.