the first time in God alone knew how long. She didn’t die alone and cold on the floor, but rather she expired on a cobbled-together bed made of cardboard Civil Defense boxes, and in the end he held her hand, though probably she didn’t know it. They weren’t friends by any stretch of the imagination, but at least she wasn’t entirely by herself. A tiny spark of humanity had re-entered the airport.
And from that came a plan, of sorts. He looked at her body after she’d expired, forgetting again who she was until he saw the notes he’d made for himself, though of course he didn‘t realize he was the one who‘d written them. Why had he bothered? What had she meant to whoever wrote the notes? Well, that didn’t matter much, he supposed, but she must have been important to whomever left the instructions for him. She was dead, obviously, so what could ‘keeping her safe’ mean? There were only one or two things a person would want a dead body for - food and sex - so clearly he must be meant to protect her body from that. He found to his surprise that he had paper and a pen, so he wrote himself a note: Get rid of body in some way others won’t get it. Then he wadded it between his wrist and his watch band, and put her over his shoulder. They made their way to the central atrium, with him forgetting several times what he was doing, but the note reminded him of his mission. He made his way to the third floor, and then chucked her body with all of his might over the side. She fell at an angle, splattering in to the center of the swamp of feces and effluvium that made up the first floor, the impact raising slow concentric ripples amongst the chives growing on top. He thought that was oddly pretty.
Her body was driven fourth-fifths of the way in to the gelatinous mass by the force of impact. ‘Wow,’ he thought, having no memory of just having thrown her in, ‘there’s a lot of meat in that dead body in the middle there,’ he thought, suddenly hungry - but not quite as hungry as he normally was - ‘but no one will ever get to it way out there in the middle.’ He stared until his hunger became worse, then discovered to his surprise that he had a map to a cache of food, so he decided to follow it. Once along the way he noticed a note in his watch band that said “Dump the body in the central swamp where no one can get to it,” but that made no sense whatsoever as he wasn’t carrying a body, so he threw it away.
The plan that emerged from this was simple, so simple in fact that it could only barely be called a plan at all. Of course it would have to be that way, since no one had any memory at all and were all operating on reflex and basest instincts. In fact it operated on a level not unlike a subtle form of behavior modification, over time, with training, and without memory he was able to add one reflex to his normal stable of them: check the paper.
He had access to a large-but-finite supply of food, but also a fair amount of paper, pens, and some minor office supplies. He got lonely. He wanted friends. Catching and training people was a simple matter: he simply jumped people in the hallway when they were alone and looked to be easy pickings. Then he’d haul them back to Civil Defense cache and sit on them until they both forgot what they were doing and calmed down. Then he’d check his notes to find out what he’d intended himself to do with the new person. He’d assign them a totally random name - “Sarah” or “bigass” or whatever seemed appropriate, and then he’d write this down and attach it to them in some conspicuous wise, along with whatever he wanted them to do. Simple instructions - ‘stay here’ or ‘guard door’ or ‘let the boss back in when he returns’ things like that. He’s made himself a “The Boss” nametag by this point, of course.
Catching people was easy enough to begin with, and it got easier still as the ready supply of food improved his health and strength. Initially he only went after