Take three with that same prompt.
A lone light shone in the house. The rest of the neighbourhood stood in shadow. Not a thing moved.
Inside the light sat a woman. Her hair is long and fine, but lustreless, in transition from brown and grey. It hangs flat against her temples as she hunches over, intent on the objects in her lap.
These small, fragile artifacts are all that remains of this village. They must be preserved, curated, remembered. She is a Collector, and this is her Collection. She, and it, are all that remain. The last bulwark against forgetting what was, and, in so doing, losing ourselves.
Collectors did not choose to be Collectors, she thought, lovingly smoothing a bent corner. They were chosen, chosen by the simple fact of being the only ones left. Chosen by the cataclysm.
Are you asleep in there, Dolly? Shall I turn off the light?
The Collector studied the largest of the artifacts. Four figures, arranged in a line, two bigger than the others. Unknown and long dead, as all these humans were. Yet there was something about the tallest figure, the man in the middle in the fitted jacket, that made her feel… that made her feel.
With a faint click, the light died.
Sleep tight, Dolly.
The Collector remained at her post, artifacts still arranged on her knees, invisible in the dark.