Mike's Journal: Day Two 10:00PM-12:00AM

I knew the key was to not panic. To pick our route carefully. To stay away from the highways and main roads where traffic would be backed up. I'd had my truck for years, which meant I still had my old paper maps in it.

I drove slowly though our neighborhood as I worked with Sarah on the route. I wanted to head North first, get away from people, get away from the highways. Find a path no one fleeing Boston would try and take. I turned on the radio but all that was on was the emergency broadcast system. It was telling us to evacuate the city in an "orderly manner." I almost ran over someone, something maybe, as I listened to that broadcast. I had to swerve as the person was crouching in the middle of the road. Only as we went past I saw they were crouching over another body.

Sarah said "I think we can head on local roads around Marlborough and Hudson, so right past the Assabet park." Sarah was a realtor - she knew this area far better than I ever would. She had been selling houses here for ten years, and I followed her directions as we wound through mostly quiet residential streets. She was already studying the maps - trying to find us a path away from the madness around Boston.

We kept trying to get through on the phones to anyone else. Family, friends. Nothing. She went back and checked her Facebook. Her sister had sent a message they were on the way to the farm a few hours before. We both hoped they made it out. My brother had posted on my wall that he was ok and he had picked my parents up from the airport - he was out near Denver also. I hand't heard anything about Denver, hopefully they were all ok.

We came around a corner near and saw flashing lights ahead of us. There was an ambulance taking up most of the street. I didn't see anyone around, just an empty ambulance, flashing lights, and a couple of cars stopped in front of us, stuck. We slowed down and I could see there was something going on in the driveway to the right of the Ambulance. A stretcher. People struggling. Then a scream.

"Fuck this"

I pulled left, around the cars and onto the far shoulder, smashing a mailbox with the brush guard as I went. We bounced hard as the left tires went up onto someone's driveway then back off again. We were around the ambulance and I swerved right. There was someone in the road, a woman dressed all in black, yoga pants and a hoodie. I slammed on the brakes as she turned and saw us. She snarled, pulling back her gums like a wolf before she leapt onto the hood of the Suburban. Sarah screamed as I hit the gas pedal. The woman slid back down the hood but clung to the top bar of the brush guard. Snarling, grabbing at us with her spare hand. I hit the brakes hard, then accelerated and swerved left at the same time. First one hand then the other slipped. We bumped hard as the body went under the truck. Front tires. Back tires.

We sat in silence for a few seconds. I watched the gauges, listened to the car, wanted to make sure everything was ok. Adrenaline surging. Hyper aware. Sarah turned to me "Mike - what the fuck is going on?" I told her we would be ok, I needed her to navigate. "It will be ok baby. I love you. We'll get out of here."

As I said the words, we heard a series of big dull "whomps." Not quiet. Like seeing a huge mountain from far away. The car shook. They were bombing Boston. Or bombing something. Jesus.

We wound our way North and West. I had Sarah searching for a way past I495 where we didn't have to go near an on-ramp/off-ramp. We found a tiny little "Sugar Road" on the map and got onto that. We could see the highway ahead of us. I thought we were ahead of the wave by now. I could hear something as we got closer. Off to the left, I saw a pair of headlights appear over the side of the highway, then the car fell off the overpass, crumpling as it hit the ground. I gunned it. I could see the flashing lights of what had hit the car, a huge plow truck leading a line of tanks and APCs. Heading north. Lowell? Just after we cleared the underpass another car came down behind us, slamming into the ground the horn got stuck on, blaring at us as we drove away.

We kept working North and West. Local roads. People packing in their driveways, looking up as we came past.

We found that NPR had come back online. 90.9 WBUR. Robert Siegel was broadcasting from the center of Boston.

"...the military and police have established safe zones in the many buildings downtown, please listen to the loudspeakers and find your closest safe zone. Buildings included the Hancock Tower, the Pru, One Financial Center, the Federal Reserve Building, Exchange Place, 100 Federal Street, City Hall and a number of others. We have posted the full list on our website if you can access that. Please stay off of the cell network for anything other than emergency use.

We also have heard reports coming in from around the globe and the country. Incidents have been reported in London, Moscow, and Dubai. Scattered reports are coming in from other countries though little can be confirmed at this point. South Korean and US forces have established a defensive line around Incheon to evacuate refugees from Seoul, which we believe has fallen. China has announced it will again use nuclear weapons to stem the wave of diseased individuals before Beijing is threatened.

For those just joining us.. I can't believe I still just said that.. The Grail infected have been found throughout Boston, we believe spreading from an incident in East Boston two days ago. The roads are clogged. The government is advising that you are safer staying at home. Fill the bathtub with water, seal the doors and windows with plastic sheeting and wet towels. Gather together food and heating supplies. Go outside as little as possible. From the little we know, the Grail virus is not transmitted in the air, but only by direct contact with the bodily fluid of the infected.

Do not incite violence or rioting. Take shelter. The National Guard are taking control of Boston. They are also establishing a perimeter around Lowell, Springfield and other major metropolitan areas in the state. Food and water will be distributed in the morning. Tonight please keep yourselves safe.

For those who believe they may have been exposed to the Grail infection, please be aware that current reports indicate the incubation time can be highly variable. Anywhere from minutes to hours, potentially days. If you unsure if you have been infected, please take steps to quarantine yourself for your own safety and the safety of those around you. All hospitals in the Boston area are overwhelmed and unable to admit additional patients.

Reports are coming in that the infection has been found in LA, New York City, Miami and Portland Oregon. We also have unconfirmed.."

The station cut out. We heard a loud beep, then a series of tones. Then nothing.

Sarah and I looked at each other, questioning. Grail? Safe zones? What the hell was happening. We were silent, it didn't need to be said.

By then the clock read 10:30.

We crossed under I190 - the last major highway for a while. It was quieter. Already we were moving into less densely populated areas. Getting ahead of the wave.

As we went along there was a Cumby Farms with a big lit up sign, no one in front of it. Was it really open? We made the call to stop. I pulled up to a pump and left the SUV running and told Sarah to get into the driver's seat.

As I came around the front, a middle aged chubby Indian guy in a black jacket leveled a shotgun at my chest.

"We're just here to get gas, head west, get away from Boston."

He said nothing. He took a couple steps forward. "What do you want? You want gas? It's $20 a gallon." I looked back at Sarah and the truck. "Ok - yes, we can do that. Please put the gun down." He slowly lowered the shotgun. I slowly went back to the passenger door, dug in my glovebox, found the $100 bill I kept stashed in the owner's manual. For emergencies. Fucking emergencies. Jesus.

Before I turned around I raised the $100 bill up in my right hand.

"5 gallons. You pump now." He shouted at me, snatching the bill.

I took the pump and shakily undid the gas cap. He kept the shotgun across his chest. Not pointing at us, but not pointing down.

As I went to put the pump in, we could hear honking and see headlights coming down the street. There was a small car swerving back and forth a little ways down the road. I had the gas pumping as I watched it get closer.

I saw the owner level his shotgun at the oncoming car. It was only going maybe 30mph but it was all over the road. As it got closer it swung hard right, into the Cumby Farms. The owner unloaded the shotgun at the car, hitting the engine and blowing out the front right tire. The car swerved and impacted into the back of the gas station island. There was blood inside of the car. Screaming. You could see someone crouching over a woman in the driver's seat. The owner was reloading his shotgun. Denali was barking like mad through the glass next to me. I ran around the back of the Suburban as the owner unloaded another two rounds into the small car. Smoke was pouring out from under the hood.

I jumped in the passenger seat and told Sarah to "Go go go." She hit the gas, squealing the rear tires and causing us to lurch forward. I turned around to watch. Flames were licking the hood of the crashed car. The sprinkler system was going off. Someone jumped out of the burning car at the owner. He fired.

He must have hit the fuel pump. The explosion which ruptured out of the gas station threw the Suburban sideways. Shrapnel shattered the rear glass as we were slammed by the impact, skidding across the road. Facing the wrong direction and not wearing a belt I was thrown into passenger window, then the windshield, knocked out cold.

It's the last I remember of that night.

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