Mike's Journal: Day Two 12:00pm-4:30PM

We sat there watching. No one wanted to go back to work. We ate lunch and speculated.

"Do you think it's a virus?" "Maybe it's a bio-weapon the South tried to use?" "Some crazy chemical like Meth but stronger."

We didn't know, but no one else did either. A few minutes later Obama came on and announced that the US would be moving 4 carrier groups into the East China Sea and Sea of Japan. Abe, the Japanese Prime Minister, came on also: Japan was mobilizing their entire Naval Defense Force. Combined, it was the largest naval deployment since WWII. Even Putin said they would move in the Admiral Kuznetsov to assist. What the hell were the Russians doing helping the South Koreans?

A breaking news story came through soon after - the Chinese military was evacuating Shenyang. I had never heard of it before, but reports said it was a city of more than 8 million. 8 million. It's maybe 100 miles from the North Korean border. Sketchy reports were coming in that China was bombing its own border towns. Dandong. Tonghua. Baishan. Images of smoke and explosions in the night.

Seoul was a mess. Reporters were in the airport covering the mayhem. Mass exodus. Refugee nation. Shoving to get on planes. Waving tickets. Planes taking off with no clearance. Airlines were sending any empty plane they had to get people out. All across South East Asia empty planes were being sent across. The military was clearing stretches of highway as runways. A modern day Dunkirk. But civilians, fleeing.. something.

We left the TV on but tried to get back to work. Emails were flying around. Updates, latest articles. Speculation.

At 2:00 the CEO told everyone to go home. I got on the T to head back to South Station. The trains were packed. As we slowed to a crawl between stations, waiting for some other train ahead of us to clear the way, a murmur went along the train. I had my headphones in but noticed the difference in the crowd. Animal instinct, a herd at risk. I pricked up my ears.

I heard a word being repeated but didn't believe it. I checked Google News. My connection was incredibly slow. The headline gradually came up. "China Uses Nuclear Weapons in Korean Crises." China had started dropping nukes on the border towns. Nukes. On their own towns. The image finally loaded. It showed three mushroom clouds lined up across the horizon.

I had to get home. I had to get back to Sarah. I texted her to leave work. No one was going to buy a house that day anyway.

We made it to South Station and they let everyone crowd onto the 3:10 train. It was like being on a train in India. Well, except it was the most polite I had ever seen. No one pushed, everyone helped. I and another guy lifted a woman on a wheelchair onto the train. We were, as a population, in shock.

The train departed late. I had never been happier to feel it start moving than that moment. I tried to call Sarah but the cell lines were all jammed. It had happened before at the Boston Marathon Bombing - so I did what I found had worked then. I got on Facebook and texted her that way. She had been able to leave work and was heading home but the roads were crowded. She was stuck in traffic on I90 heading West.

The news was getting worse. South Korea had appealed to Japan for refugee status for it's population. It's entire population. There were photos of huge lines of South Koreans looking to board ferries, fishing boats, even tankers and container ships. Containers were being lifted off the decks by the cranes to make room for more refugees. American troops had pulled back to a defensive ring around Seoul established in case of a North Korean attack. Seoul looked like a nightmare. People were trying to flee, but the roads were clogged and the airport was a sea of people.

Reporters starting carrying stories of violence in the lines in Seoul. People attacking each other. Biting each other. Frantic behavior. Crowds stampeded leaving bodies crushed underneath.

I made it to the Framingham station by 4:00. I hopped in my winter truck - a 2003 Suburban - and headed for home. I had been trying to get through to Sarah, but could never get a connection. She had sent me a message on Facebook that I90 wasn't moving.

Traffic was bad getting home, but we only lived a few minutes from the station. My dog Denali jumped all over me, happy as ever. I started packing. I knew that if anything was going to go wrong, we wanted to get out of Framingham. Too close to Boston. Too many people. Sarah and I had joked about it before - where we would go, what we would do. Her best friend's family was from a farm in Western MA. I knew that was where we needed to go, or that direction anyway.

While I packed I kept trying to get through to her. Occasionally a facebook message came through, but even the data network seemed totally overloaded. She said she was completely stopped just before I95. Accident.

I had the radio - yes radio - on the in background. It let me listen to the news while I packed. That was when the first stories started coming out. Here, in the US. It was unclear but apparently wealthy North Koreans (apparently, there were some) had been leaving the country for a few days, using false South Korean and other passports to get out. London. Dubai. San Francisco. Boston.

Boston.    

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