Mike's Journal: Day Two 4:30pm-10:00pm


Two passengers on stolen South Korean passports had come into Logan the day before. Police were searching for them. A husband and wife. They had checked into a hotel, but could not be found.

Shit. Jesus.

I kept packing.

The radio went on. Reports of attacks in San Diego. No one was sure yet of anything.

I tried to get through to Sarah. She texted me through Facebook, she had seen the news: nukes. She was worried, wanted to know if that meant anything dangerous for us. I told her not to worry - once she got home we would head out of the city, get somewhere safe.

I grabbed everything I could find. Food. Water. Camping gear. All the dog food. A couple of folding solar panels with USB ports. Flashlights. A wind up radio. I didn't have a lot of weapons. I packed what I had. Hatchet. Couple of folding outdoor knives, my Leatherman.

Once the Suburban was packed I went over to the gas station. The line was crazy, but I had to wait for Sarah anyway. It took an hour to get to the pump. I filled the 30 gallon tank. I wanted to fill up an extra canister but the attendant told me that wasn't allowed. People were already honking and shoving each other, bumping the cars in front, waving their middle fingers out the window. That helps you get gas faster.

It was around 7:00 by the time I made it home. I had the radio on the whole time in the car. China was conducting a massive military operation in the East but reports were limited, no journalists allowed. They had issued a statement about the use of nuclear weapons in order to establish a "fire break" for fleeing refugees, supposedly the cities had been "fully evacuated." Then why nuke them?

South Korea seemed to be under siege, but the reporters were shifting their focus to stories in he US. Obama had announced that all flights would be grounded and all airports were under quarantine until further notice. Individuals were recommended to stay calm. The National Guard would be deployed. America was "safe." No price gouging. Please don't loot or riot. Stay home. Etc. etc.

After the press conference the news kept coming in. Attacks had been spreading in several cities. Mostly on the West Coast. And then Boston again. Fuck. Why Boston. Sarah was still still stuck on I90. Hadn't moved in hours. She had sent me a Facebook message maybe an hour before saying people were getting out of their cars and walking West. She was terrified, not sure what to do. I had told her to stay with her car, but now I wasn't so sure. She was only a little more than ten miles from home.

I shot off a message.
"Where exactly are you?
I will come get you.
We'll make it home together."

I didn't hear back. I just hoped she would stay with the car.

I grabbed my mountain bike. Thinking about it, I put on downhill biking body armor and helmet. I grabbed my backpack and threw in an extra flashlight and my hatchet.

I put in one earbud, the kind with a microphone on the cord so I could keep trying to call Sarah as I rode. I couldn't get through. I decided to ride in on Rt.30, stay close to the highway but not on it.

It took me almost an hour to cover the 12 miles, weaving around cars and people streaming out of the city. Cars were lined up bumper to bumper in both lanes as I rode the other direction. People standing beside their cars yelled to warn me not to head in. Both lanes were a parking lot, and no one was going my way.

As I got close to the I90/I95 interchange I cut across Park Rd. and rode up the on ramp the wrong way onto the inbound lanes, figuring they would be less crowded. I could see flashing lights behind me, looked like a massive pileup right at the I90/I95 interchange. Sarah wasn't going anywhere.

Overhead helicopters were buzzing. Storm crows. I could hear fighter jets too. Not a good sign. I tried to get through to Sarah on Facebook again but the network seemed to be down. Overloaded I'm sure. I crossed the Charles river, the bright lights of the city in front of me.

The inbound lanes I was on were still relatively empty. There were sirens coming up behind me though. I tucked in against the barrier as cop cars started streaming past. 10. 20. After them came a few Humvees, that was it. I jumped the barrier and pulled my bike after me. I knew I was only a 1/2 mile away from where Sarah was stuck at most.

The cars were packed in tight, almost touching each other and with no regard for lanes. People had brought very little with them, this was panic, not the somewhat orderly retreat from a hurricane down South. I weaved through the traffic, trying to find Sarah's Honda CRV.

Ahead, I could hear car horns start to go off. Louder and louder. For the first time, I realized all of the helicopters were flying away from the city, leaving the rooftops and heading West. I weaved back and forth across the lanes, trying to find Sarah. I knew she was close. The sounds of the car horns were getting louder. I came around the back of an 18 wheeler and I could see her car, two down and one on my right. She was behind the wheel.

One car nearly rammed me as I cut in front of it to get to her, he was trying to get over onto the shoulder, looking for a way out which just wasn't there. Sarah was trying to user her phone, but hadn't seen me yet. As I got closer I could start to see where the noise was coming from. Not far, 500 yards maybe. I could see movement, a lot, didn't know what it was.

I opened the passenger door, and Sarah immediately grabbed me. "Oh baby, I love you so much. I want to go home." I'll always remember that. I told her we had to go, we had to leave the car. She asked how we were going to get there. I just said "the bike" as I helped her grab her things.

There were people sprinting past the car on either side of us now. As I got out one of them reached down to grab my bike. I shouted at him and he just look at me, wide eyed, and kept running. The car horns were close now, 100 yards. Sarah had lost her wallet, it was in a different purse. I told her it didn't matter, we had to go right now.

Behind us I could hear shouting, yelling, screams mixed in with the car horns. I had Sarah sit on the seat, wrap her arms and legs around me as I started to pedal standing up. Just as we started a young, normal looking guy in jeans and a hoodie leaped over the car to our right and bit into the calf of an older woman running between the cars. I'll always remember that sight. He looked up, bloody teeth, flesh in his mouth as she screamed and tried to crawl away. Sarah screamed but I kept pedaling. I knew we had to.

All around us was chaos. People were jumping across cars, flashing in and out of the light and shadows from the headlights and waving beams of the running flashlights. We weaved through the traffic, dodging cars, people, abandoned belongings. After a minute or two we started to put some distance between us and the wave of terror behind. We rode mostly down the shoulder.Two miles maybe to the Weston exit. People here were still in their cars, or standing outside them looking back towards the city and the noise. We yelled at them to run, to go and get out of there. Sarah was shouting and crying at the same time.

My legs were burning like mad. I was 33 and 12 years into a career behind a desk. After we were off I90 a while we stopped for a minute, and Sarah switched to riding on the handlebars. We rode the oncoming lane on the far shoulder. There were too many cars pulled over and parked on our side of the street, people standing next to their cars, shouting questions at us. We answered what we could: Run. Go. Get out of here.

It was 9:30 by the time we made it home, Denali barking at us from the door, the whole neighborhood either packing their cars or their houses already quiet. As we went to open the door to grab Denali, he started barking like mad. A young woman, business dress and broken high heels, came running out of the woods on the left side of our house. She had a crazed jerking loping stride, almost pausing every time she brought her left leg forward. Unnatural. Injured. Sick. She saw us and snarled, heading right for us. I froze, not sure what to do. What was she doing? What did she want? Do I attack someone who hadn't attacked me first?

Then she lunged for Sarah who was backed against the Suburban. I dove, shoulder down, tackling her, tumbling to the ground together. Frantically, the woman started biting at my arm, teeth hitting hard against the plastic of my mountain biking gear. I yelled to Sarah for my hatchet from the pack, and hit the woman in the head with the backside. It dazed her enough I was able to break free, leaving her moaning on the ground.

I grabbed Denali from the house and yelled at Sarah to "go, go, go" from where she was frozen against the driver's side door. She ran around to the passenger side and jumped in, as I started the engine I could see more figures lit up by the headlights. Shadows jumping, stumbling between the dark outlines of the trees around our home.

As we were pulling out of our street, dodging people and parked cars, we saw a couple we knew, older, packing their Volvo SUV. As the husband was bent down in the passenger seat, a man in a dark suit ran up behind him, pulled him out of the car, and bit him in the neck. Sarah screamed as we went past, and he went to the ground with the thing, the zombie on top of him, biting into him. Eating him.

We lived North of I90. I knew our only bet was to take the smallest roads possible, head North and West to get away from population. We had to keep moving, keep ahead.

No comments:

Post a Comment