The Earth’s Survivors series of books: Diary entries
Journals and Diaries
Katie ~ March 2nd
This is not a diary. I have never kept a diary. They say never say never, but I doubt I will. I have never been this scared. The whole world is messed up. Is it ending? I don’t know, but it seems like it’s ending here.
It started, early this morning while I was still at work. Earthquakes, explosions. Even when the sun came up this morning I’ve seen no police, fire or emergency people all day. It’s nearly night. I think that’s a bad sign. I have a Nine Millimeter that used to be my Father’s. I’ve got extra ammo too. I’m staying inside.
Katie ~ March 3rd
I lost this yesterday; my little notebook. I left it by the window so I could see to write, but I swear it wasn’t there when I went to get it; then I found it again later on by the window right where I left it. Maybe I’m losing my mind.
There are no police, no firemen, phones, electric. The real world is falling apart. Two days and nothing that I thought I knew is still here. Do you see? The whole world has changed.
I got my guitar out and played it today. I played for almost three hours. I played my stuff. I played some blues. Usually blues will bring me out of blues, but it didn’t work. It sounded so loud, so out of place, so… I don’t know. I just stopped and put it away. My wrists are messed up, but I think I kept them from getting infected.
Katie ~ March 4th
I’m going out. I have to see. If I don’t come back. Well… What good is writing this?
Katie ~ March 5th
The whole city has fallen apart. I spent most of yesterday trying to see how bad this is. I finally realized it’s bad beyond my being able to fix it. It’s bad as in there is no authority. It’s bad as in there is nothing I hear gunshots at night, all night. And screams. There are still tremors. If I had to guess, I would say it’s the end of the civilized world. Unless things are better somewhere else. I have to believe that. Power, structure, it’s all gone. I mean it’s really all gone. This city is torn up. There are huge areas that are ruined. Gulleys, ravines, missing streets, damaged bridges. The damage costs have to be in the billions… And that’s just here. There’s me and my little notebook I’m writing in, and my nine millimeter. I’ve got nothing else for company right now.
I’ve got water, some peanuts and crackers. How long can this go on? What then?
Katie ~ March 6th
I’ve decided to leave. I can’t stay here. There was a tremor last night, and not one of the really bad ones, but even so I was sure the house would come down on me. It didn’t. Maybe though, that is a sign. Scared or not I have to go. I have to. I can’t stay here. Maybe tomorrow.
Katie ~ March 7th
The streets are a mess. I’ve spent too much of the last week hiding inside my apartment. I believed someone would show up and tell me what to do. But no one did. I saw a few people wander by yesterday, probably looking for other people, but I stayed inside. I don’t know why, what all my reasons were. A lot of fear, I think.
There have been more earthquakes, two really bad ones. This house is damaged. I went outside today and really looked at it. It is off the foundation and leaning. I should have gotten out of it the other night when I knew it was bad. It’s just dumb luck that it hasn’t fallen in on me and killed me.
It doesn’t matter now though. I met a few others today, and I’m leaving with them. I don’t know if I’ll stay with them. I really don’t know what to expect from life anymore.
I’m taking this and my gun with me and my little notebook. Writing this made me feel alive. I don’t know how better to say it.
I’ll write more here I think. I just don’t know when, or where I’ll be.
Conner ~ March 8th
I debated with myself about how to start this. Isn’t that stupid? Not whether I should start it. I guess that means that I have some hope that I am not the only one.
Actually, I know that I’m not the only one. I’ve heard gunshots more than once. I’ve heard a dog barking as well. And I’ve seen a few dogs, cats, squirrels. I’ve also heard what sounded like a car or a truck, but I couldn’t figure out where it was coming from. Everything is so quiet; it could be anywhere.
The sound of the river drowns things out. Even so, I haven’t seen any other people. None. And I’m getting ahead of myself again.
I have no idea what has happened, even here in this town. It doesn’t really matter either, except to tell you, whoever you may end up being, what happened from my point of view, I guess. Maybe it’s the same for you. Maybe writing this out is a waste of time. But it keeps my mind off shit, you know?
So I wondered where to start? Today? Last week? Just start, I guess…
I have heat, food, fire. And I’ve finally gotten myself moved into this old factory so my mind is more at ease. But again, I’m getting ahead of myself. It started for me last week on the 1st of March. Only seven days, but everything here has changed.
I was having a few beers that night, watching the coverage of the world countdown party; hey, it was supposed to be a joke, right? And supposedly, we had a few months to go before we hit zero zero. It was supposed to be one long countdown party. It was late and I was about to call it a day myself. One minute everything was fine, and the next the power was out.
Then the first quake hit…
I made it through that night and… two more quakes? Aftershocks? Who knows? I was just trying to get through to the morning. Phones were out; Internet down; Sirens everywhere; No power. But the closer it got to dawn of the 2nd the less noise there was. The sirens fell off. It began to snow at first, but as dawn started the rain came hard, and then the lightning. A thunder and lightning storm in the middle of winter!
It was spooky, and when morning finally came it didn’t make sense at all. Almost everything I could see in every direction was flattened. The streets had cracked open and had become rivers. The temperature was higher than it should have been. But that didn’t last.
By noon the rain stopped, and I kept expecting to see someone. Emergency workers… Cops… Power Company… Somebody. Even a neighbor. But I saw no one at all that day.
I guess as serious as it was, I wasn’t taking it seriously. At least not that first day. I was still thinking rescue, help, it’s on the way. This is the most powerful country in the entire world. Help is coming. So I sat on my ass and drank beer and ate bologna sandwiches and chips, staring out at the street from my front porch, which was now perched on the edge of a twenty foot rain gully.
Just before dark the real quake hit. It had to have been stronger than the previous ones. It felt like it anyway.
I barely jumped off the porch before it fell into the gully. Scared the hell out of me. It wasn’t long after that when darkness settled in and I knew I was in trouble. Something in the whole structure of the house was damaged. Every aftershock made it dance, sway around me. It was also now a two foot drop down to the ground since my porch was gone. And I didn’t dare leave because I had no idea what it was like outside. No Streetlights. No Moon. No starlight. No starlight, none! Then the storms came back, and the air turned back to cold.
Every time the lightning flashed I could see the street, or what had been the street. There was no more street, not really. It was a river – wide, and it looked pretty deep too. All of the opposite side of the street was gone now. No houses, cars, telephone poles, satellite dishes. Nothing. It seemed like the entire side of the street had washed away right down to the river. The water roared past me – just a few feet from where my porch had been – flattened out, and then turned into rapids breaking away to crash into the Hudson river further down the hill. That was when I realized it wasn’t just the other side of the street that was gone. The other two blocks that had been between me and the river were also gone.
Later on the rain turned back to snow, but the lightning kept up. Lightning in a snow storm. How crazy is that? By the morning of March 4th, the river running past my house was down to a trickle, but the snow was piling up. Down the hill the Hudson was over her banks. There was nothing else to see, a few solitary houses still standing as my own was. But there was no one around anywhere. Even Manhattan, outlined against the gray sky, seemed deserted. No towers with their blinking lights. No noise. Nothing. That’s when I got into the hard stuff.
I drank myself to sleep, and when I woke up I’d lost several hours. My watch still worked at that point. When I walked to the front door, the first thing I noticed was footprints in the snow. Three sets, two small, maybe kids or women, one big, going just past my house, no more than three feet from my house, where once upon a time in some other world my porch had been, and I had slept through it. I yelled and screamed for a half hour hoping that someone would hear me, but no one came. No one yelled back and told me to shut up either. Just absolute silence. No birds, just the roar of the swollen Hudson. Nothing else.
I’ve thought about that day, the fourth, a couple of times. Was it the fourth? The fifth? Did I sleep more than a few hours? I don’t know. And that was the day my watch stopped working so I don’t know. One minute it was working, the next it wasn’t. The face was blank.
There were a couple of more aftershocks that day, and I began to wonder if my house would be standing much longer. After all, nearly everything around me was destroyed already. And I thought, what if that was an aftershock? Like I had thought the first quake was the real one and then the one the next day was so much stronger. It made me realize how stupid I was to still be in that house. And I thought, no wonder no one is answering when I yell. They were all smart enough to get away from the buildings. Leave. And if I left also, I reasoned, I’d most likely catch up to them, whoever they were, wherever they had gone. I looked at the buildings still standing in Manhattan. They were still standing. It looked odd to me, but maybe just seeing those buildings silhouetted against the sky when nearly everything around me was flattened. Were there buildings missing from the skyline? Buildings I had always taken for granted? Buildings that my eyes just skipped over? I couldn’t tell. If they had skipped over those buildings, taken them for granted, they were still doing it. That was when I had glanced at my watch and noticed that it had stopped working.
I had been in the habit of looking at my watch all day. Just nervous, I guess. I was positive that I had just looked at it and it had been working. But when had that been? What time had it been? And when had it been exactly that I had looked at it? How long ago? All I could remember for sure was that the last aftershock that had started me wondering had been at 2:57 P.M. I wasn’t sure of anything after that. Even when I thought back on it later, wondering what day it was, I wondered why I had never thought to push the little date button to see what the date had been. Or had I? Had I and then forgotten that I had? Had I only remembered subconsciously that it was the fourth? Anyway the watch was dead. And what time was it? And where should I go? And how soon would it be dark? After wasting time wondering about things like that, things that were absolute bullshit in light of everything else, I just jumped down into the snow and headed off toward Old Towne.
There were a few buildings standing in that direction. It was still snowing pretty hard, but I could see the outlines of the buildings through the snow.
There were planes overhead in the night. I know that sounds crazy, but I awoke to hearing them. There was a strange smell in the air, and I was thinking, in my dream? Maybe in my dream or maybe awake. Anyway, I was thinking crop dusters. Like they were crop dusting. Spraying something. It was weird. Now I could see traces of blue… powder? Something on the snow, and it made me remember the dream. But I pushed it away and walked. Too much to see and comprehend as it was without worrying over bad dreams.
Normally it’s no more than a fifteen minute walk to the Square. Old Towne has an old New England style Public Square that is the center of downtown. I figured that if anyone was still alive that was where they would be.
In fact, I told myself, they probably would have some buildings open for shelter. Fire Department passing out blankets, bottled water, hot soup. I could see it so clearly in my head. I was wrong, of course, but that’s a story for tomorrow. My fingers are shot. Hey it would be easy to write this on my computer keyboard, but computers are a thing of the past now.
I’m warm. I’m dry. I’m pretty much okay. I survived the day the world ended, but my fingers are sore and I’m tired, so I’ll pick this up tomorrow.
Katie ~ March 8th
Fresh snow today. The whole world is covered in clean, white snow. It makes it look like nothing ever happened here.
I’m with a man named Jake. He’s crazy about me. I just can’t feel the same. I could fake it, but I told myself I’m not going to do that. But I can’t keep on this way either. It is too hard on him; too hard on me.
James and Jan Adams are also with us. I don’t know what I would do without Jan. She is level headed where I am impulsive, a thinker where I tend to just act. A good balance. James has an idea of rebuilding his peoples’ lands. He’s Native American, and so is Jan. It sounded crazy when he first said it, but after I thought about it, it began to make sense to me.
Lydia is the other member of our party. She hates me. That’s because Jake wants me, and she wants Jake. Maybe that will fix itself before I have to fix it by leaving and going out on my own. I had thought that finding people and being a part of that again would be the answer to my being on my own, but I forgot that it brings troubles of its own.
Today we decided to see if the city was any better on the other side of the river. It isn’t. We crossed the river, the Hudson river, on a railroad trestle. There is a traffic bridge, and it looks passable, but it’s clogged with cars and some of those cars look purposely placed to block it off. That creeped me out.
We walked across the trestle carefully, and went up State street. There’s a store there, a neighborhood market, and we found tracks in the snow. One person. A man I would guess from the boot tread.
I can not tell you what that was like. Seeing a footprint left by someone else. Someone else alive in this whole mess. I felt connected to him. I can’t say it or explain it any better than that. Like a connection existed forever and I only had to find it. I tried to explain it to Lydia but she just shrugged. We have this thing with Jake between us though. She wants him; he wants me. I don’t want him. It could be so Goddamn simple, but it isn’t.
Except the footprints. Maybe the footprints are the answer. I think they are. I believe they are. We just need to find the person, the man, that goes with those footprints and… And I don’t know. I really don’t. But I think he’ll know.
The only bad thing today, we came across a dead man laying crumpled by the side of the road. I could have sworn he moved, so I hurried to him. But as I got closer, I could see that he was dead. Long dead. We stood for a moment and then walked on. Later when we came back he was gone, and I thought, was he dead? Was he? But I know that he was. I suppose that wild dogs or something got him. We didn’t talk about it, but it bothered all of us.
Conner ~ March 9th
Maybe it’s March ninth. I guess I really don’t know. But that’s what I think it is, so that’s what I’m going with.
It’s late. I spent today getting food, canned stuff mostly. It was rough. Almost everything is flattened, and what isn’t flattened is badly damaged. I spent about five hours a few days ago digging my way into a market in Old Towne. The roof was down but held up by the tops of the aisle stacks, so I was able to make my way through. I just had to be really careful of broken glass. That was where I went back to today.
I had no flashlight at first, but I managed to get a small flashlight and batteries. I had to take so much stuff out of the front area of the store, that all the impulse stuff they sell was right there, candy, little radios, and of course flashlights and batteries. I tried a small portable radio. Nothing but static on the A.M. and F.M. bands both. I brought it back with me along with some extra batteries. I listened to it a short while ago; still nothing. Maybe tomorrow.
I spent the day at the market digging out canned goods and bringing them back here.
Here is an old factory. The building is down in back of the square, Towne Square as it’s called. I knew about it from growing up here. I was worried about the factory itself collapsing, but it seems to be fine, solid, and it’s huge.
I don’t know what it once was, but it has been there for as long as I can remember back into my own childhood. I think it had a short life as a warehouse or a storage building. I remember trucks coming and going. Holding my mother’s hand and walking to the market. The same market I was gathering supplies from now. Watching the men load and unload the trucks. They bricked it up to keep kids just like me from playing in it when it was shut down. The bricks are in a pile, scattered around the entrance. I guess the quake took care of that.
It’s only about a mile and a half from here to the market, but with no vehicle it’s slow going. I’ve been piling stuff up on a large sled and making trips back and forth.
I found several cars and trucks, snowmobiles, but none of them will run. Most of them have no juice, but even the ones that do just turn over and over and won’t fire up. Maybe if I was a mechanic I could do something, but I’m not. So it’s the sled and a lot of muscle work.
I did notice today, after not going there for two days, that no one else had been there either. No tracks in the fresh snow. It’s depressing. No way can I be the only guy here, right? And that made me wonder, what the hell am I writing this for? I mean, if there’s no one left who will read it? I guess those are questions for another day. Another day because, truly, I don’t want to deal with them today.
So I spent my day getting food. There are maybe two dozen buildings still standing in the square. And that’s where I was when I left off writing yesterday, heading for downtown, so I’ll pick it up from there.
When I got downtown there was no one there, only the handful of buildings standing as I mentioned, and two of those went down a short time later from an aftershock. The Police department… Gone. The Fire department out Washington Street… Gone. I know I walked out there. Ditto the high school. All the old houses, the newspaper, the museum. Really, it’s all gone.
There were some tracks, but how old were they? I couldn’t tell. And I couldn’t tell where they were headed either. I got pretty down about it and ended up walking back down to the square and then down towards the river in back of the square. There was a porn shop, still there. It seemed like the dirtiest place I’d ever seen. I mean, why would a place like that still be there, still be standing when almost nothing else was? Is that a statement or what? Hey, maybe it is. But since I was down that far, I thought I’d take a look at the river, and that made me think about the factory.
It wasn’t hard to find it. It’s on an old abandoned road below the level of the square, but a good hundred feet or so above the level of the river. Some of the rock cliffs that towered above it had fallen. The factory itself seemed okay. It’s built from what looks like rock from the the surrounding area. Not just brick and mortar, or concrete block. It’s really solid. Some rock from the cliffs had come down near it, but not much. Most of the rock lying around looked pretty old, like it had been there for some time. Given the buildings in Old Towne, which were still falling, or the factory, I chose the factory. It just seemed to make more sense.
The open area in front is huge, and dry, more room than I could ever use, so there’s no need for me to go into that darkness and explore the rest of the building. I have vague memories from childhood of a second story that seemed to be nothing but glass windows the entire length. From the outside those windows are gone. Probably blocked in when the rest of the changes were made. Whatever there is up there, and I suppose I will go look before too much longer, is all dark and dust. Maybe I would need the space someday.
And that’s funny, isn’t it? What is it that I’ll need? Might need? Could need? I don’t know. I do know I won’t be spending the rest of my life living in a factory, that’s for sure. But it’s winter. I have to stay somewhere for the next few months. Then maybe I’ll head south if no one shows up to rescue me. I guess it would be me, there’s no one else here. It shouldn’t be that way though. There has to be more than me.
I spent the rest of the day looking around. I walked all the way out to Arsenal Street as well as Washington Street. The mall, or most of it, has collapsed. But I should be able to get some stuff out of it. The turnpike is car wrecks and bodies everywhere. I could see it from an overpass. I didn’t feel a need to go down there to see it in person. I didn’t want to. Same as I don’t need to go into Manhattan to know that it is as dead as everything else around here is. There is an odor on the wind that tells me all I need to know about the city.
I hadn’t really seen many bodies. Some at the mall, some at the market, a few others here and there, but there is so much ground, houses, things missing, that I think the other people just got swallowed up by the quake. There is a lot of raw earth. Most of the streets are messed up. The turnpike is like that in places, what I can see any way, but close to Arsenal Street, it’s all wrecks and bodies, wrecked and burned vehicles; and it smells horrible. I could smell it long before I came up on the overpass. I’ve decided it will take a lot to get me to go back out Arsenal Street again.
The market has that smell also, and I found two people up by the checkouts when I first dug it out, but none since then as I’ve dug out other parts of the store. Maybe it’s the meat department at the back of the store that smells like that.
I spent most of the next day wandering around, trying to start cars and trucks, calling out to the people I had hoped were there. Nothing. I heard something that sounded like an engine running, but it came and went on the wind and I couldn’t tell where it had come from. But I took that as a good sign. It has to be someone, right?
I can’t imagine being alone.
I tried to start new cars, old cars, new trucks, you name it. None of them do anything except turn over. But at least the batteries are working.
That was the day I realized that the daylight seemed to last way too long. My watch wasn’t working, so I can’t say for sure, but the sun just seemed to hang in the sky for hours that I had no way to keep track of, then it sank in the wrong direction once it did set. And I was sick all day. My stomach. And I was light headed.
The night lasted a long time, and the sun came back up in the wrong place, unless my sense of direction is off. Maybe it is. In any case, I don’t know what happened. Maybe it was the earthquakes? I don’t know. It could’ve been, but it doesn’t seem possible.
The end of the world books were saying the Earth would stop and then run backwards. Maybe it did, but I didn’t feel weightlessness if it did, or at least I don’t think so. I thought about the vehicles, magnetic poles. Maybe because everything is electronic now they can’t work? I don’t know. It’s just an idea, but I’m thinking I’ll look for an older vehicle to try out my theory on. Like I said, I wish I were a mechanic, then I’d know.
Once I found the factory my mind was pretty much made up. I spent a lot of time clearing out the rock and broken bricks, bringing food in and even some chairs, blankets, things like that. I’ve collected a lot of firewood and every butane lighter I could find. Paper plates, plastic forks and spoons. And, man oh man, coffee. I found a small metal coffee pot in an aisle with camping gear. It works pretty damn well. I got some heavy duty pots and pans there too.
All of that over the last few days, but still no other people. It makes me wonder about the tracks that went past my house. Where did they go? Where is there to go? I turn the radio on every once in awhile and give a listen, but nothing. Even so I’m keeping my attitude upbeat. Positive. There has to be other people. Doesn’t that just make sense? Winter can’t last much past May, and then it will be time to get out of here… hopefully with other people…
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