Newark. I always figured people were exagerrating about New Jersey being so bad, but Newark really is pretty inhospitable. Maybe the zombie apocalypse made it worse. I don't know.
I'm holed up in an apartment building. (Don't worry, Kendra, I checked it out really carefully before I went in. It's all cleared out.) I actually managed to restock some stuff here, going through the apartments. Some new clothes. It's been picked pretty clean, but the empty beds are a nice break from floors. Not that all the beds are empty. But at least there's no shamble in here.
I don't think anyone is actually living here, but I did meet a girl on the third floor who's getting ready to move out. Heather, I think that was her name. She's scary young. High school age, I think. But she's tough. She said she's heading West. I told her I was going to New York and she gave me a weird look and asked if I was sure. "Sure I'm sure," I told her. "It's your funeral," she said.
Han Solo said it best. I've got a bad feeling about this.
Okay, in all honesty, I don't know what to do. If New York's not up and running, then where do I go? DC? LA? Boston? Chicago? And if NY is bad, how bad is it? I'm scared.
But I've come this far, I guess. And I can't go back
hometo Milliways and say I got to Newark and chickened out. No way. New York tomorrow.
I really, really hope
I don'tthis works.
March 30, 2004
New York is not up and running.
New York, in fact, is a) largely in ruins, apparently from both bombs and vandals, and b) disquietingly empty in this part of town. Not like empty towns are anything new, but this is New York -- it's supposed to be bustling and bright and stuff like that, right? Not echoing and empty.
And visibility is terrible. Too many freaking tall buildings.
After about five minutes the quietness is seriously freaking him out.
When he hears a couple pairs of purposeful footsteps coming around a corner up ahead, though, silence suddenly seems like the best thing ever.
It's two men, young, carrying baseball bats. They're a block away, but Tom's the only other person on the street, and not exactly hard to spot. One of them points at him; the other grins.
"Oh, shit," Tom mutters, and pulls out his gun. The men stop. Grinner keeps grinning as he makes a gun with his fingers and aims it at Tom, before they both turn back the way they came.
Okay. Well. Welcome to New York. Crap.
As Tom moves further into the city, he starts to see signs of shambles -- fairly fresh signs. It makes sense that New York would've been hardest hit, with the high population density and all, but it's still disheartening.
He keeps his gun out.
When he starts hearing intermittent shouts and gunshots down other streets, he gives the sun an incredulous look -- it's barely after noon -- and turns the safety off. He has no desire to get involved in a fight, though, so he starts taking turns to avoid the commotions.
It can't actually be said that this strategy gets him lost, because he didn't really know where he was in the first place, but: he is definitely, definitely lost now.
And he's even more lost when twilight starts to come on. Seriously, what the fuck? Isn't New York supposed to be easy to navigate? All those avenuse and boulevards and--
The sudden sound of a car engine coming around the corner, accompanied by what seem like incredibly bright headlights, makes him let out a very high-pitched shriek that he will deny being capable of producing to the end of his days. The fact that it's an ambulance helps him relax, but only a little.
The car comes screeching to a halt next to him. He swallows, debates, and keeps walking. It keeps pace with him as the passenger-side window rolls down. A round-faced, bespectacled, spiky-haired woman lenas out.
"Hey! Noob! C'mon, let us give you a ride."
So much for relaxing.
"What?" Tom tightens his grip on the gun. "Who're you?"
The woman sighs. "We're good samaritans who're trying to keep you from becoming a statistic. C'mon."
The girl in the driver's seat leans forward; Tom mostly gets an impression of a sharp, fine-boned face and glasses. "Look," she calls across the woman, "you're armed, you could definitely take me, and you could probably take Beth too. Come get in. It's not safe out there."
"We know a safe enclave you can spend the night."
". . . You don't seriously expect me to just say 'okay' and get in there, do you?" Beat. "And who the hell uses 'enclave' in conversation?"
The woman -- Beth -- shrugs. "It'd save a lot of time."
"And we do," adds the girl, offended.
Tom stares at them.
Okay. Two random girls in an ambulance who use fifty-cent-words without blinking have just driven up while he's lost, chilly, visibly armed, lost, hungry, and lost. And did we mention lost?
". . . Okay," he says, throwing up one hand in a what the fuck, I'm probably screwed anyway gesture, and gets in.