Grunt, Chapter 8: The Onandaga Files

From the Onandaga Files, including official police logs and the detailed personal journal of police chaplain Maurice Oberson, found in the locked, barred, and abandoned police station in Onandaga, New York. Dates are listed according to the NEW (Near Extinction Worldwide) calendar, shown as either BNEW (Before Near Extinction) or ANEW (After Near Extinction).

8 BNEW

POLICE DISPATCHER’S LOG, FEBRUARY 14

0153 Male reports disturbance at Starburst Bar, men fighting out back.

0159 Officer down. Suspected ambush. All available units to Starburst Bar.

0159 Neighbor reports shots fired at Starburst Bar.

0207 Captain Prosser reports Officer Strasser DOA. Firefight in progress.

0208 Neighbor reports shots fired at Starburst Bar.

CHAPLAIN’S JOURNAL, FEBRUARY 14, EVENING

A few minutes to jot down a few notes before heading to the hospital. Seventeen dead already, three of them men who coordinated the ambush of Onandaga’s finest, twelve of them–twelve!–fine officers, two civilians killed by stray bullets. Oh Lord, these are truly the times that try men’s Souls. There are at least twenty in hospital, overwhelming our local facilities, yet what can we do? Other communities are worse off and cannot take even the worst of our trauma cases. I have not been to bed since getting the call at 0230, yet I could not sleep now in any event. This one horror has gutted our department. The Chief and Assistant Chief are both gravely wounded. Further patrols will I fear be out of the question; all our remaining few can do will be to hunker down and respond to nothing. Anarchy rules this night in Onandaga.

CHAPLAIN’S JOURNAL, EASTER SUNDAY MORNING

Lord, forgive me my sins as I take pen in hand this day with no assurance in my Soul that You exist. My faith is shattered, having been proven a weak reed in the face of the Four Horsemen. For indeed they do ride. Pestilence alone would be enough as billions upon billions fall, ground to dust under the hooves of Death; the one cannot thrive without the other; they are dark and terrible twins. Yet your children might yet survive upon this Earth were it not for Famine, driving those not yet Dead to desperation, to the violent arms of War.

It is to my everlasting shame that I never once thought I would witness the Apocalypse as so vividly described in Revelations. I am not worthy.

Yet doubt or not, weak reed or not, I must still report what I have seen, must set it down for future generations to learn from should there be future generations. Surely we humans have sinned greatly, surely the Horsemen are no more than deserved, but if even the smallest measure of seed remains viable to be sown once more upon fertile ground, there must be some record if we are not to revert entirely to savagery and thus it is that I have determined to place this journal here, to make the police station where I have toiled as secure as possible, and then to walk away without looking back lest like Lot’s wife I turn into a pillar of salt.

To you who may or may not come after me, open this former place of law enforcement, and read what must surely be by then yellowed and brittle pages filled with scribblings of ink (for there is no more magic machinery called Word Processor available for my use), I list a few of the things I have been forced to see, hear, smell, touch, burned indelibly into my mind so that one horror runs rampant over the next, ad infinitum, onward without end.

Yet I shall endeavor to be brief, though it be not in my nature.

–New York City is no more. Manhattan, what remains of it, is starving. People are eating sewer rats, old leather, even each other. The scientists told us one in five thousand might survive the blackface, but that is screamingly optimistic. The bridges are down to the island. Only boats can cross the water now but boats are targets. I saw an old man, hunched with age, attempting to ferry two young children across to New Jersey, shot down, the children murdered also by someone with a high powered rifle sniping from a tall empty-skull building, a monument to hubris that had once boasted proud glass walls, but the walls are gone, only gaping holes into darkness remain. The little boat, holed by the shots, sank. The corpses bobbed in the water leaking blood, and the sharks came.

From my vantage point, hidden in the shadows and shaking with terror, praying to God but receiving no answer, I had a view of the whole thing. The sharks came, and so did a gang of other small boats, which the sniper did not fire upon. The boatmen attacked the sharks with a miscellany of firearms and what appeared to be homemade harpoons, snagging sharks alive or dead from the water. I counted seven sharks taken by the gang in less than that many minutes, ranging in size from a three footer to a monster that had to be towed to shore between two boats, it was so big.

The people who had been shot were left to float in the Hudson River. They were not eaten. They had only been used as shark bait.

–Fires were everywhere. Spring is on its way but winter had not received the notice. Many of those fires were arson for the sake of arson, others were pitiful attempts to keep warm. But the warming fires were also dangerous in another way, beacons drawing the ruthless to prey on those less fortunate.

–Blackface victims were in hiding, or if not, were moving swiftly and furtively from point to point. None of these victims dared risk the sunlight. While there must be families performing heroics to take care of each other or even show kindness to a stranger, I saw none of that. Only killing, savagery, rape, and worse.

Oh Lord, where is thy face? All day do I wait on thee.