I’m sorry about last night but after everything that we had been through there was really no way that I could have processed it all into a coherent update in such a short period of time. I hope y’all understand.
The crew rowed Doug, Phillip, and myself to the shore at Coney Island at dawn the morning of Day 47. Luckily nothing was waiting for us on the beach. In fact, the area was eerily quiet and devoid of… well, anything. I mean I would have expected to see some evidence that people were caught unaware during the initial outbreak. That they had been out and about doing what they would have normally been doing on a normal day. But there was no evidence of that; no dropped parcels, no bodies, nothing. Just an eerie silence that crept into your brain and took your breath away.
We moved inland towards 10th Street and started to see the damage that I had expected earlier. The closer that we got to Surf Avenue, the more damage that there was. Damage from small arms fire was readily apparent on the walls of buildings and in the sides of the vehicles that clogged the streets at all angles. Garbage was rotting everywhere along with the bodies that had fallen. You couldn’t tell if they had been victims of the Undead or Undead themselves at some point. The stage of decomposition on the bodies was just too advanced. The only saving grace was that they were not going to be getting up at any point and we counted that as a small victory for our side. We didn’t stay to long observing the scene; the smell was just too overwhelming.
We made our way over to West 8th Street, and turned in the direction of the 60th Precinct. We were careful to travel quietly and quickly while still being cautious. We didn’t want to be out the open for too long but we also didn’t want to run the risk of entering too many buildings for cover in case they were infested with the Undead. It was a delicate dance and one we meant to master without much practice.
When we reached the 60th Precinct, we could see that all of the doors had been barricaded from what looked like the inside. The tragic thing was that the barricades had not held. We took the chance and gingerly entered the building, ready to beat a hasty retreat if the need arose. The inside of the station was completely trashed. During the siege, all of the personnel or other survivors had turned the desks and tables on their sides to use them as shields to fire from. As a result, all of the computer equipment was hopelessly smashed to pieces. Even the servers were damaged which meant that we couldn’t patch our laptop into it in the hopes of getting in and out without having to go any further into Brooklyn.
The worst part however wasn’t finding the station trashed to bits. It was finding the full and partial bodies rotting away in the common open areas as well as in the enclosed private office. We spent a few moments looking in some of the offices hoping to find a computer or server that was salvageable. Something that made our trip here worthwhile. Instead, we let out the some of the most putrid, foul smelling odours that any human should have to endure. The building began to quickly fill up with that odour and as a result, we had to get out. We were risking our lives by staying in there. The Undead might be close and respond to that smell or worse, we just might pass out and choke to death on it.
Our next best bet after the 60th Precinct was the 61st Precinct. It was a bit of a hike through potentially Undead infected streets but again, we had to do what we came here to do. We continued along West 8th Street until we came to Neptune Avenue. The idea was to take a right and continue along Neptune Avenue all the way to Coney Island Avenue where we would turn north and head toward the 61st Precinct. It was a simple plan and in our minds, simple plans always work.
We made it to Coney Island Avenue without too much effort or incident. As soon as we turned north however I noticed our first roving horde of the Undead about a kilometre ahead of us. If they had been moving away from us, I might not have been worried but as chance would have it, they were moving in our direction. As silently as surprise and fear would allow, we ducked into the closest building, hoping that it was vacant of the Undead. I keep a vigil at the window while Doug and Phillip quietly scoped out an exit in the back if needed. We would only use it if we needed to. At this point, the horde could change direction so our best bet was to wait and see where they were going to go before doing anything. And there was a chance that they would pass us by without even a notice and we could slip away once they were gone.
As the horde got closer to us, the more agitated Doug became. I know from talking with him that he did not spend a lot of time dealing with the Undead. He had been rescued by the cruise ship pretty early after the dead started to rise again. Hopefully this wasn’t going to be an issue, so I took him quickly aside and talked him down a bit. Explained that as long as they didn’t see us, we would be safe. Told him it was important for us to remain calm and still while they were close. Being an officer with the NYPD helped to let that information sink in I think. He had been in hairy situations before and had survived; he could survive this one too as long as he kept his wits about him.
The horde was disgustingly close by that point. You could smell their rotting flesh. The metallic tang of blood, hot from the sun filled our nostrils. Bile filled our throats, making us wretch. We tried to stay still, keep silent but it was hard. Thank God for the shadows of the store that we had ducked into. Had the Undead come into the storefront that day, we would have been dead. We were useless against the smell emanating from them. It might just be the greatest weapon in their arsenal.
I think it was the smell that finally did Doug in. Poor Doug. Before I could grab him he ran. Right out of the storefront and into the street. The horde had passed by us but just barely so at least he had a small advantage in that regard. And when he ran out, he ran right down a side street, Brighton 8th Court and not in the direction that we had to travel. I’m sure he didn’t do it on purpose, but we can certainly thank God for small miracles. The horde immediately turned around and began to pursue him slowly. Phillip and I could do nothing but wait until they had passed.
Once we felt that the street was somewhat safe to venture out onto again, we continued to travel north. Our expedition was going to be a complete waste of time, of that we were certain. Doug was the only one that knew how to access the NYPD mainframe, so only he would be able to get onto the computers if and when we found one that worked. We had discussed at length learning passwords and such, but when it got down to it, if you didn’t know the system, you’d be pretty much lost anyways. The entire trip was dependent on Doug and finding a computer or server that still worked within one of the Precincts.
The reason we were still heading further inland is based on the possibility that if Doug managed to outrun the horde, he may go to the 61st Precinct looking for us. And we needed a place to stay for the night. It was going to be dark soon and we wouldn’t be able to make it back to the shore in time to be picked up for the night.
Coming up on the 61st Precinct filled us with a sense of hope and despair. Like the 60th Precinct, it had been barricaded from the inside. The difference being that the barricades here looked to be intact. How exactly were we going to get inside? It’s not like going up and knocking on the door would get them to open up for us. And I wasn’t about to go shouting in the street either. There was no telling what was out here that I would end up attracting to this location. The situation called for a little bit of reconnaissance and some potential finesse. If there were living people inside, they had to be getting outside for supplies somehow. All we needed to do was figure out how and use that to our advantage. And hope of course that they were going on a supply run tomorrow, because we really didn’t have a lot of time to waste.
Phillip and I took a wide circle around the building, noting each of the exits and trying to figure out which of them looked like they might have been used most recently. There was also a fire escape on the west side of the station that had been locked in the up position so there was the chance that they were using that as their means of coming and going. Wanting to have eyes on the fire escape, we decided to scope out a place to spend the night across the road when a voice called out to us. It identified herself as Lieutenant Mary Alice Lafferty of the NYPD, senior ranking officer in charge of the 61st Precinct. Lt. Lafferty offered us asylum as long as they were willing to acquiesce to a full body search for any bite marks. Since our goal was to get inside the Precinct, we were more than happy to agree to the terms.
Once inside and inspected we were ushered into a very clean and orderly area sparsely filled with a ragtag group of people. Lieutenant Mary Alice Lafferty stood out from the rest of the group based solely on attitude alone. She was short in stature but big on attitude. Bold as brass, tough as nails. The kind of woman who you wanted in your corner in any fight, especially if she had the law on her side.
Once the introductions were over, we explained the reason for our expedition into the city. We explained our need for the FBI Double Dutch profile and about life on the cruise ship. I knew from the overhead lighting that there was a source of power so there was a chance that we would be able to get hooked into the mainframe and on our way by the morning. Lt. Lafferty was surprised by all that we told her but happy to help all the same. She offered us some food and water first, letting us know that the mainframe would still be there after we were done eating.
While we were eating, Lt. Lafferty told us of the story of the siege of the 61st Precinct. It started on about Day 11 of the outbreak when the Undead started to overrun the city. The number of people in NYC made fighting or escaping the Undead next to impossible. Most people came to the Station Houses in hopes of finding refuge from the Undead. When Lafferty says most people she means most of the people who were still alive. In the early days, even those numbers were dwindling very quickly. In such crowded conditions, the infection spread rapidly.
In the beginning there used to be approximately 150 people under the protection of about 27 Police Officers ensconced in the Precinct but the number had diminished. People had either left for supplies and not returned or they had just chosen to leave, believing the city to be damned. Now all that remained were 3 Officers and 14 civilians. The group was small but healthy looking. They could make it to the ship if they wanted to come along. It was up to them. They did have a good spot but supplies would eventually run out, along with the gas for their generators.
After dinner Lt. Lafferty showed up to the computer room and helped to log us on to the mainframe. She pulled up the profile that we needed and printed it out for us. It was all quite simple and done in a matter of a few minutes. She read the information in the file over while waiting for it to print and made the comment that if this monster was on the ship with us, we certainly needed all the help we could get to find him. I think that was her way of telling us that she was prepared to come back with us.
A loud banging on the barricaded south door of the precinct drew our attention away from the task at hand. I looked at Lafferty with a question in my eyes. She answered back aloud, letting me know that she had no men in the field. It could potentially mean one thing: Doug had found us. And hopefully he hadn’t brought the Undead right to our doorstep.
By the time that we had gotten to the south side of the station, the banging had gotten louder and was being made by more than one set of hands. In fact, the banging was coming from more than one side of the building now. Taking a quick look out the closest window showed that the Undead had us surrounded and they were hell-bent on getting inside. I could barely make out a bloodied body being ripped apart on the steps. From the remnants of the bloodstained lime green shirt, I knew it was Doug. He had brought them to our door in his panic and now we were screwed. All we could do was wait them out and hope the barricade would hold.
Lt. Lafferty assured me that the station house had withstood many attacks like this one in recent history and chances are it would withstand this one as well. The words were somewhat comforting but when you’re dealing with the Undead, you learn to expect the unexpected. Not knowing what to expect, I asked her typically how long they normally persisted in trying to get in. Her answer didn’t bring me any comfort. The norm was anywhere from 2 to 4 days. We only had 5 days to get back to the beach at Coney Island before the ship would leave without us. And trust me, I meant to be on that ship.
So we waited. And the Undead banged and made a fuss. Even though we were quiet inside, it was like they could sense that we were in there. I thought they were never going to leave. But we still made plans for the moment that they did.
We would move in the daylight and travel as a large group. We would take only what we could carry on our backs. All of the guns and ammunition would come with us because they would be useful and important in the future. If we had to splinter into smaller groups, each officer would take a group of civilians and continue to work them towards the shore at Coney Island. We had studied the map of Brooklyn at length and the members of the supply teams were able to note where the areas of high congestion were located. It would be a great asset if we got separated not to run into an area that was clogged completely with cars and other vehicles. Especially if you needed to move quickly.
On the third day inside the 61st Precinct, the Undead left as abruptly as they arrived. It was a godsend. We would still have time to get back to the shore and meet the crew in the lifeboat. Luckily I had been able to send a quick message letting the Captain know that we might need 2 lifeboats tonight instead of one.
Finally getting back out into the open air of Brooklyn was a little unnerving. You wanted so badly to get back into the safety of the inner sanctum of the station but knew that you needed to traverse the streets in order to get to a better feeling of safety. We moved quickly, efficiently and without a word. No one complained or lagged. There was a sense of urgency and everyone could feel it deep in their core.
We only had to split once, as a few of the Undead came around a corner about 500 metres ahead of us. It was a quick parting of the group and then a duck into the closest buildings at hand. It was amazing really, the fluidity with which we moved. Teams train to move like this for years and just barely achieve it and yet here we are doing it without even really trying. Amazing.
We made it to the beach with hours to spare. Bad timing on my part but there was no way of knowing what we were going to encounter coming down from the 61st Precinct. As a precaution we hid underneath the boardwalk until it was time for the lifeboats to come close to shore. No one spoke until then. No one wanted to take the chance that the horde of the Undead that passed over us would notice us beneath them. It was harrowing at times, since it felt like they would be able to see you if only they would look down. But they didn’t and they slowly moved along and away.
The lifeboats were certainly a blessed sight and I am happy to be back on the ship. The bonus being that we now have our own little police force as well. Look out Double Dutch, we’re coming for you. We have a pretty good idea who you are now and you’re not going to escape our justice.