Transcript of Audio File Recovered from Scavenged Omniband, circa 2053
No one alive really knows how it all started.
It was a regular day. A Monday, of all days. I woke up at 7, like always. Showered, dressed, ate, like always. Went to work, traffic wasn’t bad. I bought tickets to the Kennedy Center’s production of The Nutcracker to surprise my wife with in December. She always liked that kind of stuff. I could care less about the ballet, but it made her happy, so you make the concession, you know? Yeah, well the rest of the day went by pretty unremarkably. Next thing I know, it’s 5 o’clock and I’m on my way to my car in the parking garage. As I was just about to open the door from the stairwell to the floor where I always park my car, BAM!
Nah, bam makes it sound sudden. It wasn’t so much as a sudden noise that came and went, but a silence that became a rumble that became a roar so loud I thought my eardrums would burst. The walls, the floor, the stairs—everything shook. I was thrown off balance, and pitched myself into the corner. I mean, I’m from Cali originally, so I know what to do in an earthquake. The lights went out as the roar felt like it was on top of the building. As it passed over, the emergency lights came on. My ears were still ringing, and I could hear a hundred car alarms going off in the garage. I was scared as hell. That earthquake had to have been a 7 or 8 pointer…
That’s when it hit me. Baltimore doesn’t get earthquakes. And earthquakes don’t make that kind of noise before they hit. This was something else…
I climbed the stairs back up to the ground floor. The door took a lot of effort to open, but when I finally got it to budge, I…well, I don’t know what I expected to find. Whatever it was I thought I’d see, it wasn’t that. The windows and doors—everything glass—was just shattered. I could see a few people crawling around…and some that weren’t moving at all. I could smell smoke and ash and…something I can’t even describe. But it all smelled wrong.
I walked outside through one of the broken windows. The streets were a mess. Cars were tossed around like toddler had dumped out a box of Matchbox toys. My office building was midway up a small hill. As I looked up the hill, there wasn’t a glass intact as far as I could see. When I turned to look east down the hill, though, I’ll never forget it as long as I can manage to live.
It was like something out of a movie. A giant mushroom cloud, still growing, still swirling. The thought hit me like a bullet. New York. The cloud was New York. Someone had dropped a bomb on New York. I could see it 200 miles away. I could see the end of 10 million people rising into the atmosphere from 200 miles away. I had felt it from 200 miles away.
My next thought sent me running. If a bomb dropped 200 miles away could cause this much damage here, what would happen if they bombed DC? It was only 40 miles away!
I had to get to my wife. She was a school teacher at the school down the road from our house. We lived in Laurel, Maryland, a suburb halfway between Baltimore and DC. It was twenty miles away. There was too much chaos on the roads to drive there, so I left my car in that garage.
I didn’t stop to check on my co-workers. I didn’t help the people injured in the streets. I just ran.
Honestly…I’ve been running ever since…