Charlie asked me to write down what I told him. Maybe that’s a better idea than him just repeating it all.
Where to start?
Getting here was not easy. I got lost and redirected so many times. The highways are completely closed off. At first it was military traffic only, but it seemed to be empty. I almost considered jumping on the highway, but every once in a while you hear a crack of gunfire while driving and you know it’s serious. I followed country roads, or at least as least crowded as possible. There were wrecks everywhere. Abandoned cars one after the next. There were a ton of other people too, also trying to flee. Some of the folks near the mountains were trying to stand their ground, but with no way to defend themselves…
Hitting the southern part of Osaka was difficult. All of the roads lead back to the sea and you get pinched in a narrow valley. Naturally, everybody was going the same way, so it was completely gridlocked. It took me over an hour just to cross one intersection – less than 1km in total. You’d see the helicopters and even a jet flying overhead and wondered if they were coming or going.
I managed to cross one of the main streets and get onto the beach itself. With nobody out enjoying the weather, it was easy to just drive along there for miles until the ending shoreline forced me back onto the roads, which at that point had fortunately become a bit easier to navigate.
When I stopped to refill my tank and have a cigarette (not at the same time, mind you) I sent a few messages off to Charlie to let him know of my progress and to make a plan. As I was texting him, I started hearing screams. Not the screams of the people running, but the screams of the sick people. They were high-pitched, frantic… piercing… I can’t describe it. It was distinctive. There were a couple at first, and then a hundred. It felt like a thousand. I couldn’t tell. Imagine a full stadium of people unleashing the most blood-curdling scream you can imagine.
I only saw for a few moments what looked like a stampede of people running down the main street towards the line of steadily moving vehicles. I didn’t see what happened, but I can guess what happened to the people in those cars. I took off along the hills until I managed to get by the town. Fortunately, with the phones and internet still somehow working and electricity still on, we were able to make contact.
It’s definitely good to be down here in the relative quiet and safety of Hirogawa, but I’m a little worried about just how many people are heading south-in this direction.