SELECTED EXCERPTS FROM
THE DETWILER JOURNAL (Found in heavy rubble on the outskirts
of Chicago, October 14, 2016 by Captain Emilio Ruiz, Army of OLS.)
January 8, 2015
The city is ghost-white after heavy snowfall last night. Arrived at hospital at eight, Erica doing well, but not eating. A miscarriage after so many months has to be numbing. It's too soon for pep talks. But the doctor says this isn't final, to keep trying. My producer Michaels sent me on assignment to mayor's office today, to cover last council meeting. I am bored sick with this job, with WCN-TV, and with my life. When Erica is better will suggest we move back to Pittsburgh. A friend says they need a principal at Jefferson Middle School. Brought Erica home at six, tried to cheer her with old Seinfeld re-runs. She is so damned brave.
JANUARY 13, 2015
Erica feeling much better today. She is resolved, though, to quit trying to have a child. Argument is futile at this point. I'll give her another week then mention Pittsburgh. I think that might give her a new feeling about things. Hinted to producer Michaels this morning that I'm thinking of other possibilities. They can do with one less reporter at WCN. Not enough happens around here to make news. Oh. Just before we turned in tonight, there was a quick reporting of something happening to one of Jupiter's moons, I didn't get all of it. Imagine. We have to go to outer space for a damn news story!
JANUARY 14, 2015
I get in to work today, and the station is in an uproar. People are flying from one office to another carrying papers, shouting at each other. Turns out this Jupiter thing is bigger than I thought. Callisto, one of Jupiter's more prominent satellites, just suddenly exploded last night! Some student in India was passing his time actually looking through an old refractor telescope, studying Callisto and another moon of the Great Planet, when Callisto just exploded before his eyes. He insists there was no collision with another body, such as an asteroid, he would have seen the approach. It just disintegrated in a flashing moment, as if a giant bomb had lain within it.
Michaels sent me over to the University of Chicago to talk to Professor Rosenfeld and the professor says there must have been an asteroid hidden behind the moon that the student, Sanji Chandrakhar missed. He says this is the biggest thing that's happened in our solar system since man has been here. Frankly, I can't see the drama in something that occurred almost 400 million miles away. Maybe because of Erica and what she's been through.
JANUARY 20, 2015
Keeping in touch with Rosenfeld, who has a line to Chandrakhar. That fellow can't give much more detail, but says it must have been a tremendous force that did what he observed. Rosenfeld says there are theories pouring in incessantly and most of them have to do with a core explosion in the deep center of Callisto, because of sub-atomic reactions going on there. The incident is off the headlines now, and news anchor Dave Edwards can talk about local politics again.
Rosenfeld says Callisto was a big moon, and an asteroid couldn't have split it like that. He thinks it would take an object the size of our moon, which would have been visible to Chandrakhar. So it had to be an internal explosion. The explosion was so violent that it made waves in the nearby Valhalla Rings and Rosenfeld seemed impressed by this.
Erica said she will be glad when people quit talking about it. I agree.
FEBRUARY 7, 2015
It seems we can't get past the Callisto Enigma, as it's now called. A graduate student at M.I.T., Joshua Settle has now spent many hours studying the Chandrakhar photographs and has come up with a rather far-fetched theory. He says there is no reason to believe that Callisto's core was unstable, and that Callisto must have been struck by an object with the mass of our own moon, as Professor Rosenfeld theorized. Get this. He thinks a primordial black hole with a diameter of 1/5000 pf an inch would fill the requirement! 1/5000 of an inch! A microscopic object undetectable even in a lab destroyed a celestial object the size of Callisto? The idea sounds ridiculous to a layman. Even some scientists are shaking their heads. Professor Rosenfeld says there is no proof at all for the existence of primordial black holes, which supposedly have been here since the Big Bang. Nevertheless Michaels let anchor Edwards run it as a feature on the six o'clock news.
FEBRUARY 15, 2015
Erica has lost interest in sex. She even hinted that she would prefer twin beds. Her psychologist friend Linda St. John took her to lunch yesterday and told her this is normal, and that things will change. I'm not sure Erica wants them to change. She surprised me with a visit today at the station, but I had to shunt her off because of an AP release that had just come in. This kid Settle at M.I.T. (he's a sixteen year old genius) has now done some math and says he's calculated the speed and trajectory of that fantasy black hole. The AP didn't give much detail obviously becaue they had little interest. No reporters actually interviewed him. Producer Michaels, who is apparently the only person in the world who gives any credence to this kid's theories, asked me to call Settle and try for details. I finally got him at 7:00 p.m. and he was in a state. He had more data than when the AP contacted him, and was wildly excited. Using information from disturbances behind Callisto just before the explosion, Settle says he estimates his black hole to be traveling at about 100,000 miles an hour. And get this, diary. His nasty little object is headed in the general direction of Earth! And Chicago's own Jason Detwiler heard it first! Bizarre!
May 30, 2015
Well, all the hoopla surrounding the report from Massachusettes has gradually died down now. I tried to dissuade Michaels from running the piece but I think he really believes Settle. After we aired the piece, it was picked up by other networks and papers all over the country. The stock market took a wild ride and our phones were ringing off the hooks, with people wanting more information. The president had to go on TV and tell the public there is nothing to worry about. A Colonel Avery Suggs from the Illinois National Guard paid me a personal visit to ask what I knew about Joshua Settle.
Anyway, things are back to normal now, and nobody is talking about Callisto or Settle's Black Hole. They have been crowded off front pages by rebellious rumblings in Iran, and by the recent exploits of Hollywood celebrities.
Surprisingly, and despite my assurances, Erica won't quit talking about it. She wants to know what would happen if we were hit by a tiny black hole. Her friend Linda is no help, reminding Erica of the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. But oddly, Erica suddenly wants sex every night. Something about creating something beautiful in a world gone a little crazy. I finally broached Pittsburgh to her, and she looked like I slapped her in the face.
JUNE 18, 2015
Linda suggested Erica return to her OB-GYN, and the results came back today. Unbelievable! Erica is pregnant! After two years of trying. All of her labs were normal, and she is expected to have a normal pregnancy. We celebrated last night at a downtown restaurant. Waiters with green jackets. Silver fruit cups. The works. Erica is very happy, and she makes me happy. But things are dull again at WCN, and I'm back to running down facts on proposed hikes in school millage. I might find a reason to fly to Pittsburgh and see if the need is still there in the school district. I don't feel of any value to the people of Chicago or WCN. In the meantime, my job one is with Erica.
My God. I don't know how I have the energy to write this. This must be the worst day in the history of the world. This day of celebration was interrupted at 2:05 p.m. with catastrophe. Erica, Linda and her fiance Mike, and I were down at the river to watch fireworks and parade, and just before the fireworks were to begin, the mayor got on the mike and made the announcement, gray-faced. Pittsburgh had just been completely destroyed in a nuclear-type explosion! Data was just coming in, but an airline pilot in the area said there was a hole in the earth two MILES wide, with a violent jet of flame erupting from it, ten miles high.
It was hard to get home in that frantic traffic, but Erica is quietly in bed now. Holding her belly. I had to check in at WCN for a while, but there was little I could do there tonight. Five minutes after the destruction of Pittburgh, a town on the exact opposite side of the globe exploded in the same way. Kalgooriie, Australia. All life has been wiped out for about twenty-five miles around each city. That includes several other towns around each site. I have to quit now and go to bed.
JULY 6, 2015
I was able to go to work today, but driving through rubble wasn't easy. The Madrid Fault destroyed several downtown buildings. Water mains are broken, many are without electricity. Many homeless leaving the city. But Chicago was lucky. The planet has been shaken like a rag doll. Earthquakes are reported in Asia, Europe, everywhere and are continuing. Volcanic eruptions at old and recent sites. Multiple and recurrent tsunamis are inundating coastlines. New York is under water as well as Washington, Miami, San Francisco, London, Rio, Hong Kong, and many others. Millions are dead, other millions homeless. Refugee camps being set up everywhere. And maybe worst of all, the president's copter was hit by a recurrent gigantic wall of water just as it was taking off, and he has perished. Many Congressmen dead. Central authority has disappeared.
A few surviving scientists have gotten together and have given the Settle kid full credit for his black hole analysis. A tiny cosmic thunderbolt smaller than a microbe came from nowhere on Independence Day and caused an apocalypse no man could ever have predicted. It seared a two-mile-wide hole through the Earth from Pittsburgh to Kalgoorlie in less than five minutes. And becaue of all the commotion that caused here, we almost failed to notice that it grazed our moon as it passed on out of the solar system, knocking a chunk off the size of Mount Everest. That chunk is now believed to be spiralling inward toward an eventual hit here! Does it ever end? I'm so tired I can't write any more.
AUGUST 1, 2015
Erica was hysterical for a few days, and I had to ask Dr. Linda for a sedative. Now she has herself under control, and is demanding that we leave the city, as many others have done. I can't. Michaels needs me as he never has before. I'm running day and night, checking out hospitals, a camp set up in the park, and city hall. The mayor has left, ostensibly to return. A few councilmen are running the city, but nothing gets done. They can't even clear the streets of rubble. Luckily our three-story condo withstood the quake, and we still have water but no electric. Erica had to drive three miles to find an open grocery store, and you can't buy anything perishable. It's just as hard to find a gas station open.
Poor Dave Edwards. He's been on camera day and night reporting every new bit of news from Out There. But there's nothing from New York, Washington, etc. The Internet is slowly eroding, and cell phones are useless. Relay stations are failing with recurrent tremors, and soon WCN will be reporting only to Chicago and vicinity. Late today militia arrived to control looting, but when I tried to get the governor on the phone, he wasn't available.
Erica says we must drive to Iowa and stay with her sister, we've been invited. They have a small farm there, and that rural area has been largely untouched so far. They also have a whole shed full of preserves, and wheat and com in bags. Erica says we have to go while there is still gasoline available. Tonight I made a big decision. I'm sending Erica to Iowa with a teen-age boy in our building.
NOVEMBER 30, 2015
Well, the station closed down today. Michaels had me running all over the city right up to the last minute, to report conditions to our remaining citizens. I feel as if I've served an important public service. WCN was one of the last TV networks still broadcasting. Few people had a working TV, anyway. When I came home to the condo, it was like visiting a mausoleum. But I did get a return note from Erica, via a pre-arranged courier. She is fine and her pregnancy is going well. They actually have doctors out there, and they have told her she'll have a boy. I cried when I found out. At least my son will survive all this. Maybe be one of those who save his world.
She wants me to join her, of course, but she has no idea what has happened here. Our second car stopped running last week with nobody to repair it. And there is no gasoline, anyway. I could start walking, but that would be very dangerous. There are roving gangs, and there are no policemen now. The militia left last month, and there is essentially no civil authority here just as in about every city in the country. There is general chaos world-wide, in the places that survived that first trauma. Travelers report that New York is dry again, but it is a ghost town. Chrysler Building and U.N. empty of life. Wall Street gone. Broadway theaters a thing of the past. But it's the same everywhere. From Capetown to Shanghai to Panama City. Everybody who survived moved inland.
I just joined a block gang today. They are the only form of authority now. We compete with other gangs in foraging for food, which is already scarce. Much livestock was killed in the onslaught, and much more never got to market. A couple of meat lockers here kept their electric for a while, but now that meat is largely gone. We're told that we lost most of this year's crops but despite the present "nuclear winter" there will be growth next year. Now, we must find food in closed-down stores, empty apartments and houses, and held by other survivors. My block chief is the National Guard officer who interrogated me about Settle, and stayed on. He is a large black man and tough. That's important because we have to behave like soldiers in our competition with rival gangs.
FEBRUARY 25, 2016
Most of us sacked out hungry tonight, and cold. Our HQ is in the basement of my condo, and we all live there. Houses and apartments abandoned unless used by a gang HQ. I took my blanket out under the stars tonight, and I write this in the light of our ragged moon and its string of fragments. Original report was wrong. The Mt. Everest chunk disintegrated and formed a ring of debris on either side of the moon, which makes an interesting night sky. Only a few smaller chunks will spiral in and crash later this year. About Pittsburgh. An arriving traveler says it's a moonscape now. The wide hole through the planet filled in with magma but there is still aboiling cauldron where Pittsburgh once stood.
Yesterday one of the gang stole this journal and was reading it out to several others. I had to fight him to get it back, that's why some pages are bent up. I'll hide it from now on. Women are in the minority in our gang, and men are beginning to use them whether they want it or not. I can't stop it. We've regressed a million years in eight months. Our newcomer said it's the same everywhere, in cities. I think my nose is broken from the fight.
APRIL 1, 2016
I suspect we all feel like April fools today. But even if we had believed Settle, what could we have done? We were out foraging together today and met the block gang from the South Lakeshore. They had caught and killed a German shepherd and were taking it back to HQ. Suggs ordered us into action, and it was fierce. Knives and clubs mostly, but one of them still had a gun with a few cartridges. Two of us were shot, a woman fatally. A second fatality from a stab wound. But four of them were down and probably dead when they finally ran, leaving the dog to us. We feasted on it tonight. A few days ago it was an alley cat and the meat wasn't nearly as good. Five of us froze in the cold weather, but it's quite warm at night now. I wish there were some way to join Erica in Iowa. She's probably dining on fried chicken and biscuits.
JUNE 9, 2016
The dogs and cats are gone. Our ration now consists of canned and boxed foods when we can find them. We forage farther all the time. Today we really lucked out. Found a tiny store in a suburb five miles from our Oak Park HQ. The sign outside made it look like a variety store. We got canned vegetables, canned fruit, boxed cereal and crackers. Some miscellany. Our larder will be supplied again. It has to be guarded day and night from our own people. Our numbers are down, only 23 of us now. Some gangs are bigger and we have to avoid them.
JULY 14, 2016
The food is almost gone. I must weigh about what Erica used to. I saw my face in a mirror and it scared me. I hope my handwriting is still legible in this journal. A couple of gangs have broken up, members leaving the city. But that way is suicide. Chief Suggs says our only chance for survival is to stay together. I agree.
I really hate to write this. One of our gang, a young woman named Annie, fell from a third-story window today and died. Somebody suggested immediate burial, but Suggs intervened. He said we had an opportunity to put some much-needed food in our bellies. There was a vote, and the decision was made. Most of the tribe dined on her tonight. I abstained. I threw up later.
JULY 30, 2016
There is a rumor that South America fared better than some of the world, and that government survived down there in Brazil and Argentina. An Organization of Latin States has been formed with a joint army. They are planning expeditions to the U.S. and Europe to offer medical assistance and other help to survivors. This all comes from another traveler who says it came on a short-wave radio. I'll believe it when I see it. In the meantime I ventured out to the University campus yesterday (taking my life in my hands) and found Professor Rosenfeld there, alive but looking like a walking corpse. He has been doing calculations, and says a number of moon fragments will reach Earth soon in their death spiral, and might hit in our Midwest. He says maybe I should leave Chicago, it might be hit. When I left, I made a mental note of his location, to return later and scavenge the body! Seeing these words written, I can't believe them!
AUGUST 21, 2016
In the night sky I can see the moon-meteors now, and they are larger every night. If Rosenfeld is correct, they could be peppering us with house-size chunks of moonscape very shortly, and some could fall right here. Not enough power to cause a nuclear winter, maybe, but another lesser catastrophe.
The two travelers have boosted our tribe membership and made us stronger in an inter-tribal skirmish. (We call ourselves "tribes" now, instead of "gangs".) But with increased size our group is in desperate need for food. So warrior squads are sent out to seek battle with other tribes. When someone is killed in skirmish, victors carry home spoils. Of both sides. Recently even enemy wounded. For later slaughter. I'm so ashamed. Eating with the others now. I grab at the choice meat eagerly, like an animal. No longer trouble keeping it down. It gives life strength. All canned and boxed foods a luxury now. Guarded closely. Theft of food carries the death penalty. Then of course more meat for the tribe. God, what's happening to us? Can you come back from this? I don't see how.
So the question is answered. How far for survival? All the way. A full descent into Hell. I should have struck out for Iowa when strong enough.
Used to be talk of outside help, but not now. This is it.
I hate myself desperately.
SEPTEMBER 3, 2016
Our foraging unit found Rosenfeld dead on campus. Brought corpse back here.
I felt faint when I saw him. Earlier today they stripped him down, put him on spit for slow roasting. I lost it, yanked pole off spit, Big Jim attacked me. Deep knife wound under floating ribs. A woman wrapped it for me, but they know. They will be hungry again by then. I'm watched anxiously. In a lot of pain, weak and nauseous. But haven't blacked out. Unsettling to see them waiting.
But I know something they don't, because of Rosenfeld. Love the irony. I saw moon chunks last night, and tonight they will be here. A few dozen, house-size. Will rain fiery Hell onto Illinois and probably Chicago. I ask one thing. Let this nest of evil things be struck and obliterated. Much pain now, writing very difficult. Hope it's all legible. If they hit tonight, this will be last entry. I hope so. If it is, goodbye Erica my love. Goodbye, my new son. Glad you never saw me like this. If you survive, make a better world for us. Make Earth a better planet.
I'm outside, watching sky. Almost passed out, but will make it. Hard to see, no moon tonight. There! Eastern horizon. Bright balls of fire in low sky. Growing larger. Down in basement, Rosenfeld still being consumed, tonight. Bastards! Don't think about it.
Holy Jesus! I have to get this down. The sky is literally on fire! It's happening!
May God have mercy on our souls.
How did he say it? Goodnight and good luck. Jason Detwiler. ****** DSS
Ralph Hayes, 86, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, is an attorney and author of several works. He says the science that underlies this sci-fi story is fact!
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