Inspired by the Subhumans of New York Tumblr page, Atmospherics, also known as Atmospheric Collections or Atmospheric Information, is the gathering of information to understand "the complex cultural and political makeup of the region." With respect to the Global War on Terror, or Overseas Contingency Operations, it is a method used in intelligence circles to acquire "broad information about the political and tribal dynamics in the region." Some policymakers deem such information necessary to assess wants and needs of potential allies. The difference between Atmospherics and Intelligence is, the later is concerned with specific threats such as the targeting of adversaries or the insertion of agents into enemy organizations to determine potential intent.
In the case of "The Strain," we are interested in tracking the general sentiment of the citizens of New York in the days leading up to the Occultation, and the subsequent Downfall of New York.
Note: The Interviewer's questions are interspersed with the subject's response and is usually found on the next line under the subject's response. That being said, the interviewer may ask follow-up questions in rapid succession, so that the line after may be designated to the interviewer as well.
“I’ve lived in New York all my life. I love it, but sometimes this place can be toxic. It can take you before your time if you’re not looking out. I got this as a reminder.” “Do you have any other body art?” “This is the only one.”
”Sure it hurt, but that’s what Bolivar’s about. Extremes of pain and pleasure all tied up. Inextricable. He’s gonna play on the day of the eclipse and crush it.”
”I’ve come here every morning now for… seven years I think. I like it here. What makes you think I’m going to stop?“ "Why do you have the knife?” “Why do you have the camera?”
“I could take an early retirement, but why? You meet all types working the beat. I love what I do.“
“I wonder how much of my life I’ve spent in the subway. It’s like being lodged in the city’s throat. Lately when I walk down the stairs my head starts to whine and pain pops behind my eyes, like a cluster headache. Fear and worry can manifest physically in people with panic attacks or phobias. If I was a subway-phobic I could never leave my house! I wish everyone else was subway-phobic; that way the platforms wouldn’t be so crowded.”
“We do these late night races. They’re not exactly legal, but whatever. We call them rat races. No joke. But I’ve never seen anything like this. If you ask me they don’t look hungry—they look scared.”
“The city is different at night. Sunshine is the great equalizer. In daylight everything is more or less visible, orderly and unsentimental. Night is far more permissive. Appetites forbidden during the day are indulged. People freed from the scrutiny of daytime, transform. Sometimes this feels foreign, and exhilarating. Sometimes it’s terrifying.“
“A lot of the vendors’ stuff is fake, but every piece you see here is real silver or silver plate. Or what’s left of it, anyway. I’m practically sold out!“ “How many pieces do you usually sell?“ “On a good day? On a good sunny day? A dozen maybe. Eighteen, tops. The smaller items always sell the fastest, but today I’m out my entire inventory! I’ve never seen anything like it.“ “Why are they selling so fast?“ “I have no idea. I’m keeping this one, just in case.“
“We can handle colds or viruses. The matching masks and sunglasses ward off bad karma and harmful spirits.“
“Is he sick?“ “I don’t know. This happened this morning too. His scalp looks bruised. And wet. ““Do you need help?“ “I don’t know.“
“This is our first family vacation in almost three years. We’re seeing Wicked tomorrow. Logan’s aunt won’t stop raving about it and she insists it’s better on Broadway. But I think all Logan wanted to do was see the lights and signs in Times Square. No wonder this is the city that never sleeps!?“
“So much for open-toed shoes…“
“I love it here. Why would anybody dislike working among the dead? They’re not exactly a threat. If you ask me, it’s the living you need to be afraid of. Besides, if anyone in the fridge gets out of line, I have these.“
“The typewriter is the best way to get to know New Yorkers. We just volunteer to write. We’ve typed up love poems, want ads… Allen’s written resignation letters for people. Sometimes we just offer haikus to people on the street. Once I typed someone’s suicide note. “ “Why did you do that?" “Because he was afraid to write it himself.“
“I tried to conceive immediately after I got married. But I didn’t get pregnant until I moved to the city. New York is a very special place. I wouldn’t raise her anywhere else.“
“You see them at night.“ “Like when you’re sleeping. Like a bad dream? “ “No, when you’re awake. “
“This one, I swear there’s a call or a text every ten seconds. Don’t they know that plane was a sealed-up tight flying tomb? I’ll feel a hell of a lot better when that battery finally goes dead.“
“Buddy, I’ve been working in the tunnels for 15 years and I still get the heebie-jeebies every time I get on the muck train. My Pops used to say that being scared keeps you sharp, and being sharp keeps you alive. Most of the time, anyway. Everything’s getting darker. I’ve seen things down there… things I don’t think could survive on the surface… I don’t know.“
“I try to turn every fare into friend. Making conversation is 90 percent of the job. This is really exhausting work, right? It’s the people that keep you going.“
“Are you getting this? This hallway is covered in this shit from one end to the other.“ “Is it human or animal? It stinks.“ “I don’t know.“ “Who wrote the message?“ “I don’t know! I don’t even know what I’m looking at.“
“He’s slept all day and now he’s refusing to take food. I thought he could do with some fresh air.“ “He looks pale. Do you think he might be ill?“ “He’s never been sick a day in his life.“
“We live in increasingly vulnerable times. Entire societies can be held hostage by centralized power—governments, ideologies and corporations that control global finance and communications, and in turn can throttle public forums like a tourniquet. This is a warning. There are forces in the world beyond our control. This is a warning that they are here. But now so are Citizens for Liberty.“
NYC animal control doesn’t exactly respond to calls at 4am. Despicable. What is wrong with this guy? He acted as if I wasn’t even there. What is wrong with this city?
She was sitting in the dark with her dog just off of East End Ave. She was perfectly upright and extremely pale, like she’d been bolted to the stoop, like some kind of gruesome mannequin. I think her mangy dog was as freaked out as me. He wouldn’t let me get close.
“We were about to hop the fence when we found him. My friends just straight up split. They were scared. I decided to stay, I guess. I’ve only been here five minutes… Do you think someone jumped him? He won’t talk. I don’t know what to do.“ “If I were you I’d leave too. Nighttime is a bad time to be out alone these days.“ “Shouldn’t we call someone?“ “You can try.“
“To dismiss the eclipse as anything less than providence is pure foolishness. I cannot say if this omen is for good or ill, but rest assured it is an omen, and one we are meant to witness. Look up, I implore you. Tell everyone to look up! Fear makes you turn your head. Real men must not look away.“
“Maybe everybody’s outside staring at the sun with those stupid glasses because their internet is down. You’ll never get me to look.“
“After a long, hot day the river stinks. It’s wild. Like, it’s intense. We were talking about this the other day. Imagine the city ripening in the sun, and when night falls all the stench and muck that accumulates during the day spews out of the sewers and into the Hudson. Like the city is disgorging the dead. Night is when Manhattan tries to wash away the evidence. At this point though, maybe the stain is too deep.“
It’s literal bloodlust. Unmoderated by fear or morality or regret or—as far as I can tell—even the mundane limitations of human physiology. Is this the payload Regis Air flight 753 delivered to New York? I feel safer when they’re feeding, at least for a little while. It’s when they’re hungry—that’s when they’re most dangerous.
He was my neighbor. He lived above us for about three years and was raising two children on his own. The boy caught the virus from the plane and wound up in the hospital. The next day the rest of the family disappeared. No one knows what happened, but the rumor is the boy came back for them. We’re not waiting to find out if it’s true. My husband and I are leaving the city tonight.
“If he moves I’m going to slit his throat. I’m really sorry. I mean, we got this far together, but I’m really sorry. I don’t have a choice.“ “I’m sorry too. I don’t think that will be good enough.“
This photograph saved my life. I raised the camera to take the shot and he attacked the moment I pressed the shutter. The recently infected seem a little uncoordinated, as if they’re not in complete control of their new physiology. That and my camera are the only reasons I’m not infected. The stinger actually scratched the camera body.
“What do you think they are? You think they’re vampires, right? I know they’re vampires, and I don’t think the cops or the CDC or Patton’s third army can do anything about them! I gotta take care of myself.“ “You got bullets in that thing?“ “Well you talk a big game, brother! All you got is a digital camera!“
This one was an EMT. Fresh off the buffet, it looks like. 911 can’t help us now.
I thought I saw him fall from a three-story high scaffolding rig, but he may have jumped. It wasn’t enough to put him out of his misery. Wounds only seem to inconvenience them, or stun them. You’ve got to do something far more drastic to stop them cold. Lately I’m out more at night than I thought I would be. I’m learning.
This one was likely infected only a few hours before this photo was taken. He won’t leave his house. Somewhere in this boy’s contaminated mind, a fragment of his humanity remains. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen this happen with the new ones. Maybe this is the window of time when they can be saved.
“Welcome to journalism in the age of the new flesh! We should work together. “Oh yeah? What’s your beat?“ “The end of the world.“
“This isn’t fair. I had to defend myself. If I didn’t, I would have turned into… whatever these things are. You too. But somehow, when you cut them down you still feel like a monster.“
“I came to New York with my parents and older brother in 1960. This is not the first time demons have visited the city, and surely it won’t be the last. But I will always practice here, every morning, in this very spot. I think we only truly understand the value of ritual and tradition when those traditions are threatened.“
“I’m so tired. I can’t feel anything.“ “When were you stung?“ “I don’t know… Thirty, forty minutes ago? I’m so tired… Will there be pain?“ “A lot.“ “When will I feel it?“ “Soon.
Someone in this fallen city still mourns the infected and the dead. I was told there was a funeral being held in an alley near the Gowanus Canal. Apparently I missed the eulogy.
“Staying in the city was never part of the plan. New York is a hard place to live out of backpack. We were going to bus it up to his brother’s place in Toronto, but now we’re trapped. There’s no trains, no buses, no subway, nothing. We can’t cross the bridges. This entire island’s turning into a fucking feeding pen.“
“He just left the truck behind and ran inside. But it’s cool, I’m hanging back to keep away any bad guys. You’re not a bad guy, right?“
“The stinger can still reach the artery in your thigh! Stick him in the back of the neck! Base of the skull! One sharp downward motion, like a shovel into wet sand! DO IT NOW!“
Freshly turned vamps can barely walk, but those who survive longer than 24 hours become very agile very quickly. Fortunately, the more time I spend photographing them, so have I.
They’ll be whitebloods or dead in 24 hours. Joke’s on them.
These two didn’t read the sign. The closure of the subway system has only made it easier for strigoi to hide underground. People who are foolish enough to venture into the tunnels rarely return to the surface with their humanity intact, if they return at all. Right now, the subway is one massive vampire nest. When this is all over it’ll be a tomb.
“Dad said he was making us leave because he loved us too much.“
“Who can be expected to do things? I will not do these things. We’re not murderers. We have enough maniacal killers walking the streets at night without the Councilwoman turning those of us who still live into beasts during the day.“
“My wife and I have visited our corner bodega together almost every evening for the last eight years, but I’m sad to say this might have been our last trip. The store was nearly cleaned out and the staff was gone. We took what we could and left cash on the counter. They’ll collect it in the morning. Daily rituals like these are important.“
“I’m here because I live up the street and the machines are still running. What are you doing here?“
“It’s no great loss, really. Just about the entire island of Manhattan is a cellphone dead zone. We’re going back to the dark ages in more ways than one.“
“What was that noise? Is someone behind me?“
“Still a better city than L.A.“
“We heard the Verrazano Bridge is open. We’re going to try and get out of the city that way. If it’s closed, I don’t know what we’ll do…“
“New York is my home. It’s your home. Councilwoman Faraldo’s Safe Streets is here to keep it that way.“
“This is my get off the island free card, buddy. You have no idea what it took to get this.“ “Actually, I do.“
“Are you a resident of Red Hook, sir?“ “No.“ “Then turn around.“ “I’m allowed to be here.“ “It’s dark out here sir, and we shoot stingers on sight. Turn around and get out of here before you start looking like a vampire.“
He demanded I photograph him so his family would have proof when he didn’t come home And permission to kill him if he did.
“Forget about checking ID. We’re checking for worms. There’s a rumor going around that they’ve flushed all the vamps out of Red Hook, but do you trust them? This bar is for the living. Those goddamn stingers already have enough to drink.“
“When the fighting gets messy, sometimes you get a live one. Not tonight. Not one drop of red from any of them. They all went down clean.“
“Do you remember that children’s rhyme? ‘Ashes ashes, they all fall down.’ It’s supposed to be about the Black Plague. One by one, I’ve lost them all. I guess I should be thankful I haven’t seen them since.“
“Nevins Street, Gowanus: seven. Strigoi: zero.“ “Red Hook is sending a message. Too bad the strigoi have no brains left to listen.“ “Come into our neighborhood and try to mess with us? Ha! Wait ’til sunrise, then we’ll watch you suffer. Burn, baby, burn!“
“I’m just getting warmed up! Shoot to kill, every time. Bullet to the brainstem, right? You don’t need silver if you’re a perfect shot.“
“You are no friend of mine, and I have no time for idle chitchat. The object I seek, I have been searching for it longer than you have been alive.“
“Those Upper East Side potentates spook easy. Their personal security details and panic rooms on every floor aren’t enough. Now they’re stockpiling silver, and they’ll outbid each other for it like it’s going out of style. The stingers have been great for business.“
“Let me be clear — this is not a battle we can expect someone else to fight. This is our neighborhood, our families and friends, our city, and that makes this our war. When they come, they’ll come with overwhelming numbers. We need to meet them with overwhelming force! It’s good that you’re afraid. It’ll make you fight harder. Who’s with me?“
“Oh, the cross? Turns out its protective qualities were highly overrated.“
“I think I met you before, man. How do you like the bike?“ “I kind of had to scrap the old rack and milk crate for something a little more functional. Ride or die, am I right?“
“You see any cops on your way through here? If I were you I’d be on the lookout for vamps. It’s dark.“
To them we’re nothing but bloodbags. If enough of us turn, there will be no one left to feed them.
“Nothing I said could convince this man I hadn’t been following him. Sometimes the camera rig raises suspicions, but I don’t follow people, and I don’t hide. I able to make these images precisely because I’m not afraid to work out in the open.“
“This isn’t exactly a precinct issue, but there’s no precinct left. I don’t think they’ll mind.“
“All of Brooklyn’s got front rows seats to witness the beginning of the end of the world.“
“The Mayfield Hotel is closed to the public. It’s been completely taken over by the National Guard. Yet for some people in this forsaken place, all doors remain open.“
“I only went out this guy once, and he came after me. What a loser.“
“I decided not to stick around for the entrée.“
“Still, the only weapon I wield is a camera.“
“Do you think the people in charge wish they could set the entire island of Manhattan adrift? Send our burning city spiraling into the ocean, and the vamp infestation with it? The entire world would cheer our deaths, and they would be right. If you’ve seen what I’ve seen. They would be right.“
“This isn’t about containment anymore. This is about extermination.“
“Fairy tales were dismissed as children’s stories. But there is powerful truth in old wives’s tales — they hold many things within, maybe even our salvation.“