Dreamers free read from Dell Sweet

Well, it’s Monday again. I keep writing to my congressman about this, the fact that Monday keeps popping up, I mean, but I get no response: Probably out spending all my tax dollars. So, like it or not, there will be Mondays, but I comfort myself in the fact that there will be Fridays too.

So where am I today… I will be writing most of the day, I hope. I have been away from writing for several days now, except editing stuff and I want to get back to it. I will leave you with a selection from Dreamers.

Dreamer’s is one of my favorite books. I began this book as a series of short stories in a creative writing class. The class shared stories twice a week and I chose to share these weird little musings about a man and a woman who become lovers, but who only meet in the dream worlds. I based it on a series of dreams I have had for as long as I can remember. Bits and pieces of things that seem so real that you believe you are not in a dream at all. In that writing class I had begun to wonder about those dream flashes and so the next time I had one, something like three A.M. I got up and wrote it down as fast as I could in longhand.

In the light of day that dream flash seemed disjointed, unreal, but there was still something about it that drew me and so a few nights later I wrote another one down, and then another, and then a weird thing happened that happens to most writers the story behind it began to come to me and I began to write it interspersed with the dream flashes. So if you asked me if I am the author of this work I would have to say yes, but if you asked me who wrote it I would not be able to tell you.

When I finished the story I shelved it. I thought it was over but a few weeks later I was back at it with the same characters writing another dream sequence.

So that is the back story. I hope you check out the book links at the end of this excerpt and I hope you like the story, Dell 03-06-2017

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This is copyrighted material

This material is not edited for content

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DREAMERS

Dreamers is Copyright © 2016 by Dell Sweet. All rights reserved foreign and domestic.

Cover Art © Copyright 2016 Wendell Sweet

This book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This book may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your bookseller and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

 

LEGAL

This is a work of fiction. Any names, characters, places or incidents depicted are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual living persons places, situations or events is purely coincidental.

Parts of this novel are Copyright © 2010, 2015 Wendell Sweet and his assignees. No part of this book may be reproduced by any means, electronic, print, scanner or any other means and, or distributed without the author’s permission.

Permission is granted to use short sections of text in reviews or critiques in standard or electronic print.



Before Dreams:

Enlightened Teachers:

Benjamin Bear Killer

Joe

I had come back to spend time with Laura. I could not tell her my real reasons. That I was afraid of leading the Dream Killer to her. Or I was not sure even whether I was coming back in the end, so I had wanted to see her one more time. She asked me about the Bear Killer who had been my Uncle and so I told her as we sat in the quiet of the evening and talked..

I thought a moment, gathered my thoughts, and then began to speak to Laura.

“I Knew Benjamin from my father’s side of the family. My grandmother was Blackfoot. She came from Canada with my father and my uncles and aunts. My father was the baby of the family. He looks Indian. Black hair, facial markings. So do most of my uncles, Benjamin excluded.”

“Benjamin is not a blood uncle, he is an uncle by marriage to my Aunt Ethel. He is a full blooded Irishman who married my aunt, gave up his Christian religion and has never looked back. If he could have ended the civilized world with a wish and turn it all back to the old ways, he would have. I’m not that dramatic but there are days when I can see his reasoning.”

“Benjamin Bear Killer knew the myths and legends. He understood more than some of my blood uncles did. They would go to him to learn. They saw him as one of the Enlightened Teachers.”

“Enlightened Teachers are something that the creator has given to us. They guide us. They teach us to respect the world, the Earth Mother. Teach us the legends and myths that we need to know. When my dreams became too much, too real, Benjamin Bear Killer came to me.”

Laura nodded for me to continue.

Bear crossed to the fireplace, yawned, curled up and rested his head on his paws.

“I had mentioned the dreaming to my mother, and she had spoken to my Aunt. My aunt had spoken to Benjamin and he had come to see me. Benjamin saw it as duty. It was part of what the creator made him to do, he said. At that time I wasn’t sure but now I believe that he is exactly right. Who knows what would’ve happened to me if not for the guidance and the stories he gave to me.  Knowledge is meant to be used, he told me, why would anyone go to a Bear fight without a knife? A strange analogy maybe. But he wasn’t called the Bear Killer for nothing.  So it made some sense to me.”

Bear yawned.

“Benjamin told me the legends first…….”

“In the beginning the Creator made a way to the peoples that will always be open. First Woman, The Clan Totems, the Star People, were all able to communicate, and they are still able now, up to this day and beyond, until your days cease you will have a pathway to that knowledge. A way to reach all that is possible. You hold the keys to all that is within yourself. We all do…”

“This is how the Creator came to make that way open for us, Benjamin told me.”

Laura nodded, curled her feet under herself and settled in to listen.

“We were in a sweat lodge at the time. One Benjamin had built with the help of my Uncles and Cousins. So many used it though that we had to check first to see if it could be used.”

“The Owl Woman’s Society use it,” he told me. “That meant nothing to me. At least nothing concrete. I had known my mother belonged to the Owl Woman’s Society. I didn’t know what they did: Where they met. What they decided. How important they were to each other, to us, to the well being of our people.”

“We settled into the sweat lodge and Benjamin began to tell me the legend of the Dreamer’s Way…”

“In the beginning there were very few people. In those days there was direct communication between the creator and his creations. Mother Earth spoke to Grandfather Sun every day.  Grandmother Moon spoke to Mother Earth. The trees spoke to the people and the people spoke to their four legged brothers. The Enlightened teachers kept the legends. They passed them down from generation to generation. Grandfathers taught Grandsons. Grandmothers taught Granddaughters. And it could be that they both taught all the children equally well. The generations were not vast at that time. Time itself was brand new.

We as a people did not see our destiny. We did not realize where we would go. The things that would befall us. As we matured, evolved, we became more independent. We talked to the Creator less and less. We lost our ability to communicate with our four legged brothers. Our winged brothers the birds. The fish. We forgot that the trees themselves, the rocks, the winds, the directions all had their own languages that we could use to talk to them as we had at one time. We had begun to live a life that did not include regular communication with the other beings we lived with, or the Creator, or the Earth Mother.”

“One day a young girl, she was called Sparrow Spirit, was walking beside a swollen spring river that ran near her village.  She was just into her ninth year. She was not a princess. Not someone specially selected for honor, or in her case death.  She was the legends say, an ordinary girl.”

“She watched as the waters roared by. Huge trees were carried along in the current. Boulders were swept along and even seemed to float. Sparrow Spirit stood on a rock ledge and watched these things. Amazed at how powerful the water spirit was.”

“A tree larger than any living tree she had ever seen came down the river. It was floating, being pushed and pulled by the current.”

“Now the trees, we know, are alive. They breathe, think, feel, just as we do. And this tree said to itself, ‘Here is this young girl just watching me die. And she is not lifting a finger to help me.’ The thoughts, although unreasonable, angered the tree. When it reached the ledge, big as it was, it could not bring its limbs up high enough to snatch her, to catch her long black hair and pull her into the water.”

“There was no time to think so that tree rammed itself into the rock wall under the ledge Sparrow Spirit stood on with all its might. Hoping to cause the little girl to lose her footing and fall into the raging water, where the tree could entangle her by her long flowing hair and then pull her down into the depths to drown her.”

“Tree’s plan worked better than Tree had hoped. The ledge itself under Sparrow Spirit’s feet crumbled away and plunged her into the cold, fast moving water. Tree reached out with her spindly limbs and entangled them in her hair, pulling her down into the depths; drowning her.”

“Now Bird Song, who was Sparrow Spirits mother, could not be convinced that her daughter was dead. Even though many who had seen what Tree had done had come and told her. She refused to accept it. Refused to believe in it.

“Bring me her body then, if she has gone to the spirit world,” she told her husband Four Feathers. “If she has died we need to sing her to the stars.”

“Four Feathers had personally seen Sparrow Spirit fall into the river. And he was positive she was dead. He did not think there would be any chance of finding her body and singing her to the stars where the ancestors lived among the Star People. The river, this time of year, never gave any of its dead back.”

“Even so Four Feathers knew his wife would never accept Sparrow Spirit’s death until he bought her the little girl’s body.  And even though he was sure he would never find her, he believed the spirits would probably allow her to go to the ancestors if he at least looked for her.”

“Four Feathers had no sons. And he was sure that Sparrow Spirit was part of his own spirit. He had no proof, just a feeling. But it caused him to love Sparrow Spirit more deeply, and he too wanted to find her and send her on her way. He feared Bird Song would never be the same until he could show her, her daughter dead or alive. So he set out beside the river that same day in search of Sparrow Spirit’s body.”

“Now he traveled for three hands of time. Days walking and keeping lookout along the river’s edge. Nights sleeping beside her. Letting the land, the bounty of Mother Earth protect and nurture him.”

“He found many animals, and even a few of the people who had fallen into the waters. And he prayed them to the spirits and continued to search for Sparrow Spirit.”

“Near the end of the three hands of time he became sure that he would not find her. He was in a land that he did not know.  No one knew. No people had been there before him.”

“That night he slept beside the river and dreamed. In his dream Sparrow Spirit came to him and spoke to him just as she had when she had been alive.”

“Father,” she had said. “You will find my bones on the river bank just one more days travel. You must take them back to my mother so she can be at peace. As for me, my Father, I have found my way to the Spirit World.”

“Four Feathers wept in his sleep. He had thought she was a child of his spirit, now he knew she was. In the morning he set out once more and by the end of the day he found Sparrow Spirits bones on the river bank just as she had told him he would. Her Medicine bag was still caught within her ribs. He carefully packed her remains and set out back to the village.

Now on the way back Sparrow Spirit often talked to him. All the days and all the nights. And as he walked he listened and Four Feathers learned about the way that it had once been.”

“As he learned he began to follow Sparrow Spirit’s voice as she led him to other worlds. To the homes of Grandfather Sun.  First Woman. Grandmother Moon. To the ancestors who hearths are scattered among the stars.”

“He met the Clan Totems who lived among the stars with the ancestors. She showed him how to dream. What it was: Where it could take you.”

“As the three hands of time passed on the return trip Four Feathers spent less and less time in the waking world and more and more time walking in the other worlds. He found the City Of The Dead. He met the Coyote, The Trickster, the Dream Killer, but he was not afraid. He was becoming a powerful dreamer. He was the first dreamer.”

“When Four Feathers arrived in his village he handed over Sparrow Spirits bones to Bird Song. Bird Song spoke to the Clan Mothers. The Clan Mothers came together and listened to the story that Four Feathers told about finding the bones.  About the Spirit Worlds. About dreaming, how Sparrow Spirits voice still spoke to him. The Clan Mothers went to the Chief. The Chief called all the people together and told them. They held their first prayers to the Creator, to Mother Earth, to Grandmother Moon and Grandfather Sun, that very day.”

“As the first Dreamer Four Feathers spoke to the spirits, discovered their ways, told the people and helped the people to understand. He became greatly respected, but he was not alone. From those days until these days, there have been Dreamers. They keep the balance. They speak for some people who wish to speak to the spirits, but cannot. They help to keep the balance.  But most important they keep the lines of communication open.”

“Benjamin Bear Killer leaned back into the steam as I took in what he had told me.”

“You are a dreamer,” he said at last.”

“Me,” I asked?  I suspected something like that, but I was still shocked though.”

“You know you are.” He looked at me through the clouds of steam. “It’s a bad time. A dangerous time. Everything is out of its natural order. We need dreamers. The people need to have a relationship with the Creator, all of creation itself needs to be bought back into balance.” He eyed me through the steam.”

“I don’t know how and what could I do?” I asked him.”

“You already do it. You only need guidance. What can you do? Plenty. The Thief of Souls, the Dream Killer, the Trickster.  They rule the spirit worlds. They rule only because there is no one to oppose them. No one to stop them. It has been allowed because as a people we have fallen away from The Creator. A strong Dreamer will have to fight for us. A Dreamer as strong as the first. You will be part of that,” he told me.”

“I am not that dreamer. I am just one man. An ordinary man at that. I don’t know how I do the things I do.” I said.”

“But you will,” the Bear Killer told me. “You will learn. And that dreamer will be lead to you: Come to us through you; because of you.”

“I had my first productive dreams with Benjamin Bear Killer’s guidance. He went with me. But he had no blood. Will, but no blood. I only have partial blood. Why would I be stronger than someone who has all Native blood,” I asked him?”

“Because you are willing and they are not,” Benjamin Bear Killer said. “We are our own worst enemy. That is not just something to say.”

“So I followed, and I learned from him and I soon out stripped Benjamin. Not long after that I realized how serious the Thief of Souls was. He sent his minions to take Benjamin’s soul. He died in his sleep, lost without it. I have dreamed every night since then. And I know how dangerous it is, but I believe it is my only true calling.

Before dreaming I had felt aimless: Out of touch with my native roots. I did not know how to address the stars. Thank the Mother Earth. The Directions. The Winds. My Wolf Totem. Grandfather Sun. Grandmother Moon. I had no relationship. No relationship with my own clans. My Bear and Wolf totems. I was a man taking up space. I truly felt useless. I did not know my purpose. And the creator makes each one of us for a purpose: Since I have started down this path I have not looked back.”

“What happened to Sparrow Spirit,” Laura asked?

Bear was stretched out by the fire place. A fire burned there.  His paws twitched and I wondered what sort of dreams spirit wolf dogs dreamed. And maybe he wasn’t a spirit dog at all. Laura, after all, had been a sparrow when I had first met her.

I laughed lightly. “I asked the same thing. Benjamin told me.  Like he was waiting for me to ask him.”

I thought for a second and then began.

“The clan mothers took Sparrow Spirits bones to the death house to cleanse them and paint them before they could be buried and start the trip to the ancestors.”

“There was a full Moon time involved in preparing the bones.  Now that they knew how to speak to the spirits, how to find the old ways, they did what Four Feathers told them to do.  And he told them what Sparrow Spirit told him. And she was telling him what the ancestors told her to say.”

“After cleansing: After a full Moons time; after painting the bones with the sacred red. The day came for the burial. But a strange thing happened on the ceremony day.

The bones had been placed into the Mother Earth. Food, weapons, clothing, were placed in the earth over the bones so Sparrow Spirit would have those things in the spirit world.”

“The Shaman came forward, the heads of the Clans. The Grandmothers. They sprinkled the sacred red earth down into the grave along with handfuls of rich, black dirt. The red rock had been gathered, crushed, and then mixed with Bear fat to paint the bones. Today it isn’t made the same way. Just one more thing that is wrong with our people, Benjamin told me.” I paused.

“When the Ocher and the dirt hit the clothing covering the bones something happened. The legends say that at that moment the Creator was petitioned by Mother Earth, Grandmother Moon, the Clan Grandmothers, Grandfather Sun and many of the ancestors that lived among the stars to return Sparrow Spirit’s life force to her.” I met Laura’s eyes.

“The bones began to move beneath the clothes and piled gifts: Clacking together. The Grandmothers stood with the Shaman unafraid. They had been part of the prayer after all and they believed in what they had prayed. They believed because they believed Four Feathers, and Four Feathers believed Sparrow Spirit.”

“The bones rattled for three days and three nights. At the end of the third day, towards dusk, the bones fell silent. The people, who had been frightened, came back to stand behind the Grandmothers and the Shaman, to see what would happen.”

“As the sun began to sink there came a different sound from the grave. Some people looked fearfully to the grave, but the Grandmothers waited with expectation. Bird Song allowed herself to walk closer and stand with the Grandmothers. The sounds that came to them were the sounds of gravel and dirt being pushed aside. Two small pale white hands appeared at the top of the grave just as Grandmother Moon began to lift into the sky. A head of pure  black hair appeared next, and then Sparrow Spirit’s face came into view. She climbed from the grave and stood next to the Grandmothers. She had come back, but she was not the same.”

“While she had been dead the Thief of Souls had stolen and enslaved her soul. And although the Creator was displeased about it, he had created the Thief of Souls for a purpose, just as all of us have a purpose, and so he would not force him to give Sparrow Spirit back her soul.”

“She stayed for one Moon, but she was so unhappy living among the people without her soul that the Grandmothers prayed to the Creator to let her go back to the ancestors. She went on the first new Moon.”

“Since then, the legends say, Dreamers have sought the Thief of Souls to get her soul back and set her free. And all the other souls he has taken too.” I finished.

“That poor little girl,” Laura said.

“That poor little girl is thousands of years old now,” I said.

“You know there is someone who is purposed to kill the Thief of Souls.  He doesn’t rule forever,” I said after a brief pause.

“Who,” Laura asked?

“I didn’t know. Benjamin told me. There is a purpose given to every soul that is born. The Thief of Souls was purposed to do exactly what he does, evil. But there is a counter to him that is purposed to end his purpose.”

Laura seemed to think about it. “Who did Benjamin think it was,” she asked at last. “You?”

“No, Laura. He believed I would meet a Bird Woman. He believed that Bird Woman would be the one who would have the key and the power to kill the Thief of Souls,” I said.

She blinked, but continued to stare for a few minutes. “Not me,” she said softly.

“No,” I asked? “It seems you exactly.”

“But I don’t know how,” she said.

“So you’ll learn.” I told her, “you’ll learn.”


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Fred the cat and home repairs

I mentioned Fred the cat not long ago, and so here is the story of Fred the Cat.

I rehabbed the entire house my mother, aunt and uncle live in about twelve years ago, but over the years things have slid. Three people in their seventies can not keep up the maintenance that needs to be performed on a house as it ages.

So, here I am trying to fix up the house again after years of being away. One of the thing s that had happened was that raccoons had found their way into an old chimney, broken through that into a utility area, found their way into a dropped ceiling in my Mothers living room, and dropped down into her lap (Practically) while she was watching T.V. With her Cats, and all Hell broke loose. Well, maybe not all of Hell actually broke loose but I would say a good deal of it did.

The Cats were upset, or as we say here in the north country, Pissed off. The raccoons believed, like Christopher Columbus maybe, that they had discovered this new place, therefor it was theirs. They did not try to make peace, however, with the natives like good old Chris did with my people (Before he stuck it to us, that is…. Just want to keep the record straight). No. The raccoons believed that both the Cats and my Mother should move.

Fortunately raccoons do not always have good access to legal representation, and these were no exception. So as a result my Brother-In-Law Harry came and sent them on their way and closed up the area they had been coming in through. No problem. My Mother lived happily ever after. The Cats basked in the Sunshine, and I came home to a secure well maintained home. No.

Cats are curious about everything. They are probably even curious about other animals or people, besides themselves, but they would probably never admit that though. So, instead of leaving well enough alone, the Cats decided to find out why the raccoons had gotten in, and how, and if a Cat could do it to, and then of course one cat probably dared the other, and so while one held the flashlight the other pried off the fix and got into the chimney. Oh what wonder! What absolute Joy! A way to get in and out of the house without having to use the door (Cats love things like this). And so the cats had their way in and out. Up the roof, into the old chimney, down the chimney, out the broken block that used to vent the furnace, drop right down on the furnace and then spring out of the utility room as soon as the door opened. My mother, who loves Cats, decided in her wisdom that since the cats had worked this out she should help them along by leaving the utility room door open. Oh those were happy cats (I assume).

Then I came along and the first thing I did was shut up the hole. That was how I met Fred. Fred was the only cat still able to find a way in and out, and Fred did not believe I had a say in it, and, well, as it turned out Fred was right. I blocked every hole I could find and Fred found some new way in. Finally, one late afternoon, I came into the Kitchen after working all day on closing the roof line up and any other spot I could find, and announced to Mom that the house was a cat free zone now. The utility door bumped open and Fred sauntered by me to the food bowl Mom had put down for him. She had more faith in the cat than me, well placed too.

That is how I met Fred. I just declared a truce.I thought, this rough and tumble cat beat me fair and square, he can stay.

Fred seemed like a Male cat. He acted like a male cat. He chased the female cats around, corralled them (Cats do that, perfectly fine behaviors for them. I would not recommend you try that at home) So, I assumed Fred was a male cat.

SURPRISE!!!

Fred is not a boy cat at all. Not only is Fred not a boy cat. Yes, this means I had to give him a quick exam, have you ever had a cat jump up on your lap and turn around and stick their butt in your face? Sure you have. Cat’s do that all the time. They think you Want to see their butt. Okay, it was at one of these times that I noticed Fred was not Anatomically equipped to be a boy cat. Right Fred was missing a few things and had a few things he shouldn’t have had.

“Hey, Ma!” I yelled. “Fred’s not a boy cat!”

“You’re a quick thinker,” Mom said. “I told you he might not be.”

“Might not be,” I said defensively.

“Well I guess I can change that to definitely isn’t,” Mom said and went back to watching General Hospital.

What could I say. Fred cocked her head back to me as if to ask if I got a good enough look. Cat’s are such smart asses, then jumped down and sauntered away.

End of story, except, Fred is looking distinctly fat… Fatter. Mom and I have come to a consensus, Fred the cat is probably pregnant. I said, “Well I thought Fred was just hanging out with those male cats ’cause they were his buddies!”

“Oh, they were her buddies alright,” Mom said wisely.


Take a look at the Earth’s Survivors series of books:

EARTH’S SURVIVORS: The Earth’s Survivors Series follows survivors of a worldwide catastrophe. A meteorite that was supposed to miss the earth completely, hits and becomes the cap to a series of events that destroy the world as we know it. Police, fire, politicians, military, governments: All gone. Hopes, dreams, tomorrows: All buried in desperate struggle to survive. From L.A. To Manhattan the cities, governments have toppled and lawlessness is the rule. The dead lay in the streets while gangs fight for control of what is left. Small groups band together for safety and begin to leave the ravaged cities behind in search of a future that can once again hold promise. Dell Sweet.

Click for free previews and the first book is FREE!

A Free EARTH’S SURVIVORS POST

Earth’s Survivors free post from Geo Dell

Posted by Dell Sweet

Hey, it’s Monday and you made it! That is worth celebrating right there. I hope your weekend was great. Mine was productive, at least the end of it. All the rest of it seemed like work. Working on a space series and will release the first book in a month or so. I hope you have a great week wherever you are and I will see you again soon. Enjoy the free Earth’s Survivors post, Dell…


EARTH’S SURVIVORS

Earth’s Survivors is copyright © 2017 Dell Sweet. All rights foreign and domestic reserved in their entirety.

Cover Art © Copyright 2017 Wendell Sweet

Some text copyright 2010, 2014, 2017 Wendell Sweet

This book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This book may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you are reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your bookseller and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

LEGAL

This is a work of fiction. Any names, characters, places or incidents depicted are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual living persons places, situations or events is purely coincidental.

This novel is Copyright © 2016 Wendell Sweet and his assignee Andrea Scroggs. Dell Sweet and Geo Dell are publishing constructs owned by Wendell Sweet. No part of this book may be reproduced by any means, electronic, print, scanner or any other means and, or distributed without the author’s permission.

Permission is granted to use short sections of text in reviews or critiques in standard or electronic print.


This material is copyright protected

This material is NOT edited for content


Harrisburg PA

September 22nd

The fires burned low around the small open area. The six of them sat quietly watching the stars come out.

Joel shifted and Haley curled into his side, head on his chest, eyes closed.

“Okay?” Joel asked.

“Um hm,” she agreed. “Just tired.”

They had met Cathy Cross on their way out of Tremont, just before they had made it back to I 81. She had been on foot, walking the tree line, heading vaguely south. She had heard them coming, she had told them, and ducked into the woods. Something, maybe the sight of what appeared to be two women traveling alone, had made her come back out and fire her gun into the air to get their attention. The gun had nearly made Haley drive on. Her initial impulse had caused her foot to ram the gas down, but a split second later Alice had spotted Cathy where she stood just outside the treeline and got her to stop the van.

Haley had stepped outside the van, machine pistol ready, willing to waste the precious few bullets she had left if she had to.

“You’re not weird are you?” Cathy called out. She was maybe a hundred yards away. Nearly lost in the tall grass. Her own rifle was clasped tightly in her hands. Not aimed at Haley and the van, but ready for whatever the van and its occupants might bring.

“There are four of us… Our men are hurt,” Haley called. She panicked immediately when she realized she had unintentionally told the truth. Just blurted it out, but she fought the panic back.

“Will you take me?” Cathy had asked.

“It’ll be cramped, but yes,” Haley agreed. “If you don’t mind the cramped space… We’ll get another truck as soon as we can… Bigger.”

Nineteen straight hours of driving had bought them into the next morning and a small dealership on the outskirts of Fredricksburg. They had made good time running along the edges of the black topped former highway. Outside of Fredricksburg the highway had once again become congested. They had finally been forced to take to the high grass in the fields more and more to find their way around the traffic. They had found the dealership and pulled right up to the front doors of the showroom just as dawn was breaking.

They had met John Campbell as they were searching the lot for a suitable truck. They had heard his truck long before they had seen it, but there had still been no chance to hide their own truck to remain unseen by him. They listened as he fought his way around the same obstacles they had, apparently following their tracks they had cut through the soft shoulders and the fields of tall grass. The motor rose in pitch, straining, and then fell back to idle as he once again made the roadway. When he came into view he had seen them about the same time they had seen him and raised one hand in a happy wave. Haley had breathed a sigh of relief.

With John’s help they had liberated two trucks from the dealership lot, gassed them up, and made it to the other side of Fredricksburg and a sporting goods store that had not been completely ransacked. They had stocked up on ammunition, and with Haley leading they had struck out again, once more heading south. Scott had come back first, the next morning, Joel had come back later that day. Both a little slow, groggy, but healing.

Alice leaned forward and shifted the meat that simmered over the fire. Wild turkey. They had met a flock of them pecking their way through a field twenty miles north. She had been able to walk right up to one that only bristled, and threatened her before she shot it. She had felt bad after she had shot it. She had never hunted a day in her life, but a few minutes later Scott had been helping her to gut the bird, pluck the feathers, and then they had continued on down the road to where they had set up camp for the night.

They had backtracked to I 81 after the detour to Fredricksburg and were now just outside of Harrisburg. Harrisburg was off limits. Someone had made and posted signs over the crumpled city limit signs where they had fallen. One word, PLAGUE written in all caps with dripping red paint making it seem even more ominous to them.

They had backtracked once more to where they now were, looking for a place to both cross what appeared to be a large lake in places, and avoid Harrisburg. They had found no way across what they were sure had been the Susquehanna River, but was now a large inland lake. So far across in places that they could not see the other side. Slow, deep, and carrying all manner of debris. Tree limbs, pieces of houses. Bloated animal carcasses and who knew what else. As night closed in now they could see a red glow on the horizon. What was left of Harrisburg that was not flooded was burning brightly. No doubt a cure for the plague. It had made them all quiet.

“We’ll have to skirt this somehow tomorrow, won’t we?” John asked now.

“I thought about that, but no. I think it makes no sense to go back up along the river, or what we hope will turn back to a river, looking for a place to cross. I don’t think there will be any bridges left. All of that stuff had to come down stream… I think any bridges that were there to cross are now gone. No… I think, find a boat, pack our supplies into it and make our way across to the other side,” Joel said thoughtfully.

“Be dangerous with all that shit floating downstream,” Scott said.

“Very,” Joel agreed. “I Think we do it in daylight. Get ourselves ready… There are places where we can see across. We go slow, carefully get to the other side and get the hell out of the water as fast as we can.”

“That would work,” Alice agreed.

“I think so,” Cathy added. “But we’ll have to find a boat, right? Will there be a place close by?”

“There should be,” John said aloud. He seemed to be thinking. A second later he had one of the map’s open and spread in his lap. “Where there is water,” he said vaguely.

“There are boats,” Scott finished and smiled. John gave Scott a crooked smile which made him blush.

“We just need to work our way back north along the waters edge. Eventually we’ll find a marina or a boat dealership, something,” John finished. He gave Scott a look again, seeming to enjoy the way he made him feel uncomfortable. He had already told Alice that she was lucky she had him, he was a beautiful man. Scott had wondered over that statement until the facts of the situation had dawned on him. John had simply laughed.

That should work,” Joel agreed. He tended to hold his head stiffly. His neck seemed to pinch when he moved it too quickly. The skin was healing and the muscle in his neck was sore. It felt stuck, like part of it had healed improperly, or bonded to something it shouldn’t have. He could feel a tearing, pinching feeling when he moved it too far. The plus side was that it was becoming less. So maybe it was just the muscle itself healing. Healing slowly, he told himself as he flexed it carefully and rubbed at the raised ridge of stitching.

“I think she sewed it to your ear,” Scott said and ducked as Haley batted at his head. He chuckled until Alice gave him a shot to the ribs. “Shit. That’s not fair, working together.”

“Sure it is,” Alice disagreed.

Joel smiled. “I do seem to hear better when I flex my jaw,” he said.

Haley swatted his arm. “So mean, saved your head, might have had to amputate it too, yet you’re so mean.”

Cathy flexed her jaw. “Hey, me too.” Everyone laughed, breaking the tension. A few minutes went by and Joel began to talk once more.

“So, the boat, make our way across and stock back up, get another truck, continue on our way.”

“Right,” John agreed. “Unless, well, but you don’t want to travel by night.”

“But what, though?” Haley asked.

“Well, we’re going south and I bet that lake is going south too.”

“Some,” Scott agreed. He had taken the map and was looking it over. “It does go a little south, but it mainly goes East… Back to the east coast… At least the Susquehanna did, so I assume the lake does as well.”

“Plus the debris,” Alice said

“Good idea if not for that,” Cathy agreed, “So, back to the boat, get across as fast as we can and get on our way.”

Joel nodded and one by one the others did. “Okay, so that’s decided.” He turned back to the turkey sizzling on spits over the fire and rubbed his hands together. “White or dark,” he asked.

Oh, dark,” John said and made eyes at Scott. Cathy giggled.

Joel and Haley

Kumbrabow State Forest

Valley Head WV

September 26th

They had left I 81 once they had crossed the Susquehanna river. They had been unable to find it again easily. They had instead kept south on back roads and flat land where they could make good speed. The farther from the main roads they went the easier it was to travel. The roads were less congested. The problem was that the destruction was wide spread. More than once a section of road they were following had disappeared into water, or into a ravine. It happened fast, you had to pay attention. They had found the state forest area, pulled off on an overgrown road and made their way a little deeper into the forest. A ranger shack had supplied what looked to be a good place to sleep for the night. It would be the first time out of the trucks in a few days. It would feel good.

“I could stay right here,” Cathy said. “I really think it’s beautiful.”

They were inside near the wood stove they had kindled. A deer carcass hung just inside the doorway. They had shot it right in the front yard of the shack shortly after they had stopped. Steaks were cooking on top of the stove in a cast iron pan.

“I like mountains too,” Haley agreed.

“Yeah, except, this would not be a good place to be in a few months when winter rolls in I bet,” Alice threw in.

Cathy frowned and then sighed. “Didn’t think of that.”

“Reason we are heading south to begin with,” John said. “Easier winters… We hope.” He sighed too. “But it is pretty. I love it too. So… I don’t know, wild, I guess. Primitive. I could see me living in a place like this, but only if I had a partner who was a good hunter… Well supplied before winter. Safe. More people to help. Life would be a little tougher here, I guess, but the beauty might be worth it.”

“I think south will be tough too,” Scott said. “Hurricanes, storms, flooding I would bet, after all, all that water ends up down there some place and all the rivers have to be overflowed… Maybe even changed course. And living down south brings its own problems. Like it’s hotter than hell several months out of the year, even if you live on the Gulf. The storms. Snakes, and bugs that can kill you.”

“What?” Joel asked.

“What?” Scott asked him.

“Bugs that can kill you? And, what kinds of snakes.”

Scott laughed. “Snake of all kinds. Too many to list. That is semi tropical. Probably will be tropical eventually, maybe even is now. All the animals that call it home were controlled because of the people population. We already noticed most animals made it and the people didn’t, so those snakes are not afraid of much of anything anymore. Scorpions, bot flies, kissing bug, fire ants, a lot more. Most can’t kill you but they might make you wish you were dead. Now the snakes can kill you, and it’s not like you can run to the hospital.”

“Jesus,” Haley said. “Thanks, Scott. Thanks a lot.”

“Hey. I didn’t make these bugs, I just thought you should be aware. Look, it’s not a big deal, just something you have to be careful of. Like… Like, say, freezing to death up north. My first winter up there I went out in January, 32 below zero with the wind chill. No hat, and my ears froze so goddamn fast I thought I would lose them.”

“Only takes about ten minutes to get frostbite when it’s that cold,” Joel said.

“Yeah,” Haley agreed. “Lucky you didn’t lose them, part of them.”

“Okay, so see? It’s the same thing. Different area of the world. You just have to be aware of it is all. Learn.”

The cabin shook as something slammed into it from outside.

What the fu…” Scott began.

“Douse that lantern… Lock that door,” Joel said as he lunged for his machine pistol where he had laid it down by a small, pine table.

The cabin plunged into darkness and they were all momentarily blind from the lantern light. A few seconds later their sight began to return.

“Get your guns in your hand now that you can see,” Joel whispered. “Jesus, don’t shoot any of us… Watch the windows.”

There were two small windows that had been set into the cabin wall, one on each side. The one side, Joel remembered, faced the deep woods. The other faced the road. He motioned everyone toward the back of the cabin so they could look forward and see out of both windows.

“Shoot the window out we don’t have a way to stop them,” John said.

A man, or a bear, can easily break one of those windows if they want to,” Haley said quietly. “It’s no protection at all.”

Something slammed into the wall directly behind them and Cathy screamed before she could stop herself. Something answered from outside at the back of the shack. A low growl that turned into a snarl that did not sound like any animal any of them had ever heard.

“Oh God,” Cathy said. Haley pulled her to her and buried her head into her breast. “Shh… Quiet, Cat, quiet.”

The silence came back heavy and then whatever the something was, it continued to bump its way around the side of the shack, seemingly headed toward the front. Silence and then the shape of a man appeared in the g;lass of one side window. A second later and the glass shattered; the figure began climbing into the room.

The gunfire was deafening inside the little shack. The man blew into pieces long before he made it through the window, and was tossed back out onto the grass. A second later another came to the window and snarled at them. All of them fired. Silence returned fast and hard. Cathy sobbed from Haley’s breast where she held her tight.

“Sss okay,” Haley told her. “It’s okay. Ssh, it’s alright.” The seconds dragged and the silence remained, punctuated only by Cathy’s sobs. Joel and John made their feet and went quickly to the doorway. Flashlights in their hands. “Scott?”Joel turned back around to him. “Scott don’t let anything in here,” Joel told him.

“No way,” Scott agreed tightly.

A few moments outside told them everything they needed to know. Noises from the woods told them more. They were back quickly.

“Plague,” Joel said. “Get whatever you can get fast, probably guns only. There are more of them back further in the woods. We’ve got to go.”

They drove the overgrown dirt road carefully, there were dozens of plague victims crowding close to the road, shying from the light, but not wanting to. They made the small county road they had followed in, turned south and drove into the night.


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EARTH’S SURVIVORS HOME IN THE VALLEY from Dell Sweet

EARTH’S SURVIVORS HOME IN THE VALLEY

Earth’s Survivors: Home In The Valley

Earth’s Survivors

Dell Sweet

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.

Description

Home in the valley concentrates on the building of the first and most important settlement of The Nation. The valley settlement is where the people that run the Nation will come from. They will rise to power and leadership positions across the former United States. In This book the first supply trip out for the Nation nearly turns to disaster, and more of the separate parties will join together and become one under the flag of the Nation…

In this book the seeds of the Fold are sown and the beginnings of Alabama Island are explored through the eyes of the men and women who will found it.
Mike and Candace have left New York in search of the land Billy and Beth swear exists in the former state of Alabama. Their journey will take them across most of the easy coast. They will lose people close to them as they travel, and the fight against the plague that is just beginning to take shape will be bought home to them forcefully in a way they will not forget.

Billy, Beth, Adam and Cammy will find their lives changed forever after a violent encounter in what appeared to be a deserted state camp grounds. If Beth survives will she have the courage to go on, and with whom? Billy or Adam.

Jesse stone has kept her flight across the middle states from the west coast a secret, but why? Will she live to make her way back?

The lines are drawn and redrawn as the individual groups begin to come together to fight for a place that can keep them safe. Offer them security and protection. A place they can raise their children. The Nation seems to be the only place that can offer that to everyone, but there are others who have different opinions and plans. Some within and some without the Nation.

Follow the struggles of the Earth’s Survivors as they begin to put the pieces of a new society together. One that can keep everyone safe. One that everyone can embrace…


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