EARTH’S SURVIVOR’S AMERICA the DEAD: BOOK ONE
Based on the series by W. G. Sweet
AMERICA the DEAD: BOOK ONE
Copyright © 2013 by independAntwriters All Rights Reserved
Writers: W.W. Watson, Geo Dell, W.G. Sweet, G.D. Smitty
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This is a work of fiction. Any names, characters, places or incidents depicted are products of the authors imagination. Any resemblance to actual living persons places, situations or events is purely coincidental.
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EARTH’S SURVIVOR’S – AMERICA the DEAD: BOOK ONE
Conner closed his notebook and stuffed it down into his pack. Looking around the factory floor he was surprised how different a few more warm bodies could make it. It didn’t seem as cold, so oppressively quiet, so echo filled with any kind of sharp noise, so… so different. And it was different still. But different in a good way.
Katie had been watching from across the room where she had made a little area for herself. She hadn’t wanted to interrupt while Conner was writing, but now that he seemed finished she walked over to him.
“This was really nice of you,” she said as she walked up. “We were staying in that old school building. None to stable. Last night was the best sleep I’ve had in awhile.”
“Funny,” Conner replied, “I was thinking the same thing. For me it was just having others around. People.”
Katie smiled. She’s beautiful, Conner thought. He wasn’t normally a fan of tattoos, but she had some sort of tribal stuff that snaked up under her shirt sleeve. Just a hint of ink where her shirt didn’t quite meet the top of her Levies made him wonder just exactly where the ink ended. She caught his eyes and smiled again.
“Mind,” She asked, gesturing at the ground beside him.
“No. Sit down,” Conner smiled. “I have no manners at all. How
long does it take to devolve? I guess a little over a week.” He smiled again.
She laughed as she sat down. The silence stretched out for a few seconds, each of them looking around the factory floor as the others talked or settled in for the night. They both spoke at once.
“Sorry,” Katie said and laughed.
“No, really. It’s that devolved thing again. Go ahead.”
She fixed her eyes on him. “I was just wondering what you were planning on doing. I mean, have you thought about leaving? I know you spoke a little bit about it yesterday when you were talking to Jake. But I could see you weren’t quite ready to fall in with the Jakeites yet.” She lowered her voice for the last.
Conner looked at her levelly. “Yeah… I guess it does show. I don’t dislike him. I don’t even disagree with what he said… I just… I just don’t know. We don’t click… Know what I mean?”
“Yeah, I do.” Katie answered. “It’s the same with me. I can think. I don’t need someone to do it for me.”
“Exactly,” Conner agreed. “But it’s a little more as well. Like Alpha male shit… This is my tribe… Me chief.” Conner finished in a near whisper.
Katie giggled but quickly clamped a hand over her mouth while nodding her head in agreement.
Conner continued. “I’m not really an Alpha male type of guy, but I’m not a dumb sheep either.”
“Me either,” Katie agreed, her giggles under control. She fixed him with her serious eyes once more. “So what will you do?”
“Probably like I said, like everyone else said, leave. But I don’t see why the south or the west wouldn’t be a good direction to go in. We’ll all see, I guess, as spring comes on, or as…”
“What,” Katie asked?
“Well. As this goes on. It might not be over yet. There might be more changes ahead. The days have slowed down, almost seemed to stop for awhile last week when the sun just hung in the sky. Maybe what was supposed to happen happened? Now the sun’s rising in the wrong place in the sky. Did the Earth’s spin reverse? That fast? Weren’t some people claiming we’d fall off the Earth? Something like that?” He took a deep breath.
“I guess I’m just waiting to see how this goes. What happens next… But in a few months, not far into spring, I’ll probably leave. Whatever has happened, is happening, should be over by then…” He smiled. “I guess that was a long drawn out answer.”
“No. Not really,” Katie answered. “I’m in the same place. I’m not sure what happened either, or if it’s all over. But I don’t think I want to live in a old factory forever either…” She looked around, “But who knows, maybe it’s come to that?”
Conner shrugged his shoulders.
“Anyway,” she continued. “I… I just wanted you to know I’m seeing it the same way as you. I mean… I mean I want to be on your side of it….” She locked her eyes on his and gave a firm nod, then flipped her short, black hair out of her eyes. She firmed her mouth, set her jaw, and spoke once more. “I’d like to go get my things… Move over here with you..” Her dark eyes settled on his own. “Be with you… I mean be together.”
“Quick,” Conner said.
She nodded and smiled, “Maybe it’s a quick world now. I’m taking you at face value, I guess. You don’t have a little harem locked away farther back in this old building do you?” She smiled.
Conner laughed. ‘Not hardly.”
“Well then,” she asked quietly, her eyes serious.
Conner nodded, which caused a huge smile to spread across her face. His own smile answered it. But, he thought, did she really mean…? He didn’t complete the thought as she stood and walked across the floor to where she had put her things and spent her first night. She turned and looked back at him. Conner stood and walked over to help her move her things over to his side of the factory.
Several pairs of eyes watched the move.
“Guess that settles that,“ James Adams said to his wife Jana.
His wife nodded, a slight smile on her face. For the last few days Jake had been pushing Katie. Jana had disapproved. Let the girl make up her own mind, she had thought.
“Maybe it’s for the best,” she said now. “That young man is much more likable, James.”
James nodded in agreement. The fly in the ointment might be Lana who had been making eyes at Jake since they’d first met, but who, for the last few days had only had eyes for Conner. James looked over just as a look passed between Jake and Lana. Oh oh, he thought.
Jana shook her head. She had noticed the look pass between them as well. “Maybe if those two get together it will level everything out,” she said softly. Jake had made it clear he was interested in Katie, not Lana, but the girl had made her choice. Jake would have to accept it. Jana felt Katie had made the better choice of the two. She turned her attention back to the conversation she had been having with James.
Jake watched as Katie moved her sleeping bags and back pack over to Conner’s side of the large room. He didn’t see what she saw in Conner, but it was her choice and she wouldn’t get a second chance with him. He frowned at his own thoughts. Don’t be an ass, he told himself. It’s not that serious. He looked over and caught Lana’s eyes, the question was right there. He nodded and she sprang to her feet like a rabbit. A mean look on her young face as she looked towards Katie. The look went unanswered by Katie. She turned her back to the girl as she walked back over to Conner’s side of the room.
Lana quickly gathered her things and moved them over to Jake’s area. Stupid, Bitch, she told herself. She can have the other dude. She’d only wanted Jake all along. Even the last few days, chasing after Conner had only been an attempt on her part to make Jake jealous. Jake would take her out of here. She hated this place and everything to do with it. Always had. Jake was tough. Tougher than the other guy. She didn’t think of it in terms of Alpha Male and territory, but it came down to the same thing. Jake was the top dog. Her top dog.
The fire burned lower as everyone settled in for the night. Some happy, some worried, some undecided, but everyone along for the ride.
James leaned around the hood and looked through the windshield of the old truck. He nodded. “Try it, Jake.”
The motor turned over a half dozen times then suddenly fired and rumbled to life. Jake gave it a little more gas, pulled out the old fashioned choke. The motor smoothed out and began to run a little better.
James backed away from the engine compartment, a large smile on his face. “Know what this means,” he asked, raising his voice to be heard above the noisy truck.
Jake grinned and nodded back. “As long as they’re not electronically controlled they’ll run. We should find a few more.”
James nodded in agreement.
They had found the old truck in a lot out in back of one of the car dealerships out on the strip. The lot itself was wrecked; the buildings not much better, but hundreds of new cars and trucks sat on the cracked pavement, or pointed their noses or tails at the sky where they were half buried. The truck had been set up with a plow and they all agreed it was probably just used to plow the lot.
Before they had even gone looking for a vehicle Jake and James had gone hunting for a small gasoline powered engine. Lawn mower, Leaf blower. It didn’t matter, just something small without an electronic ignition or brain. They’d come up with a heavy duty chain saw. Several tugs and a little choke had got it running. That had convinced them that it would be worth finding an older, full size truck.
“We could convert one of these newer trucks. It would take some work but if we can find the right parts we could do it,” Jake said.
“Maybe,” James agreed. “Trouble is finding a block that’s still the same. Heads. Intake. It’s a lot to hope for. It would be easier to just fix the old stuff up. New tires, battery. We could even do the axles if we absolutely had to.”
Jake nodded his head. “Hmm,” he grumbled. “Guess so.”
James turned away. It was obvious to him that Jake didn’t like being disagreed with or second guessed. Yes, parts were parts, and if they were just parts, no problem. There were even kits to convert non-electronic ignition motors over to electronic ignition, but not the other way around. There were motors built mostly for racing applications that were designed to use carburetors and simple distributors. There were things they could do, but it wasn’t simple black and white.
He had been seeing more and more of this close minded attitude from Jake since they had moved into the . Jake had lost his place as leader. It didn’t matter that he had been nearly the only one who had seen himself that way. He had seen the situation that way, and now the situation had changed. He didn’t see himself as leader any longer and he didn’t like it. Oh well, James thought. He’d get over it or he wouldn’t. There was nothing for it except to watch it happen whatever way it happened.
Jake let the truck idle high for a few minutes then reset the choke dropping the idle down to normal.
“We got wheels,” Lana said happily. She, Conner, Katie and Jana had come walking back from further down the lot. Pulled by the sound of the truck starting from where they had been searching for other vehicle that would be good candidates for starting.
“We found three others that seem as though they might work out,” Conner said. “One’s an old crew cab state truck the other two are old pickups. All three are four wheel drives.” He grinned at James.
James laughed. “Well, let’s go get them,” he said. He turned and started away.
“Hey,” Jake said, leaning against the door of the truck, “Wouldn’t you rather drive?”
James laughed again. “Yeah,” he agreed. “Much rather.” Everybody piled into the Suburban. Jake pulled out of the back of the lot and headed back in the direction the others had come from.
Conner March 13th
Man, it’s been a long day. We walked out the strip to the car dealerships. Everything is torn up out there, but there are tons of cars and trucks. We found three trucks that we got running and we drove them back. So we have a pickup truck: A Suburban; and a big four door state work truck. One of those ones you always used to see along the highway when they were doing road repair. There were a few others we found that also ran, but they were in such bad shape that we left them.
Jake wanted to build one. I mean take one of the new trucks and put old parts on it. I got the idea from James that it probably wouldn’t work out the way Jake thought that it would. The right parts would be hard to find. I could see the idea. The appeal of a newer vehicle so we wouldn’t have to be concerned about break downs. But I could see James’s point of view too. I think it pissed Jake off though. But it seems that almost everything pisses Jake off.
I didn’t write this in here yet, but Katie and I are together. It just happened that fast. I was surprised in a way, but in another way I wasn’t all that surprised. Who knows how long this world will last? What it was that really happened? Maybe there is no time for slow anymore.
Katie said that and once I thought about it I agreed. Things are so different. And she’s right for me. Maybe it wouldn’t have happened this fast in the old world. Maybe it wouldn’t have happened at all. But everything’s changed. It’s all different and this seems right. It seems like the way it should have happened with her and me. The right way for it all to work.
It also seemed to work out for the others. By that I mean Jake ended up with Lana. She’s a lot younger than he is, but like I said it is a different world now. They seem to be happy together. I thought I felt some animosity from both of them at first. But either I imagined it or they’ve moved past it, got over it, something like that.
We haven’t discussed leaving again. It’ll come up. Katie and I want to go. I think James and Jana want to go. Jake and Lana seem to be against it. Lana keeps talking about how none of us know what it might be like anywhere else. Like she wants to throw that out before we even discuss leaving at all. Here we have food, shelter what’s so bad? I guess we have been talking about it without really talking about it at all.
Jake backs up everything she says with a nod of his head. He pointed out we have this old factory and we may not find that anywhere else. At least not easily. Maybe they’re right. Hell, they make sense, but it’s the attitude. The rest of us bend. They refuse to.
We decided to go out toward the mall tomorrow to the sporting goods stores, and also look at some of the markets out there. Something else I didn’t check out while I was out there.
Lastly: I’m glad Katie and I have each other. It makes all of this easier to deal with.
She asked me why I’m writing this journal. I felt kind of stupid. I told her why I started it though, and that I’m continuing it for someone in the future. Maybe a child? Someone to come later on?
I expected her to laugh that off, or look at me like I was crazy, but she only nodded as if that made perfectly good sense. She told me she has a journal as well. A diary, she said. Of course Lana jumped on that too. At first arguing against it, then saying she thought it might be okay. Jake said he wouldn’t do it. He said he’s not leaving to go anywhere and if someone shows up here he’ll be here, not some journal…. Okay.
It’s stuff like that that makes me wonder. And, anyway, I only mentioned it, it wasn’t like I wanted anyone else to do it or was trying to encourage someone else to do it. It’s that kind of a Jump on it attitude I don’t like. Like they think I’m looking to screw them over some how.
But it’s all good. I’m alive. I looked back at some of what I wrote in here. I had no one just a short time ago. I didn’t even know whether there was anyone else. Now I have Katie. We have some plans. Things we’ve begun to talk about. Agree about. A little ego trouble with Jake is really just bullshit in the scheme of things. I have to try harder to look past that. Maybe I’m too damn sensitive. And anyway things are good. This could be a lot worse…
A thing that bugs me and I can not figure out, where are all the bodies? I mean there don’t seem to be enough bodies to match all of those that were killed. It bothers me. Maybe they weren’t killed? But that makes no sense. Where would they be? I don’t have an answer, I only know it bugs me.
Lana March 13th
Hi! My name is Lana. I’ve never written a journal or kept a diary before. We’re all here in this . A , yes, we’re living in a dirty old abandoned factory. I can’t believe it! There are no showers. No toilets. No kitchen. Ha! We’re eating out of cans. It’s about as hard as it could be. I don’t know how it could be any worse than it is.
We’re all writing these journals to leave them behind in case someone comes after we, or some of us, leave. I might not ‘Cause I’m sort of with Jake right now and he doesn’t want to go. There are six of us; Conner, Jake, James, Jana, Me and a girl named Katie. We’re all stuck here until spring, I guess.
I guess that you know all about the world ending, or whatever it did. We don’t know. I don’t know. Not really anyway, but, hopefully we’ll get everything fixed up pretty soon. I mean, a lot of stuff is F’d up, you know? But, like, it could get fixed up eventually.
I had a boyfriend in the old world. His name was Paul, but I don’t know where he went. His apartment was gone. The whole street he lived on was gone. So I don’t know. It made me feel really bad. Hopefully this will be over really soon.
We have, like, some old trucks now to drive around. We used to have to walk everywhere. That sucked. The trucks are really old. Like Shit boxes as Paul would’ve said, but at least we’re not walking, right? Paul had an old shit box truck too. These trucks are even older. If we break down we can’t call Triple A. Ha Ha!
There are six of us and Jake thinks more will come to us; probably know we’re here and are just waiting. I guess that’s cool.
I don’t really know what else to write in here. I’ll write other stuff down as well though. … Oh, I’m almost nineteen…
Katie March 13th
I did it. I don’t know how I worked it out or where I found the courage to do it, but Conner and I are together. It’s like I wasn’t breathing; like I was waiting to breath. Something like that. All I know with absolute certainty is that tomorrow looks better. Isn’t that all that’s important?
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