Humor on many subjects and a free short story Mister Bob

Posted by Geo 07-28-2017

Today is an assortment of humor and a free short story, Mister Bob, at the end. This is all stuff I have written and set aside. There is so much of this sort of stuff that sometimes I wonder how I get any work done at all. Please take it all with a grain of salt, or two, or three…

My Friend Bob.

My friend is a little slow. He called me up and said…

“Listen, I’m really worried.”

“What’s wrong, Bob,” I asked? I was concerned. Must be serious for him to call me.

“Well, I’m concerned about this Trans-vaginal mesh thing on the T.V.,” Bob says.

“Oh… Wife?”

“Huh?”

“Wife had the surgery?”

“You know, I never even thought of that,” Bob says.

“Oh… Mother… Sister?”

“Jesus, now I’m really worried… I was worried about me… That time I had the surgery for the hernia.”

“Um… Okay… So you were worried what, that they used trans-vaginal mesh to repair it?”

“Oh, that’s bad,” Bob says. “I didn’t even think of that… But no… When I went to see that shrink a few years back he told me I had to get in touch with my inner Vagina.”

I choked. I couldn’t help it. “He said that?”

“I think so… The thing is he was saying a lot of shit, I really wasn’t paying attention. Inner feminine side, vagina, something.”

“Okay… Well, is it possible he said inner child? And … Get in touch with your feminine side?”

“Maybe,” Bob allowed. “But you know we are all female in the womb and that means we must have a vagina and that’s what’s got me worried.”

Things on TV that I don’t want to see or hear:

“If you have an erection that lasts more than four hours contact a doctor”

“Less leakage with our pads.”

“Let’s talk about our bums.”

“Hail to the V.”

Important things to consider:

Bears can not wipe their asses at all.

Beavers are really an animal with buck teeth they can cut down trees with. How does that equal a vagina? Oh… never mind.

Groundhogs are really just rodents so you don’t have to listen to anything that they say. Such as, I don’t know, predictions from that fat bastard groundhog in Pennsylvania.

Boogers, there was a time as a child when you considered this food.

Assholes, what if everyone that was an asshole had to look like one? I know, right?

Hamburgers have no ham in them. Is that a lawsuit or what?

Politicians, what if everyone that was an asshole had to look like one? I know, right?

Loose ends

Riddle me this the big Dummy asked: What wind speed would it take to knock a 270 pound Idiot-Man flat on his butt on an icy driveway, while shoveling, in the middle of a blizzard?

You may ask, “Well, what was the idiot doing out there shoveling if it was a blizzard?” But that is self explanatory, he’s an idiot.

You may say, “Shouldn’t he have a Prozac and watch the snow pile up from somewhere safely inside?” But that should also be self explanatory.

Give up? Well, um, apparently all it takes is 16 mph winds from the West. I checked with the weather service after I got up. And although you didn’t ask, I’m fine. Just fine, and bonus, I apparently provided a smashing show for the guy driving by in the green truck. Happy to be of service, Guy in the Green truck…

Tough guy lines

“Hey… Hey, let me have your fucking attention for a moment if I might. Why don’t we do this. Let’s just shut the fuck up and accept what I’m gonna do or else I’ll put a fucking bullet right in your fucking eye… Okay? Are we cool with that?”

“Okay… Okay… I see. You are objecting to the way I’m handling this problem… I got that right, right? You don’t think I’m being fair? Okay. Well then, obviously I gotta make a change. Fair is fair. So why don’t we compromise and do it this way. You’ll have your say and then I’ll do what I was gonna do anyway and you’ll shut the fuck up and quit jabbering about it. That way I don’t gotta shoot you in the fuckin’ knee… Now who says I can’t compromise?”

Things a dolphin might say if a dolphin could talk

1: Please don’t eat me.

2: So, you a fisherman?

3: I hear the Snapper is good.

4: Well, you could take me home… Keep me in one of those little bowls…

Things a dolphin might say if you get them drinking.

1: “So, me and my buddy were over by the coral reef when this huge frickin’ shark cruises in like he owns the place. Well, I says to my friend, let’s just see about that. So…”

2: So, she says to me. “You come here often?” Often, I says. Often? It’s the freakin’ ocean! Whad’ya’mean often!

3: Well I used to be a Loan Shark.

4: Sushi… I mean Susie… Ow! Stop it! Why are you eating me!

Truth in advertising

Used Cat, 2013 model with gray striping. Yellow/green/red/demonic eyes. Very low miles, sleeps all the time. Has claws, poops in the house, does not respect humans, dogs, bugs or pretty much anything else. Has chewed the cords off seven mice and three power supplies, still all in all a very likable cat.

Bad dog. Very cute. Has piddled or pooped in every spot in the house. Dug up garden. Bit mailman and killed neighbors cat. Very affectionate. Cheap. Papers included, newspapers I mean, because he is sure to crap all over your house too.

Microsoft Backup in the old days

Waiting for a backup is like watching paint dry… Nope, the paint is dry and the damn backup is still ongoing. I suppose, as a writer, that I should feel fortunate that I have so much stuff to back up, once upon a time I only had those first few words too. It has said … ‘About Four Minutes Remaining’ … for like twenty minutes now. Oh, what a surprise, I wrote that, went back and checked, and it still says … ‘About four minutes remaining’ … Figures. I do not believe that Microsoft Windows Backup can count. See, I wrote that too and it still says it!!!! ARRRGGGG. Lol. The Backup dilemma, do I have five hours to waste today to do a backup?

Scenes of Elvis I have cut out of books I wrote…

… In a rusty old trailer, in the Palmview Park trailer court, in Miami Florida, a dark haired heavyset man sat at his kitchen table.

The power had been off for days, and the cheap plastic cassette player’s batteries had finally run-down. He had tried to be careful, had tried to only play it occasionally, but they had run-down despite his efforts.

He no longer wore the white leather outfit. He had hardly ever worn it anyway, only occasionally, only when he needed to, when he wanted to remember.

He had put it away two days ago, and he had no intention of ever wearing it again. It hung in the musty closet in his bedroom at the rear of the trailer, and as far as he was concerned it could hang there forever.

He removed the dark sun glasses and rubbed his tired eyes, started to put them back on, and then decided against it. They too had to go. Old stuff. Stuff that wasn’t important any longer, he knew. He ran his fingers through his thick hair, as he carefully set the glasses aside. He had thought of cutting it. Like maybe he should cut it, but he hadn’t been able to do it. In fact, he didn’t want to do it, so he had left it, along with the long graying sideburns. He liked them, they suited him, and he couldn’t let them go. He supposed they looked silly, even made him look older, but he didn’t care. And besides, he thought, he was old. The hair made him feel young, the hair made him remember, and if only for that reason, he wanted to keep it.

He sighed as he stood up from the table, glancing once more at the cheap plastic cassette player. It was time to go, time to leave, and although he didn’t want to go, although he really wanted nothing at all to do with people again, he knew that he had to go.

He had known, just known, when the batteries had finally died, that Florida was about to die too. He had to leave, unless he wanted to die right along with it. He levered the old door open for the last time, and stepped out into the warm morning air.

He took one last look at the rusted and faded trailer, and then set off through the park.

He walked slowly, looking around at the run-down park for the last time as he did, and headed for the marina that was just down the road. He hoped to find a boat of some sort, and leave.

And… Go where? He asked himself.

He pushed the thought away. It didn’t matter where he went, only that he went…

From a later book

… Aaron walked slowly out of the bedroom and into the kitchen area. The music had cut off, and suddenly too. And for just a second there. For just one small second there, he had felt as though the last ten years had slipped away, had been made unreal somehow, and he was back in the run-down trailer in good old Palmview trailer court, in Florida. Which was ridiculous, had to be ridiculous, and even he knew that it was ridiculous, but it had felt that way.

It had, thank God, nothing to do with that though. It was ten years later, he wasn’t in Florida, and everything was… Well, regular. The damn breaker had flipped again.

Ira, had helped set it up, and most of the time it worked just fine, but sometimes  like this time, he thought  it didn’t.

Sometimes when the sun slipped behind a cloud the thing just shut down. And the reason was clear. The electricity was solar, and they had hooked up a battery back-up, but the back-up was shot, kaput, done, finished, the damn thing couldn’t hold a charge more than fifteen minutes on a good day, and the last several day’s had been far from good days. Barely any sunlight  six days running  and it didn’t look as though there would be any real quick.

No big deal, he thought, as he switched off the main breaker, and then reset the one that had tripped. It wasn’t like there were factories just pumping out batteries any longer.

He had come a long way since his days as the king of rock and roll. And, he really had been the king for a while there, even after he died, after he was supposed to be dead, he had still been the king: Still on top, and no one had come along to knock him out of that top spot either.

The Star Reporter had still been doing articles about him ten years ago. ELVIS LIVING AS A VEGETABLE IN BRAZIL, was his favorite.

Really? Please, give it a rest. How much, he wondered now, did they have to pay those people to say those things? Probably, he concluded, as he always did, with a dry chuckle, absolutely nothing. They were glad to say it, needed to say it even, and would say it regardless of whether they were paid or not.

Wouldn’t they be surprised to know that he had really spent those years since he was supposed to have died flipping burgers in a run-down diner on the outskirts of Miami?

No, he decided, that would be too boring to print. They would have never gone for that.

Aaron chuckled once more, and walked back into the bedroom. Ira had stopped by just a few hours before, and invited him over to dinner, no time to think about Slander Sheets now, time only to get ready, and not just for dinner with Cora and Ira. After all, there was some serious business ahead. Very serious, and Ira might not know it yet, but Aaron did, he knew it for a fact. And he also knew, had a feeling really, that this time… This time the king might really die. He might really die, and…

He chuckled once more, an uneasy chuckle, and again began to trim the bushy sideburns that had been one of his trade marks so long ago. It made no difference. Not to him, and most surely it wouldn’t make any to Ira. If it was time, it was time. Life hadn’t been so bad, at the least the last ten years hadn’t, not at all. In fact the last ten years of not being the king, of not living in the shadow of being the king, of not reading all that garbage every day, those years had made all the other years more than worthwhile. If he died so be it, Mamma would be there, and Aron would be there, and he had spoken to Ira about death, so he was no longer afraid of it. It was a known thing now, an understood thing, and if he had to go he would.

The sound of a motor came to him from outside, slightly loud. The exhaust, he knew, was going on Ira’s old truck. It was too dark in here to see all that well anyway without the light. He set down the scissors, and left the bedroom just as a short and feeble-sounding toot came from the truck outside. He could use a new horn too, Aaron thought as he opened the front door and walked to the truck…

A word from turtles

Thousands of turtles are run over each day, while doing nothing more than trying to reach their homes across the busy interstate. This wholesale slaughter can be averted. We are currently working to provide turtle overpasses on many of the nation’s busiest highways. Won’t you give to help this worthy project? Just ten cents a day could save the lives of these poor, unfortunate turtles who are being run down and left for dead as you read this.

For ten cents a day you can give a turtle a safe alternative to reach his home. Won’t you consider it now?


Okay. Hope you found some of that humorous. I am going to leave you with a short story. Before I do that I wanted to let you know that I will be gone a good part of this coming week, possibly into the next week. I have posted concerning that so I won’t reiterate it. I’ll be back as soon as I can with fresh posts and blogs for you. Until then, have a great week, try not to hurt anybody on your way through life. That’s it for me today, Geo.


MISTER BOB

Mister Bob is Copyright © 2015 Wendell Sweet and his asignees

Additional Copyrights © 2010 by Wendell Sweet All rights reserved

Cover Art © Copyright 2015 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 © 2015 Wendell Sweet and his assignees. The Name Dell Sweet is a publishing construct used by Wendell Sweet. Portions of this text are copyright 2010, and 2011, all rights reserved by 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 or assignees permission.

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


MISTER BOB

The Middle of the night: Lisa

She awoke suddenly in the darkness of the bedroom. Panic rode tightly in her throat, but nothing in the silence told her anything she needed to know.

The clock read 2:38 AM, green numerals lighting the bedroom in eerie, fairy half light. Spooky light, she decided. It was adding to her sense of something wrong. Would red be better, she wondered. She would pick up a new clock… Make sure it had red numerals.

Don slept on beside her, apparently undisturbed, but the sense of panic, touch of fear, would not leave her.

“Mommy…!” Alandra, sobbing, calling her name. She threw the covers aside and nearly leapt up, out, and to her feet in one motion: The cotton night shirt fell to her knees as she ran for Alandra’s bedroom. Behind her, Don grunted in surprise, but she barely heard him: Her mind had kicked into a higher gear; suddenly working overtime.

…Nightmare?   … Kidnapping? …Killers? … Burglars? … My baby! …

And why is it, she thought, as her mind threw all the worst possibilities at her, that your mind does exactly that? Why?

She pushed it all away as she pushed the bedroom door open to find Alandra sitting up, staring at the closed window that looked out over the back yard.

She reached the bed and gathered Alandra in her arms… “What, baby? … Bad dream?”

“No,” Alandra sobbed. “Not a dream. You have to stop them, Mommy. They were killing Mister Bob… He told me.”

Lisa let her eyes fly quickly to the window, and then flit around the bedroom, alighting here and there, in case there was some wack-job standing in the shadows… Closed window… Tree limbs outlined outside it in moonlight… Closed closet door… She thrust one foot at the darkness under the bed.

“Baby, there’s no one here.” She pulled Alandra’s head away from her breast which was already wet from her tears.

“Honey, Alandra.” She waited until she turned her tear stained face up to her own. “Baby, there’s no one here… See?” She turned her eyes to the empty room.

“Mommy, Mister Bob,” Alandra said. “Look at the window.”

Lisa looked more closely at the window, but saw nothing more. “Honey, are you saying that Mister Bob was at the window?”

Alandra nodded solemnly.

Dan was supposed to take care of getting the tree outside the window trimmed. Lisa had been concerned of just this thing: Someone climbing that tree and having access to Alandra’s bedroom window. A spike of fear lodged directly in Lisa’s heart. “Stay here, baby, okay?”

Alandra nodded once more. Lisa gathered herself, rose from the bed, and went to the window, wishing she had thought to grab her pepper spray. Better yet, her mind supplied, Don’s 9 mm. The window was closed, but the thumb lock was off. She eased up next to the window, holding herself in the shadows, and scanned the back yard. … Nothing … The bedroom door opened suddenly and she turned quickly, her heart hammering hard against her rib-cage.

“Whatzit?” Dan asked.

“Jesus, Dan,” Lisa said. One hand went to her throat.

“Sorry…” He turned to Alandra. “What’s wrong, honey-pie?”

“She said someone was at the window,” Lisa supplied.

“Christ,” Dan muttered. He walked across to the window: A big man who moved fast. His eyes scanned the yard.

“Well… I don’t see anyone now,” he said.

“I don’t either, but I thought…”

He nodded. “Tomorrow morning, noon at the latest. It’s spring… He’s backed up.” Dan shrugged helplessly. “I’ve been on him, Lissy. I have.”

“Dan.”

He held up a hand. “Or I’ll take the day off and do it myself… Promise… I’ll call him in the morning before I leave.” He sighed.

Lisa yawned.

“Honey, you want to sleep with Mommy and Daddy,” Dan asked?

“Uh, uh. What if Mister Bob comes back?” Alandra asked.

“Mister Bob?” Dan asked.

“He told her that was his name,” Lisa said.

“Were you dreaming, honey?” Dan asked.

“She wasn’t dreaming, Dan,” Lisa warned.

“Well… Cops… Should we?”

“There’s nobody… What do you say exactly? No… Just make sure it can’t happen again,” Lisa finished.

“Okay… Okay.” He turned back to Alandra. “Come on, honey. Sleep with Mommy and Daddy tonight. Tomorrow we’ll make sure Mister Bob can’t wake you up in the middle of the night again.”

“Mommy will stay in here with you,” Lisa countered.

Alandra nodded.

Dan looked from Alandra to Lisa. Lisa shrugged.

Dan frowned and then turned and left the bedroom. A few minutes later he was back.

“Here,” he said as he handed Lisa her pillow. His own pillow and a wad of blankets were tucked under his other arm

“We’ll have a camp out,” Dan said. He looked at the floor, yawned deeply and then spread out the blankets and tossed the pillow to the floor.

Alandra giggled as Lisa climbed into the narrow bed and pulled her close.

~

Dan was already softly snoring and Lisa was sure that Alandra was sleeping too. Her own thoughts were getting farther and farther away from her. Her mind free falling into the spiral of sleep when Alandra whispered.

“Mister Bob is my friend, mommy.”

She came up from the edge of sleep just that fast.

“He talks to me every night.”

Lisa pulled her closer. “When, baby?” she whispered back.

“All kinds of times… Sometimes when I’m awake, sometimes he wakes me up. He’s not mean, mommy. He’s my friend.”

“But, baby, a man shouldn’t be climbing a tree to talk to you,” Lisa told her.

“But he doesn’t, mommy. He’s already there. Mister Bob is a tree. My tree.”

“Oh, baby… A tree? The tree in the back yard?”

Alandra yawned. “Uh huh. My friend, Mister Bob.”

Lisa nodded.

“He talks to me… He said… He said, they’re going to kill me, sissy. Don’t let them kill me.”

Lisa’s heart leapt in her chest. Sissy had been Alandra’s nickname until she had discovered that she liked her real name better in Kindergarten and had solemnly told she and Dan not to call her Sissy anymore. Lisa yawned in spite of herself. She pulled Alandra closer. Maybe it had been a dream after all.

“He calls you Sissy?”

“I told him I’m not a baby.” She yawned again and the rest of what she said was lost as she began to drift into sleep.

The fear that had been rising in Lisa’s heart bled out just that quick. Her own lack of sleep caught up to her. She yawned too, and a few seconds later she drifted down into sleep thinking about talking trees that spoke to little girls and called them by their nicknames.

Morning:

She heard the alarm from her own bedroom. Dan had turned over, pulled the covers over his head and balled the pillow up under his head. He slept on, oblivious. She recalled a dream of her own. Must have been after all that had happened, she thought. She had dreamed that she had awoken briefly to hear Alandra holding a conversation with Mister Bob. Something like, “I told her… She’ll make sure you’re okay.” And the impression of another voice. Deep, resonant. She couldn’t understand it. A weird dream provoked, no doubt, by what had happened earlier and what Alandra had told her. She looked down into Alandra’s sleep eyes.

“Want to sleep a little longer, honey?” Lisa asked her.

Alandra nodded.

Lisa kissed her forehead, got out of bed and then tucked her back in. She turned to Dan.

“Do you want to sleep in a little longer too, honey,” She asked.

The wad of blankets surrounding his head nodded.

“Well, you don’t get to sleep in. Come one. Get up.”

Dan groaned. He struggled briefly with the wad of tangled blankets that surrounded his head. Alandra looked over the edge of the bed and giggled. Lisa looked at her.

“You’re not going back to sleep are you.”

“Nope,” Alandra agreed.

“Well come on then. We’ll get breakfast and coffee going while Daddy gets his shower.”

Late Morning:

Lisa shifted through her email: Nothing too pressing. She closed the browser and popped open her scripting editor. She worked for the next three hours straight after she had gotten Alandra off to school. The website she was writing a script for was nearly done. She had written the site, incorporated the graphic elements, and was finishing up the scripting that would load the cart system for the site and control purchases. She had one small script to write yet, and a few graphics to tweak and that would be it. She reached for her coffee cup, found it was empty, and headed for the kitchen.

She had just poured the coffee when she heard the sudden roar of a chainsaw. She knew the sound. She heard it often enough in the spring and fall, but it was close. Much closer than it should be, and that rattled her. She took a deep sip from her coffee, set it down on the counter, and headed for the back door, glancing through the windows as she went: Two men she didn’t know were in her backyard.

At first it alarmed her and then she realized they must be there to trim the tree. She levered open the rear door and popped her head out anyway. They both looked over and nodded.

The bigger one held the chainsaw in his hand. A bigger saw than the models she had seen used for yard work. Somewhere, probably in the garage, they had one of the small ones tucked away for just-in-case themselves.

She smiled. “Here to trim the branch?” It made her blush. She felt a little foolish asking, but the saw was huge. Maybe they were at the wrong house… Wrong job… Something.

“The tree, miss,” the smaller man answered over the roar of the chainsaw.

The smile left her face. The words Alandra had said the night before surfaced on their own but she couldn’t quite get them. Something like, Mister Bob was her friend… A tree… This tree, in fact, and they were going to kill him… Trying to kill him

“The branch,” she said.

“Uh, uh,” the small one said. He pulled a notebook from his breast pocket, studied it. “Danny said… Danny said take the whole thing.”

“Well that just can’t be right,” Lisa informed him.

“Well, miss. I got it right here in black and white.” The big one was revving up the chainsaw and looking at the big tree with something like desire on his face.

“Well, see, I give Danny a good price, ’cause we’ll just cut this son-of-a-whore-tree…” He seemed to remember that he was talking to Lisa, met her eyes and blushed deep red. He turned away. He continued after a few seconds of silence.

“This ol’ tree, we’ll cut her up for firewood,” the bigger man continued. He had let the chainsaw fall to a rough, popping idle as they talked. From the kitchen came the ringing of the telephone.

“Excuse me,” Lisa said. She turned to go and then turned back just a quickly. “I’ll have to call Dan… Maybe that’s him. It’s only the limb though, not the tree.” She turned and headed for the back door.

The phone stopped ringing just before she reached it. She cursed under her breath, picked up her coffee, sipped at it, then picked up the handset, punched in Dan’s number.

The house phone was something that their friends considered an oddity and she considered a necessity. She liked it. She had a cellphone she rarely ever used. She had no real reason to. Her cell phone dislike wasn’t part of some strange phobia, it was just a habit she had never developed. She was a stay at home mom, what did she need a cellphone for, she asked her friends when the chided her about it. Secretly she hated it. More truthfully, she knew, she loathed it. It was something akin to being tracked everywhere you went. She had tried one for a year and that was how it made you feel. You didn’t have to slip it in your pocket, but you did. You didn’t have to answer it in the super market, but you did. While driving, while gardening, she had even tentatively answered it once when she had been in the bathroom.

That had been it for her. The cell phone had gone in a drawer, and the next time she had been at the big shopping center she had bought a wall phone with a built in answering machine. She had bugged Dan to get the house phone put in and things had been perfect. Calls went to the machine: If she felt like answering she did. But she didn’t rush to answer. She didn’t buy a portable phone to add to the line. She liked it the way it was.

Smooth silence greeted her on the line, then it clicked and a voice was in her ear.

“Hello? … Hello?”

“Hello?” Lisa answered.

“Miss Stevens?” A voice asked.

“Yes.”

“That’s so weird… It never rang… Just sounded as though a number was being punched in,” the voice said.

“You must have been there when I picked up to dial,” Lisa said. “Sorry.”

“No… No, it’s okay… Miss Stevens, this is Ms Edwards… Joan Edwards?” Alandra’s teacher.

“Is something wrong?” Lisa heard the panic as it jumped into her voice, but she couldn’t have stopped it if she had wanted to.

“No… No, but, well, Alandra’s upset… Very upset. I’ve honestly never seen her like this… She wants to talk to you… About Mister Bob? I know her father’s name is Daniel, and the explanation about Mister Bob is hard to understand… She”s upset of course, but whoever this Mister Bob is, she believes…”

“Someone is going to hurt him?” Lisa supplied.

“Well, yes… Her words were stronger.”

“Kill?” Lisa asked. Her words seemed forced, her heart hammered right at the back of her throat, fast, hot, her tongue was dry and hard to move.

“That was it… I know it’s unusual, but I’m here in the principle’s office…, She’s quite upset.”

“Put her on? Put her on,” Lisa told her. “Baby? Alandra?” The sound of Alandra’s sobbing came to her. “Baby, what’s wrong…? What about Mister Bob?” She was getting more than a little freaked out. Two men had come to cut down her imaginary friend the tree. But there was no way she could know that, was there?

“Mommy, they came to kill Mister Bob.” Lisa only understood it because she was listening for it. Otherwise, it was just broken sobs and syllables. In the backyard the chainsaw revved up to a high whine.

“Honey, they won’t cut down Mister Bob.”

“Kill, mommy, kill.”

“Kill… They won’t kill Mister Bob. They won’t kill Mister Bob… I promise.”

“Mommy, I want to come home, mommy. I want to. I want to see Mister Bob!” She sobbed even harder. The phone clattered and the teacher was back on the line.

“Miss Steven’s, I don’t know…”

“Ms Edwards… Ms Edwards I’m coming to pick her up. I’ll explain when I get there, but I’ll come to pick her up.”

“Well if you think…”

“I do… Thank you so much, Ms Edwards.” The phone was back on the hook before the teacher answered, and Lisa was palming the back door open. The big guy was getting ready to cut a notch into the tree. She waved her arms and yelled at the smaller guy who tapped the bigger guy on the shoulder. He seemed to hesitate, then he turned to face Lisa. She motioned impatiently at the saw: Reluctantly he shut it off.

“Did I say you’re not cutting down my goddamn tree?”

“Miss… The mister said…”

“I don’t care what the mister said. The tree stays.”

“Miss,” the big one soothed. “It’ll be quick. I’m insured if that’s what you’re worried about. Let me take this ‘ol bitch down and get it over.”

“It’s a he,” Lisa said.

“What?”

“A… Never mind. You’re not cutting down my tree… Are you really standing here on my property arguing with me about my own goddamn tree?” She took a few steps toward him and he stepped back, flinching as he did, despite the fact that he was easily twice her size.

“Miss,” he started, but the smaller one patted him on the arm. He turned, paused, and finally seemed to realize he would not be cutting down the tree after all. “We’ll be going,” he said after a long period of silence.

Lisa didn’t wait. She walked back into the house and was backing her Honda out of the driveway before the two men had finished loading up their truck.

Late Evening:

Lisa popped her head into Alandra’s room, but she was fast asleep. Dan looked over the top of her head.

“Okay?” He asked.

Lisa nodded, closed the door a little farther and then followed Dan down the darkened hallway to their own room.

“A talking tree,” Dan said, not quite laughing as he changed for bed.

“She believed it… Believes it… I can’t cut down her tree.”

Dan shrugged. “Willy and Timmy were pissed off.”

“So was I.” Lisa said.

“I heard.” He held up his hands. “Not that you didn’t have a right to be… I should have told you. I made a deal to just take down the tree. I figured I’d just end up trimming the thing for years… It’s a bad place… But, if it stays, it stays.”

“I didn’t say the tree talked to me,” Lisa said.

“I know,” Dan agreed.

“I feel a little defensive.”

“Don’t.”

“Don’t?”

“Don’t… It’s over.”

“Would you have done the same thing?”

“Are you kidding? Nandie crying on the phone? I would have run them both out of the yard.” He sighed.

Lisa smiled. “Okay, that made me feel better.” She reached for the light, casting the bedroom in half light from the glow of the red numerals on the clock. Dan noticed but said nothing.

“I didn’t like the other clock,” Lisa said.

He pulled her close. “Okay,” he agreed. “Red’s good.”

“Baby,” Lisa pulled back and looked up into his eyes. “Do you think, well, do you think trees can …”

“Talk,” Dan supplied.

“No, I was going to say feel pain… Weird, right?”

“Well, they’re alive, aren’t they? But pain? I don’t know… Are you serious?”

“Well, Alandra was so upset… So hurt and…”

“It was a bad dream. You know how a dream can seem at that age. Like everything… Real. Completely real to a kid.”

“You think?”

“I think,” Dan soothed. He pulled her closer.

Lisa snuggled her head into his chest, meaning only to close her eyes for a few moments, but she drifted off into sleep instead.

Late Night:

“Sissy…” Softly on the wind…

Alandra’s eyes opened in the darkness of her bedroom.

“Mister Bob,” she whispered. She sat up and looked to the window, got out of bed and walked over quietly raising the window a little. She sat down on the floor and looked up at the branches that were only a few feet outside the window. The blue-gray moon floated above the limbs far above the tree. The name came again on the wind. Softly… Barely there.

“Sissy…”

She smiled. “Mister Bob,” she whispered once more…


Check out the full collection of stories in Mister Bob with free previews

Here for the US: amazon or UK: amazon uk

Don’t forget to get your free copy of Earth’s Survivors: Apocalypse:

iTunes | Nook | Smashwords

Have a great week, Geo.

Earth’s Survivors Life Stories The Story of Candace and Mike

Earth’s Survivors Life Stories The Story of Candace and Mike


This material is protected by copyright law and is used on this blog with permission from the author and the publisher.

This work is NOT edited for content. Read at you own discretion 


Earth’s Survivors Life Stories: Candace & Mike

Copyright 2017 Dell Sweet

Additional copyrights 2010 – 2013


ONE

CANDACE

March 1st

The traffic leaving the parking lot had slowed to a trickle, the lot nearly empty. The live shows were over, the bands packed up and gone, the dancers gone before or at the same time. The club was empty except Jimmy, the club boss, Don, the main door security, and me.

“Why are you still here, Candy,” Jimmy asked as he came up to the bar. He was on his way back from the parking lot. It was a short trip across the parking lot to the bank night deposit on the lot next door.

“I had an idea that Harry would be by tonight. He wanted to talk to me,” I shrugged. Harry was a Bookie, at least on the surface. Off the surface, or maybe it would be truer to say under the surface, Harry controlled most of the organized crime north of Syracuse. Jimmy… Jimmy managed the club, among other things, but the best description for Jimmy was to say Jimmy solved problems for Harry.

“Wants to talk you into staying here. That’s about all,” Jimmy said.

I turned away and pretended to check my face in the mirrored wall behind the bar. I wanted to Dance. I had suggested to Harry, through Jimmy, that maybe it was time for me to move on if there wasn’t any hope of me dancing. “Anyway, I ended up tending bar. So…”

“So it’s not dancing.” He dug one hand into his pocket and pulled out a thick wad of bills. He peeled two hundreds from the roll and pushed them into my hand, folding his hand over my own and closing it when I started to protest.

“But,” I started.

“But nothing. We did a lot in bar sales. You and I both know it was because of you.” He smiled, let go of my hand and stepped back. “It was me, not Harry,” he said.

I fixed my eyes on him. I knew what he might be about to say, but I wanted to be sure.

He sighed. “It was me that put the stop to your dancing. You’re too goddamn good for dancing, Candy. And once you start?” He barked a short, derisive laugh. “The law thing?  Right out the window. What’s a cop make anyway in this town? Maybe thirty or forty a year?” He settled onto one of the stools that lined the bar, tossed his hat onto the bar top and patted the stool next to him. He continued talking.

“So, thirty, maybe forty, and what’s a dancer make? I can tell you there are dancers here who make better than one fifty a year. And that’s what I pay them. That’s not the side stuff or tips.” He moved one large hand, fished around behind the bar and came up with a bottle of chilled Vodka from the rack that held it just below eye level. He squinted at the label. “Cherry Surprise,” he questioned in a voice low enough to maybe be just for himself. “This shit any good, Candy?”

“It’s not bad,” I told him. I leaned over the bar and snagged two clean glasses when he asked me, setting them on the bar top. He poured us both about three shots worth. “Jesus, Jimmy.”

He laughed. “Which is why I don’t make drinks. It’d break me.” He sipped at his glass, made a face, but sipped again. I took a small sip of my own drink and settled back onto the bar stool.

“So, I said to myself, smart, beautiful, talented, and you have that something about you that makes men look the second time. You know?” He took another small sip. “Man sees a woman walking down the street or across a crowded dance floor, beautiful or not he looks. That look might be short or it might be long. Depends on the woman. Then he looks away. Does he look back? Not usually. But with you he does. There are women men look at that second time for whatever reason, and you’re one of them. I looked a second time, and then I really looked, for a third time. And I’ve seen a lot. That tattoo makes men and women look again.” His eyes fell on the tattoo that started on the back of my left hand, ran up my arm, across my breasts and then snaked back down over my belly and beyond. I knew it was provocative. That was the rebellious part of me. I had no better explanation for why I had sat, lain, through five months of weekly ink work to get it done.

Jimmy rubbed one huge open palm across the stubble of his cheeks. “Jesus do I need a shave.” He took a large drink from his glass. “It wasn’t the tattoo. It caught my eye, but that wasn’t what made me look that third time.”

“Candy, I took a third look because I saw a young woman that doesn’t need to have anything to do with this world. You’re too goddamn smart, talented, for this. So I said no. I let you dance a few times, but I didn’t want you to fall into it. I made the decision that you should tend bar instead of dance.” He tossed off the glass.

“I see that,” I told him, although I didn’t completely see it. He was reading a lot about what he thought, what he saw, into who I really was.

“Yeah? I don’t think so, Candy. And that’s a reason right there. Candy… like a treat. When did it become okay for anyone to call you that, because I remember a few months back when you started hanging around, it was Candace, and pity the dumb bastard who didn’t understand that. Now it’s Candy to any Tom, Dick or Harry that comes along.” He saw the hurt look in my eyes, reached below the bar, snagged the bottle and topped off his glass. I shook my head, covered the top of my glass with my hand and smiled. He put the bottle back and continued.

“I’m not trying to hurt you, only keep you on track. I’m giving you the keys. You drive. All I’m saying is set your ground rules. Make them rigid. Don’t let anyone – me, Harry, these boys that work here, customers – Don’t let anyone cross those lines. You see, Candy?”

I nodded.

“Yeah? Then why not call me on calling you Candy? I’ve done it since we sat down. Why not start there?”

“Well… I mean, you’re the boss, Jimmy.”

“This is why you start there. I don’t allow anyone to talk anyway to anyone that doesn’t want that. Let me explain that. You got girls that work the streets. You don’t see it so much here. It’s a small city, but it happens. I spent a few years on the streets in Rochester, bigger place, as a kid. Happens all the time there.” He sipped at his drink. I took a sip of my own drink and raised my brows at what he had said.

“Yeah? Don’t believe it? It’s true. I fought my way up. I have respect because I earned it.” He waved one hand. “Don’t let me get off track.” He smiled and took another sip from his glass. “So, I’ve seen girls on the streets… Whores… It is what it is. Would you hear me say that to them? Maybe you would, maybe you wouldn’t. If a woman sees herself as a whore, if that’s all it is, what it is, then who am I to say different? Do you see? It’s a living, or it’s a life… There is a difference. Now back to you. You want to dance. Some of these girls,” he waved one meaty hand at the empty stage area, “work the other side. Some of them do that for me, some do it on their own. Some don’t,” he sighed. “Either way you would not see me treat them any other way than what they want to be treated. I mean that. If you believe you are a whore and that is what you see, then that is what you show the world, and that is how the world sees you… treats you,” he settled his eyes on me.

I nodded. I didn’t trust my voice. I had been down this road on my own. What did it say about me? That it only mattered that I made it? That money mattered more than anything else? Would I be swayed by the money? Was I even being honest with myself about my motivations? I really didn’t know. I knew what I told myself on a daily basis… that I wanted to follow my Father into law enforcement, but was it whimsical like so many other things in my life that I never followed through on?

“You are not just a dancer. There is a part of you that is, a part of you that likes the way a man looks at you, likes the money. But there is another part that is the private you, the real you. You need to keep those distinctions.” He rubbed at his eyes, tossed off the rest of his drink and rose from the bar stool. “Let me drop you home, Candy,” he asked.

I stood, leaving my mostly full drink sitting on the bar top. “I have my car,” I told him.

“It’s late. Creeps around maybe.”

“Jimmy, every creep in my neighborhood knows I work here… for you. Guys stopped talking to me, let alone the creeps.” I laughed, but it wasn’t really all that funny. It had scared me when I realized who Jimmy was, who Jimmy worked for. In effect, who I worked for. Another questionable thing? Probably.

Jimmy nodded. “Smart creeps. The southern Tier’s a big place. Easy to lose yourself, with or without a little help.” He looked at his watch and then fixed his eyes on me once more. “So you keep your perspective, set your limits, draw your lines,” he spoke as he shrugged into his coat, retrieved his hat from the bar top and planted it on his head, “Don’t let anybody cross those lines. You start next week, let’s say the eleventh?”

I nodded.

“Take the balance of the time off. By the time the eleventh comes around you should be ready for a whole new world. A whole new life.” He stood looking down at me for a second. “The big talk I guess. For what it’s worth, I don’t say those things often, Candy.”

I nodded. “I believe that. And, Jimmy?”

He looked down at me. He knew what was coming. He expected it, and that was the only reason I was going to say it. I knew better than to correct Jimmy V. There were a lot of woods up here. They did go on forever and they probably did hold a lot of lost people. I may be slow but I’m far from stupid.

“Please don’t call me Candy,” I told him.

He smiled. “Don’t be so goddamn nice about it. Don’t call me Candy,” he rasped a dangerous edge to his voice. “Look ’em right in the eye. Don’t call me Candy. Put a little attitude in your look. A little I can fuckin’ snap at any minute attitude. Let me see that.”

I put my best street face on. The one I had used growing up on the streets in Syracuse. I knew that I can snap at any minute look. I’d used it many times. “Don’t call me Candy,” I told him in a voice that was not my own. My street voice, “Just don’t do it.”

“Goddamn right, Doll,” Jimmy told me. “Goddamn right. Scared me a little there. That’s that street wise part of you.” He took my head in both massive hands, bent and kissed the top of my head. “I will see you on the eleventh,” he told me.

I nodded. I let the Doll remark go.

I followed Jimmy out the back door past Don who nodded at me and winked. Don was an asshole. Always hitting on us when Jimmy wasn’t around. But Jimmy was his uncle. I was employing my best selective perception when I smiled at him. I wondered if I would ever get used to him. Probably not, I decided, but maybe that would be a good thing. Of course, it didn’t matter. I never saw Don again. Or Jimmy. Or anyone else from that life.

I said goodbye to Jimmy V, crossed the parking lot for the last time and drove myself home. I parked my rusted out Toyota behind my Grandparents house, and twenty-four hours later my world, everybody’s world, was completely changed.

Candace ~ March 2nd

This is not a diary. I have never kept a diary. They say, never say never, but I doubt I will. I have never been this scared. The whole world is messed up. Is it ending? I don’t know, but it seems like it’s ending here. Earthquakes, explosions. I’ve seen no Police, Fire or emergency people all day. It’s nearly night. I think that’s a bad sign. I have the Nine Millimeter that used to be my Father’s. I’ve got extra ammo too. I’m staying inside.

Candace ~ March 3rd

I lost this yesterday; my little notebook. I left it by the window so I could see to write, but I swear it wasn’t there when I went to get it; then I found it again later on by the window right where I left it. Maybe I’m losing it.

There are no Police, no Firemen, phones, electric. The real world is falling apart. Two days and nothing that I thought I knew is still here. Do you see? The whole world has changed.

I got my guitar out and played it today. I played for almost three hours. I played my stuff. I played some blues. Usually blues will bring me out of blues, but it didn’t work. It sounded so loud, so out of place, so… I don’t know. I just stopped and put it away.

Candace ~ March 4th

I’m going out. I have to see, if I don’t come back. Well… What good is writing this?

Candace ~ March 5th

The whole city has fallen apart. I spent most of yesterday trying to see how bad this is. I finally realized it’s bad beyond my being able to fix it. It’s bad as in there is no authority. It’s bad as in there is no Jimmy V. I hear gunshots at night, all night. And screams. There are still tremors. If I had to guess, I would say it’s the end of the civilized world, unless things are better somewhere else. I have to believe that. Power, structure, it’s all gone. I mean it’s really all gone. This city is torn up. There are huge areas that are ruined. Gulleys, ravines; missing streets and damaged bridges. The damage costs have to be in the billions… And that’s just here. There’s me and my little notebook I’m writing in, and my nine millimeter. I’ve got nothing else for company right now.

I’ve got water, some peanuts and crackers. How long can this go on? What then?

Candace ~ March 6th

I’ve decided to leave. I can’t stay here. There was a tremor last night, and not one of the really bad ones, but even so I was sure the house would come down on me. It didn’t. Maybe though, that is a sign, I told myself. And scared or not, I have to go. I have to. I can’t stay here. Maybe tomorrow.

Candace ~ March 7th

The streets are a mess. I’ve spent too much of the last week hiding inside my apartment. Most of my friends, and that’s a joke, I didn’t have anyone I could actually call a friend; So I guess I would say most of my acquaintances believed my grandparents were alive and that I lived here with them. They weren’t. I didn’t. I kind of let that belief grow, fostered it, I guess.

I planted the seed by saying it was my Nana Pans’ apartment. You can see the Asian in me, so it made sense to them that she was my Nana. But I look more like I’m a Native American than African American and Japanese. It’s just the way the blood mixed, as my father used to say. But Native American or Asian, they could see it in my face. And this neighborhood is predominantly Asian. Mostly older people. There were two older Asian women that lived in the building. They probably believed one of those women was my Nana, and I didn’t correct them.

I can’t tell you why I did that. I guess I wanted that separation. I didn’t want them, anyone, to get to know me well. My plan had been to dance, earn enough money for school – Criminal Justice – and go back to Syracuse. Pretend none of this part of my life had ever happened. Some plan. It seemed workable. I wondered over what Jimmy V. had said to me. Did he see something in me that I didn’t, or was he just generalizing? It doesn’t matter now I suppose.

My Grandmother passed away two years ago. The apartment she had lived in was just a part of the building that she owned. Nana Pan, my mother’s mother, had rented the rest of the building out. The man who had lived with her was not my Grandfather – he had died before I was born – but her brother who had come ten years before from Japan. They spoke little English. People outside of the neighborhood often thought they were man and wife. She didn’t bother correcting them, my mother had told me. Nana Pan thought that most Americans were superficial and really didn’t care, so what was the use in explaining anything to them? Maybe that’s where I got my deceptiveness from.

I had left the house as it was. Collected rents through an agency. For all anyone knew, I was just another tenant. Of course Jimmy V. had known. He had mentioned it to me. But Jimmy knew everything there was to know about everyone. That was part of his business. It probably kept him alive.

So I stayed and waited. I believed someone would show up and tell me what to do. But no one did. I saw a few people wander by yesterday, probably looking for other people, but I stayed inside. I don’t know why, what all my reasons were. A lot of fear, I think.

There have been earthquakes. The house is damaged. I went outside today and really looked at it. It is off the foundation and leaning. I should have gotten out of it the other night when I knew it was bad. It’s just dumb luck it hasn’t fallen in on me and killed me.

It doesn’t matter now though. I met a few others today, and I’m leaving with them. I don’t know if I’ll stay with them. I really don’t know what to expect from life anymore.

I’m taking this and my gun with me. Writing this made me feel alive. I don’t know how better to say it.

I’ll write more here I think. I just don’t know when or where I’ll be.

Downtown Watertown

He came awake in the darkness, but awake wasn’t precisely the term. Alive was precisely the term. He knew alive was precisely the term, because he could remember dying. He remembered that his heart had stopped in his chest. He had remembered wishing that it would start again. That bright moment or two of panic, and then he remembered beginning not to care. It didn’t matter. Nothing mattered. And he had drifted away.

Now he had drifted back. But drifted was not exactly right. He had slammed back into himself where he lay on the cold subbasement floor where he had been murdered by a roving gang of thieves. And he knew those things were true because he remembered them. And he knew they were true because he was dead. He was still dead. His heart was not beating in his chest. His blood was cold and jelled in his veins. He could feel it. Some kind of new perception.

He lay and watched the shadows deepen in the corners of the basement ceiling for a short time longer, and then he tried to move.

His body did not want to move at first. It felt as though it weighed a ton, two tons, but with a little more effort it came away. He sat and then crawled to his knees.

In the corner a huge rat stopped on his way to somewhere to sniff at him, decided he was probably food and came to eat him. He had actually sat for a second while the rat first sniffed and then began to gnaw at one fingernail. Then he had quickly snatched the rat up with his other hand, snapped its back in his fist and then shoved him warm and squirming into his mouth. A few minutes later he stood on shaky legs and walked off into the gloom of the basement, looking for the stairs and the way up to the streets.


Get this book at Amazon: Click for Kindle | Click for Paperback

Other books in the series.

Jack and Maria | Billy | Beth | Bear

Dogs and Cats and Earth’s Survivors Plague

Dogs and Cats and Earth’s Survivors Plague. Posted by Dell 07-15-17

Happy Saturday!

What I’m doing:

#1: I caught up on Earth’s Survivors six, it is now available on iTunes.

#2: Earth’s Survivors Book One, two, three, four and five are now offered pretty much anywhere on-line. Nook, I-Tunes, Amazon, Smashwords.

Dell Sweet’s Earth’s Survivors: iTunes | Nook | Kobo | Smashwords

#3: Dreamers two is in editing.

That’s it for the news, news. In other news; Fred: If you read my blogs you know my cat Fred turned out not to be a Fred at all. About the time she discovered the neighborhood Tom: I should have known, but I thought they were just friends. You know, two Toms. But, no, she’s about as pregnant as a cat can get, almost as wide as long. I said that last week and she just keeps getting bigger. It’s sort of like the little flat popcorn bag in the Microwave. Pop … pop … pop .pop pop Pop POP! And I can’t believe how big she is. So I placed her on Maternity leave. I expect a litter of Puppies. Yes Puppies, she’s certainly big enough and I’m not a cat person anyway: Which brings me to pets…

I have this constant Cat / Dog thing. I think of Cats as Female and Dogs as Males. I thought that was common. A no-brainer, but I mentioned it the other day and somebody looked at me like I was crazy. So I guess not everybody looks at it the same… Or that guy was weird and he may have been. But, pets…

Dogs and Begging… Cats and Begging…

Dogs beg and rarely will they turn down what they have begged for. The dog couldn’t care less. I have seen a dog eat potato chips, cheese curd, pudding, green beans, toast, and I once owned a Dog, Sammy, and she ate mice. Yes. Whole.

Cats? Yes on the mouse, but the cat will only eat parts of the mouse and you will have to clean up the rest, or, Like my Fred, they will bring the dead or alive mouse to you. Fred likes to bring them to me alive. I guess that is Fred’s way of making sure I get my exercise chasing the damn mouse/squirrel/bird through the house. But the rest? No. A cat will not eat any of the rest of it. But that does not mean the cat won’t beg for it anyway. Mine does. And every time I give her some, and every time she turns her nose up and walks away.

Dogs appreciate snacks, Cats feel you owe them. If a cat had a lawyer? You would never speak to the cat. If a dog had a lawyer he’d be having a conversation like this with the lawyer… “I don’t know, Bob. They’re pretty good people and if I sued them they might not give me anymore peanut butter sandwich bites and I like peanut butter sandwich bites and I… I… Excuse me Bob, I’ll be right back…” Zoom, the dog is off and into the office where I just happen to be eating a peanut butter sandwich. And, that only makes sense. Dogs are all about sniffing scents out of the air. They sniff everything, all the time. Chairs, Fire Hydrants, Butts, Crotches, Car tires, everything they do is about smell. If you’re eating a peanut butter sandwich in the attic, balanced on the window ledge with the heat of the house rushing past you and carrying the smell away they would know about it… It would go something like this…

There you are, hanging out the window, eating your peanut butter sandwich. No dog. And then suddenly, far away, the phone rings. You think nothing of it, but a few moments later the attic door bumps open and up the stairs trots your dog (Feel free to substitute Skippy or Lassie or Rover here), Bear. He trots up and does that sideways twisting his head thing that is so, well, Dog like.

“Hey,” he says, (If dogs could talk) “That was Brownie from two blocks over, you know, Mrs. Johnson’s dog. I pooped on her lawn last week and you went ballistic?” He just looks goofy while you nod. “Yeah, well Brownie says your up here hanging out the window eating Peanut Butter sandwiches…. Huh, I said to Brownie… What do you know about that.”

“I saved you a bite,” You say and toss him half the sandwich. And he eats it whole. No swallowing… No choking. No chewing. Jaws open. Jaws close (Except sometimes with Peanut Butter when it sticks to the roof of their mouth.) and the half sandwich is gone. I’d like to see a cat do that.

Fred sits their and begs with dignity. She doesn’t want to appear to be needy. Bear (My last dog who has passed) couldn’t care less about dignity. If you go around sniffing butts all day as a form of greeting then dignity is a pretty large gray area. If you look at Fred she looks away like,  “I thought I saw a mouse.”  or  “I’m only here because I love you…” Nevertheless, she begs and she expects a payoff and it better not be peanut butter. I often try to present my side of it, “All I have is peanut butter, Fred. You’re wasting your time.” She looks like, “Well, there’s a kitchen full of Bologna and Sliced Ham.” (Her favorite foods). And of course I’m not going out there just to get her a damned piece of Bologna No. So I go out to get a damn glass of juice, she follows, and then, somehow, she hypnotizes me and I’m opening the Ham package to get her some…

Cats and Dogs. They don’t mix, most of the time anyway, and people who are Cat people are not usually Dog people and vice versa. I am a dog person and really, someone should break the news to Fred because Fred thinks I’m a cat person.

Someday… In a perfect world… I will once again possess a dog… And the world will be perfect… And we’ll stand on the porch at dusk and watch the sun go down… Geez… It’ll be great… Just me and my dog…

Of course I’ll have to start with a puppy… And It’ll probably poop all over the house… And knowing my luck it’ll make friends with a cat… A pregnant cat… A pregnant cat that I thought was a boy cat… and then the whole vicious cycle will start all over again…

My best seller this last week was Earth’s Survivors: Plague . I have included the links to get it.

I-tunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/earths-survivors-plague/id1015630497?mt=11

Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/earths-survivors-dell-sweet/1122252296?ean=2940152010350

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/536454

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/earth-s-survivors-plague

Hey, enjoy the weekend, Dell…

Earth’s Survivors Book four Book Preview

Earth’s Survivors Book four

Book Previews Posted by Dell Sat, July 1, 2017 12:56:14

I am going to upload a free preview of Earth’s Survivors Home In The Valley, book four. The book is written, remember this is a revamp of the old series and this is the last re-publish to make it whole.

Though this is a revamp there is a great deal more book than there ever was: The story line is broader, there are new situations and characters. All of which had been written and then dropped from the published books. Look for Home in the Valley during the next few weeks. Initially it will be readily available from Amazon Digital and Smashwords, over the following weeks it will be available through B&N, KOBO, DIESEL and Google Play as the others are.


COPYRIGHT NOTICE:

This material is copyright 2015 by Dell Sweet, all rights reserved. You may not transfer, copy or publish this work in any format, digital or traditional print without the author’s express written permission. You may quote brief sections in critiques.


This material is NOT edited for content


ONE

September 16th Year one

They left in three Jeeps just as dawn began to spill its light over the mountains in the south.

Katie had promised herself that there would be no tears, but it was a promise she couldn’t keep. Tears were practically the first thing to come. Leaping from her eyes of their own accord.

Amy had been unable to hold her tears back either. But both of them had been able to step back and let them go.

“Hormones,” Janna told them. And for some reason that made both of them giggle and neither one of them had been able to stop.

Sandy came up to the top of the ledge path, looked down at the two women giggling uncontrollably with tears running down their faces, turned to Janna and they both said “Hormones” which caused both of them to laugh.

They both walked over to Katie and Amy, took them under the arms, helped them to their feet and started down the ledge.

“Coffee,” Janna said. “It’ll do both of you good.”

Amy had slowed to a sniffle.

“Hormones,” Katie said, and they both began giggling again.

~

They made good time with the lightweight Jeeps, and found themselves at the head of the first valley by late morning. They took a few minutes and used the radios.

“Is something wrong,” Katie asked.

“No, Babe. We’re already at the first valley so we thought we had better call now… We may be out of range later on in the day, or tonight when we stop.”

Arron was carrying on a similar conversation with Amy on a different channel Dustin and Annie sharing a phone talking to Lilly as well and then Amy too.

Conner told Katie he loved her and then handed the phone to Molly. Arron handed his to Nellie.

A half hour later they were following the straighter lines of the tall pines through the forest.

“This is not a slow trip when you’re not driving a huge truck loaded down with cows and pigs and all that other stuff,” Arron said.

“I was thinking that too,” Conner agreed. “It seems as though we are so removed from everything. So isolated. But it looks like we’ll drive out in a little more than a day.”

“We’re only what, a hundred miles in? Little more, little less?”

“Little less, I think,” Conner agreed.

“Why does it seem to be going by so fast,” Arron wondered.

“Because, if you think about it. On the way in we drove slow. And we moved everything out of the way. Dead limbs, branches, trees, there isn’t anything left to slow us down.” Conner said.

Arron nodded. “Plus. No cows, horses, pig-chickens. Either.”

“Plus we know where we’re going too. We didn’t before. What’s a pig-chicken anyway?”

Arron laughed. “I meant pigs and chickens.” They both laughed.

September 16th

The Old State Campgrounds

Adam and Beth

The State Park sign was overgrown, sun faded and leaning at the side of the road.

The four trucks sat idling just inside the treeline of the old narrow road that lead down into the campground. The driver’s door of the second truck in line popped open, and Beth, wearing military style fatigues and carrying a wire stock machine pistol, walked up to the driver’s side of the lead truck and tapped on the glass.

Billy looked up from the map he was reading. “Beth, Just checking out this map. I think this is right.” His finger jabbed at a spot on the map that had been circled with red ink. “This used to be a state park. It’s early. I thought we should stop, plan where we go next.”

“Good a place as any, I guess,” Beth said. She looked up, staring down along the gloomy road and into the abandoned campground.

“What?” Billy asked.

Beth shook her head. “Nerves are on edge, Billy. I just thought I heard something.”

She smiled and turned back to Billy where he sat, map spread across his lap, the truck idling in park.

“But it doesn’t feel right. That’s why I stopped here, didn’t drive down in. Feels funny,” Billy told her.

“The location?”

Another truck door opened on the third truck back and Adam strode toward the front. He left the door hanging ajar. Halfway between the lead vehicle and his own he lifted his arms up into the air and shrugged his shoulders. “What’s the deal?” He asked in a deep bass voice.

The window on the last truck rolled down, the electric motor whining as it dropped. Mac stuck his head out of the window. “What the fuck, Adam?” he asked.

Adam stopped and turned. He shrugged his massive shoulders once more. “Something with Billy and Beth.” He turned and began walking back to the lead truck once more.

Beth lifted her eyes from the map just as the first shot came from the trees behind the back of the last truck.

“Jesus! Jesus, Billy…In the woods!” She shrugged her machine pistol off her shoulder and caught it with both hands. She was already moving toward the back vehicles. In front of her, Adam was turning away from her, back toward the rear, his massive frame blocking her view. Somewhere towards the back truck someone began to scream. Iris, she thought, it was Iris who was screaming.

She found herself running at that point. Her legs pumping effortlessly, the adrenaline surging through her veins. Iris was in the truck with Mac.

She had no sooner had the thought then she heard another voice began to scream. She couldn’t place it, but as she rounded Adam, catching up and passing him, she saw that two men had Mac on the ground, biting and snarling as he tried to fight them off.

“Beth!” Billy screamed from behind her. “Right. Your right!”

She had been just about to fire at the two men attacking Mac, and so even as she turned, she did not turn her pistol completely, but kept it aimed to the front towards Mac and the two men. By the time she registered how close the three men were to her, there was no time to turn the pistol and fire. They were nearly on her. She had no more registered their faces, jaws wide, eye’s milky and leaking puss, teeth gnashing – she had not even had the time to worry about her own fate yet – when the lead man’s head blew apart in a spray of black blood and bone.

She blinked involuntarily and managed to bring her pistol around as the two remaining men tried to reverse direction in mid stride. Their eyes were wild, trapped looking. She brought up the pistol and pulled the trigger.

Nothing happened, and her heart staggered in her chest. The safety… the fucking safety, her mind screamed, and that was when a woman hit her from the side and she went sprawling onto the dirt road. There were two more on her before she could get turned over. She felt the first bite to her arm and ignored it, as she concentrated on getting the safety off the pistol she had somehow managed to hold onto as she fell.

The passenger door on the second truck flew open, and Dell jumped from the truck, machine pistol spiting fire as he ran. The gunfire all along the road was crazy. It had instantly become a war zone. Dell made it halfway around the hood of the truck when he stepped into a crossfire and his head exploded, spraying across the hood of the truck.

Adam sprayed the woods with his machine pistol. The infected had all come from the same direction, and once he had focused on them, it had been easy to mow them down. They began to slow, some turning to run back into the woods, some standing as if they didn’t know what to do. Adam launched himself away from the truck fender he had been leaning against and began to run at them, firing as he went, a scream building from his throat.

Billy had staggered to a stop just past the end of his rear bumper. He had watched Dell come into his line of fire, and he had instantly let loose of his trigger, but it had been too late. He was in shock and time seemed to slow to a crawl. His eyes swiveled back around, and he saw that Beth was pinned to the ground by two women. Blood ran from one arm as she struggled to hold them off. Both women were infected. Mucus scaled their cheeks, mouths yawning, teeth gnashing, necks swollen. He yelled and charged them, raising the stock of his rifle, smashing in the back of the head of the first one, kicking the other aside with a hard shot to the ribs and spraying her with a short burst that took her head from her shoulders after she had rolled a short distance across the ground.

~

One of the infected had stopped at the last truck and dragged the young man inside out through the open window. Two more joined him and pulled him the rest of the way out of the truck.

The first man then lunged through the open window and fastened his teeth on Iris’s throat as she tried to fight him off, and the inside of the truck became a slaughter house. He was so engrossed in feeding, that he did not see the machine pistols barrel as it thrust through the open window a few minutes later. He only barely felt it as it bit into the back of his head. Adam pulled the trigger, and his head blew apart. Iris stopped screaming.

The remaining infected stopped in mid stride, tried to turn back to the woods, but the machine pistols mowed them down where they stood or as they turned to run. Adam, Billy and Beth were on their feet moving in a loose line toward the wooded area once again.

Behind them, Cammy, Jamie and Winston, who had stayed in the trucks with the children, came out now and joined them. The gunfire held strong for a few moments, and then everything stopped at once. The last of the infected fell or managed to get far enough into the woods as to no longer be seen.

Silence crashed down all along the road. It held for what seemed like minutes. The swirling haze of smoke from the gunfire hung heavy in the late afternoon air. The headlights of the trucks cut through it, making it dance through the blue-white beams of light. The overcast sky and the sudden silence made it seem as though night had arrived all at once. There was very little to hear in the silence: the still running trucks, a scratching, scrabbling sound as one of the infected tried to crawl off the road and into the woods. Beth turned shakily from the woods, her face hard, set. She pulled her knife from her side sheath, took a few steps and straddled the man. She reached down, grabbed his hair, pulled his head back as he snapped and snarled, trying to reach her with his teeth. The knife flashed as she embedded it into the side of his head. She thrust one booted foot against his head and pulled her knife free, letting his head fall into the dirt. She pulled a rag from her pocket and cinched it tightly around her arm, cutting off the blood flow.

The silence held for a second longer, and then Beth began to sob as she sank down to the ground.

The Nation

The barn was shadowed and cool after the hot sun in the valley. The entire Nation was digging potatoes. Lilly, Amy and Katie were grounded from the heavy work, but they had walked down from the main cave and watched them at work on their way to the barn to collect eggs for Janna.

Katie had truly believed that after Conner and Arron left, Sandy would allow them to go back to some sort of light work. It would have proven she had only grounded them to make sure they did not go on the expedition to the outside. Maybe she had been wrong though, she thought now. Sandy had not changed her mind.

“What I want to know,” Lilly said, “is what is the difference between picking eggs up or digging potatoes?”

“The potatoes don’t have crap all over them,” Amy said.

Lilly laughed.

“Not really though, right?” Katie asked.

“What do I win?” Amy asked.

Katie slugged her in the arm. “It wasn’t a contest. Besides, you forgot to answer in the form of a question.”

“What is, the potatoes don’t have crap all over them, Alex?” Lilly asked.

“Lilly wins,” Katie said.

“Wow,” Amy said. “You guys cheat so bad.”

“So, for real, do the chickens lay the eggs and then leave them? We come along and just pick them up? And they’re not really covered with crap, right?” Katie asked.

“You know, later you’re coming down with me to get fresh rabbits for dinner,” Amy reminded her. “I expect you to know all about the modern farm by dinner this evening.” She smiled at Katie’s sarcastic grin. “Okay, the chicken lays the egg and then sits on it. You have to move the chicken to get the egg.”

“Oh… Great,” Katie said.

“It’s not so bad,” Lilly said. “Jake brought me down a few times. Just act like you have a right to be there. Reach right in, move the chicken over and take the eggs.”

“Crap on toast. I suck at this sort of stuff,” Katie complained.

Lilly laughed. “Where does Crap On Toast come from? You and Arlene have the funniest sayings I have ever heard.”

“Okay,” Amy said. They faced the line of baskets and the wire mesh door to the chicken roost. Across the barn, the rabbits had a whole section to themselves. “Grab a basket and a pair of gloves.”

Katie picked up one of the pairs of gloves. They were heavy leather, stiff. She put them back and picked up a basket. “Oh,” she set the basket back and picked up another. “Wow. These baskets are not too clean, Aim,” She showed Amy one of the baskets.

Amy took a basket, looked at it and then handed it to Katie. “It’s a basket for collecting eggs, Kate.” She turned it over and a few feathers drifted out of it.

Katie looked into the basket. “It’s got crap in it.” She looked closer. “It looks like chicken crap to me.”

“It is,” Amy said.

“Well, I was thinking, clean eggs in a basket that has chicken crap in it?”

Lilly began to laugh. Amy choked back her own laughter.

“What?” Katie asked.

“Oh, God. Don’t you make me pee myself, Kate,” Lilly said.

“But what!?”

“Okay,” Amy said. She bit back her own laughter. “I guess it’s not funny. You don’t know anything about eggs. Are you sure you want to come down here later to get the rabbits for dinner?”

Katie sighed. “No, but I have to learn sometime. So where have I got it wrong with the eggs?”

“Honey, it’s easier to show you. Here,” she handed her the basket and then a pair of the stiff leather gloves.

“I’ll skip the gloves,” Katie said. “I can’t even flex my fingers in them. I’ll never be able to grab an egg.” She tossed the heavy gloves onto the nearby bench top

Amy shook her head, grabbed a pair of gloves and a basket and then opened the door and stepped into the chicken coop. Lilly stepped in behind her and closed the door.

“Christ, chickens stink,” Katie complained.

“They do. Used to be dinosaurs,” Lilly said.

“Jesus, a two story tall chicken, but chickens don’t seem mean enough to be a dinosaur.”

“Oh, they’re mean bastards,” Amy said. “Don’t kid yourself. So,” she slipped on a glove, reached in and under the chicken, and came out with an egg. “Just like that.” She dropped the egg in her basket.

“Okay,” Katie stepped to the next chicken, plunged her hand under the chicken and then pulled it back with the egg. “There’s another egg under there,” she said as she dropped the egg into her basket. She looked at her hand. “Eww,” she looked at the egg in the basket. “There’s chicken shit all over the egg and my hand,” she held her hand up, but Amy and Lilly were both hanging onto each other laughing so hard they couldn’t catch their breath.

“Oh my God,” Lilly complained.

Amy tried to stop laughing, but Katie was still standing, her hand splayed, looking at the streaks of chicken shit that now adorned it. “I tried to tell you… I tried…” She gave up and pushed Katie back out through the door, closed it, laughing harder as she walked away to the trough that entered the barn. She picked up a steel cup and filled it with water after tipping the trough to get the water to flow clear. She picked up a sliver of lye soap and walked back to Katie.

“Hold your hands out.” She waited until she did and then poured the water over them as Katie worked them together. She handed her a piece of lye soap. The soap was iffy, more likely to burn than anything else. Katie grimaced as she worked some soap into both hands. Amy poured the rest of the water over her hands. “Don’t touch your eyes for a while,” Lilly reminded her. She had managed to stop laughing, as had Amy.

“Okay,” Amy said. “For real. You have to wear the gloves. Eggs have shit on them. They come that way, and sometimes the chickens will peck you as you’re taking the egg. They don’t always take that well. Other than that, you did good.”

“I didn’t know chicken eggs had shit on them,” Katie said.

“You grew up somewhere where you never had to deal with real eggs I guess,” Lilly said. “I grew up in Watertown and I still gathered eggs a few times.”

Katie frowned. “Never picked – gathered – eggs before. Okay… I imagine this is stupid. Why do the eggs have crap on them? Because the chicken is sitting on them? Do they always have crap on them? I may never look at eggs the same again.”

Lilly chuckled along with Amy. “Okay,” Lilly said. “Chickens don’t have, um, a separate vagina. Chickens have one canal, so to speak. It all comes out one hole.”

“Jesus. That’s messed up.”

“Probably be bad if you weren’t a chicken. But the chickens don’t seem to mind,” Lilly said.

Katie tugged the glove up her arm. “She has me murdering rabbits later.”

Lilly looked at Amy. “She wants to learn how to do it,” Amy told her.

“Conner thinks that I need to learn,” Katie frowned and stuck out her lower lip.

“Oh stop. She wants to impress him, so she’s learning. We’ll be coming right back here tomorrow to prepare chickens… fresh chickens.”

Katie frowned. “Murdering rabbits tonight, chickens tomorrow.” She went to the next chicken, reached in and under the chicken and pulled her hand out with the egg in the glove. She slipped the egg into her basket and then went back to the first chicken. “There was another egg under this one,” Katie said as she slipped her hand beneath the chicken. She started to pull her hand back when the chicken suddenly erupted into the air. Katie screamed and jumped back, crushing the egg in her gloved hand.

Lilly was on the hay covered floor, holding Amy and rolling back and forth, laughing uncontrollably.

Katie looked at the yolk and chicken shit dripping off her glove. “Can’t wait for the rabbits,” she said. Amy and Lilly went off into fresh gales of laughter.


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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.


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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

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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.

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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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