America The Dead Begins the end free chapter read

America The Dead Begins the end free chapter read


EARTH’S SURVIVORS AMERICA THE DEAD: BEGINS THE END

Earth’s Survivors America The Dead: Begins The End is copyright © 2016 Dell Sweet. All rights foreign and domestic reserved in their entirety.

Cover Art © Copyright 2016 Wendell Sweet

Some text copyright 2010, 2014, 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 © 2016 Wendell Sweet and his assignees. Dell Sweet and Geo Dell are publishing constructs owned by Wendell Sweet. No part of this book may be reproduced by any means, electronic, print, scanner or any other means and, or distributed without the author’s permission.

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


This excerpt is used by permission

This excerpt has NOT been edited for content in any way and is rated 18+


March 2nd

New York: Watertown

Joel and Haley

Morning

Joel Morrison awoke to the sounds of birds whistling in the early morning pre-dawn. Birds, he thought, usually the sounds from the mills drowned them out.

He had made it home around 6:00 PM the previous evening. He was working the midnight to eight shift and had stopped into the Rusty Nail after work to have a few drinks with some other guys from the paper mill.

He had wanted to leave before the bar began to fill up. The Rusty Nail had gotten more than a bit rowdy as of late. Two years before, one of Joel’s good friends, Moon Calloway, had been killed in the bar. That had seemed to turn the tide. After that point the bar had become much worse, a proving grounds of sorts for the young GI’s from the base. Joel often wondered why he even bothered to hang around there at all. Last night it had seemed as though the rowdy element was showing up even earlier than it usually did, when Johnny Barnes had offered the ride Joel had accepted.

The house on Linden Street wasn’t much, but it was paid for, and Joel knew a lot of guys at the mill who either rented or were damn close to losing their homes to the bank. Times were tough in the old U-S-of-A, and at least he had the place free and clear.

He had practically fallen into bed once he had gotten home. He hadn’t realized how tired he was.

He’d been working all the short shifts he could get, along with his normal evening shifts, saving the money after he’d paid off the house, and today would be the start of his first real vacation in over twelve years.

Joel had grown up in the small city of Watertown, and had never left. It suited him, he liked to think. Where else could you see the seasons change so vividly, or take a quiet stroll through the woods anytime you felt, he often wondered. The Adirondacks were close by. The southern tier, where he hoped to be in just a few hours, he reminded himself, stretched away for miles. Forever wild lands, Lake Ontario, wet lands. And if he wanted the big city it was just seventy miles away down route eighty-one.

This is going to be one great vacation, he thought, as he got out of bed. Despite the damn birds.

The vacation he had planned was a three week camp out in the State Forest Preserve that started only twenty miles to the east. The preserve was nestled up to the military reservation and stretched from there all the way into Central New York. Joel had no idea exactly where he would camp. He had decided to just hike until he found a spot that suited him.

As he headed for the bathroom he noticed that the clock on the dresser was off. Not blinking, but off, and he could vaguely recall dreaming of waking during the night to some loud noise.

It had seemed at first, when he had awakened within the dream, as though the entire house had been shaking. He had passed from that dream into another, but the noise and the shaking had seemed to accompany him into that dream as well. It had to have been the strangest dream he could ever recall having.

At first he had been in his bedroom; the walls shaking around him, and the next thing he knew he had been standing on a stone pathway that overlooked a wide and deep valley that stretched away for miles before it hooked to the right and disappeared. Its forward path blocked by even higher mountains, with others lifting even higher behind that. He turned to follow the ridge lines back to where he was and the scene had shifted to the bedroom once more. He had found himself sitting up in bed, breathing hard, frightened, the room silent, wondering if this was just more of the dream or an actual waking. As he began trying to figure it out, waiting for his head to clear, he had found himself sitting on a bar stool in the Rusty Nail, Moon Calloway beside him holding down the other stool.

He tried speaking to Moon, but he either couldn’t hear him, or he pretended not to. In his dream he had still known Moon was dead, so it made sense to him that he could not speak to him. He turned to Mort to order a beer and Moon had suddenly spoken.

“It was right here, Joel… Right here. Bad place to die… Used sawdust on the floor… Soaks up the beer… The blood…. You know….”

He tried to turn as soon as he heard the voice, but by the time he turned the scene had shifted again. Instantly the bar was gone and he found himself standing at the edge of what he took to be a lake at first. The water stretched away as far as he could see. There was a tang of salt on the air; red earth crumbled away as the waves came in, taking more land with it.  He could remember the salt smell from a trip to Florida as a kid with his grandparents. The smell of the sea.

“This is the place,” Moon said from beside him.

He turned expecting Moon to be gone, but he was standing a few feet away staring out over the water. He turned and looked at Joel. “You see it?” Moon asked.

“Yeah,” Joel managed. The word was barely audible, lost in the sounds of the sea as it worked to take the red dirt away. “Where,” Joel asked. “Where is it? What place is it?” He turned when Moon didn’t answer, but Moon was gone. He blinked and he was back in his bedroom, in bed in his own house on Linden Street, talking to a priest that was sitting on the edge of the bed. He remembered telling the priest that he just wanted to go back to sleep. That had apparently satisfied the priest, as he had shaken his head and seemed to float away.

Joel shook his head, recalling the dream as he entered the bathroom. He picked up his toothbrush from the small plastic cup that held it, squinted into the mirror, and turned on the cold water tap.

Nothing happened. No rattle of the old pipes in the wall. Nothing.

“What the hell,” Joel said aloud, “frigging water out too?” He dropped the brush back into the cup and headed into the kitchen to start the coffee.

“Shit,” he said as he entered the kitchen and remembered the power was off, and that there was no water with which to make the coffee. “Now what?” He walked back into the bedroom and tugged on the pair of jeans and shirt he had worn the day before; he walked through the house to the front door, shoving his feet into his sneakers as he went, and opened it to retrieve the paper that he knew would be there. The ends of the untied laces clicked and bounced against the old hardwood floors as he walked. At least he could read the paper, maybe even find out what the hell was going on.

The sun was just beginning to climb into the sky as the door swung open. He bent down.

“No damn paper either?” he muttered as he stood back up and began to search the lawn.

His eyes rose from the lawn and fell on the Hubert house across the Street.

Something seemed oddly out of place, and he puzzled over it for a few seconds before his mind told him what it was. The entire house was leaning to one side. That wasn’t all though, the street in between dipped and rose in places, and the lawn over there had large patches of brown dirt. The snow that had been everywhere the night before was nearly gone. His eyes had skipped over it, lending an illusion of straight lines until he had looked closely. His eyes rose to the Hubert house once more and he realized what else was wrong, the lot looked too big: He could see more of the Hubert house because the houses on either side were gone. No trace. Jumbled dirt and clumps of grass filled those lots. A leaning Oak that had been in front of the Schuyler house for two hundred years: Uprooted and on the verge of toppling onto the fresh soil.

As he left his doorway and started across the street to get a better look, his eyes took in the devastation that had changed most of the street overnight.

Broken cobbles from the old streets poked through the pavement in places, and the broken pipes below street level bought him the sound of running water somewhere deep below. The reality of it hit him and he stopped and turned to look back at his own house. His mouth fell open wide as he stared. The entire house was leaning from foundation to roof, the gutters had detached and snaked down to meet the ground. Almost seeming as though they were holding the house upright. Small sparrows where pecking through the debris that had fallen from the gutters, and singing in the warming morning air. Joel’s mouth snapped shut as he stumbled back into the street and sat down hard.

“What the hell is this?” he asked aloud to the street.

“What the hell is going on?”

Joel believed in the tangible. If it could be touched it must be real, and so believing, he reached down to feel one of the cracks beside him in the road. The road tipped, tilted, had separated, and the other surface had dropped lower. His fingers came away with small chunks of asphalt.

“Feels real,” he declared aloud, as he stared at the road. He pulled at it and a small piece of the asphalt he held snapped off into his hand. He bought it up to his face to examine it closely; threw it back to the ground, and got up from the street.

He looked slowly off in both directions down the length of Linden Street. As far as he could see in either direction the roads and houses were similar. In fact, he thought, the street doesn’t even look like a street anymore. It was still a street because he thought of it as a street. His street. There was now more gravel, dirt and broken asphalt chunks than there was actual street. And in several places it was gone completely. No sign. Wide spots that were wholly devastated.

Joel closed his eyes and then reopened them. It was all still there. Nothing had changed. He stood and stared for a few minutes longer before he started to walk off down the street in the direction of the downtown area, three blocks to the south.

He looked over the houses he passed. Most were partly, and some were completely destroyed. He felt as though he were in a bad dream. He knew he wasn’t though, as he had closed his eyes to blink away the sights several times to no avail. He had also pinched his left cheek until his eye had begun to water. No good. It was still there. He had done acid once, but only once, back in the seventies, and he had heard about flashbacks, and this could maybe be one, and he had been drinking pretty damn heavily yesterday, and…

He spotted a young woman sitting on the curb three houses down and walked up to her. She tilted her tear streaked and puffy face up to him as he approached.

“Is this a dream?” he asked when he stopped.

“No, it’s no dream,” she replied as she slowly shook her head.

“Where have you been since last night? Didn’t you hear the noise? Didn’t you feel it?”

Joel recalled the noise that had awakened him during the night. The noise he had thought was only an extension of the strange dream.

“Well, I thought it was a dream, you know, but I did hear a storm, or something, but I didn’t think it was a big deal… you know, they can get loud sometimes, but… What happened?”

“Yellowstone blew up,” she said simply. “Didn’t you see the TV?”

Joel shook his head.

“Well,” the young woman continued, “anyhow that’s what happened. They cut in to the TV last night; I was watching… you know, and they cut in and said that the Yellowstone caldera was going to fracture because of how close the meteor came. I came outside to see, and, well there was nothing to see at first, and then the ground started shaking, so I ran to get back inside. But the whole bottom floor of the building was gone.” She shrugged.

The young woman broke into fresh tears, and buried her face back into her hands.

Joel sat down beside her and put his arm around her in an attempt to comfort her.

“Is your husband here?”

“Not married,” she said, “There was a guy… A few years back. He’s stationed somewhere in the Middle East,” she finished, as she looked at Joel.

“Sorry,” Joel said, “how long have you been out here?”

“I called this cop that had given me his card… He said the police would come so I came back out to wait, but they never showed up, so I just sat here. I didn’t know where else to go or what to do! I’ve been here ever since, just watching the street crack.”

Joel looked around at the street.

“It happened all at once?”

“I don’t know,” she replied, also staring at the street. “One second it was still whole, the next it wasn’t. But it’s still going on. Every little while a crack will just appear and then another section will tilt or drop a little. Sometimes there’s no noise, other times it’s this horrible groaning sound… Like it’s alive or something.”

“Is your power on?” Joel asked changing the subject.

“No,” she replied, “went off right after the ground started shaking.”

“Mine’s off too,” Joel replied.

“The power lines fell while I was out here, arcing all over the place. Scared the shit out of me too, and then they just quit… Went dead,” She said.

“Listen… I’m going to walk downtown… see if the police department is open, or see maybe if everyone is there somewhere. You’re the only person I’ve seen so far… do you want to come with me?”

“Sure,” she said, as she stood and brushed at her jeans, “no use sticking around here I guess, is there?”

“I don’t think so,” Joel said. “I think… you know that everyone else is probably downtown. Getting organized or something,” his eyes betrayed the worry he felt. He hoped that everyone was downtown as he had said, but he wasn’t convinced himself. We have to find someone though, he thought, don’t we?

He stood up and they both walked off down the street toward downtown Watertown.

“Joel,“ he told her. Talking to you for an hour and didn’t even know your name.”

She laughed, halfhearted, but it instantly lifted the mood. “More like fifteen minutes if that… Haley.” She told him.

They exchanged small talk as they walked and it seemed to help quell the fear they both felt.

They wondered about the rising temperature as they walked.

“I wonder if it’s some sort of fall out from the earthquakes? Can it be radiation, Joel?” Haley questioned.

“Maybe. I flunked science, so I really don’t know. I don’t think so though. I mean, if it was, wouldn’t we be sick? I think ash is a possibility, maybe if they triggered volcanoes? Makes me wish I had paid attention in science class, or physics, history, one of those.” Joel said.

She laughed again, this time a little more fully. “No,” she replied. “I don’t think so either… I mean the earth shook… like an earthquake. I didn’t know we could get an earthquake up here.”

“Oh yeah… Lived here all of my life. It’s more than possible, happens all the time… You from here?”

“No… Syracuse, before that Texas.”

“Ah, the big city… Well up here we don’t have a hell of a lot to do so they teach us about fault lines, earthquakes. We have a huge fault line that bisects this entire region and continues on south to the Gulf.”

“All the way to the Gulf?” Haley asked. She patted his arm. “Big city my ass,” She laughed. “ You should see Houston you want to see big city, buster.”

Joel laughed and nodded. “Seen Houston once… I mean, a long time ago. And then only the Greyhound station downtown.”

She stopped. “Get out, really?”

“Really.” Joel told her. “Very bad place too,” he seemed apologetic.

“Yeah.” her eyes had suddenly gone sad. “Very.” She started her feet moving again. She had come close to telling him just how well she knew that area of Houston, and had nearly bitten her tongue to stop the words. Emotional situations… You never knew the things that would just jump right out of your mouth, she thought. Leaving you all kinds of vulnerable too.

They talked back and forth as they continued down the street. When they reached Fourth Street they turned and walked the short block to Main, turned left this time, and headed into the downtown area.



                                                    

America The Dead Begins the end. A series of events begins that will bring all of society to its knees

Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1549704559

America The Dead Book 1: Begins the end. A small New York town hosts the beginning of the end

Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01DAIPT54



 

The Original Survivors: Alabama Island from Dell Sweet

The Original Survivors: Alabama Island from Dell Sweet


THE ORIGINAL SURVIVORS

ALABAMA ISLAND

The Original Survivors Alabama Island is copyright © 2017 Dell Sweet. All rights foreign and domestic reserved in their entirety.

Cover Art © Copyright 2017 Wendell Sweet

Some text copyright 2010, 2014, 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 © 2017 Wendell Sweet and his assignees. Dell Sweet and Geo Dell are publishing constructs owned by Wendell Sweet. No part of this book may be reproduced by any means, electronic, print, scanner or any other means and, or distributed without the author’s permission.

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


This excerpt is not edited for content

This material is protected by copyright law and is used here with written permission


Jacob’s Superette

Joel, Haley, Glenn and several others were standing by the rear doors that led to the stockroom in Jacob’s Superette.

They had been discussing where they should go. A few others from the small group were there with them.

Joel looked around at them as the conversation went back and forth. They seemed solid enough. Terry Jacobs who had worked for Glenn, Amber Johnson who was married to a GI from the base who was now stationed overseas, and Scott Vincent, a carpenter working on one of the many housing developments in the area. There were others but many of those others that had followed them to Jacobs Superette did not really seem to be doing anything other than following. The ones that had gathered at the back of the store seemed to be on the same page, leaving Watertown.

Ed Weston and Dave Jackson had joined the small group earlier. Ed had worked for Glenn at the gravel pit for over ten years. He was tall with dirty-blonde hair and a slim muscular build, and Joel liked him. He’d grown up right here in Watertown on Fig Street, down by Jackson’s Lumber. A piss poor family, but Ed himself was a damn good man. He seemed a little rattled today, but weren’t they all? He was a hard worker and would be an asset to the group if he chose to come along.

Glenn and Haley both knew Dave. He owned one of the local lumber mills: A small family mill. He had also driven truck for Glenn once or twice when things were slow. Joel had never met him, but he had seen him around: Watertown was a small city. Neither of the men had voiced their opinions, but had been standing quietly as the other three had talked. Dave was younger than Ed, but just as tall, and his dark black hair was tied in a small ponytail that hung down his back.

The conversation at the market never really got going. The crowd that followed had spread out into the store, taking what they wanted to eat and then split up into smaller groups, discussing their own plans. A few had congregated near the beer coolers. That discussion was sometimes heated, and more than once Joel had caught some nasty looks directed at them from that crowd.

“I guess not everyone is on the same page,” Joel said now.

“It was a good idea,” Glenn said. “You can’t make people see a good idea. Look at cigarettes. People knew for years what they were doing to them and they still smoked. Some of these people haven’t hit the wall yet. They still believe the system will save them.”

“Yeah, except there is no system,” Scott said.

Glenn nodded.

“Listen,” Joel started. He paused until they were all looking at him, not sure if he really wanted to proceed. “Might sound stupid,” he said after a few moments of silence.

“I don’t think anything would sound stupid right now… We’re trying to figure this out,” Haley said.

Joel frowned. “Okay.” He frowned deeply, and then nodded decisively.  “So it’s this. I was leaving this morning for the Southern Tier. I’m thinking, the truck is all packed, what are we,” he paused and counted heads, “Eight? I have enough food packed to keep us all fed for a few days… We could head out to the Tug Hill Plateau. Close by. We could pick up some stuff here to take with us too…” He paused again, but no one spoke. “I say let’s get another truck or two and get away from the city for a few days. Maybe the Tug Hill Plateau wouldn’t be a bad place to be right now. Let things calm down, especially the hot heads.” He paused, his face grim. “We can come back in a few days… Maybe the Guard will be here by then, maybe not, but it would give us a few days to think this out, if it… Well, if it really is as bad as it seems to be…” He looked from face to face as he stopped speaking.

“Smart,” Scott said.

“Probably for the best,” Glenn agreed. He had all been listening to the nearby conversations, some loud and argumentative, and the beer cooler was emptying quickly: That certainly wasn’t going to help the problem.

“Yeah… These guys seem bent on getting drunk and figuring it all out,” Amber said.

“I’ve seen that sort of thinking before,” Haley agreed. “I vote go.”

“I’m on that,” Scott agreed.

Dave Jackson and Ed Weston agreed.

“I make that all eight?” Joel asked.

“Only, let’s get some trucks and get what we need here before we go. This place is going to get picked over fast,” Haley said.

“Who do you want to go with you?” Joel asked.

“I’m open,” Haley replied.

“I’ll go,” Amber said.

“Me too,” Scott added.

“That’s enough… I guess we’ll get stuff ready here… Wait on you,” Joel said. He held Haley’s eyes until she nodded. A second later she and the others left and the rest of them began to put together some bags of supplies.

Joel and Haley

The Tug Hill Plateau

Early Morning

The camp was a makeshift place off an old logging trail. It was dry under the pines where they had set up camp, but the logging road had flooded over, the water had receded, and now the road was a quagmire of mud steaming in the early morning sun.

They had encountered no major obstacles on the way in. Joel knew the way. The road was cracked in a few places, flooded in a few others, but only a few inches of water. The major stuff had held off until they had arrived and settled in.

The last few days had bought rain, snow, and what felt like earthquakes or explosions far away. Heavy vibrations they could feel through the pine needle covered ground. No one was sure what they really were, but they were all worried about it.

They had made up their minds late last night, when the rains had stopped to get out of the woods, but the two new trucks they had driven in would not start. Joel’s old truck turned over and started fine. They had spent most of the sunrise checking over the two trucks, but they found nothing wrong with them. The batteries were up, the starters turned over, but they would not fire. There was no spark at the plug. Scott and Glenn who were both mechanics were puzzled over what could be causing it.

“If we go, most of you will get stuck in the back of my truck… No other way for it,” Joel said.

They had spent a great deal of the last few days wondering what was going on in the world. Twice, slow moving cargo planes had overflown them. They had seen no markings on the wings, but they had both been painted the olive drab of army equipment. The battery powered radio they had listened to had stopped working. Their wristwatches, cell phones, the two trucks, all dead. They had wondered about a nuclear blast, maybe that was what had happened to the electronics.

Scott nodded. “Maybe that is the deal though. Your truck is old, no electronic brain… Maybe we could find another like it… Or two.”

“If it was a nuke, would it knock out electronics like that? And wouldn’t we all be sick right now?” Amber asked.

“Not necessarily… If it was it wasn’t close, so it would just depend on which way the wind was blowing,” Haley said. “Electronics? I have heard that, but I don’t know. Makes me wish I paid attention to all of that apocalypse stuff on the internet.”

“A dirty bomb… I think that’s what they called it, but it could have been that meteor… I think I read once that a near miss could be as bad as a direct hit. Mess things up the same as a nuclear bomb.” Glenn shrugged.

“But they said that would miss us completely,” Ed threw in.

Dave nodded, “Maybe it didn’t. Wouldn’t be the first time they said something that turned out to be bullshit.”

“What? You don’t trust your own government,” Amber asked in mock surprise.

“Yeah… Well, either way we’re back to sticking it out here or going back to Watertown to see what’s going on… Or somewhere else for that matter,” Joel threw out after a few moments of silence.

“I say we go back… Maybe the guard is there, or has been there,” Amber said.

“Can’t hide out up here forever,” Ed agreed.

“We’ll run out of food… At the least we have to stock back up,” Scott added.

Glenn nodded. “With more too… We don’t know how long this is going to be.”

“Or if it still is,” Haley added.

“There is that too,” Glenn agreed.

“At the least then we should go back and stock up. I mean if no one is there, we can stock up, come back here if it’s bad and decide what to do… Get on with the old life if there is someone there,” Terry said.

“Who wants the front seat…? Two,” Joel asked.

“Probably the girls,” Dave said.

“Why is that,” Haley asked.

“What?” Dave asked.

“Why the girls,” She shook her head before he answered. “Well, I’m not a girl. I’m a woman. It was a rough road to become a woman, and I don’t want to be called a girl.”

“Hey… Peace. I didn’t mean anything by it,” Dave said.

The silence held for a few minutes.

“Well, let’s get this place picked up… I guess store everything in the other two trucks… Maybe we’ll come back for them,” Joel said.

“Maybe not,” Glenn added. “So bring what you want to keep, only make it a small amount.”

Joel nodded.

A half hour later Joel drove the old truck down the logging road, sticking to four wheel drive and the sides of the road where he could. Twice he had had to make everyone get out and then take a run at a particularly bad section of road before they all climbed in once more. It was late morning before they found route 177. A short time later they found route 11 and headed back toward the small city of Watertown.


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The Original Survivors Alabama Island Kindle Edition

THE ORIGINAL SURVIVORS FROM ASHES Kindle Edition by Dell Sweet (Author)

THE ORIGINAL SURVIVORS FROM ASHES Kindle Edition


This excerpt is used with permission
This material is NOT edited for content


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, 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.
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.


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Bits and pieces of stuff I might have thrown away. Humor

Bits and pieces of stuff I might have thrown away. Humor


I had a nightmare last night. It was so bad it lurched upright from the dream and stumbled from the bed… What could be so bad you ask?
Well, I was in Vegas where myself and my new bride had just gotten married at some little out of the way chapel. Elvis was there, the best man. Of course it was a pretend Elvis, but still. My new bride was worth millions, she only told me after the ceremony.
The thing is she wore a veil and even with the veil there was something about her I recognized but I couldn’t get it.
Then I noticed there was this authoritative black gentleman following us both around and hopping to it when she said anything. He even barked at me a few times; scared me too.
We got in the limo… I was still sleeping peacefully, and then she turned to the man and said “Bird, bring in the litigants for the next case,” and she lifted the veil… My new bride, Judge Judy… I have got to stop letting mom control the TV so much…


And when God came back to gather his people he was surprised to see that Geo was not ready. Still formatting his hard drive…

Me today, formatting an old hard drive. I forgot how much time we used to put into that stuff in the old days…


Me with the tornado warning a few nights back…

Wooooeeee… The tornado warning is upon us and the skies are flashing, the thunder crashing… Whoops, almost re-wrote a Garth Brooks song right there….


Me commenting on the presidential eclipse…

And again…

Waited at my desk for three hours never saw a damn thing. No Google updates on the eclipse… No Presidential Tweets like “Ohhh Ohhh here it comes…” nothing… Guess I should’ve gone outside… You don’t suppose the Russians hacked the eclipse do you? Oh well, next time 


A little television knowledge…

Well I just learned this from television: Sixty percent of all American women are wearing the wrong size pad… Yes, I learned that on TV. But, the maker of the Always pad says that women can check the top of their box and find the right size for them… Honest, I just learned that. I am assuming they are talking about bunion pads. So, ladies hop to it and protect those feet. This is my first and only public service announcement on this subject… You are welcome…


And the week moved by me. Lucky for me because I was running out of handy sarcasm. I hope you mad it to the end of the week in one piece. I am looking for the weekend and the aliens to come down, suck that whole week right out of my head and fill it with  better stuff… If aliens do that, we’ll need to check with a conspiracy expert to be sure…


A new release that is also free today for the Kindle. Go get it!

New Release! The Original Survivors: Bluechip. The story of how the apocalypse began: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074YH3ZRG


A free book link for you iTunes fans… Earth’s Survivors: Apocalypse… The end of the world is here… https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/earths-survivors-apocalypse/id963866999?mt=11


For those who like Nook, another free book… The Zombie Killers Origins: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/earths-survivors-the-zombie-killers-dell-sweet/1123356143

That is it for me this Friday. It is a beautiful cool day here in New York. I hope the weather is cooperating where you are. Enjoy your weekend and I’ll see you soon, Geo…



 

The Mayan Prophecy and other inaccuracies

The Mayan Prophecy and other inaccuracies

The Mayans: (Written when the end of the world predictions were everywhere, the Mayans foremost)

I am not all that pleased with the Mayans. I have been waiting, but here it is creeping towards the middle of January and the earth is still here. What happened? Great mathematicians my… Well you know.

But really, we are so gullible That’s how these whack jobs like the Mayans get us in the first place. The whole thing probably went something like this…

Bob and Ted Mayan (Well, they were called Mayans, right?) were bored one day. Maybe they had just smoked a little weed, had a couple of ancient beers (Probably not a good European Dark beer, but hey they’re lucky they had any at all), and most likely Bob said something like…

“Hey, man… What if… What if… I forgot.”

“The world ended,” Ted supplied.

“Yeah… Yeah, Man. That’s it. What if, like, the world just ended and… and…” he shrugged (Probably too stoned to think straight).

“Yeah… Yeah… I see it,” Ted nearly screams. “And we all float off into space!”

“Dude!” Bob says.

“Dude,” Ted agrees.

And that was probably it right there. Next thing you know Bob and Ted have started themselves a little cult. Got a bunch of their contemporaries following them. Probably put it on their version of Face Book (The Cave Walls) and that was it. One kid’s a math wiz (At least on their level) and the next thing you know the Mayans are predicting our future. Makes me mad just thinking about it.

So here I am a few thousand years later… I don’t know the Mayans were high that day… I don’t know they had three or four arrests for possession before they were sixteen. Nope. I’m just an average Joe saying Hey What the hell is the deal? And I start to think maybe it’s happening. I’m at work and I turn to Fred my Cat…

“Fred… Fred, does it feel like the Earth is spinning slower to you? … Does it?”

“Meow,” Fred says. Whatever that means. And while I’m on the subject, which I wasn’t. How can a Cat or a Dog express themselves with so few words. This damn cat always answers Meow.

“Fred, what do you think? Were the Mayans right or not?”

“Meow.”

“Really.”

Or

“Fred, I think I hear a dog out there in the yard.”

“Meow.”

“Really.”

What does it mean? Couldn’t once he say…

A dog you say? Well that clinches that. I’m not going out in the yard at all.”

“Really,” I would say, surprised and probably in shock.

“Really? What the hell does really mean? Don’t you people ever say anything else,” Fred asks?

Anyway, the Mayans. It’s mostly our faults. I read somewhere that people who make predictions, by the odds, have to be right 50 percent of the time. That’s pretty limited thinking. Maybe if it’s strictly yes or no, otherwise the variables come into play and who can tell, and that is exactly how they get us. That…  maybe it could be … That… You don’t suppose…?  And we are so fatalistic in our overall views that we just jump on it…

“BARB! Let’s get down to the Walmart and stock up on all the stuff we’re gonna need! The World’s Ending!!!”

And the religious whack jobs? Oh, they’re happy. They just look at you and smile. They’re God is gonna kick some ass now, that’s for sure. You people will starve in the wilderness… STARVE! But God will take care of me! God told me to get a rope and tie myself to the church steeple so that when the world ends, and the Earth stops spinning, I won’t float away…

Good. And when nothing happens I suppose you could use the rope to lasso a cow. Start a life as a cowboy.

We are so gullible. A friend bought a book to me a few years back. He handed it to me…

“Look, don’t pass that around…” He looked around to make sure no one was listening. “It’s the secret to life,” he whispered. “Says so right on the cover… A secret..”

“A secret?”

“SHHHS. Not so loud. It’s a friggin’ secret. Secret knowledge… Read it, I did.”

Or another friend shortly after that.

“It’s the Mayan prophecy, Dude. See this guy that wrote it… Well, he’s not a Mayan, but he’s good with numbers, see, and he says it’s gonna be December 2012…” He looked at me meaningfully.

“Uh huh… December?”

“Yeah… December.”

“Yeah. I got that. I mean what’s gonna be in December 2012?”

He looked at me like I was nuts. “Dude! The world’s ending, Dude.”

“Oh… That December 2012 thing.”

“Yeah, see this guy has a ship full of virgins and he’ll be in the New York harbor waiting to sail…”

“Ah, virgins?”

“Yeah… Yeah, see, to re-populate the world when most everyone dies.”

Gullible. We want to believe it. I personally think if the moron that wrote that book would have showed up with a ship full of virgins he would have found himself in jail. But hey, maybe the Mayan’s could post bail…

Anyway. I’m still here. The world didn’t end, and I didn’t see a single Mayan on T.V. apologizing for the misinformation. Not one. The world is still going and if you went ahead and maxed out your Visa card you’re gonna have to pay it. Next week or the week after that the light bill’s gonna be due, then the car payment, and the next thing you know we will have moved right past those Mayans and their faulty math.

But listen. Keep this to yourself, but I read this book and it predicts that the real date is a year or so away. Then the whole friggin’ thing’s gonna fall down…. Honest. The book says so…


EARTH’S SURVIVORS

Rising From The Ashes: I-Tunes From L.A. To Manhattan lawlessness is the rule, eBook… #iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/earths-survivors-rising-from/id595453162?mt=11


Dell Sweet’s Earth’s Survivors series on iTunes, Nook and Smashwords

Dell Sweet’s Earth’s Survivors series on iTunes, Nook and Smashwords


I-Tunes: Apocalypse, free eBook… Free eBook Friday! Get it right now from iTunes!

Apocalypse follows survivors of a worldwide catastrophe.

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

Los Angeles: Billy and Beth start out with a small group and wind up on their own as they make their way across America trying to find others and safety.

Apocalypse: iTunes | Nook | Smashwords


Rising From The Ashes: I-Tunes From L.A. To Manhattan lawlessness is the rule, eBook…

Los Angeles: Billy and Beth started out with a small group and wound up on the East coast, camped in a field where they can watch what is left of Manhattan as it burns. Now they have to decide what is next for their growing encampment. They have been south, most of the south seems to be gone. They had pinned their hopes on the East coast, but it’s clear that New York is no better than L.A..

Manhattan: Adam Has found his way out of the Dying City of New York only to get pulled back in as he finds a group of survivors coalescing around his leadership, that want to stay close to the city. But New York is firmly in the hands of the Gangs. It’s only a matter of time before the gangs tire of threatening him and come after his small group of survivors and he knows it…

Rising from the Ashes: iTunes | Nook | Smashwords


The Nation: I-Tunes. The Nation takes shape and the people who will build it, eBook…

This part of the story really concentrates on the formation of The Nation and the people who will build it and carry it forward, but it also brings along the side story of The Fold and the people who will build that haven. It gives a more complete picture of Adam and Cammy, and picks up the Tale of Billy and Beth, Mike and Candace, and Conner and Katie as they work to sort out their lives.

The Nation: iTunes | Nook | Smashwords


Home In The Valley: I-Tunes Building the first and most important settlement, eBook…

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

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

Home in the Valley: iTunes | Nook | Smashwords


Plague: I-Tunes. Plague outlines the sudden rise of the dead across the country, eBook…

Plague steps back to the first days of the catastrophe that nearly destroyed the world and takes a look behind the scenes at the government and military agencies that were involved in manipulating the data the world received, and developing a virus based drug that would enable soldiers to fight longer, harder, without food or water, even gravely wounded. Although never approved for release, one man took the circumstances and used them to his advantage, justifying the release of the virus worldwide in order to help mankind survive the coming catastrophe. The results of those actions are now being felt everywhere…

Plague: iTunes | Nook | Smashwords


Earth’s Survivors: Watertown. Fast paced action in this sixth book! Free Previews…

Major Richard Weston read the report twice and then carefully set it back on his desk. Johns or Kohlson: One of the two had stolen samples of SS-V2765. It was not a question. No one else had the access, no one else the proximity or knowledge of where it was stored. Two of the virus, one each of the REX agents were missing. Enough to infect several million people, and that was just the initial infection. From there the infected would go on to infect even more, where it stopped was anyone’s guess.
Knowing it was one of the two did not solve the problem of how for him though: There should have been no way to get it out. Every area of the facility was under surveillance. There had to be more than just one of the two involved.
From Complex C they were stripped down, showered: Out of the showers naked and into a locker room where they could retrieve their own personal clothing they had stripped out of that morning: Dressed, frisked, metal wanded and then allowed into the elevators that would take them six stories to the surface. This theft was not something either of them could have committed alone…

Watertown: iTunes | Nook | Smashwords


Earth’s Survivors: World Order, Book 7. The Last book in the series. Free Previews!

We lost David outside of Arizona. We had been fighting the dead as we traveled, and they seemed to have become less and less. One morning we were searching the remains of a small border town, deserted we thought, when we were suddenly attacked.
The dead had been easy to handle. They seem sickened. Slower, barely there. Like they had contracted some disease that was taking them out. I can not count the times we have come across corpses scattered on the highways or roads. Vacant buildings. It is unnerving. Especially since we do not know why it is. David fell into an old well while he was running. We managed to pull him out hours later, but he was gone. Janna was destroyed: She still is, I really don’t know if she’ll make it.
For the record I would like to say that David’s death is on the shoulders of The Nation: We were not given a choice in our leaving. Since this journal will be part of who we are, will document The Fold as it continues to grow and is established, I want the understanding to be there from the beginning of our creation. They forced us out, simply because we challenged them. They forced us out in the cold of winter with nothing but the clothes on our backs…

World Order: iTunes | Nook | Smashwords


The Earth’s Survivors box set contains the entire Earth’s Survivors series in one volume. Get a FREE Preview right now!

The Earth’s Survivors box set contains the entire Earth’s Survivors series in one volume.

Book One: Apocalypse.
Earth’s Survivors Apocalypse follows survivors of a worldwide catastrophe. A meteorite that was supposed to miss the earth completely, hits and becomes the cap to a series of events that destroy the world as we know it. Hopes, dreams, tomorrows: All buried in a desperate struggle to survive. Small groups band together for safety, leaving the ravaged cities behind in search of a new future…

Book Two: Rising From The Ashes.
Earth’s Survivors Rising From The Ashes continues to follow the survivors of a worldwide catastrophe. From L.A. To Manhattan the cities, governments have toppled and lawlessness is the rule. The small groups are growing, branching out in search of a new future. It chronicles their day to day struggles as well as their dreams as they search out new hope in their shattered world…

Book Three: The Nation.
This part of the story really concentrates on the formation of The Nation and the people who will build it and carry it forward, but it also brings along the side story of The Fold and the people who will build that haven. It gives a more complete picture of Adam and Cammy, and picks up the Tale of Billy and Beth, Mike and Candace, Conner and Katie as they work to sort out their lives.

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

Book Five: Plague.
Plague outlines the sudden rise of the dead, chronicling the spread across the country. It follows Adam, Beth, Billy and Pearl as they head north looking for an antidote that can bring the plagues to end. It also sees the first babies born to the Nation, the formation of both the Fold and Alabama Island, and the loss of one of the founders of The Nation without whom the Nation may dissolve…

Book Six: Watertown.
Major Weston read the report twice and then carefully set it back on his desk. Johns or Kohlson: One of the two had stolen samples of SS-V2765. It was not a question. No one else had the access, no one else the proximity or knowledge of where it was stored. Two of the virus, one each of the REX agents were missing. Enough to infect several million people, and that was just the initial infection…

Book Seven: World Order.
This book steps back to the beginning to bring you the story of the Fold. Jessie Stone, why and how Snoqualmie settlement came to be. It begins in present day and then falls back in time to the beginning of the Apocalypse. The Fold becomes the biggest challenger to the Nations power. The community that can force the Nation into compromise, or bring a war that may destroy both societies…

All seven books in one collection. Follow the survivors as they struggle to survive in a vastly changed world, where the living are just as likely to kill you as the dead are.
The release of this box set puts the series to an end. I have enjoyed writing it, I hope you have enjoyed reading it, Dell Sweet.

The Box Set: iTunes | Nook | Smashwords


Dell Sweet on…  iTunes | Nook | Smashwords

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…


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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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