Geo Dell’s The Nation Chronicles Fan Fiction series

Geo Dell’s The Nation Chronicles Fan Fiction series

A free preview of Geo Dell’s The Nation Chronicles: Death


This book is protected by domestic and foreign copyright law. It is used here with permission.


Geo Dell’s The Nation Chronicles: Death © Copyright 2017 Geo Dell

This excerpt is NOT edited for content


Project Bluechip: Watertown, NY

Complex C: Patient Ward

Test Subject: Clayton Hunter

Compound SS-V2765

Gabe Kohlson moved away from the monitors. “Heart rate is dropping, don’t you think…” He stopped as the monitor began to chime softly: Before he could get fully turned around the chiming turned into a strident alarm that rose and fell. “Dammit,” Kohlson said as he finished his turn.

“What is it,” David Johns wheeled his chair across the short space of the control room. His outstretched hands caught him at the counter top and slowed him at Kohlson’s monitor.

“Flat lined,” Kohlson said as he pushed a button on the wall to confirm what the doctor’s one level up already knew. Clayton Hunter was dead.

“I see it,” Doctor Ed Adams replied over the ceiling speakers. The staff called him Doctor Christmas for his long white beard and oversize belly. “Berty and I are on the way.”

“Lot of good that will do,” Johns muttered.

Kohlson turned to him. “Go on in… Do CPR if you want… They don’t pay me enough to do it. I don’t know what that shit is. Look at the way the Doc suits up. Clayton Hunter will be in rigor before anyone gets in there at all.”

“No argument,” Johns said. He wheeled back to his own monitor, called up an incident sheet and began to type.

“Me too,” Kohlson agreed. “Preserve the video, med and monitor data.” He punched a few buttons on his console and an interface for the medical equipment came up. He saved the last 48 hours of data, and then began to fill out his own incident report. These reports might never be seen by more than one person, maybe two if you counted the person that wrote it, Kohlson thought, but it would always be there. Classified: Top secret for the next hundred years or so. And he wondered about that too. Would it even be released after a long period? He doubted it. The shit they were doing here was bad. Shit you didn’t ever want the American public to know about. This incident report, along with the one Johns was doing, would probably get buried deep under some program listing that no one would ever suspect to look into. Or, maybe, it would get burned right along with Clayton Hunter’s body. He glanced up at the clock and then went back to typing.

“Uh… Call it 4:32 PM?” He asked.

“Works for me,” Johns agreed.

“I got 94 for the body,” Johns said.

“Yeah… Yeah, me too. That’s a fast drop, but we both got the same thing. 94 it is… No heart, no respiratory, dead as dog shit.”

“Dog shit,” Johns agreed. They both fell silent as they typed. A few moments later the doors to the observation room chimed, the air purifiers turned on with a high pitched whine, and they could both feel the air as it dragged past them and into the air ducts. The entire volume would be replaced and the room depressurized and then re-pressurized before the doors would open. And that would only happen after the air was tested and retested. A good twenty minutes away before anyone would step foot into the room with Clayton Hunter.

Complex C, Autopsy Room

Ed Adams and Roberta Summers had dissected Clayton Hunter’s body methodically. The autopsy had been painstaking. It had to be, it was recorded in detail and some General somewhere, hell, maybe even the president, would be looking that video over in the next few days: Maybe even watching live now. They had that capability. There was nothing to see. He had suffered a major heart attack. The heart had a defect. No history: One of those things that just came along and fucked up your two billion dollar research project all at once.

“Coronary Thrombosis,” He spoke in a measured voice. “It appears to be after the fact. The artery looks to be mildly occluded… The myocardial infarction appears to be caused from a congenital defect… Specifically an Atrial Septal Defect… Berty?”

“I concur. Easily overlooked. The lack of sustenance put a higher demand on the subject’s heart; the defect became a major player at that point… Bad luck for us.”

“Uh, bad luck for Clayton Hunter,” Ed Adams added.

“Of course. Bad luck for the subject, Clayton Hunter. I simply meant bad luck for a research volunteer to be defective in such a way that in effect it would compromise a project of this magnitude so badly.” She turned her eyes up to one of the cameras she knew to be there. “This in no way paints a true picture of V2765. We should proceed, unsatisfying as these circumstances might be, we should proceed with subjects 1120F and 1119X… Same compound.” She turned back to the corpse on the table. “You want me to do the brain biopsy,” She asked Ed.

Ed frowned as he made eye contact with her. They had decided, at least he had thought they had decided, not to mention brain biopsies. Three times now he had discussed the importance of not focusing on the changes that V2765 made to the brain. Anything that altered the brain could alter financing, funding, lab time. Even the government didn’t like changes to brain matter.

“Are you thinking there could have been an embolism?” He asked.

‘Well I,” she sputtered away for a second before Ed rescued her.

“I think all we would see is evidence of the embolism that occurred near the heart. We could search out areas of the body and most likely find more than one occurrence of embolism. Well thought, but I believe we will take a look at the brain later in the week. Right now I want to focus on the enzymes, proteins, blood work and readying the other two for a conclusion of this trial.”

“Yes, I agree entirely,” Doctor Adams.

“You have your samples?”

“Yes of course, Doctor… Rex?”

Ed frowned hard and shrugged his shoulders in the direction of the thick glass. He lowered his voice to a whisper. “None down here… That was stupid, Berty.”

“What was that,” Kohlson asked Johns in the control room.

“What?” Johns asked.

“That… Whisper, I guess,” Kohlson said.

“Oh… That. You know those two got it bad for each other. Probably making little remarks you don’t want to hear. Besides which, you make a report on that and we all have to deal with it: Them, sure, but us too because the bosses will be pissed off about it. Best to let that shit slide: If the boss wants to know he will. He looks at all of this shit in depth.”

Kohlson looked about to say more when Doctor Christmas began talking once more in the autopsy room.

“Let’s close him up,” Ed Adams said. He stepped on a switch set into the floor, paused, and then spoke again. “Lower the air temperature in here. We intend to keep him a few hours while we attend to other parts of the autopsy… No one in here for any reason.”

Out in the control room Johns keyed his mic button. “Will do… How low, Doc.?”

“I guess about 34 Fahrenheit will do… Just to slow it all down for a while.”

“Done,” Johns agreed. He adjusted a temperature graphic on a nearby monitor via his mouse.

Kohlson leaned over across the short distance. “So we got to look at that shit for a while? Great.”

“They’re gonna sew him up, so it won’t be so bad.”

“Yeah… That’s like; I got a mild case of flu. It’s still gonna suck, because every time I look anywhere I’m gonna feel compelled to look at it.”

“Yeah, me too. It’s there. It draws you to it. Like the Bunny on the Playboy Cover. You look at the rest of the magazine, but you know you’re gonna end up looking at her. She’s the reason you bought the magazine after all.”

Kohlson nodded and smiled. “And I’d rather look at Miss January than a dead guy with big stitches across his belly and over his chest, sewing him back up again. That is some ugly shit.”

Johns laughed. “But you look anyway… Human nature. Why do you think people slow down and look at accidents?”

“’Cause we’re morbid mother fuckers,” Kohlson agreed.

“Well, that too, but it is that fascination with death we have. Look,” He pointed at the monitor. Do you think Clayton Hunter knew he’d be laying on a steel slab this afternoon, dick hanging out, with Doctor Christmas shoving his guts back in and stitching him up with his nursey assisting?” They both laughed and turned away.

“She ain’t half…”

A scream cut off the conversation and both men turned quickly back to the monitor.

Clayton Hunter was sitting up on the steel table. Arms drooped at his side: Mouth yawning. Doctor Christmas had backed away until he had met the wall behind him. Nurse Berty was nowhere to be seen.

“What the fuck… What the fuck. Get a camera on the floor… Maybe she fainted,” Kohlson said.

“Got it,” Johns agreed. He stabbed at the keys on his keyboard and a view of the table at an angle appeared. Nurse Bertie’s leg could be seen, angled away from the table, skirt hiked high. The camera paused briefly and then the view began to shift as Johns manipulated the camera angle. Her face came into view: Mouth open, blood seeping from one corner.

“Doctor,” Kohlson called over the speaker system. Outside the airlocks had clicked on and the air was cycling. Good, he thought, in twenty minutes the Calvary would be here. “Doctor Adams?”

The doctor finally took his eyes off Clayton Hunter and turned toward one of the cameras. On the table Clayton Hunter leaned forward and tumbled off the edge of the table. At the same instant the air purifier quit cycling and three armed men in gas masks stepped into the airlock.

“Jesus,” Johns sputtered. “You guys can’t do that shit. That air has to be worked?” Three more men stepped through the lock and the door to the autopsy room opened as well as the door to the control room. A split second later the rifles in their hands began to roar. The sound was louder than Kohlson expected in the enclosed space. He clasped his hands over his ears, but it did little good. The soldiers, he saw, were wearing ear protection of some sort: Noise canceling headgear. The remaining three soldiers had stepped into the control room, he saw as he looked back up from the floor. They kept their rifles leveled at them; the others were still firing within the confines of the small autopsy room. A small gray cloud was creeping along the floor and rolling slowly into the control room. The stench of gunpowder was strong in the enclosed space. The air purifiers were off. Kohlson knew there was another control room outside this one that controlled this space, and possibly another outside of that space that controlled that space. Built in protection; it was clear that they were in a very bad space.

Kohlson saw Clayton Hunter lurch to his feet and stumble into the soldiers who were firing at point blank range in the tight confines. A series of bullets finally tore across his chest and then into his head and he fell from view. A second late the firing dropped off and then stopped completely.

Johns was listening to the sound of his own heart hammering for a space of seconds before he figured out it was his own. The smell of gunpowder was nauseating, and he suddenly lunged forward and vomited on his shoes. As he was lifting his head he saw that the soldiers were retreating back through the airlocks and into the outer spaces of the compound.

“Jesus,” Kohlson managed before he too bent forward and vomited. They heard the air filtering kick back on as both of them rolled away from the puddles of vomit and quickly disappearing low, gray vapor from the rifles firing. The doors into the autopsy room suddenly banged shut and then their own door whispered closed as well: Once again they were isolated in their small space.

They both sat silent for a moment and then Kohlson left and returned from the small bathroom with a mop and bucket from the utility closet there. He left and returned with a bottle of disinfectant and sprayed down the vomit and the balance of the small room.

“That won’t do shit,” Johns said solemnly. We’re infected. Whatever they infected that guy Hunter with, we got it now.

Kohlson ignored him, waited the ten minutes for the disinfectant to work and then cleaned up the mess. Neither spoke while he returned the equipment to the small closet and then came back and sat down.

“You heard me, right?”

“I heard you,” Kohlson admitted. “I just don’t give a fuck… It’s too fresh… I can’t believe it right now.” He looked up at the clock. “Mother fucker… I was off duty in twenty minutes… Twenty goddamn minutes!” He spun and looked at Johns, but Johns was looking up at the monitors that were still on in the autopsy room. The smoke was being drawn out by the air exchange, and the horror of the room was slowly coming into focus.

Doctor Adams lay sprawled in one corner, a line of bullet holes stitched across his back. The back portion of his skull was missing, jagged bone and gray-black hair clumped wildly around the fractured bone. Johns gagged and looked away.

“Jesus… They killed everybody,” Kohlson said as he continued to watch. Nurse Bertie lay where she had fallen. Only her legs visible in the shot they could see. Clayton Hunter lay against the end of the stainless slab, his head a shapeless mass: The stitches across his chest and stomach bulging. Kohlson finally turned away too.

“They’re coming back for us.” Johns said.

Kohlson spun to the door.

“Not now, stupid ass, but you can’t think we get to live after that. They contaminated our air. We’re dead. No way are we not dead.”

Kohlson said nothing.

~

It was six hours before the soldiers came. They had finally taken a better look at the room. Johns moving the camera around as Kohlson watched.

“Dave… Tell me I’m wrong, but that fucker came back to life, right?” He was unsure even as he said it.

Johns shrugged. “I think what happened is they missed something… We missed something. Maybe a lead came off. You know, and the lead came off and so he seemed dead and he wasn’t dead at all, not really, he was still alive… Just that lead was off.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah, I mean… I mean the alternative is that he came back to life… You don’t think that do you? I mean, do you? Cause that’s fucking crazy, Gabe… Crazy.”

“No. No, I can see what you mean I can see where…”

The air lock cycled on and six soldiers stepped into the hall like space that was actually just an airlock between the control room, the autopsy room, the former patient ward and the outside world. Johns tensed, waiting for the door to their space to cycle on, but it didn’t.

The soldiers were dressed head to toe in army drab plastic coveralls. Respirators, big units, sat on their backs and a full face shield and breathing apparatus covered their faces, somehow joined into the coveralls. Tape was wound around the elastic cuffs of the legs and the plastic boot covers that joined there. Flexible olive-green gloves covered their hands, also taped where they slipped under the plastic coveralls. They never looked their way at all, just waited for the air lock to cycle and then stepped into the autopsy room. A second later the monitors went dead in the control room.

“Fuck,” David Johns said. “That is not good at all.”

Kohlson got up and left the room. A minute later he was back with two diet colas. He handed one to David johns and then sat back down. Johns glanced down at the cola. The top was open already. He looked at Kohlson and Kohlson stared back unblinking. The med supplies cabinet was also in that closet. They had talked it over once. They had decided that… He pushed it away and focused on the low whisper of the air exchange

“You think they will outright kill us,” Kohlson asked after a few long minutes of silence.

“Gabe… I think they will, Gabe.” Johns said after a hesitation. He tried to stop himself, but he glanced down at the cola in his hand. It was half full. White powder floated on the surface. Clumped and drifting like tiny icebergs across a cola sea. “Probably… No. They’re listening in right now, I’m sure. Listening to see where our minds are at: As soon as those flunkies in there are finished with that job they’ll be in here to finish up the clean up.” He swallowed hard.

“Yeah, I guess that’s how I see it too,” Kohlson agreed. He raised his can and tapped the side. “Been good knowing you, Dave.”

Johns stared him down for a few moments and then sighed. “Yeah… Same here.” He raised the can in a salute and then downed it. Kohlson followed suit. Silence descended on the control room.

12:30 am

New York

Carl Evans watched from the mouth of a dark alley. It was one of the things he loved about this place. You could hang out in an alley, smoke cigarettes all day and night long if you wanted to, and nobody said a word to you. Where else, but New York could that be true, he asked himself.

He leaned back against the wall, one sneakered foot propped on the brick behind him to hold him, the other flat on the cobbled stones of the alley. Another thing about New York, he thought as he inhaled deeply of his cigarette, and then let the smoke roll slowly out of his mouth. Old things everywhere you looked. These cobblestones for instance. He wondered how old they truly were.

“Young man.” The deep voice startled him from his thoughts. He lifted his head to see an old, gray haired gentleman standing at the mouth of the alley a few feet away. His face was creased and seamed. His skin so dark it was nearly blue. A cane in one hand supported his weight.

“What’s up, Pops?” Carl asked politely.

The man placed his second hand on his cane and leaned forward. “That cigarette will kill you.”

“Pops…”

He held up one hand as Carl began to speak. “Just telling you. Don’t need an argument. It will kill you. The big tobacco’s, they knew about it back in the day when I was a boy chasing that habit. And they knew about it when it was in commercials in magazines, and T.V. and what not. That cowboy died from it you know, they knew it and they still know it. It will kill you. In case you didn’t know it I wanted you to know it.” He straightened his back, lifted the second hand, nodded once, and moved across the mouth of the alley disappearing as though from some sort of magic.

Carl chuckled, lifted the cigarette to his mouth, took a deep drag and then found himself blowing the smoke out, dropping the cigarette, and crushing it. The old man had ruined it for him. He hadn’t smoked in ten years, but it tasted as good now as it had then. And he had figured with the way things were nobody had much time. Certainly not enough time to die from cancer or some other nasty surprise from cigarettes, but just the same the old man had ruined it for him.

He looked down at the blackened mess he had made as he ground the cigarette into the cobbles. Just as well, he told himself, it was time. He reached into his coat pocket and pulled out a small silver canister. He inhaled a sharp breath involuntarily. He knew what it was. Knew what he was doing, but he still couldn’t believe he was actually going to do it.

He fingered the small red button on the top of the silver canister, hesitated, and then pushed it down. Something inside clicked. There was no other sound in the stillness. He tossed it down the alley, turned, and walked out to the sidewalk.

Route 81 rest-stop

Outside Watertown New York

1:00 am

A black truck pulled into the rest stop and two men climbed out; walking toward the rest rooms that sat in from the road. Concrete bunker looking buildings that had been built back in the early seventies. They had been closed for several years now. In fact the Open soon sign was bolted to the front of the building; rust streaked the sign surface. It seemed like some sort of joke to Mike Bliss who used the rest stop as a place to do light duty drug deals. Nothing big, but still that depended on your idea of big. Certainly nothing over a few thousand dollars. That was his break off point. Any higher than that, he often joked, you would have to talk to someone in Columbia… Or maybe Mexico, he told himself now as he sat waiting in his Lexus, but it seemed that since Rich Dean had got himself dead the deals just seemed to be getting larger and larger. And who knew how much longer that might last. He watched the two men make a bee line for the old rest rooms.

“Idiots,” he muttered to himself. He pushed the button, waited for the window to come down, leaned out the window and yelled. “What are you, stupid? They’re closed.” He motioned with one hand. “You can’t read the fuckin’ sign or what?”

Both men stopped and looked from him to the sign.

“Yeah, closed. You can read right? Closed. That’s what it says. Been closed for years. Go on into Watertown; buy a fuckin’ burger or something. Only way you’re getting a bathroom at this time of the morning.” He had lowered his voice for the last as he pulled his head back into the car, and turned the heater up a notch. The electric motor whined as the window climbed in its track. He looked down at his wrist for the time, 1:02 A.M., where the fuck was this dude. He was late, granted a few minutes, but late was late.

A sharp rap on the glass startled him. He had been about to dig out his own supply, a little pick-me-up. He looked up to see the guys from the truck standing outside his window. “Oh… Fucking lovely,” he muttered. He pushed the button and the window lowered into the door, the motor whining loudly, the cold air blew in.

“And what can I do for you two gentlemen,” He asked in his best smart ass voice.

The one in back stepped forward into the light. Military type, Mike told himself. Older, maybe a noncom. A little gray at the edges of his buzz cut. With the military base so close there were soldiers everywhere, after all Watertown was a military town. It was why he was in the business he was in. It was also why he succeeded at it.

“Did you call me stupid,” The man asked in a polite tone.

“Who, me? No. I didn’t call you stupid, I asked, what are you stupid? Different thing. The fuckin’ place is closed… Just doing my good deed for the day… Helping you, really, so you don’t waste no time,” Mike told him.

“Really?” The man asked.

Mike chuckled. “Yeah really, tough guy. Really. Now, I did my good deed, why don’t you get the fuck out of here ’cause you wore out your welcome.” He opened his coat slightly so they could see the chrome 9 mm that sat in its holster.

“Really,” the first guy repeated.

“Okay, who are you guys, frick and frack? A couple of fucking wannabees? Well I am the real deal, don’t make me stick this gun in your fuckin’ face,” Mike told them. He didn’t like being a dick, but sometimes you had to be.

“You know what my mother always said about guns?” The second guy asked.

“Well, since I don’t know your mama it’s hard to say,” Mike told him. He didn’t like the way these two were acting. They weren’t cops, he knew all the locals. If it had been someone he had to worry about he would have handled this completely differently. These guys were nobodies. At least nobodies to him, and that made them nobodies to Watertown. If he had to put a bullet in… His thoughts broke off abruptly as the barrel of what looked like a .45 was jammed into his nose. It came from nowhere. He sucked in a deep breath. He could taste blood in his mouth where the gun had smashed his upper lip against his teeth.

“She said don’t threaten to pull a gun, never. Just pull it.”

“Mama had a point,” Mike allowed. His voice was nasally due to the gun that was jammed hallway up to his brain. “Smart lady.”

“Very,” the man allowed. “Kind of a hard ass to grow up with, but she taught me well.” He looked down at Mike. “So listen, this is what we’re gonna do. You’re gonna drive out of here right the fuck now. And that’s going to stop me from pulling this trigger. Lucky day for you, I think. Like getting a Get Out Of Jail Free card, right.”

“This is my business spot… You don’t understand,” Mike told them. “I… I’m waiting for someone.”

“Not tonight, Michael.”

“Yeah, but you don’t.” He stopped. “How do you know my name?” he asked. There was more than a nasal quality to his voice, now there was real fear. Maybe they were Feds. Maybe.

“Yeah, we know you. And we know you use this spot as a place to do your business. And I’m saying we couldn’t care less, but right now you gotta go, and I’m not going to tell you the deal again. You can leave or stay, but you ain’t gonna like staying,” The guy told him.

Listen… This is my town… If you guys are Feds you can’t do shit like this… This is my town. You guys are just…

The guy pulled the trigger and Mike jumped. He fell to the right, across the front seat. Both men stepped away from the car, eyes scanning the lonely rest stop from end to end, but there was no one anywhere. The silence returned with a ringing in their ears from the blast as it had echoed back out of the closed car interior. The shooter worked his jaw for a moment, swallowing until his ears popped. He lifted his wrist to his mouth. “Guess you saw that,” he said quietly.

“Got a cleaner crew on the way up. You’ll pass them in the elevators. The boss is waiting on you guys.” The voice came through the implant in his inner ear. No one heard what was said except him.

He nodded for the cameras that were picking him up. “In case you didn’t hear it, someone is supposed to meet him here so your cleaner crew could have company.”

“Got that too… We’ll handle it.” He nodded once more, and then walked off toward the rest rooms as the other man followed.

Once in back of the unit they used a key in the old rusted handset. It only looked old and rusty; it was actually an interface for a state of the art digital system that would read his body chemistry, heat, and more. The key had dozens of micro pulse sensor implants that made sure the user was human, transmitted heartbeat, body chemistry, it could even tell male from female and match chemical profiles to known examples in its database. Above and to the sides of them several scanners mapped their bodies to those same known profiles. Bone composition, old fractures, density and more. All unique in every man or women. The shooter removed the key and slipped it into his pocket. A few seconds later a deep whining of machinery reached their ears, the door shuddered in its frame, and then slipped down into a pocket below the doorway.

A second later they stepped into the gutted restroom. Stainless steel doors took up most of the room; the elevator to the base below. They waited for the cleaner crew to come up and then took the elevator back down into the depths.

~

The Bluechip facility stretched for more than five miles underground. Most of that was not finished space, most of that was connector tunnels, and storage space bored from the rock. The facility itself was about three thousand feet under the city of Watertown in a section of old caves that had been enlarged, concrete lined and reinforced. The rest area was one of several entrances that led into the complex. An old farm on the other side of Watertown, an abandoned factory in the industrial park west of the city and a few other places, including direct connections from secure buildings on the nearby base.

John Pauls and Sammy Black had Alpha clearance. Both were ex-military, but most likely military clearance was no longer a real matter of concern this late in the game, Sammy thought as they made their way down the wide hallway. The word coming down from those in the know was that in the next twenty-four hours the human race would come very close to ceasing to exist at all. No confirmation from anyone official, but regular programming was off air, the news stations were tracking a meteor that may or may not hit the Earth. The best opinions said it didn’t matter if it hit or not, it would be a close enough pass that there would be massive damage. Maybe the human race would be facing extinction. The government was strangely silent on the subject. And that had made him worry even more. The pass was estimated to be right over the tip of south America. So maybe formalities like Alpha clearance weren’t all that important any longer. If only Mike Bliss had given that some thought before he had pissed him off.

The halls were silent, nearly empty. Gloss white panels eight feet high framed it. It had always reminded Black of a maze with its twists and turns. Here and there doors hung open. Empty now. Always closed any other time he had been down here. So it had come this far too, Black thought. He stopped at a door that looked like any other door and a split second later the door rose into the ceiling and Major Weston waved them in.

Alice, he had never learned her last name, sat at her desk, her eyes on them as they walked past her. One hand rested on the butt of a matte black .45 caliber pistol in a webbed shoulder holster that was far from Army issue. Her shoulder seemed a little puffy on one side… Padded unevenly: Probably injured, Sammy thought: Even so, he had no doubt she could still shoot them both before they could even react.

Alice was etched into one of those name pins that the Army seemed to like so well, but oddly, just Alice, no last name, rank or anything else. She wore no uniform, just a black coverall. The kind with the elastic ankle and wrist cuffs. No insignia there either. He had noticed those months before. Her eyes remained flat and expressionless as they passed her desk.

“Alice,” Sammy said politely. She said nothing at all, but she never did.

“Sit down, boys,” Major Weston told them. He spoke around the cigar in his mouth: Dead, but they always were, and there was never the smell of tobacco in the office. They took the two chairs that fronted the desk.

The Major was looking over a large monitor on the opposite wall that showed the north American continent. This map showed small areas of red, including the northern section where they were. The rest of the map was covered with green. “Where we are and where we need to be,” he said as he pushed a button on his desk. The monitor went blank. He turned to face the two.

“So here is where we are. You know, as does most of the world, that we are expecting a near miss from DX2379R later on tonight.” He held their eyes.

John shrugged. “I’ve been doing a little job, must have missed that. It’s not gonna take us out is it?”

“Saw that on the news a few days back. Guess we dodged a bad one,” Sammy said.

“Right… Right,” Weston said quietly. “But that cover was nothing but bullshit.”

“It’s going to hit us?” John asked.

“Maybe… The fact is that we don’t know. One group says this, another group says that, but it doesn’t matter because it will probably kill us off anyway. Direct hit, near miss, it is going to tip over an already bad situation with the Yellowstone Caldera.” He raised his eyes, “Familiar with that?”

“Yellowstone park?” Sammy said.

John nodded in agreement.

Weston laughed. “Put simply, yes. Yellowstone has always been an anomaly to us. Back in 1930 the Army did an exploratory survey of that area. What we came up with was that there was a section of the Rocky Mountains missing. Looked at from the top of Mount Washburn it was easy for the team to see that the largest crater of an extinct volcano known to exist lay before them.”

“I guess that’s about what I thought,” Sammy agreed.

“Yeah. We all think that. Except it is not true at all because the Yellowstone caldera is not extinct, it is active. Active and about to pop. There have been several warnings, but we took the recording stations off line quite some time ago, so there has been no mention of it in the news. Budget cuts,” he shrugged. “So everyone is focused on this meteor that may or may not hit us and instead this volcanic event is going to blow up and when that happens the rest won’t matter at all.” He clicked the button on his desk and the monitor came to life. “All the red areas are spots where the surface pressure has increased. There was, at one time, many active volcanoes on the north American continent.” He clicked a button and the map changed to a view of the European continent with many of the same red shaded areas.

“All over the Earth… Higher pressures. Up until a few days ago the brainiacs were still arguing over whether this could even happen.” He laughed. “It is happening and they are arguing over whether it can happen. Well, we had our little debates and then we realized that history shows clearly that this has happened before. Several times. Call it the Earth’s way of cleansing itself.”

“But it’s not an absolute, right?”Sammy asked.

“Don’t start sounding like the scientists.” He reached below his desk and came up with six small silver cartridges. Each had a red button mounted on the top with a protective cap over the button itself. He clicked a button on his desk, and a picture of destruction appeared on the screens. It was obviously an aerial shot, looking down at a chain of islands. Smoke hung over the chain, reaching as high as the plane itself. As the plane dropped lower, rivers of red appeared. “That picture is an hour old. That is… Was, the Hawaiian chain.”

Sammy twisted further to the side, staring at the monitor. “How can that be…? I mean everyone would know about it.” He turned back to Weston.

Weston nodded. “And that would be true except the satellites are out because of the asteroid. Shut down to avoid damage. That is the official word.” He clicked the button on his desk and the monitor went dead once more. “I started this out saying that none of it matters and that is true. The Yellowstone caldera is going to erupt sometime in the next few days. Not a maybe, not an educated guess: If the satellites were up you would know that the park is closed. It has already started. We have had a few small quakes, but the big stuff is on the way.”

“Super volcanoes… Earthquakes that modern civilization has never seen… The last super eruption was responsible for killing off the human population some seventy-four thousand years ago. Reduced it to a few thousand. And that is not the biggest one we have evidence of.” He lifted his palms and spread them open, sighing as he did. “So it is a double whammy. If we survive the meteor the volcanoes get us, or the earthquakes because of them, or we’ll die from injuries. And I think those of us who die outright will be lucky. The rest of us will have a hard time of it… Staying alive with nothing… We will probably all starve to death.” He paused in the silence.

“Those cartridges are a compound developed right here in this complex for the armed forces. Project Super Soldier. SS for short. That kept people from looking too deep; they assumed it was something to do with the Nazi youth movement here and abroad. We let that misconception hold.” He waited a second for his words to sink in.

“SS is designed to prolong life past the normal point of termination. It allows a soldier to survive longer without food and more importantly without water. Does something to the cells of the host, I don’t pretend to know what. What I do know is that the people above me made the decision to release this…” He picked up a mug of coffee from the desk and sipped deeply. His eyes were red road maps, Sammy noticed now; like he hadn’t slept in a few days. He picked up the two cartridges; holding them between thumbs and forefingers, rolling them back and forth.

“A few months ago this facility… I fucked up and allowed several vials of the virus to be stolen… The people responsible have been dealt with, but the damage was done.

“Shortly after that theft we began getting credible stories of contamination in Brazil… Nothing else anywhere else, but it doesn’t matter. This virus is tenacious, it will spread from Brazil to the entire world and it will just be a matter of time. The upper ups read those reports from Brazil and believe this may be the last hope for mankind if it is released now… In time to save the world… Before the end comes… So, accidental… Purposeful, I don’t know what that theft and contamination was meant to be, but it tipped the scales and now the entire world is going to be let in on it.” He sighed deeply and rolled the cartridges across the desktop; Sammy and John caught them.

“So this is it for us. I guess you realize that you probably won’t get paid for this. No money is going to show up in your account. I will run it through before I pull the plug, but I truly believe the machinery will be dead by the time payday rolls around. So this is something I’m asking you to do.” He pointed to the cartridges that both men were looking over. Sammy held his as though it might bite him.

“Those babies are really all we have to hope with. Most people will die outright. They will never make it past the quakes, eruptions, and the resulting ash clouds and gases. Up here we should be okay as far as gases go, eruptions, but there are fault lines that crisscross this area. This whole facility is bored from limestone caverns. Probably won’t make it through the quakes, although it is a good eighty miles from the closest line,” he shrugged. “Maybe, maybe not. My point is there should be a good chance for survivors here.”

“So we do what with these? Can they harm us?” John asked.

“Harm you, kill you? No, but you will be infected the minute you push that button. It will protect you the same as anyone else. There is enough in a single cartridge to infect about five hundred million people,” Weston said quietly.

“Whoa,” Sammy whistled. “Why infect… Why not inoculate? And why six cartridges… Three Billion people?”

“Minimum, three billion. That is before those infected pass it along: After a while it won’t matter. As to the question of infected, this is a designer virus. You catch it just like the flu. We infected whole platoons by releasing it in the air over them. Eighty-Nine point seven percent infection rate, but that doesn’t really matter because it infects people close to you and those people will infect you… Sneezing, waste, sex, water, food, it gets into and on everything. And once it is in you, either orally or via bloodstream you will be infected. The human body has nothing to fight it, no reason to be alarmed or believe it’s anything more than a virus. And that same response will help to carry it to every area of the body as your own defenses manufacture white blood cells to fight it. So you may as well say a one hundred percent infection rate.” He paused and rubbed at his temples.

“Be glad they decided on this. They have some others that will kill everybody in the world in a matter of days.” Weston nodded at the raised eyebrows that greeted his remarks. “I don’t doubt that the merits of which way to go were hotly debated,” he finished gravely.

“The virus is designed to live within the host, but it can live outside of the host. It can stay alive in a dead body for days, even if the body is frozen. In fact that just freezes the virus too; once the body is thawed it will infect any living person that comes along. So those,” he pointed to the silver cartridges, “are overkill. Same stuff is being released across the globe. Great Briton… Germany… Australia… West coast just a few hours ago. Manhattan has already been done, all the East Coast in fact. I want the two of you to head out from here. One vial here, then one of you head west, the other south. Go for the bigger cities… Water supplies… Reservoirs… Release it in the air or water, it doesn’t matter. There are men heading out from the south, the west coast. The Air Force will be dispersing the same stuff via cargo planes tomorrow or the next day… As long as they can fly, if we can even make it that long, and that isn’t looking really good right now…” He rose from the desk. “I’ll see you out.” He turned to Alice. “Alice… Pack us up.” Alice nodded as Sammy and John got to their feet, but her hand remained on the butt of the pistol. Rubber grips, Sammy noticed as he passed her.

“Alice,” he said.

“Um hmm,” Alice murmured.

Sammy nearly stopped in his tracks, but managed to hide his surprise as he passed by into the hallway. The Major fished two sets of keys from his pocket. “Parked in the back lot. A couple of plain Jane Dodge four-bys. Drive ’em like you stole ’em. Leave ’em where you finish up. Hell, keep ’em if you want ’em. Nobody is going to care.”

The three stood in the hallway for a few seconds longer. Sammy’s eyes locked with the Major’s own, and he nodded. The major walked back into his office, and the door rose from its pocket behind him. Quiet, except the slight buzzing from the fluorescent lights.

John shrugged as his eyes met Sammy’s, waiting.

Sammy sighed. “You heard the man… West or south?”

“Flip for it?” John asked. His mouth seemed overly dry and he licked his lips nervously.

Sammy pulled a quarter from his pocket and flipped it into the air. “Call it, Johnny.”

“Tails,” John said just before the quarter hit the carpet.

Sammy bent forward. “Tails it is. You got it, Johnny.”

John looked down at the carpet. “West, I guess.” John said.

Sammy nodded, looked down once more at the quarter and then both men turned and walked away toward the elevator that would take them back to the surface…


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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.


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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…

The Zombie Plagues Book 2 by Geo Dell

The Zombie Plagues Book two follows a small group of men and women as they struggle…


This material is Copyright protected and is used with permission of the author


The old woman in the ditch

They had come across the old woman at near morning. Near morning was the best she could do. Time was not a real concern to her anymore. The concept held no meaning. She understood near morning because the sickness, the sickness that began to send the searing pain through her body, had started. The boy had already been whining low in his throat for an hour in pain. It was like that whenever the night began to end, when the morning was on the way, soon to be.

She remembered sunlight. Her old self had needed sunlight just as she now needed darkness, absence of light. That had been Donita as well, but a different Donita.

They had been crossing the rock filled ditch to get to an old house on the other side. The basement of the house was what she had in mind. Quiet, private, darkness. She had been scrambling down the steep, sandy side when the scent had found her eyes and froze her brain.

That is the way she thought of it. Frozen. Everything… everything besides that smell of flesh was frozen out. The boy’s whining, the coming dawn, the constant hunger in her belly, the moon silvery and bright so far up in the night sky, nothing got by that desire. Urge. Drive. It consumed her, and it had then.

It had touched her eyes and then seeped into her brain; then it had spread out into her body. Her legs had stopped moving and she had nearly tumbled all the way to the bottom of the rock strewn ditch before she had caught herself, her head already twisted in the direction of the smell. Her ears pricked, her tongue licking at her peeled, dead lips.

She could smell the old woman. Knew that she was an old woman. It was in the smell. Somehow it was in the smell. And her flesh. And her fear. The boy had slammed into her then, still whining, and nearly knocked her to the ground.

She had come up from that near fall in a crouch, and the boy had slammed into her once more, so she had grabbed him to steady him. He had thought she meant to kill him and had pulled away, but a second later he had caught the scent and they had both gone tearing down the ditch.

The Old Woman

The old woman had heard them coming. She had begun to whine herself, replacing the boy’s whining which had turned to a low growl. The panic had built in her as she heard them coming. Her heart pounded, leapt slammed against her ribs, bringing pain with it. The pain rebounded and shot down into her broken leg, the leg that she had broken the day before trying to scramble down into this ditch to reach the house across what was left of the highway so she would have a safe place to stay. The pain slammed into her leg, and she cried aloud involuntarily. A split second later, the female slammed into her.

She had been on her belly. The pain was less that way. When the female hit her, she drove her over onto her back. A second after that, she was ripping at her flesh, biting, feeding and she could not fight her. She was too strong, too….. animal strong. And then the boy hit her hard, pouncing on her chest, driving the air from her lungs, and before she could even react, catch her breath back, he was biting at her throat.

She felt the pulse of blood as he bit into her jugular, and it sprayed across his face. She felt it go, felt her consciousness drop by half, her eyelids flutter, flutter, flutter and then close completely. And the biting was far away, and then it was gone.

The Feasting

The boy had her throat, but Donita had been biting her way into her chest. She had felt her heart beating and she had been gnawing against her ribs when she felt it stop. They had both calmed then, loosening the grips they had on her, and settling down to feed.

~

She had killed the old woman. She had no use for her at all. They had eaten so much of her flesh, that she was useless to them. Couldn’t sit up all the way. The boy had taken one arm off at the shoulder and carried it away like a prize.

Donita had eaten so much that she had vomited, but that had only forced her back to feeding until she was once again filled. She had looked around the ditch and spied the rock. The old woman had come back already, and she was trying to raise herself from the ground, trying to raise herself and walk once more. She had picked the rock up from the ditch. A big rock, but she was powerful, and she had smashed the old woman’s skull in as she had tried to bite at her. They had dragged her into the woods a little farther down the road, this place where they still were.


Get the book right now: Nook | iTunes | Smashwords

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.


Get Home in the Valley at these booksellers…

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Fred the cat and home repairs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SURPRISE!!!

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

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

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

“Might not be,” I said defensively.

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

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

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

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


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

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

Click for free previews and the first book is FREE!

A Free EARTH’S SURVIVORS POST

Earth’s Survivors free post from Geo Dell

Posted by Dell Sweet

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


EARTH’S SURVIVORS

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

Cover Art © Copyright 2017 Wendell Sweet

Some text copyright 2010, 2014, 2017 Wendell Sweet

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

LEGAL

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

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

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


This material is copyright protected

This material is NOT edited for content


Harrisburg PA

September 22nd

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

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

“Okay?” Joel asked.

“Um hm,” she agreed. “Just tired.”

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

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

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

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

“Will you take me?” Cathy had asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“That would work,” Alice agreed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Sure it is,” Alice disagreed.

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

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

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

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

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

“But what, though?” Haley asked.

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

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

“Plus the debris,” Alice said

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

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

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

Joel and Haley

Kumbrabow State Forest

Valley Head WV

September 26th

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

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

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

“I like mountains too,” Haley agreed.

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

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

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

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

“What?” Joel asked.

“What?” Scott asked him.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The cabin shook as something slammed into it from outside.

What the fu…” Scott began.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“No way,” Scott agreed tightly.

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

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

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


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EARTH’S SURVIVORS HOME IN THE VALLEY from Dell Sweet

EARTH’S SURVIVORS HOME IN THE VALLEY

Earth’s Survivors: Home In The Valley

Earth’s Survivors

Dell Sweet

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

Description

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

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

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

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

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

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


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