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…

Smashwords | NOOK | iTunes | KOBO | Paperback | Amazon

Dreamers free read from Dell Sweet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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This is copyrighted material

This material is not edited for content

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DREAMERS

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

Cover Art © Copyright 2016 Wendell Sweet

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

 

LEGAL

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

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

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



Before Dreams:

Enlightened Teachers:

Benjamin Bear Killer

Joe

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

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

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

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

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

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

Laura nodded for me to continue.

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

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

Bear yawned.

“Benjamin told me the legends first…….”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What happened to Sparrow Spirit,” Laura asked?

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

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

I thought for a second and then began.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“That poor little girl,” Laura said.

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

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

“Who,” Laura asked?

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

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

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

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

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

“But I don’t know how,” she said.

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


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Fred the cat and home repairs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SURPRISE!!!

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

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

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

“Might not be,” I said defensively.

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

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

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

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


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


EARTH’S SURVIVORS

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

Cover Art © Copyright 2017 Wendell Sweet

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.

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

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

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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