Then the cold came upon you, found you, along with its understanding and you were fine. You began to understand that life was just a short stop on the way to dead and that dead was just a way station to dead. And dead could be forever… #Zombie #iTunes
Posted By Dell Sweet 05-02-18
The weekend is creeping up on me. I think someone stole a few days and tried to slip one over on me. Or I would, except it really is Wednesday.
I would like to mention the book Zero Zero. I wrote this book some time ago, as in years and it is only now available. I write an end of the world book series Earth’s Survivors and this book is in the same vein. Different, but I think equally good. I mean that.
I was talking about this place today with someone today. How it did not start out to be an indie publishing vehicle, but simply an outlet for my own digital book copies. Now there are nine writers here and I doubt it will stop there.
I guess we don’t say much about ourselves so maybe now is a good time to do that. We are all writers. This site was first started to create a space for Writers, Musicians and Artists. We have many of each and many who do all of those things. One thing I have come to realize is that creative people wear many hats, not just one or two.
None of us own the site, but three of us work here fulltime. Yes that makes it nice, we get to write as we write. In fact it is encouraged. The owner is not a writer or a musician or an Artist. She enjoys all three things and many others though and so she gave us this and allowed us to develop it and build it. That did not happen the way some of us saw it happening.
I can’t speak for the others but I saw a site where writers, artists and musicians all hung out and marketed their work. Now we have a site where all those things have occurred. The writers, musicians and artists are here, we talk all day sometimes, back and forth, give advice or work on projects, etc. If someone asks me to help, I do. I wrote two of my most successful short stories that way. One of the other writers wanted to publish an anthology and wanted some of my work in it. Something new. Something different. Okay. I offered Zombie Fall and Rapid City. Neither of those stories would have happened if I had not been in that creative process with others.
There are top grade musicians here. I do my own music. I used to play in bands years ago. But I have not stuck with it: Although I love it I have too many other obligations on my time. So I have turned to other musicians to catch up on the new technology, so to speak, because three of my characters in the Earth’s Survivors books write music and I want to be able to provide that music on the website as it evolves.
My point is that the creative processes here are really good. They help all of us to be better at what we do, and in some cases write things we would not have written, and, the big deal, it is not what we had planned to build here. And it continues to grow. I couldn’t be happier and I’m glad to be a small part of it too.
I believe I mentioned before that I am a tech wizard, well, at least in my own head, but, I am common sense stupid. Lacking, sadly, in that small area of the brain that says ‘What?’ or ‘Hey wait a second!’ Nope. My brain just says, ‘Yeah go ahead who cares,’ or, ‘Hey it ain’t my problem, know what I mean?
Here’s an example: I picked up a screwdriver yesterday that I had bought in case I needed it. Brilliant, because, six months after I bought it? I needed it. Brilliant. There is the brain in action. I did not have to go buy one, simply go get it and use it. But since I needed it I had to open it. Except it was packaged in that stiff, molded, welded-plastic stuff. You know, the stuff that was predicted to be gone soon because Walmart supposedly hated it? And because there were several injuries reported after trying to tear it open. Yes. That is the knowledge I had when I picked up the package, that it could hurt me. I think that is as far as my common sense thinking went because immediately my Brain said, ‘Yeah, may be, but it won’t hurt me.’ No explanation as to why it wouldn’t, just that it wouldn’t. And that is the problem with my lack of common sense. My dumb self went… ‘Okay’ and immediately began to try to rip the package open.
After ten minutes and two cuts I gave up and admitted that my brainiac self had duped me again, bandaged my two hurt fingers, thanked God I had not lost a limb, and marveled over why we don’t issue this to our soldiers. They could present it to the enemy… ‘Here. Enjoy this Swiss Army knife that you can use to stab me to death.’ Our Soldier Smiles at his enemy. The enemy looks suspicious, but I have found a lack of common sense is a pretty, well, common thing. Especially in undeveloped countries that don’t know what that stuff is. So he tries to open it and end up slicing himself all up. Great weapon. I’m sure it could work.
Eventually, with the help of a pair of scissors, I did get the screw driver out, but I cut myself once more because the edge where I had cut it was so sharp. And I wondered, because people who lack common sense often wonder about stupid things and I am no exception, what if you bought a pair of scissors encased in that crap? And you bought them because you had to have them to open that sort of packaging?. What could you do? Could you go back to the store and use a complimentary pair of scissors to cut open the packaging? Could you go get your carpenters knife (Razor Knife) and slice it open with that? (I did this once while holding the packaging on my lap. NOT Recommended.). Do you even have or own a Carpenter’s Knife? Could you run over it with the car and break the packaging? Nope. Doesn’t work. Nevertheless, I thought of all these things anyway. No, I decided, I would bend the package until the scissors popped through. That would work. So now I plan a trip to my local Walmart so I can buy a pair of scissors and try my theories. And once I get them open I’m going to run with them and see if that old wives’ tale is true. I mean, after all, how can it be dangerous if you don’t fall? I don’t plan to fall.
Well that’s my week. I hope your work week had some amusement in it for you as mine did. Check out the free e Book list here. It’s a beautiful night here in New York, 68 degrees and low humidity. I just mowed the lawn a little while ago, so add the smell of fresh mown grass to that. If I had a pond and a fishing pole I’d be all set, but I do have a chair and a porch and I think I’ll go watch the sunset. I like the way my characters in my books get to do that. They think of those things, maybe because they have lost so much. They take time to enjoy and appreciate those simple pleasures now. Enjoy the Week… Dell.
ZOMBIE PLAGUE: BOOK TWO
Zombie Plague: Book Two is copyright © 2010 Geo Dell. All rights foreign and domestic reserved in their entirety.
Cover Art © Copyright 2018 Geo Dell
Some text copyright 2010, 2014, 2015 Geo Dell
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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 person’s places, situations or events is purely coincidental.
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ZOMBIE PLAGUE: BOOK TWO
On the road
~ March 26th ~
The camp was up before dawn, tents packed away and breakfast and coffee taken quietly together around the low embers of the camp fires. The breakfast didn’t consist of much more than the coffee and a few energy bars, but it suited their purpose well enough. The Dog, who still had no name, was going person to person and begging little tidbits even after his own breakfast of canned meat.
As the sun was touching the horizon, the small caravan of six vehicles were once again winding their way southward, leaving the roads where they were impassable and taking to the fields.
The two Suburbans that had been fitted with lifts and bigger tires had no problem with the on and off road transitions. It was tougher for the other four vehicles.
They monitored the radios as they drove along. Bits and pieces of conversation and skip came through the static. Sometimes clear, sometimes garbled and barely intelligible, but there were no conversations they could follow. Mike had never been a C.B. Radio fan, but Bob had been and he explained skip to everyone.
Skip could be two thousand miles away, or only a hundred. It was a signal that hit the atmosphere just right, or cloud cover, or a mountain range, and carried farther than it normally would have. You might talk to someone a thousand miles away as clearly as though they were no more than a mile down the road. And you might have that conversation for ten minutes or two hours and then suddenly they were gone because those atmospheric conditions that had allowed the conversation had changed.
Early on, Mike had thought about Ham radio. You could reach around the world with Ham radio. But Bob had explained that Ham radio accomplished that with relays. All the people that did the relays were most likely gone, at least for now. Maybe they would be back eventually, but they had heard nothing but a soft electric hiss cutting across the miles the two times they had tried the bands, and no one had answered their calls.
The F.M. Band had also remained dead. It seemed all the traffic was on the C.B. Channels. The V.H.F. Bands, normally used for Marine conversations, were empty too. But that offered a secure option for them to talk without being overheard. As they drove through the morning now, they talked back and forth on the V.H.F. Band, monitoring the C.B. and the F.M. Bands.
They filled their tanks two hours after dawn at a collapsed gas station next to the interstate. A length of rubber hose connected to a hand operated Kerosene pump made the job quick. The only hard part had been locating the underground tank. The cover had been found though, the cap spun off, and the odor of gasoline drifted up into the air telling them that the underground tank had not been ruptured.
The little area that serviced the interstate contained a large garage, two small Mom-and-Pop stores, the gas station and a chain auto parts store right next to the garage, probably built with the garage in mind.
On the other side of the asphalt parking lot sat a motel unit that had seen better days. Most of the units were flattened. The swimming pool was cracked and empty; wire mesh and what looked to be a bottomless void graced the middle of the rust stained pool. A second row of motel units running parallel to the pool looked to be untouched. Across the road were two name brand outlet stores, obviously placed to take advantage of the interstate. They had pulled the trucks onto the cracked pavement of the gas station, and after they had finished gassing up the trucks, Mike had gathered everyone together.
Bob and Tom came back from checking out the garage and the auto parts store just after the trucks were gassed up. Bob nodded his head at Mike.
“You noticed Bob and Tom looking over the garage,” Mike said. “We’re thinking of stopping here. We’d probably end up here for a few days while Bob and Tom work on the other four trucks. And we need a few other things: tail gate swing outs that can hold a spare tire, gas can too, roof racks to carry gear, lifts, better, bigger tires… In short, the things we had intended to do back in Watertown.” He looked around, trying to catch the eyes of each person individually.
“You can see how much easier it is for the two Suburbans to get around wrecks, buckled roads, down in to and out of ditches. It just makes sense to give the other four trucks that ability, otherwise they’ll just be slowing us down. You saw a little of that this morning.”
“Makes sense,” Janet Dove agreed.
Molly nodded. “My only concern is, are those…” she paused and her face reddened, “People,” she managed after a long pause, “coming after us?” Her eyes were dark and questioning. Mike could read the fear in her posture.
“I doubt it,” Candace said. She spoke quietly but forcefully.
“We’ll listen in on the radios,” Nellie added.
“They won’t come. In the city they knew how to get around… Out here,” Patty waved her arms around, finally lifting them to the sky. “They wouldn’t know what to do. Couldn’t sneak up on us.” She shook her head. “I just don’t think they’re the kind that want to deal with even odds.”
Candace nodded in agreement. “You know, Molly. Spineless, right?”
Molly nodded and Mike watched the fear leave her and something closer to determination replace it. She nodded her agreement once more, looking directly at Candace as she did.
Mike cleared his throat and continued. “The reason we traveled on was to put some miles between us and them. It’s a long way for them to come. I don’t see it,” Mike said. He let the silent nods continue for a moment and then continued.
“There are other things we can do, things we need. Canned goods, maybe one of those cows, or a deer. They seem to be wandering everywhere. There really is enough to keep all of us busy for the next few days while Bob and Tom get the truck situation straightened out.” He paused but no one spoke. “So… If there are no real objections?”
“Let’s do it,” Molly said.
“Yeah, I’m for it,” Patty added.
As Mike turned away, Patty, Candace, Molly and Nell began to set up a plan for monitoring the radios. Everyone agreed that they would probably hear about anything coming their way long before it reached them. Molly went over to the garage a few minutes later and pitched in, helping Bob and Tom move whatever was in the way so that they could reach the racks and garage bays. There were two tow trucks that they used to do most of the work, but chains and muscle power accomplished the rest.
In the end, they cleared out three stalls that they could work in. Molly stayed, and not long after Nell found her way over and began to work side by side with her.
The garage was a prefab steel building that, either because of a whim of the Gods’ or its design, had remained standing. By the time some others were returning with a cow and two large does in the back of one of the pickup trucks, the garage was ready to go. Molly and Tom wheeled out a towering chain-fall for the hunting party to use to dress out the animals and then went back to work.
By late afternoon the third Suburban was well under way. The lift was done, brush-guards installed and they were working on the carrying racks. Mike and Ronnie stopped by to look over the effort and were amazed. The Suburban looked like something that had rolled out of some sort of Safari outfitters garage, or a futuristic end of the world epic, Mike joked. But that sent them all into silence for a few moments, and Mike didn’t mention it again.
Molly and Nell were working on bolting a huge winch to the front bumper of one truck while Tom and Bob worked on stripping out one of the pickups to get it ready for a lift kit.
Tim and Annie had made their way to the garage and then found themselves drafted and made part of the work crew. Annie was in the third stall laying out the parts they would need for the lift on the pickup truck while Tim worked at mounting the oversize tires to new, larger rims, using a pair of heavy iron bars and his body weight to accomplish the work. He and Annie joked back and forth as they worked.
They were using a small twelve volt air-compressor to inflate the tires after they had them mounted. They both seemed to be enjoying themselves, Mike thought, and they seemed happy to be in each other’s company.
Outside, near the far end of the garage, the chain-fall had been set up, and a group led by Janet Dove, which included Sandy and Susan, were hoisting a large cow up into the air.
“Mike,” Janet said as he and Ronnie passed by on their way out of the Garage.
“We would like to smoke most of this meat… If we’re going to be here a few days, I thought…”
Mike nodded. “Yeah. Might as well, Jan. We have the time,” He assured her, “And, it’ll help to have the meat with us, who knows what’s ahead.” He shrugged.
Janet Dove smiled, turned away, and Mike stood watching as the huge cow began to lift into the air from the back of the pickup truck before he and Ronnie turned and walked away.
A few minutes later, the two of them fell in with Candace and Patty who were sifting through what the chain stores had to offer in the way of clothing, canned goods and whatever else they came across that they could find a use for. They passed by Lilly who had taken over the toy department, blocked off one aisle, and was keeping Brian and Janelle busy. She smiled and waved as they passed. Janelle waved back. Her dark eyes finally looking rested and happy.
Brian had built himself the biggest Lincoln Log village that Mike had ever seen and was now busy populating it with dozens of green, plastic Army Men. Mike smiled and Brian took the time out of his game to smile back at he and Ronnie. He held a large plastic Tyrannosaurus Rex in one hand which seemed to Mike about to wreak havoc on the village and its population of Army Men.
A half dozen trips with Candace and Patty, and late afternoon turned into early evening. Fires were burning to smoke the meat. Two large roasts were spitted over a huge fire pit made of field stone. A stew was bubbling in a pot that had been suspended over the flames. Nearly everyone had found a reason to stop by the area Janet Dove had set aside for cooking, most arriving just as she had been about to send some others out looking for everyone to round them up for dinner. The Dog was running around in circles, happily racing from person to person, tail wagging crazily. The smell of roasting meat hung heavy in the still, cool air.
Everyone sat close together at several wooden picnic tables that Janet had drafted a few volunteers to bring over from the collapsed section of the motel. They had sat in a small clearing not far from the building, untouched, while everything around them had been leveled.
The temperature was in the low forties, but with the early evening sun still shining, it felt much warmer.
Mike sat next to Candace, Ronnie on his other side. Across the table, Molly sat with Nell. They were both laughing, involved in conversation with each other. It was the happiest that Mike had seen Nell or Molly.
Canned potatoes, fresh beef and venison, a stew that held a bit of everything in it and a steaming platter of peas dominated the table center. Everyone had heaped up their plates. Too long eating thrown together meals or energy bars had left them hungry for real food.
Their basic protein needs had been met, but there was nothing like real food to make you… Happy, Mike decided. He looked around the table at all the smiling faces. It was actually a mood elevator, he decided.
“What’s on your mind, Baby?” Candace asked. Her eyes smiled, but her mouth wore a question he had come to know was more serious than her smile insinuated.
He bent forward and kissed her, making the smile on her face spread wider still. “I was thinking how happy everyone looked.” He turned his head and let his eyes sweep the tables once more, then turned back to Candace whose eyes and face now wore another look he was becoming familiar with. He bent forward and kissed her once more. “I’m pretty sure I love you,” He told her.
She laughed, “Pretty sure!” She slapped his arm with one hand. “You better be more than pretty sure, Mister.”
Mike laughed and kissed her again. “Positive,” he said. “I’d be lost without you.” His eyes turned serious. “That’s the truth,” His voice dropped to a near whisper as he leaned even closer. “I love you so much that I don’t have words for it. I only know it’s real. I only know I need you.” He kissed her once more and sat back up to catch Annie giggling and looking away.
Candace laughed beside him. An easy laugh that eased the seriousness of the conversation.
“I hope we’ll have some time later on,” she said, her voice still low, husky.
“I’ll make sure of it,” Mike told her.
“I was looking at that garage building,” Ronnie said from beside him.
“It’s one of those industrial prefabricated jobs. I’ve put up a few, but I had no idea how well engineered they were. They hold up pretty well, or at least this one did. The buildings not really damaged at all.”
“I noticed that too,” Mike agreed, “What are you thinking?”
“Well,” Ronnie grinned, “When we get where we’re going, it may not be a bad idea for a dwelling… or dwellings. At least for a temporary dwelling until we build… if we build. Lightweight, easy to put up. Easy to insulate. Not bad in an earthquake, if that stuff’s not completely done with us.”
Mike was nodding his head. “I’m for it, but are they hard to come by? I mean, where could we get one?”
“Not as hard as it seems. There are outlets where you can buy them in larger cities. And there are thousands already set up. We could take them apart pretty easily, take them where we want them and put them back up. All the structural supports are pretty much the same. You just add more or take away to make the building the size you need. Very lightweight, so they’d be easy to transport. They’d go up or down pretty fast,” Ronnie finished.
“Has my vote,” Bob added. “Fast, easy. They seem solid. It will save us a ton of time.”
“I’ve seen them around. I think it’s a good idea. We wouldn’t have to worry about wooden structures falling down on us.” Mike looked around. “Almost all the wooden structures are down. Concrete seems okay, for the most part, steel. But wooden structures just give too easily. Putting them up fast would also be a plus,” he finished. He raised his eyes from the ground – he had a habit of looking at the ground to visualize his thoughts – and saw that Molly and Nell had been listening to their conversation. They were nodding their heads in agreement.
“That garage is really solid,” Molly agreed.
“Cement’s cracked here and there, but the building itself held up really well,” Nell agreed. “I don’t even like walking into a wooden building anymore. You can feel it move, hear the creaks and groans… pops.” She shook her head.
Mike and Ronnie both nodded.
”It’s a good plan,” Mike said. He turned his head to Molly. “Where did you learn to turn wrenches?” he asked her.
Molly smiled. “My dad had a race car. It started out as a hobby but became something else. He’d work on it all week long and then run it in races on the weekends.” She smiled shyly. “When I was a little girl, as far back as I can remember, I used to go out and watch.” She laughed. “Pretty soon I was fetching wrenches, parts.” She laughed again. “The first time I came in with greasy hands, I thought my Mother was going to die. When I was fifteen, my Dad bought an old beat to shit Mustang. A sixty-four. It was a project car, he’d said. We’d work on it in our spare time together, finish it up and sell it for a profit.” She smiled and her eyes misted as she seemed to be looking back through the years.
“It took nearly a year of work. That was also the time I was eligible to get my permit. The day I got my license, he handed me the keys,” she finished, smiling happily at the memory.
“Pretty nice,” Candace said.
“Yeah, except it got smashed flat when this,” she lifted her hands and gestured helplessly, “happened. But once we’re where we’re going to be, I think I’ll try to find another one, or maybe a two door sixty-two Chevy Impala. I’ve always liked the way those Chevy’s look.” She shrugged, “Crazy, I guess, but I really think I’m gonna do it. There must be one somewhere.”
“I can see that,” Patty said. “Or something else worth rebuilding.”
More than a few heads nodded in agreement.
“Sometimes,” Patty added as an afterthought. “The thing you find is better than the thing you thought you wanted.”
Nell looked at Molly. Molly smiled, and Nell leaned closer and kissed her.
“You two?” Candace asked.
“Nell tempted me,” Molly said.
“It’s like Patty said, sometimes the thing you find is better than the thing you thought you would find… or want. I hadn’t expected this much out of life in the old world let alone this one,” Nell said smiling, but serious. She worked her hand into Molly’s and leaned closer to her.
Mike’s eyes swept across Patty’s face, expecting to see a smile but finding a distracted, sadness on her face instead. Patty swept it away so quickly though that he wasn’t sure just a second later that it had really been there at all. Maybe, he decided, he had imagined it. After all, Patty had found the better thing she hadn’t known she would find in Ronnie. There would be no reason for that sadness to be on her face. He found his own hand holding Candace’s, and she leaned into him for a kiss.
“Get a room, you guys,” Tim said as he and Annie passed by. Annie was blushing but had a huge smile on her face.
“Horn dogs,” Tim told her as they walked away, laughing with each other and holding hands as they went.
“Horn dogs?” Mike asked.
“I don’t know about you but I am no horn dog,” Janet Dove joked as she passed by.
The thought of prim and proper Janet Dove making a statement like that caused everyone to crack up. Janet stopped, a shocked look on her face.
“Good one, Jan,” Candace said.
“I can’t believe I said that,” Janet said.
Everyone cracked up then, including Janet Dove.
Candace lay in the crook of Mike’s arm as they talked quietly.
“Gotta go in about five minutes,” Mike told her. “My watch.”
“No,” Candace said. “You can’t go if you can’t get out of bed. Besides, we paid for the room for the night,” she finished and laughed.
Mike chuckled. “This is nice. Privacy, first we’ve had in… well, forever.”
“When we leave, we’ll be back to getting none at all again,” Candace told him. She snuggled against his side, one hand resting against the flat of his stomach, her index finger drawing small circles. “But,” she lifted her eyes to his. “I guess I have to let you go. Just think about that alone time for later.” She kissed him softly. “Something to keep you thinking about it.” She turned away, swung her feet to the floor and began to get dressed.
“You do give me things to think about,” Mike told her. He trailed his fingers down her back, bent forward and kissed her shoulder.
Candace looked back at him. “Do you want to make that watch?”
Mike laughed. “No, but I have no choice at all.” He leaned forward and kissed her mouth. “Later,” he said.
“Later,” She agreed.
The room had not been in bad shape. It was funny how fate could be, Mike had thought. One wing flattened, one untouched. From sleeping in a cave a day ago, to sleeping in a real bed the next.
The room was dusty, a slight musty, unused odor, but dry. The roof had held up. The walls seemed untouched.
“Where are you going?” Mike asked.
“You’re not on, Babe,” Mike grinned.
“Correction. I wasn’t on. You had Patty on, but she wanted to spend time with Ronnie, so we switched. That way, when we’re done, we can come back here again…” She cocked her eyebrows. “And take our time?”
“What, not be rushed?” Mike asked.
She stood and turned into him as he was getting ready to leave. A beautiful woman wearing only a pair of white socks, which was all she had managed to get on. She stretched up onto her tip toes and kissed him. His hands pulled her close. She pulled away with a smile.
“I thought you were coming with me,” Mike said.
“I am,” She giggled.
He reached for her once more, but she skipped away. “We’ll never get there, Baby,” she told him.
“As it is, I’ll probably be thinking about you throughout the whole watch and waiting to get back here. God, Candace, you’re so beautiful.”
She looked at him seriously. “Keep that up and we’ll never get out of this room.” She crossed the short distance between them and kissed him once more. “Say it just once more?”
“You’re beautiful,” Mike told her as he pulled her close.
It was about an hour and a half past sunset when Mike took over one of the perimeter guard posts from Susan. It was simply the far corner of the garage complex that overlooked a field and the highway beyond it.
“Quiet?” He asked.
“Pretty much. The dog… what’s that dog’s name anyway?” she asked.
“He doesn’t have one,” Mike admitted. “We, uh… we just call him The Dog, you know. He survived. He got through it same as us; he made it, you know. He’s The Dog.” Mike finished lamely.
“Oh. Sounds like a little guilt there, Mike. Maybe we should all get together and name it,” Susan suggested.
“Well, anyway… The Dog kept looking off towards the highway. He didn’t, like, bark or anything. I thought maybe deer, cows, something else. But with the meat drying, it could have drawn anything at all. The fires and so many people should be enough to keep anything away. Even if it’s wolves, they’ll probably stay away, right? I just thought you should know about it.”
Mike nodded. “Could be something, but you’re probably right. Most likely it’s nothing. I imagine the smell of the meat will draw every carnivore in the area. That’s okay as long as they don’t try to bother us. There will be plenty of scraps when we’re gone.”
Susan nodded this time. “Mike,” she hesitated and Mike nodded for her to continue. “Well, I wondered what you thought about Jan and Bob’s idea of settling in the wilderness. You know, deep in the middle of nowhere… a new Nation.”
Mike nodded slowly. “I think they really want to do it. I think they really believe in it, Susan,” he shrugged. Her eyes questioned him. “Okay… and… And I wish I could believe in it they way they do. Not that I believe it won’t work. I think anything we do will take hard work, a good deal of hard work,” he shrugged again. “And I think they’ll put the work in, I really do. Maybe you’re asking me what I want to do, and I can’t tell you that. I don’t know… I haven’t decided. It’s something Candace and I would have to take the time to sit down and decide, and we just haven’t had the time to do that.”
“You know, in my head the old world was selfish. It was all about selfish. The me-generation? Something like that. And I’m not saying I was any better. I wasn’t. Oh, I had my friends, and I helped them when I could, but when it came down to push or shove, it was me. It was me, and a lot of the people I knew, worked for, with, associated with, were the same way. Social on the surface, but scratch that surface and it’s a different story. Push or shove… and not an overly hard push or shove either.” He looked at her and Susan nodded.
“At least for me it’s been that way. I guess I sound cynical. But it’s not that way anymore. I’m not that way anymore. It’s not about me. It’s about me and Candace. And it really isn’t about us either. It’s deeper. There are people here I’ve really come to care about. I mean really care about. Do you realize that I haven’t watched T.V. Since the night this all started? Sounds ridiculous, right? None of us have, but I did computer work. Scripting, C, C plus, plus, graphics, more. I used to turn my computer on, turn on the T.V. for company and go to work. Eighteen hours sometimes, even longer on occasion. It… that… was my life. No relationships. No one to really care about. No time for it. And everyone I knew was the same way. Superficial. Shallow? Yeah, that too. Well… I don’t do that anymore; I don’t want to.”
Susan nodded. “Everyone I knew was too busy living to think about how they were living,” she said.
“That I do understand,” Mike said. “But not now, you know, somewhere, in some secure building, on some secure server I have a couple of bank accounts that were well over a million dollars each.” He laughed. “All means nothing now, Susan, nothing. I am happy with what I have. I don’t want what I used to have.” He sighed.
“The Nation? Probably a great idea. I can think of only a few things that I could do that would matter as much to me as that does to them. Kids… love… Candace, you know? Do it right, not like the old world. And that’s the rub. It depends on Candace… and the baby. She’s trying to get pregnant. It seems like almost everyone is.” He rubbed the flat of his palm along his jaw feeling the stubble that was softening into a beard. “If she wanted to do it, yes. If she wanted to travel to Alaska, yes. When the time comes, and it’s probably not all that far away in the scheme of things, but when the time comes for Bob and those that have committed to go with them, and those that will – I know there will be more – when that time comes, if Candace wants to go with them, I’ll jump in with both feet. That’s the truth of it.”
Susan’s eyes were misted. “Thank you,” she said.
“Thank you for being long winded and entirely too personal on short notice?” Mike asked.
Susan laughed. “No, for being honest. I think I’m going to go have a talk with a young lady. I’ll see you later, Mike,” she said. She smiled and then walked off into the shadows of the night.
Mike watched her go. Apparently everyone was more appreciative of people now, not just himself, he thought. He turned his attention to the field and the highway. After his eyes became accustomed to the darkness, he could see the dark shapes of cattle grazing in the field, a few deer mixed in with them.
He thought about what he had just said, how much he felt for Candace. How for the next few nights they would have a real bed. His mind filled with thoughts of her. He almost missed the radio call, almost wrote it off as one of their own, until he realized it wasn’t.
“Hello the camp,” the voice repeated.
Mike unclasped the radio from his belt and raised it to his mouth and spoke. “I guess you mean us,” he said more calmly than he felt…
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Earth’s Survivors America The Dead
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The end of the world has come. Few will survive starving, attacks by gangs… And then the dead will come #Undead https://goo.gl/CKy1Zy
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The Nation takes shape and the people who will build it #eBook #horror https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/earths-survivors-the-nation/id602902809?mt=11
Home In The Valley:
Home In The Valley #iTunes Building the first and most important settlement #ebook #Apocalypse https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/earths-survivors-home-in-valley/id1015548804?mt=11
Plague #iTunes #Undead #eBook The dead rise and the cities fall to them. Death is no escape… https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/earths-survivors-plague/id1015630497?mt=11
Watertown #iTunes #Apocalypse #eBook A look at what lead up to the apocalypse of the dead https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/earths-survivors-watertown/id1086227131?mt=11
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EARTH’S SURVIVORS: APOCALYPSE
PUBLISHED BY: Dell Sweet
Earth’s Survivors: Apocalypse is © Copyright 2014 Wendell Sweet, all rights reserved.
Additional Copyrights © 2010 – 2012, 2014, 2015 by Wendell Sweet, All rights reserved
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
The following material is copyright protected and is used here with the authors express permission
The following material is not edited for content and is rated 18+
The 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 to 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 an asteroid 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 Michael 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, and Sammy had no doubt she would 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 that 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 were always, 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 asteroid 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 canisters. Each had a small 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 quakes, but the big stuff is on the way. He rolled the canisters across the desktop; Sammy and John caught them.
“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 asteroid 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 canisters are a compound developed 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.
“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 canisters 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 canister to infect about five hundred million people,” Weston said quietly.
“Whoa,” Sammy whistled. “Why infect… Why not inoculate? And why six canisters… Three Billion people?”
“Minimum three billion. That is before those infected pass it along themselves, 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. One hundred percent infection rate. 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 debated hotly,” 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 canisters, “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…” 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 over 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.
Get this book as a free download from Apple – iTunes: Click below…
THE ZOMBIE PLAGUES LINKS From Geo Dell
Geo Dell on I-tunes: The Author of The Zombie Plagues. All the books all with FREE Previews!
The Zombie Plagues Book One: The apocalypse begins…
The Zombie Plagues, book Two: The living have fallen only to rise again as the living dead…
The Zombie Plagues Book Three: Humanity is on the move, fleeing death, or maybe running headlong to death…
The Zombie Plagues Book Four: The Outrunners are formed. A ragtag band of survivors who make it their mission to fight the dead…
The Zombie Plagues: Book Five: The new society faces many growing pains as it forms in the wilderness…
Plague is the new book in the Zombie Plagues series. And it tells the story of how the zombie apocalypse started…
The Zombie Plagues Box set: The First five books… He came awake in the darkness, but awake wasn’t precisely the term. Alive was precisely the term
The Zombie Plagues Dead Road: The Collected books. Everything Zombie Plagues in one collectors set…
A short comedic story I wrote to illustrate that you can write about anything at all as long as you invest yourself in it…
DOGGY DAY AFTERNOON
IN THE SQUAD ROOM:
The detective set the open box of doughnuts down on the table, sighed, and then levered himself back into his cheap, plastic chair.
“Okay… Tell me about the dog…” He reached forward, snagged a doughnut, and began to chew, neatly catching a blob of jelly that burst from the side of the doughnut with one fat finger.
I thought for a moment… “Okay… It was like this…”
HOW MUCH IS THAT DOG CRAP ON THE SIDEWALK:
It was a clear, sunny day. The cracked sidewalk stretched out before me like a yellow bricked road that somehow had escaped coloring. I saw the dog crap on the sidewalk just before I saw the hunched over dog… Plop… Another missive joined the pile. The dog looked up at my widened eyes and grimaced, grunted, then growled.
“What the $%#@,” the dog said. “Never seen a dog take a crap?”
I was momentarily flummoxed. I knew dogs could talk, in fictional writings anyway, but I hadn’t realized that I would meet one on a city sidewalk in the middle of the day. The dog, a Pit Bull breed, straightened up, spun around and looked at the pile of crap, sniffed twice, and then looked back up at me. I checked his collar. No license. In fact, no collar.
“Hey, Man,” I started. “I mean, Hey, Dog, you got to have a license,” I told him.
“You saying a dog needs a license to take a crap, Mo-Fo?” He walked towards me, stiff legged. I notice that as he talked he teeth seemed to wiggle in his jaw, his words were slightly slurred.
“Uh, well, no… I mean a dog license… A license for a dog.”
“So I need a friggin’ license to be a dog? I can’t just be a dog? Oh, you frickin’ people make me laugh. A damn license to be a dog…” He looked back up at me. He had looked away, shaking his head. “I don’t got no frickin’ license, Mo-…” His eyes flew open as he teeth clattered to the ground. “Fwuck,” he said as they plopped into the pile of crap, broke free and clattered to a stop. “Somawevabeesshh.”
“Ha, Ha ,Ha,” I said before I could think. “Your teeth fell in the…”
He stuffed the teeth back into his jaw, launched himself to his hind legs, and the next thing I knew I was staring down the barrel of a Nine mm pistol.
“Holy crap,” I managed as the dogs paws settled on my chest.
“Holy crap,” The dog mimicked in a high falsetto. He swatted my face with his free paw, and then shoved the gun halfway into my nose. ”Give me your wallet.” I fumbled in my pocket and fished out my wallet, the dog fumbled around, stretched one rear leg up to hold the wallet as the other skimmed through it. He fished my license out and began to look it over.
“Hey, Dog. That’s a drivers License. No good for a dog.” I tried a smile on my face.
“You know,” the dog said, “Smiling means a whole different thing to a dog. An ape, most animals in fact. It’s a sign of aggression.”
I quickly wiped the smile off my face…
The detective broke in…
“You gonna eat that last doughnut,” he asked?
I looked down and noticed there was only one doughnut left in the box. “Uh, no… Go ahead,” I said.
He reached down and then motioned for me to continue with one white powdered finger.
“Uh.. Yeah… So…
DOGGY TOUGH GUY:
The dog looked over the license (Warning… Scene stolen from Good fellas) “Okay,” The dog said, “You may know who I am, but I know who you are… Where you live.” He looked at me and I nodded. He fished a twenty out of my wallet and handed it to me. “Go get me a license. I’ll be right here waiting.”
THE REST OF IT:
The detective interrupted, talking around the doughnut, bits of clumped up powdered sugar and doughnut flying as he spoke. I winced as I felt a piece hit my lower lip. “So,” he looked down at his notepad, “The City Clerk says you got a license for a Mixed Beagle dog.” He looked back up at me.
“Yeah… See, I figured that way you could find him easier… I mean, how many Pit Bulls are walking around with tags for a Beagle.”
“Uh huh,” The detective said. “Maybe he read it?”
“A dog that can read,” I asked? “That’s pretty hard to believe.”
The detective nodded again… “Okay, So…”
When I got back from the City Clerks office the dog was waiting. He took the license and the tags and then handed me my wallet back. He took another twenty though for crack. He was a crack-dog.
“Whoa, a Crack-dog,” The detective asked? “Why didn’t you mention that before? How do you know?”
“Um, because he said something like…. “Yo, Man. I need another twenty to buy two tens at the spot.”
The detective nodded and motioned with the now clean finger to go on.
“Well, that’s it. He gave me back my license and told me if I ever told he would come and poop on my lawn everyday… And he threatened to bite me…”
“Did he bite you,” The detective asked?
“Well, no, but…”
The detective waved one chubby hand. “No Bite, can’t charge him.”
I looked at him incredulously. “Are you F *$#ing kidding me?”
He frowned. “Watch your goddamn mouth. We got kids around here.”
I looked, but could see no kids. I nodded anyway. “Well… He stole twenty bucks… No, forty bucks…”
The detective shook his head. “Look, how do I know that? You could be making the whole thing up… Dogs bite… You ain’t got no bite, do you?”
“No,” I agreed.
The detective shrugged.
“He pooped on the sidewalk… I saw him.”
“Uh huh, but then he’s a dog. Now if you catch a person doing that…” He shrugged again and looked down at the doughnut box. “Look, I got work to do…. Anything else?”
I shook my head, knowing I was defeated…
BACK IN IT:
As I left the police station I saw the dog two buildings down, standing in the shadows.
“I told you,” The dog yelled. “I warned you!”
As I turned to run, I reminded myself to pick up a poop scooper… And some bags… and some PoliGrip as a peace offering. It was a clear, blue skied day as I raced down the sidewalk running for home, the dog right behind me…
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Hey it’s Wednesday and a free look at the novel Watertown
Posted by Geo 08-02-2017
It is a hot day here in New York. Rain and cold, sunny and too hot. No in between here lately. I have chosen an excerpt from Watertown, this is a prequel to the series. I realize that may stop some people from reading it. Unfortunate, it is a good book and you will miss a good story line. But if you are interested in only things that are Nation, OutRunner, Fold or Alabama Island related then you might not care about missing this book. If, on the other hand, you like reading about Billy Jingo, Bluechip and the area around the story town of Watertown, then you might want to sit down and give this a read. Well worth your time and one of two scheduled prequels this year.
As for the rest of the week, well we’re halfway! Enjoy it, Geo…
EARTH’S SURVIVORS: WATERTOWN
By Dell Sweet
Copyright © Dell Sweet 2016, all rights reserved.
Additional Copyrights © 2010 – 2014 by 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. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
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’s. The Names 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. All rights foreign and domestic are retained by the Author and or his assignee’s.
Permission is granted to use short sections of text in reviews or critiques in standard or electronic print.
This excerpt is used with permission. It is not edited or content and is rated 18+
Watertown, New York
Jefferson County Transfer Station 2
Sergeant Alice Tetto
Alice backed the car around to the open container. Late afternoon was a perfect time. The county residents not in evidence: The large trucks done with their routes for the day. The dump about to close down for another day. Whenever she had something to dispose of and she needed privacy, she timed it so that she was here in the late afternoon just as she was now.
Sergeant Smith had met her on a back road on Fort Drum. That was not as risky as it seemed. Fort Drum had been a small winter camp back in the early nineteen hundreds: When it had expanded the first time from Pine Camp to Camp Drum it had incorporated the small village of Leray. The whole township: Farms, streets, the Leray Mansion, fields. At the third expansion, when it became Fort Drum most people had forgotten about the old township and its farms and roads rotting away on the reservation.
When Alice had come to work for Major Weston at Bluechip she had come from Drum. Re-assigned to bridge a gap, so she had thought. She had found out after that Weston had requested her specifically. Probably after reading her personnel file.
She had a certain propensity for violence. Her psychological evaluations showed an aptitude for following orders without question, and a certain flexibility of morals that some would find alarming, but which the government had already used her for more than once. Killing didn’t seem to affect her the way it did others.
She had served in Afghanistan and watched fellow soldiers fall apart when it came to killing. It didn’t bother her at all. Killing was part of the job. That was how she looked at it then: That was how she had explained her lack of apathy to the shrink that had talked to her when she had been reassigned after the second tour to Drum. It was nothing special, it was how she was built.
Weston had embraced that side of her, and the old farms and fields hidden in the lost recesses of the base had become the perfect place for her to dispose of problems for him.
Unfortunately, the base was used more and more lately as a training facility. Because of that it had become somewhat unpredictable for her to dispose of problems there. The last two times she had nearly been caught, and that had forced her to adapt to a different strategy. The transfer station had proven to be the perfect alternative when there were large troop placements training or on maneuvers at the base.
Alice shut down the car and walked around to the back, looking in all directions, trying not be obvious as she did it: There was no one around.
The sexual relationship with Weston had simply happened. Another moral flexibility she had acquired in service to her country. Sometimes sex was also part of the job if you were a woman. An asset was an asset. Weston was not unattractive, but it hardly mattered. What did mater was that he found her desirable.
She had been summoned to General Wesley Lee’s office twice now. Both times under the guise of monthly training that was required for her security level. Not even Weston knew who his real boss was, but she did.
The first time had been two years before, just weeks after she had started her new job. The last just a few weeks before. The General had not known what was missing, he had simply called her in to encourage her to see the job to the end. That end was coming fast, he had told her. Nothing more. Just a pep talk, she had decided, to keep her in the loop. It had been so long at that point since she had seen him that she had begun to wonder if she was still working for the General at all. The summons had solved that issue completely.
She keyed the trunk lock and the lid rose slowly.
There was an end to her time with Major Weston. It was coming soon. The General hadn’t been more specific, but he hadn’t needed to be, she had already known. Maybe more than the General himself did, and Alice was not the sort of soldier to question orders from the chain of command. She had briefly wondered if it meant she would need to terminate Major Weston herself: If it was required, she would. She saw no real problem with it. The question in her mind was what might be next.
She looked down into the trunk. Smith had been easy. Bluechip was a small facility. Even with Drum nearby it was under its own command, not a sub command of the nearby base. There were a few hundred soldiers assigned there, and they all tended to socialize with each other, shunning the soldiers from the nearby base. If asked she would not have been able to put the reasons for that into words. Pride? A sense of place in the scheme of things? The elevation that the sense of working on something apart: Something special, afforded you? It was all of those things and more. And she knew, even when most of those who worked at the facility didn’t know, what was so special about Bluechip. Every problem she took care of knew something. And every one of those problems had given up their information before she had allowed them to die.
Two weeks before it had been a reporter from Syracuse. He had gotten a little too close: Spooked Weston. Weston had put her on him. She had taken him out after meeting him in a bar. Men could be so easy like that. He had followed her back to what he thought was her hotel room for a fun time. It was her hotel room, but rented only to do a job. A few hours later he had gone out to her car in her luggage. The next afternoon he had come here.
She knew about the meteor DX2379R. She knew it would probably hit instead of miss: And if it did miss it would not be by enough to matter at all. She knew all about project Bluechip’s real underlying mission, development of the SS-V2765 virus. She knew what it had been developed to do, and she knew all the problems that the General did not know about: She knew what it did do. She knew how Gabe Kohlson had been able to smuggle it out of the facility. She knew that the new Challenger he had been driving should have been a big tip off to Weston, but somehow he had overlooked it. She knew how he had sold the idea of stealing it to a local bookie he had been in deep with.
A drug developed to allow soldiers to live longer in combat, it had an unforeseen benefit. It would not allow you to die: You could live forever. She was sure he had downplayed just exactly how that second life would be lived.
The bookie, she assumed, had passed the message on quietly: Was it worth the relief of a five thousand dollar debt? Ten thousand? Whatever it had been that Gabe Kohlson’s gambling habit had racked up, it had been wiped out and there had been at least enough left over for the Challenger: Whoever held the real reigns on those debts had forgiven it. Kohlson had delivered and then, somehow the whole thing had gone bad.
Jimmy West worked for that person, whoever it was: If forced to guess, she would say Tommy Murphy. He was the biggest and the baddest: The most likely to be able to capitalize on information and a product like that.
She didn’t like to guess though, and that part of it had nothing to do with her at all. The truth was that even though Weston could not see it, it didn’t even matter. The end was coming. If the General pulled the plug first or the Meteor hit, or the scientists were right and even a close pass by that meteor would set off a sequence of destruction that would end society as they knew it: It didn’t matter. It was over already, one way or the other; just nobody was laying down yet. Nobody was calling it quits yet. Her included, so, she supposed she was no better than Weston, or the General for that matter.
She looked down into the trunk at the bundled and bagged remains of Sergeant Smith, lately of the Quartermasters office at Bluechip.
He had met her on one of those back roads. It was a good place to meet even when there were maneuvers going on, and there had been.
Maneuvers meant gunfire, even live rounds. The whole area was off limits during maneuvers and training sessions, but she could have cared less about that. He had met her in a small clearing just off a one lane blacktop that had been chewed to bits over the years by tank treads, on the promise that she needed to show him something very important. She had taken him around to the trunk. He had been eager. The lid had risen to a plastic lined interior and she had shot him twice in the temple as the puzzled look had still been riding on his face. There had been no need to question him: There was nothing he knew that she needed to know.
A camouflaged rain suit had slipped right over her own uniform, and she had gone to work with an ax and a sharp knife that had been laying on the floor of the trunk waiting. By early afternoon the bagged remains had been resting in her trunk and she had been on her way to the transfer station.
She reached down, hefted the first bag out of the trunk and launched it into the huge steel container. Five minutes later she was finished and had paid her dumping fee as she left, smiling up at the woman in the office as she passed over the scales and drove out the gate.
I hope you enjoyed the preview. Take a look at the new work listed this week.
Earth’s Survivors: SE Three. Get all of the Outrunner books in one place. Free 20% preview!
Have a great week, Geo 🙂
Posted by Geo 10-16-2015
Home work and a free short story, The Dam…
This past week I let all the work there still is to do on this house go and kicked back and wrote. This winter I will catch up on my other projects and that should be fine.
What went on this week:
Monday night my cat kept me up all night long yowling. There was a female outside and when I let him out Tuesday morning, that was it. He never came back.
Tuesday I spilled a very small amount of coffee onto the keys of my laptop and messed it all up. How you might ask could I be so stupid as to spill coffee on my keyboard? I don’t know. Plain old stupidity… Half awake… A cup of coffee in my hands… All the above. After determining that, yes it was fried, I bit the bullet and headed to eBay where I found a replacement.
Wednesday I wrote all day and into the next day (3:00 AM). Sparrow Spirit came back from editing and I set it up and released it on Amazon. I also added the first book to Amazon and then made the series Amazon exclusive. More about that in a minute.
Thursday I did the same, and then tried to put together some computer parts I purchased. Failed. Realized I had bought a BTX form factor Motherboard (Advertised as an ATX), and even though it would not have fit the case I bought, I had not purchased the ATX case I thought I had, but a MATX case. Confused? So was I. After a gazillion hours trying to make it all fit I went online and looked for solutions. Ha Ha, I say that with the deepest sarcasm.
To fix the situation I needed to purchase a BTX form factor case, but I quickly found out a BTX case is hard to come by and more expensive than the whole combination I had bought. So I looked for an MATX board to put the processor I had purchased on, but an MATX board, at least the ones I found, would not hold as much memory. They were generally more expensive with less to offer.
Which begs the question, why? I have noticed that a lot over the last several years. Want to buy a dog? Well a German Shepherd or a Malamute, both about the same size, will cost about the same price. But a small dog, I won’t mention the breed costs more than either of those dogs. Huh. On that subject: As a dog, if a cat can kick your ass you’re probably too small.
Anyway, I finally decided to buy an ATX board and case. That worked except I was out more green. BTW if you followed all of that you are probably as geeky as I am.
Friday I did some editing on Smashwords books. Writing, and eating Candy Corn. I have to admit it was great to get back to writing, but the Candy Corn was pretty good too. And listing all of those computer parts I bought that I no longer need. Let’s see. I spent about $250.00 in parts that I didn’t use, and another $200.00 in parts to actually build the thing; plus the cost of another laptop (Used on eBay), a really good deal for $125.00, I would say this week the computers won. And the thing is, in this society you cannot do without them. I guess I’ll be happier on Monday when the laptop shows up and in a week or so when I put my fast computer together and convince myself that I am not really an idiot at all, technology is just faster than it used to be… Did that make sense? No.
What did I learn this week?
#1. Cats are not very useful when it comes to making you feel good about yourself. I mean they take off chasing the lady cats and don’t even bother to come back. That is a direct hit to the old self esteem. Of course maybe he was kidnapped or eaten by a dog, or a Sasquatch: After all there have been a great many Sasquatch sightings lately on the National Geographic channel of all places. I hope he didn’t suffer. That is of course if he was eaten. If he did run off with a lady cat I hope she takes him for everything he has.
#2. Laptop computers really suck. I have spilled whole sixteen ounce Cokes on my desktop keyboard, no problem except the keys began to stick bad. Also the laptop keyboard stayed screwed up, I had to plug in a USB keyboard to type with, until I bought the replacement laptop. Second, I looked up form factors with Google. Holy Crap. The odds of me getting the wrong parts are very high, especially since some people that sell them don’t have a fricken clue what they are selling. There are dozens of form factors. Let me geek this out for you. Form factor refers to a common build for a particular board, across different manufacturers. Same pin connections, width, length. Etc. The last time I built a machine I only knew of two form factors, ATX and MATX which is a smaller board, and then there were proprietary boards built by some manufacturers. Yeah. No longer. So now I think spend the extra and have someone else build it to your specs. And after I get through this fiasco I will do that the next time.
#3. Writing is easier on the body than building a house is.
#4. I am no longer sure I should drink and keyboard. Coffee, Coke, it always ends up on the board before I am finished.
Earth’s Survivors News: The first four Earth’s Survivors books have been put in a collection or SE series. Buy two books at a time and save money, plus get more for your buck too:
The Zombie Plagues: The five books that make up the series and an few bonus books.
Everything else is in line and going well. Well, except computers, Cats and coffee cups.
I will leave you with a true short story…
THE DAM by Wendell Sweet
Copyright 2010 – 2015, Wendell Sweet and his assignee’s.
All rights reserved, electronic or traditional print.
Blog Edition: Used with permission
This work is copyright protected. You may read it in its present form. You may not alter or transmit it by any means. If you would like to share this material with someone, please direct them to this URL. This is not a work of fiction. The people and circumstances really existed and I have faithfully reproduced the circumstances without excessive artistic license. I have changed names to protect innocent people.
It was summer, the trees full and green, the temperatures in the upper seventies. And you could smell the river from where it ran behind the paper mills and factories crowded around it, just beyond the public square; A dead smell, waste from the paper plants.
I think it was John who said something first. “Fuck it,” or something like that,” I’ll be okay.”
“Yeah,” Pete asked?
“Yeah… I think so,” John agreed. His eyes locked on Pete’s, but they didn’t stay. They slipped away and began to wander along the riverbed, the sharp rocks that littered the tops of the cliffs and the distance to the water. I didn’t like it.
Gary just nodded. Gary was the oldest so we pretty much went along with the way he saw things.
“But it’s your Dad,” I said at last. I felt stupid. Defensive. But it really felt to me like he really wasn’t seeing things clearly. I didn’t trust how calm he was, or how he kept looking at the river banks and then down to the water maybe eighty feet are so below.
“I should know,” John said. But his eyes didn’t meet mine at all.
“He should know,” Gary agreed and that was that.
“That’s cool. Let’s go down to the river,” Pete suggested, changing the subject.
“I’m not climbing down there,” I said. I looked down the sheer rock drop off to the water. John was still looking too, and his eyes were glistening, wet, his lips moved slightly as if he was talking to himself. If he was I couldn’t hear. But then he spoke aloud.
“We could make it, I bet,” he said as though it was an afterthought to some other idea. I couldn’t quite see that idea, at least I told myself that later. But I felt some sort of way about it. As if it had feelings of its own attached to it.
“No, man,” Gary said. “Pete didn’t mean beginning here… Did you,” he asked?
“No… No, you know, out to Huntingtonville,” Pete said. He leaned forward on his bike, looked at john, followed his eyes down to the river and then back up. John looked at him.
“What!” John asked.
“Nothing, man,” Pete said. “We’ll ride out to Huntingtonville. To the dam. That’d be cool… Wouldn’t it?” You could see the flatness in John’s eye’s. It made Pete nervous. He looked at Gary.
“Yeah,” Gary said. He looked at me.
“Yeah,” I agreed. “That’d be cool.” I spun one pedal on my stingray, scuffed the dirt with the toe of one Ked and then I looked at John again. His eyes were still too shiny, but he shifted on his banana seat, scuffed the ground with one of his own Keds and then said, “Yeah,” kind of under his breath. Again like it was an afterthought to something else. He lifted his head from his close inspection of the ground, or the river, or the rocky banks, or something in some other world for all I knew, and it seemed more like the last to me, but he met all of our eyes with one sliding loop of his own eyes, and even managed to smile.
The bike ride out to Huntingtonville was about four miles. It was a beautiful day and we lazed our way along, avoiding the streets, riding beside the railroad tracks that just happened to run out there. The railroad tracks bisected Watertown. They were like our own private road to anywhere we wanted to go. Summer, fall or winter. It didn’t matter. You could hear the trains coming from a long way off. More than enough time to get out of the way.
We had stripped our shirts off earlier in the morning when we had been crossing the only area of the tracks that we felt were dangerous, a long section of track that was suspended over the Black river on a rail trestle. My heart had beat fast as we had walked tie to tie trying not to look down at the rapids far below. Now we were four skinny, jeans clad boys with our shirts tied around our waists riding our bikes along the sides of those same railroad tracks where they ran through our neighborhood, occasionally bumping over the ties as we went. Gary managed to ride on one of the rails for about 100 feet. No one managed anything better.
Huntingtonville was a small river community just outside of Watertown. It was like the section of town that was so poor it could not simply be across the tracks or on the other side of the river, it had to be removed to the outskirts of the city itself. It was where the poorest of the poor lived, the least desirable races. The blacks. The Indians. Whatever else good, upstanding white Americans felt threatened or insulted by. It was where my father had come from, being both black and Indian.
I didn’t look like my father. I looked like my mother. My mother was Irish and English. About as white, as white could be. I guess I was passing. But I was too poor, too much of a dumb kid to even know that back then in 1969.
John’s father was the reason we were all so worried. A few days before we had been playing baseball in the gravel lot of the lumber company across the street from where we lived. The railroad tracks ran behind that lumber company. John was just catching his breath after having hit a home run when his mother called him in side. We all heard later from our own mothers that John’s father had been hurt somehow. Something to do with his head. A stroke. I really didn’t know what a stroke was at that time or understand everything that it meant. I only knew it was bad. It was later in life that I understood how bad. All of us probably. But we did understand that John’s father had nearly died, and would never be his old self again, if he even managed to pull through.
It was a few days after that now. The first time the four of us had gotten back together. We all felt at loose ends. It simply had made no sense for the three of us to try to do much of anything without John. We had tried but all we could think about or talk about was John’s father. Would he be okay? Would they move? That worried me the most. His sister was about the most beautiful girl in the entire world to me. So not only would John move, so would she.
He came back to us today not saying a word about it. And we were worried.
When we reached the dam the water was high. That could mean that either the dam had been running off the excess water, or was about to be. You just had to look at the river and decide.
“We could go to the other side and back,” John suggested.
The dam was about 20 or 30 feet high. Looming over a rock strewn riverbed that had very little water. It was deeper out towards the middle, probably, it looked like it was, but it was all dry river rock along the grassy banks. The top of the Dam stretched about 700 feet across the river.
“I don’t know,” Pete said. “the dam might be about to run. We could get stuck on the other side for a while.”
No one was concerned about a little wet feet if the dam did suddenly start running as we were crossing it. It didn’t run that fast. And it had caught us before. It was no big deal. Pete’s concern was getting stuck on the little island where the damn ended for an hour or so. Once, john, and myself had been on that island and some kids, older kids, had decided to shoot at us with 22 caliber rifles. Scared us half to death. But that’s not the story I’m trying to tell you today. Maybe I’ll tell you that one some other time. Today I’m trying to tell you about John’s father. And how calm John seemed to be taking it.
John didn’t wait for anyone else to comment. He dumped his bike and started to climb up the side of the concrete abutment to reach the top of the dam and walk across to the island. There was nothing for us to do except fall in behind him. One by one we did.
It all went smoothly. The water began to top the dam, soaking our Keds with its yellow paper mill stink and scummy white foam, just about halfway across. But we all made it to the other side and the island with no trouble. Pete and I climbed down and walked away. To this day I have no idea what words passed between Gary and john, but the next thing I knew they were both climbing back up onto the top of the dam, where the water was flowing faster now. Faster than it had ever flowed when we had attempted to cross the dam. Pete nearly at the top of the concrete wall, Gary several feet behind him.
John didn’t hesitate. He hit the top, stepped into the yellow brown torrent of river water pouring over the falls and began to walk back out to the middle of the river. Gary yelled to him as Pete and I climbed back up to the top of the dam.
I don’t think I was trying to be a hero, but the other thought, the thought he had pulled back from earlier, had just clicked in my head. John was thinking about dying. About killing himself. I could see it on the picture of his face that I held in my head from earlier. I didn’t yell to him, I just stepped into the yellow foam and water, found the top of the dam and began walking.
Behind me and Pete and Gary went ballistic. “Joe, what the fuck are you doing!”
I heard it, but I didn’t hear it. I kept moving. I was scared. Petrified. Water tugged at my feet. There was maybe 6 inches now pouring over the dam and more coming, it seemed a long way down to the river. Sharp, up-tilted slabs of rock seemed to be reaching out for me. Secretly hoping that I would fall and shatter my life upon them.
John stopped in the middle of the dam and turned, looking off toward the rock and the river below. I could see the water swirling fast around his ankles. Rising higher as it went. John looked over at me, but he said nothing.
“John,” I said when I got close enough. He finally spoke.
“No,” was all he said. But tears began to spill from his eyes. Leaking from his cheeks and falling into the foam scummed yellow-brown water that flowed ever faster over his feet.
“Don’t,” I screamed. I knew he meant to do it, and I couldn’t think of anything else to say.
“Don’t move,” Gary said from behind me. I nearly went over the falls. I hadn’t known he was that close. I looked up and he was right next to me, working his way around me on the slippery surface of the dam. I looked back and Pete was still on the opposite side of the dam. He had climbed up and now he stood on the flat top. Transfixed. Watching us through his thick glasses. Gary had followed John and me across.
I stood still and Gary stepped around me. I have no idea how he did. I’ve thought about it, believe me. There shouldn’t have been enough room, but that was what he did. He stepped right around me and then walked the remaining 20 feet or so to John and grabbed his arm.
“If you jump you kill me too,” Gary said. I heard him perfectly clear above the roar of the dam. He said it like it was nothing. Like it is everything. But mostly he said it like he meant it.
It seemed like they argued and struggled forever, but it was probably less than a minute, maybe two. The waters were rising fast and the whole thing would soon be decided for us. If we didn’t get off the dam quickly we would be swept over by the force of the water.
They almost did go over. So did I. But the three of us got moving and headed back across to the land side where we had dropped our bikes. We climbed down from a dam and watched the water fill the river up. No one spoke.
Eventually john stopped crying. And the afterthought look, as though there some words or thoughts he couldn’t say passed. The dying time had passed.
We waited almost two hours for the river to stop running and then Pete came across…
We only talked about it one other time that summer, and then we never talked about it again. That day was also a beautiful summer day. Sun high in the sky. We were sitting on our bikes watching the dam run.
“I can’t believe you were gonna do it,” Pete said.
“I wasn’t,” John told him. “I only got scared when the water started flowing and froze on the dam… That’s all it was.”
Nobody spoke for a moment and then Gary said, “That’s how it was.”
“Yeah. That’s how it was,” I agreed…
New releases this week: Amazon:
Smashwords recent releases:
(Smashwords books distributes to iTunes, Nook, Kobo and many other book sellers.)
Earth’s Survivors Life Stories: Beth The Life Stories series follows individual groups in the apocalypse. They can both be read alone or as a series. Get a Free Preview right here.
Earth’s Survivors Life Stories: Bear Bear is the leader of the Outrunners, the team that track down and kill the dead, removing the threat so the Nation can be safe. This is his story. Click here for a FREE Preview.
Okay, that is it from me. I hope all is well in your world, enjoy your weekend, Dell.