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Earth’s Survivors Links from Jay

Earth’s Survivors Links

Book Previews Posted by Jay


The links below are America, Australia and United Kingdom links for Earth’s Survivors. The links for the complete series as well as the box set are included, Geo…
 The Apocalypse has arrived. Follow the people that survive and set out to rebuild their lives. #Apocalypse #ebook

US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00YDAXFLE

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00YDAXFLE

AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B00YDAXFLE


Dell Sweet was born in Western New York. He wrote his first fiction at age seventeen. @SweetDell #EarthsSurvivors

US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00YDCSF3K

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dell-Sweet/e/B01N24V05N


 Earth’s Survivors: Rising From The Ashes

#Horror #Dystopian

US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00YDCSF3K

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00YDCSF3K

AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B00YDCSF3K

 

 Earth’s Survivors: The Nation Kindle Edition, Recreating society. #Horror #Prepper

US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00YDCSRTM

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00YDCSRTM

AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B00YDCSRTM


 Earth’s Survivors: Home in the Valley. The Nation rises from the ashes of the old world. #Dystopian #Preppers #Undead.

US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B010T56YXC

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B010T56YXC

AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B010T56YXC


 

 Earth’s Survivors: Plague Kindle Edition

Plague outlines the sudden rise of the dead… #Undead #ebook @SweetDell

US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0137DRAUY

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Earths-Survivors-Plague-Geo-Dell-ebook/dp/B0137DRAUY

AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B0137DRAUY


 Watertown tells the story leading up to the Apocalypse. #Apocalypse #Undead #EarthsSurvivors @SweetDell

US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01C9FDAFA

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Earths-Survivors-Watertown-Dell-Sweet-ebook/dp/B01C9FDAFA

AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01C9FDAFA


 Earth’s Survivors: World Order Kindle Edition; the making of the fold. #Apocalypse #horror #Undead

US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01C99NG14
UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Earths-Survivors-World-Dell-Sweet-ebook/dp/B01C99NG14

AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01C99NG14


 A rotting hand came through the open back window and fastened around Beth’s throat… #Undead #EarthsSurvivors

US: https://www.amazon.com/Earths-Survivors-Knock-Dell-Sweet-ebook/dp/B01I5QF1O0

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Earths-Survivors-Knock-Dell-Sweet-ebook/dp/B01I5QF1O0

AU: AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01I5QF1O0


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

US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01GULFBQA

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Earths-Survivors-box-Wendell-Sweet-ebook/dp/B01GULFBQA

AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01GULFBQA


 As the clock ticks down for Earth, powers that have lain dormant for centuries are loosed on the Earth. #ebook

US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B016RLK5KA

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Zero-Dell-Sweet-ebook/dp/B016RLK5KA

AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B016RLK5KA


 Mister Bob is a collection of short stories from Author Dell Sweet.#DellSweet @SweetDell #shortstories

US: https://www.amazon.com/Mister-Bob-Collected-Short-Stories-ebook/dp/B017YKQX6I

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mister-Bob-Collected-Short-Stories-ebook/dp/B017YKQX6I

AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B017YKQX6I


 I buried Della this morning. I knew they’d find out, they probably knew immediately. I can hear them out… #horror

US: https://www.amazon.com/Zombie-Fall-Dell-Sweet-ebook/dp/B01I48MMUU

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Zombie-Fall-Dell-Sweet-ebook/dp/B01I48MMUU

AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01I48MMUU


 Earth’s Survivors Life Stories: Jack and Maria. Follow Jack and Maria through a destroyed world as they search for others and safety. #Horror #Zombies #Preppers

US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XQFV63D

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XQFV63D

AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B06XQFV63D


 Earth’s Survivors Life Stories: Billy. Take a look at a world that was destroyed by the apocalypse. #Dystopian #Horror #Preppers

US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XQNDN2B

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XQNDN2B

AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B06XQNDN2B


 Earth’s Survivors Collection One: The First two books of the Earth’s survivors series in one volume. #Dystopian #Preppers #EarthsSurvivorsBook

US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B013H08B5U

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B013H08B5U

AU https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B013H08B5U


 Earth’s Survivors Collection Two: Books three and four of the series in one volume.  #Undead #Dystopian #Preppers

US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B013H08JI4

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B013H08JI4

AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B013H08JI4


 Earth’s Survivors Collection Three: The Outrunners. All of the Outrunners books in one setting. Bringing together the story in one place. #Horror #Dystopian

US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01B42KLCE

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01B42KLCE

AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01B42KLCE


 Earth’s Survivors Collection Four: Candace and Mike. The complete story of Candace and Mike in one volume. #Undead #Dystopian #Horror

US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XFQ38JN

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XFQ38JN

AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B06XFQ38JN


 Earth’s Survivors Collection Five: This volume contains books Six and Seven in one volume. #Preppers #Horror #DellSweet

US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XGQXV8Q

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XGQXV8Q

AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B06XGQXV8Q


 

Earth’s Survivors: Watertown Book 6 in the Earth’s Survivors series

Earth’s Survivors: Watertown

Book 6, Earth’s Survivors – 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

Tuesday Morning:
Watertown
Project Bluechip
Major Richard Weston
He read the report twice and then carefully set it back on his desk. Johns or Kohlson: One of the two had stolen samples of SS-V2765. It was not a question. No one else had the access, no one else the proximity or knowledge of where it was stored. Two of the virus, one each of the REX agents were missing. Enough to infect several million people, and that was just the initial infection. From there the infected would go on to infect even more, where it stopped was anyone’s guess.
Knowing it was one of the two did not solve the problem of how for him though: There should have been no way to get it out. Every area of the facility was under surveillance. There had to be more than just one of the two involved.
From Complex C they were stripped down, showered: Out of the showers naked and into a locker room where they could retrieve their own personal clothing they had stripped out of that morning: Dressed, frisked, metal wanded and then allowed into the elevators that would take them six stories to the surface. This theft was not something either of them could have committed alone.
“Alice.” He picked up the report from his desk. “I have a problem… A problem that requires your… Expertise. Two fold… First, all the guard and camera operators for C Complex are to be relieved of duty. You will personally interrogate them and find out which of them took a payoff to look the other way… Our boys, Johns and Kohlson… Both or one, smuggled out the virus.” He paused… “It hardly matters in the scheme of things, it changes nothing, but it is the principle of the thing.” He tossed her the report. “Read it… Quartermasters office… Handle that too?” Alice nodded before she bent and looked over the thick report. “Second thing is the virus agent and the REX agent are out there somewhere.” Alice raised her head from the report. “Find it and bring it back?” Alice nodded once more before her head dipped low again. Eyes devouring the report. Weston leaned back in his chair, the cigar that was a near permanent fixture in his mouth, rolling from side to side as he closed his eyes and rubbed at his temples. “It goes without saying… They’re all expendable,” he added as an afterthought.
“Sir,” Alice said before she returned to reading…

Watertown is a mixed tale. It tells the story leading up to the Apocalypse. That tale includes the story of Billy Jingo, Alice Tetto, Major Weston’s private secretary. Ben Neo and Jimmy West, hired Killers, and a drug deal designed to hide the transfer of a top secret drug stolen from the Underground Bluechip facility, that goes very wrong…

Read More Right Now

Plastic Wrap, Dishwashers and other irritants and Free eBooks from iTunes

Plastic Wrap, Dishwashers and other irritants


Plastic wrap is one of those inventions that didn’t quite make it all the way to where it claims to have made it. Yes, on the TV you will see overpaid, starved models whip that stuff off the roll and cover just about anything: A bowl of leftovers, a piece of cake or grandpa sleeping in a chair. In Fried Green Tomatoes whats-her-name covered herself in it and answered the door. Heck, you see movies where the bad guys run it over the victims mouth and that’s it for them. In real life none of that is going to work, I know, I have tried most of it, except grandpa and the movie stuff, and the wife stuff. Okay, I have only tried the food applications, and none of them worked.
I have stood for ten minutes waiting to get enough off the roll in one piece to cover that piece of cake only to have it come undone and fall to the floor on the way to the fridge. And It was work to get it off the roll. The serrated edge? Junk, doesn’t work at all. It comes off torn, at an angle, the tube lifts out of the box and you find yourself holding the plastic wrap roll and nothing else. I hate the stuff. Somebody needs to fix it or send it to the Chinese.
Dishwashers belong in that same group. A product that falls short of the hype and promises. Every day I find myself washing breakfast/lunch and dinner dishes, rinsing them and then putting them in the dishwasher. What? Do I really do that? Yes I do and in fact you are told to pre-wash the dishes and depending on what that means to you, you might as well have a towel so you can then dry them and put them away instead of putting them in the dishwasher to essentially let them get sprayed with hot water and soap so they can then go through a sixteen hour wash cycle (I say that because I don’t care when I started the damn dishwasher, it is on and burning me whenever I am in the shower)then they can sit overnight and dry, ha ha ha. In the morning you take them out and rewash the ones you didn’t prewash well enough when you put them in, only now that stuff is heated on. Or you could wait until you have company and let them spot the bad ones for you.
Electric cars are not where they should be. They are supposed to go in the garage, plug in to charge up, and drive a long time. Instead they last a few hundred miles. If they get hit hard enough they become an instant bio hazard or worse, you do. And when they run out of juice you are not getting some gas and a jump to get you going again. Short out the batteries and you have a steel framed car that will fry you in a few seconds.
Irritants:
Items on eBay marked: “I really don’t know if the item works so I’m selling it as is” Ha, let me translate that. It should read: “I looked at the item and realized it was junk, so I said to my wife/husband, Honey? Let’s try to sell this on eBay.”
People who look at guitars and say “What’s that thingy do?”
People who look at computers and say “What’s that thingy do?”
Tinfoil: For some reason no matter how often I have reached into the oven and burned myself on tinfoil I immediately convince myself it didn’t happen. That must be the case because every time I am cooking something with foil I reach in there and grab it like it just has to be cool and then I burn the crap out of myself.

Hey! Hope you laughed and I hope you enjoy your day! Check out these free books from iTunes!


EARTH’S SURVIVORS

I-Tunes: Apocalypse, free eBook. The end has come… Will you survive?

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/earths-survivors-apocalypse/id963866999?mt=11


The Zombie Killers Origins: There were millions of bodies. It was not so bad in those…

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-zombie-killers-origins/id829336927?mt=11


Connected: Sanger Road. Carl finds a world where anything is possible if you are willing to risk everything…

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/connected-sanger-road/id1159120378?mt=11


Author Dell Sweet at iTunes: Check out these books


 

A free short Zombie story from Geo Dell and Dell Sweet

Slowing down and a free short Zombie story from Geo Dell and Dell Sweet

Posted by Geo Dell

Life in The Slow lane…
I don’t like the fast lane. It isn’t that I can’t see the advantage of the fast lane and getting wherever the hell it is you need to get in the fastest  possible time. I can. I just don’t agree with it anymore.
When I was seventeen, just back from the Navy, I couldn’t wait to get on with what I considered real life. My wheels were spinning. I needed a girlfriend, a job, a life and I needed it right then. It needed to be immediate. And so I went looking for all that stuff and that is the last time I remember life being slow. After that life sped up and I lived it full tilt. I thought that was the way you do it. Burn it up. No regrets. Don’t look back. Hurry up and get a little older so I can drink legally, so we don’t have to sneak around and see each other only in the back seat of my Chevy. So we can get married, have children, get a place of our own, raise our children, oh, I can’t wait until the terrible twos are over with, and… What do you mean you don’t love me anymore? Hurry to get past that pain. Think about slowing down but that just makes the pain worse so I hurried right into another relationship. Another Marriage. More children.
Drink a little more because sometimes when things started to slow down I couldn’t stand it. I couldn’t stand it because I could see things clearly when I slowed down. See the mistakes, feel the pain of failure and I didn’t want to see it because it damn well wasn’t turning out the way I thought it would. So I sped it back up…
Now I’m here. I’m here and I’m slowed up. And I can clearly see all of the things that I rushed past. The time I didn’t get with my children. The lovers that I shared something with and then they were gone. The two relationships that did mean something and I still didn’t’ slow down for. Time. Only time. But time can not be purchased only spent. And thinking about what has passed is no good at all. It can not solve a single heartache. It will not bring some one you love back. It can only keep you in a place where you are not dealing with reality. Where you overlook the ends because not only do the means not justify them they are not even the same ends you were looking for.
I deal with real time now. I stay in the slow lane. In a hurry? Drive around me. All the things I could not wait to get to in the future I had right there in my past. Did you read that? Those things were never to be attained, they were already attained. Free of charge from life. Right there. And I hurried right past them. We all do sometimes.
I was a little too young to be a hippie I wonder sometimes if i would have made a good one though. I have always wanted to drop out of society… As long as I can have my electricity… And a computer… And a truck to drive into town… Okay, maybe not. And, I could never smoke pot it made me sick. So, maybe I would have made a piss poor hippie after all. But, the ideal. The live life on life’s terms philosophy I could definitely have embraced wholeheartedly. Didn’t though. I joined the rat race. And, I didn’t like the rat race so I stayed on the fringe of the rat race waiting… Where is my great life? What the hell is this? This is not what I wanted at all.
But it was. Maybe it’s only maturity that makes us look at things differently. If so, thank God for it. It’s okay to hate the rat race. We have to live it anyway unless you are really going to fill a knapsack with energy bars and walk off into the forest. No. You’re not and neither am I. So where is the solution?
The slow lane. No bull. The slow lane is the answer, but you will have to change your attitude to really appreciate it. But if you can you will find all of the things that you thought your were running that rat race for are right there.
Right there is your child that you love and keep not spending time with. Right there is the man or the woman you love. The job you can be happy with. The life that can mean something.
There was a time in my life when I made on average twenty grand a week. No. That is not a misprint. And, do you know how happy I was? … I couldn’t tell you. I couldn’t tell you because every fiber of my being was caught up in making that nut every week. Every bit. There was nothing left over. And there were men and women who knew me that wanted to be in my place. Truly.
I have done nothing but spend money and have not made a nickle in six months. Scary. It is when you have faith in yourself and you go for it. But, what I do not do is put all of me that there is into  things that are only really designed to pay the bills. I don’t.
I breath the air every day. I tell the people I love that I love them. If someone needs my time I give it. Yes, I work a lot of hours but it does not own me anymore and it is not the reason I’m living… Can you see that?
Here are some words from a song I wrote called A Minor

“I was never fixed in this world anyway… I was just sitting here waiting on a bus for the next.”
And that was true. I lived here in this world. Worked here. But it was not in my blood. I didn’t enjoy it. See it as good, or fulfilling, or enough… I just didn’t. So I just waited for it to end.
I don’t do that anymore. I live. I live for real. One of the things I have noticed is that people will make time for you, love you, and even tell you if you give them the time. So I do. I do but I have noticed that a lot of people just smile and hurry past me on their way to… Well, I really don’t know, and I’m not sure they do either. But I know that if you slow down there’s some space for you right here in the slow lane. You can ride shot gun with me. We’ll just take our time and enjoy the view…


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This material has NOT been edited for content


Rapid City Three

Rapid City Cowboys and Zombies Three

By Wendell Sweet

PUBLISHED BY: Wendell Sweet – Blog Edition

Rapid City Cowboys and Zombies Three

Copyright © 2013 by Wendell Sweet All Rights Reserved


This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This eBook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please point them to this blog entry. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

This short story is Copyright © 2013 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 authors permission. Permission is granted to use short sections of text in reviews or critiques in standard or electronic print..

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


DEDICATION

To the Tuesday night Guys.


Rapid City

The streets of Rapid City were deserted, but I paid that no mind. It could appear empty and would make no difference in reality. In my world reality did not have much of a place, being mostly a notion.

I suspected that the dead were long gone, but that did not mean they hadn’t left some for me to deal with. They were known to do that, had on more’n one occasion that I could recall. I was not about to get myself caught that easy. I had no wish to be dead for ever and ever.

There was bodies ’bout every ten feet or so. Slaughtered. They wasn’t lookin’ to turn these men the way they was some you saw, no, they had meant to murder and murder is what they had done.

In the last six months I had already begun to wear a reputation as a murderer myself. It was a hard jacket to wear at times. Some men understood it, some men were downright uncomfortable with it, some had to know if they could take me. I had gone hunting the dead. Killing the dead. And it was ironic to me that after just six months I had a reputation of killing more of the living than the dead. Wasn’t true, of course, but like I say you got to wear the jacket. It aint a world where there is always time for questions at all. It was, in n only six months, a world where it was best to kill immediate like. Fast. No thought. If not it would be you that was dead.

I had come across the Gulf Coast from Texas and taken some time in this town or that town. Mostly killin’ what should have been already dead. It was in a little pine board town just west of what had been Natchitoches that I began to see a livin’ in this. Purely by accident, but that was when I got fitted for that jacket and I been wearin’ it ever since. Was a woman in that pine town that got herself bit. Her man got to thinkin’ it would pass, or the federal boys had a fix up their sleeves they’d be along with right quick, so he chained her up inside their shack and waited. Love will make you do things like that. Not the only time I seen it.

The dead came for her. Ever night they came for her, and ever night he kept them from getting’ her. Drove them off, but the others in that town wanted something done about those dead that kept comin’ around ever night and killin’ some of their own. They didn’t know what the man had done.

There was a sheriff in that town, mostly scared of his own shadow, and it was him that come to me with the offer. I had just killed a man the day before in a gunfight. Livin’ or dead, that sheriff saw no difference. I checked the street careful as I walked.

I had taken thirteen of the dead out. Hid myself and waited for them. And then I had found the wife. Sent her on her way too. And the husband. Left me no choice. It may be that helped to fit that jacket a bit better. People get to talkiin’ and the leave a lot of the story out. Not that the truth always sounds better. But the towns I hit after that pegged me as a man killer and a gunfighter. Hired me more often than not. That’s been six months passed now. And I had worked my way to this little pine board town. Done a little better than the others maybe… Maybe someone had a care for this place, hard to tell. What was easy to tell is they seemed all to be dead now.

I stopped now and stared down at drag marks in the sandy street. They lead off to the shadows of an alley across the way from where I walked. I loosed my gun strap, stretched the leather of my gloved hands for a good grip, and stared hard at the mouth of that alley. Spots of blood dotted the trail. In this heat that blood would’ve turned to rust in no time and then been picked apart by the wind what seemed to favor this street. No sir. That was fresh. It didn’t take no special sense or ability to see that.

A second after I loosed my strap they came for me. Six from the shadows direct in front of me, and the real threat from the sides. I had my second pistol out fast and threw myself down into the dust and rolled hard to the left, firing as I went. Killin’ shots, what I could see. I was up and runnin’ a second after the roll began when the dead were still trying to find their asses, and when I turned around and sighted I got four more, but missed one who was on me before I could get a head shot in. I put a knee in her guts fast like, crumpled her up, and put one in her head as she lay wondering what had happened. It was over that fast, but it was not the end.

I counted them up, nine; drug them out of the little pine board town and lined them up in the sand. Took their heads to be safe. It ain’t pretty work, then went to get my horse where I had left her nearby. They had done for my horse while I was afoot in the town. Cut her throat ear to ear, left her to bleed out. A zombie don’t want no horse flesh. They will partake of it, but they will not regular. And these had been feeding fine, judging from the dead that lined the streets. They killed them and ate them. They didn’t kill them to turn them, unless there were more I had not yet seen. That is the way the dead do it when they want to send a message to you. The message says I can do this and you can not stop me from it. I have my own message system though. My message is lead. Notched to fly apart and take their heads apart. And if I had not already got the ones what done this piece of work, I would.

It took a half hour of tugging to get my saddle off’n the horse and lug it back to town. I was not sure what it was I could do with it with no horse to wear, but I was goddamned I’d leave it for the dead or time.

I come back into the town and made my way down the street slowly. Alley to alley. Building to building. I found four of them hiding under the supports for the saloon. There was maybe a two foot high crawl space there and they had wedged in tight. I backed up and they came out fightin’. Probably knowin’ they would die for sure if they did not. I checked the rest of the town, and afternoon was then comin’ on strong and I began to look for a fortress, not at all sure they was done with me, or I was done with them for that matter.

The church building set apart from the rest. The balance of the town had been slapped together, and like most pine board towns it had been done rough and slip shod. The term pine board town, or Piney as some said, had been coined to call these towns collective like. It did not mean they was pine, or even wood. It was a term only, because they was built with scavenged materials, and most of that was pre-apocalypse pine plywood. There was miles of the stuff in warehouses all over the south. There for the hurricanes that ripped through so often. The other favorite was tin roofing sheets. This town had favored chipboard. A substance that would not be long for this environment at all. A cheap alternative to the plywood. They had wrapped that with tar paper. It looked as temporary as it had turned out to be.

I carry with me some necessaries in my saddle bags, and I took them out and set up the little town before nightfall rolled all the way out.

It was a soft evening, and I could tell why those that still lay dead in the streets had favored it. The air rolled fine and cool off the desert working at the sweat on my brow that had risen as I had worked on the town. I sat in a wooden chair on the porch of the church and looked out at the wide sandy street and the desert that rolled away from it. Calm like. I waited for the dead that I knew would be coming for me to finish what they had started with the horse. They had cut me afoot for a purpose.

The blue moon had rose and she had begun to sail when I spied them comin’. I would love to say you could hear them, but it ain’t that way at all. They is quiet. Not like the livin’. The livin’ take noise with them wherever they go. The dead take quiet. It is goddamned unnerving. They can be where they were not just a second ago.

I had pulled both pistols and crossed them on my lap. Fingers through the guards, lightly caressing the triggers like they was a woman I favored, but I will tell you, in some ways, these were favored more and more by me over women. It seemed I got into trouble with women, out of trouble with these guns. Two of the men I had killed had been killed over women. Part of that jacket I spoke on. I believe that once you begin to kill it don’t take much to cross a border. And I have crossed borders easy.

I saw one. That one slipped just a bit out from the shadow. Another man mighta thought it was just a heat shimmer. The days heat leavin’ a buildin’ I’ve seen that too. It looks alike, but this was not that. Something told me this was not that and I took from that small look the speed of the walker and tracked slow like, and then another ripple come.. and Another. So they was there then, I told myself. They was there.

I marked that first one and began to look in earnest for the others I knew had to be there, but I could not spot them, and so I went back to trackin’ the single one, askin’ myself if it could maybe be just the one. If it could. It warn’t though.

When the one that I was trackin’ slipped up the next time I let it begin. Best to have the odds on your side than them have them. The shadow slipped I fired. I heard the impact as the body flew back into the side of that building. Cracked the wood. That started round two.

I had left that chair and took to the darkness at that first shot and I kept to it. If they like the dark and make it their tool you got to take that away from them. Make it your tool. Bring the fight to those godless bastards and stick it right down their goddamned throats too.

I crossed the sandy street and made my way into the shadows of that alley. If they had been there I mighta been done for there, but they was not there, and I had figured with close reasoning how they would not be there. It didn’t fit. It was too exposed for them. They like to sneak until they got to fight. When I mad the alley they cam out in the street, and the plan they had had to catch me flatfooted backfired. I had them in the bright moonlight and took a dozen out before they could turn and fade. Four in the street was not dead, but I taken my time and introduced them proper. Then we began to wait again, and the night wore on.

It was no more than a handful of minutes when I heard a noise over by the building where I had dropped the first one. A deep intake of air, and I knew I had lung shot a man. I could hear it. And walkers do not breath. They got no need for air in that way. I think they suck air in through their skin. I don’t know. But I do know they don’t breath, and ain’t no lung shot going to make no walker sound that away. I had shot a man. And, although that man was not dead yet, I had killed him. What remained for me was the mystery of what that man had been creeping on me for. And had I knowed it, I woulda killed him fast like, because a man will and can use a gun, unlike a walker. God forbid those bastards ever overcome their fear of fire and pick it up. We are done for then.

A minute or two after I heard the man, I saw a fast blur to my right, the other side from the church, and I blazed that whole building, dropped my clips, reloaded the ones I had emptied while I listened and waited. I listened to the lung shot man’s breathing and it was not good. I allowed my head to get lulled by that yearning to hear that man pull his breath so much that I almost missed it when they came at me.

Two sides at once, and damned if I didn’t get them all as they were comin’. All but the one that took me in the back and flattened me out right there in the street.

I managed to flip onto my back, but I was no better off. I had lost both guns and that walker knew it. She was on me hard and fast. Hissing, biting at me, clipped the end of my finger, had me scared for hours because of that. I got my sticker and drove it up hard through her chest and into her backbone. She arched hard, her back bent like a bow, mouthing wide, teeth flashing, and I was trying to pull that knife free when her head blew apart and she flew off the side. I got my eyes closed, but I still grimaced as I felt cold chunks of her head splatter against my face. I held my vomit, but barely, rolled off to my right, pulled my shirt up, buttons flying and cleaned off my face as best I could. It was then I thought to look for the lung shot man I knowed had to be there.

She was some tore up when I saw her. She had sagged to the ground just about where she had stumbled to and managed the shot.

I got my face as clean as I could and then got to my shaky feet and went to her. I was looking over that finger, worried as I went. It was bit bad, but the skin did not break.

She was most dead when I got there.

“What was it that bought you creeping on me like that,” I asked?

Her eyes were bright. The bottoms of those lids filled up to overflowin’ with tears, probably from the pain. A lung shot can hurt powerful. I seen a man or two go that way. For a woman she was holding it good. “Kin you hear me?”

She breathed it. “I… Can… Hear… You.” Spittin’ blood. A flood at the end.

I pushed her shirt aside and looked at the hole. It was bad enough. Close to the heart and suckin’ air. Blowing out little bloody bubbles when it wasn’t suckin’ air. “You…” she started and that was that. Her eyes fluttered and she was gone. I caught her head as she fell back and laid her gentle into the sand. Around me was death. All around me. I couldn’t look nowhere without seeing a body. And here another one that I had also caused and had no idea about. But when a man kills for a livin’ it has it’s own answers sometimes. It does. I laid her out, stood and then bent low and said a prayer as best I could. I don’t know God. I ain’t never met him, although I know some day I’m going to. I guess it just pisses me off that the man sets up there pullin’ my strings and ever body besides me too. Never mind it though, there ain’t no one else you can say a thing like a prayer to. And, she would turn, I didn’t have the luxury of time. If she had creeped on me in life, what is it she might do in death? Maybe, I told myself she had closed those eyes for the last time thinkin’ ‘I’ll be back for you in a few minutes,. Mister.’ Maybe… May be… I mumbled the words and I wasn’t near so eloquent or flowing as I hoped a I was afraid she was on her way back. I stepped back and put one in her head and damn if she didn’t jump and hiss at me when I did.

I had thought about burial, but I did not figure a burial would do much. And there was too many. Where did you stop? Did I only bury her? No, I dragged them bodies, all them bodies into the buildings. The ones the dead had killed, the dead, and the woman too.

I thought as I dragged her in, that she had to have come to be there some way. I may never know the reason she come, but I did know she had had to have got there some way.

I stepped back and then pulled a hand cloth from my pocket. Earlier I had taken a small can of lighter fluid from my saddle bags. I had located a small bottle in the church. For what it was used I could not say. I used it to hold the lighter fluid, and now I dipped the rag into it and pulled it through the hole I had jacked into the bottle with my knife.

It was all dry. The church would maybe survive, depended on the vagaries of the winds, but the balance of the town would go. Maybe the fact that I had not purpose burnt the church would set well with God. There was a hope for it. I lit the cloth and tossed the bottle into the nearest doorway. I stood, cool air at my back, heat at my face, and watched as it caught. In a minute she was burning and catching in both directions. I walked away on the road out of town.

I found her vehicle just a few miles out. I had hoped for a horse, but the truck would have to do. It would get me to a horse, and that was enough. I settled my saddlebags into the open back, flexed my aching back, and then climbed in. I had not thought to look for no keys, but a funny things about keys was that they had fallen into disuse after the world changed up. I had the truck runnin’ a minute later, and turned her away into the desert. Behind me I saw the flames lightening the skies behind me as I drove away.


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Earth’s Survivors SE 1 Dell Sweet on iTunes

Earth’s Survivors SE 1

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

Earth’s Survivors SE 1 contains the complete text from the first two Earth’s Survivors books, Apocalypse and Rising From The Ashes. It also includes bonus material, a complete major character bibliography, plus information from the series and the future plans for the series. Save when you buy both books at once and get more of what you want…
The Series follows survivors of a worldwide catastrophe. A meteorite that was supposed to miss the earth completely, hits and becomes the cap to a series of events that destroy the world as we know it. Police, fire, politicians, military, governments: All gone. Hopes, dreams, tomorrows: All buried in desperate struggle to survive. From L.A. To Manhattan the cities, governments have toppled and lawlessness is the rule.
The dead lay in the streets while gangs fight for control of what is left. Small groups band together for safety and begin to leave the ravaged cities behind in search of a future that can once again hold promise.
Los Angeles: Billy and Beth start out with a small group and wind up on their own as they make their way across America trying to find others and safety.
Manhattan: Adam leaves the safety of his apartment to find his way out the dying Manhattan, gathering others as he makes his way.
Old Towne New York: Conner is alone for the first few weeks, but then he finds Katie and a reason to live again. They set out to survive and find much more than survival.
Watertown New York: Mike Collins goes to sleep thinking about his first vacation in many years that he will start in the morning. He awakens to destruction.
The Earth’s Survivors series of books follow the people that survive and set out to rebuild their lives. At first hoping only to make it day by day, but ultimately looking to the future and rebuilding a society where fear does not rule…


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Earth’s Survivors Post Week Twenty one

Posted by Dell 04-21-2017

Good morning and welcome to Friday. Hope it’s a great day for you and the weekend that follows. I will see you back here on Monday. Meanwhile enjoy week twenty-one of the Earth’s Survivors uploads!

EARTH’S SURVIVORS

Earth’s Survivors is copyright © 2016 Dell Sweet. All rights foreign and domestic reserved in their entirety.

Cover Art © Copyright 2016 Wendell Sweet

Some text copyright 2010, 2014, 2015 Wendell Sweet

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

LEGAL

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

This novel is Copyright © 2016 Wendell Sweet and his 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 has NOT been edited for content


Joel and Haley

Asheville North Carolina

September 27th

The day was clear and bright as they skirted what they were certain was Asheville North Carolina and headed toward the Georgia border. They would be in Georgia just a short time before they crossed over into Alabama. Billy and Beth had told them they had not been far into Alabama before the state had disappeared, the highway sinking into the sea.

They were three trucks riding the sides of the roads angling their way across wet areas via whatever high ground they could find. They were close to the Georgia border when the attack came.

The trucks had come around a curve ahead of them and swept past on the other side of a wide highway median. Joel had known by the way the men in the trucks had watched them that this was not going to be a friendly meeting. The trucks had slowed. The center median was flooded, there was no way they would make it across there, but it was less than a mile back to where there was a crossing. The same crossing they had used to get onto this side of the highway. Joel had picked up the CB handset in his truck and told the rest to follow him.

He had no place in mind. It made no sense to go back, forward made the most sense. He picked up as much speed as he could and the other two fell in behind him as he skirted the road, running into the fields where necessary. A half hour bought them in view of a small town off the highway they were traveling. Joel drove off the edge of the highway and crossed through the fields into the town

The roads were rough, most of the town was a shamble, but the streets were quiet and darkened by the overgrowth of trees. The downtown section was full of abandoned cars, Joel spied a garage up ahead and angled into the parking lot. A little work and they managed to cut the locks off the garage doors and raise them. An hour after they had driven into the lot they were hidden away inside the garage. They had left the trucks and were gathered quietly looking through the dirty glass at the deserted streets.

They will follow our tracks right off the road,” Joel said.”

And if not they had got us on the road with no safe place to fight from,“ Scott said. “We have concrete block at our back here. They don’t know this is where we went.”

Maybe,” Joel allowed.

There,” Haley said and pointed.

One of the trucks they had seen on the other side of the highway idled down the street in low gear. The load exhaust reaching them inside the bays.

How in hell did they find us so fast,” Alice wondered aloud.

I don’t know,” Joel said.

Maybe mud… Wet spots on the road from where we crossed out of the fields and headed down this way,” John offered.

Dammit,” Joel agreed. “That’s it.”

Nothing for it now,” Scott said quietly. “Well, do we bring it to them or let them bring it to us?”

John Frowned, Haley spoke up, Cathy right behind her. “I say take it to them. That’s one truck we can take out, out of three, right now. Might make the others think twice about it.”

You’re sure it’s one of them?” Alice asked.

Positive,” Joel said.

Then we got to do it,” Alice agreed. “How?”

We can’t shoot through this glass… Go around back, out the back, I mean. We’ll take him as he rolls out of the other street corner,” Joel decided at last. The rest followed him out the back door and around the building to the overgrown weeds and shrubs that hid the corner of the building.

A few moments later the truck rolled through the intersection on the opposite side of the garage and they opened up on it. The driver floored it and the truck scorched the pavement as it jumped ahead, but a split second after that the motor died and the truck bounced as it slammed back down to the pavement; drifting across the road headed for a small playground on the opposite side of the street and a construction area just beyond that.

A second went by, another, and the front passenger door opened and three people jumped from inside, stumbled, rolling onto the ground, trying to get to their feet and then began to sprint off down the street as the truck continued on, mowing over the chain link fence of the playground, and then hanging up on a small concrete barrier just inside the fencing line.

Joel led the first man and carefully fired. The man collapsed to the pavement like a rag doll, arms and legs flopping as he tumbled to an awkward stop. The second runner stopped, turned, and opened up on them. Haley felt the wind as a bullet zipped past her face before she heard the shot. At the same time she was pulling the trigger on her machine pistol. A notoriously bad weapon for long distance shooting, but a killing machine in full auto mode. The man seemed to start a slow tap dance for a second and then slowly toppled forward onto the pavement. A pool of blood spread quickly from under him. The last runner turned, a woman, threw down her weapon and raised her hands. A shot rang out and she topped over into the street.

Oh my God,” Cathy said. She choked back a sob. “I didn’t mean to kill her. I didn’t mean it.”

Doesn’t matter,” Haley said. “If you hadn’t, I would have.”

But she surrendered,” John said. “She was surrendering to us.”

Well, too late. She never should have come after us. We can’t take prisoners. Do you think they would have? No. They would have killed everyone. Maybe not us… Me, Cathy and Alice. That would have been worse. Don’t cry for her she made her bed and she’s dead now. Fuck her,” Haley finished quietly.

It is what it is,” Alice said softly.

Hey… Hey, hey, hey,” John said. “More!”

A second later the whole day seemed to come alive with noise. Gunfire crashed non stop as the other two trucks rolled onto the street and began firing. The battle was short lived. The last truck never fully turned onto the street. One of them got it with a lucky shot, the two front tires blew out and it dove for the ground. The huge tires making it seem sloped at a steep angle down onto the rims. The men inside the truck scrambled to get away as the men inside the lead truck continued to fire.

Eventually the gunfire fell off. No one moved. They had seen three men run from the last truck, back down the street. Two had lurched while they were running. They seemed to have been hit, the other might have made it, Joel thought. The silence held. Nothing. No sounds. No shots. Joel looked around and saw Cathy sprawled on the ground, the side of her face missing. He looked away quickly, watching the street carefully. From somewhere farther away they heard a motor turn over slowly, grinding to life. It caught, quit, and then caught again. The idle evened out and a few minutes later the engine rose to a higher pitch, almost screaming as it fled from the small city, east, back toward the highway.

Joel drew a deep breath. “Bring her inside,” He said tersely. Inside they laid her out on one of the work benches, but it was clear in just a few moments that she was dead.

Joel paced back and forth in front of the windows, pausing to listen. Across the street the first truck popped loudly and then burst into flame, a trail of fire running away from the rear of the truck toward the street and the garage where they were.

Great… Okay, listen, we have got to go. We have got to go right now before that fire turns real bad.” As he spoke a car at the curb in front of the garage caught fire as the pool of gasoline found its way under it. Old oil on the motor, something, it caught fast and began to burn right along with the other truck.

We should bury, Cathy,” John said.

We should, and any other time we could, but this time, no,” Joel said. “Either of those tanks could blow at any second. Then we’ll be forced to run. On foot, because there will be no way out,” as he spoke he began yanking up the closest garage door. Scott wrenched another up close to him. Haley shoved up the last one.

But it’s wrong,” John said. He was frozen in the middle of the floor, glancing back and forth to Cathy’s body. Joel walked quickly from the door to John. He didn’t hesitate, but threw a quick punch at his jawline. “Scott,” he called as he caught him. Scott was there a second later and together they shoved John’s unconscious body into one of the trucks.

Haley, Scott and Joel himself drove. Screeching out of the garage and across the pavement out into the street. The trucks jumping and diving, motors growling, the tires spinning and screeching as they fought for purchase. They were less than two blocks away when something back at the garage blew up. Joel sighed and followed Haley as she made her way out of the small city and southward once again.


More? Check out the whole series at:

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Aliens, Billy Jingo and a free space story from Dell Sweet

Posted by Dell 04-20-2017

so, what about a story about a one legged alien who goes in search of a late night meal, say… Chinese, but, the kicker, when he says Chinese he really means Chinese… so he goes to the bus stop near his home… he lives with a little old lady and her thirty seven cats… too bad he didn’t have a taste for cat, but that’s another story…

so… anyway, he hits the bus stop because, well, because he’s found quick meals there before. And low and behold, there is a young Asian person there but upon striking up a conversation he finds they are Korean… So the alien has to ask himself, does he feel like changing his selection to Korean? Well, does he?

Hey, good morning! Happy Thursday, one day closer to the end of the week. This morning I will give you a look at Star Dancer, a short story selection from Billy Jingo. I hope you enjoy it. This short story has been turned into a novel over the last few months because it just pulled at me that much. I finished up the actual writing a few days back and am debating where to go next. It is an interesting book. I hope you enjoy the short story version of it and please check out the link for Billy Jingo at the end…


Billy Jingo

Collected Short Stories

Billy Jingo: Collected Short Stories is Copyright © 2014 Dell Sweet

Copyright © 2014 by Dell Sweet All rights reserved

Cover Art © Copyright 2015 Wendell Sweet

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

LEGAL

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

This novel is Copyright © 2014 Wendell Sweet and his assignees. The Name Dell Sweet is a publishing construct used by Wendell Sweet. Portions of this text are copyright 2010, and 2011, all rights reserved by Wendell Sweet and his assignees. No part of this book may be reproduced by any means, electronic, print, scanner or any other means and, or distributed without the author’s or assignees permission.

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


This Material IS Copyright Protected

This Material is NOT edited for content



STAR DANCER

PROLOGUE

Universal Planet Time was part of the Space Travel Treaty signed into planetary law back in 2050 when regular cargo trips had begun between the moon bases and the first private colonies on Mars. Of course now there are dozens of colonies on Mars, Venus and Jupiter’s moons: Plus six major colony cities on the moon, and new colonies are being proposed daily to the space council.

Universal time meant that space ran on a different non-changing schedule from the Earth. Space time ran twenty-four hours, and business was always conducted seven days a week. There was no down time, only changing crews, flight coordinators, colony station personnel. Space was the biggest cash venture on Earth. It was what had pulled the global economy from the slump and severe depression at the beginning of the century, and it was still growing.

The technology had been ready for a very long time, there had simply been no economic stimulus to begin the push. Men and women with the money and the fortitude to put that push on and get the entire global community involved and interested: After that initial global push the speculators had poured onto the scene. Then the serious investors, then the corporations, and the industry had been born. And as the saying goes, nobody has looked back since.

ONE

Earth Date: 2096 – 08 -25 – 16:21:43

Moon Base 14: United Planet Technologies

Intra Flight Systems: Star Dancer

Michael Watson

I purchased Star Dancer right after college, and I’ve never looked back. I can remember my great-grandfather, gone now for more than forty years, talking about what he had, had for opportunities right out of high school. That would be laughable now. My parents had, had my life mapped out from the age of two. Life Mapping was a serious thing, I don’t know any that don’t have their lives mapped out now from birth.

School was not complete without college. You could not be licensed to work the counters of Planet Burger unless you had two years of college. My own career had taken four years of specialty college and geared trade school from the first grade on. When other first graders were learning about monetary systems and world level banking, I was learning about Star Drives and ION Propulsion units.

The grades, one through twelve, start at age three and last on average seven years. Some fall behind, some spring ahead, but by ten years of age most are ready and I was no exception. I began my specialized training, four years, four more years of global military service after that with an option for six more, which I declined, and I am pretty sure made my instructors very happy by doing so, and so at the old age of eighteen I signed a twenty year funding commitment for Star Dancer. At the time I was sure I would never dig myself out of thirty million credits of debt, but for the last two years I have been watching credits build in my accounts.

Today I was docking at UPT on Fourteen to pick up a four year re-supply for a prison colony at Mars-Twenty-Seven: Some kind of Tech drop for Colony One, and two panel pre-fab labs for IO’s base six.

Moon Base Fourteen is United Planet Technologies own base. There is not much else here; a small cafeteria, some lounges for through travelers, each progressively worse than the last: The best being Vic’s, and Vic’s was the only official bar, the other two were simply overlooked. That could happen at a base that was not really a base at all, but a company town.

I had, had the tour before, and short of taking on a small crew, and maybe a new navigator to replace the one I had been without for the last seventeen months, I would be here only long enough to fuel, be unloaded and then loaded and once I was re-supplied I’d be off: So there would be no downtime in the next twenty-four.

The crew was a transport crew. In other words, a company crew that would accompany me to all three of the offloads, do all the offloading and on loading. I would be coming back to Fourteen with a full load of finished products bound for Earth. They would pack it all, all I had to do was bring it back.

On my last stop, IO, I’d lose the crew. That would leave me alone for the return trip, unless of course I signed a navigator today. So far out of twenty possibles I had, had only five show up, and out of the five three turned me down. I turned the other two down. So if I was a betting man, and I am usually, I’d say the odds were that I would be riding this trip alone.

I eased my ship into dock. Some go with the auto-nav, but I have heard too many horror stories about out of phase computers, last second power surges and more to trust my ship to the machines. I do it myself. I have known how to do it since third grade in the flight sims. Microsoft had the best federally approved space flight sims, and my parents had made sure I got the best.

I gave my reverse thrusters a quick slap with my palm at three hundred feet out and watched my lock coupler drift home with nothing more than a small frame vibration when I went green on lock-in. I keyed my overhead.

“Central, I’m locked on 6B… Standing by for loading, over…”

“Green on my board, Dancer… Unlocking for loads… You have company standing by, Dancer.”

“Oh yeah?” That was a surprise.

“Uh… Lounge seven… Navigator?”

“Oh, okay, right… Send him right up, and thank you.”

“Uh, her.”

“Her?”

“Oh yeah… Pretty sure, unless I’m blind.” He chuckled.

“Huh… Supposed to be…” I punched the name up on my scheduling screen. “Pete Stanovich.”

“Uh huh… Short for Petra, no doubt… Petra Stanovich… See, you must have heard the Pete part and not the tra part.” He chuckled again.

“Someone screwed up… It’s entered as Pete in the com. Okay send her up then, and thanks.”

“Coming at you… Base out.”

I clicked off and sighed. This meant number twenty-one was most likely a wash too. Most women who interviewed for the job were not interested once they realized it was an intra-galaxy, or system cruiser, and one that was considered a dinosaur of a ship. About all I did have to offer was transferable credits for Federal space-work. I had what was called time for time credit. A perk because I had done my four in the service and never deactivated my six. That meant technically the feds could still pick me up for that six any time they wanted to. In exchange, it meant that I could offer my employees who were fresh out of military service time for time credit. A young navigator would have to be fresh out of military service, or within their benefit time window, thus making them eligible for the time. The time would count directly as military experience in advanced navigation. A big plus, but maybe not worth the two year minimum hitch on my ship.

Even so it was a good perk, and the past three navigators I had hired were immediately picked up for star ship service at the end of their contracts. It was both my ace in the hole and my queen of spades.

I unbuckled, thought about it, and then keyed my Com-Link

“Unlocked, central, and could you delay my visitor by twenty?”

“Be at least that… Problem?”

“No… That’ll work… Out.”

He keyed his Com-Link as an answer. I flicked the unlock switches for the cargo holds, electronically signed my security certificate to allow off loading and loading and headed for the showers and fresh clothes. I may as well make the best impression that I can, I reasoned.

Earth Date: 2096 – 08 – 25 16:27:14

Moon Base Fourteen: Visitor Lounge seven

United Planet Technologies:

Petra Stanovich

I could see the bar through the glass wall, I suppose that was the idea, but the last thing I needed before the interview was a drink.

This would be my fourth interview: Each interview had started good and then spiraled downward. I supposed my job broker was doing the best he could though. I had no experience. My parents had used all of their remaining influence to get me into the military after two years training school. I had worked out of field for the last two years, a bad mistake. You became obsolete fast as a navigator. I had been considering using my six on the back and going back into the military side of the feds. There would be plenty of navigators and pilot positions there. The out of field work had really put me in a bad position, and if I went to the Military side of the feds I could forget ever having a civilian career.

The only good thing about this particular position was that it was a time for time position. It would count as military time; restart my clock and qualify me for something better down the line.

Time for time did not take away from my on the back time, it added to my military experience instead: So my two years became four years, and two more became six. In that sense it was a good opportunity, but nothing else about this position looked good at all.

I had watched the Star Dancer dock: A twenty-eight year old Intra-Cruiser. Straight cargo. She was shaped like a giant box with rounded corners. The propulsion units, ION drives and living quarters sat atop the box, rounded, slightly flattened spheres looking as though they had been added as an afterthought. I had thought, ‘How many of these were left in service?’ … ‘Two?’ … ‘Three?’ … A quick check of my wrist pad showed me just how wrong I was. There were over ten thousand Intra-Class cruisers of this configuration in service right now. That was mind boggling. I had assumed that the heavy Star-Cruisers were what dominated the heavens, but I was wrong. The same link gave me the data for that configuration: Only slightly more than four thousand, and out of that number only one hundred twenty-eight were licensed as Star Cruisers, the rest were Galaxy-Cruisers, short run re-supply craft, and drone craft for quantum travel. The antiquated Intra-Cruisers far outnumbered the Galaxy-Cruisers of the official Federal fleets. Maybe the whole thing could be a plus, I thought.

I watched the huge, plastic outer wall. I saw loading was already taking place on the cruiser. Two hatches were open, and company workers in full radiation suits could be seen inside the cargo bays.

Rows of lights lit the space. It yawned open like a cavern, far into the interior of the ship; so far that I could not see the end of the space. All the approaching shuttles and even the workers all seemed to be moving in slow motion. Space did that. It seemed to take forever for something to actually happen: A shuttle to close the pace to a dock facility; a worker to push off and then maneuver with suit thrusters to their next work station.

On the other hand, I had stopped watching twice, chasing thoughts in my head, and when I had turned back so much had happened that I was surprised. More support shuttles towing cargo barges had shown up: Teams of workers riding on the open barges for their short trip to their work stations. The whole ship was crawling with workers: Inspectors, mechanics and repair persons. Seen from this perspective it made the Intra-Cruiser appear to be a very important ship after all. I shook my head. It was still thirty year old technology. If I was offered the job, and I hoped I was, I would stay no more than the required two years to get my career back on track… Nothing more, if I did stay longer the technology curve would pass me by. That was the last thing I needed. I would have absolutely nothing left to fall back on, and that was bad. That was how the prison colonies were populated.

The prison colonies had started with the undesirables: Murderers, rapists, predators that were deemed unfit for society: As the colonies grew they moved on down the criminal line to fill them. Multiple offenders, thieves, and other criminals. Finally, the prisons on Earth were emptied and all prisoners were re-located off Earth.

The real estate on Earth was suddenly deemed too expensive to use for housing them. Yes, correctional services was still a cash cow, but it was simply moved off planet. Earth’s citizens did not want their criminals living among them. The colonies on Mars, IO and Venus were perfect for penal colonies. All the first off Moon colonies had been founded by, and built by prisoners.

It had worked perfectly, and long before the massive death tolls and horrid conditions came to light, the Feds had perfected living condition requirements and buildings that could withstand life in those places. What was past, was past, those that write history shape history they say, and it had been that way, I knew.

The changes and colonies had come at the expense of some ninety-two thousand inmates and political prisoners. Earth’s citizens turned away their blind eyes, happy that those prisoners were not a blight upon the Earth itself, walking among them in some cases. Glad to risk lives that were not their own for progress.

It left a bad taste in my mouth, but my own position was not much better. Last year both of my parents were killed in a random terrorist attack on their building. It happened about twice a month somewhere in the world. There were so many factions opposed to the unified Federal Global Government.

Truth be told, I didn’t like it myself. It scared me in its impersonal approach to life and death, human rights. Two years before it had become a world class felony to be found homeless. Picked up and convicted, the offenders were deported off-world to one of the penal colonies. An unspecified sentence which was a black mark forever, and then usually an offer of half pay to work at some back water colony base, or new base construction project, with little or no law.

The new law affected me because I was not yet a viable worker, and the government had seized all of my parents property and assets for unpaid Life Taxes: Poor planning on their parts. I was, essentially, homeless, living on my two year service benefit. That benefit entitled me to free government housing, education and job placement: Meals, as well as a small monthly credit allowance, but it was not indefinite. It would continue for three years, four if I applied for the extension. Time was running out.

Of course, worse come to worse, I would re-enlist before I would allow myself to slip into an illegal existence and be shipped off to some penal colony. It was still far from a happy existence for me. Better if I got this job. I needed to get this job.

I turned my attention back to the infra-cruiser and saw that the first two shuttles had arrived in the first cargo hold and were off loading. If I were on that ship it would be my job to monitor that off-loading and re-loading as it occurred. I would be doing my pre-flight checks as I did it. I would probably be thinking about my first off-planet trip. I had never seen Mars, Venus or IO except in video clips.

My concentration was broken when I heard my name announced over the loud speaker system in the lounge; I got up, gathered my case and headed for converse four as instructed. It was easy enough to find. Ten minutes later I was strapped into a battered dock shuttle on my way to the Star Dancer.

Earth Date 2096-08-25 16:52:58

Star Dancer

Michael

I got a good look at Petra as I flagged her through the air-locks: All fresh air; your basic space bug, Earth bug delouser unit. People had, at one time, believed that space was sterile. A few serious contaminations early in the century had stopped that. Of course the process rendered you sterile. It was the same, male or female. The price you paid, so you banked your eggs or your sperm and didn’t give it any more thought. Space travel, constant radioactive exposure, caused all sorts of birth defects. It only made sense.

She was tall, blue-black hair, high cheekbones. Russian. The hair had to be died, but it suited her face, which was hard edged and a little angular. Something past pretty, but less than beautiful… Maybe, I decided.

I had read her information over twice as I had waited for transport. I had picked up the lounge seven video feed, so I knew who I was looking at, matching the details with what I read.

She was on thin ice. About a year left on her military benefits and she would be declared homeless, and probably insolvent shortly after that. Her only choices were military services or a foot in the door somewhere. I had no doubt she would use that as a stepping stone, but it would set up my operations with Star Dancer for the next two years, and I needed the stability back.

Top ten percent of her classes. Short on military experience, only a two year plan. Fluent in twelve languages, double the average. She had no political advantages, so she had no opportunities in the corporate world. She needed me, it seemed, as much as I needed her.

I buzzed her through the last lock. Flushed the air, and then keyed my Com-Link.

“I’ve sent the El for you. It’s a slow go traveling three hundred decks, but it’s programmed to bring you to the bridge. I’ll see you in about twenty minutes, Miss Stanovich.”

She turned her dark eyes to the camera. “Thank you.”

Star Dancer Bridge

17:13:22

Michael

“Full gravity?” Petra asked as she stepped from the El. I had met her at the elevator door and we were walking the curved and window ported outer hallway that ringed the central area.

“It’s magnetic, and yes it’s full-time… Doe it feel like Earth?”

“Very much so… I didn’t…” She colored.

I laughed. “Don’t worry about it. You won’t hurt my feelings. I know, fresh out of service you must have seen technology that makes this old bucket look its age.”

She smiled, but her face was still flushed.

“Really… I do understand, and don’t worry. The field is a perk. The feds installed it. They ship some gravity sensitive stuff, there’s a small cargo space directly above us, and really sensitive ‘Destroy if captured’ stuff in security safes on the main deck. So… We get gravity full time.” I smiled at her again and she smiled back. “It’s not perfect though. The mag field takes a little getting used to. It’s never bothered me though,” I finished abruptly, realizing I had just run on longer than I needed or intended.

“What does it do?” She asked.

“Space sickness… Upset stomach. Two of my navigators and one of the crew who came up here to exercise… It lasted a few days and then they got their space legs. “I laughed.

“Exercise equipment?”

“Another perk. I carry full crews out bound every trip, and I almost always come back with a dead head crew too. They’re supposed to use it, but they rarely do. They tend to socialize together on their own deck, two below this one. There’s a small inner-deck El that connects us. The exercise deck is up here: Treadmills, elliptical, stationary bikes… It’s nice.”

“But, shouldn’t they check in with you?” She seemed surprised.

I shook my head and shrugged. “Technically, I am their captain, in actuality they couldn’t care less. They’re company men and women. They take their orders from the company. As long as they don’t interfere with the running of my ship we operate independently. You’re accustomed to the chain of command…”

She nodded.

“Nothing like that here. We’re like neighboring countries, my own crew stays here, they stay there. I can’t recall a time when I have met more than two or three of a crew at any given time. Usually one or less.” I shrugged once again. “That’s the reality of intra cruising.”

She nodded and followed me onto the bridge.

The bridge on an Intra-Cruiser is a very small area. It is at the front of the pod with two huge viewing ports and one even larger viewing screen in between them. Contrary to popular belief, even my own until the fourth grade, there isn’t anything of great interest to see in space at any given time.

Most of the rooms wall space is taken up with smaller flat panel displays hooked into ship systems. There are three console units with chairs directly facing the view ports.

“You would be here with me most of the time.” I waved my hand to include the entire room. “Take your pick of seating, any can be configured the way you want it to be. Sit down, give a shot. It’s pretty straight forward.”

She sat, pulled the overhead monitor down and had the navigation screens up in just a few moments. She studied them for a few seconds. “Looks easy enough.”

“It is… Believe me, you’ll be bored most of the time.”

“When would I have to decide?”

I looked at one of the wall monitors and the time stamp that ran along the bottom. “You have about four hours from now. That will give me time to re-configure rations, get your licensing in order, passport, extra fuel supplies… Or, you could think it over this trip and I’ll be back in thirteen months, give or take… That’s my average return trip.”

“So… So, you’re offering me the job?” she asked. She was a little wide eyed.

“Absolutely… You’re qualified… Listen, let’s face it, you’re overqualified. I’d be damn lucky to get you. The only thing I’d ask of you is the standard two year contract.” She started to speak, but I held up my hands.

“You can’t hurt my feelings. Two years, as we both know, is the maximum benefit time for you, and it will give you the time to look around. It is an incredible world out there. You won’t believe all the contacts and people you’ll meet. It will give you some real time to breath… Think about what you really want to do. I’ve got some good contacts I could point you at.”

“You’d do that for me?”

“Absolutely… You do right by me and I’ll be happy to do right by you.”

“Okay.” She looked around the room. “My stuff is in a locker off Lounge 7.”

It took me a second. “Oh, you meant okay as in you’ll take it… The job?”

“She smiled. “Sorry. Guess I forgot to add yes I’ll take the job.”

“No, no, I’m a little slow.” I turned back to my monitor and pulled up the re-stocking charts. “Any particular wants or needs? We eat pretty well. The Fed contracts load us up with all kinds of stuff. Perks again, but they are well stocked here at Fourteen… Real coffee… Media… Whatever.” I continued through the screens and began to recalculate the fuel requirements.

Earth Date 2096-08-25 00:03:51

Moon Base fourteen

United Planet Technologies

Intra-Cruiser: Star Dancer

I ran down the lists as Petra pulled them up on her screens and checked them off. Flawless.

“It looks good, Michael.”

“It is good, Petra… Take it out.” I picked up my mug of coffee, the first real coffee I had, had in a while. It sure beat synthetics. I felt the vibration as she threw the dock lock switches and expertly palmed the thrusters. We did a slow, nearly perfect half turn, then she did a longer burn to put us into our ten mile safety limit before she could engage the ION engines.

I watched Moon Base Fourteen fall slowly behind us on the main monitor, and then continued watching as Petra went through the pre ION drive check lists. I had done it so long by myself that I felt almost guilty sitting back and letting her take care of it. Nevertheless, it felt good, and I was looking forward to the company.

“Ten plus zero zero one,” Petra said.

“Kick ’em,” I told her.

She grinned at me and then reached forward and engaged the ION drives.

I sat back and watched the red mileage numerals begin to move fast, then I turned my attention to my own checks. Cargo, decks, company crews. A few minutes later I was done and I sat back and watched as Petra finished her calculations and sent them to my screen to check and approve. She began to program her side navigation console.

Moon Base Fourteen was gone. The moon itself was a distant smear of dull gray next to the big blue ball. Sometimes there were things to look at in space.

I sat back and relaxed into my chair and thumbed by Log-Link.

“Intra-Cruiser Star Dancer, forty-five minutes and twenty-eight seconds out of Moon Base Fourteen. Present, Michael Watson, chief operating officer, Petra Stanovich, navigation officer. We have at present, twenty-eight UPT crew members, see contract FQHPX2879 for a crew manifest… Mars Prison Colony Twenty-Seven will be our first stop, a re-supply, see manifest 97715. Mars One tech drop, see Fed contract 771926f, our second stop. IO six, last drop, pre-fab building shipment under science contract 279916bx… Watson out.”

I picked up my mug and sipped at my coffee while Petra did her own log. I had a navigator for the next two years, after that maybe I would bite the bullet and spring for an Intra-Galaxy Cruiser. I thought about it. I just might do it. Maybe it was time for a change. Maybe I could even run it by Petra, see how it sounded to another set of ears. Maybe it would even interest her.

It made me feel good. I guess I had fallen into a rut over the past seventeen months. I was surprised how good the bridge felt with someone else on it. I sipped at my coffee and watched the Earth grow smaller as we picked up speed.


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Earth’s Survivors Apocalypse

Book 1, Earth’s Survivors – 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

Apocalypse follows survivors of a worldwide catastrophe.

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

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

Manhattan: Adam leaves the safety of his apartment to find his way out of the dying Manhattan, gathering others as he makes his way.

Old Towne New York: Conner is alone for the first few weeks, but then he finds Katie and a reason to live again. They set out to survive and find much more than survival.

Watertown New York: Mike Collins goes to sleep thinking about his first vacation in many years that he will start in the morning. He awakens to destruction.

The Earth’s Survivors series of books follow the people that survive and set out to rebuild their lives. At first hoping only to make it day by day, but ultimately looking to the future and rebuilding a society where fear does not rule…

This is the original series that has found new life and new writers to take the story to completion.

Read More Right now!

Earth’s Survivors Zombie Killers from Dell Sweet

Posted by Dell 04-17-17

Good morning. The day has just begun here and already I can tell I’m not going to like it. Ah well, Monday it is and Monday it shall be when it is finished.  At least it will be Tuesday tomorrow.

I had a pretty good weekend, guests and family from out of state and I also got some work done on a writing project, you can see why I would be reluctant for the weekend to end. I will be positive and hope for a productive week.

Personal News:

This coming week will be my last full time working on the house week. Last week I completed the flooring. Tomorrow I’ll do small touch ups, caulking and moldings and then a final check Tuesday to make sure nothing was missed and I’ll move everything in on Wednesday. It has been tough living with construction for these past months but it will be over.

I ended the week laying laminate flooring. It was my bright idea to do laminate flooring throughout the entire house, and then smaller area rugs. So it seemed like it would go fast, and I really thought it would. But I got either a light case of the Flu or a bad cold that I had to work with. Then I somehow pulled a muscle in my chest. Then I remembered, I’m not a carpenter any more, what the Hell am I doing? I nearly mutinied right there, except I remembered at the last moment that it was all my idea. So I bought a case of energy drinks and got to work.

Energy drinks: I never had one in my life and didn’t like the first one I drank, but when it actually worked I decided they would be my new best friend… At least for the week. They helped, the floors got finished, the debris swept up and now it’s just a big empty space with a cathedral ceiling in the living room and kitchen. I did also get the dishwasher hooked up, the over the range microwave, the gas line and the stove installed. The last cabinet work, recessed lights in the kitchen. You know, all those things I had lied to myself last week about and said would only take ten minutes to do.

Writing News:

I worked on a compilation of true stories. It’s nearly ready to go. I just want to add a few more stories that are written but not yet formatted. I also worked on The Zombie Killers and released it. It is its own series separated from the Earth’s Survivors series name, but the characters from both books do interact. After all, The Zombie Killers are the ones who keep The Nation safe for the Earth’s Survivors that are settled in the Valley and the ones to come. I hope you enjoy it.

My brother who has been my best friend for many, many years, was up from Alabama this past weekend. It was great to see him.

That’s my Monday news. I want to leave you with a free look at The Zombie Killers Origins. Stay safe and healthy, and if the world does end I’ll meet you on the road somewhere…


THE ZOMBIE KILLERS: ORIGINS

Copyright © 2010 – 2013 by Wendell Sweet & independAntwriters Publishing 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.


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

This novel is Copyright © 2010 – 2013 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 authors permission.

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Bear

August 4th

We were down along the river checking over some of the old buildings that are perched on the cliffs there, high above the water. Fall was not far away, and we knew we had to get moving, get out of this dead city. We had half the country to cross and find a place before winter came back around again.

We had left the others in our place off the park – an abandoned factory building I had found after I had lost Donita – and struck out looking for food earlier that morning. With the park and its crowds so near to us, the shops and small stores for blocks around us were stripped clean. Another reason to get out of the city. It was time. I remember thinking that as I walked along.

I was thinking back to March as I walked. Not really paying attention to the walk, where I was going… March… Just a few months ago, but the world was still the world then. And for the next little while there, we didn’t even know about the dead. Dead was still dead. When you closed your eyes for the long eternal sleep you didn’t wake up a short minute later as something else. No. We were ignorant up until they decided to come after us. Ignorant. Stupid. Didn’t know a thing. Didn’t have a clue.

I had been in Central Park a few days after the first earthquakes hit. I had left Donita alone and went down on my own to see what the deal was. I found out nothing. No one knew any more than any one else. There was a lot of speculation, but that was it. There had been earthquakes. It had rained hard for nearly twenty four hours straight. The really freaky stuff hadn’t happened yet. We were just starting down our new path, but what was clear was that thousands of people had died in the city, maybe more than thousands, maybe a million or more. And certainly millions if the damage here was the same across the country… or worldwide.

And my initial estimate turned out to be a kind. In the city alone: collapsed buildings, fires, exposure to the elements because there was no shelter. There were millions of bodies. It was not so bad in those first few days, but a few days later, when the smell of the dead rotting under the rubble began, it was horrible. The diseases started then too. And the diseases took thousands more, and we thought that was the end of it, but it was not. The dead came next. The same dead, newly risen to some other sort of life. But that day in Central Park I did not know about the dead yet. I had no idea what was ahead; what was before me was bad enough.

At six foot three and nearly two hundred ninety pounds I don’t usually fear much. But that day I did. I realized there are some things you had better fear if you have half a brain in your head. It didn’t matter that I could walk through Central Park unmolested. Something was on the wind, something that didn’t care who it touched, did not respect physical size.

I walked through the park. There were hundreds there already. In the coming days those same people began to make the park home. But that day they wandered aimlessly, in shock. The subway was shut down, the buses. You could not find a cab. The same with the cops. Everything that was the same about the city, the things you could depend on to be the same day after day, were gone. A few short days, and they were gone. No more. And it had a feeling of permanence to it, a feeling of doom.

I sat down on a bench and watched the people shuffle by. No noisy kids. No babies bawling. No Joggers. No dog walkers. Hopeless people shuffling by. The occasional panicked whack job running around crazily. I saw no one shot that day, but in the coming days, they, the hopeless ones, began to shoot the crazies, chase them down and kill them. But that was later. That day I sat on the bench and wondered what had happened, and that was when the planes had overflown.

We all heard them from a long way off, military cargo planes. Slow, sometimes seeming to hang in the sky. That droning sound as they overflew, blocking the sun from the sky. This was no fly over to see how New York was, that much was evident immediately.

I was torn between running and needing to know what this was. Once you start down that path of just reacting to fear, it gets bad fast, so I sat there, as calm as I could be. ‘They will not drop bombs,’ was my thought. I remember it. And they didn’t. What they did was spray the entire city. Trails of blue-tinged vapor drifting down out of the sky. That was the first time.

I finally did give in to the fear and took off through the park, thinking, like nearly everyone else, that it must be some sort of poison. The government’s solution to whatever it was that was going on in the city.

We didn’t know what the blue shit the government planes sprayed us with right after everything went to hell was. And I am still not convinced I know all there is to know, but I suspect things. I have been told things. I met a guy a few weeks back that said he worked at the Army base over in Jersey. He said he knew what it was. He said the planes came from somewhere down south, but stopped there on the way back to re-fuel. What he told me was it was designed to strengthen us, keep us alive a little longer, make us stronger somehow. Some dip shit scientist’s idea.

I suppose it was meant as a boost for us, a help. The world slowed down, fell apart; everything stopped working. They knew they couldn’t get to us. We would die. So they sprayed the blue shit on us, and I could suppose further that some of us survived the first few months because of it. I can’t prove it, but I suspect it did help us evolve into…

I don’t know. Whatever the hell we are now. I know we’re alive. I know our hearts beat. I still feel human, and I truly think I am still human. If it made changes to the living, they are very small changes… at least so far.

But the dead – oh, the dead. That’s a different story. It did something else to the dead.

I walked along now thinking my thoughts. I was lost in them – I’ll admit it – right back in March for a few seconds. But I came back fast.

We were right in front of a line of cliffs that overhung the river, spread out a little. At least I was. It’s funny how you can forget to be careful so goddamn fast. It was somewhere past midday when they came for us.

“Bear! Bear!”

Cammy from a hundred yards down. The panic and fear in her voice made my heart leap into my throat, and because of her fear, and probably some of my own, I did a really stupid thing right then that cost me time. I was so panicked, that I threw my rifle down and sprinted toward the sound of her voice. I got maybe twenty feet when the realization of what I had done hit me. It would have been comical to see the way I locked my legs up and tried to turn around before I had even come to a stop if it had not been so goddamned serious.

I had the rifle back in my hands, the safety off, just a fraction of a second later when Cammy and Madison opened up on the UN-dead closing in on them from the mouth of the narrow trail that lead up from the river. I added my fire to theirs before I had run another fifty feet, and their leader, a shambling wreck of a corpse, folded up, and then flopped over the side of the trail and down into the river. I continued to run as I fired, and I was shocked to realize that I was screaming at the top of my lungs as I closed in. I am big, but I can move when I have to.

“Goddamn-son-of-a-bitching-goddamn-bastards,dead-fuckers!” All strung together. Fear words. I did not hear them at first so I did not know when they started, and I could not shut them down once I did hear them. The panic and fear were just too hot.

I watched as, unseen by Cammy and Madison, a Zombie crouched on a narrow path above them swiveled his rotting head to me, seemed to take my measure with a wide, yellowed grin, and then dropped from the ledge on to Madison’s back.

“No! Goddamn-son-of-a-bitches-dead-bastards-bastards!” I could not say, ‘Madison Look Out!’ Or speed up my feet or any other damn thing. Time had slowed, become elastic, strange, too clearly seen. The Zombie hit her hard, and she folded like an accordion, driven into the ground, a few hundred pounds of animated corpse riding her down into the dirt, clawed hands clutching, mouth already angling to bite… to taste her.

I was still thirty or more yards away. I could not see how that could even be possible. I should have been closer, but I was not. I saw Cammy turn, panicked, take her eyes off the other UN-dead and start towards Madison. Unchallenged, the other Zombies closed ground far faster than they should have been able to.

I saw the Zombie on Madison take a mouthful of her back, just below the curve of her neck, and rip the flesh away from her spine. Cammy’s rifle came up and barked, and the zombie blew apart, raining down on Madison, a storm of black blood. Somehow, I managed to switch to full auto, get my rifle up, and spray an entire one hundred round clip into the other zombies where they rushed along the path towards Cammy and the fallen Madison.

Madison screamed. Time leapt back into its proper frame, and I found myself five feet away as Madison arched her back, screamed and tried to stand. Blood ran in a perfect river from her gaping wound, across the white of her T-Shirt and down to the waist of her jeans.

“I think… I think…” Madison tried.

“Baby… Baby,” Cammy sobbed. She dropped to her knees and pulled Madison to her. “Oh, Baby… Baby,” Cammy sobbed.

I looked back up at the trail. Empty. At least of moving UN-dead. Three or four, it was hard to tell with the tangle of legs and arms, lay dead on the pathway. Silence descended. I heard a bird in the trees above calling as if nothing was wrong with the world, Cammy sobbing, Madison crying hysterically, the wind moaning through the empty buildings that were set just back from the cliffs and the river on this side of the city.

I was thinking, ‘That wind is colder. Colder even than when we started out this morning. Maybe the weather will turn back to snow and cold. Maybe winter is not done after all… Or coming sooner… It could be. It’s all so screwed up. Maybe, if it does get cold, it will slow those bastards down. Maybe we will be okay… My, God… They bit Madison… They BIT Madison!!!’ I sagged to the ground, my mind full of confusion and numbness.

Cammy was sobbing uncontrollably. Madison had lapsed into shock. I was sitting crossed legged, wondering where in Hell this would all end up, my rifle fallen from my hands and laying on the ground next to me. Time spun out, dragged, seemed elastic once more, sticking in places and jumping ahead from those places to where it should have been had it continued to run properly.

Cammy sobbing, holding Madison up, kissing her forehead, telling her how much she loved her… how she was her world…

Madison, eyes rolled back in her head… face pale… fine beads of sweat standing out on her forehead… her back a bright slick of red running across Cammy’s hands where she held her. Slowing… Slowing… Cammy mouthing words in such slow motion that I could not understand what she said. Madison’s body sagging, eyes rolled up to the whites… bright dots of blood speckled across Cammy’s cheeks. Then time jumped, staggered, came back to normal, and Cammy was screaming and screaming…

“No! … NO! … Not my… My, love, my Madison, my…” Collapsing to the ground with Madison, crying still… softer, but continuous.

“Cammy,” My voice, but I did not know it at first. I actually stopped speaking and looked around, startled, before I realized it was me speaking. I turned my attention back to Cammy. “Cammy… Cammy, it’ll be okay… It’ll be…”

“NO!….NO!” She scrambled backward, pulling Madison’s unconscious body with her. She wiped one hand across her eyes trying to stem the flow of tears… “NO! She’s… She’s okay… Okay… You can’t… You…” She broke down into sobs, pulled Madison to her and began dragging her away from me.

“Cammy… Cammy, it bit her… Bit her… Cammy… Cammy, it’s… It’s just you and me, Cammy… It bit her… It bit her…”

She let go of Madison and lunged for her rifle. I sat, still cross legged, stupidly, as she grabbed it and leveled it at me.

“Get out,” She said very calmly. Much more calmly than I thought she should have been capable of.

“Cammy… What are you doing… Cammy?”

“GET OUT, GET OUT, GET OUT!” She screamed. I reared back as the rifle barrel came up and then slashed down across my face. I jumped back, but not fast enough. The steel barrel smashed into my lower lip, through it, and then hit my teeth. I immediately tasted blood and machine oil. My tongue ran across my teeth unconsciously. I was sure she had smashed them out, but the barrel edge had come up short, or I had moved back far enough. One of those things.

The pain was delayed, but it came never-the-less. Hard, heavy, fast, down into my lower jaw and then ricocheted back up into the top of my head. I scrambled backwards, tripped over my own rifle, got it into my hands, and then time did that funny slowing, elastic thing again.

The blood dripped from my chin onto the ground. My rifle was pointed squarely at Cammy, safety off and an empty clip, but Cammy didn’t know that. The blood dripped slowly. Cammy’s eyes swam in and out of focus, but remained on me. Her rifle barrel dipped and then rose again, leveled on me once more.

She seemed to take a deep breath that went on forever, and then, once more, time sped up. “I’ll kill you,” Cammy told me. “If you touch her, I’ll kill you… I will,” She started out strong but ended in a doubtful, whining whisper.

I didn’t drop my rifle barrel, but held one hand out in front of me in a placating gesture. “Not touching anyone… Not,” I managed through my busted lip and aching jaw. The pain was a live, throbbing thing.

“You will… But… I know you will… You think… You think…” She seemed all at once to realize that she no longer held Madison in her arms. She took a deep shuddering breath and then dropped her rifle to the ground. She collapsed back down to the ground and crawled to Madison’s body.

I stood shocked, not knowing what to do. Time side-slipped again. The bird went back to calling out, if it had ever stopped. The wind came back, blowing cold against my face, pushing the flush of heat that the situation had brought with it away, cooling the sweat on my brow. The bird called. Another picked it up, and soon all of the birds were talking as though nothing at all had happened. It became a perfect storm of noise after the deepness of the silence. Time slipped away again, clouds moving across the cold, blue of the sky.

Cammy sat, Madison pulled up into her lap, a large smear of maroon on her forehead, stroking Madison’s black hair. The birds called. The coldness of the wind seemed to bite at my bones. Nipping. Tasting. An Undead thing of its own.

I can’t tell you why I did it, but I am glad I did. I pushed the button on the rifle butt, dropped the empty clip in to my waiting palm, and slid another up into the rifle where it socketed itself home with a solid click. I did it perfectly, like I had been doing it all of my life instead of just the last few months since the UN-dead disease, epidemic, disorder, plague, what-ever-the-fuck it is has happened. She never looked up. The birds didn’t stop singing their birdsong. Just in case, I told myself. Just in case.

I stood, my knees screaming, flexed experimentally and then walked a short distance away, leaning up against the cliff face. I reached into my jacket pocket, pulled out my pouch and rolled a cigarette. I felt at my lips, busted up, but it would heal. I had been in fights in my old life where I had been busted up much worse. I lit the cigarette, held it carefully between my lips, smoking as I watched the clouds slip across the sky. Letting the urgency of the situation float away on the wind like the smoke.

Cammy’s voice had fallen to a barely audible whisper as she stroked Madison’s hair and held her. Madison’s lips, blue tinged, moved, too quiet to hear her words. A private conversation. A private conversation in the wide open, which, thanks to the UN-dead, was a very private place. No one at all around, alive anyway, and the dead could care less about love, secrets, whispered promises, goodbyes. The UN-dead only cared about the hunger that seemed to drive them. Flesh, and more flesh. The time turned elastic once more and spun out of control for some unknown length. I only know that when I came back to myself the sun had moved across the sky. My thoughts were about darkness, Zombies, staying alive.

~

When I think back on it now, I realize a noise had brought me back. Had to be, otherwise there was no reason for me to come back at all, just stay gone. Let the sun go down and the UN-dead take the night, me, Cammy, Madison and whatever else they wanted. But it didn’t go that way.

A noise, a sliding foot, a pebble falling from above… I really don’t know. I know that this time I reacted fast. My rifle came up; my mind was clear. I focused; two of them dropping from the cliffs above… like cats… like dead, stinking, feral cats… dragging that stink of death with them. The stench of rotted flesh falling from the sky, enveloping me even as I fired into them.

I had a choice. I couldn’t get them both. One falling at me, one falling at Cammy where she sat with Madison cradled in her arms, oblivious to everything around her. My reaction chose for me. The rifle came straight up and spat short, little barks of noise and flame. The Zombie started to come apart before it hit me. A shower of cold, dead blood rained down on me, splattered against my face. The body hit the barrel of the rifle and took me down to the ground, clutching the rifle hard to keep from losing it as the full weight of the Zombie came down on it.

I kept it, but only by sheer determination. The Zombie had impaled herself onto the barrel. Her flesh so rotted that it had simply punched through her breast and out her back. I shoved her off as quickly as I could, one booted foot kicking against her chest, knocking her apart, pulling the barrel back through the soft flesh and hard bone.

I expected to see Cammy done for. I expected to see her dead or dying, but she had somehow ended up about twenty feet from where the Zombie had fallen. She looked herself, as if she had no real idea how that had happened, but when I raised my eyes and they took in the whole scene before them, I saw exactly how it had happened.

Madison must have still been awake. Laying there badly injured but not gone, taking the comfort from Cammy that she offered. When the Zombie fell, she saw it. She saw it and managed to push Cammy away from her and take the attack on herself.

The Zombie was no match for her, wounded though she was. She straddled the Zombie with a rock easily the size of her own head and brought it down hard. Once. Twice, and then I lost count, and the Zombie quit fighting. The UN-dead, dead again. This time for good.

The silence came back hard. Like a curtain on the last act of a play, just when the audience isn’t expecting it. It crashed down.

~

Time did its elastic trick and then snapped back before I was ready for it. My senses were shot. At first I could not connect the dots of memory that I needed to connect to make sense of what my eyes were seeing.

Cammy rose to shaky legs and started toward Madison, sobbing once more. Madison’s eyes swiveled to me. A sick look in them, and pain riding there too. She slumped forward, one wrist flapping uselessly, and lunged for the rifle that Cammy had trained on me not so long ago. Time stopped its elastic trickery right around that time. I knew exactly what she intended to do before she did it.

Cammy stopped in mid stride and nearly fell backwards at the effort of stopping so quickly. I think she believed for a second that Madison intended to shoot her. I really believe she thought that. But that was not the plan, and I knew that was not the plan. Because the plan that had resurfaced in her mind was the one we had talked about, half seriously, half jokingly, for as long as we had been traveling together. Before she followed through on that plan, I heard her tell it to me in my mind once again, the way she had a week or so before. When she had been unmolested… whole… not about to join the ranks of the UN-dead herself.

“If I ever fuckin’ have to, I won’t hesitate,” Madison had said, “Once I’m dead, I don’t want to come back.” She shuddered and grimaced at the same time.

We had been in an old house over in Harlem. That was before Harlem got crazy too. We’d had gas lanterns for light. The windows were boarded over. The UN-dead scratched and cried and pleaded, but they could not get in. The four of us – John had still been alive then, in fact he had died just two days later. Fell through a rotted section of floor in that same old house. Impaled himself on a pipe in the basement. Madison had shot him in the head nearly as soon as he had stopped his struggles. Cammy had bent double and vomited. I had held it in, but barely – but that night John had been alive, he had still been with us. With us as we listened to the sounds of the UN-dead that were trying to get to us. To kill us. To eat us. To satisfy their ceaseless hunger. In the flickery light from the gas lanterns, she had said it, and he had nodded his head, agreeing immediately with what she had said. And I had not. It had not been a real thing to me, despite what I had already gone through on my own, until two days later when John had died and she had wasted no time. None.

“He would have expected it,” she had said, and nothing more. But that night… that night she had said it right out. Like a mantra, like looking into the future and seeing this day.

“If they come for me, if they get me? I’ll put a bullet in my own head. I will. I swear I will. If I ever fuckin’ have to, I won’t hesitate,” Madison had said, “Once I’m dead, I don’t want to come back.”

And Cammy had begun to cry. “Don’t say it, Maddie. Don’t say it.” And she hadn’t said it again, but it didn’t matter. She had already spoke it into truth. I had heard it. I had heard it, and I knew she meant it.

And now, time stopped its trick. She jammed the rifle under her chin and squeezed the trigger. Her head exploded in a spray of red and gray. I swear I could hear the sounds of small bits of bone and drops of blood pattering down to the ground. And then the silence was roaring again.

I took a breath, another… And then Cammy began to scream once more.

~

It’s been three weeks. I thought Cammy would never talk again. I believed she wouldn’t, right up until she did yesterday.

I just kept us moving. Different places in the city, not staying in any one place for more than a day. Walking days, seeking refuge at night. The zombies smell us, you know. They can smell us for miles. So at night it’s been strong places, strong places where they can’t get in, and then hope like hell that these were not some of the new breed, the ones that don’t seem to have a need to avoid the day, and that they would be gone in the morning.

I started carrying a radio the other day. Clips on the belt. FM. Picks up a lot of talk during the day. There’s a place that a lot of the people I hear from have heard about, down south somewhere. Nobody seems to know exactly where it is. But others swear they have talked to the people that founded this place. A city somewhere down south. I had heard of something like that when it was Donita and me back in New York, but the word I keep hearing is that it is a safe place, that it is open to everyone.

So that is where I had been thinking about getting us to. Three days ago we got a truck. It’s still just me and Cammy, but it feels safer.

I have been thinking about this place. I don’t know who these people are, if they even exist. I only know the whole world is fucked up. I have come to understand that even if I get us as far south as I can, we won’t make it for long. There are only two of us that can fight. The dead are getting smarter, and that is not just my point of view. It’s on the radio. They all say it.

L.A. and New York, both are barely hanging on. Both! Barely hanging on! Nearly over run! We’re right here. I see it everyday. The people talking aren’t exaggerating at all. If the big cities are truly falling apart, and people can’t make it banded together, how can we make it alone?

No. I’m heading for this place. I’m hoping it’s real. Today on the radio I caught someone talking, and it sounded like he was talking about the same place I have heard about. Too far away to hear me. Skip. You can never tell where it’s coming from. I’m just hoping it’s true, that I didn’t just imagine it to assuage my mind.

Meantime, I am trying to keep us alive, find strong places to stay through the nights. There are strong places, places you can find if you give it some thought. Stairwells in highrises, steel and concrete. They can’t get through those doors. Deep freezers in grocery stores. Heavy steel doors. The vehicles if we have to, and we have had to. They can’t get in there to get us either. A little fire at night if I can, because they are afraid of fire. It’s one constant, so far. The Zombies don’t like the smell of smoke.

Canned stuff to eat. Christ, we’ll be eating canned shit until we die. Get up the next day and push on. Get moving again. And that is what I’ve done. Kept us moving. Kept us safe. And she has come willingly, although silently, like a big, semi-animated puppet. And then yesterday she was sitting beside me, silent as she had been since the thing with Madison, and she spoke.

“I don’t like beans, Bear. I just don’t. Maybe we could find something different tonight?” She had lifted her voice at the end and made it into a question. I was winding my way through the middle of an abandoned car and a wrecked, burned out truck, months old. I looked over at her. She smiled, tentative at first, but then it lit up her face. I had to laugh. I had so much pent up inside me.

“The beans are a bit much then?” I asked.

“A bit,” she agreed.

I brought the truck to a dead stop for a second, not knowing what to say.

“You could say, ‘Welcome back’,” she said softly.

“Welcome back,” I repeated, every bit as quietly. “Welcome back…”

Donita’s Notebook

March 1st (Night)

Quakes, at least three. Warmed up fast, and all of the dirty snow that was piled along the streets has melted. Torrential rains. Thunder and lightening in the snow storm that came after sunset. Didn’t last long; turned back to rain. Parts of the projects are burning. Jersey is burning. The sky is red-orange, like everything across the river is on fire. No one has come.

March 2nd (Day)

Rain ’til noon. Destruction widespread. Then horrific quake just before dark. Started to rain again, very heavy, then later at night it turned to snow. Lightening in the snow storm.

Night, no moon, no stars. Storms stopped for awhile, still no stars. Then the storms came back harder.

March 3rd (Night)

Rain in the day, but as soon as the sun set, it turned colder. Snow, heavy snow, thunder and lightening through out the night. No moon or starlight. No stars at all!

March 4th (Day into Night)

Electronics stopped working, wristwatches, battery powered clocks. Bear tried to start a truck. Nothing… Dead. Three more quakes, aftershocks. Planes sprayed blue stuff on us too.

March 5th (Day)

Tremors. Time seems off; days are longer, I feel it. No way to measure it though. No rain or snow.

Harlem

March 6th

Donita sat on a stool in the kitchen writing in her little notebook. Something was going on out in the world. Something, and the news was covering it up. The local news had been canceled. First at noon and now again at five. There had been no strange weather today, but the time was still off. Really off. The days were longer, no doubt about it at all.

There were fires burning out of control in the projects. No firemen had come. No cops. Nobody at all. There had been Earthquakes, or at least the ground had shook. Explosions somewhere? Was it Earthquakes? It seemed like no one knew…


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Earth’s Survivors post week twenty

Earth’s Survivors post week twenty

Posted 04-14-2017 by Dell Sweet

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


EARTH’S SURVIVORS

Earth’s Survivors is copyright © 2016 Dell Sweet. All rights foreign and domestic reserved in their entirety.

Cover Art © Copyright 2016 Wendell Sweet

Some text copyright 2010, 2014, 2015 Wendell Sweet

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

LEGAL

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

This novel is Copyright © 2016 Wendell Sweet and his 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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