The Original Survivors: On The Road.
The destruction is over, now it is time to pick up what pieces remain. Some who have survived are on the road looking for safety…
THE ORIGINAL SURVIVORS
ON THE ROAD
The Original Survivors: On The Road is copyright © 2017 Dell Sweet. All rights foreign and domestic reserved in their entirety.
Cover Art © Copyright 2017 Wendell Sweet
Some text copyright 2010, 2014, 2015 Wendell Sweet
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This is a work of fiction. Any names, characters, places or incidents depicted are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual living person’s places, situations or events is purely coincidental.
This novel is Copyright © 2016 Wendell Sweet and his assignees. Dell Sweet and Geo Dell are publishing constructs owned by Wendell Sweet. No part of this book may be reproduced by any means, electronic, print, scanner or any other means and, or distributed without the author’s permission.
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In the Dark
The cow turned her head towards the woods, nervous. Her large eyes reflecting silver glints from the moonlight.
The smell of death and corruption was nothing new, and that was the smell that came to her now. But there was something wrong with it, something not right with this smell… something different. Her calf nuzzled her and began to nurse. The smell of humans came to her along with smoke and mumbled snatches of conversation, and she stopped thinking about the dead smell, turned away from the woods and stared at the firelight across the fields.
In the Trees
The eyes watched her and the other cows from the cover of the trees. The hunger was terrible, all consuming, and it came in crashing waves. The impulse to feed seemed to be the only coherent thought she had. It was hard to think around, hard to think past.
A few weeks ago she had been… Been? But it did no good, she could not force the memory to come. A name came, Donita. She had been Donita; she knew that, but that was all she knew. And a name was not everything she had been. She had been something else… something more, but she could not get to whatever it was. Something that did not wander through the woods: Something that was not driven by all consuming passions that she could not understand.
She turned her eyes up to the moon. It pulled at her. Something in it spoke directly to something inside of her., something deep, something she believed had always been there, but there had never been a need to address it because it lived under the surface, out of her line of thought, sight… below her emotions. Now it didn’t. Now it ruled everything. It was all she could do not to rush from the trees, find the smell that tempted her and consume it. Eat it completely. Leave nothing at all. Oh to do it… To do it…
Her eyes snapped back from the moon, and a low whine escaped her throat. The calf, sated, had wandered away from her mother. Behind her, the boy made a strangled noise in his throat. She turned, gnashed her teeth and growled. The thin, skeletal boy fell back, hungry but frightened. She could feel his fear. It fed her, tempted her to taste him, but he was no food for her. She knew that much. It was a sort of instinct… drive… something inside of her. The boy was not her food. The boy was not her sustenance. He was one of her own. Corrupted. And corrupted flesh could not feed and sustain itself on corrupted flesh. Fresh flesh was needed, live flesh. Fresh human flesh, she corrected.
The boy trembled and grinned sickly, his one good eye rolling in his head. The other eye was a ruined mass of gray pulp sagging from the socket. A great flap of skin below that socket had curled and dried, hanging from the cheek. He felt at it now, carefully, with his shrunken fingers. She hissed at him and his hands fell away. She turned her attention back to the wandering calf that was nosing ever closer to the edge of the trees.
She desired human flesh. She needed it, but it didn’t absolutely have to be that way.
Two nights ago it had been a rabbit. The night before that she and the boy had shared a rat. The night before that they had come upon the old woman. She thought about the old woman as the calf wandered ever closer to the line of trees.
The old woman had been good. They had brought her back here and her bones lay here still, in the weeds at the edge of the clearing behind her. She turned and gazed back past the boy into their makeshift campsite, searching for what was left of the old woman, finding her bones where they lay at the edge of the clearing they had made. She turned back to the field, watching the calf as she remembered the old woman…
The old woman in the ditch
They had come across the old woman at near morning. Near morning was the best she could do. Time was not a real concern to her anymore. The concept held no meaning. She understood near morning because the sickness, the sickness that began to send the searing pain through her body, had started. The boy had already been whining low in his throat for an hour in pain. It was like that whenever the night began to end, when the morning was on the way, soon to be.
She remembered sunlight. Her old self had needed sunlight just as she now needed darkness, absence of light. That had been Donita as well, but a different Donita.
They had been crossing the rock filled ditch to get to an old house on the other side. The basement of the house was what she had in mind: Quiet, private, darkness. She had been scrambling down the steep, sandy side when the scent had found her eyes and froze her brain.
That is the way she thought of it. Frozen. Everything… everything besides that smell of flesh was frozen out. The boy’s whining, the coming dawn, the constant hunger in her belly, the moon silvery and bright so far up in the night sky, nothing got by that desire. Urge. Drive. It consumed her, and it had then.
It had touched her eyes and then seeped into her brain; then it had spread out into her body. Her legs had stopped moving and she had nearly tumbled all the way to the bottom of the rock strewn ditch before she had caught herself, her head already twisted in the direction of the smell. Her ears pricked her tongue licking at her peeled, dead lips.
She could smell the old woman: Knew that she was an old woman. It was in the smell. Somehow it was in the smell; her flesh and her fear. The boy had slammed into her then, still whining, and nearly knocked her to the ground.
She had come up from that near fall in a crouch, and the boy had slammed into her once more, so she had grabbed him to steady him. He had thought she meant to kill him and had pulled away, but a second later he had caught the scent and they had both gone tearing down the ditch.
The Old Woman
The old woman had heard them coming. She had begun to whine herself, replacing the boy’s whining which had turned to a low growl. The panic had built in her as she heard them coming. Her heart pounded, leapt, slammed against her ribs, bringing pain with it. The pain rebounded and shot down into her broken leg, the leg that she had broken the day before trying to scramble down into this ditch to reach the house across what was left of the highway so she would have a safe place to stay. The pain slammed into her leg, and she cried aloud involuntarily. A split second later, the female slammed into her.
She had been on her belly. The pain was less that way. When the female hit her, she drove her over onto her back. A second after that, she was ripping at her flesh, biting, feeding and she could not fight her. She was too strong, too….. animal strong. And then the boy hit her hard, pouncing on her chest, driving the air from her lungs, and before she could even react, catch her breath back, he was biting at her throat.
She felt the pulse of blood as he bit into her jugular, and it sprayed across his face. She felt it go, felt her consciousness drop by half, her eyelids flutter, flutter, flutter and then close completely. And the biting was far away, and then it was gone.
The boy had her throat, but Donita had been biting her way into her chest. She had felt her heart beating, and she had been gnawing against her ribs when she felt it stop. They had calmed then; loosening the grips they had on her, and settling down to feed.
She glanced now at the calf that was less than three feet from them, its huge moon eyes staring curiously at them. The calf did not know death, had not seen it, she thought. It knew its mother’s tit, the sweet grass of the spring field, the warmth of the sun and nothing else. It edged a little closer.
She had killed the old woman. She had no use for her at all. They had eaten so much of her flesh, that she was useless to them: Couldn’t sit up all the way. The boy had taken one arm off at the shoulder and carried it away like a prize.
Donita had eaten so much that she had vomited, but that had only forced her back to feeding until she was once again filled. She had looked around the ditch and spied the rock. The old woman had come back already, and she was trying to raise herself from the ground, trying to raise herself and walk once more. She had picked the rock up from the ditch. A big rock, but she was powerful, and she had smashed the old woman’s skull in as she had tried to bite at her. They had dragged her into the woods a little farther down the road, this place where they still were.
She turned again to the calf. The calf was not what she wanted, but the calf would have to do for now. She let her hand fall upon the boy’s thigh and they both sprang at the calf.
The calf did not have the time to react. It did not even bawl. One second it was standing, and the next it was on its side, Donita’s teeth clamped tightly across its throat. A second after that, it was sliding across the dew wet grass and into the woods, one wild eye rolling and reflecting the silver of the waning moon, as Donita and the boy dragged her into the trees…
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