Yellowstone from author Dell Sweet

Yellowstone

By W.G. Sweet

A natural disaster that may bring humanity to its knees. Super volcanoes, super earthquakes, the likes of which no living person has ever seen. Not a maybe, but an absolute certainty, and it is not the first time: Seventy four thousand years ago the same catastrophe reduced the human population to a few thousand; will it be any kinder this time? Follow Jack and Maria as they try to stay alive…

“The Yellowstone Caldera.” He raised his eyes, “Familiar with that?”
“Yellowstone Park?” Sammy said.
“Yes. Back in 1930 the Army did an exploratory survey of that area. What we came up with was that there was a section of the Rocky Mountains missing. Looked at from the top of Mount Washburn it was easy for the team to see that the largest crater of an extinct volcano known to exist lay before them.”
“I guess that’s about what I thought,” Sammy agreed.
“Yeah. We all think that. Except it is not true at all because the Yellowstone caldera is not extinct, it is active. There have been several warnings,” he shrugged. He clicked the button on his desk and the monitor came to life. “All the red areas are spots where the surface pressure has increased. There were, at one time, many active volcanoes on the north American continent.” He clicked a button and the map changed to a view of the European continent with many of the same red shaded areas.
“All over the Earth… Higher pressures. Up until a few days ago the brainiacs were still arguing over whether this could even happen.” He laughed. “Call it the Earth’s way of cleansing itself.”
“But it’s not an absolute, right?”Sammy asked.
“Don’t start sounding like the scientists.” He reached below his desk and came up with six small silver cartridges. Each had a red button mounted on the top with a protective cap over the button itself. He clicked a button on his desk, and a picture of destruction appeared on the screens. “That picture is an hour old. That is… Was, the Hawaiian chain.”
Sammy stared at the monitor. “How can that be, I mean everyone would know about it.”
Weston nodded. “And that would be true except the satellites are out, shut down to avoid damage. That is the official word.” He clicked the button on his desk and the monitor went dead once more. “The Yellowstone caldera is going to erupt sometime in the next few days. Not a maybe, not an educated guess: It has already started. We have had a few small quakes, but the big stuff is on the way.” He rolled the cartridges across the desktop; Sammy and John caught them.
“Super volcanoes… Earthquakes that modern civilization has never seen… The last super eruption was responsible for killing off the human population some seventy-four thousand years ago: Reduced it to a few thousand. And that is not the biggest one we have evidence of.” He paused in the silence.
“So we do what with these? Can they harm us?” John asked.
“Harm you, kill you? No, but it will protect you the same as anyone else. There is enough in a single cartridge to infect about five hundred million people,” Weston said quietly.
“Whoa,” Sammy whistled. “Why infect… Why not inoculate? And why six cartridges… Three Billion people?”
“Be glad they decided on this. They have some others that will kill everybody in the world in a matter of days.” Weston nodded at the raised eyebrows that greeted his remarks.
“It can stay alive in a dead body for days, even if the body is frozen. Same stuff is being released across the globe. Great Briton… Germany… Australia… West coast just a few hours ago. Manhattan has already been done. I want the two of you to head out from here. One of you head west, the other south. Go for the bigger cities… Water supplies… Reservoirs, it doesn’t matter.” He rose from the desk. “I’ll see you out.”
The two stood in the hallway for a few seconds; quiet, except the slight buzzing from the fluorescent lights.
John shrugged as his eyes met Sammy’s, waiting.
Sammy pulled a quarter from his pocket and flipped it into the air. “Call it, Jack.”
“Tails,” John said just before the quarter hit the carpet.
Sammy bent forward. “Tails it is. You got it, Jack.”
John looked down at the carpet. “West, I guess.” John said.
Sammy nodded, looked down once more at the quarter and then both men turned and walked away toward the elevator that would take them back to the surface.


Smashwords (All formats)Kobo iTunesNook

Advertisements

America the Dead: The Zombie Plagues

The old Chevy idled roughly at the curb across from the Grocery King market. “Murder…” He waited until Murder gave him his full attention. “I want you to go in… See what’s what… https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Dell_Sweet_EARTH_S_SURVIVORS_AMERICA_THE_DEAD_THE?id=E__KDwAAQBAJ

Remodeling my house, and my truck…

Uploaded by Dell

I am in the middle of home construction, writing, and a half dozen other projects. I spent yesterday doing yard work, cutting tree limbs and trees, clearing out an old garden, and in the midst of that the delivery truck showed up with all the building materials I ordered and, of course, I was here alone when it showed up.

The delivery guy uses a lift to take the stuff off the truck bed, a tractor trailer flatbed actually, and sets it on the ground. So there it was, a pile of Sheetrock, studs, and other building materials sitting in my driveway. I had been in the middle of cutting down a tree, so I went back to that. A kind of, ‘Finish one thing before you start the next thing,’ approach. And of course I was hoping someone might show up to help.

The Tree: If you have ever cut down a tree you have maybe been where I was yesterday. In the ground, stretching up into the sky, the tree didn’t look so big, tall, formidable. First, a short explanation about why I had to cut down the tree: It was where it should not have been. Maybe that’s a little too short, here is a longer explanation: Over the years the previous owners had allowed the tree to grow right next to the house. As a result the trunk was now touching the roof edge, and towering over the garage, and the base was right up against the garage wall, to one side of the door.

At first, I thought, I’ll buy an ax and chop it down. Then I looked it over and decided it would take all weekend to chop it down, and, besides, I don’t know anything about chopping trees down, so I canned that idea. Next I thought of a chainsaw. But, I thought, if I buy a chainsaw to cut down this one tree that isn’t a very good tool cost to tool return ratio. And, knowing me, I will begin to look for other things to cut down. And that is bad as there is a whole forest behind my house. And I have seen people juggle chainsaws, not that I would, but… So, I decided against the chainsaw. So how to get the tree down?

I looked it over, judged the tree to be no big deal. Went and got my new reciprocating saw (This is a great tool for any do it yourself-er.). It is like the electric knife you use to slice the turkey with, only a lot bigger and with a selection of blades to cut through nearly anything at all. Cut a car in half? No problem. Cut a wall right out of your house? No problem. Cut a pipe, piece of wood, window opening into a wall (That is why I bought it. I want a window where there is none), no problem. I know these things are true because I have used a reciprocating saw to do them at various times in my life, but cut down a tree? No. Never.

Looks a lot like my reciprocating saw. Built for home construction/destruction, sometimes incorrectly called a chop-saw, but absolutely not meant for chopping a damn thing…

I sorted through the blades. I bought blades for everything, but there were none marked ‘Tree Cutting’ so I selected one marked ‘Wood and Metal’. I ran out the extension cord, plugged in the saw and started cutting. I mean, why think it out first? It’s a tree. It needs to be cut down. The saw is in my hand. Could it be any clearer? Well, as it turns out, it could be.

I began my cuts on the front, a wedge chunk cut out in the direction I wanted the tree to fall (I saw that as a kid hanging around loggers one day in the woods. The north country used to be full of loggers. That’s how they did it). Step one done. My cat, Buster, peeked around the corner of the house at me, decided I was crazy, and took off toward the other side of the house. But I have noticed, unlike dogs, cats will abandon you in times of need, or just when you need a little encouragement. A dog will look at you and grin, and your confidence soars. A cat looks at you, shakes it head and runs away and you begin to rethink your entire life. Don’t get me started on cats.

Okay, I moved on to step two, coming from the back of the tree and cutting towards the front notch I had made. I guess now would be the appropriate time to say I had taken off my gloves, believing I did not need them. And also, to note three other things. First: A reciprocating saw is not made to cut down trees. Second: If you’re going to use a reciprocating, or any type of saw, for something other than what it was intended for, wear your damn gloves! And Third: Don’t try this at home kids. I’m a trained professional writer, and I have written about people who have cut down trees with reciprocating saws, so I have some experience.

Ten minutes later, I realized my plan was not going according to, well, my plan. My plan was simple and effective, cut the tree through until it fell. I like simple plans like that because there isn’t much to go wrong. But, the blade was not coming through the tree, so I stopped. That is when I realized I had misjudged my angle, I had cut through part of the trunk and was now cutting a swath through the dirt, stone, etc, that surrounded the tree, but not actually making any progress into the trunk itself.

$#@%*$#, I said. And then a few other things I have neglected to write down here. I looked at my palm, no gloves, so I had blistered the palm in a quarter sized circle. Brilliant, I thought. Then, @#$%^*$# Tree, I muttered. The tree didn’t seem to mind. It sort of just stood there. I re-positioned the saw, and began again. This would have been a good time for someone to interfere, but no one did.

It only took a half minute of cutting at the right angle to cut through to the notch, and then the tree swayed back onto the garage and the blade, stopping the saw. The tree seemed about to go over onto the roof, and that was when I realized just how big that tree was. Even so, I put my weight into it, convinced it to pivot, and down it came, away from the roof and the garage, just like I had planned it.

That was when I noticed that neighbors on both sides had stopped to watch. Probably sure I would drop the tree on the house or the garage, but I disappointed them and dropped the tree on my truck instead. Everything got quiet instantly it seemed. I heard my neighbor on one side snigger, but when I turned in that direction he seemed to be looking up at the sky for rain. Which, I might add, I should have been doing.

So, there I am. Tree on truck. A huge load of building materials sitting in my driveway, neighbors amused to say the least, a hole worn into my palm. A second blister on my thumb.

I know, quit whining.

Okay, I will.

After I cut up the tree into manageable chunks with the reciprocating saw, I realized that my mistake had been misjudging the size of the tree. And the weight of the tree. And the wisdom of cutting down a tree with a reciprocating saw. And, well, maybe the cat was smart to hit the road early on. Once it was in pieces it didn’t seem so big to me. I had planned to load the pieces into the truck and take them to the land fill. But the truck was a little messed up, so I dragged the trees around to the back of the house and made a pile, called the wrecker for the truck, and about the time I had that done it was obvious I had to get the materials inside before the rain began. I barely made it.

In the end I sat and watched the rain fall as I sipped a Lipton Iced tea (Love that stuff), picked at the broken blister on my injured hand, and wondered why I ever decided I could cut down a tree with a reciprocating saw in the first place. Was I really an idiot, or only a throw back to the days when… Uh, I have no ending for that, because I’m pretty sure there never were days where men and women cut down trees with reciprocating saws. I mean, how would they get the power out there in the deep woods? And in my deep woods there are always bad things lurking about, so they would have been killed and eaten by something long before they cut any trees down, with or without a reciprocating saw.

I thanked God that I didn’t hit the car too, which had been sitting right next to the truck. At least there is something to drive until the truck comes back… If the truck comes back. On the plus side, the tree is no longer growing into the garage roof, and since I was on a roll I actually raked up all the mess I made and things look pretty good. And all the materials are here for me to start the remodeling job on Monday. And skin grows back. My palm will heal. I fear the truck is terminal though.

In other news. I got very little work done on Earth’s Survivors Six, but it is progressing. The Zombie Killers book three is still with the editor. The oppressive heat wave and high humidity broke for a while last night. A promise of things to come? I hope so. And, Open Office, the software I use, has a new version 4.0 if you are an Open Office fan. If you aren’t, you should be. It is very good.

The rain was good for all things living, except the cat. He did not appreciate the rain at all. Came running up to me and jumped on my lap soaking wet, and cats do not like being wet, so, instead of shaking like a dog will, he just rubbed against me until he was dry again. Great. None of the drywall got wet. That would have been worse. And nothing lasts forever. And, the tree is not rubbing against the garage. I know I said that but it bears repeating because it was the whole reason I went out there in the first place. Oh, and the reciprocating saw was not damaged at all. So I can cut that hole in the wall tomorrow that I wanted to cut to install a new window. Wish me luck…

Hope you had a great week…

BLACKNESS OF THE SOUL

“I know… You know, Paul, people sometimes think I don’t listen to prayer anymore… If I ever did. They tell themselves that and then they begin to believe it. I do listen though. I do. Every prayer. Every time. Do you believe that, Paul?”

Blackness Of The Soul

This material is copyright protected. It has not been edited for content. This material can not be used without the express permission of Wendell Sweet or his Assignee.


Paul Brown settled the barrel of the nine Millimeter pistol against his left palm, curled his hand around it as if to hold it forever, and then released it finger by finger. A sob escaped his throat and a fat tear drop rolled down his left cheek and splashed against the butt of the pistols grip where the clip protruded slightly. He took his free hand, wiped the tear away and then reached for the beer that sat beside him.

He raised the can to his mouth, drank deeply, and then continued to stare at the black pistol that rested in his right hand. Once again his left hand closed around the barrel, but lightly. Stroking it. Caressing it. He fished a cigarette from the pack beside him on the floor, thumbed the wheel of his old Zippo and pulled the harsh tobacco smoke into his lungs.

The smoke, or the beer, or both seemed to calm him, at least momentarily. His chest hitched but he stifled the sob this time. The sobs frightened him more than the gun. The sobs came on their own and there seemed to be no way to fight or stop them. They were a life unto themselves. The gun on the other hand only had to speak once. And technically he would never hear it.

“Probably never hear it,” he whispered into the semi darkness of the living room. He had pulled the curtains on the outside world. Blocked it away from him.

Probably never hear it. He wondered about the truth of the statement for what seemed to be an excessive amount of time to him, caught himself, and took another deep drink of the cold beer followed by a near frenzied pull from the cigarette. He waited on the sob but it came when he didn’t expect it. A flood of tears came with it, falling from his eyes, staining his reddened cheeks before he could think to try and stop it.

“Oh, God,” he moaned. He sucked in a deep breath, lifted the pistol to his mouth and bumped the barrel across his teeth and into his mouth.

Everything seemed to freeze. The taste of oiled metal flooded his mouth He gagged, and then nearly squeezed the trigger too hard because of it. Panicked, he ripped the gun from his mouth tearing open his upper lip on the gun site as he did.

He was breathing hard. He needed to calm down. The tears just continued to fall. His cheeks felt raw. His eyes full of sand. His head began to pound harder. It had begun to pound earlier. He thought about that too. No more headaches. None. No more worries. No more anything at all. He sighed and returned the gun to his lips. He could taste the oil and metal once more, mixed with the blood from the torn lip.

His lips did not seem to want to part. He eased the gun away, took a deep drag off the cigarette, his breath shuddered in and out. He tipped the can and took a deep drink to rinse his mouth of the tastes that had made him gag, then upended the can and drained it. He reached over and pulled another beer from the bag on the carpeted floor, took another deep drink to rinse the tastes from his mouth and then lit a new cigarette from the butt of the old one. He dropped the old butt into the freshly emptied can beside him. He pulled the smoke deeply into his lungs and then let it drift from his nose as he slowly exhaled, trying to calm himself. If he could only think this out, his mind jabbered. He took another deep drink from the can.

In a way it would be nice to sit down and think this through, but in another way he didn’t care if he ever had another thought in his life. He didn’t want to take the time to think it out at all. He had made up his mind earlier. In a few minutes, when he finished the cigarette and the beer he’d do it, he decided.

He didn’t want to die with a lit cigarette in his mouth and burn down the house. Anne had to live here… Well, maybe not, but even so she’d have to sell it or something… If she didn’t lose it…

He pulled hard on the cigarette as if rushing it to its end so he could rush his own end. He took a deep drink from the beer and felt the headache ease back a little.

He could feel the buzz from the beer. Maybe it would knock down the headache after all. Either way the headache was not long for this world, he decided.

Calm seemed to come over him all at once. The sob that he had been waiting for didn’t come. His chest didn’t hitch. His cheeks still felt irritated, his eyes full of sand, his mind weary and removed from him to a degree, but the hysteria he had been sure was going to grab him didn’t make another appearance.

Through the curtains he could see the late afternoon sunlight. Still gold in the sky. Heating up his part of the south. There was no noise except the steady rumble of the air conditioner. Whatever heat the sun held was lost on him today.

He pulled on the cigarette, noticed that it was all but dead and dropped it into the can with the last one. He upended the beer can and drained it. He waited, expecting the sobs to come back but the calm remained. He sighed once, was surprised to find that the gun was only inches from his lips, opened his mouth and slid the barrel in. The hysteria stayed at bay. He adjusted the barrel so it would be more comfortable, sighed at the absurdity of that thought, and then squinted his eyes down as his finger tightened on the trigger.

~2~

“How do you feel, Paul?”

Paul blinked and tried to look around him. He found that it was not entirely possible. He couldn’t really turn around to where the voice had come from no matter how he tried.

“It doesn’t matter though,” the same voice said.

And it didn’t. It became completely unimportant right then. Just like that.

“How do you feel?”

“I’m pretty upset. I…” He stopped. He had been pretty upset, but he wasn’t now. Now he felt… Well, at peace.

“That’s good, Paul. You should feel at peace.”

“It feels good,” he said. It seemed entirely normal that whoever was behind him could read his mind… Am I dead?

“I wanted to talk to you about how you got here, Paul.”

“How?”

“How.”

The time spun out.

“I stole about… I guess I don’t even know how much… I kept stealing and it kept adding up. And I knew they’d catch it… And they did… My boss must have called the cops,“ Paul said.

“Actually the company accountant… But I meant how you got here… To this point.”

“I… … I don’t know what you mean.”

“To kill yourself, Paul. I mean how did you get to this point where you decided to kill yourself… Take your own life… How did you reach that point, Paul?”

“Oh… I thought about it… I…” He stopped and thought about it. “I see… It’s just tough to understand… I don’t really know exactly… Are you God?”

“Do you think of me as God?”

Paul thought about it. “I think I do… I think so… I believe you are God.”

“Then I am.”

“You are? … Really? You really are God?”

“I really am, Paul…”

His voice was soft. Reassuring.

“I… I thought you would sound different… I… Am I dead?”

“No… Not yet… You have some little time left… I thought, since you asked, that before you do something that will change everything we should talk.”

Paul nodded. “I prayed… Earlier I prayed.”

“I know… You know, Paul, people sometimes think I don’t listen to prayer anymore… If I ever did. They tell themselves that and then they begin to believe it. I do listen though. I do. Every prayer. Every time. Do you believe that, Paul?”

“I do… I mean I do now. I do know that now. I’m ashamed to say that.”

“Don’t be. There is no shame here. You are used to saying words that really don’t mean anything true. They are there, you say them… In this case you say that you are ashamed when you are not ashamed.”

Paul examined himself. “You’re right… I don’t feel ashamed. I feel good still. At peace still.”

“So how did you get here. How did you come to be here? Who told you that suicide was a solution?”

“I… It was painful… My wife will leave me. We’ll lose everything… The kids… I can’t imagine what the kids will do… Feel… It seemed… It seemed right.”

“Did it?”

Paul thought about it. “Maybe not… It felt like the only choice I had.”

“Yet you called out to me. Why?”

“Because… Because I used to believe in you… I…”

He laughed. “And I am still here. Did you think I had died? Did you think I had stopped believing in you?”

“Some people think so… That you died.”

“You?”

“No… I guess the truth is I just stopped believing… I believed in other things… Taxes… Bills… Mortgage payments… Summer… Fall…”

“The things you see every day.”

“That’s a good way to put it.”

“I have a way with words.”

Paul laughed and then stopped. “I thought maybe that was a joke.”

”It was… Do you wish you had not stopped believing? Do you see how things could have been different?”

“I can see that now, but what good is it after the fact? I pulled the trigger… I remember that.”

“Did you? I think you asked me to help… Sometimes I help in unexpected ways… Thomas needed to see… To place his hand in my side… Peter needed to see me risen… Sometimes my people ask me for help and then don’t recognize the help when it comes.”

“Like now?”

“Like now, yes. It’s time to think. To breath… To make a decision… A different decision.”

“Then what?” Paul asked.

“Then? … What comes, comes… I know what it is to live. I have felt what you feel. Struggled with the same temptations. We take it as it comes to us, Paul.”

“So the problems would still be there?”

“Yes.”

“That’s help?” Paul asked.

“I will help you all that you will allow.”

Paul thought about it and realized it was true.

“So… How did you end up here?”

“I guess I just walked away… I guess I chose to do that.”

You still choose words that are untrue. Do you guess or do you know?”

“I know. I walked away.”

“You know, it’s a split second decision… Many times if you take the time to think you can get through whatever comes at you.”

Paul nodded, took a deep breath. “I see.”

~3~

The finger stopped. He remembered something… Something… Summer. A thousand years ago it seemed… Anne… When they had first met… The picture in his mind was so perfect, so intense. So real, and a flood of images followed it… But… There had been something else there for a moment, hadn’t there? He had been focusing on the trigger… The pressure… And there had been something else there… Just for a moment… It seemed so. It seemed as though he had been ready to pull the trigger and… And someone…


Thank you for reading my work! Please check out my Sponsors, Dell…

www.wendellsweet.com


Earth’s Survivors: The NationDreamers


Dreamer preview from Ami Adams

Dreamer’s Preview

Book Previews Posted by Ami Adams

This is an excerpt from the Dreamer’s book. The first book is available…

In The Sunlight:

The Book Of Memories;

Laura

I started from the first page of the book of memories. It was not a long book. Not a new book. The leather covers were old, mellow, but it had been taken care of. The pages were yellowed, slightly stiff, but they were not falling apart. A slim book, but I felt that what words it did contain most likely more than made up for the size. I began to read from the first page…

… In the beginning there was only the Creator. There was no Earth Mother. No Grandfather Sun to shine. No Grandmother Moon to light our way in the night. No Animals. No Thunders. No Directions. No legends to tell, because there were no peoples.

The Creator lived with the Star People in the heavens. But The Star People were not talkers, and so the Creator became lonely and wished for someone he could talk with.

One day as he walked among the Star People, he decided that he would create a world where he could go and talk to his creations.

Now all the things that ever were, or ever could be, lived within the Creators words. Within himself. So even though he had never walked on a world of the kind that he had in mind, he knew exactly what he wanted and what it should look like.

As he walked among the Star People thinking it out, he realized he did not want just another world full of rocks and trees, mountains and plains. The stars were full of worlds just like that. Those were worlds that were alive, but they were not the kind of life that the Creator was. What the Creator wanted was companionship. Someone he could visit with. Talk with. Someone like himself.

Now a tree or a rock could be visited, talked to, but what he had in mind was something that would answer back. At that time trees and rocks were not much on talking. There came a time within the legends when the trees and the rocks, when many things we do not think of as talkers, did talk. But that was not at this time.

Many cycles passed by as the Creator decided on what he wanted to do and how he should do it. What it would look like: Where it would live. And what the Creator would talk about with this new creation.

Finally, the day came when the Creator decided to create. He chose the earth as the place to create. At that time the Earth was a small, dead world with no Sun. No Moon.

He formed the Sun from the Star People around him and he set it into the void. He formed Grandmother Moon from a small part of the Earth and set her on her path. They had no life of their own at that time though, they simply reflected the life of the Creator.

The Creator then began to speak the words of life as he stepped from the stars onto the Earth, coming to stand in a summer tall field of wheat.

Next he made the directions and named them. The winds; and he gave individual names to each wind. But there was nothing yet to move the winds. No reason yet to the directions. No purpose yet to the greenery, for the wheat, for the rocks. For the Creator had not yet made purpose.

The Creator then bent and placed his hands upon the Earth and spoke her into life, calling her Mother. The Mother of all that could be.

As he stood from the ground he began to create purpose and assign it to his creations: The winds to move the air. Mother Earth’s breaths to move the winds. The directions so that the winds could find their way over the Earth Mother as they moved.

Mother Earth took her first breath and the tops of the Wheat began to sway as the winds picked up her life giving breath and began to carry it to all the corners of the Earth.

The Creator and Mother Earth spent the next several cycles talking. The Creator was pleased with his creation.

Now the Creator enjoyed Mother Earth’s company, but he also had many friends and favorite places among the Star People. Sometimes he would go for long walks among the Star People. Every time he left Mother Earth would become lonely and long for his companionship.

One day when the Creator returned from a walk among the Star People, Mother Earth spoke about her loneliness. The Creator understood her loneliness. It was the same loneliness that the creator himself had suffered through. So The Creator reached deep inside of himself. Taking a part of himself, the Creator mixed this with the words that lived within him, the words of Power and Life. He sowed this seed into the soil that covers Mother Earth.

“These seeds are the words of life become whole. They are of me,” the Creator told her. “Part of your Creator. They will speak themselves into being in the fullness of time and you will never be lonely again.”

The Creator lifted his hands and spoke Grandfather Sun and Grandmother Moon into life, causing the Creators own breath to fall upon them; and so they began to move on their own paths of purpose. “They will be for Times and for Seasons,” he said.

Now several cycles passed and the seed that the Creator had planted within the Earth Mother began to grow. The day came when Grandmother moon came down to hold Mother Earth’s hand and comfort her during her birthing of life.

Grandfather Sun spilled his light upon them and spoke quietly with the creator as the Earth Mother cried out in her birthing pains.

The peoples came first. Red, Yellow, Black, White, the Brown man, and all the shades in between. The birth waters gushed forth from her as Mother Earth’s womb opened and all the peoples were born.

The birth waters became oceans, lakes, rivers and streams.

The Clan Totems and Animal Totems came next. Their place was not on the Earth. Their place was among the Star People where they would live with the Creator. But they bought the Earth animals before them and instructed them on what they were to be for, before they themselves ascended into the Heavens.

Mother Earth’s sacred birth waters bought life to all that they touched. The fish swam in them. Brother Eagle came from the waters and ascended to the sky. Brother Wolf walked from the birth waters and made his home in the forests and the mountains with brother black Bear. Each animal found its place and knew its purpose.

Now the people had no spirits living among the stars. They had no ancestors to guide them. They did not come to fully know the Creator or the Mother Earth. They had no leaders. Knew nothing of totems. Spirits. Brotherhood. And they did not seek to learn because there was no one they would listen to that would tell them.

Now after a time the people began to divide themselves according to their colors. Leaders arose, but leaders who ignored the purpose within their souls, so they began to provoke wars among each other. With the other peoples. This was their nature.

Mother Earth became sadder and sadder as the peoples continued to war and fight. Many died, sending more and more of our kind into the spirit worlds, but they were proud. They didn’t understand life or purpose and they would not lift their arms or their voices to the Creator or the Earth Mother to ask for help. In fact as time passed they did not speak to Mother Earth or the Creator at all. They withdrew and became laws and Gods unto themselves.

One day a little boy was born to a great war chief. The chief held him in his arms at the naming and called him ‘He who speaks with those unseen.’ He did this because even with his first words he began to speak to the ancestors and those who had passed into the spirit worlds and now lived among the Star Peoples.

As the boy grew he spoke of the things that the ancestors told him with his people: He told them everything that the ancestors talked to him about.

He warned them about war. Spoke to them about peace and how all people, every one, were made for a purpose, to live a purpose. How part of that purpose was to live together. Even so the way of death and war continued.

But his own peoples believed and they began to worship the Creator. Speak to the Earth Mother. Sending praises up to the Creator and asking Mother Earth for guidance. In return The Creator and Mother Earth taught them about purpose, life, and to respect all living things on the Earth.

As the creator listened to his peoples, he realized that many of them wished to live in peace, even though some of them desired to make war and follow the way of death. With Mother Earth’s help he made places for all of them to have their own territories; and he separated them with oceans and deep lakes to keep them apart.

“We will have to hope that they have learned to live in peace by the time they learn to cross the great waters,” the Creator told the Earth Mother.

Time moved on. ‘He who speaks with those unseen’ grew up to become the leader of his people. They prayed to the Creator and kept his ways. They held Mother Earth in great regard, respected her ways, and the people grew and prospered. There were no wars, no famines, no sickness in his people.

‘He who speaks with those unseen’, finished his time and went to be with the spirit people among the stars. As the generations passed, however, the peoples again forgot the ways of the Mother Earth and the Creator. They learned to cross the great waters. They learned to hate again: To make war again. And Mother Earth called to the Creator to separate them once more, but he refused to do it.

“They will only come to kill each other once again. To Enslave. To make war. They must learn to make their own peace. Learn their lessons as a law. Come back to us as they should: As they once were. They will have to learn what peace means. Respect, until then we can do nothing with them.”

Mother Earth knew that the Creator was right. Even so with his words she wept. Her tears became the rain that we know. Lifted into the air and carried by the cloud people, to bring her gift of life from the heavens to all peoples through her tears.

It is said that they will continue to come as Mother Earth weeps for all the peoples. And they will be a sign for all peoples to remember that war and killing is not the way.

They will be a sign to us that Mother Earth will continue to bring life from death, the peoples cause. Sending her tears to us in hopes that they may heal us. And to show us that her love will always be with us.

I held the place in the book as I closed my eyes and sent a small prayer to the Creator for allowing me to read those words.

Across from me Bear slept. His paws twitching. The fire crackled companionably. I opened the book and began to read once more…


Enjoy your weekend! Check out Dreamers at the link below, or if you need a free book to read check out Earth’s Survivors: Apocalypse below, Ami…

DREAMERS


B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dreamers-dell-sweet/1123470056?ean=2940152874358

Free eBook


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

Books and a free story

Posted by Dell 08-03-2015

This week: I have a true story from, “TRUE: True stories from a small town #1”. These stories are from my past. I have three volumes published and I will probably add a few more this winter when I have the time.

Last week had been a long hot week here, but the humidity, despite the rain, fell over the weekend… Finally!

Earth’s Survivors Plague has been released. Click below to get it or read a free preview.

Amazon U.S.:
http://www.amazon.com/Earths-Survivors-Plague-Geo-Dell-ebook/dp/B0137DRAUY

Amazon U.K.:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Earths-Survivors-Plague-Geo-Dell-ebook/dp/B0137DRAUY

I-Tunes:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/earths-survivors-plague/id1015630497?mt=11

B&N:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/earths-survivors-dell-sweet/1122252296?ean=2940152010350

Things are going to continue to be absolutely crazy here as I adapt to the changes with my health, but so far I am doing that well. I am going to be working on publishing Fig street in the next few weeks. It is out for test reads right now, then I will comb through it again, make the rest of the changes, send it back and wait for the editing to finish. It is finished and needs a run through for context before it goes off to the editor (Geo Dell). Geo and I are doing that book together. I really enjoyed writing it, taking it from a small serialized story to a novel.

I will leave you with this true story…

Back in the eighties I drove taxi for a few years. That time of my life has provided tons of written material, but this is the only true story I wrote about that time period. I hope you enjoy it, and I will be back next week…

The Last ride By Dell Sweet

Single Edition Licensed for SOTOFO Blog

PUBLISHED BY: independAntwriters All Rights Reserved

This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. 

This short story is Copyright © 2013 – 2015 Wendell Sweet & independAntwriters. 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

The Last Ride is Copyright © 2013 – 2015 Dell Sweet. All rights reserved

________________________________

THE LAST RIDE

It was early in my shift. I owned my own taxi so I could pretty much pick which 12 hour shift I wanted to drive. I drove nights so that I could be home with my son during the day while my wife worked. I had told myself for most of the last year that I should stop driving taxi, settle down to a real job and be more responsible, but then a Conrail contract came along, and then the opportunity to work with another driver who handled the Airport contract: Suddenly I was making more money than I could have reasonably expected from what I would have considered a straight job.

The hours were long, but there was something that attracted me to the night work. Always had been. Like my internal clock was Set to PM. It just seemed to work and after a few failed attempts to work day shift work, I gave it up and went to work full time nights.

I was never bored. The nights kept me awake and interested. They supplied their own entertainment. Conrail crews, regulars that called only for me, the assorted funny drunks late at night when the bars were closing. Soldiers on their way back to the nearby base, and a dancer at a small club just off downtown that had been calling for me personally for the last few weeks: Using my cab as a dressing room on the way back to her hotel. It was always something different.

Days, the few times I’d driven days, couldn’t compare. Sure, there was violence at night too, but it rarely came my way and never turned into a big deal when it did.

It was Friday night, one of my big money nights, about 7:00 P.M. and my favorite dispatcher, Smitty, had just come on. He sent me on a call out State street that would terminate downtown. Once I was downtown, I could easily pick up a GI heading back to the base for a nice fat fare and usually a pretty good tip. My mind was on that. My mind was also on that dancer who would be calling sometime after 2:00 AM, and who had made it clear that I was more than welcome to come up to her room. It was tempting, I’ll admit it, and each time she called, she tempted me more. I figured it was just a matter of time before I went with her.

I really didn’t see the lady when she got into my car, but when it took her three times to get out the name of the bar downtown that she wanted to go to, I paid attention. Drunk. It was early too. Sometimes drunks were okay, but most times they weren’t. This one kept slumping over, slurring her words, nearly dropping her cigarette: I owed the bank a pile of money on the car and didn’t need burn holes in my back seat.

I dropped the flag on the meter, pulled away from the curbing and eased into traffic. Traffic was heavy at that time and I pissed off more than a few other drivers as I forced my way into the traffic flow. I had just settled into the traffic flow when a glance into the rear view mirror told me my passenger had fallen over. I couldn’t see the cigarette, but I could still smell it. I made the same drivers even angrier as I swept out of the traffic flow and angled up onto the sidewalk at the edge of the street. I got as far out of the traffic flow as I could get so I could get out to see what was up with the woman in the back seat.

I was thinking drunk at the time, but the thought that it could be something more serious crept into my head as I made the curb, bumped over it, set my four way flashers and climbed out and went around to the back door.

She was slumped over into the wheel well, the cigarette smoldering next to her pooled, black hair. In her hair, I realized, as the smell of burning hair came to me. I snatched the cigarette and threw it out then shook her shoulder to try to bring her around, but it was obvious to me, just that fast, that the whole situation had changed. She wasn’t breathing.

I reached in, caught her under the arms, and then suddenly someone else was there with me.

He was a short, thin man, wearing a worried look upon his face. Dark eyes sat deeply in their sockets. His hair hung limply across his forehead. He squeezed past me and looked down at the woman. He pushed her eyelids up quickly, one by one, and then held his fingers to her lips. He frowned deeply and flipped the hair away from his forehead.

“Paramedic”, he told me as he took her other arm and helped me pull her from the back seat.

We laid her out on the sloping front lawn of the insurance company I had stopped in front of and he put his head to her chest.

He lifted his head, shaking it as he did. “Call an ambulance,” he said tersely.

I could feel the shift in his demeanor. He wasn’t letting me know he could handle the situation, like when he told me he was a paramedic, he was handling it. I got on the radio and made the call.

The ambulance got there pretty quickly. I stood back out of the way and let them work on her, raising my eyes to the backed up traffic on occasion. The paramedic had torn open her shirt. Her nudity seemed so out of place on the city sidewalk. Watching the traffic took the unreal quality of it away from me. I watched the ambulance pull away, eased my car down off the curb and back into the sluggish traffic and went back to work.

I got the story on her about midnight once things slowed down and I stopped into the cab stand to talk to the dispatcher for a short while. His daughter knew someone, who knew someone, who knew someone at the hospital. The woman had taken an overdose. Some kind of pills. It was going to be touch and go. He also had a friend in the police department too. She did it because of a boyfriend who had cheated on her. It seemed so out of proportion to me. I went back to work, but I asked him to let me know when he heard more.

2:30 AM

The night had passed me by. The business of the evening hours catching me up for a time and taking me away from the earlier events. I was sitting downtown in my cab watching the traffic roll by me. It was a beautifully warm early morning for Northern New York. I had my window down letting the smell of the city soak into me, when I got the call to pick up my dancer with the club gig.

“And,” Smitty told me over the static filled radio, “your lady friend didn’t make it.”

It was just a few blocks to the club. I left the window down enjoying the feeling of the air flowing past my face. The radio played Steely Dan’s Do It Again, and I kind of half heard it as I checked out the back seat to see if the ghost from the woman earlier might suddenly pop up there.

The dancer got in and smiled at me. I smiled back, but I was thinking about the other woman, the woman who was now dead, sitting in that same place a few hours before. The dancer began to change clothes as I drove to her hotel.

“You know,” she said, catching my eyes in the mirror. “I should charge you a cover. You’re seeing more than those GI’S in the club.” She shifted slightly, her breasts rising and falling in the rear view mirror. We both laughed. It was a game that was not a game. She said it to me every time. But my laugh was hollow: Despite her beauty, I was still hung up on someone being alive in my back seat just a few hours before and dead now. Probably being wheeled down to the morgue were my friend Pete worked. I made myself look away and concentrate on the driving. She finished dressing as I stopped at her hotel’s front entrance.

“You could come up… If you wanted to,” she said. She said it lightly, but her eyes held serious promise.

“I’d like to… But I better not,” I said.

She smiled, but I could tell I had hurt her feelings. It was a real offer, but I couldn’t really explain how I felt. Why I couldn’t. Not just because I was married, that was already troubled, but because of something that happened earlier.

I drove slowly away after she got out of the cab and wound up back downtown for the next few hours sitting in an abandoned buildings parking lot thinking… “I was only concerned about her cigarette burning the seats.”

I smoked while I sat, dropping my own cigarettes out the window and onto the pavement. A short while later Smitty called me with a Conrail trip. I started the cab and drove out to Massey yard to pick up my crew. The dancer never called me again…


I hope you enjoyed the story. I will be back again next week. Enjoy your week, Dell.


Yellowstone

“The virus can stay alive in a dead body for days, even if the body is frozen. Same stuff is being released across the globe. Great Briton… Germany… Australia… West coast just a few hours ago. Manhattan has already been done. I want the two of you to head out from here. “

NOOK: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/yellowstone-wg-sweet/1129809358?ean=2940155864776

Zombie fiction at Barnes and Noble

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, most of it flooded. The buses parked. You could not find a cab. The same with the cops. https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/zombie-wg-sweet/1129594112?ean=2940045721585

The four trucks sat idling just inside the treeline of the old narrow road that lead down into the campground. The drivers door of the second truck in line popped open, and Beth, wearing military style fatigues and carrying a wire stock machine pistol… https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/zombie-wg-sweet/1129599181?ean=2940045727778

The Graveyard:
The moon rode high in the sky. Moonlight gleamed from bits of gravel in the dirt road that lead into the barn. Silence held, and then a scraping came from the ground, muffled, deep.
At the edge of the woods, eyes flashed dully in the over-bright moonlight. Shapes shifted among the trees and then emerged from the shadows… https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/zombie-wg-sweet/1129599177?ean=2940155172338

Pearl made her way out of Watertown after escaping from project Bluechip where she had been held captive. She made her way to the Nation early on, becoming one of the builders of that society. She joined forces with Billy, Adam and Beth making the Zombie Killers a reality. https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/zombie-wg-sweet/1129599180?ean=2940152605440

She came around noon. I heard the sound of her engine revving long before she came into sight. She took out the mailbox and crashed into the porch and that was that. We were up most of the night talking about how much the world had changed.  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/zombie-fall-wendell-sweet/1114304085?ean=2940044250550


A GOOD PLAN

“Okay,” Paul said. “Morbid… Sure it is. I know that, dick-wad, but death is always morbid, man, for real. The thing is what happens after and that is that life goes on am I right? I mean, my Bro. flies back to Seattle, he don’t like me anyhow… Randy goes back to work bustin’ his ass down the paper mill and so do you. End of story. Oh, maybe you think of me tenderly from time to time.”

This material is copyright protected. It is not edited for content. You may not use this material for any purpose with the express permission of Wendell Sweet, and, or his assignee.

A GOOD PLAN

“No,” Paul slurred, as he shifted around on his bar stool and looked directly at Jack, “I mean dead as in gone! As in outta here, friggin’ history, get it?”

“Yeah, dead as in dead, as in suicidal again as in I told you I don’t know how many times you can’t do that. You got resposisilillyties? No, resposabilities. To-hell-with-it, you know what I mean.”

Apparently Jack couldn’t talk any better than he could, Paul thought, but they had both been drinking since eight this morning and it was now nearing four PM what else could you expect? Paul asked himself. And not beer either. If they had stuck to just beer they would have been be fine. But Jack had got him going on the ginger brandy chasers. Beer… Shot of ginger brandy… Beer… Shot of ginger brandy. And that was the way the day had gone. “I knoooh,” Paul said, still slurring his words, “that I got them things, respectabilities, but I. Have. Had-it. Fuck it! I mean, less say I croaked right now. Jess sittin’ right here on this beer-stool-Beer-stool was a private joke. Neither of them could remember which had started calling it a beer-stool, but they both knew one of them had-drinkin’ and then I croaked. Say a freakin’ heart attack, prob’ly would be, or a stroke. Anyway! Dead, like, right now… You’re sitting right freakin’ there and I buy the farm. Then what?”

“Hey for real, man, like, mental health might be a thing to think about here.”

“Uh uh, you ain’t got it yet is all. I don’t mean dead as in dead I mean dead as in gone, get-it?”

“Same thing, man, same…”

“No it ain’t,” Paul said as he leaned forward from his stool nearly surprising Jack into falling off his own stool. “I mean the supposing thing is the same, but the premise ain’t. Hey, I said premise right I ain’t too far gone. In other words, just play along for a quick sec., okay?”

“Fine,” Jack said wearily. He tipped back his glass of beer, drained it, and looked at Paul.

Paul nodded.

“Two more, and a couple a more shots too,” Jack said, once he got the beertenders attention.

Beertender was another private joke, but one they had picked up rather than invented. “Okay,” Jack said once the beers and shots had come and he had downed his shot and chased it with some of the beer. “Gotta piss like a race horse, man. Then we’ll get back to this.”

“Again? Man you’re pissin’ like every ten minutes,” Paul said, quickly cutting his eyes to the darkened rear area of the bar.

“Yeah? Well so are you, man,” he got up and staggered back towards the men’s room. Laughing as he went.

Paul cut his eyes quickly toward the darkened rear area once more, as a shadow parted from the darkness and came forward quickly. Jack was back a few seconds later.

“Okay,” Jack said picking up the conversation once again. “You’re croak city right here. Right now so… I guess I call the cops, right? Friggin’ CSI time or somethin’?”

“Sure you do, or the beertender does, but I mean after. After they come and get me and drag my ass down to the city morgue or whatever it is they do, then what?”

“Well…” he thought for a moment, not sure where Paul was trying to lead him. “Okay, the funeral. Me, probly Randy from work, your brother’d fly down from Seattle probly. We all cry, an… An then we plant you. Over and done.”

“And?”

“And what? You’re frigging worm food there ain’t no and then what.”

“Sure there is. There always is.”

“Got me swingin’, man. I don’t know where the hell you’re goin’ with this and I’m seeing two of you sittin’ there and I ain’t really sure which one of you came up with this bull-shit, but it sucks. It’s morbid, man, kinda sick.”

“Yeah? well now I gotta piss, but you hold that thought, man. I’ll be back in a flash.”

Jack watched him go, and then turned away from the dark area at the rear of the bar. He ignored the slight rustling noise beside him. Concentrating instead on the back bar. Counting the bottles. He didn’t turn back around until Paul came back and seated himself on the barstool once again.

“Okay,” Paul said. “Morbid… Sure it is. I know that, dick-wad, but death is always morbid, man, for real. The thing is what happens after and that is that life goes on am I right? I mean, my Bro. flies back to Seattle, he don’t like me anyhow… Randy goes back to work bustin’ his ass down the paper mill and so do you. End of story. Oh, maybe you think of me tenderly from time to time.”

“Not friggin’ hardly… I got somethin’ you can tenderize, man,” Jack said laughing.

Paul laughed right along with him. “Okay,” he said at last, “that was cute, but for real life will go on; end of story. I don’t have that ever-lovin’ Mortgage comp’ny on my ass. Same for the bank that has my truck loan. Joan can’t grab me for no more fuckin’ alimony, it’s the end… The real end, it’s over and life goes on.”

Jack stared back speculatively. “Listen, for real now, you’re startin’ to scare me, man. There’s no reason to do somethin’ like that. Hire a friggin’ lawyer, man. Go to court and fight her. Hand the goddamn keys to the truck back and the keys to the house and file bankruptcy. The end, problems gone, fini.”

“Not true, man I thought about it. Even talked to a lawyer. As long as Joan doesn’t ever remarry I gotta pay her. If I don’t have the money they’ll throw me in the slammer until I come up with it. As for the house I could give a shit. The truck’s nearly paid for why should I hand over the keys just because we can’t get no hours down the mill? Uh uh; I spoke to the same lawyer bout that. They’d make me pay it. I’m single, no dependents. They’d grab my whole fuckin’ check and send it off to the court every week. I’d end up bustin’ my ass for nothin’.”

“Okay… Okay fine, but dead? Being dead ain’t the answer, Paul, for real.”

“I agree.”

“Well, what the hell! You been arguing that bein’ dead is the answer!”

“It is… But not really dead: As good as dead, but still alive.”

“Okay, splain this one to me.”

“Easy… I been thinkin’ for over a year about it; here’s my plan. I go huntin’, right?”

“Right.”

“That’s it. I never come back.”

“A year? A whole friggin’ year and that’s the best you came up with?”

“Uh uh. I got a plan… A real good plan too… I’m about average size, right?”

“Right.”

“Do you know how many guys are average size?”

“Like, a real number?”

“Uh huh.”

“Well, since it’s average I guess a lot would be.”

“Zactly. Friggin-a. In fact you’re average, am I right?”

“Yeah.”

“Okay, well since I’m average all I need is another guy that’s average, to make my plan work.”

“Uh uh, flawed to the max., man. What about, like, dental records. Or, like, blood type, or, like, I don’t know there’s a friggin’ million other things they can compare. Scars, uh, shit, I really don’t know, but I do know there are a lot of things.”

“All true,” Paul said, as he took a deep drink from his glass. “All true, but who gives a damn.”

“You would. See, if you do what you’re thinkin’, like switchin’ a body for your own, they’ll know, and… And why in hell am I even discussing this with you? Do you know how crazy this sounds?”

“Prolly does sound crazy, but I worked it all out. You know I got this partial plate, on account of that football thing back in school right?” Jack nodded. “Well last year when I went up to Canada huntin’ I had a new one made. I wear it a lot too, to get used to it. It’s a little bit different than the one Doc. Freiler made me, but I am used to it.”

“So a persons mouth is different. A lot different,” he signaled the beertender once more, and waited for the fresh shot and beer. “How you gonna find someone with the same teeth missing in the front like you? And even if you did they’d have to be average and then the partial plate would have to fit. A lotta if’s, if you ask me.”

“Well the thing is I didn’t ask you, but if I did you’d have to give it the same amount of thought as I did, and you’d see it ain’t rilly a big deal. A pair a pliers, pull out the teeth so it’ll fit…”

“Jesus, Paul that’s sick. You tellin’ me I don’t know you? You tellin’ me you’re the sort of man that could do somethin’ like that?”

Paul grinned. “No. Just bustin’ your balls, Jack. You fall so friggin’ easy that I can’t resist it.”

Jack broke into a huge bray of laughter. “Oh shit. Oh shit, you had me… I gotta admit it, you had me hook line and sinker, Paul. Oh that was good, Jesus that was good, really I mean it.”

Paul laughed right along with him. “So’d you tell your old lady you were goin’ huntin’ with me this weekend?” he asked once he got the laughter under control.

“Christ no! She’d have a shit-fit if she thought I was out enjoying myself. Uh uh. She thinks I’m doin’ my hitch with the guard this weekend. She don’t know my hitch ended last year. You know… It’s so Cindy and I can have some time alone occasionally.” Cindy was Jack’s girlfriend, Paul knew. They’d all gone to school together and knew each other well.

Paul nodded. “Well, I’m for the woods for an hour or two. Pick a good spot. I’d like to get one this year. Then we can rent a room for the weekend, stay the hell outa this bar and bag somethin’ decent tomorrow, hopefully.”

“With ya,” Jack said, as he tossed back the last of his beer. He followed Paul out of the bar.

Paul drove the twenty miles up into the forest preserve in silence. Jack had passed out beside him nearly as soon as they had left the bars parking lot. He parked and shut off the truck. Jack came awake.

“There?” he asked foggily.

“Uh huh,” Paul agreed, his voice blurry, and indistinct. He levered the door handle open, and nearly fell getting out of the truck. Jack tumbled out from the other side, and they stumbled off up a nearby trail into the late afternoon darkness of the forest.

“So,” Paul said, after they had walked a few hundred yards. “I never finished my idea.”

“But I thought you said you were kiddin’?”

“Did.”

“So?”

“Wasn’t,” Paul said simply.

“You’d really be able to do that?” Jack asked looking directly at Paul for the first time since they’d left the truck. He had his rifle with him. Not only was it with him, but it was in his hands, and he’d come to a dead stop in the middle of the trail.

“It ain’t so much that I want to,” Paul said softly. “I have to. The banks really are drivin’ me crazy, Jack and I’m sorry, but it has to be this way…” He raised the rifle slowly as he finished speaking.

“Hey,” Jack said in a near whisper. “It was funny before, but this ain’t, man. This ain’t even slightly funny.”

“I don’t suppose it is… Do you want to hear the rest of my story?”

“Uh uh. You’re sick man, you’re goin’ too far with this… Jesus Christ, we’re friends, Paul, we’ve…”

“Been friends since first grade,” Paul finished. “That’s why I chose you, Jack. I know you, in and out. We’re built the same, we look a lot alike…”

Jack stared back at him.

“so,” Paul said quietly. “What you have to do is burn the body. I lied, it can’t work as a huntin’ accident. But as a drinkin’ and drivin’ accident while you’re huntin’, especially with all these curves up here. It’ll do just fine. It’s gotta look real obvious too. Real obvious so they don’t check too close.”

“First grade, man, think about it…” Jack blubbered.

“I did and the trouble is how am I goin’ to get you to voluntarily hop in that truck and drive it off a cliff? So I said to myself shoot his ass, stuff him in the truck and then set the pedal and let it drive itself off the cliff. Won’t work though, or it could, but a bullet’s a chancy thing. Could hit a bone, leave a hole that ain’t natural, tip them off. Uh uh, I sez finally, won’t work. Won’t work at all,” his hand fell down to the side of his belt buckle, where his knife case was. He patted it affectionately. “Knife? That’s risky too though. Nick a bone, leave a mark that ain’t supposed to be there, who knows what could happen? And besides it’s too messy to deal with,” his hand fell away from the knife case. “so I decided the thing to do is put you out some other way so’s I can get you into that truck… You agree?”

“Jesus, Paul, first grade and all. First grade!” he pleaded.

“Yeah… I know… First grade… And there was someone else there in the first grade with us wasn’t there? There was and I knew I would need help and I knew it had to be somebody I could trust too.”

“Huh? Hey come on, man. Think it over, Paul… Please?”

“You know. I didn’t expect that you’d go jelly on me, Jack, I really didn’t… Cindy? Our Cindy? Wasn’t Cindy there in the first grade too?” he raised his eyes up and past Jack. Staring into the woods. “Come on out, honey. It’s okay.”

A tall dark-haired woman stepped slowly from the trees.

“You-You, knew?” Jack managed.

She said nothing.

“So… Gangs all here, and all that leaves is the how of it. So I said to Cindy-Did you know about Cindy and me? Obviously you didn’t-So I said, how? No gun… No knife, how? Oh she’s good, Jack,” he stopped and wiped the sweat that was running in his eyes away. He had gone easy on the beer, but even so he had drank quite a bit. And he was feeling it. Dizzy, sick even and now was not the time for that. He drew a deep breath before he spoke again. “So, Ciny… I mean, Cindy said, the thing to do is to slip a sedative into a drink… But how? I asked, Well easy, she sez. He slips off to the bathroom and you slip it in. No big deal. He comes back, he drinks it, you get the both of you the fuck out of Dodge, he passes out, plop him in the truck… The end, she said,” he took two steps backwards. The friggin’ ground was all the sudden moving, he thought with alarm.

Jack suddenly straightened and stood from the ground where he had been curled nearly into a ball. The mask of fear gone from his face. A wide smile setting comfortably there now. Paul took two more steps, lost his struggle to keep his balance, and sat down hard.

“Good plan,” Jack said softly.

Paul tried to raise the rifle, but it seemed to be glued to the ground. He pulled the trigger anyway. Nothing… A dry click. He was positive he had loaded it before they had gone into the bar.

“If you hadn’t of told Cindy,” Jack said as he stumbled forward, “it would have worked. I knew about you all right. I figured it out a long time ago, buddy-boy. Cindy always was a slut. Never could keep those legs shut… But we both know that don’t we. I went right to her, Paul. Laid it all out and man was she sorry. She begged me to forgive her and she told me what you had been planning. She ain’t as sick as you are, Paul. She couldn’t and wouldn’t go through with it,” he paused and stared down at Paul who was still trying to stand up. He was having no success at all. Jack giggled before he continued.

“I can do it, though. That’s why I drank so much today. It ain’t goin’ to be easy, but I’ll make it: I’m drunk enough to do it. Switched the beers while you were in the can… Ain’t that friggin’ funny? Ain’t it?” he asked. The truth was though, that Cindy had switched the beers, he hadn’t been able to do it… She’d been in the bar, hiding back at one of the dark corner tables towards the rear and Paul had never once looked in her direction. He’d gotten the rear area where the light wasn’t so good so she could do the thing while he was in the can, for just that reason. But he’d drank maybe a little too much beer trying to work his courage up, and far too many shots. He wasn’t feeling all that good, and there were three Paul’s looking up at him from the ground. He stumbled again himself.

“Cindy switched ’em,” Paul mumbled from the ground.

Now how the hell’d he know that? Jack wondered. He stumbled again, and finally found himself sitting back on the ground. One second up the next second down. He swiveled his eyes toward Cindy.

“Had enough,” Cindy said quietly. “Had enough of you promising to leave your old lady for me. Had enough of both of you treating me like shit… Like a slut. I switched them all right. To you, when you were in the bathroom and then back to Paul when he was in the bathroom.” she smiled thinly.

Paul groaned from the ground, and his eyes suddenly slipped shut.

Jack tried to hold his eyes open, but they just wouldn’t stay.

“Shoulda treated me better. Shoulda treated me like a lady. Shouldn’ta told all your buddies about what we did in bed. Shoulda…”

Jack lost the battle to keep his eyes open, and they finally slipped shut. Darkness… A bird calling from far away in the forest… Cindy’s voice droning on and on from far away… Fading away, farther and farther, and…


Please visit my sponsors, Dell… www.wendellsweet.com


Earth’s Survivors: Rising from the AshesWhite Trash