America the Dead Podcast Episode 16

Excerpt:

He lay for a few minutes thinking about how much he loved Candace, wondering how funny it was that he had lost so much yet gained so much, something he had never had and had been in no hurry to go out and find. He wondered how he had ever managed to live his life without her in it. He wondered over how deep his love was in such a short period. It seemed like it was just yesterday when he had first met her. He had remembered how he had never really found tattoos attractive on a woman, but she had this tribal thing that started on her left hand, wrapped around that wrist and then sleeved her arm, disappearing under her shirt sleeve. It was one of the first things he had noticed, and when she had been reaching for something he had seen another piece of the same work that came down across her flat stomach and slipped below the waist band of her jeans. While he had been wondering if it was a second piece or part of the same piece, she had caught him looking. Her eyes had settled on his own and the next thing he knew he was thinking about her in an entirely different way. Thinking about making love to her, about being with her. Thinking that could never happen, Tom was obviously interested. And then she had walked over and changed his entire life.

He couldn’t be without her now. The man he was becoming had a lot to do with her, probably would have never existed without her, and he had never even known she existed, never even known that love could be like that. The entire world was destroyed, but he had found himself. And she loved him too. He could feel it, see it. It was every bit as strong as what he felt for her. Not clingy, just real. Total.

“Hey,” Candace said. His eyes had slipped closed; he opened them to see her standing over him, a cup of coffee in one hand.

“Coffee,” He said.

“Good,” she said. “It’s alive. Were you going to sleep the day away?” She handed him the coffee carefully as he sat up.

“Something wore me out,” He grinned. “You okay?”

“More than okay,” She answered. She leaned over and kissed him…

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America the Dead Alabama Island Episode Two

The Second Alabama Island episode in the America the Dead series. Glennville is a small city located in the northern area of the state of New York. The earthquakes were not as devastating there as some places, but the loss of life is still enormous. This episode focuses on the main characters who have not yet found one another, and the trials they have been through in the first days…

Premiers Jan 21, 2020 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q4mbi_UFDyo

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America the Dead story collections

By W. G. Sweet Follow a group of survivors across America as they struggle to survive

America The Dead

America The Dead Survivor Stories One by W. G. Sweet Series: America The Dead, Book 1.

These books came from requests for Earth’s Survivors books that dealt only with single groups of survivors, unlike the Earth’s Survivors books that follow many survivors. All are double books. These stories are also written so that they can stand alone… The end has come. In an effort to help the government has destroyed most of humanity. The few survivors are on their own… Free Previews…

America The Dead Survivor Stories Two by W. G. Sweet Series: America The Dead, Book 2.

“So, what happens next? I’ll probably leave,” Bear smiled. “I guess that was a long drawn out answer.” “No. Not really,” Madison answered. “I’m in the same place.” She looked around. Bear shrugged his shoulders. “Jersey’s looking better and better, huh?” He laughed a little. Madison looked up from her contemplation of the floor. The laughter had caught her by surprise. She laughed too, “Yeah.”

America The Dead Survivor Stories Three by W. G. Sweet Series: America The Dead, Book 3.

CBS had stopped broadcasting here three days ago, even though what they had been broadcasting had been sketchy because the satellites were out. They had been dependent on travelers coming out of the east or up from the south. It had apparently not stopped broadcasting soon enough as viewers had witnessed the network studios being overrun, and the anchor of the evening news attacked and killed…

America The Dead Survivor Stories Four by W. G. Sweet Series: America The Dead, Book 4.

Kohlson saw Clayton Hunter lurch to his feet and stumble into the soldiers who were firing at point blank range in the tight confines. A series of bullets finally tore across his chest and into his head and he fell from view. A second later the firing dropped off and then stopped completely. “Jesus,” Kohlson managed before he also bent forward and vomited. They heard the air filtering kick on…

America The Dead Survivor Stories Five by W. G. Sweet Series: America The Dead, Book 5.

Fresh snow today. The whole world is covered in clean, white snow. It makes it look like nothing ever happened here. I’m with a man named Tom. He’s crazy about me. I just can’t feel the same. I could fake it, but I told myself I’m not going to do that. I can’t keep on this way either; it is too hard on him, too hard on me. Today we decided to see how the city was… Destroyed… Little left…


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America the Dead Los Angeles

Billy Jingo.

The night was beautiful, Billy thought as he walked along Beechwood Avenue. He knew pretty much everyone he passed. He had been here for a little over six months having made his way up from Mexico when things had gone bad for him there. Technically he was on the run. Warrants out of New York. Somebody had put two and two together and dug up some prints from a crime Billy had been involved with. He had only found out about it because he had happened to be away from the house when the Feds showed up. His neck of the woods had no municipal police, but even if it had they wouldn’t have come with shotguns and armor.

He had hid out for three days until the word had trickled down to him that it was him they were looking for to hand over to some federal agents from the U.S. It hadn’t taken much to put two and two together. He had managed to get a beat up old Ford pickup truck and then filled-fifty five gallon drums full of gasoline that rode on the back of it. He set off into the desert.

The rest had been easier. Despite the laws and the changes in the U.S. It was pretty easy to disappear here. He had come with a little money, and that had helped. He had worked a series of meaningless jobs as he worked his way up the west coast. Seattle had looked good and so it had held him. That and Beth had come along.

Beth was out of reach and he knew it, but that didn’t stop the fact that he wanted her to be in reach. He had never met a woman like her. So he had stayed. He had watched her arrival from God knew where, some other place in California or Washington probably. He had watched her struggle to survive on the streets: Watched her work those same streets, doing her act in any place she could get into by day, walking the streets by night, and it was then he had seen something else in her. Something hard, some will he himself had that was hard to define, but that hardness in her pulled him to her like a magnet. It was that simple.

He had been working for Harry by then and so he had mentioned Beth to him. He didn’t know how the details had worked out, but a few weeks later when he had noticed she had disappeared from the avenue, he had found her tending bar at Harry’s Palace.

Now, as he walked he became immune to the world around him. He never heard Don until he was on him, had spun him around and dragged him into an alley.

“Hey… Hey! Don… What the fuck, Don… Hey!” But it did no good. The first punch nearly shut him down. The second did. The rest he never knew about.

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America the Dead Podcast:

Earth’s Survivors: Plague

Earth’s Survivors: Plague

By  independAntwriters Publishing

The Nation begins to rise from the ashes of the old world…

The attack came fast when it came. Mike only remembered the details after the fact.

Molly had the right side, Tim the left, Mike had taken a lead of fifty feet or so right up through the middle of the tall grass. It left him blind, for the most part. The grass was higher than his head in most places, unless he walked right on the hump in the middle of the old road, and that was not an easy task. He found himself spending too much time concentrating on the next footfall. So he came down off the hump and walked slowly beside it. Watching for darker shadows within the golden brown of the grass.

He turned his head to look over to the right and Molly when his eye had caught movement in the trees just over her head. There was no time for thought. He swung his rifle up and fired. He had no time to register what he had accomplished. He dropped his eyes from the woods, alerted by a yell from Tim on the other side of him and the Zombie was on him just that fast. Afterward he realized it must have been hidden in the tall grass and had sprung at him as soon as he was distracted by the movement in the woods.

He was out of position to fire so he reversed the rifle’s stock smashing it into the forehead of the zombie that had sprung at him. She went down but she was back up just as quickly. Mike kicked her hard in the stomach as he bought the rifle barrel around. He squeezed off a quick burst as she was falling from the kick.

It seemed as though the entire world turned into a solid wall of noisy gunfire. On both sides and front and back.

The zombie hit the ground thrown back by the force of the bullets. A huge section of her side blown away, one arm gone, but she had no sooner hit the ground than she was twisting to her side and rising to her feet, hissing and snarling as she lunged at him again.

The shock nearly kept him from firing. He had never expected her to get back up. The rifle barrel rose on its own as he fired blowing holes through her chest and finally taking her head from her shoulders. She staggered a few more feet and then collapsed in a heap.

In front, somewhere beyond the cars and trucks that blocked the road, the firing continued. Mike looked left to right. Both Molly and Tim were gone. He got his feet moving and started off through the tall grass.

The gunfire fell off abruptly. He reached the beginning of the cars and trucks and began working his way down the length of a pickup truck when he caught movement on the opposite side of the truck out of the corner of his eye. He swung the rifle up fast, finger on the trigger, squeezing as it came up. The only thing stopping him from firing the uncertainty of what his peripheral vision had caught, when his eyes finished the split second trip he nearly squeezed the trigger anyway when Tim’s face came into sharp focus.

“Christ,” He breathed. Tim’s face was streaked with blood. Pasty white under the scarlet. Tim nodded and swiveled his eyes behind Mike, he turned to find Molly peering around the edge of a van fifty or so feet beyond his own position. He motioned both of them over.

“Dead?” he asked in a whisper. They both nodded.


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America the Dead Podcast Episode 18

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Episode eighteen of the popular America the Dead series:

His eyes moved across the jumbled and leaning buildings, the vehicles that burned where they had crashed. The square looked like a battleground. Greasy, billowing smoke hung in the air like a black cloud descending on the downtown area. He heard Ronnie coming up through the trees. He turned away from the square and waited for him to top the rise, and then the two of them walked back towards the opposite end of the parking lot where they could watch the entrance to State Street, most of that end of the square and both the edge of Factory Street and Mill Street as it began its run across the damaged bridge to the north side of the river.

“What’s going on? Can you see anything?” Ronnie asked.

“Some. You’ll see in a few minutes. What happened with the car?”

“Dead. Got three more clip rifles though.”

“So they were down with Sin and Death?”

“Looks like it to me. Same rifles, anyway.”

Mike was nodding. “I guess I knew it.”

Tim and Lilly stepped out of the shadows and nodded as Mike and Ronnie walked up.

“Quiet,” Lilly said. Tim nodded.

Mike handed one of the Machine pistols to Ronnie.

“Nice… Illegal, but nice,” he said.

“Takes standard Nine Millimeter ammo.” Ronnie started to hand it back. Mike shook his head. “Hang on to it,” he looked around at the parking lot. “I’m convinced they’ll be back.”

Ronnie nodded. “Four up here?” he asked.

“Five. They killed one of the women trying to escape.” Tim and Lilly had dragged her back into the woods while he’d been gone. He had seen the vague shape off in the thicker woods as he and Ronnie had walked up. “How many in the car?”

“At least five,” Ronnie said.

“Jesus… This is so stupid.” Mike said. Ronnie nodded and then went back to watching the greasy smoke rise up into the air.


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Earth’s Survivors America The Dead: Manhattan Apple Books

EARTH’S SURVIVORS AMERICA THE DEAD: MANHATTAN

Earth’s Survivors America the Dead: Manhattan 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.

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

This novel is Copyright © 2016 Wendell Sweet and his 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.

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

NOTICE: This material has not been edited for content


PROLOGUE

New York

12:30 am

Carl Evans watched from the mouth of a dark alley. It was one of the things he loved about this place. You could hang out in an alley, smoke cigarettes all day and night long if you wanted to, and nobody said a word to you. Where else, but New York could that be true, he asked himself.

He leaned back against the wall, one sneakered foot propped on the brick behind him to hold him, the other flat on the cobbled stones of the alley. Another thing about New York, he thought as he inhaled deeply of his cigarette, and then let the smoke roll slowly out of his mouth. Old things everywhere you looked. These cobblestones for instance. He wondered how old they truly were.

“Young man.” The deep voice startled him from his thoughts. He lifted his head to see an old, gray haired gentleman standing at the mouth of the alley a few feet away. His face was creased and seamed. His skin so dark it was nearly blue. A cane in one hand supported his weight.

“What’s up, Pops?” Carl asked politely.

The man placed his second hand on his cane and leaned forward. “That cigarette will kill you.“

“Pops…”

He held up one hand as Carl began to speak. “Just telling you. Don’t need an argument. It will kill you. The big tobaccos, they knew about it back in the day when I was a boy chasing that habit. And they knew about it when it was in commercials in magazines, and T.V. and what not. That cowboy died from it you know, they knew it and they still know it. It will kill you. In case you didn’t know it I wanted you to know it.” He straightened his back, lifted the second hand, nodded once, and moved across the mouth of the alley disappearing as though from some sort of magic.

Carl chuckled, lifted the cigarette to his mouth, took a deep drag and then found himself blowing the smoke out, dropping the cigarette, and crushing it. The old man had ruined it for him. He hadn’t smoked in ten years, but it tasted as good now as it had then. And he had figured with the way things were nobody had much time. Certainly not enough time to die from cancer or some other nasty surprise from cigarettes, but just the same the old man had ruined it for him.

He looked down at the blackened mess he had made as he ground the cigarette into the cobbles. Just as well, he told himself, it was time. He reached into his coat pocket and pulled out a small silver canister. He inhaled a sharp breath involuntarily. He knew what it was. Knew what he was doing, but he still couldn’t believe he was actually going to do it.

He fingered the small red button on the top of the silver canister, hesitated, and then pushed it down. Something inside clicked. There was no other sound in the stillness. He tossed it down the alley, turned, and walked out to the sidewalk.

ONE

Bear

August 4th

We were down along the river checking over some 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 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 anyone 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, and 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 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 un-dead 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 couldn’t 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 undead, 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 flickering 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 straight 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, Maddy. 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.


Earth’s Survivors America The Dead: Manhattan. A small group tries to make their way out of New York… https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/earths-survivors-america-the-dead-manhattan/id1085902524?mt=11


America the Dead Free Podcast: episode 25

A sudden lull in the fighting turns ominous. The opposing fighters are ignoring the survivors, but only briefly. They have other plans for them… #HorrorPodcast #AmiAdams #DellSweet


Publisher Description

Billy paced the hallway, trying to think it out, telling himself they had to leave soon. Telling himself it was the right thing to do. The problem was that he was not used to doing the right thing. So unused to it, in fact, that he wasn’t sure he wanted to try… should try.

The world had been turned upside down for the last few days. There was no official word that anything was wrong at all, but someone had f****d up. Of that he had no doubt at all.

The police? Gone. Fire department? Ditto. Army? Well, wasn’t the National Guard supposed to show up when the shit hit the fan? But so far the army had not raised a finger to do anything for them at all. There was a base right over by the airport near the Los Angeles Freeway, but there had been no sign of them.

He lived on the north side, a high rise that had been new sometime back in the seventies. He had gone up to the roof twice during the day and looked over the city.

It appeared to be dead. There was a precinct only two blocks away, deserted, doors hanging open. Looters were carrying away cheap computer systems and who knew what else, a steady stream in and out of the front doors.

There were fires over past the park. It appeared to be a whole block over by Jordan Downs, but there were other single fires all over the city too. There had been for two days now, and no one had come to put those fires out. And there was more; you could hear gunfire from all over the city all night long. He continued to pace the hall.

This was not normally a bad neighborhood, but it was no picnic either. There had been a few fires here but the people that lived nearby had put them out quickly. Dozens of buildings had come down or were now tilted crazily. The looting had started at some point, and now there were armed men prowling the streets in gangs.

He had acquired a gun from a shop a few blocks over, ransacked, left open to the world. He had loaded it and waited, but the few that had ventured to his door had turned away when they had seen him with the gun.

Winston, the old man that lived in the back basement apartment, had called them all down to listen to the radio just a short time ago. Not your average radio, a Short Band receiver. They had ended up listening to military talk, military talk that was probably supposed to be restricted. The stories that had come from that radio said the rest of the world was no better off. Explosions or earthquakes, there was a great deal of devastation everywhere. Maybe it was time to get out of L.A.

America the Dead books at Apple: https://books.apple.com/us/book/america-the-dead-survivor-stories-three/id1156638728