America the Dead from Dell Sweet

 

By Dell SweetLindsey Rivers with Ami Adams

Individual stories from the apocalypse of the dead… The end of society as we know it is here. No more cities… No more police… Gangs control everything… The dead are rising…

Earth’s Survivors America The Dead


When a catastrophic natural disaster looms on the near horizon, the government releases an airborne virus designed to make the human race better able to survive. Those that do survive are picking up the pieces of their world, and those that have died lay in their death sleep, but in their bodies the virus works on, mutating, setting the stage for a second catastrophe far worse that the first.


Earth’s Survivors America The Dead: Los Angeles by Dell Sweet

Series: Earth’s Survivors America The Dead. Price: $2.99 $1.20 USD. (60% off!) Words: 57,350. Language: English. Published: September 12, 2014 by W.G. Sweet. Categories: Fiction » Horror » UndeadFiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic

An apocalypse of epic proportions has shaken the Earth to it’s core. In the bigger cities the dead are growing quickly in numbers. Growing intelligent as they continue to change and mutate. They have one thought in their rotting brains, take over the world, and destroy those that live in the process. Billy Jingo leaves Los Angeles hoping there might be something better on the other coast…


Earth’s Survivors America The Dead: Manhattan by Dell Sweet

Series: Earth’s Survivors America The Dead. Price: $2.99 $1.20 USD. (60% off!) Words: 58,520. Language: English. Published: February 16, 2016 by W.G. Sweet. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » ApocalypticFiction » Fantasy » Epic

Donita’s Notebook March 1st (Night) Quakes, at least three. Warmed up fast, and all the dirty snow that was piled along the streets has melted. Torrential rains. Thunder and lightening in the snow storm that came after sunset. Didn’t last long; turned back to rain. Parts of the projects are burning. Jersey is burning. The sky is red-orange, everything across the river is on fire. No one has come.


Earth’s Survivors America The Dead: War At Home 1 by Dell Sweet

Series: Earth’s Survivors America The Dead. Price: $2.99 $1.20 USD. (60% off!) Words: 78,790. Language: English. Published: February 16, 2016 by W.G. Sweet. Categories: Fiction » Horror » UndeadFiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic

Gabe Kohlson moved away from the monitors. “Heart rate is dropping, don’t you think…” He stopped as the monitor began to chime softly. “Dammit,” Kohlson said as he finished his turn. “What is it,” David Johns wheeled his chair across the short space of the control room. “Flat lined,” Kohlson said as he pushed a button on the wall to confirm what the doctors already knew. Clayton Hunter was dead.


Earth’s Survivors America The Dead: War At Home 2 by Dell Sweet

Series: Earth’s Survivors America The Dead. Price: $2.99 $1.20 USD. (60% off!) Words: 69,670. Language: English. Published: February 25, 2016 by W.G. Sweet. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » ApocalypticFiction » Horror » Undead

Donita: The hunger was terrible, all consuming, and it came in crashing waves. The impulse to feed seemed to be the only coherent thought she had. It was hard to think around, hard to think past. It was all she could do not to rush from the trees, find the smell that tempted her and consume it. Eat it completely. Leave nothing at all…


Earth’s Survivors America The Dead: Zombie Fall by Dell Sweet

Series: Earth’s Survivors America The Dead. Price: $2.99 $1.20 USD. (60% off!) Words: 86,490. Language: English. Published: March 22, 2016 by W.G. Sweet. Categories: Fiction » Horror » UndeadFiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic

Arlene’s Journal It’s the night before the six will leave to go back to the outside. I think of it that way… The outside. This place overwhelmed me for the first little while. That and having to kill a man. But it was worse for those who stayed behind when we made our way to this place. If they had not stayed to fight the rest of us would not have been able to get away…


Earth’s Survivors America The Dead: The Zombie Plagues by Dell Sweet

Series: Earth’s Survivors America The Dead. Price: $2.99 $1.20 USD. (60% off!) Words: 83,720. Language: English. Published: March 22, 2016 by W.G. Sweet. Categories: Fiction » Horror » UndeadFiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic

Donita walked down Eighth Avenue towards Columbus Circle. Behind her a silent army followed, numbering in the thousands. From the circle they would take the park. There were thousands of the living camped out in the park. She could smell them on the air that flowed past her face as she walked. They had believed they were safe in their numbers, and for a time that had been true, but no more…


Dell Sweet @ APPLENOOKKOBOG-PLAY

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EARTH’S SURVIVORS: APOCALYPSE

PUBLISHED BY: Dell Sweet

Earth’s Survivors: Apocalypse is © Copyright 2014 Wendell Sweet, all rights reserved.

 

Additional Copyrights © 2010 – 2012, 2014, 2015 by Wendell Sweet, All rights reserved

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


This material is NOT edited for content and is therefore rated 18+

This material is protected by copyright law and is used here with permission


618 Park Avenue: Seventh floor. 2B

Tosh’s Notebook:

March 10th: Warming up; days are longer. It feels like spring. It’s early March. No way should it be this warm. My watch is working again, no rhyme or reason.

Tosh stood now, overlooking the city. It seemed that everything had changed in the last few days. Her watch said it was somewhere past midnight, if it could be trusted. It had quit, started again, and she had set it for 9:00 PM at sunset. The days were longer, but she had no idea how much. It should be close, but so many strange things had happened that she wasn’t sure it could be trusted. The days seemed longer. What good was a twenty-four hour watch if the days were all screwed up? Longer? And everything else was bad too. Her own life was falling apart, and she couldn’t even bring herself to tell Adam about it, or how much it scared her.

The old woman, Alice, had taken her dog Ge-Boo out yesterday, and she had not come back. Tosh had opened the door a crack as she had been leaving and warned her again about how bad it was outside, but Alice had simply pretended not to see her, or hear her, when she had spoken. She had walked off down the hallway, smartly dressed, Ge-Boo wearing a small, pink sweater, and Tosh had not seen her since.

Adam had called the elevator back up a few hours later, locked it down, and then jammed it open with a chair from Amanda Bynes’ kitchen. It was clear that if Alice was not back, she would not be back. The streets had suddenly been crawling with people. The late afternoon daylight meant absolutely nothing to them at all anymore. An hour or two into the darkness the electricity quit, and the building, most of Manhattan with it, had gone dark. Now this.

Tosh looked out on the city now. The fires were everywhere. Twice, a few days back, the planes had overflown the city. Adam had been down in the park trying to find out what was going on. She had been alone, jumping at every sound. The planes had swooped low, blue-tinged mist spraying from the open cargo holds: military planes. She had seen them clearly from the seventh floor. Soldiers in gas masks stood in the open bay doorways and directed the thick hoses that sprayed the city. Three men crouched in the open cargo holds of each plane.

She had slid the glass balcony doors closed, fashioned a rag around her mouth and waited for Adam to come back. He had not been long. They had been able to smell something on the air, a thick, cloying smell that reminded Tosh of old perfume. It had left a nasty taste in their mouths, but it didn’t seem to do anything to them other than that. A few hours later, they had ventured back out on the balcony, the rags tossed aside. If it had been something to kill them, it would have already done that, they had both reasoned.

The city had fallen quiet. That night the gangs had not been out at all. They had thought it was over. Hoped it was over, but the next night they were right back out. Even more numerous than they had been. They only good thing was they seemed to be killing each other faster and faster now. The gun battles went back and forth all night long.

Tosh stood in the blackest shadows of the balcony and looked out over the city. Whatever it had been, it had not killed them, if that had been what it was supposed to do. The gangs were fewer now, the last few nights had left many dead in the streets. The sun would rise to more scattered bodies sprawled in pools of their own blood. She could see them in the streets below now, even if they couldn’t see her. They ran purposefully from doorway to doorway, testing the locks, stopping at every shadow. Investigating. A car here, a doorway there, looking up to catch her eyes watching them, as if they really could see her, letting her know that they knew she was still there. And Adam slept behind her in the bed, unaware of it all. Oblivious to it.

And there was irony here. Irony, because she was dying. She was dying, and she was sure that they knew it. She was sure that was the reason they kept looking up at her where she stood in the shadows.

She blinked away tears as she looked out over the night darkened city: the fires that burned, the gangs that prowled the streets. She had popped her last nitro the day before. It had taken the pain in her chest down, but it had not stopped it. Too much excitement. Too much damage from the drug use that had ravaged her body. She hadn’t touched a thing in two years, but it had still killed her, just as she had known it would. It had just taken its time. Twenty-three and a bad heart. It thundered and trip-hammered in her chest. Out of sync. Out of beat. Out of time. And…

She wondered about that ‘and’ as she looked out over the burning city. And what? She would awaken in Heaven? She didn’t think so, but she didn’t know.  She stood brooding, feeling the pressure build in her chest as evening came on and the fires continued to burn.

She couldn’t make Adam have to do for her, she decided at last, and there probably wasn’t much more time for her. If she intended to go, she should.

She turned and looked at Adam’s outline on the bed. She couldn’t chance waking him either to say goodbye. And that hurt too, but it probably wouldn’t hurt for long. He would stop her, possibly read her mind. He had done it before; just seemed to know what she was thinking. She turned a few minutes later, walked quietly across Amanda Bynes’ plush carpet, eased open the door and stepped out into the hallway.

The Docks

Tosh walked along aimlessly. She had slipped from doorway to doorway herself, working her way to the river. A few blocks off the beaten path and the streets were empty, but for the dead that where everywhere. The smell of the river was heavy on the air, and she was following it. She was unsure what she had in mind. The tears continued as she walked. It wasn’t fair, she continued to tell herself, but telling herself it wasn’t fair didn’t do anything for her situation. And here she was wandering around in the night tempting fate.

But there were no gang members around, or if they were, she couldn’t see them, hear them, feel them. She pressed her hand flat against her chest. The pain was worse. Much worse. And she wondered how much more she could take, how much more her body could handle. She stopped and drew several deep breaths, trying to ease the pain that seemed to close on her chest like a fist.

When the pain eased a little, she started off down the street once more, heading toward the river.


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Introducing America The Dead from Dell Sweet

Introducing America The Dead from Dell Sweet


Zombie Fall For some there is safety but to keep the safety some must sacrifice and risk everything

The group of survivors looking for peace and a place to rebuild comes closer to what they seek

In a top secret facility a virus is created that brings on the plague of the dead

Manhattan: The city is a landscape of gangs and the risen dead. The living are safe nowhere. The city falls to the plague. A group of survivors fight their way out. #Kindle


LOS ANGELES. A couple finds their way through the deconstruction and death of L.A.

A series of events begins that will bring all of society to its knees.  A small New York town hosts the beginning of the end Kindle:



AMERICA THE DEAD: SURVIVOR STORIES ONE Episode Two

AMERICA THE DEAD: SURVIVOR STORIES ONE

America The Dead: Survivor Stories One is copyright © 2016 W. G. Sweet.

All rights foreign and domestic reserved in their entirety.

Cover Art © Copyright 2016 Wendell Sweet

Some text copyright 2010, 2014, 2015 W. G. 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 r

ecipient. If you are reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your bookseller and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

LEGAL

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

This novel is Copyright © 2016 Wendell G. Sweet and his assignees. Dell Sweet, W. G. Sweet and Geo Dell are publishing constructs owned by Wendell G. Sweet. No part of this book may be reproduced by any means, electronic, print, scanner or any other means and, or distributed without the author’s permission.


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

This serial presentation is copyright protected and is used with permission

This material has NOT been edited for content and is therefore rated on a cautionary basis as 18+


EPISODE TWO


Watertown Center New York

Shop and Save Convenience store:

Haley Mae

1:30 AM

“Last one,” Neil said.

Neil was a detective for the sheriffs’ department. It was closing in on 2:00 AM and he and his partner Don had just come back from six hours of sleep to get a jump on the day. Yesterday one of the checkout girls had disappeared between the Shop And Save, a small mini mart on the western outskirts of the city, and home. Earlier this morning she had turned up dead in a ditch just a quarter mile from the front door. The techs were still processing the scene, but it was looking personal. Stabbed to death, multiple wounds, no defense wounds, at least none that he or Don had been able to see, and fully clothed. Her purse had been found nearby, wallet and cash inside. No ID, but her store ID had still been clipped to her shirt. They would know more in a few days once the coroner did her magic. It all pointed to someone she knew, and they had no known boyfriend. The trailer park where she lived had turned up nothing, they had questioned some people at the convenience store, but some had been off shift, so here they were back at the store questioning the other employees.

They had commandeered the night manager’s office which was barely larger than a broom closet, but at least it was a place to sit with enough space left over to call in the workers and ask their questions. Free coffee via the same night manager, who had still not gone home, was taking a little of the six hours of sleep sting off, but to Neil free coffee in a convenience store was like a whore offering a free shot of penicillin to the first twenty five customers.

“Who’s next?” Don asked.

The last half hour they had been interviewing the people who worked the same shifts as Amber Kneeland.

“Haley Mae,” Neil said.

Don looked up and stopped writing in his little notebook.  “How do you,” spell her name, he had meant to ask Neil, but she was right in front of him.

“EM. A. E,” she said with a smile.

“Vietnamese?” Don asked. She was obviously mixed race, African American and Asian, he questioned himself.

“Japanese,” she told him.

“Nice name,” Neil said, “Haley.”

Beautiful girl, Don thought. “Did you know Amber Kneeland?  Sometimes works this shift?” he asked.

“Not really,” she answered. “I mean, I met her, but only in passing… I just started here myself.”

She really is beautiful, Don thought. “You wouldn’t know if she had a boyfriend… Other friends?” he asked.

Haley shook her head. “Sorry,” she said… “What has she done?”

“Nothing,” Neil supplied.

“She went missing last night,” Don said. “Turned up dead this morning.”

Haley shook her head. “Oh my God. That’s horrible. She was such a nice girl… Quiet.”

Neil nodded his head. “So maybe you did know her a little better than you thought?”

“I just started here a few weeks back, and like I said, I don’t really know her… But it might be a girlfriend not a boyfriend.”

Don looked at her. “You wouldn’t know who?”

“No. It’s just a rumor. Someone said it to me… I don’t even remember who… But I’ve never seen her with a guy, and I have seen her with other girls… Maybe also the way she looked at me a few times…”

“Go out with her?” Don asked.

“No… Never… I…”

“Don’t swing that way?” Don added.

Haley frowned slightly before she answered. “I work. I don’t swing any way. But if I did she wasn’t my type. She never asked me out, I never asked her out.”

“Didn’t mean to offend you,” Don said. He shrugged. “She’s dead.”

“She would probably do the same for you,” Neil said.

Haley nodded. “That really is all I know. I hope you find who did it though. She seemed like a nice girl,” Haley said.

“You don’t seem the type for this… Bagging groceries at 2:00 am,” Don said, changing the subject. “You aren’t local or I’d know you… This city really is small despite the base.”

Haley smiled. “Came here a year back with a boyfriend, Army. He left, forgot all about me, I guess. I had this idea of modeling… Tough to get a foot in a door though.”

“Wow, if he left you behind he must be a fucking idiot… Any good?” Neil asked.

Haley laughed.

“Excuse mister smooth there,” Don told her. Neil feigned a hurt look and Haley laughed again. “He meant, have you done anything? I know somebody… Might be interested.”

Haley arched her eyebrows. “I can model. I did a You Jeans ad back in Georgia a few years ago. I just need to prove it to the right person.”

“Escorting? Maybe dancing. It’s strictly escorting or dancing, no funny stuff. Dance clubs… Clothing modeling,” Neil said.

“Probably start out escorting… Dance a little… Then if he likes you he’ll put you into the modeling end of things. He owns a lot of shit… Several car dealerships across the state… Some of the biggest dance clubs, clothing outlets, those bargain places, but still, modeling is modeling, right? Not the big name stuff, but it is a foot in the door,” Don added.

“I can do that,” she said slowly.

Neil passed her a white business card with his own name scrawled across the back. “Tell him I sent you… That’s my name on the back.”

“Jimmy Vincioni,” Haley asked.

“Just V… Jimmy V, good guy,” Neil said.

Haley nodded and tucked the card into her front jean pocket. “I’ll call him… Thanks. Look…” Her voice dropped to a near whisper. “I’m pretty sure she had a girlfriend here… I just don’t know who,” Haley added quietly.

Don finished writing in his notebook, nodded once he met her eyes and then shook the hand she offered. She walked away.

“Beautiful,” Neil said.

“Absolutely,” Don agreed. “You ain’t getting none of that though.”

“Yeah? But if Jimmy V hires her? It’ll be the next best thing.”

Don shook his head, but smiled. His eyes rose and watched as Haley walked away. “Guess I’ll have to have a few drinks at the club if that happens.”

Neil chuckled low. “You and me both,” he agreed.

March 1st

Watertown New York

Off Factory Square: Joel Morrison

5:00 PM

Joel sat at the bar and watched football on one of the big screen TV’s Mort had put in. It was a slow game, he was tired, and his mind kept turning to other things. He couldn’t concentrate. Part of the allure of the Rusty Nail was the quiet. After a 12 hour shift at the mill with the constant noise from the huge machinery, the quiet had been nice. But that had all changed once the bar had become popular with the nearby base. He needed to go home. The crowd in the bar was starting to build and the noise was giving him the beginnings of a headache. He caught Mort’s eye and went back to his thoughts as he waited.

The Rusty Nail had always been a locals only bar up until a few years back when the economy had taken a nose dive. The nail was wedged up a side street off Factory square. Not exactly easy to find, and that had hurt business too as the old people left and the new people came in.

Mort, Mortimer to anybody that felt like being tossed out on their ass, had nearly lost the small bar and the building above it to the bank. The building above it had six small apartments that Mort had purposely left empty when he had bought the building fresh out of the service thirty years back. Who wanted to deal with tenants, he had said then. But times changed, and so he had sold his house, moved himself into one of the apartments, and then sold the bank on remortgaging the whole building as well as renovating the other five apartments. The bank had come up with a loan that took all of that into account and added a second income source from the apartments that could pay the monthly mortgage and put a good chunk of change into his pocket too.

He had signed on the x, taken their money, renovated the building, moved in the tenants and then taken a hard look at the Rusty Nail. He had decided to completely gut the bar and do it over. He had dumped far too much into the renovations though, including being closed for nearly a full month, and then opened it to find that the economy had taken an even deeper nose dive during those nearly thirty days. The third month into the new mortgage and he had found that he was maybe in a bad spot already.

Joel remembered now that he had sat right at the end of the bar when Mort had talked it over with some others, Moon Calloway, Johnny Barnes, Jim Tibbets, Joel had been welcome to include his two cents which he had declined to do.

“Well, what you do is put the word out to those cab drivers. Believe me, I’ve seen it. They will have them soldiers down here in no time, even if you are off the beaten path,” Jim had said. Jim was a school bus driver for the north side district and less than a year away from a fatal car accident on the interstate. Jeff Brown, who had been a local football star, was doing ten years up at Clinton Correctional for hitting Jim’s car head on drunk and killing him. But that night Jim had still been alive and had wanted to be a part of the New Rusty Nail that Mort had in mind. Something a little more modern. Modern bought the soldiers, but more importantly it also bought women.

“I’m not paying a cab driver to bring me G.I.’s,” Mort had said. “And I know your game. You’re just hoping to get laid out of it.”

They had all laughed at that, except Jim who had turned red. But after a few seconds he had laughed too, and the conversation had plodded forward the way bar conversations do.

“Well, you ain’t got to pay them exactly, give them a couple beers,” Moon threw in.

“Jesus Christ,” Mort exclaimed. “That’s why you boys ain’t in business. You think the beer is free.”

“I know it ain’t free, Mort,” Jim said. “But it don’t cost you that much. You get it wholesale.”

“Wholesale? I drive right out to that wholesale club and buy it by the case most of the time just like everybody else. Cheaper than them beer guys, except draft, of course. That ain’t free. You got to pay the yearly club fee. You got to pay them taxes to the feds. You got a lot you got to pay for. Some fuck crushes your can you’re fucked for that nickle. Jesus… wholesale my ass. It ain’t no bargain.”

“Yeah? … Let’s see,” Moon starting writing in the air with his finger. You get it for let’s say six bucks a case, I know that cause that’s what I pay out there too. So six bucks divided by 24 is,” he drew in the air for a few moments, erased it, and then started over. “How the fuck do you do that, Joey… The six goes into the twenty-four? Or times the twenty-four?” Moon asked.

“Uh, it’s a quarter a can,” I had supplied.

The argument had raged on from there. Once Moon found out he was paying a buck fifty for a can of beer that only cost a quarter he was pissed off.

In the end Mort had talked to a couple of cab drivers. Free draft beer one night a week if they bought soldiers by all week long and told as many others as possible about the place. Within two weeks Joel hadn’t recognized the place when he had come by after shift to have a couple of beers. The soldiers drank a lot of beer, the bank mortgage got paid, and life was fine. Except for the fights, Joel thought, but you can’t load young guys up on alcohol and not expect trouble. Especially when those young men were just waiting on the word to go and maybe die in another battle that remained undeclared as a war. High stress levels meant heavy duty unloading. The M.P.’s got to know the place as well as the soldiers did.

“Joel, you ready?” Mort asked now.

Joel smiled. “I was thinking back…” He had to shout to be heard. Tomorrow his voice would be hoarse. “This place was empty! … Yeah… One more then I gotta go,” Joel agreed.

Mort leaned closer. “Gov’ment tit. I know it, but screw it. It’s all the Gov’ment tit. Road and Bridge projects. Job centers. One way or the other it comes out the same. Even them subsidies so the paper mills can still run. It’s all the Gov’ment tit, ain’t it, Joel?”

“Its is,” Joel shouted. He nodded. It was. This town would have dried up years ago without it. Mort left and then came back a few moments later with a fresh beer.

“Vacation?” Mort yelled.

Joel nodded. “Two weeks of silence,” He shook his head at the irony and Mort’s laughing agreement was drowned out by the noise.

“If I don’t see you, have a good one,” Mort said leaning close.

Joel nodded. “I will.” He raised his glass and then tossed off half of it. A few moments later he was outside on the relatively quiet sidewalk punching numbers into his phone, calling for a cab. The night was cold, but the cold sobered him up. It seemed nearly capable of washing away the smoke and noise from inside the bar. He stood in the shadows beside the door waiting for the phone to ring on the other end. The door bumped open and Johnny Barnes stepped out.

“You ain’t calling for a cab, are you?” Johnny asked when he spotted him.

Joel laughed and ended the still ringing call. “Not if I can get a free ride from you.” Joel told him.

“Yeah, you were always a cheap prick,” Johnny agreed. “Hey, I heard you’re heading into the southern tier tomorrow?”

“Two weeks,” Joel agreed as he levered the door handle on Johnny’s truck and climbed inside. His breath came in clouds of steam. “Get some heat in here, Johnny.”

“Coming,” Johnny agreed. “Man, I wish I was you.”

“Me too,” Joel agreed.

Johnny laughed. “Asshole, but seriously, man. Have a good time. You gonna hunt?”

“Nothing in season… Maybe snare some rabbits. Not gonna be a lot this time of year.” Joel said.

“Maybe deer,” Johnny offered. He dropped the truck in drive just as the heat began to come from the vents.

“Probably, but they’ll be out of season. Rabbit, and I got freeze dried stuff. Trucks packed, which is why I didn’t drive it down here.”

The truck drove slowly through the darkening streets as the street lights began to pop on around the small city: The two men laughing and exchanging small talk.

Public Square

Pearl (Pearly) Bloodworth

6:20 PM

The streets were clogged with snow, but the sidewalks were impassable, so she had no choice but to walk in the street.

She made her way carefully, slipping and sliding as she went. It was just before 6:30 P.M. and she might make it to work on time if she could make the next two blocks without incident.

She had been working at the downtown mission for the last several months: The night shift for the last two months. The mission night shift was an easy shift. Everything was closed down. Those who had made the curfew were locked in for the night. Occasionally there would be a little trouble between residents, but that was rare. Watertown was small, as a consequence the homeless population was small. And trouble, when it came, was usually settled long before her shift. Her shift amounted to catching up on paperwork, dispensing an aspirin or two, and being there if there was an emergency of any kind. At 4:00 A.M. The kitchen staff would be there to start their day. Shortly after that the rest of the day-shift would be in. At 6:00 A.M. The mission doors would open and the homeless would take to the streets. She would have an hour of quiet at the end of her shift, sitting and listening to the bustle from the kitchen as they cleaned up after breakfast and began to prepare for lunch.

She heard the approaching vehicle as she was stepping around a mound of melting snow and ice. It was late and there had been no traffic on this side street when she had stepped into the street at the cross walk three blocks down. The alternative was the foot deep snow and ice thrown onto the sidewalk from the plows. She would never get through that and make it to the mission on time.

The Mission was on upper Franklin street, a short walk in a straight line, or even if you had to walk around the square and start up, as she usually did, but tonight the square was packed with traffic and so she had chosen the shortcut instead. Unfortunately it was not well lit: A four block wasteland of parking lots and alleyways.

She had almost turned completely around to make sure the car had seen her when the horn blared and startled her. A second later she finished the turn, hand clasped to her throat, and watched as the car skidded to a stop and three men piled out of the back seat slipping and sliding in the slush, laughing.

“What’s up, bitch,” one asked as he found his feet and stood staring her down. The laughter died away.

“Nice ass,” another said as he moved toward her.

She turned to the second man, the one who had just spoken, as she shrugged her purse from her shoulder, caught the bottom of it in one hand, and slipped her other hand inside. The third man, really just a boy, looked frightened as his eyes slipped from his two companions and then flitted to her. The driver leaned out the window,

“What the fuck! Get the bitch!” He was looking over the roof-line, sitting on the windowsill of the driver’s door, a smirk on his too-white face.

“Yeah… How about a ride, baby,” the nearest one said. The other had finally found his feet, stopped slipping, and was skidding his feet across the slush heading in her direction. She pulled her hand from her pocket and aimed the mace canister at them. They both skidded to a stop.

The closer one, the one that had made the remark about her ass, cocked his head sideways, shrugged his shoulders and then pulled a gun from his waist band. “Yeah… Kind of changes the whole situation, don’t it?” He asked.

“Roux! Don’t shoot the bitch. She’s no good to us dead!” This from the man-boy leaning out the window of the car.

The boy, Roux, turned to the driver and nodded. He looked back at Pearl. His gun was aimed at the ground, close to her feet. She had only a split second to decide. He was less than five feet away, the gun rising from the ground, when she pushed the trigger and watched the stream leap at him. His face went from a sarcastic smirk to alarm just before the stream of mace hit his nose and splattered across his face and into his eyes. A second later he was screaming. She had just turned to aim at the second guy when the world turned upside down.

She found herself tumbling sideways. Somewhere, close by, a roar began and rose in pitch as the ground below her feet began to jump and shake. She found her knees after she fell and skidded across the roadway as she tried to hold herself, but the shaking was just too hard. She collapsed back to the roadway and the relative softness of the slush and snow, her body jumping and shaking as she seemed almost to bounce across the short expanse and into the snowbank on the opposite side of the road.

The roar went on for what seemed like minutes as she tried to catch her breath and steady herself at the same time. Both seemed impossible to do, but almost as soon as she had the thought the trembling of the earth became less and a split second after that the roaring stopped. There was no silence. The sound of breaking glass, tumbling brick, blaring horns and screams in the dark night replaced the roar. Sounds that had probably been there, she decided, she had just been unable to hear them.

Pearl made her feet and stared back down the street where the car had been. The car was still there, the nose tilted upward, the back seemingly buried in the street itself. She blinked, but nothing changed. She noted the broken asphalt and churned up dirt, and realized the car had broken through the street. There was no sign of the men, including the driver that had been hanging halfway out of the window.

She drew a breath, another, and suddenly the noise and smells of the world rushed back in completely. The screams became louder. Horns blared. The ground trembled under her feet as if restless. She could smell sewage on the air. Broken lines below the pavement her mind reasoned. She swayed on her feet as the earth trembled once more, lurching as it did. She waited, but the tremble was not repeated. She sucked in another deep breath and then began to walk, slipping on the broken pavement and slush as she did.

Franklin street appeared untouched as she lurched from the side street, slipping over the broken pavement, and retching from the overpowering smell of sewer gas. She collapsed to the icy pavement, skidding on her knees and was surprise to hear herself crying as she struggled to get back on her feet.

She nearly made it to her feet before the next tremor hit, this one much harder than the last one. She bounced sideways, knees slamming into the ground, crying out as they did, but unaware of her own cries. Just as the trembling stopped she made her feet again and stood, hand clasped to her knees to steady herself, breathing hard, holding herself rigidly, wondering what was coming next. When the shaking stopped and silence flooded in she was shocked.

She finally opened her eyes, she had no idea when she had closed them, straightened from the bent posture she had found herself in, quieted her sobbing and looked around.

Forty feet away, the gray stone of the mission that had rose just past the sidewalk was no more: Churned earth had replaced it. The sidewalk was still intact, as though some weird sort of urban renewal had occurred in a matter of seconds. Her eyes swept the street and now they took in the sections where the sidewalk was missing. The entire side of the street was gone for blocks. What was in evidence was an old house several hundred feet away, perched on the edge of a ravine. Beyond that, houses and streets continued. She was on the opposite side of complete destruction, and there appeared no way to reach that side.

She turned and looked back at the side street she had come from. Churned earth, tilted pavement, the car was now gone. Farther down the short hillside that had appeared the public square seemed completely destroyed. Water had formed in the middle of the square and ran away to the north, probably toward the Black river, Pearl thought. To the west everything appeared to be intact, to the east, Franklin street stretched away untouched toward the park in the distance. Close by someone began to scream, calling for help. She took a few more calming breaths and then began to walk toward the screams: The west, angling toward the opposite end of the square.

The screams cut off all at once, and a second after that the sound of a motor straining came to her. Cycling up and then dropping. She paused in the middle of the road, listening, wondering where the sound came from. As she stood something ran into her eye, stinging,  clouding her vision, she reached one hand up and swiped at it and the back of her hand came back stained with a smear of blood.

She stared at it for a second. The ground seemed to lurch, shift suddenly, and she reached her hands to her knees to brace herself once more, expecting the shaking to start again, but her hands slipped past her knees and she found herself falling, her legs buckling under her. The ground seemed to rise to meet her and she found herself staring down the length of the roadway, her face flush with the asphalt. The coldness of the ice and slush felt good against her skin: As if she were overheated; ice wrapped inside of a dishrag at the base of her neck on a hot day. She blinked, blinked again, and then her world went dark.

She floated, or seemed to, thinking of London. A hot day. She was a child again: Standing in the second floor window and looking down at the street far below. The dishrag dripped, but it felt so good against her skin. The memory seemed to float away. She was rushing headlong through a never ending stream of memories. All suddenly real again. Urgent, flying by so fast, but sharp in every detail.

Pearl had grown up on a council estate in London: When her mother had died she had come to the United States only to find herself in the Maywood projects on the north side of Watertown. From one pit to another. Just different names, she liked to tell herself. Up until a few weeks ago she had still made the trip back and forth every day, but she had found a place, a small walk-up, not far from the mission on the other side of the public square. It seemed extravagant to have her own space, but living in the downtown area suited her.

She seemed to be in both places at once. Back in her childhood, staring at the street below the window, yet hovering over her body, looking down at herself where she lay sprawled on the winter street. She wondered briefly which was real, but nearly as soon as she had the thought she found herself struggling to rise to her knees from the cold roadway, her eyes slitted, head throbbing.

In front of her a shadowed figure had appeared staggering through the ice and snow, angling toward her. She blinked, blinked again and her eyes found their focus. The man from the car, suddenly back from wherever he had been. One hand clutched his side where a bright red flood of blood seeped sluggishly over his clasping fingers. Her eyes swept down to his other hand which was rising to meet her. A gun was clasped there. Probably, her mind told her, the same gun he had been going to shoot her with before. The gun swept upward as if by magic. She blinked, and realized then that the sound of the motor straining was louder. Closer. Almost roaring in its intensity. The gun was rising, but her eyes swiveled away and watched as a truck from the nearby base skidded to a stop blocking the road from side to side no more than ten feet from her. She blinked, and the doors were opening, men yelling, rushing toward her.

Bright light flashed before her eyes, and a deafening roar accompanied it. An explosion, loud, everything in the world. A second explosion came, then a third, and she realized the explosions were gunshots. She felt herself falling even as she made the discovery. The pavement once again rising to meet her. Her eyes closed, she never felt the ground as she collapsed onto it, falling back into the dark.

She was back standing in the window, looking out over the street. The heat was oppressive, but the ice wrapped in the rag was mothers’ wonderful cure. She tried to raise it to her neck once more, to feel the coldness of it, but her arm would not come. She tried harder and the window suddenly slipped away. A man was bent toward her face. A helmet strap buckled under his chin. Her hands were somehow held at her side. The motor screamed loudly as this world once more leapt into her head. She was on the floor of the truck, vibrations pulsing through her body as the truck sped along… In the back of the truck, her mind corrected as her eyes focused momentarily. Other men squatted nearby, including one who was partially over her holding her arms as the other man was tapping the bubbles from a syringe with one gloved finger. The mans face angled down toward her own and he aimed something in a silver canister into her face from his other hand. The hand opened and the canister fell to the ground.

“Itzawight,” his voice said in a far away drone. “Awightzzz.” She felt the prick of the needle, the light dimmed, his voice spat static: The light dimmed a little further, and then she found herself falling back into the darkness.



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AMERICA THE DEAD: SURVIVOR STORIES ONE Serial presentation 1

AMERICA THE DEAD: SURVIVOR STORIES ONE

America The Dead: Survivor Stories One is copyright © 2016 W. G. Sweet.

All rights foreign and domestic reserved in their entirety.

Cover Art © Copyright 2016 Wendell Sweet

Some text copyright 2010, 2014, 2015 W. G. 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 r

ecipient. If you are reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your bookseller and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

 

LEGAL

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

This novel is Copyright © 2016 Wendell G. Sweet and his assignees. Dell Sweet, W. G. Sweet and Geo Dell are publishing constructs owned by Wendell G. Sweet. No part of this book may be reproduced by any means, electronic, print, scanner or any other means and, or distributed without the author’s permission.

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



This serial presentation is copyright protected and is used with permission

This material has NOT been edited for content and is therefore rated on a cautionary basis as 18+


EPISODE ONE


PROLOGUE

Route 81 rest-stop

Watertown New York

April 20th

1:00 am

A black truck pulled into the rest stop and two men climbed out; walking toward the rest rooms that sat in from the road. Concrete bunker looking buildings that had been built back in the early seventies. They had been closed for several years now. In fact the Open soon sign was bolted to the front of the building; rust streaked the sign surface. It seemed like some sort of joke to Mike Bliss who used the rest stop as a place to do light duty drug deals. Nothing big, but still that depended on your idea of big. Certainly nothing over a few thousand dollars. That was his break off point. Any higher than that, he often joked, you would have to talk to someone in Columbia… Or maybe Mexico, he told himself now as he sat waiting in his Lexus, but it seemed that since Rich Dean had got himself dead the deals just seemed to be getting larger and larger. And who knew how much longer that might last. He watched the two men make a bee line for the old rest rooms.

“Idiots,” he muttered to himself. He pushed the button, waited for the window to come down, leaned out the window and yelled. “What are you, stupid? They’re closed.” He motioned with one hand. “You can’t read the fuckin’ sign or what?”

Both men stopped and looked from him to the sign.

“Yeah, closed. You can read right? Closed. That’s what it says. Been closed for years. Go on into Watertown; buy a fuckin’ burger or something. Only way you’re getting a bathroom at this time of the morning.” He had lowered his voice for the last as he pulled his head back into the car, and turned the heater up a notch. The electric motor whined as the window climbed in its track. He looked down at his wrist for the time, 1:02 A.M., where the fuck was this dude. He was late, granted a few minutes, but late was late.

A sharp rap on the glass startled him. He had been about to dig out his own supply, a little pick-me-up. He looked up to see the guys from the truck standing outside his window. “Oh… Fucking lovely,” he muttered. He pushed the button and the window lowered into the door, the motor whining loudly, the cold air blew in.

“And what can I do for you two gentlemen,” He asked in his best smart ass voice.

The one in back stepped forward into the light. Military type, Mike told himself. Older, maybe a noncom. A little gray at the edges of his buzz cut. With the military base so close there were soldiers everywhere, after all Watertown was a military town. It was why he was in the business he was in. It was also why he succeeded at it.

“Did you call me stupid,” The man asked in a polite tone.

“Who, me? No. I didn’t call you stupid, I asked, what are you, stupid? Different thing. The fuckin’ place is closed… Just doing my good deed for the day… Helping you, really, so you don’t waste no time,” Mike told him.

“Really?” The man asked.

Mike chuckled. “Yeah really, tough guy. Really. Now, I did my good deed, why don’t you get the fuck out of here ’cause you wore out your welcome.” He opened his coat slightly so they could see the chrome 9 mm that sat in its holster.

“Really,” the first guy repeated.

“Okay, who are you guys, frick and frack? A couple of fucking wannabees? Well I am the real deal, don’t make me stick this gun in your fuckin’ face,” Mike told them. He didn’t like being a dick, but sometimes you had to be.

“You know what my mother always said about guns?” The second guy asked.

“Well, since I don’t know your mama it’s hard to say,” Mike told him. He didn’t like the way these two were acting. They weren’t cops, he knew all the locals. If it had been someone he had to worry about he would have handled this completely differently. These guys were nobodies. At least nobodies to him, and that made them nobodies to Watertown. If he had to put a bullet in… His thoughts broke off abruptly as the barrel of what looked like a .45 was jammed into his nose. It came from nowhere. He sucked in a deep breath. He could taste blood in his mouth where the gun had smashed his upper lip against his teeth.

“She said don’t threaten to pull a gun, never. Just pull it.”

“Mama had a point,” Mike allowed. His voice was nasally due to the gun that was jammed hallway up to his brain. “Smart lady.”

“Very,” the man allowed. “Kind of a hard ass to grow up with, but she taught me well.” He looked down at Mike. “So listen, this is what we’re gonna do. You’re gonna drive out of here right the fuck now. And that’s going to stop me from pulling this trigger. Lucky day for you, I think. Like getting a Get Out Of Jail Free card, right.”

“This is my business spot… You don’t understand,” Mike told them. “I… I’m waiting for someone.”

“Not tonight, Michael.”

“Yeah, but you don’t.” He stopped. “How do you know my name?” he asked. There was more than a nasal quality to his voice, now there was real fear. Maybe they were Feds. Maybe.

“Yeah, we know you. And we know you use this spot as a place to do your business. And I’m saying we couldn’t care less, but right now you gotta go, and I’m not going to tell you the deal again. You can leave or stay, but you ain’t gonna like staying,” The guy told him.

Listen… This is my town… If you guys are Feds you can’t do shit like this… This is my town. You guys are just…

The guy pulled the trigger and Mike jumped. He fell to the right, across the front seat. Both men stepped away from the car, eyes scanning the lonely rest stop from end to end, but there was no one anywhere. The silence returned with a ringing in their ears from the blast as it had echoed back out of the closed car interior. The shooter worked his jaw for a moment, swallowing until his ears popped. He lifted his wrist to his mouth. “Guess you saw that,” he said quietly.

“Got a cleaner crew on the way up. You’ll pass them in the elevators. The boss is waiting on you guys.“ The voice came through the implant in his inner ear. No one heard what was said except him.

He nodded for the cameras that were picking him up. “In case you didn’t hear it, someone is supposed to meet him here so your cleaner crew could have company.”

“Got that too… We’ll handle it.” He nodded once more, and then walked off toward the rest rooms as the other man followed.

Once in back of the unit they used a key in the old rusted handset. It only looked old and rusty, it was actually an interface for a state of the art digital system that would read his body chemistry, heat, and more. The key had dozens of micro pulse sensor implants that made sure the user was human, transmitted heartbeat, body chemistry, it could even tell male from female and match chemical profiles to known examples in its database. Above and to the sides of them several scanners mapped their bodies to those same known profiles. Bone composition, old fractures, density and more. All unique in every man or women. The shooter removed the key and slipped it into his pocket. A few seconds later a deep whining of machinery reached their ears, the door shuddered in its frame, and then slipped down into a pocket below the doorway.

A second later they stepped into the gutted restroom. Stainless steel doors took up most of the room; the elevator to the base below. They waited for the cleaner crew to come up, then took the elevator back down into the depths.

~

The Bluechip facility stretched for more than five miles underground. Most of that was not finished space, most of that was connector tunnels, and storage space bored from the rock. The facility itself was about three thousand feet under the city of Watertown in a section of old caves that had been enlarged, concrete lined and reinforced. The rest area was one of several entrances that led into the complex. An old farm on the other side of Watertown, an abandoned factory in the industrial park west of the city and a few other places, including direct connections from secure buildings on the nearby base.

John Pauls and Sammy Black had Alpha clearance. Both were ex-military, but most likely military clearance was no longer a real matter of concern this late in the game, Sammy thought as they made their way down the wide hallway. The word coming down from those in the know was that in the next twenty-four hours the human race would come very close to ceasing to exist at all. No confirmation from anyone official, but regular programming was off air, the news stations were tracking a meteor that may or may not hit the Earth. The best opinions said it didn’t matter if it hit or not, it would be a close enough pass that there would be massive damage. Maybe the human race would be facing extinction. The government was strangely silent on the subject. And that had made him worry even more. The pass was estimated to be right over the tip of south America. So maybe formalities like Alpha clearance weren’t all that important any longer. If only Mike Bliss had given that some thought before he had pissed him off.

The halls were silent, nearly empty. Gloss white panels eight feet high framed it. It had always reminded Black of a maze with its twists and turns. Here and there doors hung open. Empty now. Always closed any other time he had been down here. So it had come this far too, Black thought. He stopped at a door that looked like any other door and a split second later the door rose into the ceiling and Major Weston waved them in.

Alice, he had never learned her last name, sat at her desk, her eyes on them as they walked past her. One hand rested on the butt of a matte black .45 caliber pistol in a webbed shoulder holster that was far from Army issue, and Sammy had no doubt she would shoot them both before they could even react. Alice was etched into one of those name pins that the Army seemed to like so well, but oddly, just Alice, no last name, rank or anything else. She wore no uniform, just a black coverall. The kind with the elastic ankle and wrist cuffs. No insignia there either. He had noticed that months before. Her eyes remained flat and expressionless as they passed her desk.

“Alice,” Sammy said politely. She said nothing at all, but she never did.

“Sit down, boys,” Major Weston told them. He spoke around the cigar in his mouth: Dead, but they always were, and there was never the smell of tobacco in the office. They took the two chairs that fronted the desk.

The Major was looking over a large monitor on the opposite wall that showed the north American continent. This map showed small areas of red, including the northern section where they were. The rest of the map was covered with green. “Where we are, and where we need to be,“ he said as he pushed a button on his desk. The monitor went blank. He turned to face the two.

“So here is where we are. You know, as does most of the world, that we are expecting a near miss from DX2379R later on tonight.” He held their eyes.

John shrugged. “I’ve been doing a little job, must have missed that. It’s not gonna take us out is it?”

“Saw that on the news a few days back. Guess we dodged a bad one,” Sammy said.

“Right… Right,” Weston said quietly. “But that cover was nothing but bullshit.”

“It’s going to hit us?” John asked.

“Maybe… The fact is that we don’t know. One group says this, another group says that, but it doesn’t matter because it will probably kill us off anyway. Direct hit, near miss, it is going to tip over an already bad situation with the Yellowstone Caldera.” He raised his eyes, “Familiar with that?”

“Yellowstone park?” Sammy said.

John nodded in agreement.

Weston laughed. “Put simply, yes. Yellowstone has always been an anomaly to us. Back in 1930 the Army did an exploratory survey of that area. What we came up with was that there was a section of the Rocky Mountains missing. Looked at from the top of Mount Washburn it was easy for the team to see that the largest crater of an extinct volcano known to exist lay before them.”

“I guess that’s about what I thought,” Sammy agreed.

“Yeah. We all think that. Except it is not true at all because the Yellowstone caldera is not extinct, it is active. Active and about to pop. There have been several warnings, but we took the recording stations off line quite some time ago, so there has been no mention of it in the news. Budget cuts,” he shrugged. “So everyone is focused on this meteor that may or may not hit us and instead this volcanic event is going to blow up and when that happens the rest won’t matter at all.” He clicked the button on his desk and the monitor came to life. “All the red areas are spots where the surface pressure has increased. There was, at one time, many active volcanoes on the north American continent.” He clicked a button and the map changed to a view of the European continent with many of the same red shaded areas.

“All over the Earth… Higher pressures. Up until a few days ago the brainiacs were still arguing over whether this could even happen.” He laughed. “It is happening and they are arguing over whether it can happen. Well, we had our little debates and then we realized that history shows clearly that this has happened before. Several times. Call it the Earth’s way of cleansing itself.”

“But it’s not an absolute, right?”Sammy asked.

“Don’t start sounding like the scientists.” He reached below his desk and came up with six small silver 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. It was obviously an aerial shot, looking down at a chain of islands. Smoke hung over the chain, reaching as high as the plane itself. As the plane dropped lower, rivers of red appeared. “That picture is an hour old. That is… Was, the Hawaiian chain.”

Sammy twisted further to the side, staring at the monitor. “How can that be… I mean everyone would know about it.” He turned back to Weston.

Weston nodded. “And that would be true except the satellites are out because of the asteroid. Shut down to avoid damage. That is the official word.” He clicked the button on his desk and the monitor went dead once more. “I started this out saying that none of it matters and that is true. The Yellowstone caldera is going to erupt sometime in the next few days. Not a maybe, not an educated guess: If the satellites were up you would know that the park is closed. It has already started. We have had a few 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 lifted his palms and spread them open, sighing as he did. “So it is a double whammy. If we survive the meteor the volcanoes get us, or the earthquakes because of them, or we’ll die from injuries. And I think those of us who die outright will be lucky. The rest of us will have a hard time of it… Staying alive with nothing… We will probably all starve to death.” He paused in the silence.

“Those cartridges are a compound developed right here in this complex for the armed forces. Project Super Soldier. SS for short. That kept people from looking too deep, they assumed it was something to do with the Nazi youth movement here and abroad. We let that misconception hold.” He waited a second for his words to sink in. “SS is designed to prolong life past the normal point of termination. It allows a soldier to survive longer without food and more importantly without water. Does something to the cells of the host, I don’t pretend to know what. What I do know is that the people above me made the decision to release this…” He picked up a mug of coffee from the desk and sipped deeply. His eyes were red road maps, Sammy noticed now. Like he hadn’t slept in a few days.

“So this is it for us. I guess you realize that you probably won’t get paid for this. No money is going to show up in your account. I will run it through before I pull the plug, but I truly believe the machinery will be dead by the time payday rolls around. So this is something I’m asking you to do.” He pointed to the cartridges that both men were looking over. Sammy held his as though it might bite him.

“Those babies are really all we have to hope with. Most people will die outright. They will never make it past the quakes, eruptions, and the resulting ash clouds and gases. Up here we should be okay as far as gases go, eruptions, but there are fault lines that crisscross this area. This whole facility is bored from limestone caverns. Probably won’t make it through the quakes, although it is a good eighty miles from the closest line,” he shrugged. “Maybe, maybe not. My point is there should be a good chance for survivors here.”

“So we do what with these? Can they harm us?” John asked.

“Harm you, kill you? No, but you will be infected the minute you push that button. It will protect you the same as anyone else. There is enough in a single 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?”

“Minimum, three billion. That is before those infected pass it along themselves: After a while it won’t matter. As to the question of infected, this is a designer virus. You catch it just like the flu. We infected whole platoons by releasing it in the air over them. Eighty-Nine point seven percent infection rate, but that doesn’t really matter because it infects people close to you and those people will infect you… Sneezing, waste, sex, water, food, it gets into and on everything. And once it is in you, either orally or via bloodstream you will be infected. The human body has nothing to fight it, no reason to be alarmed or believe it’s anything more than a virus. And that same response will help to carry it to every area of the body as your own defenses manufacture white blood cells to fight it. So you may as well say a one hundred percent infection rate.” He paused and rubbed at his temples.

“Be glad they decided on this. They have some others that will kill everybody in the world in a matter of days.” Weston nodded at the raised eyebrows that greeted his remarks. “I don’t doubt that the merits of which way to go were hotly debated,” he finished gravely.

“The virus is designed to live within the host, but it can live outside of the host. It can stay alive in a dead body for days, even if the body is frozen. In fact that just freezes the virus too, once the body is thawed it will infect any living person that comes along. So those,” he pointed to the silver cartridges, “are overkill. Same stuff is being released across the globe. Great Briton… Germany… Australia… West coast just a few hours ago. Manhattan has already been done, all the East Coast in fact. I want the two of you to head out from here. One vial here, then one of you head west, the other south. Go for the bigger cities… Water supplies… Reservoirs… Release it in the air or water, it doesn’t matter. There are men heading out from the south, the west coast. The Air Force will be dispersing the same stuff via cargo planes tomorrow or the next day… As long as they can fly, if we can even make it that long, and that isn’t looking really good right now…” He rose from the desk. “I’ll see you out.” He turned to Alice. “Alice… Pack us up.” Alice nodded as Sammy and John got to their feet, but her hand remained on the butt of the pistol. Rubber grips, Sammy noticed as he passed her.

“Alice,” he said.

“Um hmm,” Alice murmured.

Sammy nearly stopped in his tracks, but managed to hide his surprise as he passed by into the hallway. The Major fished two sets of keys from his pocket. “Parked in the back lot. A couple of plain Jane Dodge four-bys. Drive ’em like you stole ’em. Leave ’em where you finish up. Hell, keep ’em if you want ’em. Nobody is going to care.”

The three stood in the hallway for a few seconds longer. Sammy’s eyes locked with the Major’s own, and he nodded. The major walked back into his office, and the door rose from its pocket behind him. Quiet, except the slight buzzing from the fluorescent lights.

John shrugged as his eyes met Sammy’s, waiting.

Sammy sighed. “You heard the man… West or south?”

“Flip for it?” John asked. His mouth seemed overly dry and he licked his lips nervously.

Sammy pulled a quarter from his pocket and flipped it into the air. “Call it, Johnny.”

“Tails,” John said just before the quarter hit the carpet.

Sammy bent forward. “Tails it is. You got it, Johnny.”

John looked down at the carpet. “West, I guess.” John said.

Sammy nodded, looked down once more at the quarter and then both men turned and walked away toward the elevator that would take them back to the surface.



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The Zombie Plagues: Plague. The latest book in the Zombie Plagues series and it’s free!

The Zombie Plagues: Plague

The latest book in the Zombie Plagues series and it’s free!


THE ZOMBIE PLAGUES: PLAGUE

The Zombie Plagues: Plague is copyright © 2017 Geo Dell. All rights foreign and domestic reserved in their entirety.

Cover Art © Copyright 2017 Geo Dell

Some text copyright 2010, 2014, 2015 Geo Dell

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

 

LEGAL

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

No part of this book may be reproduced by any means, electronic, print, scanner or any other means and, or distributed without the author’s permission.

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


This content is used with permission of the copyright owner.

This excerpt is NOT edited for content and is rated 18+


PROJECT BLUECHIP

The Bluechip facility stretched for more than five miles underground. Most of that was not finished space, most of that was connector tunnels, and storage space bored from the rock. The facility itself was about three thousand feet under the city of Watertown in a section of old caves that had been enlarged, concrete lined and reinforced. The rest area was one of several entrances that led into the complex: An old farm on the other side of Watertown, an abandoned factory in the industrial park west of the city and a few other places, including direct connections from secure buildings on the nearby base.

John Pauls and Sammy Black had Alpha clearance. Both were ex-military, but most likely military clearance was no longer a real matter of concern this late in the game, Sammy thought as they made their way down the wide hallway. The word coming down from those in the know was that in the next twenty-four hours the human race would come very close to ceasing to exist at all. No confirmation from anyone official, but regular programming was off air, the news stations were tracking a meteor that may or may not hit the Earth. The best opinions said it didn’t matter if it hit or not, it would be a close enough pass that there would be massive damage. Maybe the human race would be facing extinction. The government was strangely silent on the subject. And that had made him worry even more: The pass was estimated to be right over the tip of South America. So maybe formalities like Alpha clearance weren’t all that important any longer. If only Mike Bliss had given that some thought before he had pissed him off.

The halls were silent, nearly empty. Gloss white panels eight feet high framed it. It had always reminded Black of a maze with its twists and turns. Here and there doors hung open. Empty now. Always closed any other time he had been down here. So it had come this far too, Black thought. He stopped at a door that looked like any other door and a split second later the door rose into the ceiling and Major Weston waved them in.

Alice, he had never learned her last name, sat at her desk, her eyes on them as they walked past her. One hand rested on the butt of a matte black .45 caliber pistol in a webbed shoulder holster that was far from Army issue, and Sammy had no doubt she would shoot them both before they could even react. Alice was etched into one of those name pins that the Army seemed to like so well, but oddly, just Alice, no last name, rank or anything else. She wore no uniform, just a black coverall. The kind with the elastic ankle and wrist cuffs. No insignia there either: He had noticed those things months before. Her eyes remained flat and expressionless as they passed her desk.

“Alice,” Sammy said politely. She said nothing at all, but she never did.

“Sit down, boys,” Major Weston told them. He spoke around the cigar in his mouth: Dead, but they always were, and there was never the smell of tobacco in the office. They took the two chairs that fronted the desk.

The Major was looking over a large monitor on the opposite wall that showed the North American continent. This map showed small areas of red, including the northern section where they were. The rest of the map was covered with green. “Where we are, and where we need to be,” he said as he pushed a button on his desk. The monitor went blank. He turned to face the two.

“So here is where we are. You know, as does most of the world, that we are expecting a near miss from DX2379R later on tonight.” He held their eyes.

John shrugged. “I’ve been doing a little job, must have missed that. It’s not gonna take us out is it?”

“Saw that on the news a few days back. Guess we dodged a bad one,” Sammy said.

“Right… Right,” Weston said quietly. “But that cover was nothing but bullshit.”

“It’s going to hit us?” John asked.

“Maybe… The fact is that we don’t know. One group says this, another group says that, but it doesn’t matter because it will probably kill us off anyway. Direct hit, near miss, it is going to tip over an already bad situation with the Yellowstone Caldera.” He raised his eyes, “Familiar with that?”

“Yellowstone Park?” Sammy said.

John nodded in agreement.

Weston laughed. “Put simply, yes. Yellowstone has always been an anomaly to us. Back in 1930 the Army did an exploratory survey of that area. What we came up with was that there was a section of the Rocky Mountains missing. Looked at from the top of Mount Washburn it was easy for the team to see that the largest crater of an extinct volcano known to exist laid before them.”

“I guess that’s about what I thought,” Sammy agreed.

“Yeah. We all think that. Except it is not true at all because the Yellowstone caldera is not extinct, it is active: Active and about to pop. There have been several warnings, but we took the recording stations off line quite some time ago, so there has been no mention of it in the news. Budget cuts,” he shrugged. “So everyone is focused on this meteor that may or may not hit us and instead this volcanic event is going to blow up and when that happens the rest won’t matter at all.” He clicked the button on his desk and the monitor came to life. “All the red areas are spots where the surface pressure has increased. There 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. “It is happening and they are arguing over whether it can happen. Well, we had our little debates and then we realized that history shows clearly that this has happened before. Several times. Call it the Earth’s way of cleansing itself.”

“But it’s not an absolute, right?”Sammy asked.

“Don’t start sounding like the scientists.” He reached below his desk and came up with six small silver 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. It was obviously an aerial shot, looking down at a chain of islands. Smoke hung over the chain, reaching as high as the plane itself. As the plane dropped lower, rivers of red appeared. “That picture is an hour old. That is… Was, the Hawaiian chain.”

Sammy twisted further to the side, staring at the monitor. “How can that be…? I mean everyone would know about it.” He turned back to Weston.

Weston nodded. “And that would be true except the satellites are out because of the asteroid. Shut down to avoid damage. That is the official word.” He clicked the button on his desk and the monitor went dead once more. “I started this out saying that none of it matters and that is true. The Yellowstone caldera is going to erupt sometime in the next few days. Not a maybe, not an educated guess: If the satellites were up you would know that the park is closed. It has already started. We have had a few 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 lifted his palms and spread them open, sighing as he did. “So it is a double whammy. If we survive the meteor the volcanoes get us, or the earthquakes because of them, or we’ll die from injuries. And I think those of us who die outright will be lucky. The rest of us will have a hard time of it… Staying alive with nothing… We will probably all starve to death.” He paused in the silence.

“Those cartridges are a compound developed right here in this complex for the armed forces: Project Super Soldier; SS for short. That kept people from looking too deep; they assumed it was something to do with the Nazi youth movement here and abroad. We let that misconception hold.” He waited a second for his words to sink in. “SS is designed to prolong life past the normal point of termination. It allows a soldier to survive longer without food and more importantly without water. Does something to the cells of the host, I don’t pretend to know what. What I do know is that the people above me made the decision to release this…” He picked up a mug of coffee from the desk and sipped deeply. His eyes were red road maps, Sammy noticed now; like he hadn’t slept in a few days.

“So this is it for us. I guess you realize that you probably won’t get paid for this. No money is going to show up in your account. I will run it through before I pull the plug, but I truly believe the machinery will be dead by the time payday rolls around. So this is something I’m asking you to do.” He pointed to the cartridges that both men were looking over. Sammy held his as though it might bite him.

“Those babies are really all we have to hope with. Most people will die outright. They will never make it past the quakes, eruptions, and the resulting ash clouds and gases. Up here we should be okay as far as gases go, eruptions, but there are fault lines that crisscross this area. This whole facility is bored from limestone caverns. Probably won’t make it through the quakes, although it is a good eighty miles from the closest line,” he shrugged. “Maybe, maybe not: My point is there should be a good chance for survivors here.”

“So we do what with these? Can they harm us?” John asked.

“Harm you, kill you? No, but you will be infected the minute you push that button. It will protect you the same as anyone else. There is enough in a single 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?”

“Minimum, three billion: That is before those infected pass it along themselves: After a while it won’t matter. As to the question of infected, this is a designer virus. You catch it just like the flu. We infected whole platoons by releasing it in the air over them. Eighty-Nine point seven percent infection rate, but that doesn’t really matter because it infects people close to you and those people will infect you… Sneezing, waste, sex, water, food, it gets into and on everything. And once it is in you, either orally or via bloodstream you will be infected. The human body has nothing to fight it, no reason to be alarmed or believe it’s anything more than a virus. And that same response will help to carry it to every area of the body as your own defenses manufacture white blood cells to fight it. So you may as well say a one hundred percent infection rate.” He paused and rubbed at his temples.

“Be glad they decided on this. They have some others that will kill everybody in the world in a matter of days.” Weston nodded at the raised eyebrows that greeted his remarks. “I don’t doubt that the merits of which way to go were hotly debated,” he finished gravely.

“The virus is designed to live within the host, but it can live outside of the host. It can stay alive in a dead body for days, even if the body is frozen. In fact that just freezes the virus too; once the body is thawed it will infect any living person that comes along. So those,” he pointed to the silver cartridges, “are overkill. Same stuff is being released across the globe. Great Briton… Germany… Australia… West coast just a few hours ago. Manhattan has already been done, all the East Coast in fact. I want the two of you to head out from here. One vial here, then one of you heads west, the other south. Go for the bigger cities… Water supplies… Reservoirs… Release it in the air or water, it doesn’t matter. There are men heading out from the south, the west coast. The Air Force will be dispersing the same stuff via cargo planes tomorrow or the next day… As long as they can fly, if we can even make it that long, and that isn’t looking really good right now…” He rose from the desk. “I’ll see you out.” He turned to Alice. “Alice… Pack us up.” Alice nodded as Sammy and John got to their feet, but her hand remained on the butt of the pistol. Rubber grips, Sammy noticed as he passed her.

“Alice,” he said.

“Um hmm,” Alice murmured.

Sammy nearly stopped in his tracks, but managed to hide his surprise as he passed by into the hallway. The Major fished two sets of keys from his pocket. “Parked in the back lot. A couple of plain Jane Dodge four-bys. Drive ’em like you stole ’em. Leave ’em where you finish up. Hell, keep ’em if you want ’em. Nobody is going to care.”

The three stood in the hallway for a few seconds longer. Sammy’s eyes locked with the Major’s own, and he nodded. The major walked back into his office, and the door rose from its pocket behind him: Quiet, except the slight buzzing from the fluorescent lights.

John shrugged as his eyes met Sammy’s, waiting.

Sammy sighed. “You heard the man… West or south?”

“Flip for it?” John asked. His mouth seemed overly dry and he licked his lips nervously.

Sammy pulled a quarter from his pocket and flipped it into the air. “Call it, Johnny.”

“Tails,” John said just before the quarter hit the carpet.

Sammy bent forward. “Tails it is. You got it, Johnny.”

John looked down at the carpet. “West, I guess.” John said.

Sammy nodded, looked down once more at the quarter and then both men turned and walked away toward the elevator that would take them back to the surface.


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THE ORIGINAL SURVIVORS: FROM ASHES

THE ORIGINAL SURVIVORS: FROM ASHES

The Original Survivors: From Ashes is copyright © 2017 Dell Sweet. All rights foreign and domestic reserved in their entirety.

Cover Art © Copyright 2017 Wendell Sweet

Some text copyright 2010, 2014, 2015 Wendell Sweet

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

 

LEGAL

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

This novel is Copyright © 2017 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.


This is copyright protected material

This material has not been edited for content and is rated 18+


From Ashes They Will Come


State Street

“This was all me,” Mike said as they stood just inside the shattered front windows of the supermarket. The large piles of debris he had pulled out of his way as he searched through the rubble seemed to frame the dark opening that led into the interior of the store, piled high on either side of the twisted steel frames. They formed a dark, forbidding tunnel.

“Maybe it’s a little worse for wear and tear from the rain and the last earthquake.” He looked around and shook his head. “Maybe not though. It doesn’t look any worse at all. Doesn’t look like the rain got in.”

The smell was strong though. It made Mike wish he had removed the bodies the last time he had been there. Patty, Candace and Ronnie all had faces on, wrinkled noses, squinting eyes, partially turned away from the darkened tunnel and the aisles that were barely visible in the gloom.

“It’s pretty bad,” Ronnie said.

Mike simply nodded.

“I shopped here a few times,” Candace said. “I know the basic layout.” She looked to the left then to the right. “Mostly canned vegetables, canned soups, stews, that sort of thing?” She pointed to an area Mike had cleared out.

“Yeah,” Mike agreed, impressed. “I was trying to remember which way to go.” All three of the others were nodding in understanding.

“Patty, did you and Ronnie come here? I think we want to go to the left. I think the next aisle is paper goods, utensils stuff like that.” Candace said.

“A few times,” Ronnie elaborated.

“All the time,” Patty added. “He doesn’t like to shop if I remember correctly.”

Ronnie laughed. “Pizza delivery for Two C,” he said and laughed. Then, “yeah, it was easier to get something on the way home, have a pizza delivered. I think my refrigerator had two or three boxes with leftover pizza, and a couple of six packs… maybe an old jar of Mayo.” He looked apologetic.

“Stuff’ll kill you,” Mike said.

“Yeah. Yeah, but it tastes good,” Ronnie laughed.

Patty rolled her eyes. “Yeah… Paper stuff… Toilet tissue. Some medications, gadgets, you know, like little can openers, oven timers.”

They all looked at each other.

“Good a place as any to start,” Ronnie said. They all nodded and started to work clearing the debris from the front of the aisle, piling it outside the shattered front windows.

Everyone wore heavy gloves to protect themselves from all the broken glass and brick, so the work went quickly. They had pulled the trucks as close to the front of the building as they could, so once they reached the aisle it was easy to retrieve and load what they chose to keep right into the trucks.

Moving the debris that blocked the aisles went much faster with three extra pairs of hands. In no time at all they had progressed down the aisles and were nearing the back wall of the supermarket.

“The end,” Patty said, thinking out loud, “Breads, Cakes, fresh produce…”

“I think so,” Candace agreed.

The closer they got to the back of the store the stronger the odor of corruption became.

“Bad,” Patty said.

“Yeah… I think that’s lunch meat… Produce…”

“The butcher shop is back there also,” Ronnie said.

“Storage?” Candace asked.

“Probably where Lilly got the corn. She probably used the back door though,” Mike said.

They had already come across two bodies as they had dug their way through the aisles. Rather than leave them there as Mike had done, they had dragged them out of the market and covered them with a tarp at the front of the store. Despite that, the store didn’t smell any better than it had. Rats, mice, and bugs had infested the market.

“Both the Suburbans are packed. The pickup nearly is,” Ronnie said.

“Yeah,” Mike said. “I’m thinking, what else is there here that we could need?”

“Duh,” Patty said and smacked her forehead with an open palm. “Hang on. Follow me,” she turned and walked down to the destroyed front window area and stepped out into the bright sunlight. The others followed, stopping to blink their eyes rapidly in the overly bright sunlight. Slowly adjusting after so long inside the dark interior.

Patty made her way along the front of the store, in the same direction they had been walking inside. Just about twenty feet from the end of the store a single steel door rested.

“The back door,” Patty said. “It used to be a drug store, but when it was closed the supermarket snapped up the lease on that space. They took out the front windows and bricked it all up, put in this steel door unit. We can get into the back storage area from here. That’s what they used it for, more storage. I remember reading about it in the paper. One of those days when I was so bored I read every story in the paper.” She laughed. “You know, in a small town, everything’s a big story.”

Ronnie looked over the handle with its inset lock. “This can’t be the way Lilly got in,” he said.

“No,” Candace agreed. “There’s a whole different warehouse area at the absolute back of the store. Different area.”

Ronnie nodded. “I don’t know if it wouldn’t still be easier to go through from the inside though.” He looked over the door. “That’s a steel jamb. And that,” He pointed down at the inset lock, “Is probably a deadbolt. It’s going to be tough to get opened easily.”

Mike left, walked to the Suburban and came back a few seconds later with a massive sledge hammer and a long heavy crow bar. He set the end of the crowbar into the steel jamb at the place were the lock-set was. He tapped it lightly a few times to wedge it into the door. After the easy taps he swung hard twice, driving the heavy bar into the door. The door easily dented inward, the lock-set pieces flying out onto the concrete of the sidewalk as he drove the end of the heavy crowbar home.

The door itself bent out of the frame with a soft squeal of metal.

Mike started forward into the small circle of light when the odor from inside the space suddenly leapt out to assault him. At the same time, a distinct sound reached his ears, the sound of dozens of buzzing flies. Mike moved back quicker than he had thought to and nearly tripped over the others as he did.

Ronnie stepped forward, snagged what was left of the door and pushed it shut. The broken lock mechanism jammed in the steel door unit and held it closed.

Ronnie’s face was gray. Sweat popped out along his brow. He had seen dozens of bodies inside, just within the small perimeter of light that had come through the open doorway, and what looked to be dozens more just beyond in the shadows.

“Jesus,” he managed as he quickly made his way past the others, around the side of the building, away from the odor. He almost kept his breakfast down, but as the picture of the devastation inside replayed in his head, he lost the brief struggle. He came back after a few minutes.

Everyone had walked further down what was left of the sidewalk, away from the door. His face was still pale, but he felt marginally better.

“All right,” Patty asked as she rested the back of her wrist against his forehead. Her eyes were worried.

“Better,” Ronnie said. “I just wasn’t prepared for that. I’ve never seen anything like that.”

“Looked like they were stuck in there,” Candace said.

“Except they could’ve just knocked the lock off like we did.” Mike’s eyes met Ronnie’s. They had both been close to the door as it opened and they had both seen the same things. Weapons scattered everywhere. There had been some sort of battle in there.

“What?” Candace asked. She looked at Ronnie.

“Looked like a lot of weapons just lying around by the bodies…like maybe a gunfight took place and then the ceiling caved in. But they were dead before that… shot for some reason. Shot each other?” He looked over at Mike.

“Maybe,” Mike allowed. “Or shot and then whoever did it just shut and locked the door and walked away.” He shrugged helplessly.

“Well, they must have killed each other,” Patty said.

“Maybe,” Ronnie said. “But like Mike said…” He shrugged too. “Some weapons looked like they might have been thrown in on top of them… It doesn’t fit.”

Mike nodded.

Candace looked from Mike to Ronnie, a look of disbelief on her face. She glanced back down at the door, back at Mike once more, then spun and walked back down to the door.

“Candace,” Mike called. He started after her, but she reached the door and tugged it open before he reached her. “You don’t,” he started.

She drew in a short breath; her hands came up and cupped her nose and mouth. Her legs were planted firmly, her posture rigid. “It’s true,” she mumbled through her hands. Mike leaned past her shoulder and took a closer look at the room.

There were many more bodies than his first quick look had shown him. The weapons were lying on top of the bodies, as though they had been shot and then someone had tossed the weapons into the room, shut the door and walked away. Just as it had seemed to both he and Ronnie in their first short view.

What hadn’t appeared in their first short view were the other things that were, at first, not readily seen.

They had, every one, been shot in the head. But that was not the only thing. It was the way some people’s hands weren’t showing. That in itself didn’t actually register for a few seconds until he realized no one’s hands were showing. Then his eyes took in the bodies in more detail than his eyes had wanted to provide, and he realized the reason their hands were not showing was because they were behind their backs.

He saw two people that answered the why of that. Bright glimpses of metal showed between the bloated skin of their wrists. Handcuffed… His mind had supplied tied, but it was not tied, it was handcuffed. And handcuffed was not a mistake. Handcuffed could not shoot back at all. They had been herded in here, for whatever reason, handcuffed and shot… Murdered, his mind supplied.

“Come on,” he said quietly to Candace. “We don’t need to see any more of this do we?”

She shook her head, turned back towards him, and then suddenly found herself running around the side of the building the same way that Ronnie had. A few minutes later, she came back out and joined the others. Everyone was silent. The morning had moved on and the afternoon was bright sunshine and warmth on the cracked sidewalk, but none of that warmth seemed able to touch her.

“Probably never know why,” Ronnie said after a long silence. He spun the cap off a bottle of water, took a deep drink, rinsed his mouth, spat and then drank again. They were all gathered around the trucks.

Mike stared off down what was left of State Street. The street itself was more dirt and sand than pavement. The buildings that were left tilted crazily. Some looked almost untouched until you got close to them. From here they looked fine, just like from the sidewalk the steel door hadn’t seemed to be hiding anything special, his mind jabbered.

“There’s another drug store up the street,” he said, just to be talking. “I didn’t check it. I wasn’t thinking about it. It’s an actual drug store… So I was thinking what could there be there that I would need. But drugstores sell all sorts of things. We could go see.”

“Let’s go see,” Patty said.

They all piled into the trucks like they had only been looking for an excuse to go. As they drove away, Mike knew he would never come back to the supermarket for anything. Silence held as they maneuvered their way over the shattered pavement and made their way down the street…



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The Zombie Plagues Book One Created by Dell Sweet installment two

The Zombie Plagues Book One Created by Dell Sweet

PUBLISHED BY: Geo Dell and independAntwriters Publishing

The Zombie Plagues Book One

Additional Copyrights 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2015, 2017 Wendell Sweet & his assignee Andrea Scroggs All rights reserved

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


This material is NOT edited for content and is rated 18+


CHAPTER TWO

Journals and Diaries

Mike ~ March 8th

I debated with myself about how to start this. Isn’t that stupid? Not whether I should start it. I guess that means that I have some hope that I am not the only one.

Actually, I know that I’m not the only one. I’ve heard gunshots more than once. I’ve heard a dog barking as well. And I’ve seen several dogs, cats, squirrels, etc… I’ve also heard what sounded like a car or a truck, but I couldn’t figure out where it was coming from. Everything is so quiet; it could be anywhere.

The sound of the river drowns things out. Even so, I haven’t seen any other people. None. And, I’m getting ahead of myself again.

I have no idea what has happened, even here in this town. It doesn’t really matter either, except to tell you, whoever you may end up being, what happened from my point of view, I guess. Maybe it’s the same for you. Maybe writing this out is a waste of time. But, it keeps my mind off shit, you know?

So, I wondered where to start? Today? Last week? Just start, I guess…

I have heat, food, fire. And I’ve finally gotten myself moved into this cave, so my mind is more at ease. But, again, I’m getting ahead of myself. It started for me last week on the 2nd of March. Only six days, but everything here has changed.

I was having a few beers, watching the coverage of the world countdown party; hey, it was supposed to be a joke, right? And, supposedly, we had a few months to go. It was supposed to be one long countdown party. One minute everything was fine, and the next the power was out.

Then the first quake hit…

I made it through that night and… two more quakes? Aftershocks? Who knows? I was just trying to get through to the morning. Phones were out; Sirens everywhere; No power. But, the closer it got to dawn the less noise there was. The sirens fell off. The rain started hard, and then the lightning came. A thunder and lightning storm in the middle of winter!

It was spooky, and when morning finally came, it didn’t make much sense at all. Almost everything I could see in every direction was flattened. The streets had cracked open and had become rivers. The temperature was higher than it should have been. But that didn’t last.

By noon the rain stopped, and I kept expecting to see someone. Emergency workers… Power Company… Somebody. Even a neighbor. But I saw no one at all that day.

I guess as serious as it was, I wasn’t taking it seriously. At least not the first day. I was still thinking rescue, help, it’s on the way. This is the most powerful country in the entire world. Help is coming. So I sat on my ass and drank beer and ate bologna sandwiches and chips, staring out at the street from my front porch, which was perched on the edge of a twenty foot rain gully.

Just before dark, the real quake hit. It had to have been stronger than the previous ones. It felt like it anyway.

I barely jumped off the porch before it fell into the gully. Scared the hell out of me. It wasn’t long after that when darkness settled in and I knew I was in trouble. Something in the whole structure of the house was damaged. Every aftershock made it dance, sway around me. It was also now a two foot drop down to the ground since my porch was gone. And I didn’t dare leave, because I had no idea what it was like outside. No Streetlights. No Moon. No starlight. No starlight, none!  Then the storms came back, and the air turned back to cold.

Every time the lightning flashed I could see the street, or what had been the street. There was no more street, not really. It was a river; wide, and it looked pretty deep, all the opposite side of the street was gone now. No houses, cars, telephone poles, satellite dishes. Nothing. It seemed like the entire side of the street had washed away right down to the river. The water roared past me – just a few feet from where my porch had been – flattened out, and then turned into rapids breaking away to crash into the Black river further down the hill. That was when I realized it wasn’t just the other side of the street that was gone. The other two blocks that had been between me and the river were also gone.

Later on, the rain turned to snow, but the lightning kept up. Lightning in a snow storm. How crazy is that? By the morning of March 4th, the river running past my house was down to a trickle, but the snow was piling up. Down the hill the Black was over her banks. There was nothing else to see, a few solitary houses still standing as my own was. But there was no one around anywhere. That’s when I got into the hard stuff.

I drank myself to sleep, and when I woke up I’d lost several hours. My watch still worked at that point. When I walked to the front door, the first thing I noticed was footprints in the snow. Three sets, two small, maybe kids or women, one big, going just past my house, no more than three feet from my house, where once upon a time in some other world my porch had been, and I had slept through it. I yelled and screamed for a half hour hoping that someone would hear me, but no one came. No one yelled back and told me to shut up either. Just absolute silence. No birds, just the roar of the swollen Black. Nothing else.

I’ve thought about the day, the fourth, a couple of times. Was it the fourth? The fifth? Did I sleep more than a few hours? I don’t know. And that was the day my watch stopped working, so I don’t know. One minute it was working, the next it wasn’t. The face was blank.

There were a couple of more aftershocks that day, and I began to wonder if my house would be standing much longer. After all, nearly everything around me was destroyed already. And, I thought, what if that was an aftershock? Like I had thought the first quake was the real one and then the one the next day was so much stronger. It made me realize how stupid I was to still be in that house. And, I thought, no wonder no one is answering when I yell. They were all smart enough to get away from the buildings. Leave. And if I left also, I reasoned, I’d most likely catch up to them, whoever they were, wherever they had gone. That was when I had glanced at my watch and noticed that it had stopped working.

I had been in the habit of looking at my watch all day. Just nervous, I guess. I was positive that I had just looked at it and it had been working. But, when had that been? What time had it been? And when had it been that I had looked at it? How long ago? All I could remember for sure was that the last aftershock that had started me wondering had been at 2:57 P.M. I wasn’t sure of anything after that. Even when I thought back on it later, wondering what day it was, I wondered why I had never thought to push the little date button to see what the date had been. Or had I? Had I and then forgotten that I had? Had I only remembered subconsciously that it was the fourth? Anyway, the watch was dead. And what time was it? And where should I go? And how soon would it be dark? After wasting time wondering about things like that, things that were absolute bullshit in light of everything else, I just jumped down into the snow and headed off towards downtown.

There were a few buildings standing in that direction. It was still snowing pretty hard, but I could see the outlines of the buildings through the snow.

There were planes overhead in the night. I know that sounds crazy, but I awoke to hearing them. There was a strange smell in the air, and I was thinking, in my dream? Maybe in my dream or maybe awake. Anyway, I was thinking crop dusters. Like they were crop-dusting. Spraying something. It was weird. Now I could see traces of blue… powder? Something on the snow, and it made me remember the dream. But I pushed it away and walked. Too much to see and comprehend as it was without worrying over bad dreams.

Normally it’s no more than a fifteen minute walk to the Square. Watertown has an old New England style Public Square that is the center of downtown. I figured that if anyone was still alive, that was where they would be.

In fact, I told myself, they probably would have some buildings open for shelter. Fire Department passing out blankets, bottled water, hot soup. I could see it so clearly in my head. I was wrong, of course, but that’s a story for tomorrow. My fingers are shot. Hey it would be easy to write this on my computer keyboard, but computers are a thing of the past now.

I’m warm. I’m dry. I’m pretty much okay. I survived the day the world ended, but my fingers are sore and I’m tired, so I’ll pick this up tomorrow.

Candace ~ March 8th

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. But I can’t keep on this way either. It is too hard on him, too hard on me.

Bob and Jan Dove are also with us. I don’t know what I would do without Jan. She is level headed where I am impulsive, a thinker where I tend to just act. A good balance. Bob has an idea of rebuilding his peoples’ lands. He’s Native American, and so is Jan. It sounded crazy when he first said it, but after I thought about it, it began to make sense to me.

Lydia is the other member of our party. She hates me. That’s because Tom wants me, and she wants Tom. Maybe that will fix itself before I have to fix it by leaving and going on my own.

Today we decided to see if the city was any better on the other side of the river. It isn’t. We crossed the river, the Black river, on a railroad trestle. There is a traffic bridge, and it looks passable, but it’s clogged with cars and some of those cars look purposely placed to block it off. That creeped me out.

We walked across the trestle, carefully, and went up State street. There’s a store there, a supermarket, and we found tracks in the snow. One person. A man I would guess from the boot tread.

I can not tell you what that was like. Seeing a footprint left by someone else. Someone else alive in this whole mess. I felt connected to him. I can’t say it or explain it any better than that. Like a connection existed forever and I only had to find it. I tried to explain it to Lydia but she just shrugged. We have this thing with Tom between us though. She wants him; he wants me. I don’t want him. It could be so Goddamn simple, but it isn’t.

Except the footprints. Maybe the footprints are the answer. I think they are. I believe they are. We just need to find the person, the man, that goes with those footprints and… And I don’t know. I really don’t. But I think he’ll know.

The only bad thing today, we came across a dead man laying crumpled by the side of the road. I could have sworn he moved, so I hurried to him. But as I got closer, I could see that he was dead. Long dead. We stood for a moment and then walked on. Later when we came back he was gone, and I thought, was he dead? Was he? But I know that he was. I suppose that wild dogs or something got him. We didn’t talk about it, but it bothered all of us.

Mike ~ March 9th

Maybe it’s March ninth. I guess I really don’t know. But that’s what I think it is, so that’s what I’m going with.

It’s late. I spent today getting food, canned stuff mostly. It was rough. Almost everything is flattened, and what isn’t flattened is badly damaged. I spent about five hours a few days ago digging my way into a supermarket on State Street. The roof was down but held up by the tops of the aisle stacks, so I was able to make my way through. I just had to be really careful of broken glass. That was where I went back to today.

I had no flashlight at first, but I managed to get a small flashlight and batteries. I had to take so much stuff out of the front area of the store, that all the impulse stuff they sell was right there, candy, little radios, and of course flashlights and batteries. I tried a small portable radio. Nothing but static on the A.M. and F.M. bands both. I brought it back with me along with some extra batteries. I listened to it a short while ago; still nothing. Maybe tomorrow.

I spent the day at the supermarket digging out canned goods and bringing them back here.

Here is a cave. The cave is down in back of the square, downtown as it’s called.  I knew about it from growing up here. It used to be bricked up. The quake took care of that though. I was worried about the cave itself collapsing, but it seems to be fine.

It’s only about a mile and a half from here to the supermarket, but with no vehicle it’s slow going. I’ve been piling stuff up on a large sled and making trips back and forth.

I found several cars and trucks, snowmobiles, but none of them will run. Most of them have no juice, but even the ones that do just turn over but won’t fire up. Maybe if I was a mechanic I could do something, but I’m not. So, it’s the sled and a lot of muscle work.

I did notice today, after not going there for two days, that no one else had been there either. No tracks in the fresh snow. It’s depressing. No way can I be the only freaking guy here, right? And that made me wonder, what the hell am I writing this for? I mean, if there’s no one left, who will read it? I guess those are questions for another day. Another day because, truly, I don’t want to deal with them today.

So I spent my day getting food. There are maybe two dozen buildings still standing downtown. But that’s where I was when I left off writing yesterday, heading for downtown, so I’ll pick it up from there.

When I got downtown there was no one there, only the handful of buildings standing as I mentioned, and two of those went down a short time later from an aftershock. The Police department… Gone. The Fire department out Washington Street… Gone. I know I walked out there.  Ditto the high school. All the old houses, the newspaper, the museum. Really, it’s all gone.

There were some tracks, but how old were they? I couldn’t tell. And I couldn’t tell where they were headed either. I got pretty down about it and ended up walking back down to the square and then down towards the river in back of the square. There was a porn shop, still there. It seemed like the dirtiest place I’d ever seen. I mean, why would a place like that still be there, still be standing when almost nothing else was?

Is that a statement or what? Hey, maybe it is. But since I was down that far, I thought I’d take a look at the river, and that made me think about the cave.

This whole area is limestone, caves everywhere. This one just happened to be a big one.

It wasn’t hard to find it. It’s on an old abandoned road below the level of the square, but a good hundred feet or so above the level of the river. All the brick work that had once closed it off had fallen. The cave itself seemed okay. Some rock had come down, but not much. Most of the rock lying around looked pretty old, like it had been there for some time. Given the buildings, which were still falling, or the cave, I chose the cave. It just seemed to make more sense.

It’s quite deep. I have no idea how deep it goes and no inclination to follow it and see. The front area is huge, and dry, more room than I could ever use, so there’s no need for me to go into that darkness and find out how deep it goes. And that’s funny, isn’t it? What is it that I’ll need? Might need?  Could need? I don’t know. I do know I won’t be spending the rest of my life living in a cave, that’s for sure. But it’s winter. I have to stay somewhere for the next few months. Then maybe I’ll head south if no one shows up to rescue me. I guess it would be me, there’s no one else here. It shouldn’t be that way though. There has to be more than me.

I spent the rest of the day looking around. I walked all the way out to Arsenal Street as well as Washington Street. The mall, or most of it, has collapsed. But I should be able to get some stuff out of it. The interstate is car wrecks and bodies everywhere. I could see it from the overpass. I didn’t feel a need to go down there to see it in person. I didn’t want to.

I hadn’t really seen many bodies. Some at the mall, some at the supermarket, a few others here and there, but there is so much ground, houses, things missing, that I think the other people just got swallowed up by the quake. There is a lot of raw earth. Most of the streets are messed up. The interstate is like that in places, what I can see any way, but close to Arsenal Street, it’s all wrecks and bodies, wrecked and burned vehicles; and it smells horrible. I could smell it long before I came up on the overpass. I’ve decided it will take a lot to get me to go back out Arsenal Street again.

The supermarket has that smell also, and I found two people up by the checkouts when I first dug it out, but none since then as I’ve dug out other parts of the store. Maybe it’s the meat department at the back of the store that smells like that.

I spent most of the next day wandering around, trying to start cars and trucks, calling out to the people I had hoped were there. Nothing. I heard something that sounded like an engine running, but it came and went on the wind and I couldn’t tell where it had come from. But I took that as a good sign. It has to be someone, right?

I can’t imagine being alone.

I tried to start new cars, old cars, new trucks, you name it. None of them do anything except turn over. But at least their batteries are working.

That was the day I realized that the daylight seemed to last way too long. My watch wasn’t working, so I can’t say for sure, but the sun just seemed to hang in the sky all day, then it seemed to sink in the wrong direction once it did set. And I was sick all day. My stomach. And I was light headed.

The night lasted a long time, and the sun came back up in the wrong place, unless my sense of direction is off. Maybe it is. In any case, I don’t know what happened. Maybe it was the earthquakes? I don’t know. It could’ve been, but it doesn’t seem possible.

The end of the world books were saying the Earth would stop and then run backwards. Maybe it did, but I didn’t feel weightlessness if it did, or at least I don’t think so. But I thought about the vehicles, magnetic poles. Maybe because everything is electronic now they can’t work? I don’t know. It’s just an idea, but I’m thinking I’ll look for an older vehicle to try out my theory on. Like I said, I wish I were a mechanic, and then I’d know.

I spent a lot of time clearing out the rock and broken bricks in this cave, bringing food in and even some chairs, blankets, things like that. I’ve collected a lot of firewood and every butane lighter I could find. Paper plates, plastic forks and spoons. And, man oh man, coffee. I found a small metal coffee pot in an aisle with camping gear. It works pretty damn well. I got some heavy duty pots and pans there too.

All of that over the last few days, but still no other people. It makes me wonder about the tracks that went past my house. Where did they go? Where is there to go? I turn the radio on every once in a while, but nothing. Even so, I’m keeping my attitude upbeat. Positive. There has to be other people. Doesn’t that just make sense? Winter can’t last much past May, and then it will be time to get out of here… hopefully with other people.

Candace ~ March 9th

I saw him! I know there is this other person just across the river. It was while we were on the way back, and I happened to look back across the river from the rail trestle, and there he was by the river bank. Climbing it? I think so, but why? And how can I say it was the same man that belonged to the footprints? I can’t. I feel it though. I believe it was him. Who else could it have been?

I wanted to go back right then. Tom refused. There was no reason for him to refuse, but he did. We argued about it. I mean really argued. I hadn’t realized or really even thought about what it is about Tom that I don’t like. Maybe a better way to say that is, what keeps me away from him. Why didn’t I, in all this destruction, hopelessness, just fall into his arms, or love, or whatever would pass for love in this world? Isn’t that logical? Shouldn’t I have? But I didn’t, and the reason is that he’s got this attitude about what place a woman has in his world. It came out today when we argued. I think I picked it up subconsciously before that though, and it kept me away from him.

Anyway I’m not going to go there. I’m leaving in the morning to go over there and find the man that I saw. I know that sounds crazy. I know it does, but I’m going. I’m getting up at sunrise, and I’m going. Jan and Bob said they would go with me. If Tom doesn’t want to go, he doesn’t have to. We’re not speaking at all. Lydia seems upset by that. She wants him, but not at my expense. I guess that makes me like her a little more than I did.

I was outside until way after dark looking for firelight on the other side of the river. I didn’t see any at all. I don’t know that area though. Maybe I wouldn’t see a fire over there. Maybe he is being careful. I want to know so much. When will I know it?

Mike ~ March 10th ? (probably)

Another long day. More trips back and forth to the supermarket. The days are definitely longer, but so are the nights. I don’t see how that can be, but it is. I have no real way to judge it; it’s just a gut feeling. I found several watches by the checkouts. None of them work either. But, I know its true. I feel the longer days. I feel the longer nights. That’s all I can say.

A few days back I became sure that the days were even longer, and that’s changed. They’re not as long as that, but still longer than they used to be.

I was thinking, who are you? I know that’s kind of dumb, but you are somebody, right? And you’re reading this, right? And, how far away is it in time? Place? Do you know who I am, or did you just find this and begin reading it? Have you been through this too? Is it over and explained? For all I know, no one is here to read this. I can’t really believe that though. Man, I really can’t… won’t. It’s the only reason I’m writing this. So that someone, you, will know who I am and that I made it, at least so far. And as I go along, I hope to get some answers. There must be some somewhere. Maybe you have them. Maybe.

So my name is Mike, Michael Collins. I’m a website designer…  Was, I guess. I guess there’s no more internet, right? Hopefully it’ll be back though. I’m twenty-three years old and I live here in Watertown, have all of my life. I’m single, and it looks like I might remain single for a while. That’s not funny really. Hopefully I’ll find other people soon. I can’t be the only one left. But if I do, or if I don’t, I’ll have this written record.

I dragged about fifty sled loads of stuff down here today. The inside of the market is really beginning to smell bad. No, really bad. And, I found more bodies also, two today. I’ve been concentrating on canned stuff, trying to make sure I don’t get sick. There is a lot of it, and I have a lot of it here now.

I heard dogs today and not far away either. And, there were paw prints in the supermarket. And something had been at the bodies. The dogs, I suppose. I was kind of leery of going in, but they weren’t there. And had they been, they probably would’ve been as afraid of me as I was of them. But I was also wondering, were they dogs? Wolves? I mean, don’t they sound the same? Leave the same sort of tracks? Maybe not to someone who knows what to look for in the tracks, but to me they look like dog tracks. And the bodies I had found had been partially eaten. Something was eating them. Dogs? Wolves? I didn’t know, but I knew I had to be careful.

That got me thinking about the zoo. What happened to all the animals there? So I walked out State Street, but I couldn’t get all the way up to the park entrance. The road’s gone. The whole park area seems to be gone. No trees, just raw earth. So, I turned back around and came back. I don’t think anything could’ve lived through that. But lions, wolves, bears? There are a few new things to worry about, right? Can a lion survive in the winter? I don’t know. But I walked back from my trip to the park a lot faster than I walked up there.

But I heard dogs… or wolves. I heard them, and if they lived,

other people had to live, right? And a few times now I’ve felt that I was being watched. You know that feeling you get? Well I’ve gotten it a few times in the last few days. I still haven’t seen anyone though. I’ve called out a few times; no one has answered.

I haven’t seen other footprints, but it’s been a little warmer, and the snow has melted. Not all of it, but a lot of it. And they could also walk where I’ve been walking, in which case I wouldn’t see their tracks. But they should have no trouble finding me. I’m not trying to hide or be careful about the tracks I leave. I don’t know if that’s good or not. I’ve been thinking about that as well.

I’m not much for guns. I’ve never shot a pistol or a rifle or gone hunting. But I’m thinking of walking back out Arsenal Street. There were a few sporting goods stores out there. I even took a few things from one of them the other day, but I didn’t think about guns at the time. Maybe I’ll go tomorrow.

A weird thing did happen today. I was being careful, making sure there were no dogs or wolves, or whatever in the store. Looking around. I was up at the front where the payphones are, there was a time when people used things like payphones. These were still here from that time, and one of them rang. As soon as it did, the other two there rang as well. Only a little jangle. It didn’t last more than a second, but it scared the crap out of me. I thought I was dead right there. For some reason, I thought the wolves had sneaked up on me, come up behind me and were about to get me. Don’t ask me how I got wolves from a ringing phone, but I did.

I calmed down after a few minutes, and so I walked over and picked up the nearest receiver. Static. Scratchy static. Then it cleared for a second and, it was probably just my nerves, but I could swear I heard someone there. Maybe not heard, I don’t know if I heard anything at all. It was more like I knew someone was there: You know what I mean? Like when you get a crank call and the person doesn’t speak, but you know that they are there anyway? Like that. Exactly like that. But, then it went right back to scratchy static, and I felt stupid for even thinking it at all. Who could’ve been there? Who would know I was there? It was just nerves. I know it was.

After I got everything back to this cave, I organized it. I’ve brought back a lot of stuff. Meat, vegetables, bottled water. I have to work my way over to some other aisles. I need rice, pasta, maybe some instant potatoes. I started on that today. I got part way through the end cap, but the whole roof seems to be resting on that part of the aisle stands, and it’s the same way on the other end. That’s when I found the bodies. It was so bad I couldn’t tell what they had been.

I thought it might be better to go through the aisle dividers. They are solid steel though, and I can’t see any way through them, short of a set of torches. Maybe I could find a set, but it seems as though it would be easier to start from the checkouts and work my way through the piles of stuff until I hit another aisle. I have no idea what each aisle is though.

Yeah, I’ve been there about a thousand times, and I can tell you where the beer and chips would be, paper plates, disposable forks and spoons, but that’s about it. I’d hate to spend five hours or more of digging just to reach the toilet paper and sanitary napkins in aisle four. That would be my luck. But there’s nothing to do for it except to do it. Or go find a set of torches.

I know I need carbs. Canned meat and vegetables are good, but very low carbs. It’s funny, but I need fat, things I’m burning heavy and need to replace. I have nearly constant exercise. My pants are hanging off me. Who knew it could be this easy to lose weight?

I’d also like to find supplements, a good selection of first aid stuff, vitamins, band aids, disinfectant, things like that. I guess that’s my next bit of time mapped out for me.

Other things I’m looking for: A wind up watch (Should work right?).

An old car or truck without an electronic brain (My hope is that if it’s just a simple distributor/spark arrangement with a carburetor, I should be able to get it to work). I think electronics are shot. They don’t work, that’s for sure. But I could be wrong. Maybe they will in time.

A battery powered T.V. ; maybe there will be a station on. I know it’s a long shot. Everything is digital. Do they even make battery powered digital televisions?

A C.B. or Ham radio. That would let me listen to the state, maybe the world. I should be able to reach someone.

And last, I’m going to check every phone I come across… just in case.

It’s early, but I’m tired. I wish I weren’t alone.

Candace ~ March 10th

It’s late at night. What a difference a day makes. Mike is his name.

We went back today to see if he had been back to the store. I went there first. I hoped to catch him there early, but he wasn’t there. Tom dragged his feet. Like he didn’t want to go at all. He didn’t say that but, it seemed that way to me. Maybe things were just getting to me. Tom’s been putting more and more pressure on me to be with him. Lydia’s turning up the I hate you attitude. Maybe it’s just me, or just was me. Either way, by the time we did get there this morning, the snow was melting, and there was no real way to tell if he had been there at all. I thought about what I had decided yesterday, just going without Tom, but I waited.

We went back to the river and began looking along the banks on that side. I couldn’t figure where he had gone.

I backtracked to the store, thinking I must have missed him, missed something anyway. On the way back, I saw him crossing the end of Public Square. I practically screamed out loud, but he didn’t hear me. By the time we got there, he was gone.

The day just started to slide away. I began to think I wouldn’t find him at all. It depressed me. It was Bob who smelled smoke. All we had to do was follow the smoke, and we found him. Bob found him. How do you follow smoke? Have you ever tried? I mean, if I could see it in the air, sure. But I couldn’t. Bob knew how to follow it anyway.

I guess there’s a lot more that I could say about today but I’m not going to say it now. I’ll say this though, I want him. I want him, and Tom knows it. It’s like Tom knew it would turn out this way. Jan knew how I felt, knew how it would be. She told me that today. She said she could see it in me last night. Like this is the way it’s supposed to be.

Lydia knows as well. She’s happy about it. I saw her face when she figured it out. She looked from me to Mike and back. Then she did it again, this puzzled look on her face, and then she smiled, looked at me and nodded. I think she’s just biding her time now. I guess I am too.

Michael Collins. Mike. I think I already wrote his name. I don’t know what happens next. How to make it happen. I’m no good at that sort of thing. I’ve never done it. And my little notebook here, my only friend through all of this, along with Jan, can’t help me with that. I can write it here, look at it, but that doesn’t realize it.

I still have my father’s gun. That has also been my friend the last few days. But it can’t help me either, unless I shoot Tom. I guess that’s not funny. Tom never liked my gun. It bothered him. Not ladylike? Something like that I think. Mike wasn’t shocked at all except to say he should have already gotten one and didn’t. It didn’t intimidate him in other words.

Tomorrow is March eleventh. I would have started a new life tomorrow. Maybe one I wasn’t meant to start. I feel like… I don’t know. To be honest, I feel like I’m just a dumb girl pretending to be a woman, a grown up. Does nineteen know everything? No. I don’t want to pretend at this. I want to get things right. I don’t know what’s next. But, does anybody?

Mike ~ March 12th

Things have been really crazy the last few days. I’m not alone anymore. It’s funny because that’s the last thing I wrote, and two days later it’s like an answer to prayer. It happened later on the evening of the tenth. Oh, and it was the tenth. Tom has an old fashioned wind up watch. So does Candace. And, they’ve both kept track. Kept them wound up too. But, in another way it isn’t the twelfth today at all because the days and nights, or the rotation of the Earth that makes the days and nights, isn’t the same at all. It’s much slower. It’s taking about twenty-eight hours to cycle through. But last week, it was up to almost thirty six hours. And none of us knows why, except it slowed up and it’s now starting to get back to a normal length of time to cycle through a night and day. So, it’s not really the twelfth, and they’ve just been keeping track of the days as they pass, same as I’ve been; except for the day I thought I’d lost.

Anyway, as usual, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me start from the start; I was organizing stuff. There is a warehouse down closer to the river full of wooden pallets. I went down there a few days ago, box upon box. I have no idea what’s in them. I figured sometime I’d just open a few up and see. Maybe it would be something useful, maybe not. What’s useful now is radically different from what used to be useful.

Anyway I noticed all the pallets. Pallets everywhere. Some full, some piled high with stuff, but a lot of empty ones; so I went back down with the sled and made a few trips back and forth to the cave so I could stack the canned stuff on them, so they’re not sitting on the floor. I was putting them in the back of the cave. I was so wrapped up in stacking the canned goods that I never even heard them until Candace cleared her throat, I guess to get my attention.

It scared me bad. I thought about the gun I had never bothered to go and get, and a lot of other bad stuff. It went through my mind so fast. The first thing in my head was, the wolves got me! They sneaked up on me! Stupid, I know. I knew it was a person, but my head still insisted wolf. It didn’t last though, and my reaction scared them too. Lydia said I had a can of peas in my hand, and she was sure I was going to bean Candace in the head with them. For some reason she found it funny that I would bean someone in the head with a can of peas, and she giggled. I just felt embarrassed, and glad I didn’t throw the can. I set it down on the stack and took a few deep breaths instead. We all ended up laughing our asses off. Nervous energy. Release, I guess, or something like that. And then, we all began to talk at once.

They had known about me for two days. They had seen that someone was going in and out of the supermarket. They were going out to one on the north side, the other side of the river from where I was. For some reason I hadn’t thought to cross the river. They had already been on the other side to begin with, and even though the main bridges seemed too damaged to be trusted, the railroad trestle seemed solid and unharmed to them, so they crossed over on that to get to my side. I was impressed; that is an open trestle, a long way down to the water.

Because the snow on the asphalt was melting, they couldn’t figure out where I was going when I left the market. They were actually going back across the river when Candace happened to look over her shoulder toward the opposite bank and happened to catch me going into the cave. She had thought to yell, but over the sound of the rapids, she couldn’t get anyone around her to hear her, let alone me.

Once they were across, she talked to Tom; Tom pretty much was their leader (I don’t know if I like that. Do we need leaders?), and they decided to come back the next day, which was two days ago, and see if they could find me. They didn’t know about the cave. Candace had thought I was just climbing the rock above the river. They searched along the back of the Public Square, or what’s left of it, and down towards Coffeen Street. If they had come back down one more road towards the river, they would’ve found the cave then. Maybe they hadn’t realized there was a road there at all; so they just followed the path of the river, thinking I was living in one of the fallen down buildings along the banks.

They had seen me from quite a way off, crossing the square as they were heading back. It looked to them like I was heading for the north side, maybe crossing one of the bridges, but by the time they got there, I was gone. They even began to wonder if I had seen them and hidden on purpose, maybe out of fear. They had searched for a while and then, just when they had been about to quit for the day, Bob realized that he could smell smoke. As soon as he said it, everyone else realized they had smelled it all along as well. After that, it didn’t take long to find the cave. They just followed the smell of smoke down to the lower road and found the cave.

So that was that, and now we are six. Tom, Thomas Evans, he was their leader as I said. He’s an older guy, in his late thirties. Used to be a truck driver.

Candace Loi (Don’t call her Candy. I don’t know why.). She’s nineteen and was visiting her grandparents. She was from Syracuse. I thought she was with Tom. I think Tom thought so as well.

Bob and Jan Dove. Bob is a little older than Jan, in his fifties, and he said he is a mechanic. Jan does, did, data processing.

And Lydia. Her real name is Marcia George. Lydia is her middle name. She said she always liked Lydia better. She was still in school, local college. I guess she’s the same age as Candace, nineteen.

And last but not least, me.

We spent all of yesterday getting their stuff from across the river and bringing it over to the cave. I thought that was weird. Why go get stuff anyway? You can have anything you want. It’s all free. But in another way I guess I understand. We’ve lost everything. We want to hang on to what little we still do have. We’re all going to stay here. And we talked about what’s next, and what we know about what happened.

I said I had been kind of planning to leave once spring came. Head south or west, somewhere where I wouldn’t have to worry about winter. Tom said it may be that, where it would normally have been warmer, it won’t be anymore. He said it depends on what happened. None of us really know. He thinks it might be smarter to stay here. We could stock up this cave. We could even hunt. He said he’s sure there are deer around. Bob agreed with him, at least on there being deer around.

I told them about the footprints by my house. They said they had seen footprints as well. They had gone out Coffeen Street and seen the tracks of three or four people going in and out of a small store there. They had called out, but no one had answered. They had had second thoughts about calling out too. They weren’t armed. What if someone shot at them?

That brought my original thoughts to mind about a weapon. I mentioned the sporting goods store, and we all agreed to make a trip out there soon.

We talked about cars and trucks and agreed it would be good to get an SUV or truck of some kind if we could find one that will run, as they might be the only vehicles that could drive around as bad as things are torn up. They have also tried starting a few vehicles with no success. I mentioned my electronic brain idea, and Tom said he had thought of the same thing. Turns out he’s also a mechanic. I guess I can see why they chose him to lead. I feel kind of useless around the guy though. We agreed to try finding an older vehicle. Tom thinks our chances of getting one running are good. We’ll see what we can find.

The first night together was good. The best I’ve slept since this thing started. Just not being alone, you know?

I guess I’ll end on that note…


 

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Earth’s Survivors: Apocalypse free read preview…

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EARTH’S SURVIVORS: APOCALYPSE

PUBLISHED BY: Dell Sweet

Earth’s Survivors: Apocalypse is © Copyright 2014 Wendell Sweet, all rights reserved.

 

Additional Copyrights © 2010 – 2012, 2014, 2015 by Wendell Sweet, All rights reserved

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618 Park Avenue: Seventh floor. 2B

Tosh’s Notebook:

March 10th: Warming up; days are longer. It feels like spring. It’s early March. No way should it be this warm. My watch is working again, no rhyme or reason.

Tosh stood now, overlooking the city. It seemed that everything had changed in the last few days. Her watch said it was somewhere past midnight, if it could be trusted. It had quit, started again, and she had set it for 9:00 PM at sunset. The days were longer, but she had no idea how much. It should be close, but so many strange things had happened that she wasn’t sure it could be trusted. The days seemed longer. What good was a twenty-four hour watch if the days were all screwed up? Longer? And everything else was bad too. Her own life was falling apart, and she couldn’t even bring herself to tell Adam about it, or how much it scared her.

The old woman, Alice, had taken her dog Ge-Boo out yesterday, and she had not come back. Tosh had opened the door a crack as she had been leaving and warned her again about how bad it was outside, but Alice had simply pretended not to see her, or hear her, when she had spoken. She had walked off down the hallway, smartly dressed, Ge-Boo wearing a small, pink sweater, and Tosh had not seen her since.

Adam had called the elevator back up a few hours later, locked it down, and then jammed it open with a chair from Amanda Bynes’ kitchen. It was clear that if Alice was not back, she would not be back. The streets had suddenly been crawling with people. The late afternoon daylight meant absolutely nothing to them at all anymore. An hour or two into the darkness the electricity quit, and the building, most of Manhattan with it, had gone dark. Now this.

Tosh looked out on the city now. The fires were everywhere. Twice, a few days back, the planes had overflown the city. Adam had been down in the park trying to find out what was going on. She had been alone, jumping at every sound. The planes had swooped low, blue-tinged mist spraying from the open cargo holds: military planes. She had seen them clearly from the seventh floor. Soldiers in gas masks stood in the open bay doorways and directed the thick hoses that sprayed the city. Three men crouched in the open cargo holds of each plane.

She had slid the glass balcony doors closed, fashioned a rag around her mouth and waited for Adam to come back. He had not been long. They had been able to smell something on the air, a thick, cloying smell that reminded Tosh of old perfume. It had left a nasty taste in their mouths, but it didn’t seem to do anything to them other than that. A few hours later, they had ventured back out on the balcony, the rags tossed aside. If it had been something to kill them, it would have already done that, they had both reasoned.

The city had fallen quiet. That night the gangs had not been out at all. They had thought it was over. Hoped it was over, but the next night they were right back out. Even more numerous than they had been. They only good thing was they seemed to be killing each other faster and faster now. The gun battles went back and forth all night long.

Tosh stood in the blackest shadows of the balcony and looked out over the city. Whatever it had been, it had not killed them, if that had been what it was supposed to do. The gangs were fewer now, the last few nights had left many dead in the streets. The sun would rise to more scattered bodies sprawled in pools of their own blood. She could see them in the streets below now, even if they couldn’t see her. They ran purposefully from doorway to doorway, testing the locks, stopping at every shadow. Investigating. A car here, a doorway there, looking up to catch her eyes watching them, as if they really could see her, letting her know that they knew she was still there. And Adam slept behind her in the bed, unaware of it all. Oblivious to it.

And there was irony here. Irony, because she was dying. She was dying, and she was sure that they knew it. She was sure that was the reason they kept looking up at her where she stood in the shadows.

She blinked away tears as she looked out over the night darkened city: the fires that burned, the gangs that prowled the streets. She had popped her last nitro the day before. It had taken the pain in her chest down, but it had not stopped it. Too much excitement. Too much damage from the drug use that had ravaged her body. She hadn’t touched a thing in two years, but it had still killed her, just as she had known it would. It had just taken its time. Twenty-three and a bad heart. It thundered and trip-hammered in her chest. Out of sync. Out of beat. Out of time. And…

She wondered about that ‘and’ as she looked out over the burning city. And what? She would awaken in Heaven? She didn’t think so, but she didn’t know.  She stood brooding, feeling the pressure build in her chest as evening came on and the fires continued to burn.

She couldn’t make Adam have to do for her, she decided at last, and there probably wasn’t much more time for her. If she intended to go, she should.

She turned and looked at Adam’s outline on the bed. She couldn’t chance waking him either to say goodbye. And that hurt too, but it probably wouldn’t hurt for long. He would stop her, possibly read her mind. He had done it before; just seemed to know what she was thinking. She turned a few minutes later, walked quietly across Amanda Bynes’ plush carpet, eased open the door and stepped out into the hallway.

The Docks

Tosh walked along aimlessly. She had slipped from doorway to doorway herself, working her way to the river. A few blocks off the beaten path and the streets were empty, but for the dead that where everywhere. The smell of the river was heavy on the air, and she was following it. She was unsure what she had in mind. The tears continued as she walked. It wasn’t fair, she continued to tell herself, but telling herself it wasn’t fair didn’t do anything for her situation. And here she was wandering around in the night tempting fate.

But there were no gang members around, or if they were, she couldn’t see them, hear them, feel them. She pressed her hand flat against her chest. The pain was worse. Much worse. And she wondered how much more she could take, how much more her body could handle. She stopped and drew several deep breaths, trying to ease the pain that seemed to close on her chest like a fist.

When the pain eased a little, she started off down the street once more, heading toward the river.


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Introducing America The Dead from Dell Sweet

Introducing America The Dead from Dell Sweet


Zombie Fall For some there is safety but to keep the safety some must sacrifice and risk everything

The group of survivors looking for peace and a place to rebuild comes closer to what they seek

In a top secret facility a virus is created that brings on the plague of the dead

Manhattan: The city is a landscape of gangs and the risen dead. The living are safe nowhere. The city falls to the plague. A group of survivors fight their way out. #Kindle


LOS ANGELES. A couple finds their way through the deconstruction and death of L.A.

A series of events begins that will bring all of society to its knees.  A small New York town hosts the beginning of the end Kindle: