The Zombie Plagues Book One installment three

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.


CHAPTER THREE

To Live Again

~March 12th~

Mike closed his notebook and stuffed it down into his pack. Looking around the cave, he was surprised how different a few more warm bodies could make it. It didn’t seem as cold, so oppressively quiet, so echo filled with any kind of sharp noise, so… so different. But different in a good way.

Candace had been watching from across the cave where she had made a little area for herself. She hadn’t wanted to interrupt while Mike was writing, but now that he seemed finished, she walked over to him.

“This was really nice of you,” she said as she walked up. “We were staying in that old school building. None too stable. Last night was the best sleep I’ve had in a while.”

“Funny,” Mike replied, “I was thinking the same thing. For me it was just having others around. People.”

Candace smiled. She’s beautiful, Mike thought. He wasn’t normally a fan of tattoos, but she had some sort of tribal stuff that snaked up under her shirt sleeve. Just a hint of ink where her shirt didn’t quite meet the top of her Levi’s made him wonder just exactly where the ink ended. She caught his eyes and smiled again.

“Mind?” She asked, gesturing at the ground beside him.

“No, sit down,” Mike smiled. “I have no manners at all. How long does it take to devolve? I guess a little over a week.” He smiled again.

She laughed as she sat down. The silence stretched out for a few seconds, each of them looking around the cave as the others talked or settled in for the night. They both spoke at once.

“Sorry,” Candace said and laughed.

“No, really. It’s that devolved thing again. Go ahead.”

She fixed her eyes on him. “I was just wondering what you were planning on doing. I mean, have you thought about leaving? I know you spoke a bit about it yesterday when you were talking to Tom. But I could see you weren’t quite ready to fall in with the Tomites yet.” She lowered her voice for the last.

Mike looked at her levelly. “Yeah… I guess it does show.  I don’t dislike him. I don’t even disagree with what he said. I just… I just don’t know. We don’t click, know what I mean?”

“Yeah, I do.” Candace answered. “It’s the same with me. I can think. I don’t need someone to do it for me.”

“Exactly,” Mike agreed. “But it’s a little more too, like Alpha male shit. This is my tribe. Me chief.” Mike finished in a near whisper.

Candace giggled but quickly clamped a hand over her mouth while nodding her head in agreement.

Mike continued. “I’m not really an Alpha male type of guy,

but I’m not a dumb sheep either.”

“Me either,” Candace agreed, her giggles under control. She fixed him with her serious eyes once more. “So what will you do?”

“Probably like I said, like everyone else said, leave. But I don’t see why the south or the west wouldn’t be a good direction to go in. We’ll all see, I guess, as spring comes on, or as…”

“What?” Candace asked.

“Well, as this goes on. It might not be over yet.  There might be more changes ahead. The days have slowed down, almost seemed to stop for a while last week when the sun just hung in the sky. Maybe what was supposed to happen happened? Now the sun’s rising in the wrong place in the sky. Did the Earth’s spin reverse, that fast? Weren’t some people claiming we’d fall off the Earth? Something like that?” He took a deep breath.

“I guess I’m just waiting to see how this goes. What happens next? But in a few months, not far into spring, I’ll probably leave. Whatever has happened, is happening, should be over by then,” He smiled. “I guess that was a long drawn out answer.”

“No. Not really,” Candace answered. “I’m in the same place.  I’m not sure what happened either, or if it’s all over. But, I don’t think I want to live in a cave forever either.” She looked around, “But who knows; maybe it’s come back to that?”

Mike shrugged his shoulders.

“Anyway,” she continued. “I… I just wanted you to know I’m seeing it the same way as you. I mean… I mean I want to be on your side of it.” She locked her eyes on his and gave a firm nod, then flipped her short, black hair out of her eyes. She firmed her mouth, set her jaw and spoke once more. “I’d like to go get my things, Move over here with you.” Her dark eyes settled on his own. “Be with you… I mean be together.”

“Quick,” Mike said.

She nodded and smiled, “Maybe it’s a quick world now. I’m taking you at face value, I guess. You don’t have a little harem locked away farther back in these caves, do you?” She smiled.

Mike laughed. “Not hardly.”

“Well then,” she asked quietly, her eyes serious.

Mike nodded, which caused a huge smile to spread across her face. His own smile answered it. But, he thought, did she really mean…? He didn’t complete the thought as she stood and walked across the cave to where she had put her things and spent her first night. She turned and looked back at him. Mike stood and walked over to help her move her things over to his side of the cave.

Several pairs of eyes watched the move.

~

“Guess that settles that,” Robert Dove said to his wife Jan.

His wife nodded, a slight smile on her face. For the last few days Tom had been pushing Candace. Jan had disapproved. Let the girl make up her own mind, she had thought.

“Maybe it’s for the best,” she said now. “That young man is much more likable, Bobby.”

Bob nodded in agreement. The fly in the ointment might be Lydia who had been making eyes at Tom since they’d first met, but who, for the last few days, had only had eyes for Mike. Bob looked over just as a look passed between Tom and Lydia. Oh, he thought.

Jan shook her head. She had noticed the look pass between them too. “Maybe if those two get together it will level everything out,” she said softly. Tom had made it clear he was interested in Candace, not Lydia, but the girl had made her choice. Tom would have to accept it. Jan felt Candace had made the better choice of the two. She turned her attention back to the conversation she had been having with Bob.

Tom watched as Candace moved her sleeping bags and back pack over to Mike’s side of the cave. He didn’t see what she saw in Mike, but it was her choice, and she wouldn’t get a second chance with him. He frowned at his own thoughts. Don’t be an ass, he told himself. It’s not that serious. He looked over and caught Lydia’s eyes; the question was right there. He nodded, and she sprang to her feet like a rabbit. A mean look on her young, pouty face as she looked towards Candace. The look went unanswered by Candace. She turned her back to the girl as she walked back over to Mike’s side of the cave.

~

Lydia quickly gathered her things and moved them over to Tom’s area. Stupid bitch, she told herself. She can have the cave man dude. She’d only wanted Tom all along, even the last few days. Chasing after Mike the last few days had only been an attempt on her part to make Tom jealous. Tom would take her out of here. She hated this place and everything to do with it, always had. Tom was tough, tougher than the other guy. She didn’t think of it in terms of Alpha Male and territory, but it came down to the same thing. Tom was the top dog. Her top dog.

The fire burned lower as everyone settled in for the night. Some happy, some worried, some undecided, but everyone along for the ride.

March 13th

Bob leaned around the hood and looked through the windshield of the old Suburban. He nodded. “Try it, Tom.”

The motor turned over a half dozen times then suddenly fired and rumbled to life. Tom gave it a little more gas, pulled out the old fashioned choke. The motor smoothed out and began to run a little better.

Bob backed away from the engine compartment, a large smile on his face. “Know what this means?” he asked, raising his voice to be heard above the noisy truck.

Tom grinned and nodded back. “As long as they’re not electronically controlled, they’ll run. We should find a few more.”

Bob nodded in agreement.

They had found the old Suburban in a lot out in back of one of the car dealerships on outer Washington Street. The lot itself was wrecked; the buildings not much better, but hundreds of new cars and trucks sat on the cracked pavement, or pointed their noses or tails at the sky where they were half buried. The Suburban had been set up with a plow, and they all agreed it was probably just used to plow the lot.

Before they had even gone looking for a vehicle, Tom and Bob had gone hunting for a small gasoline powered engine. Lawn mower, leaf blower, it didn’t matter, just something small without an electronic ignition or brain. They’d come up with a heavy duty chain saw. Several tugs and a little choke had gotten it running. That had convinced them that it would be worth finding an older, full size truck.

“We could convert one of these newer trucks. It would take some work but if we can find the right parts we could do it,” Tom said.

“Maybe,” Bob agreed. “Trouble is finding a block that’s still the same. Heads, intake, it’s a lot to hope for. It would be easier to just fix the old stuff up. New tires, battery, we could even do the axles if we absolutely had to.”

Tom nodded his head. “Hmm,” he grumbled. “Guess so.”

Bob turned away. It was obvious to him that Tom didn’t like being disagreed with or second guessed. Yes, parts were parts, and if they were just parts, no problem. There were even kits to convert non-electronic ignition motors over to electronic ignition, but not the other way around. There were motors built mostly for racing applications that were designed to use carburetors and simple distributors. There were things they could do, but it wasn’t simple black and white.

He had been seeing more and more of this close minded attitude from Tom since they had moved into the cave. Tom had lost his place as leader. It didn’t matter that he had been nearly the only one who had seen himself that way. He had seen the situation that way, and now the situation had changed. He didn’t see himself as leader any longer, and he didn’t like it. Oh well, Bob thought. He’d get over it, or he wouldn’t. There was nothing for it except to watch it happen, whatever way it happened.

Tom let the truck idle high for a few minutes then reset the choke dropping the idle down to normal.

“We got wheels,” Lydia said happily. She, Mike, Candace and Jan had come walking back from further down the lot. Pulled by the sound of the truck starting from where they had been searching for other vehicles that would be good candidates for starting.

“We found three others that seem as though they might work out,” Mike said. “One’s an old crew cab state truck the other two are old pickups. All three are four wheel drives.” He grinned at Bob.

Bob laughed. “Well, let’s go get them,” he said. He turned and started away.

“Hey,” Tom said, leaning against the door of the truck, “Wouldn’t you rather drive?”

Bob laughed again. “Yeah,” he agreed. “Much rather.” Everybody piled into the Suburban. Tom pulled out of the back of the lot and headed back in the direction the others had come from.

Mike

March 13th

Man, it’s been a long day. We walked out Washington Street to the car dealerships. Everything’s torn up out there, but there are tons or cars and trucks out there. We found three trucks that we got running, and we drove them back. So we have a pickup truck, a suburban and a big four door state truck, one of those you always used to see along the highway when they were doing road repair. There were a few others we found that also ran, but they were in such bad shape that we left them.

Tom wanted to build one. I mean take one of the new trucks and put old parts on it. I got the idea from Bob that it probably wouldn’t work out the way Tom thought that it would. The right parts would be hard to find. I could see the idea, the appeal of a newer vehicle so we wouldn’t have to be concerned about break downs. But I could see Bob’s point of view too. I think it pissed Tom off though. But it seems that almost everything pisses Tom off.

I didn’t write this in here yet, but Candace and I are together. It just happened that fast. I was surprised in a way, but in another way I wasn’t all that surprised. Who knows how long this world will last, what it was that really happened? Maybe there is no time for slow anymore.

Candace said that, and once I thought about it, I agreed. Things are so different. And she’s right for me. Maybe it wouldn’t have happened this fast in the old world. Maybe it wouldn’t have happened at all. But everything’s changed. It’s all different, and this seems right. It seems like the way it should have happened with her and me, the right way for it all to work.

It also seemed to work out for the others as well. By that I mean Tom ended up with Lydia. She’s a lot younger than he is, but like I said, it’s a different world now. They seem to be happy together. I thought I felt some animosity from both of them at first. But either I imagined it, or they’ve moved past it, gotten over it, something like that.

We haven’t discussed leaving again. It’ll come up. Candace and I want to go. I think Bob and Jan want to go too. Tom and Lydia seem to be against it. Lydia keeps talking about how none of us know what it might be like anywhere else, like she wants to throw that out before we even discuss leaving at all. Here we have food, shelter, what’s so bad? I guess we have been talking about it without really talking about it at all.

Tom backs up everything she says with a nod of his head. He pointed out we’re in an area of mainly limestone, that’s what made this cave, and we may not find that anywhere else. At least not easily. Maybe they’re right. Hell, they make sense, but it’s the attitude. The rest of us bend. They refuse to.

We decided to go out to Arsenal Street tomorrow to the sporting goods store, and also look at some super markets out there, something else I didn’t check out while I was out there.

Lastly, I’m glad Candace and I have each other. It makes all of this easier to deal with.

She asked me why I’m writing this journal. I felt kind of stupid. I told her why I started it though, and that I’m continuing it for someone in the future. Maybe a child? Someone to come later on?

I expected her to laugh that off, or look at me like I was crazy, but she only nodded as if that made perfectly good sense. She told me she has a journal too. A diary, she said. Of course Lydia jumped on that as well. At first arguing against it, then saying she thought it might be okay. Tom said he wouldn’t do it. He said he’s not leaving to go anywhere and if someone shows up here, he’ll be here, not some journal. Okay.

It’s stuff like that that makes me wonder. And, anyway, I only mentioned it; it wasn’t like I wanted anyone else to do it or was trying to encourage someone else to do it. It’s that kind of jump on it attitude I don’t like, like they think I’m looking to screw them over somehow.

But it’s all good. I’m alive. I looked back at some of what I wrote in here. I had no one just a short time ago. I didn’t even know whether there was anyone else. Now I have Candace. We have some plans, things we’ve begun to talk about, agree about. A little ego trouble with Tom is really just bullshit in the scheme of things. I have to try harder to look past that. Maybe I’m too damn sensitive. And anyway things are good. This could be a lot worse.

A thing that bugs me and I can not figure out, where are all the bodies? I mean there don’t seem to be enough bodies to match all of those that were killed. It bothers me. Maybe they weren’t killed? But that makes no sense. Where would they be? I don’t have an answer. I only know it bugs me.

Lydia

March 13th

Hi! My name is Lydia. I’ve never written a journal or kept a diary before. We’re all here in this cave. A cave, yes. We’re living in a cave. I can’t believe it! There are no showers, no toilets, no kitchen. Ha! We’re eating out of cans. It’s about as hard as it could be. I don’t know how cave men did it. Or cave women.

We’re all writing these journals to leave them behind in case someone comes after we, or some of us, leave. I might not ‘cause I’m sort of with Tom right now, and he doesn’t want to go. There are six of us; Mike, Tom, Bob, Janet, me and a girl named Candace. We’re all stuck here until spring, I guess.

I guess that you know all about the world ending or whatever it did. We don’t know. I don’t know. Not really anyway, but hopefully we’ll get everything fixed up pretty soon. I mean, a lot of stuff is F’d up, you know? But, like, it could get fixed up eventually.

I had a boyfriend in the old world. His name was Paul, but I don’t know where he went. His apartment was gone. The whole street he lived on was gone. So I don’t know. It made me feel really bad. Hopefully this will be over really soon.

We have, like, some old trucks now to drive around. We used to have to walk everywhere. That sucked. The trucks are really old, like shit boxes as Paul would’ve said, but at least we’re not walking, right? Paul had an old shit box truck too. These trucks are even older. If we break down we can’t call Triple A. Ha, Ha!

There are six of us and Tom thinks more will come to us, probably know we’re here and are just waiting. I guess that’s cool.

I don’t really know what else to write in here. I’ll write other stuff down too though. Oh, I’m almost nineteen…

Candace

March 13th

I did it. I don’t know how I worked it out or where I found the courage to do it, but Mike and I are together. It’s like I wasn’t breathing, like I was waiting to breath. Something like that. All I know with absolute certainty is that tomorrow looks better. Isn’t that all that’s important?

March 14th

Everyone was up early and ready to go before the sun was barely above the horizon.

“Yesterday,” Tom said to no one in particular. “Thirty two hours long.” Silence greeted his remark. Candace checked her own watch.

“So, like, that means things are slowing down?” Lydia asked.

“You think?” Tom asked unkindly.

“Well, something like that,” Lydia shot back defensively.

“Why would it go backwards,” Bob asked?

“Yeah. Wasn’t it supposed to stop, reverse and then start up again?” Lydia asked.

“Maybe,” Mike agreed. “But that was all based on theory. No facts involved at all. I think they had some evidence that the poles had reversed at a few points in history before. And some legends that spoke about the Earth standing still for a day, something like that. But even so, that’s all theory, not fact.”

“Yeah,” Tom chimed in. “It’s like an asshole. Everyone’s got one.”

“Don’t you mean opinion?” Lydia asked sweetly.

“Whatever. We ready to go, or what?” Tom asked. Everyone followed outside in the uncomfortable silence that fell.

~

“What’s up with those two,” Candace whispered as she followed Mike outside.

“Who knows,” Mike whispered back. Bob met his eyes and raised his eyebrows. Mike shrugged his shoulders and shook his head as if to say I don’t know.

“We may as well take all three trucks,” Bob suggested. “That way if we find stuff we want it’ll save us driving back to get them.”

“Easier if we get stuck also,” Candace suggested.

Tom shrugged his shoulders. “Fine by me,” he said. He headed for the Suburban with Lydia right behind him. Jan and Candace headed for the pickup truck. Bob broke into a laugh and grinned at Mike. “Guess that leaves me and you in the old dinosaur. Want to drive?”

“After you,” Mike said laughing. Bob started the truck and pulled out last in line and followed the other two trucks as they picked their way along the edge of the ruined road.

~

“It was me that asked Jan to go with Candace,” Bob said as they followed slowly along behind the other trucks.

Mike nodded. His eyes following the sides of the road as Bob drove along. “I thought it was something like that,” he said. “What’s on your mind, Bob?”

“Well… A lot,” Bob said after a second or two. He hesitated a little longer. “I guess mainly to say Jan and I would like to go with you when you leave, and Candace, I assume.”

“Yeah,” Mike agreed. “I know that probably seemed kind of quick.”

“It’s a…”

“Quick world,” Mike finished. “Candace said the same thing. I don’t know how much better off we’ll be, but we’d be glad to have you two with us if you want to come.”

“We would. Jan and I talked it over. We talked all night long last night. I got nothing personal against Tom; he did alright by us, but he’s a little too…”

“Demanding? Aggressive?” Mike supplied.

Bob looked thoughtful. “I don’t know… Something like that. I just don’t see him being able to see this through. I feel like if we came back here in ten years we’d find him still holed up in that cave. He’s… I don’t know… too immature to talk to about it. He has only one way of looking at things. That can’t work.”

“You’re probably right. He’d still be here with Lydia, probably with a couple of babies running around. But, maybe that’s not such a bad thing. Maybe that’s a good thing.” He shrugged. “The immaturity… I don’t know… It’s there though. Maybe he’ll move out of that. Maybe it’s just the situation.”

“Maybe,” Bob agreed. “But that’s exactly the time he should be mature, isn’t it?”

Mike nodded. Bob continued.

“So, maybe it’s a good thing, maybe it’s not. But not for me. I don’t want to stay here. Nor Jan either. I wouldn’t want to quit this unless I knew this was all there was. I mean, this couldn’t be worldwide, could it?”

“I don’t know,” Mike said softly. “But I agree. I know what you mean. Candace and I talked about it last night too and came to the same opinion. It could be better elsewhere, and whatever is right for Tom or Lydia isn’t necessarily right for us. I was for going from the start. I have to know if this is really the end. If there’s anything else. If it is, I’ll deal with it,  find a place to settle down. Thank God I have Candace, you and Jan. Maybe we’ll meet others on the way to… well, wherever.”

“I think so,” Bob said. “There are people, other people around. We just got to find them. Or them us.”

“Yeah, we got to remember rifles or pistols. I hate to say it, Bob, but we may need them.”

“Yeah,” he nodded. “Yeah.”

They continued on in silence as the small caravan made its way past a collapsed building partially blocking what was left of the road.

“I think… It’s not my business,” Bob said, “But I think you made an enemy of Lydia. She was thinking you would be with her.”

“Yeah, I could see that, Bob. I don’t think Tom was any too pleased either.”

Bob nodded. “Nope, none too. Him I wouldn’t worry about though.  Her, she’s pretty spiteful. I’ve only known her for a week, but it’s enough. That child did pretty much what she wanted to, I’ll bet. Used to having her own way, getting what she wants when she wants it.”

“Yeah, I can see that. But last night we talked about the journals; I’m keeping one. Candace is too. Lydia said she would. Something to leave when we leave.”

“It’s not a bad idea,” Bob agreed. “I’m not much for writing myself, but Jan might like it.”

Mike nodded. “Well, Lydia liked the idea. She didn’t say she’d go, but she might. So, hate me or not, she might be with us.”

“Oh,” Bob said. “I see that. Maybe she’ll be okay. She’s a kid; maybe she’ll change.”

“Guess we’ll have to see,” Mike agreed. “Guess we’ll have to see.”

Bob worked the truck up and over a huge slab of up-tilted asphalt and followed along behind the other two trucks as they made their way down Arsenal Street.

“What did you think of the idea that Tom had of fixing up one of the new trucks?” Mike ventured after a few minutes.

“Won’t work. Or at least it won’t work without a lot of trouble. The new engines are computer dependent. We could probably find ourselves another motor, maybe even a new crate motor at a parts store somewhere around here,” Bob said.

“What’s a crate motor?” Mike asked.

“It just means a new motor, all crated up when it was sent from the factory. They sell them. Race cars, old rebuilds, like that. But, even if we couldn’t find a crate motor, we could find enough parts to rebuild anything we would need to rebuild on nearly any vehicle. So really, when we’re done, we’d have what amounted to a new vehicle. Tom wants to oversimplify that. He thinks we can just find the parts and swap them out on the motor that’s in the truck. Maybe we can. I’m not that good though, and I don’t think he is. I think we should stick to what we can do for sure, utilize what we have – the new parts.”

“That what you think we should do? Build a vehicle?”

“Yeah. Maybe two. Four wheel drive, of course. Go right through them top to bottom, everything new. It would take a few weeks, but we’ve got that and more. Meantime, you could work on your Ham radio idea, “Bob finished.

“Can you get electric? Those big Ham radio outfits need regular power.”

“Yeah, that’s not a problem. We’ll just find a generator. That will give us all the power we need. We could even hook up a power inverter to give us one twenty in the vehicle,” Bob added.

Mike nodded. “So we’re going to jump right into this thing? Get ready to go?”

Bob nodded. “I’m with you. I’m not spending next winter in a cave unless I have to. There’s a place in Tennessee, maybe Kentucky.” He closed his eyes for a split second as if seeing something only he could see. He shook his head, frowned and then continued. “If not, I’m thinking the coast. Southern or western, either will do, whichever one looks to be the better bet. And who knows how hard it’ll be to get there, so the sooner we’re ready to go, the better.”

“I agree,” Mike said. “I’ll talk to Candace.”

“And I’ll talk to Jan. But we already talked.”

“So did we,” Mike agreed. They both laughed.

Bob angled the big truck around a final piece of asphalt and into a cracked and buckled parking lot. The two other vehicles sat silent, waiting for them.

As they left the truck, Mike noticed that the store hadn’t seemed to incur any more damage since the last time that he had been there. The roof was bowed inward; it had been before, but there were plenty of upright pillars that supported the roof and they all appeared intact. At least the ones he could easily see. The supports were spaced about every sixteen or so feet.

“Safe?” Tom asked.

“Looks the same as it did the last time,” Mike allowed. Candace and Bob looked at him, and he shrugged. “I’d say so. It looks the same as it did the last time I was here. It doesn’t even look as though anyone has been here.”

The scattered, powdered snow seemed undisturbed around the shattered doorway that lead into the building. Mike snapped his flashlight on and led the way inside.

The inside of the store told a different story. Someone had been there during the time Mike had last been there. Several of the glass display cases that held the weapons had been damaged. They were locked, who ever had made the attempt had made it halfheartedly. The glass was safety glass of some sort. It had cracked and spider webbed, but it had not broken and caved in.

“Guess someone tried to get in,” Bob offered.

Tom held up a discarded crow bar. Even in the weak light they could see the streaks of scarlet on one end. Tom let it fall to the floor. The clatter was loud enough to make Lydia draw in a quick breath in the broken silence that followed.

“Jesus, Tom,” She sputtered. Tom only grinned.

“Why does someone go through all of that when they could’ve taken a simple screw driver and just popped the locks?” Candace asked.

“Well,” Tom started.

Candace had walked behind the counter, taken a screw driver from her pocket and began to jimmy the lock mechanism. It was a cheap sliding set and easily bent to one side far enough to slide the glass door open. Candace smiled.

“Learn that up in the big city, Miss?” Mike asked with a smile.

Candace smiled back, reached inside the case, careful of the glass that had sprayed in small slivers from the spider webs in the top, and withdrew pistol after pistol, setting them on a wooden topped case next to the cash register.

“Forty five caliber, Nine millimeter, a cheap one though. Three eighty, kind of nice, though small. Here’s a much nicer Nine Millimeter.” She set several more guns on the wooden top, looked up with a crooked grin and asked, “Well, gentlemen, lady, what’ll it be?”

“You really know about this kind of shit,” Lydia asked in an awed voice.

“Obviously well enough to know what’s what,” Tom said.

“That’s right. Obviously well enough,” Candace agreed. She gave no further explanation.

“What do you think, Candace?” Jan asked.

“Yeah, what would be the best?” Mike asked.

Candace shrugged. “It depends on what you like. I like a three eighty myself. It’s small, not as heavy as a Nine millimeter.” She pulled her own Nine Millimeter. “This was my Dad’s. A good gun, but I liked the Three Eighty I had. A Three Eighty won’t really knock somebody down, not like you see in the movies. But a nine millimeter won’t always do that either. It’ll just make a bigger hole. If you want to knock somebody down, you need this.” She held up the bigger forty five caliber pistol. She held the mostly black pistol easily in one hand. “This will knock somebody down and kill them. And, on the off chance that your aim was bad and you didn’t immediately kill them, believe me, they are not going to feel like getting back up.” She grinned. “It’s still not like the movies. You know, where you see them flying backwards through the air. But, it will knock them down and keep them there.”

“Jesus, Candy, I’m like in awe,” Lydia said.

“Candace,” Candace said, “and thank you.”

“So how do you know all that? Like for real, how do you know all that shit?”

“My dad was a cop, not in Syracuse, before we moved there. He had a thing for guns. I just caught it. When he knew I was going to be like him when it came to guns, he sent me for training, safety stuff mostly, but I liked it so much I started buying my own weapons. I took the test. Eventually I would’ve had my foot in the door in Syracuse. That’s a good department. I would’ve been in already if not for the economy.”

“The thing is, I love to shoot. I’m good too,” she sighed.

“So… what’ll it be?” She let the smile return to her face, reached over and began to jimmy another of the locks on the sliding glass doors.

They spent the good part of two hours in the store. Camping gear, rifles, pistols and ammunition, Mike began to feel like they were equipping their own private army before they were done. Even so, by the time they left, everyone was carrying at least one pistol, and several rifles and boxes of ammunition had found their way into the back of the pickup truck. Candace, Mike noticed, had added a matte black forty five caliber pistol to the Nine Millimeter. She wore them in webbed holsters on a wide leather belt.

“I thought you preferred a Three Eighty,” Mike said half jokingly as he replaced the Nine Millimeter he had decided on into the side holster he had chosen.

“I do,” she said, “For shooting. But like I said, a Three Eighty can’t knock somebody down.” Her eyes met his.

“Yeah… There is that,” Mike agreed quietly.

They spent a short amount of time looking through a small convenience store in the same parking lot. There was very little left. Most likely cleaned out, Bob voiced, by the same folks who had tried to take the guns. This was evidenced by smears of maroon on the counter tops. Even so, they managed to find boxes of stuff in the storage area. They finished filling the backs of the trucks with basic First Aid stuff and several boxes full of candy bars and junk food too.

The sun had been standing overhead for what seemed like hours. Bob spoke.

“Hotter,” He said. “You can feel the heat. And,” He motioned with his hands, “the snow is melting faster as well.”

“Got a theory on that?” Mike asked.

Bob shook his head.

“Maybe the whole process takes time,” Candace said.

“Maybe,” Tom agreed. “Maybe it’s not so easy to start something spinning in the other direction. And we don’t know if it really stopped or not. The sun’s coming up in the north, or it was, but that seems to be changing too. I don’t think it stopped all the way. I think it’s just got a different spin now, and maybe a different path.”

Bob nodded, as did Mike. “I guess we’ll leave it for the scientists… long as we don’t fall off the Earth.” He chuckled a little.

“Call it a day?” Mike asked.

“Yeah,” Tom agreed. “We still have to unload all of this.”

There were a few halfhearted complaints, but everyone piled into the trucks, and they made their way slowly back towards the heart of the city and the cave that lay behind the Public Square.

Janet

March 14th

We are six people who have managed to stay alive through whatever it is that has happened to our planet. My husband Bob and I were fortunate enough to be protected by our spirits and brought through all of this.

I am Janet Dove; my husband is full blooded Blackfoot and a very proud man. A very good man as well. And not just to me. He treats all people well.

My mother was Cherokee and my father was French. I don’t mean French transplanted to this country. My mother met him in France. We are looking forward to whatever the Great spirits purpose is in this.

We have many young people with us. Michael Collins. He’s mixed race, like many of us. He probably doesn’t realize it, but he is in fact our leader. He’s in his early twenties. I guess the mixed race stuff doesn’t matter anymore, but I lived with it for so long that it’s hard for me to let it go.

Bob has suffered worse with those prejudices. Many other people besides me. Maybe the world is at that place where all of that stuff can be let go now? I hope so.

Candace Loi is a beautiful young woman. Her father is African American, her mother Asian. She has her father’s dark skin blended with her mothers features. Striking. I enjoy her company. She reminds me of my daughter. I don’t know how she fared in all of this. I suppose we’re all wondering similar things.

Tom. Thomas Evans. And, Lydia, Marcia George fill out our party. We are planning to leave here in a few months and head south, or west. The direction isn’t decided, only the realization that we need to go. The thinking is that we should head south, somewhere warmer. After all, there is no electricity here, and we are living in a cave. It’s not a bad cave, and we’re lucky to have it. Almost the entire city has been destroyed. The buildings are unsafe to live in.

When we leave, we’ll leave all of that behind us. This is who we are. We will most likely continue to the south. We are currently looking for a Short Wave radio set to try to get in touch with others around the world. You, whoever you may be, may be able to reach us where ever we have gone to now.

Bob believes in the Nation. That the people will once again live on the earth the way they used to. Bob believes it, and so I believe it. I’ll continue to keep this book up while we’re here and include any useful information we can pass on to you before we go.

Candace

March 14th

I guess I should start this the right way. I hadn’t thought about it when it was just me to think about. But it’s more than me or even those of us that are here now. It’s the ones who might come. Or will come after. So even if you figured out almost all of what I’m about to write, I’ll write it anyway.

I read back over what I wrote and it doesn’t even seem like me, like I wrote it, like those things happened to me

My name is Candace Loi. I was living here when all of this happened. I’m not from Watertown. I actually did live here for a while last year, but that’s a long story. The point is I’m not really from here like the others are.

My man is Mike Collins and we are with two other couples; Jan and Bob Dove, and Tom Evans And Lydia George. I came here with them; Mike was on his own then. I was too, even though I had people around me. I guess if you’ve read all of this diary you know what I’m talking about. I had Jan as my friend, this diary and my father’s gun. I Thank God for what I had, especially Jan.

Jan and Bob are older. They are really good people. Tom and Lydia are younger. Well, Lydia is. Lydia’s even younger than I am, but Tom is quite a lot older. I don’t think anyone cares about that anymore though. At least nobody here does.

We are going to leave here sometime in the next few months and try to make it down to the Gulf coast. We don’t know for sure how that will go. I’ll keep this updated though until then. We’re going to leave these behind us. Hopefully they will be useful to someone. But I think I’ll keep my little Notebook. It means something to me.

Things we know: You can get trucks and cars to start as long as they are older ones that don’t have electronic brain boxes, as Bob put it. That is how we intend to go before winter or just after winter really lets go. Otherwise, we’d really have to wait for summer to settle in before we could chance travel.

There are several sporting goods stores in the area. We’re all carrying guns now. It seems smart to do. Maybe I should say it would be stupid not to. We think it only makes good sense.

This cave we are in seems stable, but many of the other structures in the city aren’t safe to live in. We don’t know how deep these caves go.

We’re going to try to reach others with Ham Radios. We’re also trying to find a battery powered television set just to see if anything’s on the air. We’re hopeful. We’re also going to pick up some hand held F.M. Radios, walkie-talkies, Bob calls them. That way we can speak to each other when we’re separated.

The sun is rising in the north. Really the North West. The days were long, then short, now going back towards long again. We don’t know what that might mean, where it will end or even where we will be when it does end. And maybe end is the wrong word to use. We don’t know what began or ended; might begin or end.

I re-read that, I guess it seems melodramatic, at least to me, but it’s honest.

I will write more as we go along…


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