Yellowstone from author Dell Sweet

YELLOWSTONE

Copyright 2018 W. G. Sweet all rights reserved.

Cover Art © Copyright 2018 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 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.


WARNING! This preview contains violence and explicit language


PROLOGUE

Somewhere in the World

Overclocking: SS-V2765

 

“Stay down next to the friggin’ bank, Hunter!” Beeker yelled. Beeker could see that Hunter probably wouldn’t be hanging around for much longer. He didn’t have the wits that Simpson had had. And a fire fight was no fuckin’ place to have to baby sit. Why was it that he always ended up with all the ass-holes any way? They had been pinned down in this particular position a sandy beachhead for four days. Sand and water in front of them, mountain and jungle behind them. They were on the other side of a river, and if the man upstairs the man that pulled all the friggin’ strings, Beeker liked to think, didn’t do something damn soon they might not see five.

The fire was just as heavy as it had been on the first day. Non-stop. Round after round of machine gun fire, and mortar rounds that came so fast it was hard to tell when one ended, and another began. Hunter crawled over, eating some dirt as he came. But at least he had crawled. The numb son-of-a-bitch had walked the first few times; like he was out on a goddamn Sunday stroll.

“Sergeant Beeker?” he whisper yelled over the sound of the gunfire. “Shouldn’t we maybe take the shit now, sir?”

“Hey, fuck you, if I say we lay low, we lay low. We take it like we’re supposed to, no deviations on my watch. Now, shut up and crawl your white-ass back over to your position, mister, NOW!”

The shit was V2765. The thing was, Hunter had already had it at least once, the rest of them hadn’t and never would. But Hunter had come with the vial clearly marked as a booster shot… He didn’t need that yet.

Hunter went, he didn’t have to be told twice. Beeker was one mean bastard, and he had absolutely no desire to mess with him. Even so this whole situation didn’t set well in his mind, and that was mainly due to the fact that it didn’t make any sense. And how in hell could it? he asked himself. There was no answer, because there could be no answer at all. Fifteen days ago he had been safe and sound in… In… It wouldn’t come. Someplace. He had been someplace, not here, and he had been… Whatever he had been, or where ever he had been it wouldn’t come. He could almost remember, like it was right there, just beyond memories…

He could remember waking up here with Beeker, Philips, and Ronson. In the middle of… Of… Where am I? He didn’t know that either, and they weren’t disposed to tell him. Other than waking up in the middle of this fire-fight, he couldn’t remember jack-shit. He made the outside perimeter, and curled up into a near ball as he pressed himself into the dirt embankment.

Jungle all around… Not the Middle East then… Where he had been… Had he been in the Middle East? Fighting… Fighting the… He couldn’t make the information come to him, but it seemed as though it was just barely out of reach like all the rest…

Bluechip… Volunteer? For? Thoughts floating around in his head… They had given him a shot… Some sort of booster? Yes, booster… Booster shot… For, what? He asked himself, but he had no idea.

“About fucking time,” Beeker yelled above the roar of gunfire… …They had been pinned down for the last several hours, with heavy fire. It had finally fallen off somewhat, and it was time to make a move: Beeker was no fool, he had every intention of getting his men the hell out, including that test case they had laid on him…

He’d already lost four good men on this mission. He couldn’t see losing any more. He looked across the short, smoky distance, directly into Ronson’s eyes, and signaled left, away from the sand, towards the jungle that pressed in from behind them. A quick sideways flick of his own eyes told him that Hunter and Phillips had caught it too. Beeker signaled Ronson out first, then Phillips, and then Hunter. It was a slow go; belly crawl for the first few hundred yards. The bullets continued to whine above them, but they all made it one piece. Two hundred yards in they were able to stand. The jungle finally offering some protection. Beeker led the way quickly yet carefully, through the lush greenery. The others fell in behind him silently. Two miles further through the dense jungle, and they finally lost the distant sounds of gunfire, and the jungle fell nearly silent. They fell silent themselves, moving as quietly as they could from tree to tree: Aware of the noises that surrounded them. A short while later when the gunfire had completely fallen off, the jungle seemed to come back to life. Bird calls, and the ever present monkey chatter. That was a good sign to Beeker, if the jungle was full of soldiers, the birds sure as fuck wouldn’t be singing. They pushed on through the night, and morning found them in a small village with a main trail running through the middle of it. They walked quietly through the village end to end… Burned out… Empty… A good place to rest-up.

“Oh, man,” Ronson complained. “Fuckin’ cra-zee,” Beeker agreed wearily. He was leaned back against the side of a burned out hut, smoking a cigarette he’d pulled from inside his jacket.

Hunter didn’t have the slightest idea where they were, let alone what they were talking about. Beeker had led them through the jungle and at first light they had come upon this village. They had crept in warily, ready for whatever lay before them. There had been no need, it was empty; a couple of dozen scattered bodies busy gathering flies: Burned out huts. The design wasn’t familiar to him. He had thought Beeker would move on. He hadn’t. They were still here. But where here was, and how Beeker had found it, eluded Hunter.

“Sure as fuck did thought we was done,” Phillips agreed.

“Yeah, well, we made it this far,” Ronson said. He grinned, and then the grin turned into a full fledged smile, and he began to laugh. Phillips joined him, and a second later, when Hunter was sure Beeker was going to open his mouth to tell them all to shut the fuck up, he started laughing too. “Oh… It’s good, look-at-him,” Ronson said, holding his side, and pointing at Hunter, “he don’t have a friggin’ clue.” That seemed to drive all of them into hysteria, Hunter saw. Including Beeker, who was usually hard-nosed and moody. He was doubled over too. Holding his sides. Tears squirting from his eyes.

“That true?” Beeker asked at last, once he had managed to get the laughter somewhat under control. “That your friggin’ problem is it, Hunter, you don’t have a clue?” he stopped laughing abruptly, and within seconds Ronson and Philips chuckled to a stop. “Do you have the slightest idea where your ass is?” Beeker asked seriously.

“No… Well, a jungle, I guess,” Hunter answered.

“No… Well, it could be a jungle, I guess,” Ronson mimicked in a high falsetto.

“Is it?” Hunter ventured in a near whisper.

“Look…” Beeker waited for silence. “Take a break, it’s going to get worse. Why don’t you have a smoke and kick back… Enjoy the break?”

“Well, the thing is that I don’t smoke, bad for the lungs. I’m pretty careful about my health.”

“Really?” Beeker asked politely. He chuckled briefly, lit another of his own smokes, and then spoke softly. “I would like your complete attention, Hunter, do I have it?”

“Yeah, sure…”

He cut him off, his voice a roar. “In case you hadn’t noticed, there’s a fuckin’ war goin’ on, you pansy mother-fucker. A fuckin’ war, Hunter, you understand that, you ain’t gonna live much fuckin’ longer anyway. Get with the program mister, now!”

Hunter’s eyes bugged out, but as Beeker finished he forced himself to speak. “I know that… I can see that… It don’t mean I have to die though, not necessarily.”

“Man, Beek, don’t waste your time, he hopeless, same old shit, like Simpson. Like all those friggin guys before Simpson,” Ronson said.

Beeker drew a deep breath, winked at Ronson, and then spoke. “Yes it does,” Beeker said calmly. “It does because you ain’t a regular. You ain’t been here long enough, and you don’t mean a fiddler’s fuck to anybody. And that sucks, but that’s life, Hunter,” he paused and looked over at Ronson. “How long was the last one, fourteen days, am I right?”

“As rain,” Ronson replied coolly.

“And where are we now?” Beeker asked.

“Seventeen?” Phillips asked.

“Uh uh,” Ronson corrected, “eighteen, man, remember? Simpson bought it eighteen days ago, and this ass-hole came into play. Replacement, supposedly.”

“Right!” Beeker said. “It is eighteen, and that’s why nobody gives a fuck about you, Hunter. Eighteen’s too far, you’ll be done at twenty, it never goes past that, and I’ll bet bullets to bodies you’ll buy the farm long before we’re done with eighteen, see?”

“No,” Hunter said slowly, “I don’t see.” Seventeen? Eighteen? What the hell was that all about? he wondered.

Ronson chuckled. “I think he’s confused, again, Beek.”

“I think he was fuckin’ born confused,” Phillips added.

“Seventeen? Eighteen?” Hunter asked aloud. He didn’t get it, not completely anyway.

“Have a cigarette,” Beeker told him.

“I told you, I don’t…”

“Yeah, right, fuck that noise, there’s a pack inside your jacket… Check it… See if I’m right.”

Hunter fumbled with the jacket snaps, and finally pulled the jacket open. A half pack of smokes resided in the inside pocket. A silver Zippo tucked in beside them. He looked up with amazement.

“So?” Beeker asked, smiling widely.

“One of you guys stuck them there, while I was sleeping, has to be,” Hunter said.

“And when was that?”

Hunter thought about it. He Looked over at Beeker. Beeker just smiled.

“Don’t you get it yet, Hunter? Don’t you feel like an extra in a play.”

“Bluechip? Volunteer for SS-V2765? … Wow, they must have zonked your brain, man…

“Look, it was hard for Simpson too. He was with us for twenty days, and you know, I liked that sucker. He was all right for a white dude. All you guys show up… Combat ready… Except you’re all fucked up in the head… No idea what to expect or even where you are… It aint supposed to be that way, so we always have to lay it out… You are one of them, Super Soldier, we call it over-clocked… You’re gonna get dead, and you know what? Then you’re coming back… Don’t ask me what the fuck is in that shit they give you, all I know is you’ll get dead and then you’ll come back from it and they’ll ship you out… That booster shot? It ain’t exactly a booster shot. I don’t know what exactly it is, but once you’re gone I know this, it’ll bring you back.”

“Yeah, back… In the beginning some didn’t come back, it don’t matter though, ‘cause they come and got them too… But the last several months they, all of you, come back… Dead and then you’re not… And then they’re here and you’re gone and then in a few days some other dick-wad shows up in a supply drop…”

“What? A supply drop?” Hunter asked.

“Oh yeah… Supply drop… Wrapped up like a… Like a douche, man..”

“Uh uh, Beek, man, that line was really Revved up like a Duece,” Ronson said.

“Okay, bad analogy… I hate that fuckin’ song anyways… Always did, but you guys come wrapped up, like a package, man. We unwrap you and you’re alive… We leave you be for awhile and next thing you know you’re sitting up… Walkin’ and talkin’.”

“Yeah, boy… Fuckin’ freaky shit,” Phillips said. “Mucho freaky!”

Hunter swallowed hard, lit up one of the smokes from his jacket, and leaned back against the side of the hut. The silence held.

“So,” Beeker finished quietly, “you gotta deal with it man… You just got too… It won’t be long…”

Yellowstone by W.G. Sweet “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.” He paused in the silence.



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Settlement Earth from W. W. Watson with Lindsey Rivers

Earth’s Survivors Settlement Earth


Earth’s Survivors Settlement Earth: Book One 

Series: Earth’s Survivors Settlement Earth, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 62,840. Language: English.Published: September 22, 2013 by independAntwriters Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » ApocalypticFiction » Horror » Undead

(3.50)

“It will kill you well enough,” Alice said as if reading his thoughts. “It’s a bad world. You need another shooter. Who knows what you’re going to run into between here and there.” She paused and then nodded at the pistol. “You can see I’m resourceful.” She met Johnny’s eyes when they swung suddenly up to her own. “I’m not dangerous unless someone is trying to hurt me,” she finished quietly…

Earth’s Survivors Settlement Earth: Book Two 

Series: Earth’s Survivors Settlement Earth, Book 2. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 93,310. Language: English.Published: September 22, 2013 by independAntwriters Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic,Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic
The air lock cycled on and six soldiers stepped into the hall like space that was actually just an airlock between the control room, the autopsy room, the former patient ward and the outside world. Johns tensed, waiting for the door to their space to cycle on, but it didn’t. “You think they will outright kill us,” Kohlson asked after a few long minutes of silence. “Gabe… I think they will…”

Earth’s Survivors Settlement Earth: Book Three 

Series: Earth’s Survivors Settlement Earth, Book 3. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 89,390. Language: English.Published: September 22, 2013 by independAntwriters Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic,Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic
A thin line of blood ran away from the wrist that had been encircled by the tie. Whether from the sharp metal she had used to escape the zip-tie, or the zip-tie itself she could not tell. A few more seconds of careful rubbing with the sharp metal edge and the other plastic cuff fell to the floor. She stood and rubbed feeling back into her hands…

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Pluto TV and the movie BUG

Watched a movie called BUG last night on Pluto. If you don’t know what Pluto is, it’s free TV, Movies, Series, News, Music, all laid out in a grid schedule. I have been a fan for awhile: https://pluto.tv/

 

I am unsure if Prime will allow you to choose it, but Roku will; or watch it online…


The Movie:

BUG: At a rundown desert motel, Agnes (Ashley Judd) begins a tentative relationship with a newcomer named Peter (Michael Shannon). He has a strange charisma, one that offers fearful and unstable Agnes a flicker of hope. When Peter reveals that the military deliberately infected him with a bug and that he has tiny insects crawling under his skin, paranoia begins to envelop the desperate pair.
Everything you could want to know about BUG: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bug_(2006_film)
Without a doubt a very original and weird movie. I tuned it in because I thought it stared Evangeline Lilly, Ashley Judd looked a little like her in the promo. The movie started and no credits of any kind rolled except the production companies, and then the movie began. Once I saw it was not Evangeline Lilly I thought to leave, after all that is the only reason I clicked it and there was a horror film I had glimpsed that I wanted to see. But the movie would not let me leave. It rolled on and I actually sat there for the first 45 minutes before I realized I still had the remote in my hand. I had never set it back down, I was that involved. I set it down and watched the balance of the movie. Awesome, shocked me, definitely entertained me. It’s playing on Pluto TV for free right now if you want to watch it…
Mentioned in this blog:

The book Zombie Fall from Dell Sweet

Zombie fall is a collection of Seven short stories including the title story Zombie fall. These stories have been best sellers on their own but never before offered in a collection…

Zombie Fall: Geo Had lived along the River all of his life. Spring was beautiful. The summer one of the best. But the fall was not so good. Fall was when Geo discovered that Zombies had moved into his old barn…

Alive Again: They were three, set out to leave the city for the safety of the road, where they would be relatively free from the dead that plagued the cities, but only two were destined to escape the dead that plagued the city, and even then what did they escape to? The Dead were everywhere…

Rapid City One, Two and Three. When the Zombie Apocalypse was at it;s height, gunslingers roamed the new frontier towns, offering their services to hunt down and kill the zombies. Theses are short stories from those days…

Jennifer learns more about the undead than she ever wanted to when she is murdered and then rises from the dead to her new life…

Donita, the birth of a Zombie Queen. She feels the changes as she leaves life, and her memories remain for a short time. It is only after the major changes have taken her from life solidly into death that she no longer remembers her old life at all, just this new need to kill and eat the flesh of the living…


READ MORE RIGHT NOW…

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/274567

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/zombie-fall/id594797627

NOOK: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/zombie-fall-wendell-sweet/1114304085

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Earth’s Survivors SE 4 The Story of Candace and Mike Dell Sweet

Earth’s Survivors SE 4 The Story of Candace and Mike Dell Sweet

Earth’s Survivors SE 4 The Story of Candace and Mike Dell Sweet

Earth’s Survivors SE 4. The Story of Candace and Mike


This is Copyright protected work

This material is NOT edited for content


THE EARTH’S SURVIVORS SE 4

The story of Candace and Mike

PUBLISHED BY: Dell Sweet

Earth’s Survivors: SE Four: the story of Candace and Mike is © Copyright 2017 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.


In the Trees

The eyes watched her and the other cows from the cover of the trees. The hunger was terrible, all consuming, and it came in crashing waves. The impulse to feed seemed to be the only coherent thought she had. It was hard to think around, hard to think past.

A few weeks ago she had been… Been? But it did no good; she could not force the memory to come. A name came, Donita. She had been Donita; she knew that, but that was all she knew. And a name was not everything she had been. She had been something else… something more, but she could not get to whatever it was. Something that did not wander through the woods: Something that was not driven by all consuming passions that she could not understand.

She turned her eyes up to the moon. It pulled at her. Something in it spoke directly to something inside of her., something deep, something she believed had always been there, but there had never been a need to address it because it lived under the surface, out of her line of thought, sight… below her emotions. Now it didn’t. Now it ruled everything. It was all she could do not to rush from the trees, find the smell that tempted her and consume it. Eat it completely. Leave nothing at all. Oh to do it… To do it…

Her eyes snapped back from the moon, and a low whine escaped her throat. The calf, sated, had wandered away from her mother. Behind her, the boy made a strangled noise in his throat. She turned, gnashed her teeth and growled. The thin, skeletal boy fell back, hungry but frightened. She could feel his fear. It fed her, tempted her to taste him, but he was no food for her. She knew that much. It was a sort of instinct… Drive… Something inside of her. The boy was not her food. The boy was not her sustenance: He was one of her own; corrupted. And corrupted flesh could not feed and sustain itself on corrupted flesh. Fresh flesh was needed, live flesh. Fresh human flesh, she corrected.

The boy trembled and grinned sickly, his one good eye rolling in his head. The other eye was a ruined mass of gray pulp sagging from the socket. A great flap of skin below that socket had curled and dried, hanging from the cheek. He felt at it now, carefully, with his shrunken fingers. She hissed at him and his hands fell away. She turned her attention back to the wandering calf that was nosing ever closer to the edge of the trees.

She desired human flesh. She needed it, but it didn’t absolutely have to be that way.

Two nights ago it had been a rabbit. The night before that she and the boy had shared a rat. The night before that they had come upon the old woman. She thought about the old woman as the calf wandered ever closer to the line of trees.

The old woman had been good. They had brought her back here and her bones lay here still, in the weeds at the edge of the clearing behind her. She turned and gazed back past the boy into their makeshift campsite, searching for what was left of the old woman, finding her bones where they lay at the edge of the clearing they had made. She turned back to the field, watching the calf as she remembered the old woman…

The old woman in the ditch

They had come across the old woman at near morning. Near morning was the best she could do. Time was not a real concern to her anymore. The concept held no meaning. She understood near morning because the sickness, the sickness that began to send the searing pain through her body, had started. The boy had already been whining low in his throat for an hour in pain. It was like that whenever the night began to end, when the morning was on the way, soon to be.

She remembered sunlight. Her old self had needed sunlight just as she now needed darkness, absence of light. That had been Donita as well, but a different Donita.

They had been crossing the rock filled ditch to get to an old house on the other side. The basement of the house was what she had in mind: Quiet, private, darkness. She had been scrambling down the steep, sandy side when the scent had found her eyes and froze her brain.

That is the way she thought of it. Frozen. Everything… everything besides that smell of flesh was frozen out. The boy’s whining, the coming dawn, the constant hunger in her belly, the moon silvery and bright so far up in the night sky, nothing got by that desire. Urge. Drive. It consumed her, and it had then.

It had touched her eyes and then seeped into her brain; then it had spread out into her body. Her legs had stopped moving and she had nearly tumbled all the way to the bottom of the rock strewn ditch before she had caught herself, her head already twisted in the direction of the smell. Her ears pricked her tongue licking at her peeled, dead lips.

She could smell the old woman. Knew that she was an old woman. It was in the smell: Somehow it was in the smell; and her flesh, her fear. The boy had slammed into her then, still whining, and nearly knocked her to the ground.

She had come up from that near fall in a crouch, and the boy had slammed into her once more, so she had grabbed him to steady him. He had thought she meant to kill him and had pulled away, but a second later he had caught the scent and they had both gone tearing down the ditch.

The Old Woman

The old woman had heard them coming. She had begun to whine herself, replacing the boy’s whining which had turned to a low growl. The panic had built in her as she heard them coming. Her heart pounded, leapt, slammed against her ribs, bringing pain with it. The pain rebounded and shot down into her broken leg, the leg that she had broken the day before trying to scramble down into this ditch to reach the house across what was left of the highway so she would have a safe place to stay. The pain slammed into her leg, and she cried aloud involuntarily. A split second later, the female slammed into her.

She had been on her belly. The pain was less that way. When the female hit her, she drove her over onto her back. A second after that, she was ripping at her flesh, biting, feeding and she could not fight her. She was too strong, too… Animal strong. And then the boy hit her hard, pouncing on her chest, driving the air from her lungs, and before she could even react, catch her breath back, he was biting at her throat.

She felt the pulse of blood as he bit into her jugular, and it sprayed across his face. She felt it go, felt her consciousness drop by half, her eyelids flutter, flutter, flutter and then close completely. And the biting was far away, and then it was gone.

The Feasting

The boy had her throat, but Donita had been biting her way into her chest. She had felt her heart beating, and she had been gnawing against her ribs when she felt it stop. They had calmed then, loosening the grips they had on her, and settling down to feed.

~

She glanced now at the calf that was less than three feet from them, its huge moon eyes staring curiously at them. The calf did not know death, had not seen it, she thought. It knew its mother’s tit, the sweet grass of the spring field, the warmth of the sun and nothing else. It edged a little closer.

~

She had killed the old woman. She had no use for her at all. They had eaten so much of her flesh, that she was useless to them. Couldn’t sit up all the way. The boy had taken one arm off at the shoulder and carried it away like a prize.

Donita had eaten so much that she had vomited, but that had only forced her back to feeding until she was once again filled. She had looked around the ditch and spied the rock. The old woman had come back already, and she was trying to raise herself from the ground, trying to raise herself and walk once more. She had picked the rock up from the ditch. A big rock, but she was powerful, and she had smashed the old woman’s skull in as she had tried to bite at her. They had dragged her into the woods a little farther down the road, this place where they still were.

~

She turned again to the calf. The calf was not what she wanted, but the calf would have to do for now. She let her hand fall upon the boy’s thigh and they both sprang at the calf.

The calf did not have the time to react. It did not even bawl. One second it was standing, and the next it was on its side, Donita’s teeth clamped tightly across its throat. A second after that, it was sliding across the dew wet grass and into the woods, one wild eye rolling and reflecting the silver of the waning moon, as Donita and the boy dragged her into the trees.


SE 4: The Story of Mike and Candace. The most popular group from the website writings were Candace and Mike.

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America The Dead – W. G. Sweet


 

His shirt stank, stuck to him with sweat. His boots were melted in places. The leather looked sandblasted and ratty. He took two of the pills, washed it down with water. Next big town, he told himself, he would get clothes… #UNDEAD #Dystopian https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/america-the-dead-survivor-stories-one/id1436765995?mt=11


“Grow up, John, as for those two?” He looked over at Madison and Cammy. “Don’t mess with them anymore… I understand your thoughts might have gotten messed up… It’s tough times like this that can do that, but they are their own, not your own.” #action https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/america-the-dead-survivor-stories-two/id1156649961?mt=11


He had gone up to the roof twice during the day and looked over the city.

It appeared to be dead. There was a precinct only two blocks away, deserted, doors hanging open. Looters were carrying away cheap computer systems and who knew what else… #Survive https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/america-the-dead-survivor-stories-three/id1156638728?mt=11


Kohlson turned to him. “Go on in, do CPR if you want. They don’t pay me enough to do it. I don’t know what that stuff is. Look at the way the Doc suits up. Clayton Hunter will be in rigor before anyone gets there, besides… It’s Airborn, dude…” #Horror https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/america-the-dead-survivor-stories-four/id1156637747?mt=11


We came across a dead man laying by the road. I could have sworn he moved, so I hurried to him, but I got closer and I could see he was long dead. We stood a moment and then left. Later when we came back he was gone, and I thought, was he dead? Was he? … https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/america-the-dead-survivor-stories-five/id1157353753?mt=11





 

The Zombie Plagues: Southland

The Zombie Plagues: Southland: He stepped out of the truck to the ground testing the leg. Dark blood covered a large area of the outside pant leg just below his hip and the blue denim fabric was shredded and burned. https://www.amazon.com/dp/1980510393

The Zombie Plagues: Southland: If society collapsed today could you survive? Follow the survivors as they pick themselves up and try to rebuild their world. A world with no government… No protection… A world where the dead do not remain dead… https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00W1TDLD6

The Legend of Sparrow Copyright © 2017 by Wendell G Sweet

DREAMERS

The Legend of Sparrow Copyright © 2017 by Wendell G Sweet all rights reserved foreign and domestic.

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.

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.

Parts of this novel are Copyright © 2009 and 2010 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 material is NOT edited for content and is rated 18


Light from another Moon:

Slip Sliding

Laura

He sat on the wall for hours. I watched. I saw when he noticed the name and number. Nothing. I slipped sideways, I watched. He traced the name with one finger. I saw his lips form the numbers. He closed his eyes, mouthed the name, the number, and opened his eyes again. Closed them once more.

How long, I thought. I slipped sideways again, traveling across time to the same place; short bursts. Less this time.  It was dangerous. I wasn’t even all that good at it either. He was a no show. I slipped. I slipped again. There he was. His eyes closed his lips moving.  He opened his eyes looked right at me. Really saw me. But I felt he didn’t know what he saw. I was not me… Not my actual self.

I dream as a sparrow. Unique? Probably not: After I decided to dream as a sparrow, I realized there were hundreds of dreamer’s who dream that way. Birds. Cats. Dogs. Lizards. A fly on the wall. His eyes held mine. He did know. I slipped back to where I had started from once again, and then let go, drifting in the blackness. Hoping for an easy return.

I fell hard, but there was no panic in. I lay on the mattress and wondered when it would happen. The ringing of the phone answered my question for me. I picked it up, but did not speak. An unreasonable fear lit a fire in my chest. He could be anything at all. He did not necessarily have to be a dreamer.  He could be The Trickster himself. The Thief of Souls. He could be…

“Laura,” he asked?

I drew a deep breath before I spoke.

“You dream,” I said.  There was nothing else to say.

“Wise words from a Sparrow,” he said. His voice was deep. No real accent. Inflection.

“I was afraid,” I said.

“Yeah,” he agreed. “Me to…  So…” He asked?

“Where do you know,” I asked? “What places?”

“The docks… Around there… The factory… The house where I live with my wife and children. And I can create… I can create places,” he answered.

“Wife and kids,” I asked? Good, Laura, I chided. How stupid could you be? Or obvious… I thought about it. No matter, I still would have asked.

“I don’t understand it,” he said. “I used to go there in real dreams. Then one time the dream seemed to become a real place, or the place became real in the dream… It makes no sense. I rarely actually go there, but I very often start out there in my dreaming… There’s something wrong with it… Her… In that place.”

“There are places like that,” I agreed. A dream wife, I told myself.

“There’s a place farther up the river. Below the main factory. On the ledges. An older factory. They don’t seem to be there. No one… No dreamer’s. It’s a place from my childhood… Really not more than a foundation left on the river bank,” he said.

“How will I find it,” I asked?

“I’ll go to Locust Street: Sit on the wall. Watching, waiting. Once you come I’ll walk there; it’s not that far. You’ll follow me,” he suggested.

If he was anything other than a dreamer I could be in trouble, but it didn’t feel that way at all. “All right,” I agreed. I hung up, lay back on the soft mattress and slipped into a dream. A few seconds later I settled on the branch of a tall pine tree and waited.

He took longer. One second the wall was empty, the next it was not. Once he saw me he got up and began to walk. I followed him.

When he stopped I saw nothing but a small clearing at the river side. It was possible he saw something more than I did. Something I could not see. It was his dream after all.

Shape shifting is no big trick. If you dream you have gifts; I can shape shift easily. I dropped from the sky, slowed myself about five feet from the ground and changed.

It is fast. I have watched it in a mirror. It is not so fast that you cannot see what happens. But even if you see you may not understand.

My bird body expanded quickly, morphing as it did. I knew enough to cover myself as I changed. The clothes were an afterthought and did not come immediately. So far I had only shocked myself with that and I had no wish to shock anyone else with it. Most especially the first other dreamer I had chosen to reveal myself too.

It wasn’t so much naked. We have all been naked. If you dream it is a natural state of the dream unless you’re conscious of it and clothe yourself. It is the process that can be hard to understand. The feathers melt away. The flesh knits itself together, races across my body. Building it piece by piece. It happens fast, but it can be unnerving. For a brief second you can see the blood vessels swimming to the top of my skin from someplace deeper within me. Finally, the clothes come, the hair, the features draw themselves on my face. Dramatic. I knelt close to the ground, standing as I came together.

“I have never seen anything like that,” Joe said.

“It can be a little freaky,” I agreed.

He pulled out a notebook. “Page twenty-six,” he said, thumbing through it.

“What,” I asked?

“Page twenty-six,” he repeated. He turned it to show my name and the numbers. “Drove me crazy. I wasn’t as good then. I couldn’t remember where I got the name or the number from.  And I could never remember the number in the waking world.” He turned the pad around closed it and slipped it back into his shirt pocket.

“Eventually I figured out how to take the notebook with me. I wrote in it, but it took so long to remember that I had written in it. Then once I found it, to know what it was.”

I nodded. “You can take it back and forth?”

He nodded. “Yeah. I can translate it both ways.”

I was impressed. “Maybe you can teach me. I’ve never tried.”

“Yeah, maybe you can teach me to shape shift” He raised his eyebrows.

“If I can,” I agreed. I looked around: As we had talked the old crumbling factory walls had rebuilt themselves around us.

“It’s because it’s private,” I said, gesturing at the walls. “A private place. It has to be built from your mind.”

He nodded.  “Almost dawn,” he said.

It was my turn to agree. “You come here every night?”

He nodded again. “I’ll meet you here tomorrow.”

“You’re not weird… I’m not weird… Maybe we can help each other. I’ll be here.” I agreed.

I thought that he would say more, but he simply flashed out of existence. I shifted, side slipped, we were not of the same time, and I felt myself falling… Falling. Seconds later I landed.  Crouched on my bedroom floor. Feathers flew in the air in a perfect gray-black storm. I made my way into the kitchen, started the coffee, and headed for the shower.

The Light from another Moon:

Shifting Realities

Joe

The garage was dark, as always, but enough light spilled in from the Moonlight to go through the items in the cart. The sacks were ears of corn. The parts were varied. A keyboard, missing the space bar. Two plastic stubs stuck up where it should have been. An old computer. The dinosaur kind.  Huge and boxy, probably worthless. A small LCD screen or plasma maybe, the old flat screen type before flex screens.

She spoke from the darkness.

“Why do I always find you out here,” she asked?

I jumped. My heart skipping beats.

“The kids miss you. You’re never home.” She smiled, but the smile had too many teeth. Was too sweet. Too nice.

“I just got back,” I said. And that was true as far as it went.

“You’re always just getting back,” she said. She moved closer.  The moonlight shining through her nightgown left nothing to my imagination, which is pretty good all on its own. Her hand touched my chest. Her palm flattened against it.

“I miss you too,” she said huskily.

“I… I have to go… I have to go again,” I said.

Her hand spasmed and then slapped flat against my chest.  She backed away.  “You are never here. Never!”

“I…”

“I, what?”

“I try…”

“I try? I’m your wife…” She leaned closer. “What’s in those other places,” she asked in a rough whisper. Her tongue came out, forked, purple, and licked at her lips. Colors shifted across her face. Iridescent greens, reds, oranges, yellows, purples. I sidestepped, and…

I found myself in the garage. Empty, but wrong. Something moved in the shadows.

The troll was on me so fast I did not have time to think. Stinking, hot breath on my neck, sharp claws sinking into me. I threw myself out of the dream and spun away into blackness. The pain followed. I spun down faster and faster.

I’d left my body sitting in a wooden chair pulled up to my desk. The force of my impact back into my body shattered the chair. I sprawled on to the floor and skidded all the way to the wall where I slammed to a stop.

When I caught my breath I checked myself over: Nasty bites on my chest, deep scratches on my arms. It could hurt you. It could kill you. I waited until I had my breathing under control and then made my way to the bathroom medicine cabinet.

The Light from another Moon:

The Tracker

Abignew

Abignew squatted on his short legs and lowered his head to the ground. He inhaled deeply, sucking up the scent of the dream. He shook his head and shuddered as the scent worked its way up into his brain. A few minutes later he lifted his head and looked around the empty garage with his red glowing eyes. He snuffled deep in his chest. A bass sound like a suppressed snort. He lifted his head and sniffed the air, then slipped into the time stream…


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A free look at Mister Bob and the title story

A look at the title story, Mister Bob…


MISTER BOB

Collected Short Stories

Mister Bob: Collected Short Stories is Copyright © 2015 Dell Sweet

Copyright © 2015 by Dell Sweet All rights reserved

Cover Art © Copyright 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 © 2015 Wendell Sweet and his assignees. The Name Dell Sweet is a publishing construct used by Wendell Sweet. Portions of this text are copyright 2010, and 2011, all rights reserved by Wendell Sweet and his assignees. 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 or assignees permission.

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


MISTER BOB

The Middle of the night: Lisa

She awoke suddenly in the darkness of the bedroom. Panic rode tightly in her throat, but nothing in the silence told her anything she needed to know.

The clock read 2:38 AM, green numerals lighting the bedroom in eerie, fairy half light. Spooky light, she decided. It was adding to her sense of something wrong. Would red be better, she wondered. She would pick up a new clock… Make sure it had red numerals.

Don slept on beside her, apparently undisturbed, but the sense of panic, touch of fear, would not leave her.

“Mommy…!” Alandra, sobbing, calling her name. She threw the covers aside and nearly leapt up, out, and to her feet in one motion: The cotton night shirt fell to her knees as she ran for Alandra’s bedroom. Behind her, Don grunted in surprise, but she barely heard him: Her mind had kicked into a higher gear; suddenly working overtime.

…Nightmare?   … Kidnapping? …Killers? … Burglars? … My baby! …

And why is it, she thought, as her mind threw all the worst possibilities at her, that your mind does exactly that? Why?

She pushed it all away as she pushed the bedroom door open to find Alandra sitting up, staring at the closed window that looked out over the back yard.

She reached the bed and gathered Alandra in her arms… “What, baby? … Bad dream?”

“No,” Alandra sobbed. “Not a dream. You have to stop them, Mommy. They were killing Mister Bob… He told me.”

Lisa let her eyes fly quickly to the window, and then flit around the bedroom, alighting here and there, in case there was some wack-job standing in the shadows… Closed window… Tree limbs outlined outside it in moonlight… Closed closet door… She thrust one foot at the darkness under the bed.

“Baby, there’s no one here.” She pulled Alandra’s head away from her breast which was already wet from her tears.

“Honey, Alandra.” She waited until she turned her tear stained face up to her own. “Baby, there’s no one here… See?” She turned her eyes to the empty room.

“Mommy, Mister Bob,” Alandra said. “Look at the window.”

Lisa looked more closely at the window, but saw nothing more. “Honey, are you saying that Mister Bob was at the window?”

Alandra nodded solemnly.

Dan was supposed to take care of getting the tree outside the window trimmed. Lisa had been concerned of just this thing: Someone climbing that tree and having access to Alandra’s bedroom window. A spike of fear lodged directly in Lisa’s heart. “Stay here, baby, okay?”

Alandra nodded once more. Lisa gathered herself, rose from the bed, and went to the window, wishing she had thought to grab her pepper spray. Better yet, her mind supplied, Don’s 9 mm. The window was closed, but the thumb lock was off. She eased up next to the window, holding herself in the shadows, and scanned the back yard. … Nothing … The bedroom door opened suddenly and she turned quickly, her heart hammering hard against her rib-cage.

“Whatzit?” Dan asked.

“Jesus, Dan,” Lisa said. One hand went to her throat.

“Sorry…” He turned to Alandra. “What’s wrong, honey-pie?”

“She said someone was at the window,” Lisa supplied.

“Christ,” Dan muttered. He walked across to the window: A big man who moved fast. His eyes scanned the yard.

“Well… I don’t see anyone now,” he said.

“I don’t either, but I thought…”

He nodded. “Tomorrow morning, noon at the latest. It’s spring… He’s backed up.” Dan shrugged helplessly. “I’ve been on him, Lissy. I have.”

“Dan.”

He held up a hand. “Or I’ll take the day off and do it myself… Promise… I’ll call him in the morning before I leave.” He sighed.

Lisa yawned.

“Honey, you want to sleep with Mommy and Daddy,” Dan asked?

“Uh, uh. What if Mister Bob comes back?” Alandra asked.

“Mister Bob?” Dan asked.

“He told her that was his name,” Lisa said.

“Were you dreaming, honey?” Dan asked.

“She wasn’t dreaming, Dan,” Lisa warned.

“Well… Cops… Should we?”

“There’s nobody… What do you say exactly? No… Just make sure it can’t happen again,” Lisa finished.

“Okay… Okay.” He turned back to Alandra. “Come on, honey. Sleep with Mommy and Daddy tonight. Tomorrow we’ll make sure Mister Bob can’t wake you up in the middle of the night again.”

“Mommy will stay in here with you,” Lisa countered.

Alandra nodded.

Dan looked from Alandra to Lisa. Lisa shrugged.

Dan frowned and then turned and left the bedroom. A few minutes later he was back.

“Here,” he said as he handed Lisa her pillow. His own pillow and a wad of blankets were tucked under his other arm

“We’ll have a camp out,” Dan said. He looked at the floor, yawned deeply and then spread out the blankets and tossed the pillow to the floor.

Alandra giggled as Lisa climbed into the narrow bed and pulled her close.

~

Dan was already softly snoring and Lisa was sure that Alandra was sleeping too. Her own thoughts were getting farther and farther away from her. Her mind free falling into the spiral of sleep when Alandra whispered.

“Mister Bob is my friend, mommy.”

She came up from the edge of sleep just that fast.

“He talks to me every night.”

Lisa pulled her closer. “When, baby?” she whispered back.

“All kinds of times… Sometimes when I’m awake, sometimes he wakes me up. He’s not mean, mommy. He’s my friend.”

“But, baby, a man shouldn’t be climbing a tree to talk to you,” Lisa told her.

“But he doesn’t, mommy. He’s already there. Mister Bob is a tree. My tree.”

“Oh, baby… A tree? The tree in the back yard?”

Alandra yawned. “Uh huh. My friend, Mister Bob.”

Lisa nodded.

“He talks to me… He said… He said, they’re going to kill me, sissy. Don’t let them kill me.”

Lisa’s heart leapt in her chest. Sissy had been Alandra’s nickname until she had discovered that she liked her real name better in Kindergarten and had solemnly told she and Dan not to call her Sissy anymore. Lisa yawned in spite of herself. She pulled Alandra closer. Maybe it had been a dream after all.

“He calls you Sissy?”

“I told him I’m not a baby.” She yawned again and the rest of what she said was lost as she began to drift into sleep.

The fear that had been rising in Lisa’s heart bled out just that quick. Her own lack of sleep caught up to her. She yawned too, and a few seconds later she drifted down into sleep thinking about talking trees that spoke to little girls and called them by their nicknames.

Morning:

She heard the alarm from her own bedroom. Dan had turned over, pulled the covers over his head and balled the pillow up under his head. He slept on, oblivious. She recalled a dream of her own. Must have been after all that had happened, she thought. She had dreamed that she had awoken briefly to hear Alandra holding a conversation with Mister Bob. Something like, “I told her… She’ll make sure you’re okay.” And the impression of another voice. Deep, resonant. She couldn’t understand it. A weird dream provoked, no doubt, by what had happened earlier and what Alandra had told her. She looked down into Alandra’s sleep eyes.

“Want to sleep a little longer, honey?” Lisa asked her.

Alandra nodded.

Lisa kissed her forehead, got out of bed and then tucked her back in. She turned to Dan.

“Do you want to sleep in a little longer too, honey,” She asked.

The wad of blankets surrounding his head nodded.

“Well, you don’t get to sleep in. Come one. Get up.”

Dan groaned. He struggled briefly with the wad of tangled blankets that surrounded his head. Alandra looked over the edge of the bed and giggled. Lisa looked at her.

“You’re not going back to sleep are you.”

“Nope,” Alandra agreed.

“Well come on then. We’ll get breakfast and coffee going while Daddy gets his shower.”

Late Morning:

Lisa shifted through her email: Nothing too pressing. She closed the browser and popped open her scripting editor. She worked for the next three hours straight after she had gotten Alandra off to school. The website she was writing a script for was nearly done. She had written the site, incorporated the graphic elements, and was finishing up the scripting that would load the cart system for the site and control purchases. She had one small script to write yet, and a few graphics to tweak and that would be it. She reached for her coffee cup, found it was empty, and headed for the kitchen.

She had just poured the coffee when she heard the sudden roar of a chainsaw. She knew the sound. She heard it often enough in the spring and fall, but it was close. Much closer than it should be, and that rattled her. She took a deep sip from her coffee, set it down on the counter, and headed for the back door, glancing through the windows as she went: Two men she didn’t know were in her backyard.

At first it alarmed her and then she realized they must be there to trim the tree. She levered open the rear door and popped her head out anyway. They both looked over and nodded.

The bigger one held the chainsaw in his hand. A bigger saw than the models she had seen used for yard work. Somewhere, probably in the garage, they had one of the small ones tucked away for just-in-case themselves.

She smiled. “Here to trim the branch?” It made her blush. She felt a little foolish asking, but the saw was huge. Maybe they were at the wrong house… Wrong job… Something.

“The tree, miss,” the smaller man answered over the roar of the chainsaw.

The smile left her face. The words Alandra had said the night before surfaced on their own but she couldn’t quite get them. Something like, Mister Bob was her friend… A tree… This tree, in fact, and they were going to kill him… Trying to kill him

“The branch,” she said.

“Uh, uh,” the small one said. He pulled a notebook from his breast pocket, studied it. “Danny said… Danny said take the whole thing.”

“Well that just can’t be right,” Lisa informed him.

“Well, miss. I got it right here in black and white.” The big one was revving up the chainsaw and looking at the big tree with something like desire on his face.

“Well, see, I give Danny a good price, ’cause we’ll just cut this son-of-a-whore-tree…” He seemed to remember that he was talking to Lisa, met her eyes and blushed deep red. He turned away. He continued after a few seconds of silence.

“This ol’ tree, we’ll cut her up for firewood,” the bigger man continued. He had let the chainsaw fall to a rough, popping idle as they talked. From the kitchen came the ringing of the telephone.

“Excuse me,” Lisa said. She turned to go and then turned back just a quickly. “I’ll have to call Dan… Maybe that’s him. It’s only the limb though, not the tree.” She turned and headed for the back door.

The phone stopped ringing just before she reached it. She cursed under her breath, picked up her coffee, sipped at it, then picked up the handset, punched in Dan’s number.

The house phone was something that their friends considered an oddity and she considered a necessity. She liked it. She had a cellphone she rarely ever used. She had no real reason to. Her cell phone dislike wasn’t part of some strange phobia, it was just a habit she had never developed. She was a stay at home mom, what did she need a cellphone for, she asked her friends when the chided her about it. Secretly she hated it. More truthfully, she knew, she loathed it. It was something akin to being tracked everywhere you went. She had tried one for a year and that was how it made you feel. You didn’t have to slip it in your pocket, but you did. You didn’t have to answer it in the super market, but you did. While driving, while gardening, she had even tentatively answered it once when she had been in the bathroom.

That had been it for her. The cell phone had gone in a drawer, and the next time she had been at the big shopping center she had bought a wall phone with a built in answering machine. She had bugged Dan to get the house phone put in and things had been perfect. Calls went to the machine: If she felt like answering she did. But she didn’t rush to answer. She didn’t buy a portable phone to add to the line. She liked it the way it was.

Smooth silence greeted her on the line, then it clicked and a voice was in her ear.

“Hello? … Hello?”

“Hello?” Lisa answered.

“Miss Stevens?” A voice asked.

“Yes.”

“That’s so weird… It never rang… Just sounded as though a number was being punched in,” the voice said.

“You must have been there when I picked up to dial,” Lisa said. “Sorry.”

“No… No, it’s okay… Miss Stevens, this is Ms Edwards… Joan Edwards?” Alandra’s teacher.

“Is something wrong?” Lisa heard the panic as it jumped into her voice, but she couldn’t have stopped it if she had wanted to.

“No… No, but, well, Alandra’s upset… Very upset. I’ve honestly never seen her like this… She wants to talk to you… About Mister Bob? I know her father’s name is Daniel, and the explanation about Mister Bob is hard to understand… She”s upset of course, but whoever this Mister Bob is, she believes…”

“Someone is going to hurt him?” Lisa supplied.

“Well, yes… Her words were stronger.”

“Kill?” Lisa asked. Her words seemed forced, her heart hammered right at the back of her throat, fast, hot, her tongue was dry and hard to move.

“That was it… I know it’s unusual, but I’m here in the principle’s office…, She’s quite upset.”

“Put her on? Put her on,” Lisa told her. “Baby? Alandra?” The sound of Alandra’s sobbing came to her. “Baby, what’s wrong…? What about Mister Bob?” She was getting more than a little freaked out. Two men had come to cut down her imaginary friend the tree. But there was no way she could know that, was there?

“Mommy, they came to kill Mister Bob.” Lisa only understood it because she was listening for it. Otherwise, it was just broken sobs and syllables. In the backyard the chainsaw revved up to a high whine.

“Honey, they won’t cut down Mister Bob.”

“Kill, mommy, kill.”

“Kill… They won’t kill Mister Bob. They won’t kill Mister Bob… I promise.”

“Mommy, I want to come home, mommy. I want to. I want to see Mister Bob!” She sobbed even harder. The phone clattered and the teacher was back on the line.

“Miss Steven’s, I don’t know…”

“Ms Edwards… Ms Edwards I’m coming to pick her up. I’ll explain when I get there, but I’ll come to pick her up.”

“Well if you think…”

“I do… Thank you so much, Ms Edwards.” The phone was back on the hook before the teacher answered, and Lisa was palming the back door open. The big guy was getting ready to cut a notch into the tree. She waved her arms and yelled at the smaller guy who tapped the bigger guy on the shoulder. He seemed to hesitate, then he turned to face Lisa. She motioned impatiently at the saw: Reluctantly he shut it off.

“Did I say you’re not cutting down my goddamn tree?”

“Miss… The mister said…”

“I don’t care what the mister said. The tree stays.”

“Miss,” the big one soothed. “It’ll be quick. I’m insured if that’s what you’re worried about. Let me take this ‘ol bitch down and get it over.”

“It’s a he,” Lisa said.

“What?”

“A… Never mind. You’re not cutting down my tree… Are you really standing here on my property arguing with me about my own goddamn tree?” She took a few steps toward him and he stepped back, flinching as he did, despite the fact that he was easily twice her size.

“Miss,” he started, but the smaller one patted him on the arm. He turned, paused, and finally seemed to realize he would not be cutting down the tree after all. “We’ll be going,” he said after a long period of silence.

Lisa didn’t wait. She walked back into the house and was backing her Honda out of the driveway before the two men had finished loading up their truck.

Late Evening:

Lisa popped her head into Alandra’s room, but she was fast asleep. Dan looked over the top of her head.

“Okay?” He asked.

Lisa nodded, closed the door a little farther and then followed Dan down the darkened hallway to their own room.

“A talking tree,” Dan said, not quite laughing as he changed for bed.

“She believed it… Believes it… I can’t cut down her tree.”

Dan shrugged. “Willy and Timmy were pissed off.”

“So was I.” Lisa said.

“I heard.” He held up his hands. “Not that you didn’t have a right to be… I should have told you. I made a deal to just take down the tree. I figured I’d just end up trimming the thing for years… It’s a bad place… But, if it stays, it stays.”

“I didn’t say the tree talked to me,” Lisa said.

“I know,” Dan agreed.

“I feel a little defensive.”

“Don’t.”

“Don’t?”

“Don’t… It’s over.”

“Would you have done the same thing?”

“Are you kidding? Nandie crying on the phone? I would have run them both out of the yard.” He sighed.

Lisa smiled. “Okay, that made me feel better.” She reached for the light, casting the bedroom in half light from the glow of the red numerals on the clock. Dan noticed but said nothing.

“I didn’t like the other clock,” Lisa said.

He pulled her close. “Okay,” he agreed. “Red’s good.”

“Baby,” Lisa pulled back and looked up into his eyes. “Do you think, well, do you think trees can …”

“Talk,” Dan supplied.

“No, I was going to say feel pain… Weird, right?”

“Well, they’re alive, aren’t they? But pain? I don’t know… Are you serious?”

“Well, Alandra was so upset… So hurt and…”

“It was a bad dream. You know how a dream can seem at that age. Like everything… Real. Completely real to a kid.”

“You think?”

“I think,” Dan soothed. He pulled her closer.

Lisa snuggled her head into his chest, meaning only to close her eyes for a few moments, but she drifted off into sleep instead.

Late Night:

“Sissy…” Softly on the wind…

Alandra’s eyes opened in the darkness of her bedroom.

“Mister Bob,” she whispered. She sat up and looked to the window, got out of bed and walked over quietly raising the window a little. She sat down on the floor and looked up at the branches that were only a few feet outside the window. The blue-gray moon floated above the limbs far above the tree. The name came again on the wind. Softly… Barely there.

“Sissy…”

She smiled. “Mister Bob,” she whispered once more…


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