Zombie Plague Book One free previews 2

The Zombie Plague Book One

Created by Dell Sweet

PUBLISHED BY: Geo Dell and independAntwriters Publishing

The Zombie Plague Book One

Additional Copyrights 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2015, 2017 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.


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 © 2010 – 2013 George Dell & independAntwriters Publishing and all rights to this work have been reserved by Wendell Sweet. No part of this book may be reproduced by any means, electronic, print, scanner or any other means and, or distributed without the author’s permission.

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


The silence seemed to go on forever as Mike and Janet waited. Sudden gunfire erupted in the distance again. Janet moaned and Mike pulled her closer to him. “Ssss alright,” Mike told her. “Alright.” He didn’t believe it anymore than he had the last time he’d said it. The burst of gunfire came and went just that quickly, and then silence fell hard on the still morning air.

Janet held herself rigidly. Mike could feel her tremble against him. He patted her head. A stupid, useless, meaningless thing to do, he told himself, but he continued nonetheless, patting her head and stroking her hair. Useless, but if nothing else, it seemed to help calm him.

He drew a deep breath, and the radio squawked. “Mike?” Bob asked.

Mike took a deep breath and swallowed hard before he trusted his voice to answer. Jan let go of her breath in a deep whoosh and drew in a long, deep shuddering breath. Mike stroked her hair once more.

“Yeah,” Mike answered quietly.

“It’s bad,” Bobs voice broke as he spoke. “It’s bad, Mike. It’s bad.”

In his head Mike could already hear the words he didn’t want to hear. He had heard everyone’s voice except Candace’s. It only stood to reason… Still, he didn’t want to hear it.

“It’ll be okay,” Jan told him. She pulled him tight. Her own hands trying to pull his head against her breast. “Mike… It’ll be okay.”

“It’s Lydia,” Bob said. His voice choked with emotion.

“Candace?” Mike asked. He hated himself for asking. He hated the weakness in his voice. How could it be Lydia, he asked himself. I just heard her voice. How could it be?

“I’m here, Babe,” Candace said through the crackle of static. Behind her voice they could hear what sounded like sobbing. The sobbing came across clearly as she stopped talking. “We’re on our way back… We’re coming back… It’s over,” Candace said. She held on to the button for a split second longer, the smooth silence spitting quietly, then the radio in Mike’s hand went back to solid static once more.

~

“Be careful, Honey. Be careful.” Mike’s voice came through the radio in her hand. She nodded, and then keyed the button, “I will. We’re coming back.” She looked around her.

Tom sat cradling Lydia in his arms. Bright, thick blood covered the ground under her chest and the side of Tom’s pant leg. The three other bodies lay close by. Bob stood, ashen faced, his gun still held tightly in one hand.

The pickup truck idled noisily about a hundred yards away from where Candace stood. The doors hung open. The Suburban and the State truck rumbled from behind her. Maybe, she thought, five minutes had passed since they had spotted the truck and stopped behind them. The kids had come out shooting. Just like in the movies, Candace thought. Exactly that. Hell! They had acted like it was a movie. Five minutes and four people dead. She shook her head slowly.

Tom looked up from the ground and met Candace’s eyes.

“Let’s get her in the truck, okay, Tom,” She said softly.

Tom’s head slowly nodded.

“What… what about these… these others?” Bob asked.

“Fuck them,” Tom rasped. “Fuck them! They can rot right there. They’re not going in the truck!” He looked at Candace defiantly.

“Okay,” Candace agreed. “Okay… Bob?” She waited until Bob’s eyes left Lydia’s body. “Help Tom with Lydia?”

Bob nodded and started towards Tom

“No,” Tom said quietly. “Don’t need help.” He swiped a blood covered hand across his eyes, leaving a bright smear of scarlet across his forehead as he did. “I’ll do it. I’ll take care of her.” His voice shook at the last, but he got to his feet, carefully holding Lydia in his arms, and headed for the pickup truck.

“Bob,” Candace said, motioning to the bodies.

Bob looked at her questioningly.

“In the river. We can’t just leave them here.”

Bob nodded, and together they bent to pick up the first body.

A few minutes later Candace let the last body slip from her hands and plunge over the cliffs and into the river far below. She turned her palms upright and stared at them for a second.

“Candace,” Bob said. She nodded, and followed Bob to the truck.

Tom sat behind the wheel, Lydia slumped on the passenger seat, her head resting against Tom’s shoulder. “You okay to drive?” she asked.

Tom nodded. His eyes met her own. They were red, and tears perched on the bottom lids waiting to spill down his cheeks. He cleared his throat, started to speak and then cleared his throat once more. “I’m going to drive out of the city. There’s a small little place out by Huntingtonville. My parents were raised there. There’s a cemetery there…” He trailed off, and Candace saw the tears that had been perched on his lower lid begin to course their way down his cheeks. He started to speak again, shook his head and gave up momentarily. Candace turned her eyes up to the clear blue morning sky and waited. Tom’s voice came to her quietly a few minutes later as she watched the empty sky.

“There’s a shed… In the Cemetery… I thought.” His voice choked up again.

“Yeah. Yeah,” Candace said softly. “You go. We’ll stop and get Jan and Mike. They’ll want to be there.”

Tom nodded. His hand fell to the shift lever on the steering column. His eyes, tear-filled and overflowing, swept up to her once more.

“You’ll be okay to get there?” Candace asked.

Tom nodded, not trusting his voice to speak. He turned his eyes back to the road.

Candace nodded. “We’ll meet you there.” She stepped away from the truck and watched as Tom pulled slowly away.

Mike ~ March 15th

It’s been a very long day in more ways than one. We are five now. Lydia is gone. It’s crazy, but true. Tom is in bad shape, sitting by the fire reading Lydia’s diary.

We buried her today in Huntingtonville, a little place outside of the city. There’s a cemetery there right by the river. Tom’s parents are buried there. Now Lydia is too. It took a lot of work; the ground is still frozen a few feet down. It could’ve been worse. If everything wasn’t melting, we would’ve had a much harder time digging the hole. Tom couldn’t bring himself to do it. Bob and I did it.

To make the explanation short, we were ambushed. I shouldn’t say we. I wasn’t even there. Neither was Jan. We were left behind to watch the cave.

It started in the night; these kids came and stole one of our trucks. We didn’t know they were kids of course. It turned into mess. Three kids are dead. Young kids. What a waste. We don’t even know why they did it, why they chose to shoot at the others. None of it.

Everyone is messed up, me included. Jan too, because we weren’t there. But it’s over. This part’s over, but really it’s not over at all. I don’t know what’s next. None of us do. The day has already lasted fifteen hours so far. The sun doesn’t seem to be moving at all. We don’t know what to make of it. Everyone just wants to get past this day, for it to be over.

Lydia ~ March 15th

Lydia is gone. They took her. I can’t believe it, it’s like a nightmare. I can’t deal with it. I won’t forget it. Tom.

~Huntingtonville~

The moon rode high in the sky. Frost gleamed from the freshly turned dirt that lay scattered across the gravel of the road that lead into the cemetery. Silence held, and then a scraping came from the ground, muffled, deep.

At the edge of the woods, eyes flashed dully in the over-bright moonlight. Shapes shifted among the trees and then emerged from the shadows onto the gravel roadway. One dragged a leg as he walked, clothes already rotted and hanging in tatters. A second seemed almost untouched, a young woman, maybe a little too pale in the wash of moonlight. She walked as easily as any woman, stepping lightly as she went. The third and fourth moved slower, purposefully, as they made their way to the freshly turned soil. They stopped beside the grave, and silence once again took the night, no sounds of breathing, no puffs of steam on the cold night air.

“Do you think…?” The young woman asked in a whisper.

“Shut up,” the one with the dragging leg rasped. His words were almost unintelligible. His vocal cords rotted and stringy. The noises came once again from the earth and the four fell silent… waiting…

Her hand broke through into the moonlight. A few minutes later her head pushed up, and then she levered her arms upward and began to strain to pull herself up and out of the hole. She noticed the four and stopped, her pale skin nearly translucent, her blond hair tangled and matted against her face and neck. Her lips parted, a question seeming to ride on them.
“It’s okay,” the young woman whispered, “it’s okay.” She and one of the older ones moved forward, fell to their knees and began to scoop the dirt away from her with their hands.

“It’ll be okay,” Lydia mumbled through her too cold lips.

“It will. It will,” the young woman repeated.


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Zombie Plague Book Two free previews 2

The Zombie Plague Book Two

Created by Dell Sweet

PUBLISHED BY: Geo Dell and independAntwriters Publishing

The Zombie Plague Book Two

Additional Copyrights 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2015, 2017 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.


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 © 2010 – 2013 George Dell & independAntwriters Publishing and all rights to this work have been reserved by Wendell Sweet. No part of this book may be reproduced by any means, electronic, print, scanner or any other means and, or distributed without the author’s permission.

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


Mike ~ March 17th

It’s late, and it’s been a very tough few days here. We are eleven now, and I’ll get to that. We’ve also been through several more Earthquakes and aftershocks, rain, the world stopping, or being messed up worse. I guess I’ll start from the start, and you can compare it to your own experience. Maybe it will be helpful.

First yesterday, the sun never really rose at all. It barely came up and then went right back down. The night wasn’t too bad at first. It stormed, but then it got worse. Colder, harder rain, lightening, thunder, and then ash started falling from the sky.

That was crazy. But then the rain came down even harder later on and washed all the ash away. Then the earthquakes came. We had to leave the cave, we didn’t know if it would hold up or not. All around us things were crashing and collapsing. Our trucks are gone, fallen into the river. Swallowed up and gone. The road just washed away beneath them. If we had chosen there to wait out the storm…

We made it through to dawn though, but it wasn’t much of a dawn. The sun came up and has been staggering across the sky. It’s erratic. That’s the best description I can come up with. We think the Earth finally stopped and reversed. Or, maybe stopped again and reversed. The truth is, we don’t know. And, the way things are, I don’t think anyone else knows either.

We were all sic, light-headed, sick to our stomachs. It reminded me of going to the fair as a kid. I rode this ride that spun around in a circle. It made me sick, and I stayed sick for a few hours. It felt like that. Exactly like that.

The jury is out. The quakes have stopped, at least for now. Hopefully for good, but we don’t know if the Earth is done changing directions or even if that’s what it did.

So, we are eleven. We were joined by six people tonight. A young woman named Patty. She seems to be their leader, spokesperson. It seems to be like that now. Someone has to take control. No other way around it.

Patty is young. Maybe eighteen or nineteen, dark hair. Small but rugged looking… determined? I don’t know. Likable, that’s for sure. She and Ronnie are together.

Ronnie is her man (Her words), young too, dark brown skin. He was a carpenter. I like him. He’s quiet. Doesn’t say a lot,

but what he does say is worth hearing. I know that already.

Lilly is around the same age. She’s young, blond, looks so much like Lydia, even talks like her. It’s spooky. Tom is already attracted, you can see it, and she looks interested too. It seems unhealthy, or it could be, would be… I don’t know though. Tom has to live his life. The world is so different, but you know that.

Tim is just a kid, Patty’s brother. He worships Ronnie, you can see it in his eyes. Seems like a likable kid as well.

Sandy is Native American, like Bob and Jan. Not from their people, but they clicked immediately, knew the same people back when the world was… well, the way it used to be. She’s a nurse; that’s like solid gold. How many nurses or doctors are there?

Nell is a small, Spanish woman. She looks to be in her twenties. She was stationed here with her husband, but he had left last month for overseas duty. She has no idea if he is okay.

They’re moved in. The cave is large, so eleven people is nothing. Plenty of room. Everything they owned or had been on their backs. They lost everything else when their building collapsed yesterday during the earthquakes and storms. So, it was pretty simple for them to move in.

Patty and Sandy have both asked about our plans for leaving, so later on we’ll probably sit down and talk about it. Nell and Lilly seem more interested in staying. Nell is afraid to leave the area, as if her husband could somehow get back here, and if he did this is where he would look for her. It seems unreasonable to me, but she has the idea in her head. There doesn’t seem to be a way to shake it, at least not yet. Lilly is captivated by Tom. Tom has never made any bones about the fact that he doesn’t want to leave. This gives him someone to be with him. I suppose that’s a good thing.

We knew there were people around, but in the last few days it seems like we’ve met both the bad and the good. I would like to meet more, but no more bad ones.

Candace ~ March 17th (Late)

I know Mike has written tonight, much earlier, so I won’t go over the same things that I assume he wrote. It’s been a nasty couple of days, and we don’t know if the bad things are over or not. We have new people with us. I really like Patty. I can talk to her, and it’s been awhile, even back in the world, since I’ve been close to another woman like that. Relationships seem to form fast now. It’s just the way of the new world. We’re just taking life as it comes, at face value I guess. There are no directions for us.

Patty, her man and her brother have decided to stay. They also decided they’ll leave when Mike and I do. They don’t want to face a North Country winter in a cave. We are not cave people and don’t want to be. But we talked about that too. We may end up in some other cave. It could be the quakes have caused devastation everywhere. If so where else would it be safe? We talked a lot. We talked ourselves out. There’s always tomorrow to talk some more.

If the day is anything like normal tomorrow, we may go out looking for vehicles. Ours were swept into the river during the storm. We’ll see what’s left.

After the meeting broke up, I spent some time talking to Jan, another woman I became instantly close to when all that I had, had been this notebook and a gun to depend on. She really likes Sandy. Sandy is enthusiastic about returning to the land. So are Bob and Jan. I think returning to the land is fine, except a mowed lawn is okay as well. I guess there are no more lawns to be mowed though.

I gave my father’s gun to Lilly. I don’t know why I did that. I thought that it meant something to me, but whatever that was has passed on. She noticed it, liked it. I showed her how to shoot it; what was left to do? Besides, and I’m being honest, after this stuff with Lydia, after having to shoot someone, I decided I’d rather put on another forty five. I have an exact mate to the one I was wearing on me already. I picked it up the other day. I asked myself tonight, would it have made a difference if I was wearing it the other day? One on each side? Well I am now. It makes me feel safer, more ready to deal with whatever comes at me.

Anyway, Jan and Bob turned in, as did Sandy. Mike’s long gone to sleep, and I’ve been sitting here thinking about the last few days, thinking about Lydia… everything. So, I wrote something, if I had a guitar (I intend to get one) I’d put it to music. I have the music in my head. I have, had, a note book full of little songs that I wrote. Sometimes I would get ideas once a week, sometimes a few a day. They just showed up. I would see or feel something, and it would come out as a song. Some people do that with stories. It’s the same isn’t it? Writing is writing.

I heard more than once I should do something with them. Maybe I would have made a better singer/guitarist than dancer? It’s all art isn’t it. Maybe I’ll resurrect some of those lyrics when I have the time. Meanwhile, I’ll write them out as they come to me.

It’s a new world, rust falling from the skies

It’s a new world, scales fallen from my eyes.

Everything gone in the blink of an eye,

got time to hurt, but no time to cry.

Got to keep moving just to stay alive,

take it day by day and try to survive.

It’s a new world, death calling from the cities empty streets.

It’s a new world, mind skipping, heart missing beats.

Life passing by in the space of a dream,

moving too fast to know what it might mean.

Changes and changes, new every day,

looking for answers, don’t know which direction they lay.

It’s a new world, got my heart in your hand.

It’s a new world, time’s spinning through my fingers like sand.

Yeah It’s a new world, rust falling from the skies

It’s a new world, scales fallen from my eyes.

Everything gone in the blink of an eye,

got time to hurt, but no time to cry.

Kind of corny, I know, but I like it. It says how I feel. I think it’s the way we all feel, we’re eleven tonight, not five anymore. I’m going to bed and hold my man.

~East of the City~

They were fifteen now. The old factory was a perfect place to hide. There were two who could bear the daylight, who did not need the darkness, and they kept watch through the long days.

There was no hunger, no real need. The dead were everywhere. The living were everywhere. And then there were themselves, the UN-dead. Those that had tasted death but had somehow come back from death, and there did not seem to be anything to take this new life away from them.

They were very few right now. Some died, and some died and then found life once more. It was a mystery. No way to know which would and which would not come back. They often waited to see, sometimes triumphant in their slow, quiet way, sometimes shuffling away, dejected, but with the knowledge that more would come.

They traveled together at night, avoided those that lived, scavenged the dead and marked their time. Change was on the wind. Big change. It came on the wind. A scent of forever death, along with the stench of the living. It came from the South, and as soon as there were a few more, they would leave and make their way south.

There was no leader. They just felt the same things, knew the same truths, realities, felt the same things inside where their life force was. It was like a collective conscious, a hive. The workers and no queen. But there might be a queen. That was the promise that came on the wind. The scent that tempted them to travel south. It called to them.

~ March 18th ~

With more warm bodies to help guard through the night, everyone slept better, or at least longer and with fewer interruptions, Mike thought.

The night had been another long one, well over twenty hours of darkness, but once the sun did come up, it crept slowly upward on a straight arc across the sky, the wandering, drunken course of the day before was gone.

Mike stood in the early dawn light sipping coffee, back leaned against the rock of the cave entrance, watching light spill over the tops of the cliffs that cradled the opposite side of the river as the sun crept higher into the sky. He felt someone at his side and turned expecting Candace. Instead, it was the young boy, Tim.

“Tim, right?” Mike asked.

The young man nodded his head, seeming pleased that Mike had remembered his name. “Tom sent me. He said he’d like to walk out Arsenal Street today, or maybe Washington Street, and look for vehicles.”

Mike nodded. “Good idea. Tell him I want to change into some boots and let Candace know I’m leaving, and I’ll be ready to go.” Tim nodded, smiled and darted back into the cave. Mike finished his coffee in a few quick gulps, poured out the dregs and walked back into the cave to find Candace.

~

They decided on Washington Street, simply because of the sheer volume of car lots that had been in that area. The sun rose steadily into the sky, maybe not as quickly as they were used to, but faster than it had been and in a straight line, rising from the South and looking, Mike thought, as though it would sink in the North or Northwest somewhere.

Six of them had come. Mike, Tom, Candace, Patty, Tim and Ronnie. Candace had already wondered privately to Mike where Lilly might be. It hadn’t escaped the notice of anyone that she and Tom had spent the night together.

Candace walked with Patty, keeping up a fairly constant flow of conversation as they walked along.

“So they think the new stuff will start now then?” Patty asked.

Candace nodded. “They think it would’ve started before if we had thought to try it again, but none of us did. It also may have had nothing to do with it at all. We may have just picked bad vehicles to try.”

“Seems unlikely though,” Patty said. “After all, you had no trouble with the other three, and what are the odds of finding three old vehicles that would be able to be started and driven?”

“Yeah. We thought the same. We just don’t know what was causing them not to work.” They both fell silent for a moment.

“So, was Mike your guy before all of this happened?” Patty asked. She flipped her black hair away from her face and studied Candace seriously.

“No,” Candace answered. “I met him when we came to this cave. I knew as soon as I saw him though. It shocked me. I’ve never been like that. But I knew. I decided, and I told him. He decided that fast too. You think that’s wrong… weird?

“No,” Patty answered. “It’s almost the same with Ronnie and me. I knew him. I liked him. We lived in the same apartment building. When it happened, he came and got me and Tim. I’m not the kind of woman that feels as though I have to have a man around for protection. Hey, for a while there I was a feminist. He just helped, and he wasn’t an ass about it either,” she shrugged, “A couple of days later we were together, and I’m not sorry at all. He’s a good man. He’s quiet. Thinks the world of Tim.” She paused again.

Candace nodded. She understood perfectly. It did seem as though Patty had some distance in her words, like something wasn’t quite true. But it may be the same way it was with her own situation. It was brand new. Sometimes it was hard to believe that it was the truth. They walked in silence, looking at what the latest quakes and torrential downpours had done to the small city.

~

The ground that had been torn up had been leveled out. The roads had vanished in places under a layer of dirt. The vague outline of the street itself could be seen under that layer of rubble, and here and there a building or part of a building still stood.

Cars, trucks, a few stalled city buses, an occasional glimpse of asphalt where the road rose higher than the water had flowed. Tom, Ronnie, Mike, and Tim had stopped ahead. They were close to where the old high school had been. All that remained on the left side of the road now were a few walls and, strangely, a large oval track that seemed untouched. The parking lot, most of it anyway, still remained and was full of cars.

On the right was a small strip mall, also with a parking lot full of cars. The men were off the road in the strip mall parking lot standing next to what looked to be a nearly new four wheel drive sport utility vehicle. As Candace and Patty caught up, Ronnie turned and smiled.

“Keys are in the ignition,” Ronnie said grinning. Tim tapped the horn, a hard metallic blast sounded.

“Battery’s up,” Mike said, his grin as big as Ronnie’s.

Tom slid into the driver’s seat through the open door. “Well,” he said. He turned the key.

The motor spun and caught immediately. The truck kicked up to a high idle. The stink of burning gasoline filled the warm air.

“I forgot what that smelled like,” Patty said. Everyone was smiling and laughing at once.

“Let’s say we ride the rest of the way,” Tom suggested. No one needed a second invitation. Doors were opened and everyone piled in. Tom shifted into four-wheel low, eased the truck down off the slight rise that lead from the road to the parking lot, bouncing the truck on its springs as it trundled down the rise, over the sidewalk curb, and onto the dirt and asphalt road below.

A small cheer went up inside the truck as Tom made the road, turned right, and headed slowly up the big hill towards outer Washington Street and its miles of car lots.

~

By the time the sun stood straight overhead, eight hours of the day had passed by, and a small caravan of six vehicles were snaking their way back through the debris and devastation, making their way back to the cave.

Although a wide section of the old asphalt roadway had toppled into the river, a large area still remained. They parked the vehicles in under the small overhang of cliffs above the cave opening. The cliffs extended a little more than thirty feet beyond the caves then dropped down towards the ground, leveled out and disappeared into a small wooded area populated with scraggly, undernourished trees. On the back side of that wooded area was a huge parking lot that ran up and behind the cave. It had once provided parking for the downtown area of Watertown.

Everyone who had stayed behind wandered over from some project they had been working on in front of the cave to admire the vehicles. Three new Chevy Suburbans and three new pickup trucks. The pickups were mismatched, one Ford and two Chevy trucks. The Chevy trucks were different models, one a full size pickup, the other a smaller one, all the trucks were four wheel drive. Bob wore a heavy apron stained with blood and was carrying a large butcher’s knife as he walked over.

“Deer,” he explained as everyone gaped at the blood stained apron. “Wandered right down the road. Had to be about ten of them. I got one and Sandy got one. Fresh steaks tonight, and that isn’t all.” He pointed towards Lilly and Nell where they stood over what looked to be a make shift fireplace of some sort.

It was built up from the asphalt with three layers of thick stone that formed a base. From there the back and sides rose to support a huge wire rack that had been appropriated from somewhere. A good bed of coals glowed under the rack and several ears of corn roasted above them on the rack

“You guys have been busy,” Tom said.

“Never mind that,” Patty said, “where did you find corn?”

Nell laughed. “There were cases of the stuff in the stock room of the market. Won’t be good for much longer, but it is now.”

“We took a wagon, one of those little kid wagons,” Lilly said. She looked around. “We filled it up. It’s still cold in there… It might last a few more days.”

A small, red child sized wagon, still loaded with overflowing boxes of corn, sat off to one side. It made Candace smile when she saw it.

“I built the oversize Barbecue,” Bob said. “I remembered that there was a little rib place down off the square. Wrong time of year to be cooking out of doors,” He looked up at the sky and smiled, “Well, used to be… But, I remembered that place, and I remembered that they had always cooked outside on a huge grill all summer long. So I went and took the grill. I took a few other things too,” He held up a large pair of tongs that had been shoved in a side pocket. He re-pocketed the tongs. “So… the electronics are working again?” He looked embarrassed at the attention and relieved to be able to hand the conversation off to someone else.

“Might have been before,” Mike started. “Just didn’t think to check. But they’re sure working now. The hard part is finding vehicles that aren’t all smashed to hell. All of these have their war wounds. But it’s just scrapes and dents, nothing serious.”

Bob nodded and then went back to cutting up the venison and piling it onto two huge platters. One contained much smaller pieces.

The smaller pieces were long and thin. Janet and Sandy were stringing them over a second smokey fire that had been built just past the stone grill that Bob had built. A makeshift steel roof kept the smoke and heat close to the ground and the meat that hung on the racks. Tom walked up to admire the work.

“It’s all from the Barbecue place,” Bob admitted. “I’m just using it a little differently, to smoke the meat instead of cook it.”

“You know how to do that?” Candace asked. She seemed impressed.

“Oh yeah,” Janet told her. “Bob taught me. He always makes his own jerky, cures his own hams. Knows his roots and herbs as well.” Bob seemed even more embarrassed than he had been a few moments before.

“It’s stuff The Nation taught when I was a child… to preserve our heritage. We pass it on to the next generation. The legends say the people will come back to the Earth Mother. There will come a time when the people will need the old knowledge again.” He grew serious. “Guess that’s now,” he finished. He began to place the thick roasts of Venison onto the grill rack beside the roasting ears of corn.

The group spent the afternoon into the early evening enjoying each other’s company, eating and filling each other in on the details of their day. The sun sailed smoothly across the sky, sinking into the Northwest after about fifteen hours of sunlight.

For the first time in several nights the stars came out, glowing brightly in the cloudless sky. The moon seemed to be in the wrong area of the sky and almost totally eclipsed by the Earth’s shadow.

“Think that was too long?” Patty asked Tom.

“We’ll have to wait and see when the sun comes up,” Tom told her. “But I’d be willing to bet it’s back closer to what it used to be. And we don’t know what normal will be now. Maybe longer days… maybe shorter days,” he finished.

“Yeah,” Ronnie agreed. “It would seem a little too good to be true if it could stop, reverse, and come right back to something close to a twenty-four hour day.”

“Yeah. That probably isn’t going to happen,” Bob agreed.

“We’ll just have to see where it levels out,” Patty threw in.

Candace nodded, looked over at Mike, took his hand and smiled. “This was a pretty good day,” she said. “We have our own little community here. It’s nice.”

“I was thinking that also,” Mike said. He squeezed her hand lightly and pulled her close. The day had cooled off, and the night had cooled off even more after the sun had dropped from the sky. It reminded everyone that, despite the weird weather, it was still late winter; spring was a month or more away. Janet and Sandy kept the smokey fires burning under the drying meat, joining in the conversation when they had the time or opportunity. Lilly and Tom were involved in some sort of heavy conversation, while Bob, Ronnie and Patty were talking about hunting, herbs, folk remedies and what kinds of structures they would like to build for a home. Candace laid her head against Mike’s shoulder and looked up at him. “I’m tired, man of mine.” Mike smiled at her.

“I think I have to put my woman to bed,” Mike said to Patty who sat closest to him. Ronnie laughed and Patty smiled at him. Tim sat on the other side of Ronnie, his eyes heavy lidded. Everyone said their good-nights.

As Candace and Mike got to their feet, Tim trailed along behind them, following them into the cave, leaving the rest of the group to their quiet conversations. The stars shone above. The sky was clear and inky black.

Janet ~ March 18th

Today has certainly been a better day for all of us. Mike, Candace, Tom and some others went looking for vehicles today hoping they would find that the ones with electronic brains would be working. Electronic something. Brains, I guess. I have no real idea. Give me a database and I could tell you something, but I don’t understand anything at all about engines, except they’re working again.

The rest of us stayed back and worked here for the day. We made a few trips around the area. Nell and Lilly went to the Market on State Street and came back with ears of corn that were still good. Bobby and I and Sandy went a little ways down this road to where an old outside restaurant Bob knew about was. They cooked or grilled food outside in the summer. In the winter I guess they cooked inside.

We took all the outside grill pieces to build a grill outside the cave. A big one too. It took a lot of work, several trips back and forth. We found some wheeled carts, probably used to move stuff around inside the restaurant, and wheeled all the stuff we found back down to the cave with them. We got everything back and Bobby set it up.

Sandy and I collected loose rock from the cliffs and river banks to build the back and the sides to hold the racks. The smoking racks were easy to build. The large roof we used had hung over the whole outside grill back at the restaurant. There were long, thin metal rods to hold it up. Sandy and I worked on that as Bob worked on the sides and back of the grill.

We found extra long metal rods and used those to hang the meat on. Here we were dragging all that stuff around, and Bob talking about going hunting so we could have something to cook on the grill besides corn, when down the road we hear some light tap-click tap-click, and the deer showed up just as if the Gods had sent them to us. They saw us about the same time we saw them, and Bobby and Sandy opened up.

I don’t think people hunted Deer much in the old days with hand guns, but it was what they had, well to hand. They each got one.

About then the others came back with six new trucks as our old ones dropped into the river during the storms. We spent several hours talking and eating, just enjoying each other’s company, and then almost everyone turned in.

Sandy and I watched the drying racks. I took the first watch anyway, so Sandy’s catching a little sleep as I write this.

We are, several of us, planning to leave once the spring is here and go on our way. We haven’t yet gotten around to talking about how we’ll do that, or where we will go, only that we will go.

Bobby and I are very enthusiastic about Sandy. She is all for going back to the Earth, building the people up again. Where there are three of us, there has to be more. I guess that’s the same, nearly, as where there’s a will, there’s a way. Our people have always had the will. Now we have the way. I truly believe we’ll collect more people as we go.

The sky is starry bright. The world seems to be settling down. I’m sorry that all of this had to happen, but I’m happy about where my life is now.

Patty ~ March 18th

It’s late. I took this notebook outside to write by starlight; it’s that bright. Janet Dove has the watch, I have the next anyway so I figured why bother to try to sleep. It’s something I’ve learned about myself; if I can’t get to sleep in the first few minutes, I may as well get back up. Janet came over and talked for a few minutes, brought me some roasted meat. I’ve never had anything like that. It was so good. I should be happy. I should be contented. I’m not. I’m not, and I realized today that I can’t be, and I don’t know what I can even do about it. I can’t even write it here. What if someone read it?

The stars are so bright. It’s cold, but not like it should be. I am so messed up. I will only say… No, I can’t say that. I was going to say I never suspected this, thought about this, but I did. I just never dealt with it. Now I have to, and I don’t know how. I guess this is my sounding board, maybe even my conscience right now, and the part of me that is trying to be unselfish says leave it alone. I will, but for how long?


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The Zombie Plague Book One

Created by Dell Sweet

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The Zombie Plague Book One

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

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CHAPTER FOUR

More Is More

~ March 16th ~

Mike sat quietly on a small pile of brick outside of the cave entrance and watched the sun come up. Forty-three hours from sunrise to sunrise. It made no sense at all, at least not to him.

The air was warm, not warming, but warm, and a heavy haze hung on the horizon where the sun was beginning to rise. Northwest still, but it didn’t seem as far to the west as it had been just a few days before.

We need something to track that, he thought. And then, maybe not. After all, what good would it do to know if it was a little more to the East or the West or whatever?

His thoughts were broken by a soft step beside him. He turned as Candace came up beside him carrying two mugs of hot coffee. She handed him one of the mugs and then settled beside him.

“Thank you,” Mike said. She smiled back and then blew lightly at the hot coffee in her mug. Steam lifted off the rim of the cup as she did.

“How long?” She asked finally, and then took a small sip.

“Forty-three… Give or take a few minutes.” He kissed her lightly on one cheek.

“What was that for?” She asked with a smile.

“Because I wanted to,” Mike told her. He blew on his own coffee and then took a small sip.

“You okay?” she asked in a more serious tone. Her eyes met his.

“Yeah. It… I don’t think it’s sunk in yet.” She nodded.

“It’s like,” he continued, “when my parents were killed. I knew it. I accepted it as well as I could, but there was really no time to process it… or, maybe I refused to process it. Anyway, it was years later before I ever really dealt with it. That’s what this reminds me of. Someday, once this all settles down, we’ll process it. Until then, I think we’re just on cruise control.”

“What was it?” She asked softly.

“Car accident. It was fast… for them anyway.” He seemed sad thinking about it.

“My mother died a few years ago. My dad right after her. They were older when they had me. Hard life… Bad genes. Heart attacks for both of them,” she finished quietly.

“I’m sorry,” Mike said. “It must have been hard.”

Candace nodded. “So I know about the taking the time to process it later thing. I don’t think I’ve dealt with all of it yet. And this,” She lifted her eyes and swept them across the sky, the river, the rocks, the road that ran past the cave and the cliffs that rose on the other side of the river. Her eyes settled on the sunrise. “This isn’t over by a long shot. Who knows how or when it will end? I guess we’ll deal with what we can and keep the rest moving, you know?”

“Yeah. They were just kids though… even Lydia,” Mike said.

Candace nodded. “But they weren’t sweet little innocent kids. I’ve seen gang bangers all of my life. I grew up with that. It’s really a way of life. Sometimes, for some kids, it’s the only way of life there is. I ran myself for a while.” She frowned.

“All I’m saying is, they weren’t sweet little innocent kids. And, believe me, nothing you could’ve said, had you been there, would’ve changed anything. Believe me. I tried to talk to one of them. No good. And the other one I shot didn’t even bother to try talking.”

Mike nodded, took an experimental sip from his mug, then a longer satisfying drink. “I see it,” he said. “This city has a lot of drugtrade what with the base so close by. I’ve never been in a gang or knew what one was really about until I was introduced to that life in Rochester as a kid. When I came back here, I saw more and more of it. Now it’s everywhere you look.” He seemed startled for a moment. “Was… Was everywhere you looked,” he added thoughtfully.

“There is still good in the world. This didn’t just take the good people and leave the bad,” Candace said. She took another long sip from her coffee. Her eyes met Mike’s own; he leaned over and kissed her lips softly. She smiled and took the coffee mug from his hands, set it down, took his hands and pulled him to his feet.

“Come on,” she said and kissed him once more. Mike kissed her back and pulled her body closer to him. His hands encircled her waist and rested on her hips. Her tongue probed gently as her own hands found the back of his head. She drew back, giggled and then pulled him toward the river and the screening growth of trees and bushes farther down the road.

~

March sixteenth, Mike thought, would always be remembered as the day that didn’t quite happen. The sun never really rose. A half light lit the sky for the next forty-two hours, but the sun itself never made an appearance through the thick, black clouds that blocked off the sky from horizon to horizon, dark and moving swiftly across the skies.

The sun seemed to creep around the perimeter of the horizon from the West where it first appeared, to the East where it finally sank, setting the sky on fire with it’s pink-red light only to fade away without ever actually rising.

The air became warmer throughout the day, and what little snow remained melted away. Everyone noticed a queasy feeling in their stomachs, and a few commented on feeling something similar a few weeks back right after the first earthquakes had hit.

As the day wore on, a fine gray ash began to fall from the skies. The skies grew even darker as the ash fell down faster, like dirty snow.

After several hours, the landscape around the cave looked as though everything was covered with a thick coat of dust. Everyone fashioned cloths around their mouths to avoid breathing in the thick haze of ash.

The ash was followed by a slow dirty rain that turned the piles of ash into a slushy, runny kind of mud, and just before the sun finally fell in the East, the rain began to fall harder, the air turned cold, then colder still, and lightening began to stab at the gray and sullen skies above the cave.

~

Everyone huddled around the fire in the cave, talking very little. They shared a meal of canned beef stew and crackers. The stew was hot and drove away the cold that had returned, but it did nothing to lift their spirits.

Bob offered to take the first watch, Mike volunteered for the next and Tom offered to take it from there if the sun wasn’t up.

Mike held Candace in his arms and drifted off to sleep, thinking about what the day might mean and what the morning down by the river with her had been like.

Tom ~ March 16th

I’ve never kept anything like this in my entire life. I don’t know why I am, really, because when the rest go I’ll be staying.

I can’t even give a good reason for staying, except that there’s shelter here, and I know there are other people here as well.

I know that all the others are going. They’ll follow Mike. What can I say or do about that?

I feel so responsible about what happened to Lydia. She was just a kid. A kid, Jesus. I can’t really think rationally about it. I can’t deal with it. I can’t believe how fast and how deep my feelings went. I’ve heard about things like that, but I had never experienced something like that before Lydia. I’ve heard that can happen in relationships that are formed in situations like this. Crisis… What else could be like this? Nothing. Anyway, I didn’t believe it could work like that, but it did.

I thought she would be here with me. They could go, she would be here. I could deal with that. This has almost made me cave in and say yes to going.  But I can’t do it. Something inside of me won’t let me do it. It’s not that I don’t respect Mike, or like him. I was a little jealous, maybe still am, a little. I had a thing for Candace, and I still do. That’s another reason I can’t go. I would end up hating him. Her too. But, it’s not really any of that. I have to run my own railroad. That’s all. Very lame. Probably very dangerous in this new world as well.

Maybe I can change. I’m open to that. What I’m really hopeful for is other people. When the other four leave, I don’t want to be alone. I spent the first few days of this alone. I didn’t like that. I don’t want to go back to that.

How do you develop such deep feelings for someone so fast? Right now I’m trying to get past that. I guess what I need to do is freeze everything else out for now.

I don’t know what to say about how I felt about Candace, or how I still feel. And I can’t explain how I could feel that way about her and still feel the way I did about Lydia. Am I kidding myself? Was Candace just temptation and Lydia the real thing? No. That’s hard to say, but true. I would have walked away from Lydia for Candace in a heartbeat. That makes me feel even worse about things. Even so, I loved her… Love her.

As far as this journal goes, I can’t share it. I don’t think I can write deep, personal things about myself and then share them with anyone. I never could… I won’t begin now. But I can write them here. I can see where this can help me to work through things, help me deal with this. This can bring me through this, just writing it out. So I’ll do it for that reason, and no other.

~ March 17th ~

The storm kept up through the longer than usual night. Twelve hours into the night the first quaking of the Earth shook the ground. Everyone was up at the same time. They stood outside in the cold, pouring rain just moments later, huddled under a blue plastic tarp while the lightening split the sky and the ground continued to shake and tremble.

Everyone was sick. Every movement seemed exaggerated, uncoordinated. Between the tremors and the sickness it was nearly impossible to remain standing, but Mike, Tom and Bob held the outer edges while Candace knelt in the center holding Janet Dove who seemed to be having a harder time with the lightheadedness and the sickness than anyone else.

The first large Earthquake came a few hours later. Some sounds were off in the distance, the sounds of buildings collapsing. Other sounds were closer and came to them over the sounds of the storm, wood snapping and cracking, brick and concrete, already loosened by the previous quakes, crashing to the ground, the Earth itself trembling and moving.

The three men finally gave up the fight to remain upright and sank to the ground with Candace and Jan, all of them huddled close together in the cold rain, hanging on as best they could to the moving ground beneath them.

The night dragged on. Aftershocks came and went. It was hard to tell which were the main shocks and which were the aftershocks. The lightheadedness and queasy stomachs became intolerable, yet they had no choice but to endure the sickness. The cold rain continued to fall.

Occasionally someone would thrust an arm out into the light of a lightening flash to catch a glimpse of the time, but somewhere in the night the wind up watches even stopped working. The second hands seemed to shake and shudder back and forth. Not actually ticking the time away any longer.

Mike watched as the Suburban began to shake and skitter sideways during one of the Earthquakes. It caught the unprotected edge of the road and then crashed through the brushy trees that fronted the cliffs and skated off the edge into the river below. Shortly after that, the sounds of destruction in the distance began to taper off.

Sometime later on, the sun appeared about to rise once again. A dull, pink glow lit up the horizon in the North, but for the second day in a row, the sun itself never rose. Once again, the light seemed to skate around the very edge of the horizon and then disappeared back into blackness. Shortly after that, Bob told everyone that his watch seemed to be working once again. Everyone quickly checked their own watches to find them working as well.

Twenty five hours into the darkness something changed.

It came on slowly, but eventually they all noticed that the lightheadedness was abating. The queasiness was letting up as well. No one felt like jumping up and running around, but after so many hours living with the sickness, it felt good to have it going in the other direction. Janet slipped in to a light sleep in spite of the relentless, cold rain.

Everyone was soaked, but the tarp did provide some protection. Shortly after the strange sickness had passed, another series of Earthquakes, or aftershocks, hit. Not as strong as any of the ones that had come before, but one of them caused some nearby damage they could only hear. Something, it sounded like part of the cliff side close down by the river, split away. The sound came to them clearly, and the roar of the rushing Black increased in intensity for several minutes before it slipped back into its previous roar. Buildings continued to crash in the distance, lightening stabbed at the rain flooded ground and the small, tired group huddled beneath the tarp, sleeping when they could.

“What if the sun never comes back up?” Bob whispered.

Mike glanced at his own watch during a brief flash of lightening, thirty hours had passed. Not counting however long the watches had not been working.

“It will,” Candace whispered.

“Yeah,” Tom echoed tiredly.

~

When the sun finally did rise, it rose from the South and slowly made its way across the sky on a ponderous course that saw it slipping back down into the horizon several times and then seeming to hang dead in the sky for long periods of time.

The rains stopped, the temperatures began to rise rapidly and soon the tarp was discarded. Steam began to rise from the wet asphalt and the roadside vegetation surrounding the cave. Mike found himself looking around as everyone else was.

A large section of the bank that had held the old road was gone, and the Black’s waters churned muddy brown, coming closer to the upper roadway where the cave stood.

All three vehicles were gone. Over the edge, and presumably washed away, Mike thought. The sun continued on its unsteady, drunken course, seeming to be desperately angling for a sinking somewhere in the northwest, but it was hard to tell. A few minutes later, it once again stopped and seemed to hang in the sky, a huge, swollen, yellow-red orb shimmering in the hazy sky.

“We should eat, or at least drink something,” Candace said.

“No way. I can’t even think of food,” Tom said.

“I know. Me too, but we’ll get dehydrated, possibly already are, and that’s very dangerous. I’m going to see how the cave is… Get some bottled water, maybe some of those energy bars. Did anyone think to bring a flashlight with them?” she finished.

Everyone shook their heads. Candace stood on shaky legs, and the dizziness returned quickly. She squatted down to the ground as everyone else struggled to their feet and also sank back down to the ground. She took several deep breaths and then stood again, slowly, taking deep breaths as she did.

“It’s okay,” she told the others with a shaky lopsided smile, “Just do it slowly.”

The men made it back to their feet, standing, shaking, but Janet remained sitting, her head in her hands. Bob sank back down and circled her shoulders with one arm, pulling her to his chest.

“I’ll wait here with Jan,” he said quietly.

The others nodded and headed slowly to the cave entrance.

Mike noticed as they walked that if they had come this far out onto the asphalt, but to the right or the left of where they had ridden out the night, they would have ended up in the river sometime during the night. Tom and Candace were also looking over the destruction on either side of the cave entrance. Their eyes met briefly, acknowledging the apparent, and then turned to examine the entrance to the cave.

A few loose chunks of stone lay upon the ground, but the pile of loose brick seemed none the worse for the long night, seeming to Mike to be in the same place they had been. Not one brick had tumbled from the pile. How could that be, he asked himself. Tom voiced his thoughts.

“Those bricks look untouched,” he said it softly like such a thing could not possibly be true.

“I noticed that too,” Mike said aloud. Candace simply nodded, passed the pile by and stepped into the dark mouth of the cave.

Within a short time she located a box of matches, and lighting small little sticks of flame, found her way to one of the big heavy duty flashlights where it had rolled to a stop among a stack of canned goods that had shifted and toppled over from one of the wooden pallets.

Other than a very small amount of stone that had separated from the back wall, and a few more toppled piles of stored goods, the cave looked good.

“What do you think, Mike?” Tom asked.

It was one of the few things Tom had asked Mike’s opinion about, and it surprised him.

“I think if it was going to come down, it would’ve already,” Mike assured him. Candace nodded her head in agreement.

The lightheadedness was still with them as they moved about the shadowy interior. Candace set about building a small fire while Tom and Mike went out to help Bob bring Janet back into the cave.

Candace passed out bottled water and energy bars once everyone was back inside, and their stomachs seemed to settle down, but the water only woke the queasiness back up, and no one wanted to try the energy bars. They remained untouched.

~

Tom wandered back outside the cave, rested his head against the coolness of the stone that fronted the cave, and watched the sun in the sky. It described a crazy course across the sky and did not seem to pick up speed and become more stable as it headed for the Northeast.

Eventually Mike and Candace wandered out with coffee, bringing a cup for Tom. He sipped at it cautiously, but his stomach seemed to accept it better than it had the water earlier, and it did help to clear his head.

“Bob’s with Janet. They’re both sleeping,” Candace said between sips of coffee. She looked up at the sun where it seemed to hang in the sky.

“It’s reversed,” Tom said. “Going backwards; or nearly backwards.”

Mike and Candace both nodded.

“Maybe this is it,” Mike said. Tom raised his eyebrows at him.

“It, as in maybe it’s done and finally about to start rotating in one direction. You know, stay that way.”

“Maybe that situation will straighten out the magnetic poles,” Candace said thoughtfully. “Maybe electronics, circuits, will work again.”

“Is that what it was,” Mike asked?

“Maybe,” Tom said.

“I don’t pretend to know,” Candace said. “Only the Earth wasn’t spinning right, or at all for a while, and none of the electronic stuff worked. Maybe now it will.”

“Yeah. Yeah. But even after it started back up again nothing worked. At least not when we tried it,” Tom said.

“Did we?” Candace asked.

Tom looked puzzled.

“Hey, you know what? She’s right. We didn’t really check again. We just assumed it wouldn’t work. At least I didn’t check. I assumed it wouldn’t work. I mean it didn’t, why would it?” Mike asked. “Did you guys think the same thing?”

“I did,” Tom agreed “First day or two, but not after.”

Candace nodded in agreement. “If that’s what caused it, the Earth not really rotating, maybe it will work now. Or, maybe it’s something else,” she finished.

“That dust or ash,” Mike said. “I’ve never seen volcanic ash, but I’ve read about it, and it seems that’s what it was.”

“Yeah, I thought that also,” Candace said. “Really, if there weren’t volcanoes going off somewhere, I’d wonder. All this Earthquake activity, volcanoes just make sense. Wherever it happened, it worked its way here on the air and was dumped on us.”

They looked around at the nearly dry asphalt. Small areas steamed as the moisture made its way back into the air. Mike noticed that both Candace and Tom’s shirts were soaked through with sweat. His was no different.

“Yeah,” Tom agreed. “Getting hot.” Mike and Candace both shrugged. Who knows, the gestures said.

They all leaned back against the sun warmed stone, sipping at their coffee, watching the bloated sun stagger across the sky.

It was Candace who first noticed the small group walking across the steaming pavement towards them. Her gun seemed to magically appear in her right hand. Lying alongside her thigh, just out of sight.

~

Mike and Tom were nearly as quick getting their own guns into their hands, but not nearly as subtle.

“That’s close enough right there,” Tom said.

No one spoke for a moment. The two groups of people appraised one another carefully in the silence.

The group was small, four women, and two men. One of the men was no more than a boy, Mike though, but, after the shootout with the kids a few days prior, no one was about to take any kid lightly.

“We saw you from way back,” one of the women said. She pushed sweaty brown hair from her eyes as she spoke. “If we meant trouble…” She let the implication hang in the air.

As she finished, Candace raised her weapon from her side to let the group know she had also seen them, and had been ready for them. They smiled uneasily at one another. The woman held out her hands, and the others in the group did the same.

“We don’t want a problem,” she said softly. “I’m thinking you are part of the group that took care of those kids from the north side the other day. We heard it.”

“If you could hear it, why didn’t you join in to help us?” Tom challenged.

“Good question,” Mike echoed softly.

The woman who had spoken first nodded. “We have two guns between us. One’s a twenty-two rifle, the other is a Three Eighty which we only have eight bullets for. We didn’t realize how things were going to go bad so fast,” she looked up at the sky where the sun continued its curving, staggering climb. She looked back at Mike. “We just want to talk for now.”

Candace got to her feet, holstered her gun and walked towards the small group.

“Candace,” she said, holding out her hand.

“Patty,” The young dark haired woman answered. She turned to the others behind her. “Sandy, Nell, Tim, Lilly and,” she pointed to a young dark skinned man who was standing slightly back and apart, “That’s my man, Ronnie.”

As she finished the introductions, Bob and Janet came to the cave opening. Candace made the same introductions ending with Mike and making it clear he was also not available.

As her eyes caught Mike’s, he seemed slightly amused by it. As she turned around, she poked her tongue out slightly at him and made a silly face as she walked towards him, inviting the others to sit down.

“Does that make me your bitch,” Mike whispered as she sat back down next to him.

“Ha, ha,” she whispered back. “…Bitch,” she giggled, but she didn’t allow the giggle to pass her lips. Mike stifled a laugh, but a smile rose to his face. He turned to the small group.

“We’ve got water inside, maybe some more coffee made, bottled soda.”

“Some coffee would be nice,” Patty said and smiled gratefully. Mike left for two cups of coffee and some bottled water as everyone began to sit down. The party had been traveling with backpacks and gear, and it came off now, making a small pile as they sat down. When Mike returned just a few minutes later, the silence still held. He handed out the water and coffee and sat back down next to Candace. All eyes turned to him. He glanced over at Tom, but Tom seemed to be studying the small patch of asphalt at his feet. Mike found his voice.

“So…” He let the question hang, picked up his still warm coffee and took a reassuring sip.

Patty seemed to hesitate, so the girl she’d identified as Lilly spoke up. She flipped loose blond curls away from her face before she spoke.

“We want to join you,” she said finally in a quiet yet firm voice.

Patty, whose hands had been clasped tightly together, parted them and raised them to her shoulders palms up in a ‘there you go’ gesture.

Candace was amazed at how much Lilly looked like Lydia. She even sounded like her. It must be that age, Candace said to herself. Everyone acts alike. She looked over at Tom to see if he had noticed, but his eyes were already locked on the young woman. Patty continued.

“We’ve been living in a collapsed apartment building over off State Street. We couldn’t find anything better. Now that’s come the rest of the way down. To be honest, we’re afraid to go into any of the buildings. There’s a lumber shed over there, just a roof really. We spent most of last night under that trying to stay out of most of the weather. Not much to it. We figured we could get out quick enough if it came down.” She took a deep breath. “That’s where we’re at,” she finished.

When the girl finished speaking, Candace’s head was bowed as if in thought. She raised her head, met Patty’s eyes, and then the others one by one. She let her eyes wander around their own group. One by one they all nodded. Everyone on this side was for it; it was easy enough to see. Tom’s eyes were still on Lilly, so it was clear what his feelings were.

“You are welcome here,” Candace said. A small chorus of welcome from the others echoed her own words. “There’s plenty of space here, and in a few months most of us will be leaving, so there will be more room after that.”

The small group of newcomers all seemed to heave a sigh of relief at the same time. Nervous laughter followed, and smiles lit up their faces.

Candace stood along with the others and motioned towards the mouth of the cave. “It isn’t much,” she said and laughed. “But it’s home.” The group picked up their gear and backpacks and followed her inside.


Kindle | Paperbacks



Zombie Plague from Geo Dell

The Zombie Plagues: Billy Jingo: Tommy awakened. He blinked; squinted and tried to see better. No good; pitch black and although he was a man who had little natural fear he had begun to panic right then.

https://www.amazon.com/Zombie-Plagues-Billy-Jingo/dp/1980509255

The Zombie Plagues: Billy Jingo: His fingers felt at his lips: It was not going to be fine. There were chunks and pieces of his lips attached to both lips. Thread woven from one to the other had held them together. https://www.amazon.com/Zombie-Plagues-Billy-Jingo-ebook/dp/B00VDAFFHO

The Zombie Plagues: Doomed: War begins:
Two minutes of climbing and they were at the back of the parking lot. From the square it probably looked as though there were no one there. Fine, Mike thought. https://www.amazon.com/Zombie-Plagues-Doomed-Geo-Dell-ebook/dp/B00VIFXXW8

The Zombie Plagues: Doomed: The end has come. Polite society is gone. No police; No government and no protection. It’s time to fight to stay alive. When society crumbles and it is only you against the world; can you survive? https://www.amazon.com/Zombie-Plagues-Doomed-Geo-Dell/dp/198051027X

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 Zombie Plagues: Wilderness: “They won’t come. In the city they knew how to get around… Out here,” Patty waved her arms around, finally lifting them to the sky. “They wouldn’t know what to do. Couldn’t sneak up on us.” She shook her head. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07X148XZ5

The Zombie Plagues: Wilderness: They filled their tanks two hours after dawn at a collapsed gas station next to the interstate. A hand operated Kerosene pump made the job quick. The only hard part had been locating the underground tank. https://www.amazon.com/dp/1689434295

The Zombie Plagues: Zombie Fall: The attack came fast when it came. Mike only remembered the details after the fact.
Molly had, had the right side, Tim the left, Mike had taken a lead of fifty feet or so right up through the middle of the tall grass. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07X7CSB7Z

The Zombie Plagues: Zombie Fall: The zombie hit the ground in front of him, thrown back by the force of the bullets: A huge section of her side blown away, one arm gone, but she had no sooner hit the ground than she was rising to her feethttps://www.amazon.com/dp/1689464321

The Zombie Plagues: Return: They were parked in the middle of the highway. There were three dead zombies lying scattered in the highway. They had been living in the SUV when Zac and Amanda had happened along. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07X5MDR81

The Zombie Plagues: Return: She laughed and took another deep hit off the joint. Okay, she admitted to herself, forty-eight, she had been a beach baby and the sun had played hell with her face and skin. https://www.amazon.com/dp/1689478268

The Zombie Plagues: To Build A Nation: The finale to The Zombie Plagues series:
Donita walked down Eighth Avenue towards Columbus Circle. Behind her a silent army followed, numbering in the thousands. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07X86FLRT

The Zombie Plagues: To Build A Nation: The finale to The Zombie Plagues series:Donita walked down Eighth Avenue towards Columbus Circle. Behind her a silent army followed, numbering in the thousands. From the circle they would take the park. https://www.amazon.com/dp/168969615X



A free look at the Zombie Plagues book four

Posted by Geo 07-27-2017

A free look at the Zombie Plagues book four

The weather keeps jumping back and forth between 80 degree days and 60 degree days, sunshine and then days of rain and the lake keeps rising. Slowly but surely the new warming is coming: I can feel it.

I will leave you today with a free preview from The Zombie Plagues…


THE ZOMBIE PLAGUES BOOK FOUR

Created by Geo Dell

PUBLISHED BY: Geo Dell

The Zombie Plagues Book Four

Copyright © 2010 – 2013 by Geo Dell, all rights reserved


This preview is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please point them to this blog. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

The names Geo Dell and Dell Sweet are publishing constructs used by Wendell Sweet and his assignee. Copyright 2017, all rights reserved, portions copyright 2010, 2012 and 2013.


THIS MATERIAL IS NOT EDITED FOR CONTENT!

Recommended age: Age 18+


Hazleton

Bear climbed up the steel ladder they had leaned up against the bus. Beth sat looking out at the street in an aluminum lawn chair. She turned as he made the top and smiled. Bear smiled back, turned and looked back into the junkyard for a moment. The view was unobstructed. The yard stretched away before him. He turned back to the front. A house lined street, like any house lined street, in any city. He assumed it went on into Hazleton, but they had not followed it.

“Quiet?”

“Very,” Beth agreed. “These zombies don’t seem all that interested in us. Or… I don’t know, they’re stupid… mentally slower.” She shrugged

Bear nodded. “But I wonder if it works the same. I mean, I wonder if these just haven’t caught up yet. And when they do, I wonder if they’ll be as bad as the others.”

Beth looked back at the house lined street beyond the bus. She had been watching the street, occasionally turning to the junk yard, and watching the fence line for hours now. She had seen two dead. Both had been farther down the street, a good quarter mile away, so far that it may have been the same dead woman both times. She had not really gotten much of a look the first time. “I guess I’m just glad we don’t have to fight them like we were. The brain rest is good.”

They both fell silent. Bear crossed and sat in the other lawn chair that had been set up on top of the bus.

“We should probably move out in a few days,” Bear said. “It’s nice, but it’s not getting us any closer to where we want to be.”

Beth looked over at him. “Where do we want to be, Bear?” she asked.

“South… west?”

“You thought about these people that have this city all set up?”

“Yeah, except I haven’t heard anything at all about them on the radio. I wonder, if it truly did exist… if it has fallen to the dead. Just because they aren’t too smart here doesn’t mean they aren’t there.”

“So you don’t want to look for it?”

Bear laughed. “Have you considered that maybe I am not a man who can live a settled life, that maybe my life will always be in flux? I mean, in…”

“I know what flux means.”She smiled again “I am no dumb girl, Bear.”

“Oh, I didn’t mean to…”

She held up a hand. “I know you don’t think I’m a dumb girl. I over explain sometimes. Or react,” she colored. She turned away and looked over the street.

The dead girl was back, wandering the street, stumbling from house to house, slamming into the houses as she found them, apparently unable to see them or stop herself. She and Bear watched as she wandered up the street toward them and the bus that would block her way.

“I guess a place to call home,” Bear said. “The year is going by so fast. We need people who know how to plant gardens, raise cows, things like that.”

Beth laughed. “You? A farmer?”

Bear looked at her and smiled. “Uh, no. I’m not going to pretend either. What I would like is to be working steel again. That’s what I did all of my life. But that’s not going to happen. This will sound crazy, but I think… This really will sound crazy. I’ve thought about it, and it sounded crazy to me when I said it to myself, but I think I might drift.”

“Drift? You mean like a cowboy in a movie?”

Bear laughed. “More like a biker movie I saw once, but I think I did get the word from a western. Yeah… Just drift. I don’t think I want to settle down yet. I’ve been here one day and it’s old. Lonesome Dove … McMurtry. I think that was where I read it.”

“Good book,” Beth agreed. “So a woman can’t tie you down.”

Bear had been watching the dead girl stagger up the street. He turned now and looked at Beth. She met his eyes and held them. She looked away first

“Sorry… Not my business,” she said.

“It would depend,” Bear said.

“On whose business it is?” Beth asked.

“No. It would depend on the woman,” Bear said quietly. Beth locked her eyes with his again. This time Bear looked away.

The silence spun out. The dead girl slammed hard into the side of a garage three houses down the street, got up, stumbled to the back of the house, across the rear lawn, and then walked off the end of a retaining wall that dropped into a deep ravine at the back of the house. She emerged a few moments later rolling in a loose flap of arms and legs down into the pit far below. One leg flew up into the air and just kept going.

“Ouch,” Bear muttered. “Jesus.”

“Took half her ass with it too,” Beth said.

Bear choked trying to hold the laughter back. “You are a sick puppy,” Bear managed after a moment.

“Hey. You laughed too. Besides, if she had made it three more houses I would have shot her, and she would have lost more than a leg and half her ass.”

Bear choked again. “That is so fucked up.”

Beth laughed back. “It is… I’m sorry. Look what’s become of us.” She choked her own giggles back. The silence came back again. In the distance, somewhere over in Hazleton, smoke began to rise up into the air, a thick black pillar. Bear watched it, as did Beth.

“That did not start on its own,” Beth said.

“Nope,” Bear agreed. He laughed again.

“This is amusing?”

“No, but the situation is, because right about now I’m wishing I was somewhere safe and warm. Drift my ass.”

Beth laughed. “I don’t want to go see what that is.”

Bear sighed. “Neither do I, but I’m going to. Can’t chance they come looking for us tonight. If we can see their smoke it’s a bet they can see ours.”

Beth stood. “Me and you? We can leave this to Scotty. It’s about time to get him and Winston up anyway.”

“Winston is up. Didn’t see Scotty though.” Bear stood too.

“Send him back. I’ll wait,” Beth said.

Bear nodded and turned to the ladder.

The Garage

The van was stripped down, wheels and frame gone, its doors off and interior stripped out. It was just a shell suspended from two A frames over the truck frame. Bear whistled as he walked by and headed up to the overhead storage area where they had set up sleeping quarters.

Scotty was up and getting dressed. “You came to get me? Must be something up,” he said as Bear walked in.

“Yeah. I hate to do it, but I need you to take my shift on the bus. Beth and I are heading over into Hazleton. Smoke, just a short while ago. I guess if they didn’t want us to know, they wouldn’t have started a fire. I’m guessing, but I’m sure they can see our fires here.”

“Take it to them before they can bring it to us?” Scotty said.

Bear shrugged. “I guess it could be good news. Maybe others that might want to travel with us.”

“But you don’t think so.”

“Nope. If they were interested in joining, they would have come over. We have fires that have been going since we got here. How could they miss it? No. Instead they start a fire on the other side of the city. Suspect.”

Scotty tugged his last boot on, shot the laces through the steel hooks that ran up each side of the boot and tied it. “Let’s go,” he said as he stood from the edge of the bed.

They were walking into the garage when Beth called on the radio.

“Company, Beth says,” Billy told him.

Bear swore. He had clipped his radio on his belt but had not turned it on. He plucked it from the belt and flicked the knob. “How many?” he asked.

“Three,” Beth answered. “But they’re attracting a crowd… dead. So don’t be surprised if you hear gunfire.”

She was no sooner done talking than gunfire erupted from the direction of the gate. All four men ran from the garage and headed for the bus.

Bear yanked his machine pistol free from the sheath that held it across his shoulder. He flicked off the safety as he ran.

Donita

They were not hers, and she did not understand them. There had been others she had met along the way that were the same. Dead, passed over into this new life, but not like her. There was no better explanation for it. These were slow, empty vessels full of holes. She could not lead them. They could not hear her voice or any other. She let the boy and the twin run them down. But they were not really good training for them.

She was on the outskirts of a small city. She and the three with her had spent the day before in the woods, not far from the city, going in at night to find the living. They were in those same woods now, Donita limping along, the twin and the boy at her side, the big man behind her. One leg had been a mangled ruin. It was still not much more than that, and she had taken shots to the chest that were healing too, but her body was rebuilding itself as she walked.

Her one remaining twin had lost an eye, a head shot that had ruined her face. It was rebuilding, but Donita did not believe the eye would come back. It seemed to be healing into a twisted mass of scar tissue that covered that side of her face. The boy was unharmed. The big man had taken most of the shots protecting the twin and the boy, but he was healing too as they walked, faster even than Donita was.

The living had thought they were like the other dead that they had found in the town, slow and stupid, so they had not been prepared for the reality that she had taken to them.

She had found them in the basement of an old farm house. No one guarding, or if there had been, they had fallen asleep. She would take six that were meant for her. The others she gave to the boy and the twin. The big man helped her with the six. It had seemed to go smoothly. The ones that were hers were stretched out on the cold concrete. She waited while the others fed. But the night passed and the morning came, and they had not come back.

It was late in the day when they did come, and they were not hers at all. They were the same slow, stupid, infestation that she had found within the town. Malformed, undeveloped. Not hers at all, not able to be made hers. She had let them go, set them free. They were no use to her at all.

They had wandered away immediately, into the small city, walking into houses, cars, street signs and whatever else was in their way as they stumbled along. She had watched them go. Blind babies, empty vessels that would never be anything more, and then the second bad thing had happened.

She and the others had been in the basement when the breathers had set it ablaze. She should have known they were there, felt them, sensed them, known, not only that they were there, but what they were about to do. But she had felt, sensed, nothing at all until a second before the house went up in flames. She had barely managed to get herself out through the small basement window that faced the rear of the house. Even then, she had nearly lost her own.

The breathers had been waiting and opened up on her as she crawled through the window. But they expected the slow, stupid ones, and that was their downfall. Donita had screamed and launched herself at the nearest breather, riding him to the ground where she had ripped his throat out before he or the others could react. That bought time for her own to get out of the basement and the burning house. Three more of the breathers had fallen before the others had fled. The big man had picked her up and carried her back to the woods, and she had lapsed into twilight as the healing began.

When she had come back to herself, they had set out through the woods. The longer she walked, the stronger she felt. She would not make the same mistake again, she told herself. She looked over at the twin with her now scared face. She would not make the same mistake again, she repeated to herself. And they would pay for this. They would pay. She remembered their scent, would never forget it, and they would pay.

Bear

He was up the ladder faster than he would have thought possible. Billy, Mac and Scotty were up next, but the firing was over. It had not come from Beth, except at the very end. There were half dozen dead laying in the roadway a hundred yards from the bus. Directly below, as Bear walked to the edge and looked down, two frightened young kids stared up at him. Teens, maybe, he told himself, not much past that, and they were both carrying machine pistols, yet they had somehow allowed the dead to get as close to them as they had – a girl and a boy. The girl had a gash on one side of her face and looked pretty bad off. He glanced back up at the dead in the road, and then let his eyes fall on the other houses on both sides of the road. Nothing and nothing. He looked back down at the two.

“How did you get injured?” he asked the girl.

Beth stepped up beside him. “Dead girl had her pinned to the ground. She wasn’t hurt before that. Had the boy too.”

“That’s a fuckin’ lie! A fuckin’ lie!” The boy screamed. “They never touched us… never. We got away,” he added in a near normal voice. He turned and looked back down the road at the dead, and when he did, Bear saw the blood leaking from his hairline. He looked back at the girl and her eyes were locked on his, staring up at him.

“Girl?” Bear asked.

She frowned and then nodded. “I don’t know. I think I cut it on the road… He did,” she turned and pointed at the boy. “They slammed his head into the road,” She tilted her head as she looked up at Bear and then Beth. “It might have been. It was this close,” she held her index finger and thumb barely apart. “Could have been.” She cleared her throat.

“We been here. We didn’t just get here. They’re dumb… They can’t even get out of their own way. But we found some this morning that weren’t dumb… somehow,” she seemed confused. “Set them on fire. Some got away,” she shook her head, staggered, and then her eyes cleared. She continued, “Hell, maybe all of them got away. The thing is, they weren’t stupid. Not like the ones we’ve been dealing with,” she shrugged. Her eyes fluttered as she spoke, and she staggered again.

“Sick,” Beth whispered.

The boy looked up. “I’m telling you, they never got her at all. Never did.” His own eyes were glazed, no doubt due to the head injury hiding under the hair that was slowly darkening and becoming plastered to his head. The blood was bright red now, flowing down his neck. He held the girl for a second, but it seemed all he could take, and they both sagged to the ground.

“Goddammit,” Bear muttered. “I guess that explains the fire though.”

Down the road, three dead staggered into the street from a house where they had seen several others come from. Before Bear could speak, Mac and Billy dropped all four with just a short burst from their weapons. “Getting a lot better,” Bear said. “A lot.” They said nothing. He looked back down at the girl and boy and then walked away and looked over at Beth.

“I am not for it. I think she’s sick… Maybe not the boy, but what the fuck can we do?” Beth asked.

Bear nodded. When he spoke, his voice was a deep whisper. “Nothing. He’s not going to leave her.” He leaned forward and looked down at her where she lay curled in the boy’s arms. He was out. Maybe not coming back. The blood was still pumping from his head and flowing down his neck.

Bear squatted and peered down at the girl and the boy for a few moments before he spoke again. “What do you think of her hand?”

Beth squatted beside him and looked down at the girl. She stood and shook her head. “I can’t tell. It looks like she’s turning. Turns black, you know, but just under the skin… like… like a spiderweb flowing out under their skin. Bad description, I know,” she finished.

“Not really. Pretty close to what I have seen. Looks like the capillaries just under the skin turn black. Takes no time at all… spreads to the rest of the body. Can take the finger, hand, foot… if you’re fast enough. Stop it right there. I’ve seen it done.”

Beth met his eyes. Her voice was low. “Can’t take her head off. She’s got the other cut on her face and that seems to be turning black too… around the edges. Can’t tell for sure yet.”

“No. Looks it to me too.” Bear sighed. He rubbed at his eyes and then turned to Billy. “How long do you guys need to finish your project?”

“Rest of today. Tomorrow to test it and make sure it’s okay.”

“Yeah? All that work and that’s it?” Beth asked.

“Not as complicated as it looks. It’s swapping out the body, really. Everything is in the wiring harness, just run it into the van cab… wire up a switch. The big deal is mounting the body. I have a welder, I have a gennie, but I’m not so hot with welding.”

“Really? Well, like I said, I am. Show me what you got, what you need, and as long as you can juice up that welder, I’ll get it done for you,” Bear said.

Billy laughed. “Man. That’s good. I was worried about it, but…” He broke off as Bear turned away and looked back over the edge of the bus. “I’ll wait for you… get the gennie fired up. I have to cut some plate steel and make what I need you to weld. We’ll be waiting.”

Bear turned back and nodded. “Be there in a bit.”

Billy’s eyes slid up to Mac, and a second later they both turned and made their way down the ladder.

“Scotty… we got this, Scotty.” Bear turned and looked at Scotty. Scotty nodded, relief clearly written on his face, turned and hurried down the ladder.

Bear reached into his pocket, pulled his pouch out and rolled a cigarette.

“Roll me one,” Beth said.

“Yeah? This is rough stuff.”

“Yeah. Roll me one,” Beth repeated.

Bear rolled a second cigarette, handed it to Beth and then struck a match. Beth leaned in and pulled a deep breath as Bear held the match to her cigarette. He lit his own, looked over the edge, and then tossed the match after he shook it out. His eyes looked down the street where the three dead had now become four, bumping around parked cars. One had walked into the side of a house. It kept backing up and then walking straight forward again, slamming into the side of the house over and over again.

One had found the middle of the street and was drunkenly staggering its way toward them. Bear flicked his machine pistol to single shot, raised it, sighted and squeezed the trigger. Half the zombie’s head instantly disappeared from its shoulders. The other half seemed to hold together for a moment and then toppled to the left. The zombie dropped in to the street in a heap. Beth coughed beside him. He turned.

“Jesus, Bear. Rough is not the word.”

Bear nodded and then looked down at the two teens. The girls face was beginning to darken, her hand was a mass of small spidery black lines. The boys head wound was slowing, but there was a fine mass of black lines running across one cheek. “Guess that answers that,” Bear said quietly.

Beth took a deep pull off the cigarette and rubbed at her temples with her free hand. “Is this the way it’s going to be, do you think?”

Bear’s cigarette dangled from his lower lip, seeming plastered there. “No…” He raised his eyes. “We’re gonna find that place and settle down there. No more of this shit.”

Beth flicked her cigarette off the edge of the roof. “Bullshit. I don’t see it. I don’t believe it exists, and if it does, I don’t think you can settle down.”

Bear took a deep pull from his own cigarette and then flicked it off the roof too. He said nothing, but leaned forward and looked off the edge of the roof. He looked back up and held her eyes for a moment. Beth stepped forward too, shrugged her machine pistol from her shoulder and into her hands. She raised her eyes to Bear. He nodded, thumbed his pistol to full auto, and sprayed the two where they lay up against the bus below. Beth’s pistol hammered away too. They were brief bursts, but they did the job. They both backed away a moment later.

“Okay?” Bear asked.

Beth nodded.

Bear slipped his pistol back into the sheath on his back, walked to the other side of the bus, snagged the ladder and dragged it upward. A moment later he was lowering it on the other side.

“Got you,” Beth said tightly.

Bear climbed down the ladder. A few moments later he was pulling the bodies away from the side of the bus, dragging them over behind the nearest house and rolling them down into the ravine that the rains had cut into the hillside there. In less than a minute, he was climbing back up the ladder and then pulling it up behind him.

Beth watched the street. There were two more dead that were getting closer. The one was still slamming repeatedly into the side of the house down the street.

“Okay?” Bear asked quietly.

She turned to him. “Yeah. It is what it is.” She thought for a second, but didn’t know what else she could say.

Bear nodded. “I’ll send Scotty back.” He waited for a second.

“Got a pint… Got a couple actually…” Beth said.

“You offering to buy me a drink?” Bear asked.

She held his eyes. “I think I’m offering more than that. I don’t want to cause problems…”

Bear nodded, “I’ll send Scotty. We’ll take a little walk. We can talk this out, I think.”


I hope you enjoyed this free preview. Check out the Zombie Plagues at the links below.


The Zombie Plagues series: KindlePaperback

All the books on Amazon

That is it for me today. I hope you enjoyed the free reading. Check out the entire series at the links above! I’ll be back next week…

Some changes and Private Investigations short story

Some changes and Private Investigations short story Posted by Geo 07-24-17

Happy Monday! Things are proceeding with the Sixth Earth’s Survivors book and the decision has been made to make that book the last book in the series. I don’t make the news I just report it. With Dell out of the circle there were bound to be changes to the way things run here.

The other thing that will change soon is the short stories that Dell once published on Amazon. Those will be put in a collection. Really just an effort to clean things up a little.

As for me I will continue to write the Zombie Plagues and it will remain on Amazon only. I do make the decisions on that series. To the best of my knowledge nothing else will change.

I will write this blog on Monday’s and pass along news and updates. I think that the changes that are coming will be good for those of us left here. Dell will write on Fridays when he can. If he can’t I will cover, when I can’t he will cover; same as it has been.

As far as Dell goes: The step away is for health reasons. If something changes in the future I will print it, but I won’t go over and over it. I don’t want that, you don’t, neither does Dell. The unpublished Earth’s Survivors books and the rest of his work are going to a friend. They will decide what to do with that work, or even if anything should be done with it. As for everything that is on the table right now I will look at it all and make the decisions project by project.

It’s summer here in New York, but the weather is rainy. Later this week we are supposed to get colder weather and then more rain. That will teach me to complain about the heat.

Here is a short story from Dell. He has several dozen unpublished short stories I hope to compile for him soon…


PRIVATE INVESTIGATIONS

Copyright Dell Sweet – 2015 by Wendell Sweet and his assignee’s. All rights reserved. Dell Sweet is a publishing name owned by Wendell Sweet, independAntwriters and their assignee’s.

This preview is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This preview may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this preview with another person, please point them to this blog entry at Geodell.pcgeos.com.  Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.


Nine Fifty-Nine A.M.

I lowered my wrist to my side, settled myself back into the shadows of the treeline and raised my binoculars to my eyes.

I swept the back deck and rear entrance, shot across the fence to the next house in line: Nothing; and nothing. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe I had been wrong all along.

Being a private detective isn’t all thrills. Most of the time it’s doing exactly what I was doing: Sitting and waiting. For hours sometimes, with little to show Other times you just happen to walk into the middle of something, get everything you need in those few seconds and feel a little guilty about even charging for it, let alone keeping the retainer… If there was a retainer… But of course I always fight past that. After all money, making a living, is why I do this job.

Apparently this job wasn’t going to be one of those kinds of jobs, but what kind of job was it going to be? Hard to tell.

I was watching the house of Paul and Melinda Fields. At Melinda Field’s request. She was a friend of my wife Joan. So you would think that the request would have come from my wife to help her friend, but it had not. It had not come that way at all. It had come instead in the form of a phone call to my office. Melinda had called and asked me to meet with her, and she asked me to keep it quiet. She didn’t want her friends to know, meaning my wife too, I concluded.

I was okay with that. You get a lot of that sort of thing as a private eye. People think odd things, maybe they’re even a little paranoid. If a woman or a man thinks his or her loved one is cheating on them they sometimes want to keep the information as quiet as possible. They want to know. You’re the private dick so it’s okay if you know, but they don’t want anyone else to know.

This was day two and I was about to burn up the retainer. I had nothing at all to show for it. But as I said that is the private detective game most of the time. Waiting and seeing. I simply hadn’t seen anything. Well, almost nothing. Apparently Paul did keep things from his wife. Right now for instance he was supposed to be at his office. He wasn’t of course. Joan had left for work, but he hadn’t. And more than once he had checked the windows as though he were expecting someone. Peeking out of the drapes, sliding the deck door open and peeking out before he stepped outside sipping his coffee as he looked around and then quickly stepped back inside. Odd.

Odd, but not exactly indicative of much of anything at all. He had done nearly the same thing yesterday and I had wasted nearly four hours watching him pace the deck, check the windows, pace the kitchen, refill his cup, pace the deck some more, and then finally get in his car and drive to the office in the early afternoon.

Paul Fields was a contractor. Not one of the big ones, but not one of the small ones either. They lived in a nice subdivision. Melinda sold real estate. Between the two of them they did very well. She drove a nice BMW and he drove a new Ford pickup. One of the big ones with the big price tags. It looked as though it had never hauled anything in its life. All shiny black and chrome. Lots of chrome.

The man lived in Jeans, work boots and button up chambray work shirts. He was in his early forties, looked thirty five. Fit, attractive in some ways. I could see why she might think he was  screwing around. I just didn’t see any evidence of it if he was. Maybe, I thought, I should have run it past Joan. Maybe she felt this same thing a few times a year, once a month. Who knew. The only thing that had stopped me was that Melinda had made it a condition of hiring me. And so I hadn’t.

I lowered the glasses, slipped a cigarette from my pack and lit it, and then settled back to smoke as I watched. I know, they’ll kill me, but isn’t life killing us all every day? I know, I know, excuses. I got a ton of them.

I took a deep drag and blew the smoke out my nose. I glanced at my watch. Another hour and that would be it.

It was about then that things got interesting. Paul had, had the drapes open on the rear sliders. They suddenly swept shut. My first thought was that he was about to leave for the office, but out of the corner of my eye I caught a taxi drift up to the curbing a few houses down and stop. It sat idling for a few moments and then the back door popped open and a woman stepped out and hurried off down the walk toward Paul’s house.

I got the camera up and snapped a few dozen pictures before she was out of my line of sight, but who knew what they might be worth? She was moving fast and her face was not fully turned toward the camera. She had one hand up, brushing at her hair as she walked. I changed the card and slipped the other into my pocket. I hated to be short when I needed to shoot.

There was a gap in the drapes. I couldn’t see much through the shadows as I focused with my binoculars. The digital camera didn’t offer much better on zoom, but I clicked a few shots off anyway. Many times I had found the money shot in the pictures I didn’t think would be worth anything at all. I then began to scan the second floor bedroom drapes for movement. There was a set of sliders there too that opened onto an upper deck.

A little movement caught my eye so I kept the lens focused there. Something or someone brushed up against the drapes, they stuttered open for a brief instant and I clicked off another dozen shots out of habit. You just never knew where the money shot was going to be, or if there was even going to be one, but if you didn’t shoot you couldn’t get anything.

I put in another hour, but there was nothing much to see. I had just about made up my mind to shift my cover to the front of the house just in case she slipped out earlier than I thought she would, when a Yellow Cab rolled up to the curb of the house next door, and then coasted to a stop, presumably, out of my line of site in front of Paul’s house. I cursed under my breath. Piss poor planning on my part. No other way to see it. I could have gotten a clear shot of the woman, whoever she was.

All in all it made no difference though. The retainer was shot, and most people never went past the retainer. He was fooling around with someone, most likely, and maybe one of the shots I took would even be enough for Melinda to recognize who the woman was. If though, proof was all she was after, she had that.

I retreated back into the woods and made my way to a dead end service road where I had parked earlier, tossed my gear onto the front seat of the beat up old Dodge I used for surveillance, and followed it in. A half a day shot. I had another case to look into, a simple straight forward process serve. I had some good information on where the person should be, hopefully she would be. Maybe it could be a slam dunk kind of day. Well, except for missing the exit shot. I cursed once more under my breath as I keyed the old Dodge and headed back into town.

Nine Twenty-Seven P.M.

I shifted into park, dropped the keys into my coat pocket and levered open my door. At the last moment I turned and retrieved my binoculars, camera and the small .380 I usually carried when I was somewhere where unexpected things might happen.

The process serve had been a bust, I was tired and grouchy. I palmed the small gun in one hand. I had found myself in the woods more than once on surveillance jobs. Bad neighborhoods a few times too. The .380 was small in my hand, but a large comfort in my head.

I had started with the gun after a friend of mine who worked for the PD and moonlighted as a private eye, small stuff, mostly process serving, had been ambushed by an angry husband he had been trying to serve divorce papers on. He’d been shot four times and had barely survived the hurried ambulance trip to the hospital emergency room. The PD career was done, and the private eye stuff too, although a few of us threw him a bone when we could: When he was sober. I decided I’d rather have something to show.

I had nearly bought a .44 caliber, but one test fire had convinced me to leave that for something smaller and hopefully non fatal. I know, I shouldn’t really be concerned with that. After all if I am going to have to use a gun to defend myself it should be capable of laying someone down. I just haven’t been able to believe in it yet. I have flashed the .380 twice and ended violent confrontations right there. My ex-PD friends say don’t pull it unless you mean to use it… Maybe… Someday.

I dropped the camera and the gun into my other coat pocket, wound the binocular strap around my hand and walked around the back to where my office is. Joan and I have a deal. I don’t track whatever I have been walking through all day into the house and she won’t divorce me. She was that passionate about it. I emptied my pockets, slipped off my boots I used for the woods, which did, I noticed, have something that could have been mud, bear shit or even dog shit that I could have picked up crossing my own back yard, on them. Joan’s poodle, Mister Tibbles. We’ve agreed to hate each other. I thought about a sniff test, decided to pass, I never could distinguish poodle shit from bear shit anyway, slid on my slippers and walked the shoes to the back door.

Joan called down from the upper level, probably the kitchen. More specifically the bar that was just off the kitchen. My office was on the lower level. You could translate that as basement and you would be correct. I would only add converted basement.

“Yeah… It’s me,” I called back.

“Be careful in the backyard. I took Mister Tibbles out and I couldn’t see where he went.”

That answered that question. “Uh huh,” I answered.

Nothing else floated down to me. I left the landing and walked down to my office. I transferred the pictures off the two cards, then opened my image program as I dialed Melinda’s number. She picked up on the first ring. Her voice low, sexy. It said Please buy this property from me, baby. Sexist, yes, I know. I try not to be. And I felt even worse about being one because of the bad news I was about to give her.

“Mike,” I said.

“Oh… Mike.” She sounded surprised.

I ignored it as I loaded the pictures and searched through them one by one. “Melinda, I have some bad news…. I’ll send you a report on this, but I thought I should call and talk to you just the same… Instead of you reading it in a report.” I searched through the thumbnails as they came up. “I have a few things left to do, but essentially… You were right, Melinda… There’s no easy way to put it, your husband, Paul is seeing someone.”

I continued flicking through the thumbnails and selected two that might be useful. One shot through the upstairs drapes showed a woman. I ascertained that from the dress she wore. Her face however was turned away from the camera, a blurry blob in shadow.

The second photo showed her hurrying from the cab. Part of her face was obscured by one hand. I would work on both photos as well as I could and try to get something that Melinda could identify. Melinda stayed silent on the phone.

“I don’t know who the woman is,” I admitted. “She outfoxed me and that doesn’t usually happen. Maybe she was being careful or maybe she’s a little paranoid… I…”

“I know who she is, Mike.”

I stopped. “You do?”

“Yes… I… I had hoped you would identify her though… I wanted to be absolutely sure.” She said sure, but she sounded very unsure.

I transferred the two pictures to some other software, started with the first one from the bedroom shot through the drapes, and selected the areas to work on.

“Mike,” Melinda said even more softly.

“I’m looking over a few photos I shot right now. Trying to get a good, clear face shot,” I told her. She sounded on the verge of tears. Like she was unraveling over the phone. It made me wish I hadn’t addressed it over the phone at all.

The face became clearer pixel by pixel. I have a good machine, it didn’t take long, and I didn’t have to bother with the other photo. “The picture’s coming up, Melinda,” I told her, but my words clogged in my throat as the picture finally came up, and I fell silent myself. She spoke into my silence.

“Mike… I would have told you, Mike… Mike?” She sounded panicked.

“What?” I managed.

“I wasn’t sure… Not completely, Mike.”

“But you hired me to find out? Me? Why didn’t you hire someone else?” A hard ball had settled into the pit of my stomach.

“I… I don’t know… I thought… I thought… I thought you would want to know… Mike… Mike I didn’t really think it through. I was angry… Upset… I wasn’t thinking straight, Mike. I wasn’t.” Now it was her turn to fall silent. I could just barely hear her breathing over the phone in the hardness of the silence.

“I’ll send the retainer back, “ I said at last into the silence. “You… You know maybe this was best… I don’t guess I would have wanted one of my friends to be the guy on this… Finding out. It’s just a little hard to think right now.”

“Sure it is,” She agreed. “I’m so upset.” She sobbed once as if trying to choke it back and then the soft sound of her crying came over the phone.

I was not at the point of tears. I was at the point of anger. That hard place where it’s brand new and you can’t seem to swallow it down. I was there, at that place. It’s a hard goddamn place to be and I realized she had been there too, maybe still was. It was also a dangerous place to be.

“I have to get the hell out of here,” I told her. Twice I had found my eyes locked on the .380 where I had set it on the desktop what seemed like a million years ago.

“Me too… It makes me sick to know it for a fact.” She was still crying but trying to get herself under control.

It was spur of the moment, but my mouth opened and with no artifice the words tumbled forth.

“I have a cabin… It’s nearly the weekend… Up in Maine… It’s a drive… Isolated… A good place to think.” Silence from the phone. “If you wanted to… Oh hell.”

She laughed a small laugh, followed by sniffles and a few seconds of silence. “I’ll meet you somewhere?” She asked.

“Airport? … You could leave your car in the long term lot… Pick it up Monday or so…”

“Let me get some things together…” She went back to crying for a few moments. “I’ll just… Just leave him a note.” She laughed again, sharply this time. “You know what, I won’t… I’ll be there in… An hour? An hour, Mike?”

I nodded and then realized she couldn’t see that. And so I told her I would meet her there in an hour. I clicked off, slid the phone into my pocket and just sat there for a moment. My eyes dropped back down to the gun and it seemed to hold me hypnotized for a length of time. Like a spell I had to break. I forced myself to look away. I got up and walked away from it. I went up to our bedroom and filled an old suitcase.

I half expected Joan to walk in, see what I was doing and stop me, but she didn’t. I expected her to say something when I came back down the stairs and crossed through the kitchen to the back door, but again she didn’t. If she was sitting there in the gloom of the bar area or had migrated farther into the shadows of the living room, I couldn’t say. She said nothing. Mister Tibbles growled lightly and that was it.

I moved the car, backed my Jeep out of the garage and out into the street. A few minutes later I was cruising the interstate through the darkness, heading for the airport.

I hope your week is great! Check out these series below…


ZOMBIE PLAGUES AMAZON:


KINDLE: The Zombie Plagues: Billy Jingo: His fingers felt at his lips: It was not going to be fine. There were chunks and pieces of his lips attached to both lips. Thread woven from one to the other had held them together. https://www.amazon.com/Zombie-Plagues-Billy-Jingo-ebook/dp/B00VDAFFHO

PAPERBACK: The Zombie Plagues: Billy Jingo: Tommy awakened. He blinked; squinted and tried to see better. No good; pitch black and although he was a man who had little natural fear he had begun to panic right then.

https://www.amazon.com/Zombie-Plagues-Billy-Jingo/dp/1980509255


KINDLE: The Zombie Plagues: Doomed: War begins:
Two minutes of climbing and they were at the back of the parking lot. From the square it probably looked as though there were no one there. Fine, Mike thought. https://www.amazon.com/Zombie-Plagues-Doomed-Geo-Dell-ebook/dp/B00VIFXXW8

PAPERBACK: The Zombie Plagues: Doomed: The end has come. Polite society is gone. No police; No government and no protection. It’s time to fight to stay alive. When society crumbles and it is only you against the world; can you survive? https://www.amazon.com/Zombie-Plagues-Doomed-Geo-Dell/dp/198051027X


KINDLE: 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

PAPERBACK: 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


KINDLE: The Zombie Plagues: Wilderness: “They won’t come. In the city they knew how to get around… Out here,” Patty waved her arms around, finally lifting them to the sky. “They wouldn’t know what to do. Couldn’t sneak up on us.” She shook her head. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07X148XZ5

PAPERBACK: The Zombie Plagues: Wilderness: They filled their tanks two hours after dawn at a collapsed gas station next to the interstate. A hand operated Kerosene pump made the job quick. The only hard part had been locating the underground tank. https://www.amazon.com/dp/1689434295


KINDLE: The Zombie Plagues: Zombie Fall: The attack came fast when it came. Mike only remembered the details after the fact.
Molly had, had the right side, Tim the left, Mike had taken a lead of fifty feet or so right up through the middle of the tall grass. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07X7CSB7Z

PAPERBACK: The Zombie Plagues: Zombie Fall: The zombie hit the ground in front of him, thrown back by the force of the bullets: A huge section of her side blown away, one arm gone, but she had no sooner hit the ground than she was rising to her feethttps://www.amazon.com/dp/1689464321


KINDLE: The Zombie Plagues: Return: They were parked in the middle of the highway. There were three dead zombies lying scattered in the highway. They had been living in the SUV when Zac and Amanda had happened along. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07X5MDR81

PAPERBACK: The Zombie Plagues: Return: She laughed and took another deep hit off the joint. Okay, she admitted to herself, forty-eight, she had been a beach baby and the sun had played hell with her face and skin. https://www.amazon.com/dp/1689478268


KINDLE: The Zombie Plagues: To Build A Nation: The finale to The Zombie Plagues series:
Donita walked down Eighth Avenue towards Columbus Circle. Behind her a silent army followed, numbering in the thousands. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07X86FLRT

PAPERBACK: The Zombie Plagues: To Build A Nation: The finale to The Zombie Plagues series:Donita walked down Eighth Avenue towards Columbus Circle. Behind her a silent army followed, numbering in the thousands. From the circle they would take the park. https://www.amazon.com/dp/168969615X


I hope you enjoyed the short story. Have a great week and we will see you on Friday! Geo