America The Dead episode five

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EARTH’S SURVIVOR’S AMERICA the DEAD: BOOK ONE

Based on the series by W. G. Sweet

Episode 5

PUBLISHED BY

independAntwriters Publishing

AMERICA the DEAD: BOOK ONE

Copyright © 2013 by independAntwriters All Rights Reserved

Writers: W.W. Watson, Geo Dell, W.G. Sweet, G.D. Smitty

This book, in this blog format, is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. If you would like to share this book with another person, please point them to this blog entry. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

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

This novel is Copyright © 2013 independAntwriters. No part of this book may be reproduced by any means, electronic, print, scanner or any other means and, or distributed without the authors permission.

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


EARTH’S SURVIVOR’S – AMERICA the DEAD: BOOK ONE


CHAPTER FOUR

March 14th

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

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

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

“You think,” Jake asked unkindly.

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

“Why would it go backwards,” James asked?

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

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

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

“Don’t you mean opinion,” Lana asked sweetly?

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

~

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

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

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

“Easier if we get stuck too,” Katie suggested.

Jake shrugged his shoulders. “Fine by me,” he said. He headed for the Suburban with Lana right behind him. Jana and Katie headed for the pickup truck. James broke into a laugh and grinned at Conner. “Guess that leaves me and you in the old dinosaur… Want to drive?”

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

~

“It was me that asked Jana to go with Katie,” James said as they followed slowly along behind the other trucks.

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

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

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

“It’s a…”

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

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

“Demanding…? Aggressive..?” Conner supplied.

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

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

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

Conner nodded. James continued.

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

“I don’t know,” Conner said softly. “But I agree. I know what you mean. Katie and I talked about it last night as well and came to the same opinion. It could be better elsewhere, and, whatever is right for Jake or Lana isn’t necessarily right for us. I was for going from the start. I have to know if this is really the end. If there’s anything else. If it is I’ll deal with it. Find a place to settle down. Thank God I have Katie, you and Jana… Maybe we’ll meet others on the way to… Well, where ever.”

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

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

“Yeah,” he nodded, “Yeah.”

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

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

“Yeah… I could see that, James… I don’t think Jake was pleased either.”

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

“Yeah… I can see that… But last night we talked about the journals; I’m keeping one, Katie is as well, Lana said she would… Something to leave when we leave…”

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

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

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

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

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

“What did you think of the idea that Jake had of fixing up one of the new trucks,” Conner ventured after a few minutes.”

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

“What’s a crate motor,” Conner asked?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I agree,” Conner said. “I’ll talk to Katie.

“And I’ll talk to, Jana. But we already talked…”

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

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

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

“Safe,” Jake asked?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Well,” Jake started.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What do you think, Katie,” Jana asked?

“Yeah, what would be the best,” Conner asked?

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

“Jesus, Girl… I’m like in awe,” Lana said.

“Katie,” Katie said, “and thank you.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The sun had been standing overhead for what seemed like hours. James Spoke.

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

“Got a theory on that,” Conner asked?

James shook his head.

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

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

James nodded as did Conner. “I guess we’ll leave it for the scientists… Long as we don’t fall off the Earth.” He chuckled a little.

“Call it a day,” Conner asked?

“Yeah,” Jake agreed. “We still have to unload all of this.” There were a few halfhearted complaints, but everyone piled into the trucks and they made their way slowly back towards the heart of the city and the old factory that lay behind Old Town.

Jana March 14th

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jake Light. And, Lana, Marcia Lana Santos fill out our party. We are planning to leave here in a few months and head south, or west. The direction isn’t decided only the realization that we need to go. The thinking is that we should head south. Somewhere warmer. After all, there is no electricity here. And we are living in an old factory right down by the river. It’s not a bad , and we’re lucky to have it. Almost the entire city has been destroyed. Most buildings are unsafe to live in. This one was built up against the cliffs. It’s solid.

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

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

Katie March 14th

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

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

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

My man is Conner Davis and we are with two other couples; Jana and James Adams, and Jake Light And Lana Santos. I came here with them; Conner was on his own then. I was too, even though I had people around me. I guess if you’ve read all of this diary you know what I’m talking about. I had Jana as my friend. This diary and my father’s gun. I Thank God for what I had, especially Jana.

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

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

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

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

This building we are in seems stable, but many of the other structures in the city aren’t safe to live in. We don’t know if it’s even all over with yet. Whether there is more to come. We hope not.

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

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

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

I’ll write more as we go along.

March 15th

Early morning darkness held the road that fronted the old factory. The moonlight, sparse, reflected off the rapids of the river.

A shadow moved by one of the pickup trucks. Another moved by the Suburban. The sound of sand gritting beneath the sole of a shoe came clearly in the shadowy darkness. The door of the pickup squealed loudly as it was carefully opened. The shadow paused looking towards the Suburban. The shadow there appeared to be fighting with the door to no avail. The shadow next to the pickup gestured quickly with both hands and the shadow next to the Suburban gave up on the door, crossed to the pickup and quickly climbed inside. Once they were both inside silence returned to the small patch of asphalt that fronted the entrance to the building. A few seconds later the pickup roared to life. The headlights snapped on, the wheels turned hard left and the driver launched the truck down what was left of the shattered roadway.

Voices were raised in alarm from inside the building, and within just a few moments everyone inside was outside. Lana, gun in hand, unloaded a full clip at the fleeing pickup truck. Both Jake and Conner snapped off a single shot, more in startled response to Lana’s’ shots than with any real hope of hitting the retreating pickup truck.

“Jesus,” Lana said breathlessly. “They stole our truck!” She turned and looked at Conner with wide, frightened eyes. “They stole our Goddamn truck,” She repeated. “How could they steal our truck?”

Jake headed for the suburban, pulled the keys from his pocket, prepared to unlock the door.

“Jake,” Conner called. “Where are you going, Man?”

That’s our Goddamn truck. I’m going to get it.” His eyes were wild. The truck keys in one hand, a pistol in the other. No shirt. Sock-less shoes, laces trailing.

“It’s an old truck, Man,” Conner said.

“It’s my old truck,” Jake said defensively. “And if I catch that fucker…”

“Fuckers,” Lana said.

“Huh,” Jake asked?

“Fuckers as in I saw two heads. Two of them. Not one,” Lana said. Her voice held a breathless, excited quality to it that Conner didn’t like. She was dressed in jeans and a thin T-shirt. She shivered slightly, whether from the cold or the excitement Conner couldn’t tell.

“Either way. One, two, how would we catch them? … And then what? Are we going to shoot somebody for stealing an old truck? Is that what things have come to,” Conner asked?

“Look, don’t get moral on me,” Jake said. He leveled his eyes at Conner. “I do things my way. You take from me you pay for it.”

Conner just stared back at him.

“You’re soft,” Jake said. But his fists, still clenched, dropped from the truck door and he walked away from the Suburban and back into the building.

Lana threw Conner a nasty look, finally managed to fish a replacement clip from her overly tight front pocket. Ejected the empty one into her hand and slid the new one into the pistol with a solid click. “Soft,” She echoed as the clip clicked home. She turned and walked back inside the factory. In the distance the muffler of the truck began to fade. It was hard to tell where it had gone. Which direction.

James stepped up beside Conner where he stood with Katie and Jana. “I’m not going to kill anybody over an old truck,” he said.

“Me either” the other three said in near unison.

“Guess we better start making sure everything’s locked up tight,” Conner said.

“We’re going to have to start keeping a watch,” Jana said.

“We will,” Katie agreed. “What if the next thing they want is a woman?”

“That’s not funny,” Conner said.

She leveled her dark eyes on his. Silvery moonlight reflecting from them. “I wasn’t trying to be funny. Now that they know we’re around…” she shrugged. “Lana may have overreacted, but… Maybe not…Who the Hell would pull a stunt like that anyway? Everything’s just lying around… Want a truck? Go get one… No… It’s a mind set. Someone who takes like that doesn’t take because it’s easy. They take because they like it. Because they can…” She lowered her voice, “Truck… Woman…. Might all be the same to them.”

No one answered.

~

Jake and Lana sat talking in low tones as the others walked back into the building. They had rebuilt the fire and the warmth and light spread out, glowing on the brick walls. “Jake,” Conner started.

“Listen,” Jake said. “I shouldn’t have said that… I didn’t mean to say that. And, no, it would be stupid to go chasing after a goddamn truck in the middle of the night. And, no, I don’t want to kill someone over stealing a piece of shit truck,” Jake said. “But that kind of shit can’t happen… I mean, what’s next?”

“Yeah,” Conner agreed. “Yeah. I guess what’s next is locked up trucks. No keys left in them. And…” He looked over at Katie. “I guess a guard at night… Katie said… She thinks someone who would come to take a truck might come to take a woman also.”

The silence held only for a second.

“Fuckin’ A,” Lana spat.

She looks positively rabid, Katie thought. “What I mean,” Katie said, “A truck… Maybe one of us… Who steals a truck when everything’s just laying around free to anyone who wants to pick it up?”

Jake nodded his head.

“Well as soon as it’s light I say we follow the tracks. If we’re careful it should be no problem at all,” Conner said.

“Goddamn right,” Lana said.

“Should be armed… I’m sure they will be,” Katie said.

“Not you… You’re not going are you,” Conner asked?

“I’m the best shot we have,” Katie said. “It’s that simple. If we don’t go after them,” she shrugged and then shook her head. “No,” she said. “The more I think about it, they’ll probably come back. And they’ll probably come back armed as well. Hell, maybe they were this time.” She looked at Lana.

“Lana saw two in the truck, but how many more were there? Or back where ever they went to,” she finished seriously.

“So. The idea is to take it to them before they bring it to us,” James asked?

“Got a better idea,” Jake challenged?

“No… No… But I’m no killer. It’s still just a damn truck…”

James finished.

“Yeah, tonight it was a truck, tomorrow it might be me… Or Katie… Or Jana,” Lana said.

James stayed silent, thoughtful. He sighed. “What a damn mess,” he said at last.

“It’s that,” Jake agreed.

“I got to agree, James,” Conner said. “It’s not the same world. What if they do come back? Do we decide then to do something? It might be too late.”

“Honey. I think it’s best to go get them,” Jana said quietly, her eyes on James’s own. Those eyes looked frightened, Conner thought. He supposed a little of that fright was resting in every ones eyes right now.

“I don’t like to be bullied or pressured into anything,” James said.

“Hey,” Conner said. “It’s no pressure, Man. It’s real. It really just happened.”

James nodded his head yes but a frown remained stamped onto his mouth. Deep lines scared his forehead. His hands twisted restlessly in his lap. He suddenly bought his hands together firmly. “Okay,” he agreed. “Okay. I see the point. I’ve done a lot of hunting. I’m a good shot with a rifle… … I’ll go.”


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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.

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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