Zombie Fall Short story Happy Halloween

ZOMBIE FALL

Copyright 2018 Dell Sweet all rights reserved

You may not copy or distribute this material without written permission from the author. If you wish others to read this story, point them to this URL



Zombie Fall

Geo October 29th

I buried Della this morning. I knew they’d find out, hell they probably knew immediately in that slow purposeful way that things come to them. I can hear them out there ripping and tearing… They know. Yeah, they know, I know it as well as I know my name, Geo, Georgie, Mother used to say. I… I get so goddamned distracted…. It’s working at me…

Bastards! … If they could have only left Della alone, I could have…. But it’s no good crying about it or wishing I had done this thing or that thing. I didn’t. I didn’t and I can’t go back and undo any of this, let alone the parts I did.

In August when the sun was so hot and the birds suddenly disappeared, and Della came around for what was nearly the last time I hadn’t known a thing about this. Nothing. It’s late fall now and I know too much. Enough to wish it were August once again and I was living in ignorant bliss once more.

Della: I didn’t want to do it. I told myself I would not do it and then I did it. Not bury her, that had to be done, I mean kill her. I told myself I wouldn’t kill her, and that’s a joke really. Really it is, because how do you kill something that is already dead? No. I told myself that I wouldn’t cut her head off, put her in the ground upside down, drive a stake through her dead heart. Those are the things I told myself I wouldn’t do, couldn’t do, but I did them as best I could. I pushed the other things I thought, felt compelled to do, aside, and did what I could for her.

The trouble is, did I do it right? It’s not like I have a goddamn manual to tell me how to do it. Does anybody? I doubt it, but I would say that it’s a safe bet that there are dozens of people in the world right now, people who have managed to stay alive, who could write that manual. I just don’t know them… I wish I did. And it won’t matter to me anyway. It’s a little too late.

So the books say take their heads off. The books also say, for Vampires, put a stake in their heart, and older legends say turn them around, upside down in the grave. Isn’t a vampire a kind of Zombie? Isn’t it? Probably not exactly, precisely, but, could it hurt to have done the stake thing just in case? To be sure? To put her at rest? I don’t think so.

They can come out during the daylight, you know. I thought they wouldn’t be able to. Every goddamn movie I ever saw, starting with the Night Of The Living Dead they couldn’t. You could get some relief. You could get some shit done. And you could if it were true, but it’s not. They rarely come out in the daylight, that’s the truth. It’s hard for them, tough somehow, but they can: It won’t kill them. They aren’t weaker than they are at night. They just don’t like the daylight. They don’t like it. And don’t you think writing that makes me a little paranoid? Thinking it over once more? It does. I just got up and checked the windows. Nothing I can see, but they’re out there. They’re right out there in the barn. Sleeping in the sweet hay up in the Haymow. I know it, so it doesn’t matter whether I can see them. I can hear them and I know where the rest of them are. And I know they know what I did and they’ll come tonight. They’ll come tonight because I’m afraid of the night. Not them. Me.  And they goddamn well know it! They know it! They think. They see. Did you think they were stupid? Blind? Running on empty? Well you’re the fool then. Listen to me, they’re not. They’re not and thinking they are will get you dead quick. And what about me? How will I feel tonight? What will I think about it then?

Zombies: I thought Haiti, horror flicks…? What else is there? Dead people come back to life, or raised from the dead to be made into slaves. Those are the two things I knew and nothing else. Well, it’s wrong. Completely wrong. No, I can’t tell you how they come to be Zombies initially, but I can tell you that the bite of a zombie will make you a zombie. The movies got that much right.

I can’t tell you why they haunt the fields across from my house. Why they have taken up residence in my old barn, but I can tell you that it might be you they come for next and if they do you goddamn well better realize that everything you thought you knew is bullshit. See, Della didn’t believe it and look what happened to her! I know, I know I didn’t tell you, but I will. That’s the whole point of writing this down before they get me too.

See, in a little while I’m going to walk out the kitchen door and right out to the barn. I’ll leave this here on the kitchen table. First for my Son Joe, I haven’t heard from him since September, before things got really crazy. So, if he makes it here somehow this will be here for him. Second, it’s for you, whoever you are who happened along into my kitchen.

Goddamn zombies. Ever lovin’ Bastards! …

I am losing control, I know I am, but… Anyway, it was August. Hot. Hotter they said, than it had been in recorded time. There was no wind. No rain. Seemed like no air to breath.

It was on a Tuesday. I went to get the mail and there were six or seven dead crows by the box. I thought, ‘Those Goddamn Clark boys have been shootin’ their B.B guns again.’ So I resolved to call Old Man Clark and give him a piece of my mind, except I forgot. That happens when you get old. It’s not unusual. I remembered about four o’clock the next morning when I got up. Well, I told myself, Mail comes at ten, I’ll get that, then I’ll call up and have that talk.

I make deals like that with myself all the time. Sometimes it works out fine, sometimes it doesn’t: It didn’t.

Ten came and I forgot to get the mail. I remembered at eleven thirty, cursed myself and went for my walk to the box.

I live alone. I have since Kate died. That was another hot summer. I used to farm. I retired a few years back. I rent out the fields. The barn did set empty up until late September or early October when the zombies moved in… Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself.

I walked to the mail box cursing my creaky brain as I went. When I got there I realized the Clark boys had either turned to eating crows or they had nothing to do with the dead crows in the first place. There were dozens of dead crows, Barn swallows, gulls. The dirt road leading up to my place was scattered with dead birds, dark sand where the blood had seeped in. Feathers everywhere, caught in the trees, bushes, and the ditches at the side of the road. There were three fat, black crows sticking out of my mailbox. Feet first. Half eaten.

Some noise in the woods had made me turn, but I can’t turn as fast as I used to. Whatever had made the noise was gone when I got turned in that direction, but there were bare footprints in the dry roadbed next to the box. They were not clear, draggy, as though the person had a bad leg. He had, of course, but I had yet to meet the owner.

Hold on…

The day’s getting away from me. My ears are playing tricks on me too. I thought I heard something upstairs, but there seems to be nothing. I have the bottom floor boarded up. Those zombies may be far from stupid, but it’s goddamn hard to get dead limbs to help you climb up the side of a house and we took everything down they could hold onto…

Where was I? … The mailbox. The mail never came that day. In fact the mail never came again. Already Emma Watson, our local mail carrier, was a zombie. I just didn’t know it.

I tried Clark, but got no answer. Later that day I heard a few shots, but we’re country folks. There’s deer wandering all over the place. Wouldn’t be the first time one got shot without a tag or a proper season… Della came later, upset, her boyfriend had run off somewhere she thought. It’ll be okay I told her.

I seen him a week later.

Della usually came at the ends of the month to help me with shopping, bills, she’s a… She was a good girl. A good one. A good zombie fearing girl. She was… She didn’t come and August turned to September and I was sitting by the stove that night and heard the scrape on the porch.

His leg was bad. Somebody had shot him, but her fella had worse things going on than that. He was dead. What was a bum leg when you were dead? Small problem, but it made him drag that leg. I’m getting ahead of myself again though.

I picked up my old shot gun where it sat next to the door, eased the door open and flicked on the porch light. He jumped back into the shadows.

“Step out into the light!” I tried not to sound like the old man I was.

“No,” he rasped

“Step out here or I’ll shoot!” I tried again.

“Della,” he whispered. His voice was gravelly, somehow airless.

That stopped me cold. I squinted, but it was too dark to make out much. Still, I had the idea it might be her boyfriend. Maybe he’d got himself into something bad. I couldn’t get the name to come to me. “You Della’s boyfriend that went missing…?”

Nothing but silence, and in that silence I got a bad feeling. Something was wrong. It came to me about the same time that he stepped into the light. There was no sound of breathing. It was dead quiet. My own panicked breathing was the only sound until he stepped into the light dragging his leg.

My heart staggered and nearly stopped.

“Della,” he rasped once more. He cocked his head sideways, the way a dog will when it’s not sure of something. One eye was bright, but milky white, the other was a gooey mess hanging from the socket on the left side of his face.

I found my old shot gun rising in my hands. I saw the alarm jump into his one good eye and he was gone just that fast.

I stood blinking, convinced that I had somehow dreamed the whole encounter, but I knew I hadn’t. The smell of rotting flesh still hung heavy in the air. In the distance I heard the rustle of bushes and then silence. Zombies are not stupid, and they are not slow.

The next day it seemed ridiculous. What an old fool, I thought. What had I imagined? But the days leading up to October told me a different story.

I drove into Watertown around the middle of October. I passed maybe two cars on the way, but neither driver would meet my eyes. That was wrong. Trash blew through the streets as I drove. The traffic lights were out on the public square and no one was on the streets. I didn’t see a single police car.

The mall was closed. The road into it barricaded. I found a little Mom-and-Pop place open on the way back, but there was next to nothing on the shelves. I got a jar of peanut butter that I didn’t want. A package of crackers, there was no bread, and paid with the last of my cash.

The store owner wore deep-socketed eyes on a lined face. His attitude said, I will not speak to you. And he wouldn’t: After a brief attempt I went home. I never went back, but by that next night I knew what the deal was when Della showed up.

She came around noon. I heard the sound of her engine revving long before she came into sight. She took out the mailbox and crashed into the porch and that was that. We were up most of the night talking about how much the world had changed. She knew more than I did. She knew there were no more police. She knew there were roving gangs of zombies on the streets of Watertown. She had met a man who had come from Rochester. Rochester was a ruin. Another from Buffalo, the same story there. The zombies, it seemed, owned the world.

She stayed until three days ago. I wouldn’t have been able to get this house closed up on my own. Della worked side by side with me. That was early, before we knew they would come out into the sunlight. Johnny, that was her fellas name, came for her in the daylight when we were closing up the house. If not for the bad leg he would have got her. If not for the fact that we were close to the living room door he might have got her. He might have got her because we both froze. And when I realized I had to move she was still frozen, just looking at his ruined, rotted face.

I got the shot gun and blew his head off. I thought she was going to kill me, then I thought he was going to manage to get back to his feet even without his head and kill me. He finally stopped and I managed to drag her inside and shut the door: After that we watched when we worked.

I had gone back out a short time later, after I got her laid down and sleeping off the shock, to take a closer look at the body. There were five of them eating him where he lay, and two watching the door: When I started out they were on me just that fast. I shot them both as fast as I could pull the trigger. My shot gun only holds four shells. Two were gone and they were slowed, but they were not deterred. I made it back inside, bolted the door and began to wonder if my heart was going to explode.

Later, before dusk, I went back outside. Johnny’s body was gone along with the other zombies.

After that it became a war, and then we decided, I decided, that Della had to try to get out. Drive out and find help. She was carrying a child after all, the zombie fellas baby, I suppose. Maybe there was a place outside of New York where things were normal, okay, zombie free.

We planned it. I got my truck, drained the gas from her car and my old tractor. That gave her a full tank in the truck and almost ten gallons in cans strapped into the back of the cab. There wasn’t much in the way of food, but we split what we had. She promised to send help, but we both knew that was a long shot. She left early morning and I thought she was away and free.

I don’t know what happened. I’ll never know. Did she get ten miles down the road before they got her somehow? Only a mile? How did they do it? I’ll never know. I only know she came back to me last night. Dead already. A zombie. Already reeking of death.

“Geo!” In the night: Her calling my name and it pulled me up from sleep with dread, fear, but hope that there was some sort of plausible reason why she was out there calling my name in the night.

“Geo! Please… Help me!”

I had thrown the bolt on the door and had it halfway to open before I realized what an old fool I was. It was too late then. She was on me before I could close the door. She was strong. So goddamned strong, and she knew where the gun was and tried to stop me from getting to it.

I got it, but I hesitated too long for the last time and she got me. She lunged and took a chunk of flesh out of my shoulder. I got her in the stomach with two shots, and then one more, after I reloaded, in the head.

I buried her this morning: Even when I did I had this strange urge to taste her. Just a small bite. Who would know? I was shocked that I had the thought. Shocked that I had continued with the burial and had not eaten her. I’ve been sitting here since then. They’ve come around. I can hear them. It was the noise of them digging her up earlier that I heard and thought had come from upstairs. I suppose they dug her up. I just bet they did. I should have kept her for myself, I think. But, God, What am I thinking? What?

I can feel it working its poison in my body. My sense of smell is incredible. My eyesight sharp. I’m hungry. It’s like something that is trying to drive me… Own me… I can’t stand it. I can’t. I…



 

Advertisements

A free short zombie story and the Zombie Plagues links

Writing Earth’s Survivors

Posted 08-17-2013

A few words about the Earth’s Survivors Series of books:

This series was written by me several years ago and remained unpublished. I wrote the original books in longhand in bound composition notebooks. At the time that was what was available to me, at least for the first few books. After that it didn’t matter. I was hooked. The stories seemed to flow perfectly and I didn’t want to mess with the magic. Sounds crazy, maybe, but those stories come from some place that I don’t have access to, or at least access to any time I choose.

I can sit down and begin nearly any story that is suggested to me, but if it isn’t there, after the initial start, the story will just die. The words will come harder and harder and then the well will be dry. I have no idea where the characters are going to. And, most likely, that is because they are going no where. They are staying where ever I wrote them too. They will always be there, any time I care to reread what I wrote.

My point is, if it isn’t there it isn’t there. Beginning it or wishing it will not make it work. So, I did not want to mess up the magic. I left it alone and the books poured out.

From 2008 to 2010 I wrote twenty Earth’s survivors books. I also wrote four Dreamer’s Worlds books, but have only ever published one of them. I wrote eight America The Dead books. I wrote seven books about Earth’s Survivors characters before the world ended, loosely formed around a Weather Girl named Rebecca Monet. The first was about the Earth’s Survivors character Billy Jingo.

I wrote dozens or short stories. Space travel, Cowboys and Zombies, Crime Novels, Horror, Sci Fi, True, Historical and more. Some of it I personally like, some fans like, it’s has always been impossible for me to judge which way it will go. It surprises me when I write something and I don’t especially like it, yet others do.

Stephen King once said that The Stand was the book he got the most feedback about, the largest fan base, but it was not his favorite book. Even so he said that he knew he had written something special and he had.

So, I wrote in my composition notebooks and the stories came to me. Occasionally I would write lyrics in between. I spent my day today going through all of it so I could formulate an attack in my head. How to get it from point A (The Composition Notebook) to point B (My Word Processing software).

No one can read my handwriting, including me some days, so most of the time it is easier for me to type it into the word processor. I have tried hiring people, but invariably they can’t read my writing and so it becomes time consuming to both of us to get the words out. It’s just easier for me to do it on my own.

It gets done. It makes it from that Point A to Point B. The stories flow and that is because I listen to readers and other writers suggestions and change what needs to be changed. And with that many eyes on it there are less problems.


I took the weekend off from the home construction that is ongoing. I worked with two young guys most of the week. I mean young like seventeen. I thought they would kill me before we finished up. But they also got me in gear and I think we enjoyed working with each other. Even so I took the weekend of to heal. Monday I’ll jump back in.

I have been collecting public domain writing in the E Pub format. I have the reader as well as about 1000 books that are public domain. One of the things that I would like to see soon, probably fall, is that collection to be available for download. Once the push to start it is over, the rest, adding to it as books or stories become available, shouldn’t be too hard. That is ahead.

 

Well, I did not drop any trees on my truck this week. What a relief. I did get my truck returned from the garage, dead as I thought it would be. But a Huge U haul Van saw us through picking up the building materials and taking away debris. Pretty cheaply too I might add. This week coming up I hope to get all the Sheetrock up and then the rest is easy, paint, carpet, tile, etc.

I would like to thank Geo for the new Fan Fiction series and the new Guitar Works books too. They are awesome..

I am going to leave you with Zombie Fall a short story I was asked to write for a Zombie Anthology that I believe is due out this fall sometime. It may actually be out now. I hope you enjoy it… Because of language issues, readers must be over the age of seventeen.


ZOMBIE FALL

By

Wendell Sweet


FREE BLOG EDITION


PUBLISHED BY:

independAntwriters Publishing


Zombie Fall

Copyright © 2013 by Dell Sweet


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


Zombie Fall

Copyright © 2013

Published by Wendell G. Sweet

All rights reserved.

This short story is Copyright © 2010 – 2013 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 authors permission. Permission is granted to use short sections of text in reviews or critiques in standard or electronic print..


ZOMBIE FALL


Geo

October 29th

 

I buried Della this morning. I knew they’d find out, Hell, they probably knew immediately in that slow purposeful way that things come to them. I can hear them out there ripping and tearing… They know. Yeah, they know, I know it as well as I know my name, Geo, Georgie, Mother used to say. I… I get so goddamned distracted…. It’s working at me…

Bastards! If they could have only left Della alone I could have…. But it’s no good crying about it or wishing I had done this thing or that thing. I didn’t. I didn’t and I can’t go back and undo any of this, let alone the parts I did.

In August when the sun was so hot and the birds suddenly disappeared, and Della came around for what was nearly the last time I hadn’t known a thing about this. Nothing. It’s late fall now and I know too much. Enough to wish it were August once again and I was living in ignorant bliss once more.

Della. I didn’t want to do it. I told myself I would not do it and then I did it. Not bury her, that had to be done, I mean kill her. I told myself I wouldn’t kill her, and that’s a joke really. Really it is, because how do you kill something that is already dead?  No. I told myself that I wouldn’t cut her head off, put her in the ground upside down, drive a stake through her dead heart. Those are the things I told myself I wouldn’t do, couldn’t do, but I did them as best I could. I pushed the other things I thought, felt compelled to do, aside and did what I could for her.

The trouble is, did I do it right? It’s not like I have a goddamn manual to tell me how to do it. Does anybody? I doubt it, but I would say that it’s a safe bet that there are dozens of people in the world right now, people who have managed to stay alive, that could write that manual. I just don’t know them… I wish I did. And it won’t matter to me anyway. It’s a little too late.

So the books say take their heads off. The books also say, for Vampires, put a stake in their heart, and older legends say turn them around, upside down in the grave. Isn’t a vampire a kind of Zombie? Isn’t it? Probably not exactly, precisely, but, could it hurt to have done the stake thing just in case? To be sure? To put her at rest? I don’t think so.

They can come out during the daylight, you know. I thought they wouldn’t be able to. Every goddamn movie I ever saw, starting with the Night Of The Living Dead they couldn’t. You could get some relief. You could get some shit done. And you could if it were true, but it’s not. They rarely come out in the daylight, that’s the truth. It’s hard for them, tough somehow, but they can. It won’t kill them. They aren’t weaker than they are at night. They just don’t like the daylight. They don’t like it. And don’t you think writing that made me a little paranoid? Thinking it over once more? It did. I got up and checked the windows. Nothing I can see, but they’re out there. They’re right out there in the barn. Sleeping in the sweet hay up in the Haymow. I know it, so it doesn’t matter whether I can see them. I can hear them and I know where the rest of them are. And I know they know what I did and they’ll come tonight. They’ll come tonight because I’m afraid of the night. Not them. Me.  And they goddamn well know it! They know it! They think. They see. Did you think they were stupid? Blind? Running on empty? Well you’re the fool then. Listen to me, they’re not. They’re not and thinking they are will get you dead quick. And what about me? How will I feel tonight? What will I think about it then?

Zombies: I thought Haiti, Horror flicks…? What else is there? Dead people come back to life, or raised from the dead to be made into slaves. Those are the two things I knew and nothing else. Well, it’s wrong. Completely wrong. No. I can’t tell you how they come to be Zombies initially, but I can tell you that the bite of a Zombie will make you a Zombie. The movies got that much right.

I can’t tell you why they haunt the fields across from my house. Why they have taken up residence in my old barn. But I can tell you that it might be you they come for next and if they do you goddamn well better realize that everything you thought you knew is bullshit. See, Della didn’t believe it and look what happened to her! I know, I know I didn’t tell you but I will. That’s the whole point of writing this down before they get me too.

See in a little while I’m going to walk out the kitchen door and right out to the barn. I’ll leave this here on the kitchen table. First for my Son Joe, I haven’t heard from him since September, before things got really crazy. So, if he makes it here somehow this will be here for him. Second, it’s for you, whoever you are who happened along into my kitchen.

Goddamn Zombies. Ever lovin’ Bastards! …

I am losing control, I know I am But… Anyway, it was August. Hot. Hotter, they said, than it had been in recorded time. There was no wind. No rain. Seemed like no air to breath.

It was on a Tuesday. I went to get the mail and there were six or seven dead crows by the box. I thought those Goddamn Clark boys have been shootin’ their B.B guns again. So I resolved to call Old Man Clark and give him a piece of my mind except I forgot. That happens when you get old. It’s not unusual. I remembered about four o’clock the next morning when I got up. Well, I told myself, Mail comes at ten, I’ll get that, then I’ll call up and have that talk.

I make deals like that with myself all the time. Sometimes it works out fine sometimes it doesn’t. It didn’t.

Ten came and I forgot to get the mail. I remembered at eleven thirty, cursed myself and went for my walk to the box.

I live alone. I have since Kate died. That was another hot summer. I used to farm. I retired a few years back. I rent out the fields. The barn did set empty up until late September or Early October when the Zombies moved in. Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself.

I walked to the mail box cursing my creaky brain as I went. When I got there I realized the Clark boys had either turned to eating crows or they had nothing to do with the dead crows in the first place. There were dozens of dead Crows, Barn Swallows, Gulls. The dirt road leading up to my place was scattered with dead birds, dark sand where the blood had seeped in. Feathers everywhere, caught in the trees, bushes, and the ditches at the side of the road. There were three fat, black Crows sticking out of my mailbox. Feet first. Half eaten.

Some noise in the woods had made me turn but I can’t turn as fast as I used to. Whatever had made the noise was gone when I got turned in that direction. But, there were bare footprints in the dry roadbed next to the box. They were not clear, draggy, as though the person had had a bad leg. He had, of course, but I had yet to meet the owner.

Hold on…

The day’s getting away from me. My ears are playing tricks on me too. I thought I heard something upstairs but there’s nothing. I have the bottom floor boarded up. Those Zombies may be far from stupid but it’s goddamn hard to get dead limbs to help you climb up the side of a house and we took everything down they could hold onto…

Where was I? The mailbox. The mail never came that day. In fact the mail never came again. Already Emma Watson, our local Mail carrier, was a Zombie. I just didn’t know it.

I tried Clark but got no answer. Later that day I heard a few shots but we’re country folks. There’s Deer wandering all over the place. Wouldn’t be the first time one got shot without a tag or a proper season. Della came later, upset, her boyfriend had run off somewhere she thought. It’ll be okay I told her.

I seen him a week later.

Della usually came at the ends of the month to help me with shopping, bills, she’s a… She was a good girl. A good one. A good Zombie fearing girl. She was… She didn’t come and August turned to September and I was sitting by the stove that night and heard the scrape on the porch.

His leg was bad. Somebody had shot him. But her fella had worse things going on than that. He was dead. What was a bum leg when you were dead? Small problem. But it made him drag that leg. I’m getting ahead of myself again though.

I picked up my old shot gun where it sat next to the door, eased the door open and flicked on the porch light. He jumped back into the shadows.

“Step out into the light,” I tried not to sound like the old man I was.

“No,” he rasped

“Step out here or I’ll shoot,” I tried again.

“Della,” he whispered. His voice was gravelly.

That stopped me cold. I squinted but it was too dark to make out much. Still I had the idea it might be her boyfriend. Maybe he’d got himself into something bad. I couldn’t get the name to come to me. “You Della’s boyfriend that went missing…?”

Nothing but silence, and in that silence I got a bad feeling. Something was wrong. It came to me about the same time that he stepped into the light. There was no sound of breathing. It was dead quiet. My own panicked breathing was the only sound until he stepped into the light dragging his leg.

My heart staggered and nearly stopped.

“Della,” he rasped once more. He cocked his head sideways, the way a dog will when it’s not sure of something. One eye was bright but milky white, the other was a gooey mess hanging from the socket on the left side of his face.

I found my old shot gun rising in my hands. I saw the alarm jump into his eyes and he was gone just that fast.

I stood blinking, convinced that I had somehow dreamed the whole encounter, but I knew I didn’t. The smell of rotting flesh still hung heavy in the air. In the distance I heard the rustle of bushes and then silence. Zombies are not stupid, and they are not slow.

The next day it seemed ridiculous. What an old fool I thought. What had I imagined? But the days leading up to October told me a different story.

I drove into Watertown around the middle of October. I passed maybe two cars on the way but neither driver would meet my eyes. That was wrong. Trash blew through the streets as I drove. The traffic lights were out  on the square and no one was on the streets. I didn’t see a single police car.

The mall was closed. The road into it barricaded. I found a little Mom and Pop place open on the way back but there was next to nothing on the shelves. I got a jar of Peanut Butter that I didn’t want. A package of crackers, there was no bread, and paid with the last of my cash.

The store owner wore deep socketed eyes on a lined face. His attitude said, I will not speak to you. And he wouldn’t. After a brief attempt I went home. I never went back. By that next night I knew what the deal was when Della showed up.

She came around noon. I heard the sound of her engine revving long before she came into sight. She took out the mailbox and crashed into the porch and that was that. We were up most of the night talking about how much the world had changed. She knew more than I did. She knew there were no more police. She knew there were roving gangs of Zombies on the streets of Watertown. She had met a man who had come from Rochester. Rochester was a ruin. Another from Buffalo, the same story there. The Zombies, it seemed, owned the world.

She stayed until three days ago. I wouldn’t have been able to get this house closed up on my own. Della worked side by side with me. That was early, before we knew they would come out into the sunlight. Johnny, that was her fellas name, came for her in the daylight when we were closing up the house. If not for the bad leg he would have got her. If not for the fact that we were close to the living room door he might have got her. He might have got her because we both froze. And, when I realized I had to move she was still froze, just looking at his ruined, rotted face.

I got the shot gun and blew his head off. I thought she was going to kill me, then I thought he was going to manage to get back to his feet even without his head and kill me. He finally stopped and I managed to drag her inside and shut the door.

After that we watched when we worked. I had gone back out a short time later, after I got her laid down and sleeping off the shock, to take a closer look at the body. There were five of them eating him where he lay, and two watching the door. When I started out they were on me just that fast. I shot them both as fast as I could pull the trigger. My shot gun only holds four shells. Two were gone and they were slowed but they were not deterred. I made it back inside, bolted the door and began to wonder if my heart was going to explode.

Later, before dusk, I went back outside. Johnny’s body was gone along with the other zombies.

Since then it’s been a war, and then we decided, I decided that Della had to try to get out. Drive out and find help. She was carrying a child after all, the Zombie fellas baby I suppose. Maybe there was a place outside of New York where things were normal, okay, Zombie free.

We planned it. I got my truck, drained the gas from her car and my old tractor. That gave her a full tank in the truck and almost ten gallons in cans strapped into the back of the cab. There wasn’t much in the way of food but we split what we had. She promised to send help but we both knew that was a long shot. She left early morning and I thought she was away and free.

I don’t know what happened. I’ll never know. Did she get ten miles down the road before they got her somehow? Only a mile? How did they do it? I’ll never know. I only know she came back to me last night. Dead already. A zombie. Already reeking of death

“Geo!” In the night. Her calling my name and it pulled me up from sleep with dread, fear, but hope that there was some sort of plausible reason why she was out there calling my name in the night.

“Geo! Please… Help me!”

I had thrown the bolt on the door and had it halfway to open before I realized what an old fool I was. It was too late then. She was on me before I could close the door. She was strong. So goddamned strong, and she knew where the gun was and tried to stop me from getting to it.

I got it but I hesitated too long for the last time and she got me. She lunged and took a chuck of flesh out of my shoulder. I got her in the stomach with two shots, and then one more, after I reloaded, in the head.

I buried her this morning. Even when I did I had this strange urge to taste her. Just a small bite. Who would know? I was shocked that I had had the thought. Shocked that I had continued with the burial and had not eaten her. I’ve been sitting here since then. They’ve come around. I can hear them. It was the noise of them digging her up earlier that I heard and thought had come from upstairs.  I suppose they dug her up. I just bet they did. I should have kept her for myself, I think. But, God, What am I thinking? What?

I can feel it working its poison in my body. My sense of smell is incredible. My eyesight sharp. I’m hungry. It’s like something that is trying to drive me… Own me… I can’t stand it. I can’t. I…


I hope you enjoyed the story. If you enjoyed Zombie Fall you might like the Zombie Plagues series from Geo Dell. Give a look at Nook…


The Zombie Plagues Book One

What if the world ended tomorrow? What would you do? Would you be able to survive?

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-zombie-plagues-book-one-geo-dell/1116974111?ean=9781492798668


The Zombie Plagues Book Two

The Zombie Plagues books follow a small group of men and women as they struggle to survive on a vastly changed earth

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-zombie-plagues-book-two-geo-dell/1116974114?ean=9781492798743


The Zombie Plagues Book Three

Life is good for those who are lucky, but out in the real world it’s a different story…

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-zombie-plagues-book-three-geo-dell/1117027340?ean=9781492798798


The Zombie Plagues Book Four

I saw the Zombie on Madison take a mouthful of her back, just below the curve of her neck…

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-zombie-plagues-book-four-geo-dell/1117475716?ean=2940045439084


The Zombie Plagues: Book Five

The Fifth Book picks up the Story of Billy and Beth and their flight out of the ruins of L. A.

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-zombie-plagues-geo-dell/1121785682?ean=2940151878876

 


The Zombie Plagues Dead Road: The Collected books.

Contains books 1 thru 6. Books One through five were published, book six was not…

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-zombie-plagues-dead-road-geo-dell/1124233945?ean=2940153142777


The Zombie Plagues Box Set.  The entire series in one set. \https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-zombie-plagues-box-set-geo-dell/1126709209


 

Free short story and book links

This past week I left all of the work there still is to do on this house and kicked back and worked on video games. Sometimes I need a head break to just let stuff go. I had a blast. learned a lot more about the system I use and made progress on a game I have been working on for quite a while.. That gives me winter to catch up on writing projects and that should be fine.

What went on this week:

Monday night my cat kept me up all night long yowling. There was a female outside and when I let him out Tuesday morning, that was it. He never came back.

Tuesday I spilled a very small amount of coffee onto the keys of my laptop and messed it all up. How, you might ask, could I be so stupid as to spill coffee on my keyboard? I don’t know. Plain old stupidity… Half awake… A cup of coffee in my hands… All of the above. After determining that, yes, it was fried, I bit the bullet and headed to eBay where I found a replacement.

Wednesday I wrote code all day and into the next day (3:00 AM)

Thursday I did the same, and then tried to put together some computer parts I purchased. Failed. Realized I had bought a BTX form factor Motherboard (Advertised as an ATX), and even though it would not have fit the case I bought, I had not purchased the ATX case I thought I had, but a MATX case. Confused? So was I. After a gazillion hours trying to make it all fit I went online and looked for solutions. Ha Ha, I say that with the deepest sarcasm.

To fix the situation I needed to purchase a BTX form factor case, but I quickly found out a BTX case is hard to come by and more expensive than the whole combination I had bought. So, I looked for an MATX board to put the processor I had purchased on. But, a MATX board, at least the ones I found, would not hold as much memory, slots, etc. They were generally more expensive with less to offer.

Which begs the question, why? I have noticed that a lot of the last several years. Want to buy a dog? Well, a German Shepherd or a Malamute, both about the same size, will cost about the same price. But, a small dog, I won’t mention the breed, costs more than either of those dogs. Huh. Along those lines, as a dog, if a cat can kick your butt you’re probably too small.

Anyway, I finally decided to buy an ATX board and case. That worked except I was out more green. BTW, if you followed all of that you are probably as geeky as I am.

Friday I did some editing on Geo’s Smashword interview. Why is it that it is so easy to edit someone’s work, find all the mistakes and correct them, but not your own?

Saturday (So Far) site updates for SOTOFO and a few other sites. Writing, and eating Candy Corn. I have to admit it was great to get back to writing, but the Candy Corn was pretty good too. And, listing all of those computer parts I bought that I no longer need. Let’s see. I spent about $250.00 in parts that I didn’t use, and another $200.00 in parts to actually build the thing, plus the cost of another laptop (Used on eBay), a really good deal for $125.00, I would say this week the computers won. And the thing is, in this society, you can not do without them. I guess I’ll be happier on Monday when the laptop shows up, and in a week or so when I put my fast computer together and convince myself that I am not really an idiot at all, technology is just faster than it used to be… Did that make sense? No.

What did I learn this week?

#1. Cats are not very useful when it comes to making you feel good about yourself. I mean they take off chasing the lady cats and don’t even bother to come back. That is a direct hit to the old self esteem. Of course maybe he was kidnapped or eaten by a dog, or a Sasquatch. After all there have been a great many Sasquatch sightings lately on the National Geographic channel of all places. I hope he didn’t suffer. That is of course if he was eaten. If he did run off with a lady cat I hope she takes him for everything he has.

#2. Laptop computers really suck. I have spilled whole sixteen ounce Cokes on my desktop keyboard, no problem except the keys began to stick bad. Also, the laptop keyboard stayed screwed up, I had to plug in a USB keyboard to type with, until I bought the replacement laptop. Second, I looked up form factors with Google. Holy Crap. The odds of me getting the wrong parts are very high, especially since some of the people that sell them don’t have a fricken clue what they are selling. There are dozens of form factors. Let me geek this out for you. Form factor refers to a common build for a particular board, across different manufacturers. Same pin connections, width, length. Etc. The last time I built a machine I only knew of two form factors, ATX and MATX which is a smaller board, and then there were proprietary boards built by some manufacturers. Yeah. No longer. So now I think, spend the extra and have someone else build it to your specs. And, after I get through this fiasco I will do that the next time.

#3. Writing code is easier on the body than building a house is.

#4. I am no longer sure I should drink and keyboard. Coffee, Coke, it always ends up on the board before I am finished.

Other stuff:

The new Zombie Plagues Book at  Smashwords

The New Earth’s Survivors Book at Amazon

Earth’s Survivors News: The first Earth’s Survivors book, Apocalypse will remain free the balance of this year. After that it will be reevaluated.

The Zombie Plagues: The first book in The Zombie Plagues series is also a free download.

Everything else is in line and going well. Well, except computers, Cats and coffee cups.

I will leave you with a true short story…


THE DAM

Copyright Wendell Sweet 2010 All rights reserved

Blog Edition

This work is copyright protected. You may read it in it’s present form. You may not alter or transmit it by any means. If you would like to share this material with someone, please direct them to this URL. This is not a work of fiction. The people and circumstances really existed and I have faithfully reproduced the circumstances without excessive artistic license. I have changed names to protect innocent people.

Published by independAntwriters Publishing and Wendell Sweet


THE DAM


It was summer, the trees full and green, the temperatures in the upper seventies. And you could smell the river from where it ran behind the paper mills and factories crowded around it, just beyond the public square; A dead smell, waste from the paper plants.

I think it was John who said something first. “Fuck it,” or something like that,” I’ll be okay.”

“Yeah,” Pete asked?

“Yeah… I think so,” John agreed. His eyes locked on Pete’s, but they didn’t stay. They slipped away and began to wander along the riverbed, the sharp rocks that littered the tops of the cliffs and the distance to the water. I didn’t like it.

Gary just nodded. Gary was the oldest so we pretty much went along with the way he saw things.

“But it’s your Dad,” I said at last. I felt stupid. Defensive. But it really felt to me like he really wasn’t seeing things clearly. I didn’t trust how calm he was, or how he kept looking at the river banks and then down to the water maybe eighty feet are so below.

“I should know,” John said. But his eyes didn’t meet mine at all.

“He should know,” Gary agreed and that was that.

“That’s cool. Let’s go down to the river,” Pete suggested, changing the subject.

“I’m not climbing down there,” I said. I looked down the sheer rock drop off to the water. John was still looking too, and his eyes were glistening, wet, his lips moved slightly as if he was talking to himself. If he was I couldn’t hear. But then he spoke aloud.

“We could make it, I bet,” he said as though it was an afterthought to some other idea. I couldn’t quite see that idea, at least I told myself that later. But I felt some sort of way about it. As if it had feelings of it’s own attached to it.

“No, man,” Gary said. “Pete didn’t mean beginning here… Did you,” he asked?

“No… No, you know, out to Huntingtonville,” Pete said. He leaned forward on his bike, looked at john, followed his eyes down to the river and then back up. John looked at him.

“What!” John asked.

“Nothing, man,” Pete said. “We’ll ride out to Huntingtonville. To the dam. That’d be cool… Wouldn’t it?” You could see the flatness in John’s eye’s. It made Pete nervous. He looked at Gary.

“Yeah,” Gary said. He looked at me.

“Yeah,” I agreed. “That’d be cool.” I spun one pedal on my stingray, scuffed the dirt with the toe of one Ked and then I looked at John again. His eyes were still too shiny, but he shifted on his banana seat, scuffed the ground with one of his own Keds and then said, “Yeah,” kind of under his breath. Again like it was an afterthought to something else. He lifted his head from his close inspection of the ground, or the river, or the rocky banks, or something in some other world for all I knew, and it seemed more like the last to me, but he met all of our eyes with one sliding loop of his own eyes, and even managed to smile.

~

The bike ride out to Huntingtonville was about four miles. It was a beautiful day and we lazed our way along, avoiding the streets, riding beside the railroad tracks that just happened to run out there. The railroad tracks bisected Watertown. They were like our own private road to anywhere we wanted to go. Summer, fall or winter. It didn’t matter. You could hear the trains coming from a long way off. More than enough time to get out of the way.

We had stripped our shirts off earlier in the morning when we had been crossing the only area of the tracks that we felt were dangerous, a long section of track that was suspended over the Black river on a rail trestle. My heart had beat fast as we had walked tie to tie trying not to look down at the rapids far below. Now we were four skinny, jeans clad boys with our shirts tied around our waists riding our bikes along the sides of those same railroad tracks where they ran through our neighborhood, occasionally bumping over the ties as we went. Gary managed to ride on one of the rails for about 100 feet. No one managed anything better.

Huntingtonville was a small river community just outside of Watertown. It was like the section of town that was so poor it could not simply be across the tracks or on the other side of the river, it had to be removed to the outskirts of the city itself. It was where the poorest of the poor lived, the least desirable races. The blacks. The Indians. Whatever else good, upstanding white Americans felt threatened or insulted by. It was where my father had come from, being both black and Indian.

I didn’t look like my father. I looked like my mother. My mother was Irish and English. About as white as white could be. I guess I was passing. But I was too poor, too much of a dumb kid to even know that back then in 1969.

John’s father was the reason we were all so worried. A few days before we had been playing baseball in the gravel lot of the lumber company across the street from where we lived. The railroad tracks ran behind that lumber company. John was just catching his breath after having hit a home run when his mother called him in side. We all heard later from our own mothers that John’s father had been hurt somehow. Something to do with his head. A stroke. I really didn’t know what a stroke was at that time or understand everything that it meant. I only knew it was bad. It was later in life that I understood how bad. All of us probably. But we did understand that John’s father had nearly died, and would never be his old self again, if he even managed to pull through.

It was a few days after that now. The first time the four of us had gotten back together. We all felt at loose ends. It simply had made no sense for the three of us to try to do much of anything without John. We had tried but all we could think about or talk about was John’s father. Would he be okay? Would they move? That worried me the most. His sister was about the most beautiful girl in the entire world to me. So not only would John move, so would she.

He came back to us today not saying a word about it. And we were worried.

When we reached the dam the water was high. That could mean that either the dam had been running off the excess water, or was about to be. You just had to look at the river and decide.

“We could go to the other side and back,” John suggested.

The dam was about 20 or 30 feet high. Looming over a rock strewn riverbed that had very little water. It was deeper out towards the middle, probably, it looked like it was, but it was all dry river rock along the grassy banks. The top of the Dam stretched about 700 feet across the river.

“I don’t know,” Pete said. “the dam might be about to run. We could get stuck on the other side for awhile.”

No one was concerned about a little wet feet if the dam did suddenly start running as we were crossing it. It didn’t run that fast. And it had caught us before. It was no big deal. Pete’s concern was getting stuck on the little island where the damn ended for an hour or so. Once, john, and myself had been on that island and some kids, older kids, had decided to shoot at us with 22 caliber rifles. Scared us half to death. But that’s not the story I’m trying to tell you today. Maybe I’ll tell you that one some other time. Today I’m trying to tell you about John’s father. And how calm John seemed to be taking it.

John didn’t wait for anyone else to comment. He dumped his bike and started to climb up the side of the concrete abutment to reach the top of the dam and walk across to the island. There was nothing for us to do except fall in behind him. One by one we did.

It all went smoothly. The water began to top the dam, soaking our Keds with its yellow paper mill stink and scummy white foam, just about halfway across. But we all made it to the other side and the island with no trouble. Pete and I climbed down and walked away. To this day I have no idea what words passed between Gary and john, but the next thing I knew they were both climbing back up onto the top of the dam, where the water was flowing faster now. Faster than it had ever flowed when we had attempted to cross the dam. Pete nearly at the top of the concrete wall, Gary several feet behind him.

John didn’t hesitate. He hit the top, stepped into the yellow brown torrent of river water pouring over the falls and began to walk back out to the middle of the river. Gary yelled to him as Pete and I climbed back up to the top of the dam.

I don’t think I was trying to be a hero, but the other thought, the thought he had pulled back from earlier, had just clicked in my head. John was thinking about dying. About killing himself. I could see it on the picture of his face that I held in my head from earlier. I didn’t yell to him, I just stepped into the yellow foam and water, found the top of the dam and began walking.

Behind me and Pete and Gary went ballistic. “Joe, what the fuck are you doing!”

I heard it, but I didn’t hear it. I kept moving. I was scared. Petrified. Water tugged at my feet. There was maybe 6 inches now pouring over the dam and more coming, it seemed a long way down to the river. Sharp, up-tilted slabs of rock seemed to be reaching out for me. Secretly hoping that I would fall and shatter my life upon them.

John stopped in the middle of the dam and turned, looking off toward the rock and the river below. I could see the water swirling fast around his ankles. Rising higher as it went. John looked over at me, but he said nothing.

“John,” I said when I got close enough. He finally spoke.

“No,” was all he said. But tears began to spill from his eyes. Leaking from his cheeks and falling into the foam scummed yellow-brown water that flowed ever faster over his feet.

“Don’t,” I screamed. I knew he meant to do it, and I couldn’t think of anything else to say.

“Don’t move,” Gary said from behind me. I nearly went over the falls. I hadn’t known he was that close. I looked up and he was right next to me, working his way around me on the slippery surface of the dam. I looked back and Pete was still on the opposite side of the dam. He had climbed up and now he stood on the flat top. Transfixed. Watching us through his thick glasses. Gary had followed John and me across.

I stood still and Gary stepped around me. I have no idea how he did. I’ve thought about it, believe me. There shouldn’t have been enough room, but that was what he did. He stepped right around me and then walked the remaining 20 feet or so to John and grabbed his arm.

“If you jump you kill me too,” Gary said. I heard him perfectly clear above the roar of the dam. He said it like it was nothing. Like it is everything. But mostly he said it like he meant it.

It seemed like they argued and struggled forever, but it was probably less than a minute, maybe two. The waters were rising fast and the whole thing would soon be decided for us. If we didn’t get off the dam quickly we would be swept over by the force of the water.

They almost did go over. So did I. But the three of us got moving and headed back across to the land side where we had dropped our bikes. We climbed down from a dam and watched the water fill the river up. No one spoke.

Eventually john stopped crying. And the afterthought look, as though there some words or thoughts he couldn’t say passed. The dying time had passed.

We waited almost two hours for the river to stop running and then Pete came across…

We only talked about it one other time that summer, and then we never talked about it again. That day was also a beautiful summer day. Sun high in the sky. We were sitting on our bikes watching the dam run.

“I can’t believe you were gonna do it,” Pete said.

“I wasn’t,” John told him. “I only got scared when the water started flowing and froze on the dam… That’s all it was.”

Nobody spoke for a moment and then Gary said, “That’s how it was.”

“Yeah. That’s how it was,” I agreed…


I hope you enjoyed the short story. Check out more here

See you next week, Dell

PRIVATE INVESTIGATIONS



Copyright 2018, Wendell Sweet, all rights reserved


PRIVATE INVESTIGATIONS

Private Investigations

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 stepping 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 couple houses down and stop. It sat idling for a few moments and then the back door popped open, 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 taxi 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 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 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.


 Check out Crime Time from Dell Sweet:

Private Investigations by Dell Sweet

PRIVATE INVESTIGATIONS

Copyright Dell Sweet – 2015 by Wendell Sweet and his assignee Andrea Scroggs. All rights reserved. Dell Sweet is a publishing construct owned by Wendell Sweet, independAntwriters and their assignee Andrea Scroggs.
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 independAntwriters at sotofo.com. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

~1~

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.
~2~
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…
…………………………………………………………………………

Check out the short story collection this story came from: Mister Bob…https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/mister-bob/id1197058839…