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

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

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

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


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THE EARTH’S SURVIVORS SE 4

The story of Candace and Mike

PUBLISHED BY: Dell Sweet

Earth’s Survivors: SE Four: the story of Candace and Mike is © Copyright 2017 Wendell Sweet, all rights reserved.

Additional Copyrights © 2010 – 2012, 2014, 2015 by Wendell Sweet, All rights reserved

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In the Trees

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The old woman in the ditch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Old Woman

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

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

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

The Feasting

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

~

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

~

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

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

~

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

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


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

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CONNECTED: SHORT HAULS – free preview

CONNECTED: SHORT HAULS

by W. W. Watson 2018 all rights reserved foreign and domestic.

LEGAL

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

Portions of this novel are Copyright © 2010 – 2015 Dell Sweet. No part of this book may be reproduced by any means, electronic, print, scanner or any other means and or distributed without the author’s permission.

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


This material is NOT edited for content


A DRESS FOR JANEY

I rode slowly watching the trail side. There wasn’t much to see in the moonlight, but enough to follow if you knew where to look, and I did.

The thing was, this fella was not no kind of careful anyways. And he was not no horse man neither.

I rubbed my geldings rump, patted a time, and silently promised him a little extra rest time once we caught up to this fool sometime later in the night.

Mister Johnson was a good horse. More used to plow than saddle, but circumstances dictate those positions more’n I do. And this man I was trackin’ had dictated tonight’s circumstances clear and straight.

I turned Mister Johnson down a short chute of a canyon, keeping him to the side so as not to mark the trail, and to keep his iron shoes from ringing out on the stone. We come to a little stream that cut the canyon and I stopped, rolled myself a smoke. I sat, hand cupped and smoked. Listening to the surrounding night.

If this was a smart fella, no way would I have lit no smoke. But this was no smart man at all. This, from what I could see, was a desperate man. Desperate or dumb. Or, possibly, both. I’d know for sure before dawn.

I finished the smoke, flipped it into the crik and went on my way again, following the trail of my own other horse, Mizz Johnson.

I had, had her as long as I had, had Mister Johnson. Truth be told I thought Mister Johnson might be even more pissed off about the situation that I was. He just didn’t know how to use a rope, if so I’m sure he’d a been out for a hangin’ too.

I worked my way sideways down a gully, leaving the actual trail behind me where it out and did a loop back onto itself. The direction was clear enough, and he was far enough ahead that I wouldn’t come up on him, and the shortcut would save me time considerable.

I had me a farm, a good woman and two boys old enough to help a little already. A girl child who made me feel like crying ever time I looked at her. I don’t figure how that is: That a girl child can do that, ‘cept I can see she will have to live her life, and it’s a hard one, and I wisht better than what I got to give her.

Men is men. The boys will grow up rough and tumble. That’s boys. That’s boys comin’ to be a man. But a girl child, seems to me, looks out at the world all pretty and hope, and then the world sort of breaks her down. Sometimes fast, sometimes slow.

I’d seen that truth in the eyes of a whore down in Dodge several years back. A young pretty whore, but resigned to be a whore. I’d paid my dollar and stayed for a little conversation as it was a slow night. I don’t never want to see that look in my Melissa’s eyes. But I can’t see that my Janey would ever let her go down that path. We learn from our mistakes, we do: If we don’t we don’t last long in this world.

I made the trail and walked Mister Johnson on the up-slope at a steady pace. He didn’t need much help or pointin’: I figured he could smell ol’ Mizz Johnson at that point, and he was, as I said, a might upset himself.

I was two days out from home. Me out from home meant that Janey had to do it all with no help from no man. Plow what she could with that goddamn, son-of-a-bitch mule we had. Be lucky if it didn’t kick her bad is what I’d be.

This life don’t slow down for no horse thief. The kids got to be fed. The chicks fed too. The cows milked. The other things a woman’s got to do. Cook, and clean, what all. But she’s got to do all the things a man’s got to do as well. All piled in there. No break at all. That was this life out here, how it had to be. How it was.

I caught the smell of fire and meat roastin’ on the air. Fresh, green wood. Not much of a woodsman either, I opinioned. But, considering the horsemanship, the theft itself and all of the rest of it, I’d say I was not too surprised. I stopped, rolled another smoke, kept it cupped to hide the flame, didn’t worry about the odor even though I was close now. The wind was at me after all, and his own, smokey fire would hide all other smells if the wind did shift. Chances were he had no idea of smells on the wind anyways.

I let my eyes travel the sky, lookin’ and I spotted a few stray sparks as they rose into the night sky not far away. All kinds of dumb. But I bet he considered himself some sort of woodsman just because he could light that fire.

Some figure if they can build a fire they’s a woodsman. I laugh at that. I have slept in snow banks and stayed warm. I tracked snowshoes in dead winter and got them. I have been lived in the wild with just a knife for two months while I was working out of the back country and my first horse dropped a leg in a chuck-hole and I had to shoot him.

I was green then. Used up one of my last four bullets on the horse, when I could’a used the knife and saved that bullet. Packed some out with me, dried over the fire, and et better those two months. I was young, dumb and life to come. And for me I was goddamn lucky to have lived through it that time. But, as I done said the one time, you learn or you die. Life, it don’t forgive a lot out here.

I finished the smoke, crushed it out between my thumb and forefinger, then angled Mister Johnson down toward the fire I’d seen. I could be, maybe, cocky and ride right up on him, but I don’t like to misjudge. I tied Mister Johnson to a tree to keep him out of it in case there was gun-play, which I intended there might be. I’d just have to hope there were none that got Mister Johnson. But he’d fare better hidden away. A man will always try in shoot a man’s horse at first sight if he can.

I walked the last hundred or so yards into his camp. My old sprung boots was so mushy and soft they was like walkin’ in Indian mocs anyhow. He never heard me comin’.

He had a chuck spitted over the fire, and probably ever cat, wolf, bear and wild dog for two miles around was sniffing on the air. He was stupid alright. I’d seen some green eyes, and two sets of red eyes as I had made my way into his camp.

He sat before the fire. A fat man: I’d knowed that from the depth of the hoof print though. And a stupid man just as I had guessed, as he had allowed me to walk right up to him, too busy tryin’ to twist the cap off’n a store bought bottle of whiskey he’d got from somewhere.

I decided on the spot to save the bullet: Put my gun away and pulled the rope that I had bought with me free from my shoulder. If a man ever works with cattle, branding, he don’t forget how to rope. And, as a younger man, I done my share of that. I had him in on one toss, and cinched it tight as I walked up on him face to face like.

“Hey,” he says, but me, I go about my business. I got me a limb picked out. We wrestle a little while I drag him to the limb, shift that rope quick like to his neck, and haul him up. He don’t say nothin’ after ‘Hey’, he tries to though.

Folks think hanging a man is easy. And, it can at times be easy, but this wasn’t no easy time: This was one a them hard times. A fat man, a thick neck, and me being plain tired out. He kicked and thrashed for all of ten minutes before he slowed. Me hanging on the end of that rope to keep him stretched, but I could not get him to swinging. And then, me being tired as I was, I looped that rope around Mizz Johnson’s saddle horn, the dumb bastard didn’t know enough to take a saddle off’n a horse, and walked her a bit to get him swinging free. Goddamn if he didn’t kick some more at that. I waited ten more minutes, ticked ’em off on my Elgin. I seen men come back if they neck ain’t broke, and I was sure it was not.

I let him down after that time, rope don’t come cheap to me, and left him laying there for the coyotes, wolves, bear and cats the damn fool had called down. Fat man might not be their favorite, but when times is tough it will do I’d bet.

I gathered up Mizz Johnson, went back and got Mister Johnson. They was happy to see each other. Blowing and touching noses to necks.

The fat man had two pair a saddle bags. The first had a food store, no surprise there, except why he’d been about to eat chuck when he had bacon. The second was a surprise: Gold, and not a little. I will tell you it was enough to sit me right down there by the fire to look it over.

I can count, but there’s a limit. What I knowed, I did, and then I had reached the limit and there was a long ways to go yet. A very long ways. And the trouble was I did not know for absolute what each piece was worth. Coin, stamped, but I could not read none. I could only say there was five times of  counting to one hundred and a way to go after that.

Janey could read and write too. And she could cypher figures a sight farther than I could when it come to that. Whoring had taught her that. No whore could afford to get cheated.

I looked at it there in the moonlight for a piece, then put it all back in the saddlebags except a few pieces I kept for my pocket. Janey could count it; whatever it was we were a huge sight better off than we had been. It almost made me want to thank the fat man. I didn’t though. He stole my horse and he got what a horse thief is supposed to get.

I tied Mizz Johnson to the saddle horn of old Mister Johnson’s saddle by a longish lead and we rode out of there. I did put that fire out before we left. I left the chuck where it was, dug me out a piece of jerky my own Janey had made. I chewed thoughtful, thinking about the money as I rode. I was gonna stop at Abilene, which was on the way, and buy Janey a dress. She’d always had such pretty dresses when I’d met her, but times being as they was there weren’t no money for pretty dresses.

I smiled to myself thinkin’ about Janey’s eyes when she saw a new dress or two and then a saddlebag full a gold pieces. It made me feel good inside. I looked up at the moon, sent a prayer to God above up there somewhere, turned Mister Johnson for the next ridge and headed towards Abilene.



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A free look at Earth’s Survivors: Rising From The Ashes

A free look at Earth’s Survivors: Rising From The Ashes


March 16th

Conner and Katie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She nodded.

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

“What was it?” She asked softly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~

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

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

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

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

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

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

~

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

James offered to take the first watch, Conner volunteered for the next and Jake offered to take it from there if the sun wasn’t up.

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

West of Mexico NY: Mike

Things had gone bad fast. There had been two significant earthquakes, the first time he had nearly wrecked the truck, and the second one came as he was pulled to the side of the road trying to ease the pain that had come back full tilt in his head. The truck leapt forward, and then darted sideways; Mike managed to get his hand out to stop his head from smashing into the dashboard, but only barely. The truck had finally stopped rocking and the world came back into focus. He pulled the truck back onto the roadway, careful of all the new cracks and devastation, and found his way to a small roadside strip mall a few miles farther down.

The lot was deserted. Half the store at the opposite end was collapsed. A small mini mart, a drug store and a pawn shop were still standing; untouched. He had made his way into the small store, found the drug aisle and was surprised to see it intact. The one back in Rochester had been emptied of drugs.

The leg was swollen against the pants material; the rags he had wrapped around it had stopped the blood flow, but had done nothing for infection. He peeled the rags away now, taking a good part of his skin with it, and looked the wound over.

Something had punched a deep hole into his leg. The area that had pulled away was oozing puss now, the skin around it red and swollen. He had helped himself to a bottle of peroxide, some antibiotic cream, iodine and some bandage. He scrounged up a fast meal while he worked up the nerve to work on the leg. He probably wouldn’t feel like eating afterwards.

He had no fever, and he counted that as a good thing. He finished some energy bars and three bottles of water before he limped off to find what he still needed. Two aisles over he found a small knitting needle. The point was sharp. It was wide enough to allow him to push it in to get to the abscess he was sure was there. He carried it back to the aisle then decided maybe something to help with the pain might help. He searched, but there was nothing stronger than beer in the now warm coolers, and that was covered with a gray moss he didn’t want to chance touching. The drug store nearby probably had some pain pills he could take, but he wouldn’t know how much would be safe. It probably wasn’t a good idea to be out of it in this world any longer. Maybe later, he decided. He would have to visit to get antibiotics anyway. Reluctantly he limped back to the aisle and sat with his back against the shelving as he arranged the items he needed around him.

The peroxide came first. He broke the seal and poured half the bottle over the wound. There was some pain, but the bubbling and foam that appeared told him what he had already guessed, the infection was bad.

He spun the top off the iodine, spilled a little into the dimple of the puncture wound and then inserted the knitting needle into the bottle and left it to soak in the iodine. He wasn’t positive if it could disinfect it, but he was reasonably sure it could. The pain was intense when the iodine hit the raw wound, but it abated after a few moments. He picked up the needle, but just touching the wound with it sent shock waves of pain up his leg.

He stopped, stretched backwards against the shelving, bracing himself firmly. His breathing was hard and fast, tears had squirted from his eyes and stained his dirty cheeks as they rolled away to his jaw line. Sweat had instantly broken out on his brow. He couldn’t stop at a mere touch. He had to shove the needle down far enough to be sure he punctured the abscess so it could drain. He steeled himself, took a deep breath, centered the needle over the dimple and drove it down into his leg before he could think anymore about it. The pain came fast, but his mind shut down just as quickly.

He had awakened hours later, the sunlight lower in the front windows. The leg was draining freely, fresh blood now, but he could see that the poison had also drained. His head felt better, his stomach more settled. He took his time and grimaced only slightly as he poured first the remaining peroxide into the wound, and then the balance of the iodine. Both hurt, but the pain was nothing like it had been. Antibiotic cream and some bandage and he was finished. He sat, staring down at his hands: Dirt, blood, who knew what else. He made his feet and limped off into the store looking for supplies for the road. A few moments later he was loading them into the passenger side of the truck. A quick search through the drug store turned up antibiotics, an ace bandage that might help, and some vitamins. He didn’t know if the vitamins could help, but he was sure they couldn’t hurt. A few minutes later he had bent the pawnshop’s steel mesh, protective door open and smashed out the front door glass with a jack handle from the truck. The exercise was making his leg hurt, but the skies were turning dark and he wanted to hurry before nightfall came.

The pawn shop was a nightmare inside. Every single cabinet was locked. Even so he found a gun cabinet, managed to pry it open and left with two semi automatic nine mm pistols and a dozen boxes of ammunition. He got to the truck, debated on the ammunition, and went back to see if he could find more. The problem was he didn’t know where to look. He found nothing, but he did liberate a shotgun and a whole case of slugs for it. He made his way back to the truck tired out, sweating and his leg aching deep inside. The bandage was soaked through with blood so he changed it as he sat in the truck and gathered his strength.

The leg of the jeans he had been wearing was a tattered wreck. Blood and gore streaked the leg to his boot top. The once white sock stained deep red and black in places. He needed clothes. His shirt stank, and was stuck to him with sweat. His boots, he hadn’t really noticed until he had just taken a hard look at them, were melted in places. The leather looked sandblasted and ratty. He took two of the pills, washed it down with water. Next big town, he told himself, he would get clothes.

A light rain had begun as he pulled the truck back out on to the roadway, heading for Mexico as the rain bounced up from the pavement and covered the surface with a gray mist.


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EARTH’S SURVIVORS: Home in the Valley from Dell Sweet

EARTH’S SURVIVORS: Home in the Valley from Dell Sweet


This is Copyright protected material used with permission 



Mike and Candace

West of Manhattan

September 3rd

“Nobody,” Ronnie remarked as he clicked off the CB and stepped down from the truck.

“Maybe the weather,” Alice said as she took his hand.

“May be,” Ronnie agreed with a smile. He bent forward and kissed her softly.

“You do that so well,” Alice told him. She had that secret little smile on her face, the one that turned up the corner of her lips. The one that had made him say yes when she had asked to join them.

They had met her and the small party she had been traveling with the day after they had left Billy’s camp and started on their way. Ronnie thought back on it now. That had been more than two months before. They had spent those two months just trying to get out of the city, past all the stalled traffic that went on forever, and into a place where they could actually have trucks, drive, make time. That day they had still been driving, or trying to. They had come around a curve on a barely held together state route that paralleled the thruway and there they had been: A truck parked in the middle of the road. Mike had locked the brakes up; the curve had not given much warning. Alice had been standing at the front of the truck and she had never even flinched.

Mike had stopped a good fifteen feet away. When he and Ronnie had stepped from the truck she had hit Ronnie with the smile. He had fallen right then. No arguments.

“Could’a killed us,” Toby Black had said. He was the leader of the six party group. “Shouldn’t ought to drive so goddamn fast.”

Mike was speechless; it was Ronnie that had fired back.

“That may be,” Ronnie had allowed,” But maybe you should give a little thought to parking in the middle of the road too.”

“On a goddamn curve,” Candace added, barely cracking a smile.

“Yeah, well,” Toby said. He seemed to consider a few moments, tugged at his graying beard, and must have decided to say nothing. He had just nodded, dusted one hand against his jeans and extended it to Ronnie. “Toby,” He had glanced from Ronnie to Mike to Candace, nodding as he did. “This’s Andy,” he had nodded at a skinny man who stood a few feet away. “Galloway over there, Flint at the back of the truck, Lucy sitting inside there and Alice right here.” He had tried to slip one arm over Alice’s shoulders, but she had smiled and shrugged it off.

“And who are you,” she had asked Ronnie. Behind him Candace had chuckled.

“Ron,” he had said.

She had taken his hand and held on, her eyes on his own.

“Listen, you can stay to dinner with us if you like. Fresh venison, killed a deer a few hours back.” Toby had pointed at a fire where what looked like both haunches of a small deer had been spitted: Fat dripping and sizzling.

“Yeah,” Candace had agreed. “We’d be glad to.”

“Yeah,” Mike had added. His stomach had been growling so loudly he had been sure that everyone could hear it. He had reached in, shut down the truck, and then shifted his rifle to his opposite shoulder as he shook hands with the others including Alice who had finally let go of Ronnie’s hand.

A little work had secured some late corn from an overgrown nearby field, that and the venison had made an excellent dinner.

“So where you folks going to,” Toby had asked.

“Alabama,” Mike had answered around a mouthful of corn. “Dammit this is good.”

Toby had laughed.

“There are, I think, more deer than there are people. Could have had a cow, in fact, but it would have been a waste of meat,” Alice had said.

They had traded small talk as they ate, sharing road information. Toby was bound for Manhattan, even after he had talked to them. Mike had shaken his head. The man was stubborn; there was no changing his mind. Mike had offered them to join with them and continue on to Alabama.

“Maybe,” Toby had agreed. “I might come back and look you up, but I got to know for myself.” They had been getting ready to leave a few minutes later, having refused politely the offer of spending the night, when Alice had asked if they would accept only her since the others didn’t want to go.

“Yeah,” Ronnie had said, nearly immediately. Toby had not seemed surprised although more than a little let down. He had, had a hard time hiding his frown. Ronnie smiled now thinking about it.

“What,” Alice asked.

“Thinking about how I like the way your mouth turns up at the corner the way it does,” Ronnie said. He reached forward and pulled her to him, at the same time walking back to the fire and Candace and Mike. Alice laughed.

“Dead,” Ronnie repeated to Mike and Candace.

“Kind of weird,” Candace said. “I mean, it’s been chatter, chatter, and chatter the last few days and now it is dead; doesn’t make sense.”

“Is strange,” Alice agreed. “But we’re also further away from the city. Maybe all that chatter was the city… Or most of it.”

“My thoughts exactly,” Mike agreed. “We need to find a map and see what is near. Maybe the largest cities close by were destroyed.”

“I imagine they were: When we came this way it was the same. The few times we got close to a city it was bad. Destruction, the smell was horrible, and the sick ones too,” Alice said.

“Sick?” Mike asked.

“You haven’t seen them yet?” Alice asked.

“I don’t think we saw as much of the really bad stuff I have heard on the radio…” Candace paused for a second. “Back there, Manhattan, when we were with Billy, we heard some bad stuff out of the city. I mean like horror movie stuff. People looking dead but still walking around… Going without food for days, but not dying; attacking other people,” She shrugged. “Had to kill them, the ones that told us said so: Had to kill them because they were just gone. Come right at you and try to kill you if you didn’t… Some kind of bad sickness,” Candace finished.

“Zombies,” Alice said with a small nervous laugh.” She held her hands up when Mike and Ronnie shook their heads almost in unison. “I know, I know. They are not zombies, living dead, whatever, but I’m telling you I’ve seen them and they are bad shit, bad shit. They may as well be zombies. No real thoughts seem to be going on in there.” She tapped her head with one finger. “They will attack you. They will try to kill you, eat you” She shrugged. “Not zombies, some sort of disease, but it is some very bad shit.”

“Like… Like plague of some sort,” Candace said.

“Yeah… Yeah, but they keep moving. I mean they should be dead, right? Their necks are swollen, faces black and blue, skin all messed up, running sores, this mass of black lines, like infection, running all through them, under their skin; but they don’t die. It’s like they are rotting on the bone, but they keep moving somehow. I don’t get it, but I have seen it a dozen times. Crazy too, not rational, I mean they are attacking and trying to eat other living people, how is that rational? Head shot, yeah, maybe you could kill them some other way too, but you don’t want to be screwing around, because maybe they’ll bite you. I have seen what happens to those who get bitten; they get sick pretty fast… A day or two tops. And in just a few hours they got those little black lines running off under their skin. Like I said, bad shit.”

“Jesus,” Mike said. “Billy told us about some that were camped near them. They didn’t even know it. They live like animals, nests in the woods, darkness, got one of their women, never found her, never found them, but the smell in the clearing was bad… Like death. And a few from the city told other stories. Central Park is overrun with them. Thousands of sick and dying, only they aren’t dying for some reason, like… I don’t know, like they can somehow stay alive when they shouldn’t be able to stay alive.” He shivered involuntarily. “Little spooky… I can see why some are calling them zombies.”

Alice nodded. “Difference is these are real. I think zombies are a made up thing, these are something goddamn close to that, but they’re real. And there are some who seem sane, or… Calculating, I know that sounds even crazier, it’s like they evolve into something else… Some higher form of insanity that is so far gone they’re almost, well, sane again.”

Silence held for a few moments, Ronnie broke it.

“But a shot to the head does it, huh?”

“Yeah, works every time. I mean, it sort of makes sense. Whatever the hell it is keeping them alive it requires them to have a brain so they can at least function on that… Well, on that animal level, I guess. No brain, no functioning at all.” Alice nodded once she finished and the silence held again for quite some time. This time Candace broke it.

“Well,” She squared her shoulders, “I guess if they look suspicious it has got to be a shoot first ask questions later sort of deal then, right?”

“Yeah,” Mike agreed.

“Yeah,” both Ronnie and Alice chimed in.

Candace leaned forward and threw a few heavy chunks of wood onto the fire. Night was not far away and the shadows were closing in fast.

“There were stories about that shit the planes sprayed on us,” Ronnie said after a long pause.

“Like?” Candace asked.

“Billy said he heard about it more than once. Almost all of us have stories about planes spraying stuff on us. I saw it back in Watertown, I… I think it was the next day… March 2nd, maybe March 3rd. We were up there in the Southern Tier… Raining all goddamn day, remember? Planes flying overhead: I remember seeing them. Blue shit… You guys?”

“I don’t remember the blue shit… Seems I remember the planes, but I thought, I don’t know, military transport planes. I really didn’t think about it until we got back to Watertown and there were no troops there at all. I expected them to be,” Mike said.

“I remember planes,” Alice said. I was in Schenectady… Planes, I remember thinking the Army had arrived, but they just flew over real slow, cargo doors open, that was weird, I half expected paratroopers to jump out… No blue stuff though, not that I remember… Why? What was it about?”

“I remember the blue shit,” Candace added, as Alice finished. “What was it about? What did Billy say?”

“Some government shit designed to strengthen us,” He held his hands up as everyone spoke at once. “I didn’t say I believed it. Hell, Billy said every time he tried to nail someone down about what they heard and who they heard it from, they would get all sketchy. Oh, it was a soldier I met on the road, told me he knew because the planes flew out of the base he was assigned to, but no name of the base no facts about it, just like a… You know what it reminded me of? Like an urban legend. They get going the same way. Always sketchy details, low on facts.”

“Yeah, well, that’s one hell of an urban legend,” Candace said.

“Yeah, but the thing is there is always, they say, some seed of truth there,” Ronnie said thoughtfully.

“Maybe is,” Mike agreed.

“All I know is those things are real. We’ll have to be careful,” Alice said. The silence fell and held this time.

“Well,” Mike said at last. “Sleep beckons.” He looked over at the tents they had been using. “Maybe tomorrow, take some time, pick up bigger trucks… Maybe taking a chance sleeping outside isn’t smart.”

“I was going to mention that,” Alice said. “They might not bother us… Seem to hate fire, bright light. But if they did,” she shook her head. “I don’t want to go that way.”

“Me either,” Candace agreed.

Mike sighed. “Why don’t you two sleep…? Ronnie, you too, I’ll take four hours and then wake you for the next four.”

“Done deal,” Ronnie agreed. They all rose from the fire, Candace stretched up and kissed Mike.

“Be okay?” She asked.

“Perfect.” he kissed her again. “Listen… Why don’t you and Alice sleep in the truck, you know, just to be safe?”

“I second that,” Ronnie agreed. “I’ll take the tent. You guys can do most of the driving tomorrow; let us nap a little to catch up.”

“After we get better trucks we can sleep in,” Alice added.

“After,” Mike agreed. Candace stretched up on her tip toes and kissed him once more. She left without another word.

“Sure you want first?” Ronnie asked.

“I’m good,” Mike agreed. He watched Ronnie walk away and then turned toward the black landscape and the trees that surrounded them, wishing he had not parked so close to the woods.


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WARMING UP HERE IN THE WESTERN PART OF NEW YORK

WARMING UP HERE IN THE WESTERN PART OF NEW YORK FREE LOOK AT WATERTOWN EBOOK

Posted by Jay

Warming up here in the western part of New York: It is amazing to me that at the end of last week we had temperatures in the 70’s, but Saturday and Sunday in the single digits. This morning is a balmy 34 degrees and slated to reach the 40’s. What a weird winter.

I will be working on web sites all day long. I do it on Monday because I know that by Wednesday, my next opportunity to do it, I will be completely sick of the week and dreaming of a sandy beach and a cold beer. There are few sandy beaches here in New York. I remember the Gulf Coast when I was down there however and those beaches were gorgeous.  I keep telling myself that I will retire there and call it a life. Just a beach bum walking about… With a girlfriend… And a cold brew… And a sailboat too… Yeah, that sounds about right.

So where are we, Wednesday? Damn, still Monday morning. Well this is going to be a great week I can tell, so I am just going to jump right into it. I will get busy, but I will leave you with a look at Earth’s Survivors Watertown.

Watertown is much different than the other Earth’s Survivors books. It does deal with some of the same characters, and the same town, places, but the focus is on the lives those characters lived before the apocalypse came along and skewed it all. I hope you enjoy the preview and I hope you use the links at the end of the preview to get yet another preview or download the book. I will be back on Wednesday, Jay…

EARTH’S SURVIVORS: WATERTOWN

By Dell Sweet

Copyright © Dell Sweet 2016, all rights reserved.

 

Additional Copyrights © 2010 – 2014 by Wendell Sweet

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

LEGAL

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

This novel is Copyright © 2016 Wendell Sweet and his assignees. The Names Dell Sweet and Geo Dell are publishing constructs owned by Wendell Sweet. No part of this book may be reproduced by any means, electronic, print, scanner or any other means and, or distributed without the author’s permission. All rights foreign and domestic are retained by the Author and or his assignees.

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

Cover art Copyright 2016 Wendell Sweet

Watertown Center

Shop and Stock

April Evans

“Going home?” Alice Chambers asked.

“Yeah,” April agreed. It was early morning, the sun just coming up, shining through the dirty front windows of the store.

“I could drop you. I know it’s not a long walk, but if you wanted a ride, you know,” she blushed and her face colored.

The Shop and Stock was on the main highway nearly directly across from the entrance to Lott road. It was a half mile down the road to the trailer park. Not far. She walked it all the time, including early morning and late evening.

April’s rule of thumb with Alice was not to lead her on. Not to give her false hope. Alice wanted to be with her, it was clear. There had been a time when they had been together, but that was over and had been over for nearly a year. She didn’t want her to think that it might start up again. Letting her give her a ride home might make her think that there was hope. It might, and that could hurt her and she didn’t want to do that.

“I think the walk would do me good, besides it’s just incentive for me to buy a car,” April said.

“You’re saving?” Alice asked. Her face had become sad when April hadn’t said yes. Her sad eyes were magnified behind her thick glasses.

“No, but I hope to be… That’s the incentive part. It’s just that it costs so much to live…” April stopped, regretting she had said as much as she did.

“Well they say two can live as cheaply as one,” Alice said. Her eyes became hopeful again.

Sometimes April wondered why she didn’t just do it. Almost everyone at work thought she and Alice were an item anyway. Guys at work didn’t even hit on her anymore, and occasionally she would catch girls looking at her speculatively, like the new girl, Haley, beautiful: She had some sort of tribal tattoo that covered one arm and disappeared under her sleeve. It peaked out when her shirt lifted enough to bare her stomach, making April wonder where else it went. Dark blue against brown skin. She had been looking at her, wondering about where that tattoo might go one day last week when Haley had caught her. They had both smiled and looked away.

“You didn’t say anything,” Alice said.

“I’m sorry, I zoned out… You know, maybe two can live as cheaply as one… I guess it is something to consider,” April said. She had no idea why she had said it except that it was true. She had two guys at the trailer park that were interested. She couldn’t stand either one of them, but they were persistent. And she supposed it was only a matter of time before something happened. Probably something she didn’t want to happen. She kept an aluminum bat next to the door, but she was a young woman living alone in a bad place. It was probably only a matter of time.

Alice was smiling up of her. “Are you sure about the walk? It’s such a bad place,” Alice said, echoing her thoughts.

“Sure… You’re right, Ali. Listen, I have a cold six-pack in my fridge, if it didn’t stop working again that is, maybe we could have a couple of beers, unwind from the night,” April said. “It’s morning, but technically it’s night to us.” She laughed.

Alice positively overflowed. “Sure… I’ll… I’ll get some chips?” She looked at April as if asking permission. April nodded almost imperceptibly. That was how they had gotten together in high school. Alice asked, April had never said yes, just that tiny little nod, but that had been all that Alice had needed.

Alice hurried off now and April told herself she wasn’t building her hopes up to dash them. She was sick of the trailer park: Sick of her life right now. Before she ended up with one of those clowns on either side of her, she would move back in with Alice. She shocked herself with the admission, but then she realized it was the truth. Maybe it was the truth she had been hiding from herself, but it was the truth.

Alice came back blooming. A totally different woman than the shy, unassuming person she normally was. She walked close to her as they left the store. She could see Alice wanted to slip her arm through hers, so April did it herself. She just slipped her arm through hers as they walked across the parking lot to Alice’s car.

Alice seemed to be in shock, but a happy kind of shock. April was surprised, but it lifted her mood too.

Route 81 rest-stop

Watertown

Danny and Daryl

“Who would really know?” Daryl asked. “I mean really, Danny?”

They were stopped at a rest area a few miles outside of Watertown New York. The trunk was open and they had looked through what was there. It was far more than they had thought, far more than Carlos had led them to believe. Neither of them knew how much, but they had a good idea. They had already made small holes in four of the bricks and discovered they were dealing with both cocaine and heroin. And since the holes had been there they had taken a bit of each. Only a little: Nothing that would be missed, probably, but that had been three or four hours ago at another rest area when the curiosity had gotten the best of them. That and their withdrawals after a two week crack binge and the little that they had taken was gone.

Now they were trying to decide if they took a few full bricks whether they would be missed. There were eight bricks of coke, and six of heroin in the black duffel bag. That was a tight fit. They had purchased a cheap foam plastic cooler just outside of Rochester and filled it with beer and packages of lunch meat and cheese. They had purchased bread and other stuff for the long trip. Thinking all those weeks of not eating right would catch up to them and they’d be starving. And they would’ve been except they had gotten right back into the coke. They were numb again. Hunger was on the back burner once more. All their bodies craved were more cocaine and maybe some heroin to chase it.

Daryl pulled the zipper on the blue duffel bag and opened it.

“What the fuck are you doing?” Danny asked.

“You know goddamn good and well what I’m doing,” he said.  He reached in and took one of each brick.

“Holy Jesus,” Danny said. “You’re crazy. They’ll kill us.”

Daryl licked his lips. “Maybe… But… Maybe we can blame that on the other guys. You know, they got the shit! They played with it. Our word against theirs, right?”

“Christ,” Danny said. His hands shook slightly, but then harder. Before he could stop himself he reached into the duffel bag and pulled out two more bricks, one of each. Daryl’s eyes bugged.

“I don’t know, man. That is a lot. Two is enough,” he said.

“To get killed over?” Danny asked. “Fuck that!  If it’s gonna get us in the shit and we gotta lie our way out of it we might as well make it worth it,” he said. He looked at the untouched ice chest, popped off the foam cover and plunged the bricks down into the ice. Daryl took a small chunk of the cocaine, sealed the brick back up and plunged both of his bricks into the ice chest too. They piled up the errant ice cubes and arranged the packages of meat and cheese to hide the bricks underneath them, breathing hard as they did: On the verge of panic.

“You can see the foil,” Danny said.

Daryl grabbed the plastic bag that the lunch meat had come in, fished out the bricks and wrapped them up tightly in the plastic. The bag was white and blended much better under the ice this time.

“Can tell, not really,” Daryl said. He had already sniffed some coke. Danny wasn’t far behind.

“Looks fine,” Danny agreed. “Let’s go.”

They both reached up to slam the trunk lid down, scaring the hell out of each other as they did. They laughed nervously and then got back into the car.

“Alright, I’m getting on top of it now, man… It’s gonna be all right,” Daryl said.

“Yeah… Yeah,” Danny agreed as he started the car.

Watertown

Thompson Park

Ben Neo

“This is a really big deal, Ed. As in a million plus, you see?” Ben asked.

“Sure,” Ed said. “I get it. Well, you mean a million plus as in more than a million dollars?” he asked.

Ben laughed. “Yeah, more than a million, Ed: These guys, well, I don’t know these guys. They’re really just hired flunkies. Pick up the stuff, drive it from point a to point b, that kind of thing. They’re probably not professionals. So we’ll have to make up for that by maintaining our own professional standards, Ed. We’ll just be cold: Aloof, removed. No laughing if they crack a joke. No small talk at all.” He handed Ed one of the flat black 9 mm guns. The one he had shoved under the front seat.

Ed looked it over. “Grips broken?” he asked. He fingered the tape that wound around them.

“No,” Ben told him. “That’s friction tape, stops them from getting prints… Most of the time at least. It’s what I call a throw away gun. Cheap, doctored up with tape in case I do have to toss it and I don’t have time to wipe it. Ground down serial number. Here’s a spare clip.” He handed him a clip. “The one in that gun is full, and there’s one in the chamber. I do that by putting one in the chamber then ejecting the clip and replacing that one in the clip. Then put the clip back in. Sometimes an extra bullet can mean a lot. All you need to do is flick off the safety, aim and shoot… You got that, Ed?” Ben asked.

“Yeah… Yeah… I do,” Ed agreed. He looked nervous. “Do you think we’ll have to shoot, Ben?”

“Sometimes… You can shoot, right?” Ben asked. He knew he owned a 9 mm and that he had taken a weapons class in Syracuse a few years back. He had carried a sidearm and had, had to train on a rifle when he was in the service. He had checked all of that out. He also knew he was a poor shot. Myopic, and even with his thick glasses his depth perception, which was critical to accuracy, was bad.

“Sure, sure, it’s just been a while,” Ed said.

“Just make sure you don’t shoot me, or yourself,” Ben said.

They were at the lookout in the park standing near the trunk of the car waiting for the other car. It could be a few minutes, maybe as much as an hour, Ben thought.

Ed nodded. “I won’t,” he said, unsmiling.

Ben had no idea what to expect. He knew what they were driving, but he had no idea how far out they were, all Tommy had told him was the make and model, a big silver-blue Toyota, and their names. They had picked up the stuff in Brownsville earlier that morning, and they were on the way. He popped the trunk lid and snapped open the catches on the big brown suitcase. Neat rows of bills: All hundreds. Ed whistled.

Ben removed one of the stacks, set it aside and closed the case. “Your pay,” Ben told him.

“How much is that?” Ed asked. His eyes were a little bugged out. He’d never seen that much money anywhere. Not even in gangster movies, which were his favorite kinds of flicks. It was a lot of money.

“Eighty thousand dollars per stack,” Ben told him.

“You’re kidding? I’m making eighty thousand dollars for this deal?” he asked.

Ben smiled and nodded. “I told you it was big.”

“Yeah,” Ed smiled. His mind was thinking about all the things he could buy with eighty thousand dollars.

Ben’s cell phone rang. He pulled it from his pocket, looked at the caller ID window and turned to Ed. “It’s my boss, I’ll have to take it,” he said. He walked away leaving Ed to his thoughts and answered the phone.

Suncrest Trailer Park

Lott Road

April Evans

It started out bad and got worse. First Alice tried to kiss her when they got to April’s trailer. April had pretended she didn’t see it coming and turned it into an embrace. But once they were inside she tried again and they had ended up in an argument.

“It’s my fault, I should’ve walked home. I didn’t mean to lead you on, Ali, I didn’t,” April said.

“But… You held my hand. I know you want this just like I do. I know it. Why can’t we just be together? I don’t get it… You’re not seeing somebody else, right?” Alice asked.

“No… It’s not about that… It’s about compatibility… I’m not like you, Ali. How else can I say it?” April asked.

Alice broke down into tears. “But you are…” Her voice fell to a whisper. “You’ve made love to me, April; better than any man ever has… Ever could… You are like me,” she sobbed.

“I’m not,” April said. “We did those things. I was drunk. I was upset. I hated what had happened to me, you know that, it didn’t mean to me what it meant to you, Ali, it didn’t.”

Alice jumped up. “So I’m the one who is sick? Interested in the wrong sex? The Lesbo?” Her anger was barely in check. She was spitting the words out, tears streaming down her face.  “Well fuck you, April Evans. I know about that boy at the end of the road. The one you talk about. If that’s what you want, then fuck you, take him.” She ran to the door, flung it open and rushed down the steps. Her car started as April got to the door, and she heard the gravel spit and clatter against the aluminum siding of the trailer as she took off.

Two trailers over a curtain parted and a woman’s face looked out into the gloom of early morning. Her eyes nearly skipped across April, lingered briefly and then the curtain edges fell back together. April sagged down to the top step and lowered her head into her hands. She got up a few minutes later, went inside and grabbed two of the beers. She left one in the plastic collar, slipped an open collar over her wrist and let the second can hang from it. As she went back out she picked up the aluminum bat, closed and locked the trailer door. She walked out to the end of the gravel road that cut down into the trailer park and looked towards the end of Lott road.

There was a guy, not a boy that lived at the end of the road. She had mentioned him to Alice. She shouldn’t have. He was just a guy. She had seen him go by a few times, but he had never paid any attention to her. She had even waited on him at the store a few times. Nothing: He wasn’t interested; Alice had that all wrong.

She hefted the bat in one hand. There were wild dogs all over the place. They lived in the woods and raided the county dump where it backed up to Lott road for their means of survival. It was best to be prepared. More than once she had driven one away with a quick tap from the bat. She took one of the trails that lead out of the trailer park and cut down toward the end of the road. She sipped at one of the beers as she pushed some overhanging small branches aside with the bat. The sun was finally starting to rise, casting shadows along the dirt path. She wondered about the boy at the end of the road as she walked.

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EARTH’S SURVIVORS: WATERTOWN posted by Jay Watson

Posted by Jay

Cooling down here in the western part of New York: It is amazing to me that at the end of last week we had temperatures in the 80’s, but Saturday and Sunday in the low forties. This morning is a balmy 34 degrees and slated to reach the 40’s. What a weird fall.

I will be working on web sites all day long. I do it on Wednesday because I know that by Friday, my next opportunity to do it, I will be completely sick of the week and dreaming of a sandy beach and a cold beer. There are few sandy beaches here in New York. I remember the Gulf Coast when I was down there however and those beaches were gorgeous.  I keep telling myself that I will retire there and call it a life. Just a beach bum walking about… With a girlfriend… And a cold brew… And a sailboat too… Yeah, that sounds about right.

So where are we, Wednesday? Damn, still not Friday. Well this is going to be a great week I can tell, so I am just going to jump right into it. I will get busy, but I will leave you with a look at Earth’s Survivors Watertown.

Watertown is much different than the other Earth’s Survivors books. It does deal with some of the same characters, and the same town, places, but the focus is on the lives those characters lived before the apocalypse came along and skewed it all. I hope you enjoy the preview and I hope you use the links at the end of the preview to get yet another preview or download the book. I will be back soon, Jay…


EARTH’S SURVIVORS: WATERTOWN

By Dell Sweet

Copyright © Dell Sweet 2016, all rights reserved.

 

Additional Copyrights © 2010 – 2014 by Wendell Sweet

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

LEGAL

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

This novel is Copyright © 2016 Wendell Sweet and his assignees. The Names Dell Sweet and Geo Dell are publishing constructs owned by Wendell Sweet. No part of this book may be reproduced by any means, electronic, print, scanner or any other means and, or distributed without the author’s permission. All rights foreign and domestic are retained by the Author and or his assignees.

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

Cover art Copyright 2016 Wendell Sweet

Watertown Center

Shop and Stock

April Evans

“Going home?” Alice Chambers asked.

“Yeah,” April agreed. It was early morning, the sun just coming up, shining through the dirty front windows of the store.

“I could drop you. I know it’s not a long walk, but if you wanted a ride, you know,” she blushed and her face colored.

The Shop and Stock was on the main highway nearly directly across from the entrance to Lott road. It was a half mile down the road to the trailer park. Not far. She walked it all the time, including early morning and late evening.

April’s rule of thumb with Alice was not to lead her on. Not to give her false hope. Alice wanted to be with her, it was clear. There had been a time when they had been together, but that was over and had been over for nearly a year. She didn’t want her to think that it might start up again. Letting her give her a ride home might make her think that there was hope. It might, and that could hurt her and she didn’t want to do that.

“I think the walk would do me good, besides it’s just incentive for me to buy a car,” April said.

“You’re saving?” Alice asked. Her face had become sad when April hadn’t said yes. Her sad eyes were magnified behind her thick glasses.

“No, but I hope to be… That’s the incentive part. It’s just that it costs so much to live…” April stopped, regretting she had said as much as she did.

“Well they say two can live as cheaply as one,” Alice said. Her eyes became hopeful again.

Sometimes April wondered why she didn’t just do it. Almost everyone at work thought she and Alice were an item anyway. Guys at work didn’t even hit on her anymore, and occasionally she would catch girls looking at her speculatively, like the new girl, Haley, beautiful: She had some sort of tribal tattoo that covered one arm and disappeared under her sleeve. It peaked out when her shirt lifted enough to bare her stomach, making April wonder where else it went. Dark blue against brown skin. She had been looking at her, wondering about where that tattoo might go one day last week when Haley had caught her. They had both smiled and looked away.

“You didn’t say anything,” Alice said.

“I’m sorry, I zoned out… You know, maybe two can live as cheaply as one… I guess it is something to consider,” April said. She had no idea why she had said it except that it was true. She had two guys at the trailer park that were interested. She couldn’t stand either one of them, but they were persistent. And she supposed it was only a matter of time before something happened. Probably something she didn’t want to happen. She kept an aluminum bat next to the door, but she was a young woman living alone in a bad place. It was probably only a matter of time.

Alice was smiling up of her. “Are you sure about the walk? It’s such a bad place,” Alice said, echoing her thoughts.

“Sure… You’re right, Ali. Listen, I have a cold six-pack in my fridge, if it didn’t stop working again that is, maybe we could have a couple of beers, unwind from the night,” April said. “It’s morning, but technically it’s night to us.” She laughed.

Alice positively overflowed. “Sure… I’ll… I’ll get some chips?” She looked at April as if asking permission. April nodded almost imperceptibly. That was how they had gotten together in high school. Alice asked, April had never said yes, just that tiny little nod, but that had been all that Alice had needed.

Alice hurried off now and April told herself she wasn’t building her hopes up to dash them. She was sick of the trailer park: Sick of her life right now. Before she ended up with one of those clowns on either side of her, she would move back in with Alice. She shocked herself with the admission, but then she realized it was the truth. Maybe it was the truth she had been hiding from herself, but it was the truth.

Alice came back blooming. A totally different woman than the shy, unassuming person she normally was. She walked close to her as they left the store. She could see Alice wanted to slip her arm through hers, so April did it herself. She just slipped her arm through hers as they walked across the parking lot to Alice’s car.

Alice seemed to be in shock, but a happy kind of shock. April was surprised, but it lifted her mood too.

Route 81 rest-stop

Watertown

Danny and Daryl

“Who would really know?” Daryl asked. “I mean really, Danny?”

They were stopped at a rest area a few miles outside of Watertown New York. The trunk was open and they had looked through what was there. It was far more than they had thought, far more than Carlos had led them to believe. Neither of them knew how much, but they had a good idea. They had already made small holes in four of the bricks and discovered they were dealing with both cocaine and heroin. And since the holes had been there they had taken a bit of each. Only a little: Nothing that would be missed, probably, but that had been three or four hours ago at another rest area when the curiosity had gotten the best of them. That and their withdrawals after a two week crack binge and the little that they had taken was gone.

Now they were trying to decide if they took a few full bricks whether they would be missed. There were eight bricks of coke, and six of heroin in the black duffel bag. That was a tight fit. They had purchased a cheap foam plastic cooler just outside of Rochester and filled it with beer and packages of lunch meat and cheese. They had purchased bread and other stuff for the long trip. Thinking all those weeks of not eating right would catch up to them and they’d be starving. And they would’ve been except they had gotten right back into the coke. They were numb again. Hunger was on the back burner once more. All their bodies craved were more cocaine and maybe some heroin to chase it.

Daryl pulled the zipper on the blue duffel bag and opened it.

“What the fuck are you doing?” Danny asked.

“You know goddamn good and well what I’m doing,” he said.  He reached in and took one of each brick.

“Holy Jesus,” Danny said. “You’re crazy. They’ll kill us.”

Daryl licked his lips. “Maybe… But… Maybe we can blame that on the other guys. You know, they got the shit! They played with it. Our word against theirs, right?”

“Christ,” Danny said. His hands shook slightly, but then harder. Before he could stop himself he reached into the duffel bag and pulled out two more bricks, one of each. Daryl’s eyes bugged.

“I don’t know, man. That is a lot. Two is enough,” he said.

“To get killed over?” Danny asked. “Fuck that!  If it’s gonna get us in the shit and we gotta lie our way out of it we might as well make it worth it,” he said. He looked at the untouched ice chest, popped off the foam cover and plunged the bricks down into the ice. Daryl took a small chunk of the cocaine, sealed the brick back up and plunged both of his bricks into the ice chest too. They piled up the errant ice cubes and arranged the packages of meat and cheese to hide the bricks underneath them, breathing hard as they did: On the verge of panic.

“You can see the foil,” Danny said.

Daryl grabbed the plastic bag that the lunch meat had come in, fished out the bricks and wrapped them up tightly in the plastic. The bag was white and blended much better under the ice this time.

“Can tell, not really,” Daryl said. He had already sniffed some coke. Danny wasn’t far behind.

“Looks fine,” Danny agreed. “Let’s go.”

They both reached up to slam the trunk lid down, scaring the hell out of each other as they did. They laughed nervously and then got back into the car.

“Alright, I’m getting on top of it now, man… It’s gonna be all right,” Daryl said.

“Yeah… Yeah,” Danny agreed as he started the car.

Watertown

Thompson Park

Ben Neo

“This is a really big deal, Ed. As in a million plus, you see?” Ben asked.

“Sure,” Ed said. “I get it. Well, you mean a million plus as in more than a million dollars?” he asked.

Ben laughed. “Yeah, more than a million, Ed: These guys, well, I don’t know these guys. They’re really just hired flunkies. Pick up the stuff, drive it from point a to point b, that kind of thing. They’re probably not professionals. So we’ll have to make up for that by maintaining our own professional standards, Ed. We’ll just be cold: Aloof, removed. No laughing if they crack a joke. No small talk at all.” He handed Ed one of the flat black 9 mm guns. The one he had shoved under the front seat.

Ed looked it over. “Grips broken?” he asked. He fingered the tape that wound around them.

“No,” Ben told him. “That’s friction tape, stops them from getting prints… Most of the time at least. It’s what I call a throw away gun. Cheap, doctored up with tape in case I do have to toss it and I don’t have time to wipe it. Ground down serial number. Here’s a spare clip.” He handed him a clip. “The one in that gun is full, and there’s one in the chamber. I do that by putting one in the chamber then ejecting the clip and replacing that one in the clip. Then put the clip back in. Sometimes an extra bullet can mean a lot. All you need to do is flick off the safety, aim and shoot… You got that, Ed?” Ben asked.

“Yeah… Yeah… I do,” Ed agreed. He looked nervous. “Do you think we’ll have to shoot, Ben?”

“Sometimes… You can shoot, right?” Ben asked. He knew he owned a 9 mm and that he had taken a weapons class in Syracuse a few years back. He had carried a sidearm and had, had to train on a rifle when he was in the service. He had checked all of that out. He also knew he was a poor shot. Myopic, and even with his thick glasses his depth perception, which was critical to accuracy, was bad.

“Sure, sure, it’s just been a while,” Ed said.

“Just make sure you don’t shoot me, or yourself,” Ben said.

They were at the lookout in the park standing near the trunk of the car waiting for the other car. It could be a few minutes, maybe as much as an hour, Ben thought.

Ed nodded. “I won’t,” he said, unsmiling.

Ben had no idea what to expect. He knew what they were driving, but he had no idea how far out they were, all Tommy had told him was the make and model, a big silver-blue Toyota, and their names. They had picked up the stuff in Brownsville earlier that morning, and they were on the way. He popped the trunk lid and snapped open the catches on the big brown suitcase. Neat rows of bills: All hundreds. Ed whistled.

Ben removed one of the stacks, set it aside and closed the case. “Your pay,” Ben told him.

“How much is that?” Ed asked. His eyes were a little bugged out. He’d never seen that much money anywhere. Not even in gangster movies, which were his favorite kinds of flicks. It was a lot of money.

“Eighty thousand dollars per stack,” Ben told him.

“You’re kidding? I’m making eighty thousand dollars for this deal?” he asked.

Ben smiled and nodded. “I told you it was big.”

“Yeah,” Ed smiled. His mind was thinking about all the things he could buy with eighty thousand dollars.

Ben’s cell phone rang. He pulled it from his pocket, looked at the caller ID window and turned to Ed. “It’s my boss, I’ll have to take it,” he said. He walked away leaving Ed to his thoughts and answered the phone.

Suncrest Trailer Park

Lott Road

April Evans

It started out bad and got worse. First Alice tried to kiss her when they got to April’s trailer. April had pretended she didn’t see it coming and turned it into an embrace. But once they were inside she tried again and they had ended up in an argument.

“It’s my fault, I should’ve walked home. I didn’t mean to lead you on, Ali, I didn’t,” April said.

“But… You held my hand. I know you want this just like I do. I know it. Why can’t we just be together? I don’t get it… You’re not seeing somebody else, right?” Alice asked.

“No… It’s not about that… It’s about compatibility… I’m not like you, Ali. How else can I say it?” April asked.

Alice broke down into tears. “But you are…” Her voice fell to a whisper. “You’ve made love to me, April; better than any man ever has… Ever could… You are like me,” she sobbed.

“I’m not,” April said. “We did those things. I was drunk. I was upset. I hated what had happened to me, you know that, it didn’t mean to me what it meant to you, Ali, it didn’t.”

Alice jumped up. “So I’m the one who is sick? Interested in the wrong sex? The Lesbo?” Her anger was barely in check. She was spitting the words out, tears streaming down her face.  “Well fuck you, April Evans. I know about that boy at the end of the road. The one you talk about. If that’s what you want, then fuck you, take him.” She ran to the door, flung it open and rushed down the steps. Her car started as April got to the door, and she heard the gravel spit and clatter against the aluminum siding of the trailer as she took off.

Two trailers over a curtain parted and a woman’s face looked out into the gloom of early morning. Her eyes nearly skipped across April, lingered briefly and then the curtain edges fell back together. April sagged down to the top step and lowered her head into her hands. She got up a few minutes later, went inside and grabbed two of the beers. She left one in the plastic collar, slipped an open collar over her wrist and let the second can hang from it. As she went back out she picked up the aluminum bat, closed and locked the trailer door. She walked out to the end of the gravel road that cut down into the trailer park and looked towards the end of Lott road.

There was a guy, not a boy that lived at the end of the road. She had mentioned him to Alice. She shouldn’t have. He was just a guy. She had seen him go by a few times, but he had never paid any attention to her. She had even waited on him at the store a few times. Nothing: He wasn’t interested; Alice had that all wrong.

She hefted the bat in one hand. There were wild dogs all over the place. They lived in the woods and raided the county dump where it backed up to Lott road for their means of survival. It was best to be prepared. More than once she had driven one away with a quick tap from the bat. She took one of the trails that lead out of the trailer park and cut down toward the end of the road. She sipped at one of the beers as she pushed some overhanging small branches aside with the bat. The sun was finally starting to rise, casting shadows along the dirt path. She wondered about the boy at the end of the road as she walked.


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Earth’s Survivors Settlement Earth

Earth’s Survivors Settlement Earth

Earth’s Survivors Settlement Earth: Book One 

Series: Earth’s Survivors Settlement Earth, Book 1. You set the price! Words: 62,850. Language: English.Published: September 22, 2013 by independAntwriters Publishing.

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


Earth’s Survivors Settlement Earth: Book Two 

Series: Earth’s Survivors Settlement Earth, Book 2. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 93,310. Language: English.Published: September 22, 2013 by independAntwriters Publishing.
The air lock cycled on and six soldiers stepped into the hall like space that was actually just an airlock between the control room, the autopsy room, the former patient ward and the outside world. Johns tensed, waiting for the door to their space to cycle on, but it didn’t. “You think they will outright kill us,” Kohlson asked after a few long minutes of silence. “Gabe… I think they will…”

Earth’s Survivors Settlement Earth: Book Three 

Series: Earth’s Survivors Settlement Earth, Book 3. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 89,390. Language: English.Published: September 22, 2013 by independAntwriters Publishing.
A thin line of blood ran away from the wrist that had been encircled by the tie. Whether from the sharp metal she had used to escape the zip-tie, or the zip-tie itself she could not tell. A few more seconds of careful rubbing with the sharp metal edge and the other plastic cuff fell to the floor. She stood and rubbed feeling back into her hands…