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Apocalypse: The end of the world is here… #Preppers #Dystopian It will take everything in you to survive it…
Rising from the Ashes: The survivors of the apocalypse pick themselves up… Will they live…?
The Nation: The survivors strike out as a group to find a place they can rebuild their lives…
Home in the Valley: The Nation establishes the survivor base in the wilderness…
Plague: The dead over run the cities, while the living still fight each other…
Watertown: The secret base plays a major role in the Apocalypse. Learn how…
World Order: The Beginnings of the Plague and how the Nation and The Fold were formed…
The Box Set: The entire Earth’s Survivors series in a box set! All 7 volumes. Free Previews!
Billy Jingo: Collected Short Stories is Copyright © 2014 Dell Sweet
Copyright © 2014 by Dell Sweet All rights reserved
Cover Art © Copyright 2015 Wendell Sweet
This book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This book may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you are reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your bookseller and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
This is a work of fiction. Any names, characters, places or incidents depicted are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual living persons places, situations or events is purely coincidental.
This novel is Copyright © 2014 Wendell Sweet and his assignees. The Name Dell Sweet is a publishing construct used by Wendell Sweet. Portions of this text are copyright 2010, and 2011, all rights reserved by Wendell Sweet and his assignees. No part of this book may be reproduced by any means, electronic, print, scanner or any other means and, or distributed without the author’s or assignees permission.
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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.
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. 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 is 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 knew he had written something special, and he did.
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 Open Office Install).
The main writers who do the work of taking that content from the notebooks and getting it into the word processor are W. W. (Jay) Watson and Geo Dell. The editor for the series is Rachel Clancy. 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 and then give it to them to finish, then off to Rachel to edit.
It gets done. It makes it from that Point A to Point B. But, I guess, because I put Jay and Geo’s names on the books that it has confused a few people. Don’t be confused. That’s why I am on this subject, to let you know exactly how the process goes. In the end, no one, except Rachel, changes one word I have written. And, the ones she changes need changing. What I do think that they do is lend a feel and a certain flow to the books. The stories flow, and that is because I listen to their suggestions and change what needs to be changed. And with that many eyes on it there are less problems for the Editor.
So, to recap, I am the writer, copyright owner, but I believe in giving credit where credit is due. They do put the work in and they deserve to have their names on the books too. W. W. (Jay) Watson has his name as the lead on the Main Earth’s Survivors books. Geo will have his name on the Rapid City books, and already has his name on the Dreamer’s Worlds books. I like both men. I also like Rachel a great deal and I am very happy they are there to do the work. It gives me time to develop ideas and stories that are written by Jay and Geo, and occasionally time to introduce new material like the upcoming Outrunners series, the first book of which is new material as there never was a book that introduced the Outrunners.
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.
There have been changes to independAntwriters. A few writers have left, a few new ones have come. We have new sponsors, the books are doing well, and I believe that Rachel will be done with the first Outrunners books before the end of this month.
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.
Ian and Rachel Clancy plan on release of a second EMAN book soon. If you haven’t read the first you should. I read it, and I do not read everything I’m asked to read, but I did read it and it was very good..
So far this year we have released ten books through i. I myself have released seven of my own, Four Earth’s Survivors, one, two, three and SE. One Outrunners book, one Dreamer’s Worlds book and Eight Days in November. I hope to have Billy Jingo and one more Earth’s Survivors book added to that number.
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 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.
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PUBLISHED BY: independAntwriters Publishing
Zombie Fall is Copyright © 2013 by Wendell 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.
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..
All Artwork Copyright Wendell Sweet 2010 – 2013
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.
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 Zombie Fall, please Enjoy a free Preview of the Original Survivors Series of full length novels: From Ashes at Amazon…
The Earth’s Survivors Zombie Plagues Collection Two contains the full text from books three and four.
The struggle to stay alive has leveled out. The Survivors have found their place in the wilderness and The Nation is growing. Life is good for those who are lucky enough to be there. But out in the real world it’s a different story. The dead are taking over. The cities, the countryside, small towns and villages, everywhere the living go the dead are there. And they are not just there, they are in charge. Superior to the living. Infinitely more adaptable to the new world. Stronger, smarter, focused. Determined to make the world free of the living.
A supply trip with Mike, Ronnie and a few others turns into The Nations first real clash with the dead, resulting in death for some of The Nations own. They also meet a new group of survivors that will become their strongest allies in their fight against the undead. But there is little time to mourn that loss. The dead are pushing to take the rest of them, and it becomes a race to see who will make it back to the Nation alive.
This book also introduces the OutRunners. Join Bear, Cammy and Beth as they fight to keep the Nation safe. They are they first line of defense for The Nation. It is their job to make sure that The Nation stays safe, that the dead don’t get near it.
They are also constantly on the lookout for supplies for The Nation. Gasoline, Diesel, Weapons, even the simple everyday things that can only be found out in what most of the others call the real world.
The things The Nation needs to continue its growth, prosper, live in peace in spite of the hold that the dead now have on the outside world.
Without them none of what they have would be possible.
Without Bear and Beth, the First Zombie killing team would never have been possible. When the council asked them to serve they jumped at the chance, and they have never looked back.
This book explores the origins of the Zombie Killers. Who they are. Where they came from. It also traces the beginnings of Donita, the Zombie queen. It finds her in life and follows her into death and beyond as she rises to power.
I saw the Zombie on Madison take a mouthful of her back, just below the curve of her neck, and rip the flesh away from her spine. Cammy’s rifle came up and barked, and the zombie blew apart, raining down on Madison, a storm of black blood. Somehow, I managed to switch to full auto, get my rifle up, and spray an entire one hundred round clip into the other zombies where they rushed along the path towards Cammy and the fallen Madison.
Madison screamed. Time leapt back into its proper frame, and I found myself five feet away as Madison arched her back, screamed and tried to stand. Blood ran in a perfect river from her gaping wound, across the white of her T-Shirt and down to the waist of her jeans…
Bear is the leader of the Outrunners just as Mike is the current leader of the Nation. Bear, Beth, Billy and Pearl are the heart of the team.
We don’t know much about Bear, he is a closed man. He is loyal. He is a loner and prefers to be. He and Beth have formed a relationship that they will need to depend on to both lead the Outrunners, and keep The Nation safe..
This book starts at the beginning of the Zombie Apocalypse and introduces you to the Outrunners before they are the Outrunners. It travels forward until they meet the other Earth’s Survivors. It brings the story line, journals, and diaries, up to where book three left off, and then continues past that.
Travel along with Bear, Beth, Billy and the others as they fight their way out of New York City and death and destruction there.
Get The Zombie Plagues Collection two right now:
Check out the first Zombie Plagues collection book here:
Posted by Geo on 07-26-2017
I decided to entitle this What the hell is wrong with me, but maybe it’s a little too dramatic. Even so, there is something wrong with me. I just don’t seem to see things the same way as other people do. For instance, just before I sat down to write this I turned the channel to a movie channel to listen to movies while I work. Pathetic, I know, but I do it every night. The T.V. Is behind me so I have to turn to see it. So, I don’t. I just listen. But sometimes it’s so good that I do turn to watch for a second and I’m usually disappointed. Well, tonight I turned the channel and there was a sports show just ending, and one of the commentators turned to the screen and Said “We want to thank you for tuning in.”
“Really,” I asked?
He didn’t say anything. I guess we would all be surprised if he did. But, I continued… “I didn’t tune in. I hate your show! I wouldn’t watch it if you paid me.” He did seem to flinch a little at that, but the T.V. Went to commercial with no further incident… Not that there could have been one. I’m just saying…
Anyway, my point is that I do not like sports the way other men do. Several times in my life other men have stopped and looked at me like…. “Whoaaa, what’s up with this dude.” or “Did you play with dolls when you were a kid?” I learned early in my life that it is unmanly to say you do not like sports, or hint it, or not know the answer to a sports question. It’s just not allowed. Since I was young I had to go along with it, even so I couldn’t always keep up the facade. Occasionally someone would trip me up…
“So, what did you think of Babe Ruth?”
“Oh… Babe Ruth… It’s a damn good candy bar,” I answered.
He looked at me funny and I knew I screwed something up, but, eventually he laughed, I went home and asked my little Brother who Babe Ruth was, a hockey player? (My brother is a Hockey fanatic) “Sure… Sure… A hockey player,” my little brother tells me. That was payback for all the mean things I had done to him.
As I got older I’d pick a little and ask guys why they didn’t just give both teams a ball and send them home, I mean, wasn’t the point to get the ball? And didn’t they seem to take an awful long time to get it? And wouldn’t it be easier to just give them a frigging ball of their own? Wouldn’t it. That didn’t win me any points, and then, in ninth grade, I decided to not major in smoking behind the school that year and I took Home Economics instead.
My life as a social outcast was short lived though. I got kicked out of Home economics and went back to majoring in smoking behind the school. Then, voila, it hit me. Maybe not liking sports was… was… I couldn’t make the connection though. I had probably burned out too many brain cells smoking joints behind the school instead of cigarettes. Too bad, if I could have only made the connection I may have been able to see that real men need sports in their lives as much as they need to fart and burp… (Some men, not all men.). And sports lends a well rounded social adaptation you just can’t get any other way. I remember so many times at work some guy would say… “So, what do you think about those Dodgers?” And I would say, “Oh… Well they ought to go to jail…(Then, because it’s manly to swear and cuss), Frigging A! They ought to, those bastards!” Another potential social connection missed. Another opportunity to be a success in society missed.
At an early age I did decide to make a concession. I decided that I would watch Stock Car Racing. That was a sport. That would be my sport! It would solve everything. But no. Footballers, Baseballers, All those other ballers (It’s all games where you play with balls, right? … I’m just saying…) they don’t all believe that stock car racing is a real sport… What? So I had managed to like the one sport that wasn’t really a sport. What was wrong with me? I just didn’t know.
As I grew up and went to prison I realized that I had to be honest with myself about my shortcomings when it came to sports if I ever hoped to break the cycle and stop going back to prison. My whole life was in ruin. Virtual ruin. So I sat down and examined it and realized that I was uncomfortable with the games. I paid attention, I took notes, and I realized that I had some prejudices and hangups concerning the way the game was played. And, I plain didn’t understand the rules. So I took a closer look at them. And wrote down the ones that really confused me:
#1. Did you pat the other guy on the ass after he made a basket/home run/touchdown or before?
#2. Did you grab your junk whenever you wanted to or only when people were watching?
#3. Did you cry only in a strong emotional circumstance like your coach retiring, or could you cry if you just had a bad day, or the dog crapped on your new carpet?
#4. If you patted a guy on the ass more than once did it mean you had to buy him dinner?
I learned these are not questions you ask other men in prison.
After I got out of the infirmary, I tried to figure these questions out on my own after watching my sport for a while, but I only became more confused.
In NASCAR, nobody pats anyone on the Ass. At least not in public (Tony Stewart excepted, but he’s nuts anyway). I’ve seen dozens of finishes and never once have I seen the other drivers run up and pat the winner on the Ass. Not Once. There are no balls to play with. None. The drivers never grab their junk in front of the cameras, and if anyone cries, why one of the other drivers will just beat him up! Even the women drivers don’t cry, and, I’m pretty sure they don’t play with dolls either.
After much thought I decided these things:
#1. I’m not patting any guy on the ass whether it’s a game or not, and if one pats me on the ass there’s going to be trouble.
#2. I will only grab my junk when no one’s watching.
#3. If I feel an urge to cry I will remind myself that it could be worse. I could be a footballer and some sweaty, three hundred pound guy could be patting me on the ass all the time…
Okay. That’s it for this week. Check out my book series. I’ll be back later in the week…
I decided to write about what I have written. It might surprise you to know what I have written and published, and what I have written that remains unpublished at this time and may always remain unpublished…
Outrunners: I would love to start out by saying I am done with the third Earth’s Survivors Outrunners book, but I am not. It has about 50 pages to go, maybe. I say maybe because I have cut the story down twice and it has still ballooned, right now about 111,000 words. With 50 pages left to proof, and the ending as yet unwritten, only suggested with a few hundred words, I am unsure where it may end up. I do know that it will finish up some time tomorrow, I will do a read through, and then it will go to the editor when she is ready for it. I would say some time toward the end of the month it should be ready. I will give it away for a weekend and then it will settle into its place. That will determine whether there will ever be another Outrunners book, but I am sure there will be it is a really good story.
The story-line (No spoiler here) will take us back to March and the beginnings of the whole thing. We will not be back with our familiar friends, Mike, Candace, Patty, Ronnie, Bob and the rest of the eight though. Instead, we will be somewhere else with other characters. By the end of the book we will have come up to current series time, IE: to the same place that the Zombie Plagues book five ends, and a little past that. So that when the Zombie Plagues book six comes out next year the two will line up, whether you read both book series or not. That is because you could get by with the description and brief introduction of some characters from the Outrunners book at the end of The Zombie Plagues book three. You could pick enough up through the balance of book four to get an idea of who they are.
So, the upthrust is, you do not have to buy one to understand the other. There are other books planned where they will bleed together. There are two that I can think of where they will be in the same time line exactly, but, with very few exceptions the characters are their own. The exceptions are Mike, Candace, Ronnie, Patty, Bob, Janet, Lilly, Annie and Tim, Tom and occasionally a few other minor characters from the Zombie Plague main series showing up in the Outrunners books. This is because the Outrunners work for the Nation. They are part of the Nation. They protect the nation, and so there will be some back and forth. Of course Donita will be in both series as she plans to kill the nation and bring them into her own armies, and she will be in constant conflict with Bear and the other Outrunners.
The focus of the Outrunners series will be the battle with the dead, the other living factions, and keeping the Nation resupplied. These are meant to be fast paced action based stories. There are six more Outrunners Books written at this time.
As you can imagine, Bear, Cammy, Beth, Billy, Pearl* and Donita will be in the main Zombie Plague series as well. I believe I explained that well. At least I hope I did not confuse you.
*As yet you have not met Pearl. She is from the UK and is introduced in the first Outrunners book near the end. I can’t say much more about the circumstances, except Pearl is a permanent character in the Outrunners series.
Rebecca Monet: The Rebecca Monet novels follow a young woman as she works her way up the corporate ladder in the Television News business. There are six books written (Seven or eight outlined), and two more outlined for this series. My next project will be finishing Hurricane, the second novel in the series.
There are four other books written, Alone – Kat and Pat- Rebecca, and a second Billy Jingo novel to cap the series.
Rebecca, the lead character from These novels, is in the Zombie Plague series. Her name is changed, but she gives herself away.
Candace, Patty and Mike, main Earth’s Survivors Characters, all have cameos in the Rebecca Monet books, which are set in the before times.
Earth’s Survivors: Book six is out and available on iTunes. The books that follow, will concentrate more heavily on the community and the lives of the people as they rebuild their world. Yes, there will be wars, action, but the main overall focus will be on the people and their lives in the valley and where ever else they may find themselves.
Eve: Eve is a small two book series that really focuses on the struggles of a small party as they try to stay alive in the changed world. They are in the same circumstance as Earth’s Survivors, except some ten years in the future when we come to know them. These two books are intense people books. They never cross lines with the Nation unless there is some point in the future that I have not yet written.
Yeshua: One of the things time alone will do for you is cause you to examine your self. Your motivations. What you truly believe in. I did that. I found there was a great deal of myself that was not worth keeping. I found that I had fairly strong beliefs. I also found that I don’t believe everything I am told. So, I sat out to be able to understand enough Greek, Latin, and Chaldea to be able to read the actual biblical translations and decide for myself what they said. Easy. That is sarcasm, Sheldon.
Ten years later I had a book. My own translation of the bible. It took a very long time to write. It deals only with the New testament and nothing else. I do not know if I will ever publish it. I do know that before I do three ministers I know will read it. I do not want to be mistaken when it comes to God.
Short Stories: Dozens and Dozens of them. I will publish them in volumes. There are currently 24 books of writing that has to be transcribed. That is not counting Lyrics, Poetry, etc. Here are a few collections: Billy Jingo – Crime Time – Mister Bob.
Space Travel: I have a series of short stories that lead to a space novel. It’s is now available on iTunes. Star Dancer
Dreamer’s Worlds: Three more books in the Dreamer’s Worlds series are written. I currently have no plans to publish them. Dreamers on iTunes
The Caves: There are three more Caves novels finished. Right now I can not see them being published.
The Editor: Yes. There is an editor now. She is very good. She has the right to put her name in the books as she edits, I don’t know that she will do that though. You may never hear about her again except as you read you should find no mistakes in the books. I had hoped for this solution a few months back, waited, but it did not happen. It actually has happened now.
And, the last word on writing: I will attempt to answer the why of the writing, or at least the most often asked question.
“Why, if you have written all of these novels don’t you simply publish them?”
A few reasons. The first direct answer, is that all of them are written, but they are written in longhand. In composition notebooks. At the time it worked for me, but the problem now is to get them from that long hand and into a word processor format that can be published.
I have tried a few ways of doing this. I thought the easiest would be Speech to Text. (You can’t hear me, but I am laughing). (I am laughing hard). Let’s say that if the speech to text software improves at some point in the near future I will try it again, but thus far my experience has been poor to say the least. (I think you can find more on that in one of my blogs)
Second, more involved answer: They are complete novels. Start to finish, but as I re-write them into the word processor, I jump right back into that story and the story grows. It is a creative process. There is not much I can do to speed it up. I can sit down and write a fresh story in about two weeks start to finish. I mean a 75k to 100k novel. It may not be perfect, but it will be complete, in need only of editing and regular re-writes. Reading my own crappy handwriting, and then typing the story in with revisions, however, takes me about a month. I sometimes think it would be better to just write a whole new book. IE: That is exactly what I did for the first Outrunners books. There were no Outrunners book that explained the characters origins. I wanted one. Two weeks ago I sat down with the first Outrunners Mission book to write it, instead I wrote the new story that introduces the characters. I was pretty happy with it, but you can see how the time gets spent.
The third thing is, what to write? Should I write only Earth’s Survivors books because there are fans and the books pay the bills? ‘Yes, I tell myself, do that.’ but then there are other books that speak to me. So I am trying to fairly split these books up. Most authors offer one or two books a year, I have given three Earth’s Survivors books this year,. Admittedly most of that production was to separate the series and send them on their way in different directions. But as long as there is a demand from you for those books I will write them. In fact, if there were no demand I would write them. That is how I wrote the first twenty.
At one time there were two guys who gathered to listen to my stories about the end of the world. Two guys. That was it: Before them there was only me. I had to like it, get into it to write it. In a creative writing class I took, there were about six people that showed up on a regular basis to class. We read each other stories, short stories only and encouraged each other to write.
My point is, I think some people who read books think writers sit down and write for them. And in a sense we obviously do. If you didn’t like what we write we would be back working our old jobs, mine would be a carpenter, singer/song writer in a minute. But we don’t really do that at all. Our first fan is us. I have to like what I write or it will not come to me. I think a blog I wrote a week or so ago gets into the creative process and how it works for me. It really comes to a miracle. I have no real way of knowing how the process works. I only know it does work. And I know the first fan is me. Then maybe a few people I trust, and it goes outward from there. And then once the process has come to fruition I try to write for you; try to write what I believe you want to read, but it comes out as it comes out.
So that is the longer explanation, because when I sit down to write what comes to me comes. Like sitting down with the first Outrunners book and then writing a whole new novel. Just stick with me though, I will write it all out and I do listen.
Other Things: IE, A little humor
Rain and New York: The rain in New York this year has been ridiculous. It seems that the only time it isn’t raining is when the humidity is 98% and the temp is 89 to 99 and it’s getting ready to rain and you can’t move without melting. Arrgg. Oh, and when it’s drizzling, which I believe is rain, but I was warned is not called rain, but drizzle, so may not actually be rain. Hmm. And. Our lake, Lake Ontario is actually above flood stage and has been for the whole summer so far. All the state beaches are flooded and unusable too.
Six billion cable channels: I have noticed that although I have six billion cable channels there is nothing at all to watch. Unless I like cooking shows, selling shows, reality shows, basketball – baseball – football – Girlfriend/Wives shows, guys with 70’s hairdos selling music from the, surprise 1970’s. Um sitcoms from the 60’s 70’s or 80’s, oh and 90’s too. Um, tractor pulling, Bear hunting, NASCAR racing, witch hunting, alligator wrestling, speedboat racing, and some stuff that I pause and go, What the Hell is that, as I’m going by. Doctor Phil, Price is Right, Jerry Springer, Katie, Holy God, the list just goes on and on.
So I said to myself; why can’t I find something out of all of that to watch? But the answer is clear, IDHTC Envy. IDHTC Envy is a very real thing. It is propagated by the cable network of course, because it pays them to do it. IDHTC Envy, (I don’t Have That Channel Envy) is a rough deal. Here’s how it gets me.
I know I don’t get HBO, CINEMAX, ENCORE and a sixty-two thousand other channels. Okay. Great. I don’t get them. I’ll just go look at the ones I do get. But on the way to the channels I do get, I happen by the channels I don’t get and I see all the really great stuff they have that I don’t get. Never mind I get all the Showtime channels. Sundance, IFC, Free Movies on Demand. Netflix (My personal favorite). The Movie Channel and the LMN movie channel-More about that channel. I mean, how many movies can there be about a guy who screws over a woman and she ends up paying him back? Tracking him down and bringing him to justice. I mean, do all men do these things? Apparently dozens and dozens of them do, because that is all that LMN shows! Oh and I get the second LMN channel that shows all the other movies like that, that the first channel doesn’t have time to show, because, alas, there are only twenty-four hours in a day, thank you God.
Where was I? Oh, so I do get good channels (Excluding that channel and channels I like to think of as the wacko channels. I’ll just shut up about those channels, but we all know they are there). But I get good channels too. However, every time I go by HBO or Cinemax I tell myself… DON’T LOOK! DON’T LOOK! And I try not to look, but I have to know what channel I’m on as I pass, right? And I see it… It doesn’t matter what only that it’s something better than what I get on the channels I can watch.
So then I get depressed and dive right in. Torture myself going through all the channels I don’t get. I click on them anyway. “Click to buy !,” the screen says. I chicken out. I have better uses for my $7.95 I tell myself. But I have looked. Now I can not go back to the same old, same old.
Oh, I will go and watch my sub-standard movie on the channel I get, but all the time my heart is lusting after the movie I saw the description of on the other channel I don’t get. Why, I ask myself? Why, Why, Why!
So, I decided in the end, I have plenty to watch, I am simply suffering from IDHTC. I take an aspirin and watch Grapes of Wrath for the fifteenth time. I can really feel for the Joad’s, I’m suffering too, if Henry Fonda only knew.
That’s my weekend here, except the rain which never seems to stop. I am pretty sure it will though about the time the snow starts flying…
Okay. The last few days I have worked on the Zombie Plague Collection books and those are now available. Paperbacks:
Book One: https://www.createspace.com/5767401
Book Two: https://www.createspace.com/5767421
Geo or I will be here throughout the week. Have a good week, Dell…
Blackness Of The Soul is copyright 2015 Dell Sweet. All rights reserved.
This short story is used with permission. If you would like to share this short story please point those you wish to share it with to this blog page. This material may not be copied electronically or digitally and or distributed without the publishers express permission. Permission is granted to use short excerpts in critiques. The publisher of record for this work is independAntwriters. The copyright holder, Wendell Sweet retains all rights foreign and domestic to this work.
BLACKNESS OF THE SOUL © 2014 Paul Block all rights reserved
This material is copyright protected as noted and is used with permission.
This material is NOT edited for content
Blackness Of The Soul
Paul Brown settled the barrel of the nine Millimeter pistol against his left palm, curled his hand around it as if to hold it forever, and then released it finger by finger. A sob escaped his throat and a fat tear drop rolled down his left cheek and splashed against the butt of the pistols grip where the clip protruded slightly. He took his free hand, wiped the tear away and then reached for the beer that sat beside him.
He raised the can to his mouth, drank deeply, and then continued to stare at the black pistol that rested in his right hand. Once again his left hand closed around the barrel, but lightly. Stroking it. Caressing it. He fished a cigarette from the pack beside him on the floor, thumbed the wheel of his old Zippo and pulled the harsh tobacco smoke into his lungs.
The smoke, or the beer, or both seemed to calm him, at least momentarily. His chest hitched, but he stifled the sob this time. The sobs frightened him more than the gun. The sobs came on their own and there seemed to be no way to fight or stop them. They were a life unto themselves. The gun on the other hand only had to speak once. And technically he would never hear it.
“Probably never hear it,” he whispered into the semi darkness of the living room. He had pulled the curtains on the outside world. Blocked it away from him.
Probably never hear it. He wondered about the truth of the statement for what seemed to be an excessive amount of time to him, caught himself, and took another deep drink of the cold beer followed by a near frenzied pull from the cigarette. He waited on the sob, hoping to catch it, but it came when he didn’t expect it. A flood of tears came with it, falling from his eyes, staining his reddened cheeks before he could think to try to stop it.
“Oh, God,” he moaned. He sucked in a deep breath, lifted the pistol to his mouth and bumped the barrel across his teeth and into his mouth.
Everything seemed to freeze. The taste of oiled metal flooded his mouth He gagged, and then nearly squeezed the trigger too hard because of it. Panicked, he ripped the gun from his mouth tearing open his upper lip on the gun site as he did.
He was breathing hard. He needed to calm down. The tears just continued to fall. His cheeks felt raw. His eyes full of sand. His head began to pound harder. It had begun to pound earlier. He thought about that too. No more headaches. None. No more worries. No more anything at all. He sighed and returned the gun to his lips. He could taste the oil and metal once more, mixed with the blood from the torn lip.
His lips did not seem to want to part. He eased the gun away, took a deep drag off the cigarette, his breath shuddered in and out. He tipped the can and took a deep drink to rinse his mouth of the tastes that had made him gag, then upended the can and drained it. He reached over and pulled another beer from the bag on the carpeted floor, took another deep drink to rinse the tastes from his mouth and then lit a new cigarette from the butt of the old one. He dropped the old butt into the freshly emptied can beside him. He pulled the smoke deeply into his lungs and then let it drift from his nose as he slowly exhaled, trying to calm himself. If he could only think this out, his mind jabbered. He took another deep drink from the can.
In a way it would be nice to sit down and think this through, but in another way he didn’t care if he ever had another thought in his life. He didn’t want to take the time to think it out at all. He had made up his mind earlier. In a few minutes, when he finished the cigarette and the beer he’d do it.
He didn’t want to die with a lit cigarette in his mouth and burn down the house. Anne had to live here… Well, maybe not, but even so she’d have to sell it or something… If she didn’t lose it…
He pulled hard on the cigarette as if rushing it to its end so he could rush his own end. He took a deep drink from the beer and felt the headache ease back a little.
He could feel the buzz from the beer. Maybe it would knock down the headache after all. Either way the headache was not long for this world, he decided.
Calm seemed to come over him all at once. The sob that he had been waiting for didn’t come. His chest didn’t hitch. His cheeks still felt irritated, his eyes full of sand, his mind weary and removed from him to a degree, but the hysteria he had been sure was going to grab him didn’t make another appearance.
Through the curtains he could see the late afternoon sunlight: Still gold in the sky. Heating up his part of the south. There was no noise except the steady rumble of the air conditioner. Whatever heat the sun held was lost on him today.
He pulled on the cigarette, noticed that it was all but dead and dropped it into the can with the last one. He upended the beer can and drained it. He waited, expecting the sobs to come back, but the calm remained. He sighed once, was surprised to find that the gun was only inches from his lips, opened his mouth and slid the barrel in. The hysteria stayed at bay. He adjusted the barrel so it would be more comfortable, sighed at the absurdity of that thought, and then squinted his eyes down as his finger tightened on the trigger.
“How do you feel, Paul?”
Paul blinked and tried to look around him. He found that it was not entirely possible. He couldn’t really turn around to where the voice had come from no matter how he tried.
“It doesn’t matter though,” the same voice said.
And it didn’t. It became completely unimportant right then. Just like that.
“How do you feel?”
“I’m pretty upset. I…” He stopped. He had been pretty upset, but he wasn’t now. Now he felt… Well, at peace.
“That’s good, Paul. You should feel at peace.”
“It feels good,” he said. It seemed entirely normal that whoever was behind him could read his mind… Am I dead?
“I wanted to talk to you about how you got here, Paul.”
The time spun out.
“I stole about… I guess I don’t even know how much… I kept stealing and it kept adding up. And I knew they’d catch it… And they did… My boss must have called the cops,“ Paul said.
“Actually the company accountant… But I meant how you got here… To this point.”
“I… … I don’t know what you mean.”
“To kill yourself, Paul. I mean how did you get to this point where you decided to kill yourself… Take your own life… How did you reach that point, Paul?”
“Oh… I thought about it… I…” He stopped and thought about it. “I see… It’s just tough to understand… I don’t really know exactly… Are you God?”
“Do you think of me as God?”
Paul thought about it. “I think I do… I think so… I believe you are God.”
“Then I am.”
“You are? … Really? You really are God?”
“I really am, Paul…”
His voice was soft. Reassuring.
“I… I thought you would sound different… I… Am I dead?”
“No… Not yet… You have some little time left… I thought, since you asked, that before you do something that will change everything we should talk.”
Paul nodded. “I prayed… Earlier I prayed.”
“I know… You know, Paul, people sometimes think I don’t listen to prayer anymore… If I ever did. They tell themselves that and then they begin to believe it. I do listen though. I do. Every prayer. Every time. Do you believe that, Paul?”
“I do… I mean, I do now. I do know that now. I’m ashamed to say that.”
“Don’t be. There is no shame here. You are used to saying words that really don’t mean anything true. They are there, you say them… In this case you say that you are ashamed when you are not ashamed.”
Paul examined himself. “You’re right… I don’t feel ashamed. I feel good still. At peace.”
“So how did you get here. How did you come to be here? Who told you that suicide was a solution?”
“I… It was painful… My wife will leave me. We’ll lose everything… The kids… I can’t imagine what the kids will do… Feel… It seemed… It seemed right.”
Paul thought about it. “Maybe not… It felt like the only choice I had.”
“Yet you called out to me. Why?”
“Because… Because, I used to believe in you… I…”
He laughed. “And I am still here. Did you think I had died? Did you think I had stopped believing in you?”
“Some people think so… That you died.”
“No… I guess the truth is I just stopped believing… I believed in other things… Taxes… Bills… Mortgage payments… Summer… Fall…”
“The things you see every day.”
“That’s a good way to put it.”
“I have a way with words.”
Paul laughed and then stopped. “I thought maybe that was a joke.”
”It was… Do you wish you had not stopped believing? Do you see how things could have been different?”
“I can see that now, but what good is it after the fact? I pulled the trigger… I remember that.”
“Did you? I think you asked me to help… Sometimes I help in unexpected ways… Thomas needed to see… To place his hand in my side… Peter needed to see me risen… Sometimes my people ask me for help and then don’t recognize the help when it comes.”
“Like now, yes. It’s time to think. To breath… To make a decision… A different decision.”
“Then what?” Paul asked.
“Then? … What comes, comes… I know what it is to live. I have felt what you feel. Struggled with the same temptations. We take it as it comes to us, Paul.”
“So the problems would still be there?”
“That’s help?” Paul asked.
“I will help you all that you will allow.”
Paul thought about it and realized it was true.
“So… How did you end up here?”
“I guess I just walked away… I guess I chose to do that.”
You still choose words that are untrue. Do you guess or do you know?”
“I know. I walked away.”
“You know, it’s a split second decision… Many times if you take the time to think you can get through whatever comes at you.”
Paul nodded, took a deep breath. “I see.”
The finger stopped. He remembered something… Something…
Summer. A thousand years ago it seemed… Anne… When they had first met… The picture in his mind was so perfect, so intense. So real, and a flood of images followed it… But… There had been something else there for a moment, hadn’t there? He had been focusing on the trigger… The pressure… And there had been something else there… Just for a moment… It seemed so. It seemed as though he had been ready to pull the trigger and… And someone…
He pulled the barrel from his mouth and sucked in a deep breath. Whatever it might have been it was gone now. The sobbing came back with the fresh air. The pistol slid from his hand and fell to the carpet with a soft clunk. He lowered his head into his hands and let the tears take over…
I hope you enjoyed Dell’s story and thanks to him for letting us reprint it here. You can get more short stories from the collection this story came from, Mister Bob at iTunes: Mister Bob
Have a great Thursday and a great upcoming weekend too! Check out the link below, Geo
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The Zombie Plagues 3…
This material is copyright © 2017 Geo Dell and is used here with permission
Watertown, New York
They came from the hill. They came from the many graveyards that dotted the city where they had hidden in fear. They came from the surrounding countryside and made the journey to the small northern city. The wolves followed them from the tree lines, shadowy alleyways and doorways of abandoned buildings, but they kept their distance. More and more they turned and made their way out of the city, leaving it to the dead.
He led them, his limp was gone entirely. His body had finished the major changes that being un-dead bought with it. He had come from the barn outside of the city, looked down at the blackness of the valley that the small city lay in, and he had known it was time.
Miles away another lead a similar group, beyond that another, and another, across what had been the United States and beyond. Across the lands, the oceans, the continents. The living were through. The dead were the inheritors of this world now, the living squatters hanging on to something they had no claim to.
He scented the air while his gathered around him. Over one thousand, and nearly that on the other side of the city waiting for his command. He knew the numbers exactly, eighteen hundred seventy-three, but the numbers were unimportant, the time was important. Their time. The end of the old time. It was on the air. In the air. He took a step forward and those behind him surged, only to stop once more when he stopped, careful to leave him space. Careful not to bump or jostle him. For such a large crowd they were nearly completely silent.
He scented the air. There where hundreds of the breathers hidden away. Hundreds that believed they were safe. He knew where they were. He knew what they considered safe. But it was safe because he had allowed it to be safe. The time of safety for the living was at an end though.
He knew he would lose some of his own, but he knew those he took would raise to join him. It was ironic really, if the breathers could only look at it that way they might be able to see it in an entirely different light. A gift. And a gift was really what it was. How often did you wish you could live forever? How often had he wished it? So, here it was and they were running from it. Afraid of forever or afraid of passing through death to get to forever?
He looked over the dark city. The breeze that passed his face told him about those hiding. It also told him winter was on the way. Bad for the breathers, but not for them. Cold was life. Heat was the enemy. Cold was something to be embraced, longed for, fought for, striven to attain. Heat was the destroyer of that life. The coming winter would be good for them, they would come together and move to the larger cities.
He took a step, another, and began the walk down the hill toward the darkened city. The thousand behind him moved as one, following him down the hill. No fires burned. No lights shone. He could smell the stink of the breathers. It repulsed him and yet it drew him at the same time.
He could smell smoke on the air. The breathers needed their warmth, but it would only lead his to them more easily. They had their fear of fire, but they had a bigger fear of him. A fear of what he would do if they did not succeed. There was another death. Another death that was permanent. He had set examples, and he could set more, but the deeper into the process they were the more in tune with him and his needs they were. They did not need examples. They knew the consequences and they understood them completely.
The walk down the hill was pleasant. The air became even cooler as they descended into the valley that held the small city, the scents of the living clearer. He stopped near a crumbled store front on the outskirts of the city itself. A crossroads, or what had been a crossroads. The others stopped behind him. Waiting.
The main road stretched away into the city itself. To the left and right the buckled and overgrown blacktop stretched away, finding alternate ways into the city. He said nothing, but those behind him began to divide into groups, some to the left, some to the right. A few minutes later, the cold blue moonlight shining off the cracked and tilted roadway, they started on their individual ways. A few minutes after that the intersection was empty, as though they had never been there at all.
She ran from the doorway of a falling down building, one of the several that sat at the crossroads, the children under her arms and pressed closely to her. They were really too big to carry, and she would not be able to run for long, but she had to put as much distance between herself and the dead ones as she could, and the kids could never keep up with her…
She had not heard them come but she had sensed something wrong, the way any mother will, and she had crept to the front of the crumbling building and peeked out the shattered window, hiding herself in the shadows as she did. They were everywhere. She had nearly screamed aloud in her fear, but managed to reign it in because she knew it would lead to discovery. They would come for her, and if they came for her whether the kids hid or not they would be finished. They couldn’t survive without her. She had clamped one hand across her mouth and faded back further into the shadows.
At first she had refused to look. Afraid that they would somehow know she was watching. But she couldn’t stand not knowing where they were and what they were doing. Were they, even now, creeping toward the building? Was one peering through the shattered glass and into the shadows where she was hidden? Her eyes flew open. No. But, she had nearly convinced herself that it was true. They had stood motionless in the road. A vast group. Several hundred. Maybe more than a thousand. Maybe more than that.
Some did not look dead at all, they seemed almost as alive as anyone else. The differences were there though. You could not put that many living people in one place and maintain absolute silence. Humans… Living humans, she had amended… Were these still humans, she had then asked herself? She pushed her own question aside. She didn’t really care. The point was humans… Her kind of humans, would not be that silent. Would not be able to be that silent.
This crowd had stood stock still. Hands dangling at their sides. They looked stupid, but she knew they were far from stupid. She had been watching. They were not smart, far from it. She had watched them stand still and wait while someone lined up a rifle or pistol and shot them. Wasn’t that stupid? To her way of thinking it was. But when she had thought about that she realized it had been some time since she had actually seen that happen. No. They were smarter than that now. Not as fast or smart as a human… There was that word again, but didn’t it mean that there was something about them that she didn’t consider human? Something in them that bothered her so much that she could not look at them as humans? Something…
She had watched, careful not to make any noise. The children were in the back, in an old freezer room. A heavy steel door closed and locked with a padlock. Even now they could be calling out to her and she would not know. But, that meant that the Zombies also would not know. Could not know. She hoped that they were not upset. Not worried. That they had not missed her. But she had been relieved that she had thought to close and lock the freezer door. It had occurred to her though, that if anything happened to her they would die in that freezer. No one would know they were there. No one would come for them. They would be frightened, scared… She had pushed it away and watched the dead where they stood, hands dangling, faces blank. They looked stupid. They looked stupid, dammit, and they should be stupid! But they weren’t.
She had watched from the shadows as a few minutes later they began to move away. No words passed between them. They made very little noise even in their leaving. Feet scuffing against the roadway, their clothes rustling slightly. No more than a whisper on the wind, and she had wondered what it was that had bought her from her steel prison in the first place… Intuition. Had to be.
She had waited a few moments after they were gone. The moonlight was cold. Her breath fogged lightly on the air. She was terrified, she found. Still terrified she corrected. She had taken to doing that. Correcting her own words as if she was someone else. She had worried at first that it could mean she was going crazy. But she had decided that it didn’t matter if she was crazy or not, didn’t matter in this world because the entire world was crazy. So what was the problem with a little more crazy? None, she had decided. She could go on correcting herself forever. Her heart still hammered in her chest. Hard… Bam… Bam… Bam… it’s a good thing they had not been able to hear it.
She had looked out at the roadway. Empty. Not a sound, but something bothered her about it. If they knew she was here they would come back. They would. And if they were gone it would be best to leave right now. Not wait until they came back and found her… Killed her, she modified. Yes… Killed her. And the kids… Or leave them to starve to death in the old freezer… Or… Could they figure out the lock mechanism? Could they? They were smarter, but were they that much smarter? Maybe they were. Maybe…
She had turned and ran to the freezer. Panicked. Knocking aside a stack of boxes as she went. The sound loud in the silence. More than loud. Overwhelming. Sending her into a frenzy. She nearly snapped off the key getting it in the lock. Her breath coming hard and fast. Creating pain behind her rips. That sharp pain she associated with running too hard for too long. And her breaths were unsatisfying, she couldn’t seem to get enough air. And then the key had slid home, she had twisted the padlock, shot it from the door and let it fall to the floor.
The kids had been sleeping, but they had come awake quickly as she pulled them from the floor and began dressing them.
“But mommy, I’m sleeping… I’m tired,” Danny had complained.
Jessie had just stared blankly. Blinking her eyes and looking around.
“Honey,” she had told Danny, “We got to go… We got to… Don’t fight me, Baby. Give me your foot.”
“Is it the dead guys,” Jessie had asked quietly, her eyes serious. She had held Jennies eyes and refused to let them go.
“Yes, Baby. Yes. Now come on. Get yourself dressed for mommy… I have enough with your brother. Get dressed, we got to go.”
Jessie had nodded and began to dress herself. She had turned to Danny as she dressed “‘member them dead guys?” she had asked him.
He had stopped squirming and looked seriously at his older sister. “Yeah,” he had breathed.
“Well they might get us if you don’t hurry up… Making mamma take too much time… They eat little boys first too.” She had turned away and began to tug on her sneakers. Danny had stopped fighting and had actually began helping.
“Wrap your arms around Mommy and hold tight,” Jennie had told them. She had been a big woman just a few months ago, now she was maybe a hundred pounds. Maybe it would make her faster, but she didn’t believe her own words, and the little voice inside her head continued to chatter along about running in boots, and she should have changed to sneakers, and… She had shut it down, peered out through the shattered window at the still and empty street. Jessie had reached down and turned the knob on the door for her, and she had stepped back and the door had swung inward. A minute later and she was running through the shadows at the edge of the road. A deep stitch in her side…
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A little commentary about the weather and Zombie Plague freebie…
Well, here it is June. It appears as though summer has finally arrived here in Northern New York, or as I like to think of it; Little Canada. That has been a joke with myself and my friends since we were little kids. It was because we live so close to Canada that we could pick up the Canadian television stations better than we could the American television stations. And as a teenager I probably spent as much time in Canada as I did in this area. It was like going over to the next little town. No different.
The thing I appreciated as a curious young boy was that channel 13; CJOH in Canada did not censor their television broadcasts. If you watched a movie and it had anything risque in it they showed it. Or maybe a film entirely in French. We picked up a little French living on the border; not enough to understand it completely, but it made us feel sophisticated to watch a film in another language. Instant culture. Status. At least to us. I can remember watching Tina Turner do a concert broadcast on Canadian television, wearing a fishnet tank top shirt that covered nothing. My friend and I were floored. At least until my mother came in and flipped out. Oh well. Little Canada.
In the summer time there were always French speaking tourists. They came here just like we went there. Now if you want to cross the border you better be prepared for a wait. And I can not recall the last time I saw Canadian tourists on our streets. A long time.
I also grew up in Texas as a younger child. There we lived right on the border of Mexico. My parents took us back and forth to Mexico all of the time. There were a few places they liked to eat in Mexico. They would hop in the car and we were there. It was pretty cool. So I think I grew up with an Idea that the U.S. Borders were pretty loose things. More concept than reality.
I only mention it to relay how it used to be. The concept of another country, a border was much different back then. And like anything else you live; it seemed as though it would always be that way. It’s sad to see that it has changed so drastically and it makes me wonder how much more it will change.
The weekend is coming, take time to enjoy it. Up here we know the deal and we are already counting down the weeks to winter and there aren’t many.
I’ll leave you with a look at Geo Dell’s The Zombie Plagues and links to get the book…
The Zombie Plagues: Book Four
Copyright 2012 Geo Dell. All rights reserved
This book is a product of the authors imagination. You may not copy, post, transfer or otherwise make any use of this material without written permission from the author. This post is licensed to TXavierGrant.com only.
This material is protected by copyright laws foreign and domestic
This material is NOT edited for content.
Take a look at Geo Dell’s The Zombie Plagues: Book Four…
The Zombie Plagues Book 4
Copyright 2013 – 2014 Geo Dell All rights reserved
Used with permission.
“Dead in the trees,” Bear’s bass voice called out.
The noise was instant, and the flash of gunfire lit up the twilight. They were all firing hard and fast and it took Mike a second to realize that someone was yelling above the roar of the gunfire. He turned away from the wood line and that was when the first of the dead came over the hood of the nearest truck and jumped at him. He yelled as he turned his gun and fired. All hell broke loose after that.
Mike drove the barrel of his gun into the zombies head, and only barely got it lined up to do it before he found himself on the ground, the zombie biting at him as he went down, missing by scant inches. Mike pulled the trigger and the zombies head exploded in a spray of red. Almost like a fog in the air that seemed to hang there, Mike thought, as he made it back to his feet and ran at another zombie climbing over the hood of a truck near him. He realized then that the fog had stayed with him. In his eyes, he knew, and he hoped that it could not infect him that way. He squeezed the trigger briefly and the zombie climbing over the truck flew back from the hood.
He stiffened his knees to slow his momentum and the coming collision with the fender of the truck. He managed to catch himself without losing his balance and sprawling over the hood of the truck. He got himself turned and Chloe began to scream. Even as he began to turn he knew the zombie’s from the woods were gone. That had been a distraction. He began to think then that they had thought out their attack. Later he was positive.
Chloe’s rifle came up and she fired almost as soon as Mike had found her with his eyes. Mike’s head spun trying to track what she was watching. He saw it all in a short burst. Less than a second.
Two zombies scrambled over the hood of one of their own trucks. Beth was between them. Already bitten. They gnashed their teeth and bit as they tried to drag her off. She clawed and fought. Mikes own gun started up but another spoke from behind him. All three blew apart in front of him and then the silence fell hard for a few seconds. The stench of gunpowder hung in the air. A blue-gray haze hung heavy in the air. The daylight was hanging by a thread.
Beth’s body slid off the hood of the truck and slumped to the ground. The next gunshot came as a surprise. Mike spun around to find George collapsing to the ground. One hand held to his stomach. Blood streaming over his fingers as he toppled over. Brad, Beth’s brother turned to Bear and his rifle started to come up.
Ronnie yelled Bear’s Name. The words came from Ronnie’s mouth at nearly the same time that his rifle bucked in his hands. Mike watched it all happen in slow motion. He had simply reacted. Bear finished turning and watched as Brad flew back and slammed into the fender of a nearby car. His eyes moved from Brad to Ronnie whose rifle was still clutched tightly in his hands. Barrel smoking. He had called out Bear’s name and then fired. Chloe rushed over to George but he was clearly gone. Debbie came from a crouch near the fender of a truck and stumbled to her feet. Her eyes were wide and shocked. The others stood slowly and looked around.
The dead were gone. Run off into the shadows of the lot, faded back into the trees. Chloe began to stand from where she had crouched by George. She had not made it fully to her feet when his leg twitched and he started to move, his hand reaching out to grab at her. Three rifles spoke quickly and his head blew apart splattering Chloe as she tried to spring back, too late. She collapsed onto the ground and began to sob. Debbie came over, pulled her into her arms and began to cry softly with her. Mike spun and kicked the fender of a truck with one heavy boot, crushing it inward.
“Easy, Baby,” Bear said in his bass rumble. “Easy.” He walked to Chloe and pulled her to her feet. “Crying don’t cut it,” he told her. “I’d like to give you that luxury but I can’t. Out here this is the way it is. I’ve lived with it for the last several months.” He pulled Debbie up too. “You had to do it and you did. And a good goddamn thing you did it fast too… No telling how many more of us might have gotten dead if you hadn’t.” He turned to George and Brad. “Did anybody see what that was about?”
“George shot her too,” Debbie said. “So Brad shot him… I don’t know from there… She was his sister. I suppose…” She was still upset and her voice hitched and caught as she spoke.
“Can’t have that shit,” Bear said. His voice boomed out.
“Bear’s right,” Mike said loudly. “Does anybody here want to be a zombie? Because if they had gotten her over the hood of the car that’s exactly what would have happened to her. She was on the way already… They already had her,” his voice lowered. “Listen… Let’s get some fires going… Right now… Then we’re going to lay out the ground rules for the rest of this trip…Bear?” He waited until Bear looked at him.
“I don’t know… You do… Should of already done this, but you’re going to tell us what we need to do to get our heads out of our asses so we can get home in one goddamn piece.” Bear nodded slowly. He turned back to the others. “Fires, dinner, then we talk this out. Meanwhile watch everywhere… Hard.”
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