Saturday Night in the summer time…

Posted By Dell Sweet

The weekend is slipping away from me. I think someone stole a few days and tried to slip one over on me. Or I would, except it really is Saturday. I would like to mention the book Zero Zero. I wrote this book some time ago, as in years, and it is only now available. I used to write an end of the world book series, Earth’s Survivors, and this book is in the same vein. Different, but I think equally good. I mean that. I was talking about this place today with someone today. How it did not start out to be an indie publishing vehicle, but simply an outlet for my own digital book copies. Now there are nine writers here and I doubt it will stop there. I guess we don’t say much about ourselves. We are all writers. This site was first started to create a space for Writers, Musicians and Artists. We have many of each and many who do all of those things. One thing I have come to realize is that creative people wear many hats, not just one or two. None of us own the site, but three of us work here full time. Yes that makes it nice, we get to write as we write. In fact, it is encouraged. The owner is not a writer or a musician or an Artist. She enjoys all three things and many others though, and so she gave us this and allowed us to develop it and build it.

That did not happen the way some of us saw it happening. I can’t speak for the others but I saw a site where writers, artists and musicians all hung out and marketed their work. Now we have a site where all those things have occurred. The writers, musicians and artists are here, we talk all day sometimes, back and forth, give advice or work on projects, etc. If someone asks me to help, I do. I wrote two of my most successful short stories that way. One of the other writers wanted to publish an anthology and wanted some of my work in it. Something new. Something different. Okay. I offered Zombie Fall and Rapid City. Neither of those stories would have happened if I had not been in that creative process with others. There are top grade musicians here. I do my own music. I used to play in bands years ago. But I have not stuck with it: Although I love it I have too many other obligations on my time. So I have turned to other musicians to catch up on the new technology, so to speak, because three of my characters in the Earth’s Survivors books wrote music and I wanted to be able to provide that music on the website as it evolves. My point is that the creative processes here are wonderful. They help all of us to be better at what we do, and in some cases write things we would not have written, and, the big deal, it is not what we had planned to build here. And it continues to grow.

I couldn’t be happier and I’m glad to be a small part of it too. I believe I mentioned before that I am a tech wizard, well, at least in my own head, but, I am common sense stupid. Lacking, sadly, in that small area of the brain that says ‘What?’ or ‘Hey wait a second!’ Nope. My brain just says, ‘Yeah, go ahead, who cares,’ or, ‘Hey, it ain’t my problem, know what I mean?’ Here’s an example: I picked up a screwdriver yesterday that I had bought in case I needed it. Brilliant, because, six months after I bought it? I needed it. Brilliant. There is the brain in action. I did not have to go buy one, simply go get it and use it. But since I needed it I had to open it. Except it was packaged in that stiff, molded, welded-plastic stuff. You know, the stuff that was predicted to be gone soon because Walmart supposedly hated it? And because there were several injuries reported after trying to tear it open. Yes. That is the knowledge I had when I picked up the package, that it could hurt me. I think that is as far as my common sense thinking went because immediately my Brain said, ‘Yeah, may be, but it won’t hurt me.’ No explanation as to why it wouldn’t, just that it wouldn’t. And that is the problem with my lack of common sense.

My dumb self went… ‘Okay’ and immediately began to try to rip the package open. After ten minutes and two cuts I gave up and admitted that my brainiac self had duped me again, bandaged my two hurt fingers, thanked God I had not lost a limb, and marveled over why we don’t issue this to our soldiers. They could present it to the enemy… ‘Here. Enjoy this Swiss Army knife that you can use to stab me to death.’ Our Soldier Smiles at his enemy. The enemy looks suspicious, but I have found a lack of common sense is a pretty, well, common thing. Especially in undeveloped countries that don’t know what that stuff is. So he tries to open it and end up slicing himself all up. Great weapon. I’m sure it could work.

Eventually, with the help of a pair of scissors, I did get the screw driver out, but I cut myself once more because the edge where I had cut it was so sharp. And I wondered, because people who lack common sense often wonder about stupid things, and I am no exception, what if you bought a pair of scissors encased in that crap? And you bought them because you had to have them to open that sort of packaging?. What could you do? Could you go back to the store and use a complimentary pair of scissors to cut open the packaging? Could you go get your carpenters knife (Razor Knife) and slice it open with that? (I did this once while holding the packaging on my lap. NOT Recommended.). Do you even have or own a Carpenter’s Knife? Could you run over it with the car and break the packaging? Nope. Doesn’t work. Nevertheless, I thought of all these things anyway.

No, I decided, I would bend the package until the scissors popped through. That would work. So now I plan a trip to my local Walmart, so I can buy a pair of scissors and try my theories. And once I get them open I’m going to run with them and see if that old wives’ tale is true. I mean, after all, how can it be dangerous if you don’t fall? I don’t plan to fall.

Well that’s my week. I hope your work week had some amusement in it for you as mine did. It’s a beautiful night here in New York, 68 degrees and low humidity. I just mowed the lawn a little while ago, so add the smell of fresh mowed grass to that. If I had a pond and a fishing pole I’d be all set, but I do have a chair and a porch and I think I’ll go watch the sunset. I like the way my characters in my books get to do that. They think of those things, maybe because they have lost so much. They take time to enjoy and appreciate those simple pleasures now. Enjoy the Week… Dell.



HIS OWN

They had discovered earlier that though none of their cell phones worked, some phone lines were still working. Well, sort of, she thought. You could call out, but all you got was static or a busy signal. Mike had tried for over two hours, calling every emergency number in the telephone book. He had finally given up about ten minutes ago, and had ambled over to sit beside her on the bench…

Just outside of Fort Drum; in Jefferson County New York, on the old Jeffery’s farm; buried under four feet of loose earth in a freshly dug grave. Joe Miller suddenly awoke, and began to claw his way out towards the surface. He no longer needed to breathe, he realized, as he clawed at the loose earth to free himself, and he really didn’t seem to care.

In a long tunnel, under the city of Watertown New York, hemmed in by large military trucks, Frank Morgan wondered over the luck he’d had at getting himself into the Army facility. 
He had flashed his press pass, half afraid they would open fire or something, and instead the young guard at the booth had just waved him in. 
He could not have known that just that day an open, though somewhat restricted, invitation had been given to a reporter who was on good terms with the new facility’s commander. 
The plan, cooked up by the reporter and the base commander, was to write a carefully worded article about the storage facilities, to dispel the rumors that were circulating. 
The young guard had simply waved Frank through at the entrance, when he had seen the press pass, not knowing he had allowed the wrong man into the tunnel. They had only told him to expect a reporter. If he had looked at Franks pass closely, he would have noticed that he was not from the Watertown paper, and he would not have allowed him to enter.

Willie LeFray sat slumped against a wall in an alley off Beechwood Avenue, in Seattle’s red light district. He had been dead for over six hours. The money he had stolen, had allowed him to indulge in his habit for over forty six hours with no sleep. The last injection had killed him. 
The Cocaine he had purchased had been cut with rat poison, among other things, so that the hype who had sold it to him could stretch it a little further. 
The constant hours of indulging in his habit would have killed him anyway, but the addition of the rat poison was all his overworked heart could stand, and it had simply stopped beating in protest. 
Willie’s eyelids flickered, and his hand shot up to bat at a fly that had been examining his nose.
Twenty feet away on Beechwood Avenue, the prostitutes were just beginning to show up in force, and the descending darkness hid the white trails that sped across the sky.

Ira paused, and slowly set the checker that had been in his hand, to one side. 
“It’s time, ain’t it,” he stated. 
“Yes, I’m afraid it is,” the older man replied, getting up from the small table. 
“Come on then,” the older man continued, “we have a lot to accomplish.”
Ira blinked…


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Earth’s Survivors Rising From The Ashes Book 2, Earth’s Survivors – Earth’s Survivors Dell Sweet

Earth’s Survivors Rising From The Ashes

Book 2, Earth’s Survivors – Earth’s Survivors

Dell Sweet

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Apocalypse: A free eBook! Get a free preview, like it? Download the entire book free!

Apocalypse: The end of the world is here… #Preppers #Dystopian It will take everything in you to survive it…

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Rising from the Ashes: The survivors of the apocalypse pick themselves up… Will they live…?

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The Nation: The survivors strike out as a group to find a place they can rebuild their lives…

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Home in the Valley: The Nation establishes the survivor base in the wilderness…

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Plague: The dead over run the cities, while the living still fight each other…

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Watertown: The secret base plays a major role in the Apocalypse. Learn how…

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World Order: The Beginnings of the Plague and how the Nation and The Fold were formed…

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Earth’s Survivors: box set Kindle Edition

Earth’s Survivors: box set Kindle Edition

Earth’s Survivors box set contains the entire Earth’s Survivors series in one volume.

Book One: Apocalypse.
Earth’s Survivors Apocalypse follows survivors of a worldwide catastrophe. A meteorite that was supposed to miss the earth completely, hits and becomes the cap to a series of events that destroy the world as we know it. Hopes, dreams, tomorrows: All buried in a desperate struggle to survive. Small groups band together for safety, leaving the ravaged cities behind in search of a new future…

Book Two: Rising From The Ashes.
Earth’s Survivors Rising From The Ashes continues to follow the survivors of a worldwide catastrophe. From L.A. To Manhattan the cities, governments have toppled and lawlessness is the rule. The small groups are growing, branching out in search of a new future. It chronicles their day to day struggles as well as their dreams as they search out new hope in their shattered world…

Book Three: The Nation.
This part of the story really concentrates on the formation of The Nation and the people who will build it and carry it forward, but it also brings along the side story of The Fold and the people who will build that haven. It gives a more complete picture of Adam and Cammy, and picks up the Tale of Billy and Beth, Mike and Candace, Conner and Katie as they work to sort out their lives.

Book Four: Home The Valley.
Home in the valley concentrates on the building of the first and most important settlement of The Nation. The valley settlement is where the people that run the Nation will come from. They will rise to leadership positions across the former United States. The first supply trip out for the Nation nearly turns to disaster, and more of the separate parties join and become one under the Nation Flag.

Book Five: Plague.
Plague outlines the sudden rise of the dead, chronicling the spread across the country. It follows Adam, Beth, Billy and Pearl as they head north looking for an antidote that can bring the plagues to end. It also sees the first babies born to the Nation, the formation of both the Fold and Alabama Island, and the loss of one of the founders of The Nation without whom the Nation may dissolve…

Book Six: Watertown.
Major Weston read the report twice and then carefully set it back on his desk. Johns or Kohlson: One of the two had stolen samples of SS-V2765. It was not a question. No one else had the access, no one else the proximity or knowledge of where it was stored. Two of the virus, one each of the REX agents were missing. Enough to infect several million people, and that was just the initial infection…

Book Seven: World Order.
This book steps back to the beginning to bring you the story of the Fold. Jessie Stone, why and how Snoqualmie settlement came to be. It begins in present day and then falls back in time to the beginning of the Apocalypse. The Fold becomes the biggest challenger to the Nations power. The community that can force the Nation into compromise, or bring a war that may destroy both societies…

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Earth’s Survivors Collection Five free preview

Earth’s Survivors Collection Five Kindle Edition

 

The Earth’s Survivors Series follows survivors of a worldwide catastrophe. A meteorite that was supposed to miss the earth completely, hits and becomes the cap to a series of events that destroy the world as we know it. Police, fire, politicians, military, governments: All gone. Hopes, dreams, tomorrows: All buried in desperate struggle to survive. From L.A. To Manhattan the cities, governments have toppled and lawlessness is the rule. The dead lay in the streets while gangs fight for control of what is left. Small groups band together for safety and begin to leave the ravaged cities behind in search of a future that can once again hold promise.
Earth’s Survivors Collection Five brings together book Six and book seven from the earth’s Survivors series in one volume. From the theft of the virus from a top secret facility to the births of The Nation’s first babies to the formation of The Fold and how it came to be.
Book six tells the story leading up to the Apocalypse. That tale includes the story of Billy Jingo, Alice Tetto, Major Weston’s private secretary. Ben Neo and Jimmy West, hired Killers, and a drug deal designed to hide the transfer of a top secret drug stolen from the Underground Bluechip facility, that goes very wrong. Set in the days leading up to the catastrophe that ends the world as we know it, Watertown is a hardcore ride through a world few would want to live in, but the world it leaves behind is somehow even worse than the one it helped to take away…
Book seven steps back to the beginning of the catastrophe to bring you the story of the Fold; Jessie Stone and why and how Snoqualmie settlement came to be. It begins in present time in the Nation and then falls back to just a few days after Watertown ends and the beginning of the Apocalypse. The Fold becomes the biggest challenge to the Nations power. The community that can force the Nation into compromise, or bring a war that may destroy both societies.
Both stories in their entirety in one volume…


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Earth’s Survivors Life Stories: Bear. A free preview

Earth’s Survivors Life Stories: Bear. A free on blog preview


EARTH’S SURVIVORS LIFE STORIES: BEAR

Earth’s Survivors Life Stories: Bear is copyright © 2017 Dell Sweet. All rights foreign and domestic reserved in their entirety.

Cover Art © Copyright 2017 Dell Sweet

Some text copyright 2010, 2014, 2015 Dell 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.

 

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 © 2017 Wendell Sweet and his assignees. 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.

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


This material is used with permission

This material is NOT edited for content and is rated 18+


Harlem

March 15th

“What I care about is how it goes,” Madison said. “Things are goddamn crazy…” She leaned forward and lowered her voice. “Cammy, these guys intend to run things here… Right here!”

“Never happen,” Cammy said. Her eyes slid past Madison and found Dollar where he stood with the curtains barely opened, looking out into the street, one gun stuffed into the back of his jeans, the other out and in his hand where he flicked the safety on and off, on and off as he peeked through the curtains at every new gunshot. There had been running gunfights most of the day. He was crazy, and getting crazier as the time rolled by.

“I know. This is why we need to go. When it fails, they’ll come here and kill all of us,” she whispered.

Dollar’s head suddenly appeared over Cammy’s shoulder. “And what are you two bitches whispering about?” His eyes were wild. He had access to as much cocaine as he wanted, and he had been shoveling it in for the last few days, unsure of how much he wanted, how much his body could handle, where to draw the line, or even if there was a line he should draw. He scared the hell out of Madison, and it took a lot to scare Madison.

“Shit women talk about,” Madison spat. She pushed Cammy away, got up and got right in Dollar’s face. “We need shit, and I already told you, I’m going to get it.”

“Go and I’ll shoot you dead,” Dollar said. He waved the gun in her face.

“You know what, I don’t think you will,” Madison bluffed. “And, anyway, we’re not leaving, we’re just going to get some things… lady things… then we’ll be back. You really gonna kill me over some shit like that?”

“What things?”

“Tampons.”

“Oh, Jesus,” Dollar said.

Madison laughed.

“I don’t want to hear that shit. That’s woman’s shit. I don’t want to hear it at all.”

“Yeah, dipshit. I tried to tell you that, but you wouldn’t let us go, and now it’s critical… Crit-it-cal! So unless you want us bleeding all over the place, we have to go.” She was still in his face, inches away.

Dollar stared at her. “I can’t fucking believe you said that. That’s… that’s way too much information.” He spun quickly toward the front windows as the crash of nearby gunfire broke the silence of the street. “You go out there, you’ll get killed.”

“Yeah, well, we’ll go the back way. Either way, we’re going,” Madison said. Her hand moved fast, fished the pistol that was jammed into the back of his pants – behind the belt – out, and then stepped back away before Dollar realized what had happened and spun around.

“And I said…” Dollar started as he turned around. “Wow.” He froze and stared at the gun that had appeared in Madison’s hand like so much magic. “Now why did you take my gun?” he asked. His empty hand felt along the back of his jeans where he was sure the gun had come from. He stuffed the gun in his hand into the waistband of his jeans, this time in front. Madison laughed.

“That is not the question you should be asking,” Madison said.

“No? Then what is the question I should be asking, bitch?” Dollar asked. He began to walk towards her. “I bet you ain’t got no period either… neither of you. Just said that to keep me away, I bet.”

Madison laughed. “Well, you’re right, but that isn’t where we were in this conversation. Where we were, was the question. You…” She pulled the slide back on the Automatic, chambering a round. “… Should…” Her thumb swept downward and clicked the safety off, “…be asking me the question, and you’re not.”

Dollar stopped in his tracks. “Don’t fuck around, girl. That ain’t no toy.”

“The question, you dumb fuck! The question,” Madison screamed. She pushed the pistol into his face.

“Okay! Okay! The fucking question… The fucking question…” Dollar shrank back, but bumped into the wall and stopped. “I don’t know the question. I don’t know it.”

“Will she do it?” Madison said. “Will the crazy bitch shoot me?”

Dollar’s eyes squinted. Madison waved the gun up and down. His hand darted for his own gun where he had stuffed it into the front waistband of his jeans.

“Yes she will,” Madison yelled as she fired. Dollar was falling before she finished yelling her answer. A second later, as Dollar gasped for air, laying on his side, his knees drawn up, a sucking sound coming from the hole in his chest, Madison reached down, caught Cammy’s hand, and they both fled toward the back of the apartment, and the door that lead into the alleyway.

Donita and the boy

She had made the boy a few days before. She had been heading out of another city when she had found him and his mother. The mother had given in with no fight. Donita had considered her for her army, but then rejected her. Perhaps if she had fought, maybe, but it seemed to not be a part of who she was and Donita could not take the chance that she would evolve into a non fighter. It was not something she needed.

The boy’s changing was slow, but it was happening. She had thought about it before she had done it and decided that the young would be useful. The older ones would be more powerful… But there was no way to convince them to this side, and so it would have to be the young at first. They were more easily subdued. They could grow into it. They would still change, still become powerful, but they would be much easier for her to control while they did.

Once she had more than the boy, she would have help. No longer would it be only her. She could see the way it would be, not the way her old self saw, but this new way, this new way of knowing that had nothing to do with anything inside of her. Nevertheless, it was solid, real. She could, and did, trust the knowledge that came to her. She would have her army. It would only take time.

Park Avenue: Bear

Bear was curled up on the carpet, Amanda Bynes’ carpet, where he had been for hours. Whatever had gone wrong with the world had gotten worse.

It had started yesterday with wind that was like a hurricane. It had blown into the city, and the rain had not been far behind it. Heavy rain, torrential rain. He had been in Mobile Alabama one year, waiting on a train to go back to New York. A hurricane was closing in. It had hit the city a glancing blow, and it had seemed the same as this. Heavy rain, the wind so hard it seemed to roar.

Then the lightening had come, and the thunder. Huge bolts. Deafening. Then there was a bad earthquake. The entire building shook, and he was convinced it would go down, believed it had to. How could it stand through that? But it had.

He had begun to get sick shortly after that, vomiting until there was nothing left, and still his stomach had not been satisfied. He still dry heaved for hours, it seemed.

The night went on and on, seemed to last forever. It was like the sun just decided not to rise the next day. Or the next day never came. He didn’t know which, anymore than he knew what day it really was now.

There was sunlight. Sparse, barely there, but he could see through the sliding glass doors to the balcony. It seemed to be covered with dirty snow. Mounds of it. He closed his eyes, squeezed them tightly, and rolled up into a sitting position. His stomach threatened again, but he waited it out. Once he felt he could walk, he got to his feet, walked to the glass doors and slid them open.

The entire world was gray. Ash was falling, blocking out the sunlight. The sun was like a silver disc, barely seen, riding the horizon. As he watched, the ash began to drift in onto the carpet. He closed the door and stood staring.

His stomach had calmed down. Whatever had been the cause of that, he was grateful it was easing. He didn’t feel like putting anything in it, in fact the thought alone brought back the queasiness, but left alone it seemed as though it would be fine.

The day went on. The sun seemed to slide across the horizon rather than actually rise. The rains came back hard and the winds with them. In no time the ash was washed away and the city was back, clean, fresh looking, and no dead to be seen in the driving rain. Apparently they didn’t like the rain either.

Although he was positive he could not sleep, he drifted into sleep later on that day, lying on Amanda Bynes’ carpet, watching the rain fall in sheets and wash across the glass…


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EARTH’S SURVIVORS LIFE STORIES: BILLY By Dell Sweet

EARTH’S SURVIVORS LIFE STORIES: BILLY

By Dell Sweet

Copyright © Dell Sweet 2017, all rights reserved.

Additional Copyrights © 2010 – 2014 by Dell 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 © 2017 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 2017 Wendell G Sweet


This material is NOT edited for content and is rated 18+


Esmeraldas, Ecuador

Tommy Murphy and Jefferson Prescott

Jefferson Prescott stood quietly and sipped at his coffee. The house in Esmeraldas was his private escape. He could sit and watch the ocean, or travel into the mountains in just a few hours time, and Ecuador was such an easy country to live in: The people so happy with so little.

He owned a building in Manhattan, he owned a house in the hills outside of L.A., but this was his favorite place. This was where he did his real business, entertained and spent time with the women in his life, besides his wife and daughters back in Manhattan. This was the place where he bought his associates. Those that another man might call friends: In Jefferson’s world there was no place for friends. The luxury the concept didn’t exist.

Tommy Murphy stood at the rail a few feet away and smoked a cigar, looking out over the ocean. He was probably the closest person he had to a friend. The two of them had a lucrative relationship. Jefferson’s drugs and drug connections, Tommy’s organized crime connections. Between the two of them, they controlled almost everything that moved on the East Coast. They had tentacles that stretched all the way to the west coast, and inroads into the south that we’re starting to look like highways.

They both dealt in millions daily. Privately, they were probably two of the richest men in the world, but they were on no one’s list of who’s who, except a few specialized task forces within the world’s governments: Even they couldn’t touch them. They owned too many of their officials, too many of their agents were on their payrolls. They didn’t fight the task forces or special government branches the way the old syndicates had, they simply bought them. Every man really did have his price. And if that was too high you simply bought the man beside him, or above him, it was just as effective.

With all the deals they had made, and the millions they had amassed, nothing came close to what they had on the burner right now. Tommy had fallen into a deal on a tip, a way to collect on a sizable gambling debt, and the two of them had decided to take the risk.

Tommy sipped at his drink and then raised his eyes to Prescott. “Concerned?” Tommy asked.

“Unconcerned… It’s only money,” Jefferson assured him.

“Good,” Tommy said quietly. He reached into his pocket and retrieved a slim silver cylinder. A small red button, with a protective cap in the same cheap looking, red plastic covered the button.

Jefferson pulled a deep breath, audible in the sudden silence. From somewhere deep in the jungle of a forest that surrounded them a big cat screamed.

“Looks like nothing,” Jefferson said.

“I told the kid it reminded me of these little refill cylinders I used to have for my BB gun when I was a kid,” Tommy said.

“Jefferson laughed. “I can’t imagine that you played with anything that didn’t have a silencer and at least a ten round clip.”

Tommy laughed and then fell silent. “This is it, Jeff. Strip off the protective cap, push the button… The kid said it doesn’t matter after that… How close, how far, it will protect us.”

Infect us,” Jefferson corrected. “There is a difference.”

“Infect us,” Tommy agreed. “I figure, why not… We paid the big bucks for the rest of it, but this will start us down that path… Why not do it.”

“Why not,” Prescott agreed. “A sample? Just enough for two?”

Tommy shrugged. “He didn’t say… I depended upon the reports he smuggled out more than the first hand knowledge he has. He knows what he has seen, but he has not witnessed anyone come back… The reports detail exactly that.”

Jefferson laughed and shook his head. “Immortality.”

“Immortality,” Tommy agreed. He paused, stripped the small red cover from the slim, silver tube and pressed the button before he could change his mind. Nothing: He turned the silver tube back and forth.

“Maybe there should be no sound,” Jefferson said. He had braced for what he expected: A small cloud of vapor, a hiss, something to impart that magic the tube was supposed to contain.

Tommy raised the tube to his nose, but there was no detectable odor. “But did it do its job,” Tommy said so low it might almost have been to himself if he had not raised his eyes and asked of Prescott.

“The million dollar question,” Prescott said quietly.

Multimillion dollar question,” Tommy corrected. He stared at the container a few seconds longer and then slipped it into his pocket. “In for a penny,” he said.

“In for a pound,” Prescott agreed.

“You know Ben Neo?” Tommy asked after a few moments of silence, changing the subject to private business.

“Your best,” Jefferson said.

Tommy nodded and turned back to the rail. “When you find out who it is, tell me. I’ll have him take care of it for you. He’s good. Discreet. Fast.” He turned and looked at Jefferson. “Yeah?” he asked.

Jefferson nodded. “Yeah, I appreciate it. I’ve got Carlos on it. I’ll know soon. When I know, you will know. From my lips to yours,” he said.

Tommy nodded. He sipped at his drink again.

“I have that young woman you like so much coming over in just a little while,” Jefferson said.

Tommy turned away from the rail and smiled. “I could use the diversion,” he said.

Jefferson shrugged. “It’s what we do for each other,” he said as he got to his feet. “Enjoy yourself, Tommy. I am about to head back… Take care of a few things. I will see you at your place up in the Catskills next week?” he asked.

“Absolutely, Jeff, absolutely,” Tommy said. The two men embraced and Jefferson left the warm night air of the deck and followed his driver who was waiting to take him to the helicopter pad. Tommy watched him go and then turned back to the rail, watching the waves out in the sea, rolling under the moonlight.

“Sir?” a voice said from the doorway.

Tommy turned from the rail to look at Andrea Ivanna Zurita, the beautiful young woman who stood in the doorway smiling.

Ecuador

Jefferson Prescott’s Estate

Wednesday Morning

Andrea Zurita had been alive for the second time for more than three days. The men who had left her body had done so carefully: Senor Prescott would be very angry to find them on his land. Transgressions had been met with violence in the past, the bodies dumped into the ocean.

Andrea Ivanna Zurita had taken I’ll three days before in the small village near to Prescott’s property. She worked for Prescott, someone allowed on and off the property with ease. She had taken ill at work suddenly, no one knew the why of it and her family was poor: A doctor, other than the local clinic, was out of the question. So she had been sent home to rest, but she had never made it to the local free clinic: She had lapsed into a coma a few hours later, and while her family had still been reeling she had died. No rhyme, no reason.

Andrea Zurita was a young woman, there seemed no reason for her sudden illness and death, but there were things that should be done, and so the local Mirukus, shaman had come. A few words, prayers, the shaman was a transplanted Haitian. They understood most of what he said, but not everything. He had left and they had prepared her for burial. She was washed and dressed in a plain white cotton dress. The second day came and the family came to call, leaving their wishes where she lay in her grandmother’s home. The third day came, and the burial was coming. Cousins, men who worked in a neighboring village, were on the way to open the grave. That was when Andrea had sat up and vomited blood.

Her eyes had rolled back into her head. Her body shaken, but her chest did not rise. She had spoken no words, but she had tried to rise several times before one of the arriving cousins, crossing himself, had bound her with rope, hand and foot. They had sent for the Mirukus again.

The old Haitian had come quickly, taken one look at Andrea and then spoken cryptically, quickly. “Return her to the man that has cast this spell on her. He has bound her to him in life and that has followed her into death. Return her for she is yours no longer.”

The Mirukus believed the white man, Prescott, had attempted to control the river spirit Pullujmu, to take control of the beautiful young woman for his own devices, but she had slipped over into death and was now controlled only by those who controlled the dead. He had left fearfully, quickly, and had refused to come back for any reason. With nothing left to do for her they had taken her and left her bound body on the long drive that lead to the Prescott house. The white man may have her, but he would not have what he expected to have.

Jefferson Prescott.

Jefferson watched as the men carefully skirted the body of the young woman in the back of the patrol truck. They had picked her up and, not knowing what else to do, they had bought her to him.

Her eyes rolled in her head, but occasionally they would stop and focus, seeming to stare through him. Blood seeped from her open mouth, staining the front of what looked to be a burial garb of some sort. She was, at first, unrecognizable to him until one of the men told him she was his own worker, Andrea Ivanna Zurita: Kitchen help, among other things, she had been here for more than a year. To Jefferson’s Catholic upbringing she seemed possessed, and he kept his distance as he watched her, perhaps as superstitious as the local shaman had been.

He had eventually made the phone call to the Policía Nacional del Ecuador, and left the matter in their hands. He had seen stranger than this in his time in Ecuador, and had no doubt he would see it again. He sent one of his men into the small village with a thousand dollars in U.S. Currency, Ecuador had no currency of its own, for her family. A thousand dollars would go a long way for a poor family living in an equally poor village.

His phone had chimed and he had excused himself to answer it. He was needed back in Manhattan; Ben Neo had found the answers he required. He pushed the problem of Andrea Zurita from his mind and concentrated on plans to leave that evening and return to Manhattan.

The Policía Nacional del Ecuador had come some hours later, taken her off his hands without question, as though they saw this sort of thing every day, and he had never heard another thing about it, or given it another thought. He had taken his private helicopter back to the United States later in the day as though nothing of any significance had occurred…


EARTH’S SURVIVORS LIFE STORIES: BILLY

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