The Zombie Plagues: Southland

The Zombie Plagues: Southland: He stepped out of the truck to the ground testing the leg. Dark blood covered a large area of the outside pant leg just below his hip and the blue denim fabric was shredded and burned. https://www.amazon.com/dp/1980510393

The Zombie Plagues: Southland: If society collapsed today could you survive? Follow the survivors as they pick themselves up and try to rebuild their world. A world with no government… No protection… A world where the dead do not remain dead… https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00W1TDLD6

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The Zombie Plagues: Doomed

The Zombie Plagues: Doomed: War begins:
Two minutes of climbing and they were at the back of the parking lot. From the square it probably looked as though there were no one there. Fine, Mike thought. https://www.amazon.com/Zombie-Plagues-Doomed-Geo-Dell-ebook/dp/B00VIFXXW8

The Zombie Plagues: Doomed: The end has come. Polite society is gone. No police; No government and no protection. It’s time to fight to stay alive. When society crumbles and it is only you against the world; can you survive? https://www.amazon.com/Zombie-Plagues-Doomed-Geo-Dell/dp/198051027X

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The Zombie Plagues: Billy Jingo

The Zombie Plagues: Billy Jingo: Tommy awakened. He blinked; squinted and tried to see better. No good; pitch black and although he was a man who had little natural fear he had begun to panic right then.

https://www.amazon.com/Zombie-Plagues-Billy-Jingo/dp/1980509255

The Zombie Plagues: Billy Jingo: His fingers felt at his lips: It was not going to be fine. There were chunks and pieces of his lips attached to both lips. Thread woven from one to the other had held them together. https://www.amazon.com/Zombie-Plagues-Billy-Jingo-ebook/dp/B00VDAFFHO

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The Zombie Plagues

ZOMBIE PLAGUES AMAZON

The Zombie Plagues: Billy Jingo: Tommy awakened. He blinked; squinted and tried to see better. No good; pitch black and although he was a man who had little natural fear he had begun to panic right then.

https://www.amazon.com/Zombie-Plagues-Billy-Jingo/dp/1980509255

The Zombie Plagues: Billy Jingo: His fingers felt at his lips: It was not going to be fine. There were chunks and pieces of his lips attached to both lips. Thread woven from one to the other had held them together. https://www.amazon.com/Zombie-Plagues-Billy-Jingo-ebook/dp/B00VDAFFHO

The Zombie Plagues: Doomed: War begins:
Two minutes of climbing and they were at the back of the parking lot. From the square it probably looked as though there were no one there. Fine, Mike thought. https://www.amazon.com/Zombie-Plagues-Doomed-Geo-Dell-ebook/dp/B00VIFXXW8

The Zombie Plagues: Doomed: The end has come. Polite society is gone. No police; No government and no protection. It’s time to fight to stay alive. When society crumbles and it is only you against the world; can you survive? https://www.amazon.com/Zombie-Plagues-Doomed-Geo-Dell/dp/198051027X

The Zombie Plagues: Southland: He stepped out of the truck to the ground testing the leg. Dark blood covered a large area of the outside pant leg just below his hip and the blue denim fabric was shredded and burned. https://www.amazon.com/dp/1980510393

The Zombie Plagues: Southland: If society collapsed today could you survive? Follow the survivors as they pick themselves up and try to rebuild their world. A world with no government… No protection… A world where the dead do not remain dead… https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00W1TDLD6

The Zombie Plagues: Wilderness: “They won’t come. In the city they knew how to get around… Out here,” Patty waved her arms around, finally lifting them to the sky. “They wouldn’t know what to do. Couldn’t sneak up on us.” She shook her head. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07X148XZ5

The Zombie Plagues: Wilderness: They filled their tanks two hours after dawn at a collapsed gas station next to the interstate. A hand operated Kerosene pump made the job quick. The only hard part had been locating the underground tank. https://www.amazon.com/dp/1689434295

The Zombie Plagues: Zombie Fall: The attack came fast when it came. Mike only remembered the details after the fact.
Molly had, had the right side, Tim the left, Mike had taken a lead of fifty feet or so right up through the middle of the tall grass. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07X7CSB7Z

The Zombie Plagues: Zombie Fall: The zombie hit the ground in front of him, thrown back by the force of the bullets: A huge section of her side blown away, one arm gone, but she had no sooner hit the ground than she was rising to her feethttps://www.amazon.com/dp/1689464321

The Zombie Plagues: Return: They were parked in the middle of the highway. There were three dead zombies lying scattered in the highway. They had been living in the SUV when Zac and Amanda had happened along. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07X5MDR81

The Zombie Plagues: Return: She laughed and took another deep hit off the joint. Okay, she admitted to herself, forty-eight, she had been a beach baby and the sun had played hell with her face and skin. https://www.amazon.com/dp/1689478268

The Zombie Plagues: To Build A Nation: The finale to The Zombie Plagues series:
Donita walked down Eighth Avenue towards Columbus Circle. Behind her a silent army followed, numbering in the thousands. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07X86FLRT

The Zombie Plagues: To Build A Nation: The finale to The Zombie Plagues series:Donita walked down Eighth Avenue towards Columbus Circle. Behind her a silent army followed, numbering in the thousands. From the circle they would take the park. https://www.amazon.com/dp/168969615X


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Tenth Annual Smashwords Summer/Winter sale on right now

The 10th Annual Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale is on right now…

Check out these authors all month long for free books, half off books and many other discounts available now and through the end of July only @ Smashwords Authors

Dell Sweet: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Dells


Geo Dell: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/GeoDell


 

W. W. Watson: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/WWWatson


Lindsey Rivers: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/lrivers


Watson/Rivers: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/WatRiv


Sweet/Dell: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/DellDell


 

All Participating Authors: https://www.smashwords.com/books/category/1/newest/1



 

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Guitar Works


Guitar Works: Finish Work This manual will give you information that you can use to re-finish, or do your own finish and spot repairs on guitars.  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/guitar-works-finish-work/id1139332972?mt=11


 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Guitar Works Beginner Builds This guide is the first in the Guitar Works Builders series and is fully illustrated with descriptive text to guide you. I have provided two examples, an LP and a SG body, both built in my shop.
I hope you enjoy the following information, Geo Dell. https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/guitar-works-beginner-builds/id930166879?mt=11


 

 

 

 

 


Guitar Works Volume One: The AdjustOvation build This is a step by step custom Ovation build. Installing a roller bridge, tremolo, Piezo discs and a humbucker as well. Starting from the shell of the donor guitar and continuing on to the completed guitar. https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/guitar-works-volume-one-the-adjustovation-build/id1357855618?mt=11


 

 

 

 

 

 


Guitar Works Volume Two: Custom Builds 1 As with any project there is a great deal of time involved with learning to do things correctly, but I have found over the years that slowing down, doing things step by step, you can build what you want… https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/guitar-works-volume-two-custom-builds-1/id931569852?mt=11


 

 

 

 

 

 


Guitar Works Volume Three: Custom Builds Two This is a complete start to finish custom build. The base is an Ovation Applause with the upper bout holes. https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/guitar-works-volume-three-custom-builds-two/id940953186?mt=11


 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Guitar Works Volume Four: The CD60 Build This volume contains the complete Fender CD60 build. This is a complete start to finish custom build. The base is an Fender CD60 Acoustic cutaway guitar. https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/guitar-works-volume-four-the-cd60-build/id1357860865?mt=11


 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Guitar Works Volume Five: Neck Refret This manual is designed to get you comfortable with doing your own neck repairs, refretting jobs and cutting, shaping and installing your own nut or saddle. https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/guitar-works-volume-five-neck-refret/id1357867079?mt=11


 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Guitar Works Volume Six: Repair a broken neck Whether we are customizing a guitar, repairing a fractured neck, refretting a beloved instrument or building our own guitar from scratch, there are those of us who love to work on and modify our guitars. https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/guitar-works-volume-six-repair-a-broken-neck/id1357860790?mt=11


 

 

 

 

 

 


Guitar Works Volume Seven: Bone Nut and Saddle Whether we are customizing a guitar, repairing a fractured neck, refretting a beloved instrument or building our own guitar from scratch, there are those of us who love to work on and modify our guitars. https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/guitar-works-volume-seven-bone-nut-and-saddle/id1357867724?mt=11


 

 

 

 

 

 


Guitar Works Volume Eight: Seven String Jazz Acoustic This is a seven string acoustic project. I started with a damaged acoustic guitar as a base: Stripped the neck and top off and began my build on this basic skeleton. https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/guitar-works-volume-eight-seven-string-jazz-acoustic/id1357866524?mt=11


 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Guitar Works Volume Nine: The Scrap-wood build. I began this scrap wood build with only a neck that I was reluctant to throw away and a body blank I had made from some recycled roof rafters. I looked over the drawers in my shop cabinets and decided I could pull enough parts together to do the build… #Luthiery #Guitar #iBooks https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/guitar-works-volume-nine/id1387995724?mt=11


 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

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Guitar Works Volume Seven: The Scrap Wood Build by Geo Dell (Author) 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

Guitar Works Volume Seven: The Scrap Wood Build 

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Zombie Plague Book Two free previews 2

The Zombie Plague Book Two

Created by Dell Sweet

PUBLISHED BY: Geo Dell and independAntwriters Publishing

The Zombie Plague Book Two

Additional Copyrights 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2015, 2017 Wendell Sweet  All rights reserved

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’re 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 persons places, situations or events is purely coincidental.

This novel is Copyright © 2010 – 2013 George Dell & independAntwriters Publishing and all rights to this work have been reserved 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…


Mike ~ March 17th

It’s late, and it’s been a very tough few days here. We are eleven now, and I’ll get to that. We’ve also been through several more Earthquakes and aftershocks, rain, the world stopping, or being messed up worse. I guess I’ll start from the start, and you can compare it to your own experience. Maybe it will be helpful.

First yesterday, the sun never really rose at all. It barely came up and then went right back down. The night wasn’t too bad at first. It stormed, but then it got worse. Colder, harder rain, lightening, thunder, and then ash started falling from the sky.

That was crazy. But then the rain came down even harder later on and washed all the ash away. Then the earthquakes came. We had to leave the cave, we didn’t know if it would hold up or not. All around us things were crashing and collapsing. Our trucks are gone, fallen into the river. Swallowed up and gone. The road just washed away beneath them. If we had chosen there to wait out the storm…

We made it through to dawn though, but it wasn’t much of a dawn. The sun came up and has been staggering across the sky. It’s erratic. That’s the best description I can come up with. We think the Earth finally stopped and reversed. Or, maybe stopped again and reversed. The truth is, we don’t know. And, the way things are, I don’t think anyone else knows either.

We were all sic, light-headed, sick to our stomachs. It reminded me of going to the fair as a kid. I rode this ride that spun around in a circle. It made me sick, and I stayed sick for a few hours. It felt like that. Exactly like that.

The jury is out. The quakes have stopped, at least for now. Hopefully for good, but we don’t know if the Earth is done changing directions or even if that’s what it did.

So, we are eleven. We were joined by six people tonight. A young woman named Patty. She seems to be their leader, spokesperson. It seems to be like that now. Someone has to take control. No other way around it.

Patty is young. Maybe eighteen or nineteen, dark hair. Small but rugged looking… determined? I don’t know. Likable, that’s for sure. She and Ronnie are together.

Ronnie is her man (Her words), young too, dark brown skin. He was a carpenter. I like him. He’s quiet. Doesn’t say a lot,

but what he does say is worth hearing. I know that already.

Lilly is around the same age. She’s young, blond, looks so much like Lydia, even talks like her. It’s spooky. Tom is already attracted, you can see it, and she looks interested too. It seems unhealthy, or it could be, would be… I don’t know though. Tom has to live his life. The world is so different, but you know that.

Tim is just a kid, Patty’s brother. He worships Ronnie, you can see it in his eyes. Seems like a likable kid as well.

Sandy is Native American, like Bob and Jan. Not from their people, but they clicked immediately, knew the same people back when the world was… well, the way it used to be. She’s a nurse; that’s like solid gold. How many nurses or doctors are there?

Nell is a small, Spanish woman. She looks to be in her twenties. She was stationed here with her husband, but he had left last month for overseas duty. She has no idea if he is okay.

They’re moved in. The cave is large, so eleven people is nothing. Plenty of room. Everything they owned or had been on their backs. They lost everything else when their building collapsed yesterday during the earthquakes and storms. So, it was pretty simple for them to move in.

Patty and Sandy have both asked about our plans for leaving, so later on we’ll probably sit down and talk about it. Nell and Lilly seem more interested in staying. Nell is afraid to leave the area, as if her husband could somehow get back here, and if he did this is where he would look for her. It seems unreasonable to me, but she has the idea in her head. There doesn’t seem to be a way to shake it, at least not yet. Lilly is captivated by Tom. Tom has never made any bones about the fact that he doesn’t want to leave. This gives him someone to be with him. I suppose that’s a good thing.

We knew there were people around, but in the last few days it seems like we’ve met both the bad and the good. I would like to meet more, but no more bad ones.

Candace ~ March 17th (Late)

I know Mike has written tonight, much earlier, so I won’t go over the same things that I assume he wrote. It’s been a nasty couple of days, and we don’t know if the bad things are over or not. We have new people with us. I really like Patty. I can talk to her, and it’s been awhile, even back in the world, since I’ve been close to another woman like that. Relationships seem to form fast now. It’s just the way of the new world. We’re just taking life as it comes, at face value I guess. There are no directions for us.

Patty, her man and her brother have decided to stay. They also decided they’ll leave when Mike and I do. They don’t want to face a North Country winter in a cave. We are not cave people and don’t want to be. But we talked about that too. We may end up in some other cave. It could be the quakes have caused devastation everywhere. If so where else would it be safe? We talked a lot. We talked ourselves out. There’s always tomorrow to talk some more.

If the day is anything like normal tomorrow, we may go out looking for vehicles. Ours were swept into the river during the storm. We’ll see what’s left.

After the meeting broke up, I spent some time talking to Jan, another woman I became instantly close to when all that I had, had been this notebook and a gun to depend on. She really likes Sandy. Sandy is enthusiastic about returning to the land. So are Bob and Jan. I think returning to the land is fine, except a mowed lawn is okay as well. I guess there are no more lawns to be mowed though.

I gave my father’s gun to Lilly. I don’t know why I did that. I thought that it meant something to me, but whatever that was has passed on. She noticed it, liked it. I showed her how to shoot it; what was left to do? Besides, and I’m being honest, after this stuff with Lydia, after having to shoot someone, I decided I’d rather put on another forty five. I have an exact mate to the one I was wearing on me already. I picked it up the other day. I asked myself tonight, would it have made a difference if I was wearing it the other day? One on each side? Well I am now. It makes me feel safer, more ready to deal with whatever comes at me.

Anyway, Jan and Bob turned in, as did Sandy. Mike’s long gone to sleep, and I’ve been sitting here thinking about the last few days, thinking about Lydia… everything. So, I wrote something, if I had a guitar (I intend to get one) I’d put it to music. I have the music in my head. I have, had, a note book full of little songs that I wrote. Sometimes I would get ideas once a week, sometimes a few a day. They just showed up. I would see or feel something, and it would come out as a song. Some people do that with stories. It’s the same isn’t it? Writing is writing.

I heard more than once I should do something with them. Maybe I would have made a better singer/guitarist than dancer? It’s all art isn’t it. Maybe I’ll resurrect some of those lyrics when I have the time. Meanwhile, I’ll write them out as they come to me.

It’s a new world, rust falling from the skies

It’s a new world, scales fallen from my eyes.

Everything gone in the blink of an eye,

got time to hurt, but no time to cry.

Got to keep moving just to stay alive,

take it day by day and try to survive.

It’s a new world, death calling from the cities empty streets.

It’s a new world, mind skipping, heart missing beats.

Life passing by in the space of a dream,

moving too fast to know what it might mean.

Changes and changes, new every day,

looking for answers, don’t know which direction they lay.

It’s a new world, got my heart in your hand.

It’s a new world, time’s spinning through my fingers like sand.

Yeah It’s a new world, rust falling from the skies

It’s a new world, scales fallen from my eyes.

Everything gone in the blink of an eye,

got time to hurt, but no time to cry.

Kind of corny, I know, but I like it. It says how I feel. I think it’s the way we all feel, we’re eleven tonight, not five anymore. I’m going to bed and hold my man.

~East of the City~

They were fifteen now. The old factory was a perfect place to hide. There were two who could bear the daylight, who did not need the darkness, and they kept watch through the long days.

There was no hunger, no real need. The dead were everywhere. The living were everywhere. And then there were themselves, the UN-dead. Those that had tasted death but had somehow come back from death, and there did not seem to be anything to take this new life away from them.

They were very few right now. Some died, and some died and then found life once more. It was a mystery. No way to know which would and which would not come back. They often waited to see, sometimes triumphant in their slow, quiet way, sometimes shuffling away, dejected, but with the knowledge that more would come.

They traveled together at night, avoided those that lived, scavenged the dead and marked their time. Change was on the wind. Big change. It came on the wind. A scent of forever death, along with the stench of the living. It came from the South, and as soon as there were a few more, they would leave and make their way south.

There was no leader. They just felt the same things, knew the same truths, realities, felt the same things inside where their life force was. It was like a collective conscious, a hive. The workers and no queen. But there might be a queen. That was the promise that came on the wind. The scent that tempted them to travel south. It called to them.

~ March 18th ~

With more warm bodies to help guard through the night, everyone slept better, or at least longer and with fewer interruptions, Mike thought.

The night had been another long one, well over twenty hours of darkness, but once the sun did come up, it crept slowly upward on a straight arc across the sky, the wandering, drunken course of the day before was gone.

Mike stood in the early dawn light sipping coffee, back leaned against the rock of the cave entrance, watching light spill over the tops of the cliffs that cradled the opposite side of the river as the sun crept higher into the sky. He felt someone at his side and turned expecting Candace. Instead, it was the young boy, Tim.

“Tim, right?” Mike asked.

The young man nodded his head, seeming pleased that Mike had remembered his name. “Tom sent me. He said he’d like to walk out Arsenal Street today, or maybe Washington Street, and look for vehicles.”

Mike nodded. “Good idea. Tell him I want to change into some boots and let Candace know I’m leaving, and I’ll be ready to go.” Tim nodded, smiled and darted back into the cave. Mike finished his coffee in a few quick gulps, poured out the dregs and walked back into the cave to find Candace.

~

They decided on Washington Street, simply because of the sheer volume of car lots that had been in that area. The sun rose steadily into the sky, maybe not as quickly as they were used to, but faster than it had been and in a straight line, rising from the South and looking, Mike thought, as though it would sink in the North or Northwest somewhere.

Six of them had come. Mike, Tom, Candace, Patty, Tim and Ronnie. Candace had already wondered privately to Mike where Lilly might be. It hadn’t escaped the notice of anyone that she and Tom had spent the night together.

Candace walked with Patty, keeping up a fairly constant flow of conversation as they walked along.

“So they think the new stuff will start now then?” Patty asked.

Candace nodded. “They think it would’ve started before if we had thought to try it again, but none of us did. It also may have had nothing to do with it at all. We may have just picked bad vehicles to try.”

“Seems unlikely though,” Patty said. “After all, you had no trouble with the other three, and what are the odds of finding three old vehicles that would be able to be started and driven?”

“Yeah. We thought the same. We just don’t know what was causing them not to work.” They both fell silent for a moment.

“So, was Mike your guy before all of this happened?” Patty asked. She flipped her black hair away from her face and studied Candace seriously.

“No,” Candace answered. “I met him when we came to this cave. I knew as soon as I saw him though. It shocked me. I’ve never been like that. But I knew. I decided, and I told him. He decided that fast too. You think that’s wrong… weird?

“No,” Patty answered. “It’s almost the same with Ronnie and me. I knew him. I liked him. We lived in the same apartment building. When it happened, he came and got me and Tim. I’m not the kind of woman that feels as though I have to have a man around for protection. Hey, for a while there I was a feminist. He just helped, and he wasn’t an ass about it either,” she shrugged, “A couple of days later we were together, and I’m not sorry at all. He’s a good man. He’s quiet. Thinks the world of Tim.” She paused again.

Candace nodded. She understood perfectly. It did seem as though Patty had some distance in her words, like something wasn’t quite true. But it may be the same way it was with her own situation. It was brand new. Sometimes it was hard to believe that it was the truth. They walked in silence, looking at what the latest quakes and torrential downpours had done to the small city.

~

The ground that had been torn up had been leveled out. The roads had vanished in places under a layer of dirt. The vague outline of the street itself could be seen under that layer of rubble, and here and there a building or part of a building still stood.

Cars, trucks, a few stalled city buses, an occasional glimpse of asphalt where the road rose higher than the water had flowed. Tom, Ronnie, Mike, and Tim had stopped ahead. They were close to where the old high school had been. All that remained on the left side of the road now were a few walls and, strangely, a large oval track that seemed untouched. The parking lot, most of it anyway, still remained and was full of cars.

On the right was a small strip mall, also with a parking lot full of cars. The men were off the road in the strip mall parking lot standing next to what looked to be a nearly new four wheel drive sport utility vehicle. As Candace and Patty caught up, Ronnie turned and smiled.

“Keys are in the ignition,” Ronnie said grinning. Tim tapped the horn, a hard metallic blast sounded.

“Battery’s up,” Mike said, his grin as big as Ronnie’s.

Tom slid into the driver’s seat through the open door. “Well,” he said. He turned the key.

The motor spun and caught immediately. The truck kicked up to a high idle. The stink of burning gasoline filled the warm air.

“I forgot what that smelled like,” Patty said. Everyone was smiling and laughing at once.

“Let’s say we ride the rest of the way,” Tom suggested. No one needed a second invitation. Doors were opened and everyone piled in. Tom shifted into four-wheel low, eased the truck down off the slight rise that lead from the road to the parking lot, bouncing the truck on its springs as it trundled down the rise, over the sidewalk curb, and onto the dirt and asphalt road below.

A small cheer went up inside the truck as Tom made the road, turned right, and headed slowly up the big hill towards outer Washington Street and its miles of car lots.

~

By the time the sun stood straight overhead, eight hours of the day had passed by, and a small caravan of six vehicles were snaking their way back through the debris and devastation, making their way back to the cave.

Although a wide section of the old asphalt roadway had toppled into the river, a large area still remained. They parked the vehicles in under the small overhang of cliffs above the cave opening. The cliffs extended a little more than thirty feet beyond the caves then dropped down towards the ground, leveled out and disappeared into a small wooded area populated with scraggly, undernourished trees. On the back side of that wooded area was a huge parking lot that ran up and behind the cave. It had once provided parking for the downtown area of Watertown.

Everyone who had stayed behind wandered over from some project they had been working on in front of the cave to admire the vehicles. Three new Chevy Suburbans and three new pickup trucks. The pickups were mismatched, one Ford and two Chevy trucks. The Chevy trucks were different models, one a full size pickup, the other a smaller one, all the trucks were four wheel drive. Bob wore a heavy apron stained with blood and was carrying a large butcher’s knife as he walked over.

“Deer,” he explained as everyone gaped at the blood stained apron. “Wandered right down the road. Had to be about ten of them. I got one and Sandy got one. Fresh steaks tonight, and that isn’t all.” He pointed towards Lilly and Nell where they stood over what looked to be a make shift fireplace of some sort.

It was built up from the asphalt with three layers of thick stone that formed a base. From there the back and sides rose to support a huge wire rack that had been appropriated from somewhere. A good bed of coals glowed under the rack and several ears of corn roasted above them on the rack

“You guys have been busy,” Tom said.

“Never mind that,” Patty said, “where did you find corn?”

Nell laughed. “There were cases of the stuff in the stock room of the market. Won’t be good for much longer, but it is now.”

“We took a wagon, one of those little kid wagons,” Lilly said. She looked around. “We filled it up. It’s still cold in there… It might last a few more days.”

A small, red child sized wagon, still loaded with overflowing boxes of corn, sat off to one side. It made Candace smile when she saw it.

“I built the oversize Barbecue,” Bob said. “I remembered that there was a little rib place down off the square. Wrong time of year to be cooking out of doors,” He looked up at the sky and smiled, “Well, used to be… But, I remembered that place, and I remembered that they had always cooked outside on a huge grill all summer long. So I went and took the grill. I took a few other things too,” He held up a large pair of tongs that had been shoved in a side pocket. He re-pocketed the tongs. “So… the electronics are working again?” He looked embarrassed at the attention and relieved to be able to hand the conversation off to someone else.

“Might have been before,” Mike started. “Just didn’t think to check. But they’re sure working now. The hard part is finding vehicles that aren’t all smashed to hell. All of these have their war wounds. But it’s just scrapes and dents, nothing serious.”

Bob nodded and then went back to cutting up the venison and piling it onto two huge platters. One contained much smaller pieces.

The smaller pieces were long and thin. Janet and Sandy were stringing them over a second smokey fire that had been built just past the stone grill that Bob had built. A makeshift steel roof kept the smoke and heat close to the ground and the meat that hung on the racks. Tom walked up to admire the work.

“It’s all from the Barbecue place,” Bob admitted. “I’m just using it a little differently, to smoke the meat instead of cook it.”

“You know how to do that?” Candace asked. She seemed impressed.

“Oh yeah,” Janet told her. “Bob taught me. He always makes his own jerky, cures his own hams. Knows his roots and herbs as well.” Bob seemed even more embarrassed than he had been a few moments before.

“It’s stuff The Nation taught when I was a child… to preserve our heritage. We pass it on to the next generation. The legends say the people will come back to the Earth Mother. There will come a time when the people will need the old knowledge again.” He grew serious. “Guess that’s now,” he finished. He began to place the thick roasts of Venison onto the grill rack beside the roasting ears of corn.

The group spent the afternoon into the early evening enjoying each other’s company, eating and filling each other in on the details of their day. The sun sailed smoothly across the sky, sinking into the Northwest after about fifteen hours of sunlight.

For the first time in several nights the stars came out, glowing brightly in the cloudless sky. The moon seemed to be in the wrong area of the sky and almost totally eclipsed by the Earth’s shadow.

“Think that was too long?” Patty asked Tom.

“We’ll have to wait and see when the sun comes up,” Tom told her. “But I’d be willing to bet it’s back closer to what it used to be. And we don’t know what normal will be now. Maybe longer days… maybe shorter days,” he finished.

“Yeah,” Ronnie agreed. “It would seem a little too good to be true if it could stop, reverse, and come right back to something close to a twenty-four hour day.”

“Yeah. That probably isn’t going to happen,” Bob agreed.

“We’ll just have to see where it levels out,” Patty threw in.

Candace nodded, looked over at Mike, took his hand and smiled. “This was a pretty good day,” she said. “We have our own little community here. It’s nice.”

“I was thinking that also,” Mike said. He squeezed her hand lightly and pulled her close. The day had cooled off, and the night had cooled off even more after the sun had dropped from the sky. It reminded everyone that, despite the weird weather, it was still late winter; spring was a month or more away. Janet and Sandy kept the smokey fires burning under the drying meat, joining in the conversation when they had the time or opportunity. Lilly and Tom were involved in some sort of heavy conversation, while Bob, Ronnie and Patty were talking about hunting, herbs, folk remedies and what kinds of structures they would like to build for a home. Candace laid her head against Mike’s shoulder and looked up at him. “I’m tired, man of mine.” Mike smiled at her.

“I think I have to put my woman to bed,” Mike said to Patty who sat closest to him. Ronnie laughed and Patty smiled at him. Tim sat on the other side of Ronnie, his eyes heavy lidded. Everyone said their good-nights.

As Candace and Mike got to their feet, Tim trailed along behind them, following them into the cave, leaving the rest of the group to their quiet conversations. The stars shone above. The sky was clear and inky black.

Janet ~ March 18th

Today has certainly been a better day for all of us. Mike, Candace, Tom and some others went looking for vehicles today hoping they would find that the ones with electronic brains would be working. Electronic something. Brains, I guess. I have no real idea. Give me a database and I could tell you something, but I don’t understand anything at all about engines, except they’re working again.

The rest of us stayed back and worked here for the day. We made a few trips around the area. Nell and Lilly went to the Market on State Street and came back with ears of corn that were still good. Bobby and I and Sandy went a little ways down this road to where an old outside restaurant Bob knew about was. They cooked or grilled food outside in the summer. In the winter I guess they cooked inside.

We took all the outside grill pieces to build a grill outside the cave. A big one too. It took a lot of work, several trips back and forth. We found some wheeled carts, probably used to move stuff around inside the restaurant, and wheeled all the stuff we found back down to the cave with them. We got everything back and Bobby set it up.

Sandy and I collected loose rock from the cliffs and river banks to build the back and the sides to hold the racks. The smoking racks were easy to build. The large roof we used had hung over the whole outside grill back at the restaurant. There were long, thin metal rods to hold it up. Sandy and I worked on that as Bob worked on the sides and back of the grill.

We found extra long metal rods and used those to hang the meat on. Here we were dragging all that stuff around, and Bob talking about going hunting so we could have something to cook on the grill besides corn, when down the road we hear some light tap-click tap-click, and the deer showed up just as if the Gods had sent them to us. They saw us about the same time we saw them, and Bobby and Sandy opened up.

I don’t think people hunted Deer much in the old days with hand guns, but it was what they had, well to hand. They each got one.

About then the others came back with six new trucks as our old ones dropped into the river during the storms. We spent several hours talking and eating, just enjoying each other’s company, and then almost everyone turned in.

Sandy and I watched the drying racks. I took the first watch anyway, so Sandy’s catching a little sleep as I write this.

We are, several of us, planning to leave once the spring is here and go on our way. We haven’t yet gotten around to talking about how we’ll do that, or where we will go, only that we will go.

Bobby and I are very enthusiastic about Sandy. She is all for going back to the Earth, building the people up again. Where there are three of us, there has to be more. I guess that’s the same, nearly, as where there’s a will, there’s a way. Our people have always had the will. Now we have the way. I truly believe we’ll collect more people as we go.

The sky is starry bright. The world seems to be settling down. I’m sorry that all of this had to happen, but I’m happy about where my life is now.

Patty ~ March 18th

It’s late. I took this notebook outside to write by starlight; it’s that bright. Janet Dove has the watch, I have the next anyway so I figured why bother to try to sleep. It’s something I’ve learned about myself; if I can’t get to sleep in the first few minutes, I may as well get back up. Janet came over and talked for a few minutes, brought me some roasted meat. I’ve never had anything like that. It was so good. I should be happy. I should be contented. I’m not. I’m not, and I realized today that I can’t be, and I don’t know what I can even do about it. I can’t even write it here. What if someone read it?

The stars are so bright. It’s cold, but not like it should be. I am so messed up. I will only say… No, I can’t say that. I was going to say I never suspected this, thought about this, but I did. I just never dealt with it. Now I have to, and I don’t know how. I guess this is my sounding board, maybe even my conscience right now, and the part of me that is trying to be unselfish says leave it alone. I will, but for how long?


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The Zombie Plague Book One

Created by Dell Sweet

PUBLISHED BY: Geo Dell and independAntwriters Publishing

The Zombie Plague Book One

Additional Copyrights 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2015, 2017 Wendell Sweet All rights reserved

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’re 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.


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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 © 2010 – 2013 George Dell & independAntwriters Publishing and all rights to this work have been reserved 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…


CHAPTER FOUR

More Is More

~ March 16th ~

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What was it?” She asked softly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~

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

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

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

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

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

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

~

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

Bob offered to take the first watch, Mike volunteered for the next and Tom offered to take it from there if the sun wasn’t up.

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

Tom ~ March 16th

I’ve never kept anything like this in my entire life. I don’t know why I am, really, because when the rest go I’ll be staying.

I can’t even give a good reason for staying, except that there’s shelter here, and I know there are other people here as well.

I know that all the others are going. They’ll follow Mike. What can I say or do about that?

I feel so responsible about what happened to Lydia. She was just a kid. A kid, Jesus. I can’t really think rationally about it. I can’t deal with it. I can’t believe how fast and how deep my feelings went. I’ve heard about things like that, but I had never experienced something like that before Lydia. I’ve heard that can happen in relationships that are formed in situations like this. Crisis… What else could be like this? Nothing. Anyway, I didn’t believe it could work like that, but it did.

I thought she would be here with me. They could go, she would be here. I could deal with that. This has almost made me cave in and say yes to going.  But I can’t do it. Something inside of me won’t let me do it. It’s not that I don’t respect Mike, or like him. I was a little jealous, maybe still am, a little. I had a thing for Candace, and I still do. That’s another reason I can’t go. I would end up hating him. Her too. But, it’s not really any of that. I have to run my own railroad. That’s all. Very lame. Probably very dangerous in this new world as well.

Maybe I can change. I’m open to that. What I’m really hopeful for is other people. When the other four leave, I don’t want to be alone. I spent the first few days of this alone. I didn’t like that. I don’t want to go back to that.

How do you develop such deep feelings for someone so fast? Right now I’m trying to get past that. I guess what I need to do is freeze everything else out for now.

I don’t know what to say about how I felt about Candace, or how I still feel. And I can’t explain how I could feel that way about her and still feel the way I did about Lydia. Am I kidding myself? Was Candace just temptation and Lydia the real thing? No. That’s hard to say, but true. I would have walked away from Lydia for Candace in a heartbeat. That makes me feel even worse about things. Even so, I loved her… Love her.

As far as this journal goes, I can’t share it. I don’t think I can write deep, personal things about myself and then share them with anyone. I never could… I won’t begin now. But I can write them here. I can see where this can help me to work through things, help me deal with this. This can bring me through this, just writing it out. So I’ll do it for that reason, and no other.

~ March 17th ~

The storm kept up through the longer than usual night. Twelve hours into the night the first quaking of the Earth shook the ground. Everyone was up at the same time. They stood outside in the cold, pouring rain just moments later, huddled under a blue plastic tarp while the lightening split the sky and the ground continued to shake and tremble.

Everyone was sick. Every movement seemed exaggerated, uncoordinated. Between the tremors and the sickness it was nearly impossible to remain standing, but Mike, Tom and Bob held the outer edges while Candace knelt in the center holding Janet Dove who seemed to be having a harder time with the lightheadedness and the sickness than anyone else.

The first large Earthquake came a few hours later. Some sounds were off in the distance, the sounds of buildings collapsing. Other sounds were closer and came to them over the sounds of the storm, wood snapping and cracking, brick and concrete, already loosened by the previous quakes, crashing to the ground, the Earth itself trembling and moving.

The three men finally gave up the fight to remain upright and sank to the ground with Candace and Jan, all of them huddled close together in the cold rain, hanging on as best they could to the moving ground beneath them.

The night dragged on. Aftershocks came and went. It was hard to tell which were the main shocks and which were the aftershocks. The lightheadedness and queasy stomachs became intolerable, yet they had no choice but to endure the sickness. The cold rain continued to fall.

Occasionally someone would thrust an arm out into the light of a lightening flash to catch a glimpse of the time, but somewhere in the night the wind up watches even stopped working. The second hands seemed to shake and shudder back and forth. Not actually ticking the time away any longer.

Mike watched as the Suburban began to shake and skitter sideways during one of the Earthquakes. It caught the unprotected edge of the road and then crashed through the brushy trees that fronted the cliffs and skated off the edge into the river below. Shortly after that, the sounds of destruction in the distance began to taper off.

Sometime later on, the sun appeared about to rise once again. A dull, pink glow lit up the horizon in the North, but for the second day in a row, the sun itself never rose. Once again, the light seemed to skate around the very edge of the horizon and then disappeared back into blackness. Shortly after that, Bob told everyone that his watch seemed to be working once again. Everyone quickly checked their own watches to find them working as well.

Twenty five hours into the darkness something changed.

It came on slowly, but eventually they all noticed that the lightheadedness was abating. The queasiness was letting up as well. No one felt like jumping up and running around, but after so many hours living with the sickness, it felt good to have it going in the other direction. Janet slipped in to a light sleep in spite of the relentless, cold rain.

Everyone was soaked, but the tarp did provide some protection. Shortly after the strange sickness had passed, another series of Earthquakes, or aftershocks, hit. Not as strong as any of the ones that had come before, but one of them caused some nearby damage they could only hear. Something, it sounded like part of the cliff side close down by the river, split away. The sound came to them clearly, and the roar of the rushing Black increased in intensity for several minutes before it slipped back into its previous roar. Buildings continued to crash in the distance, lightening stabbed at the rain flooded ground and the small, tired group huddled beneath the tarp, sleeping when they could.

“What if the sun never comes back up?” Bob whispered.

Mike glanced at his own watch during a brief flash of lightening, thirty hours had passed. Not counting however long the watches had not been working.

“It will,” Candace whispered.

“Yeah,” Tom echoed tiredly.

~

When the sun finally did rise, it rose from the South and slowly made its way across the sky on a ponderous course that saw it slipping back down into the horizon several times and then seeming to hang dead in the sky for long periods of time.

The rains stopped, the temperatures began to rise rapidly and soon the tarp was discarded. Steam began to rise from the wet asphalt and the roadside vegetation surrounding the cave. Mike found himself looking around as everyone else was.

A large section of the bank that had held the old road was gone, and the Black’s waters churned muddy brown, coming closer to the upper roadway where the cave stood.

All three vehicles were gone. Over the edge, and presumably washed away, Mike thought. The sun continued on its unsteady, drunken course, seeming to be desperately angling for a sinking somewhere in the northwest, but it was hard to tell. A few minutes later, it once again stopped and seemed to hang in the sky, a huge, swollen, yellow-red orb shimmering in the hazy sky.

“We should eat, or at least drink something,” Candace said.

“No way. I can’t even think of food,” Tom said.

“I know. Me too, but we’ll get dehydrated, possibly already are, and that’s very dangerous. I’m going to see how the cave is… Get some bottled water, maybe some of those energy bars. Did anyone think to bring a flashlight with them?” she finished.

Everyone shook their heads. Candace stood on shaky legs, and the dizziness returned quickly. She squatted down to the ground as everyone else struggled to their feet and also sank back down to the ground. She took several deep breaths and then stood again, slowly, taking deep breaths as she did.

“It’s okay,” she told the others with a shaky lopsided smile, “Just do it slowly.”

The men made it back to their feet, standing, shaking, but Janet remained sitting, her head in her hands. Bob sank back down and circled her shoulders with one arm, pulling her to his chest.

“I’ll wait here with Jan,” he said quietly.

The others nodded and headed slowly to the cave entrance.

Mike noticed as they walked that if they had come this far out onto the asphalt, but to the right or the left of where they had ridden out the night, they would have ended up in the river sometime during the night. Tom and Candace were also looking over the destruction on either side of the cave entrance. Their eyes met briefly, acknowledging the apparent, and then turned to examine the entrance to the cave.

A few loose chunks of stone lay upon the ground, but the pile of loose brick seemed none the worse for the long night, seeming to Mike to be in the same place they had been. Not one brick had tumbled from the pile. How could that be, he asked himself. Tom voiced his thoughts.

“Those bricks look untouched,” he said it softly like such a thing could not possibly be true.

“I noticed that too,” Mike said aloud. Candace simply nodded, passed the pile by and stepped into the dark mouth of the cave.

Within a short time she located a box of matches, and lighting small little sticks of flame, found her way to one of the big heavy duty flashlights where it had rolled to a stop among a stack of canned goods that had shifted and toppled over from one of the wooden pallets.

Other than a very small amount of stone that had separated from the back wall, and a few more toppled piles of stored goods, the cave looked good.

“What do you think, Mike?” Tom asked.

It was one of the few things Tom had asked Mike’s opinion about, and it surprised him.

“I think if it was going to come down, it would’ve already,” Mike assured him. Candace nodded her head in agreement.

The lightheadedness was still with them as they moved about the shadowy interior. Candace set about building a small fire while Tom and Mike went out to help Bob bring Janet back into the cave.

Candace passed out bottled water and energy bars once everyone was back inside, and their stomachs seemed to settle down, but the water only woke the queasiness back up, and no one wanted to try the energy bars. They remained untouched.

~

Tom wandered back outside the cave, rested his head against the coolness of the stone that fronted the cave, and watched the sun in the sky. It described a crazy course across the sky and did not seem to pick up speed and become more stable as it headed for the Northeast.

Eventually Mike and Candace wandered out with coffee, bringing a cup for Tom. He sipped at it cautiously, but his stomach seemed to accept it better than it had the water earlier, and it did help to clear his head.

“Bob’s with Janet. They’re both sleeping,” Candace said between sips of coffee. She looked up at the sun where it seemed to hang in the sky.

“It’s reversed,” Tom said. “Going backwards; or nearly backwards.”

Mike and Candace both nodded.

“Maybe this is it,” Mike said. Tom raised his eyebrows at him.

“It, as in maybe it’s done and finally about to start rotating in one direction. You know, stay that way.”

“Maybe that situation will straighten out the magnetic poles,” Candace said thoughtfully. “Maybe electronics, circuits, will work again.”

“Is that what it was,” Mike asked?

“Maybe,” Tom said.

“I don’t pretend to know,” Candace said. “Only the Earth wasn’t spinning right, or at all for a while, and none of the electronic stuff worked. Maybe now it will.”

“Yeah. Yeah. But even after it started back up again nothing worked. At least not when we tried it,” Tom said.

“Did we?” Candace asked.

Tom looked puzzled.

“Hey, you know what? She’s right. We didn’t really check again. We just assumed it wouldn’t work. At least I didn’t check. I assumed it wouldn’t work. I mean it didn’t, why would it?” Mike asked. “Did you guys think the same thing?”

“I did,” Tom agreed “First day or two, but not after.”

Candace nodded in agreement. “If that’s what caused it, the Earth not really rotating, maybe it will work now. Or, maybe it’s something else,” she finished.

“That dust or ash,” Mike said. “I’ve never seen volcanic ash, but I’ve read about it, and it seems that’s what it was.”

“Yeah, I thought that also,” Candace said. “Really, if there weren’t volcanoes going off somewhere, I’d wonder. All this Earthquake activity, volcanoes just make sense. Wherever it happened, it worked its way here on the air and was dumped on us.”

They looked around at the nearly dry asphalt. Small areas steamed as the moisture made its way back into the air. Mike noticed that both Candace and Tom’s shirts were soaked through with sweat. His was no different.

“Yeah,” Tom agreed. “Getting hot.” Mike and Candace both shrugged. Who knows, the gestures said.

They all leaned back against the sun warmed stone, sipping at their coffee, watching the bloated sun stagger across the sky.

It was Candace who first noticed the small group walking across the steaming pavement towards them. Her gun seemed to magically appear in her right hand. Lying alongside her thigh, just out of sight.

~

Mike and Tom were nearly as quick getting their own guns into their hands, but not nearly as subtle.

“That’s close enough right there,” Tom said.

No one spoke for a moment. The two groups of people appraised one another carefully in the silence.

The group was small, four women, and two men. One of the men was no more than a boy, Mike though, but, after the shootout with the kids a few days prior, no one was about to take any kid lightly.

“We saw you from way back,” one of the women said. She pushed sweaty brown hair from her eyes as she spoke. “If we meant trouble…” She let the implication hang in the air.

As she finished, Candace raised her weapon from her side to let the group know she had also seen them, and had been ready for them. They smiled uneasily at one another. The woman held out her hands, and the others in the group did the same.

“We don’t want a problem,” she said softly. “I’m thinking you are part of the group that took care of those kids from the north side the other day. We heard it.”

“If you could hear it, why didn’t you join in to help us?” Tom challenged.

“Good question,” Mike echoed softly.

The woman who had spoken first nodded. “We have two guns between us. One’s a twenty-two rifle, the other is a Three Eighty which we only have eight bullets for. We didn’t realize how things were going to go bad so fast,” she looked up at the sky where the sun continued its curving, staggering climb. She looked back at Mike. “We just want to talk for now.”

Candace got to her feet, holstered her gun and walked towards the small group.

“Candace,” she said, holding out her hand.

“Patty,” The young dark haired woman answered. She turned to the others behind her. “Sandy, Nell, Tim, Lilly and,” she pointed to a young dark skinned man who was standing slightly back and apart, “That’s my man, Ronnie.”

As she finished the introductions, Bob and Janet came to the cave opening. Candace made the same introductions ending with Mike and making it clear he was also not available.

As her eyes caught Mike’s, he seemed slightly amused by it. As she turned around, she poked her tongue out slightly at him and made a silly face as she walked towards him, inviting the others to sit down.

“Does that make me your bitch,” Mike whispered as she sat back down next to him.

“Ha, ha,” she whispered back. “…Bitch,” she giggled, but she didn’t allow the giggle to pass her lips. Mike stifled a laugh, but a smile rose to his face. He turned to the small group.

“We’ve got water inside, maybe some more coffee made, bottled soda.”

“Some coffee would be nice,” Patty said and smiled gratefully. Mike left for two cups of coffee and some bottled water as everyone began to sit down. The party had been traveling with backpacks and gear, and it came off now, making a small pile as they sat down. When Mike returned just a few minutes later, the silence still held. He handed out the water and coffee and sat back down next to Candace. All eyes turned to him. He glanced over at Tom, but Tom seemed to be studying the small patch of asphalt at his feet. Mike found his voice.

“So…” He let the question hang, picked up his still warm coffee and took a reassuring sip.

Patty seemed to hesitate, so the girl she’d identified as Lilly spoke up. She flipped loose blond curls away from her face before she spoke.

“We want to join you,” she said finally in a quiet yet firm voice.

Patty, whose hands had been clasped tightly together, parted them and raised them to her shoulders palms up in a ‘there you go’ gesture.

Candace was amazed at how much Lilly looked like Lydia. She even sounded like her. It must be that age, Candace said to herself. Everyone acts alike. She looked over at Tom to see if he had noticed, but his eyes were already locked on the young woman. Patty continued.

“We’ve been living in a collapsed apartment building over off State Street. We couldn’t find anything better. Now that’s come the rest of the way down. To be honest, we’re afraid to go into any of the buildings. There’s a lumber shed over there, just a roof really. We spent most of last night under that trying to stay out of most of the weather. Not much to it. We figured we could get out quick enough if it came down.” She took a deep breath. “That’s where we’re at,” she finished.

When the girl finished speaking, Candace’s head was bowed as if in thought. She raised her head, met Patty’s eyes, and then the others one by one. She let her eyes wander around their own group. One by one they all nodded. Everyone on this side was for it; it was easy enough to see. Tom’s eyes were still on Lilly, so it was clear what his feelings were.

“You are welcome here,” Candace said. A small chorus of welcome from the others echoed her own words. “There’s plenty of space here, and in a few months most of us will be leaving, so there will be more room after that.”

The small group of newcomers all seemed to heave a sigh of relief at the same time. Nervous laughter followed, and smiles lit up their faces.

Candace stood along with the others and motioned towards the mouth of the cave. “It isn’t much,” she said and laughed. “But it’s home.” The group picked up their gear and backpacks and followed her inside.


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Zombie Plague Book One free previews 2

The Zombie Plague Book One

Created by Dell Sweet

PUBLISHED BY: Geo Dell and independAntwriters Publishing

The Zombie Plague Book One

Additional Copyrights 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2015, 2017 Wendell Sweet All rights reserved

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’re 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 persons places, situations or events is purely coincidental.

This novel is Copyright © 2010 – 2013 George Dell & independAntwriters Publishing and all rights to this work have been reserved 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…


The silence seemed to go on forever as Mike and Janet waited. Sudden gunfire erupted in the distance again. Janet moaned and Mike pulled her closer to him. “Ssss alright,” Mike told her. “Alright.” He didn’t believe it anymore than he had the last time he’d said it. The burst of gunfire came and went just that quickly, and then silence fell hard on the still morning air.

Janet held herself rigidly. Mike could feel her tremble against him. He patted her head. A stupid, useless, meaningless thing to do, he told himself, but he continued nonetheless, patting her head and stroking her hair. Useless, but if nothing else, it seemed to help calm him.

He drew a deep breath, and the radio squawked. “Mike?” Bob asked.

Mike took a deep breath and swallowed hard before he trusted his voice to answer. Jan let go of her breath in a deep whoosh and drew in a long, deep shuddering breath. Mike stroked her hair once more.

“Yeah,” Mike answered quietly.

“It’s bad,” Bobs voice broke as he spoke. “It’s bad, Mike. It’s bad.”

In his head Mike could already hear the words he didn’t want to hear. He had heard everyone’s voice except Candace’s. It only stood to reason… Still, he didn’t want to hear it.

“It’ll be okay,” Jan told him. She pulled him tight. Her own hands trying to pull his head against her breast. “Mike… It’ll be okay.”

“It’s Lydia,” Bob said. His voice choked with emotion.

“Candace?” Mike asked. He hated himself for asking. He hated the weakness in his voice. How could it be Lydia, he asked himself. I just heard her voice. How could it be?

“I’m here, Babe,” Candace said through the crackle of static. Behind her voice they could hear what sounded like sobbing. The sobbing came across clearly as she stopped talking. “We’re on our way back… We’re coming back… It’s over,” Candace said. She held on to the button for a split second longer, the smooth silence spitting quietly, then the radio in Mike’s hand went back to solid static once more.

~

“Be careful, Honey. Be careful.” Mike’s voice came through the radio in her hand. She nodded, and then keyed the button, “I will. We’re coming back.” She looked around her.

Tom sat cradling Lydia in his arms. Bright, thick blood covered the ground under her chest and the side of Tom’s pant leg. The three other bodies lay close by. Bob stood, ashen faced, his gun still held tightly in one hand.

The pickup truck idled noisily about a hundred yards away from where Candace stood. The doors hung open. The Suburban and the State truck rumbled from behind her. Maybe, she thought, five minutes had passed since they had spotted the truck and stopped behind them. The kids had come out shooting. Just like in the movies, Candace thought. Exactly that. Hell! They had acted like it was a movie. Five minutes and four people dead. She shook her head slowly.

Tom looked up from the ground and met Candace’s eyes.

“Let’s get her in the truck, okay, Tom,” She said softly.

Tom’s head slowly nodded.

“What… what about these… these others?” Bob asked.

“Fuck them,” Tom rasped. “Fuck them! They can rot right there. They’re not going in the truck!” He looked at Candace defiantly.

“Okay,” Candace agreed. “Okay… Bob?” She waited until Bob’s eyes left Lydia’s body. “Help Tom with Lydia?”

Bob nodded and started towards Tom

“No,” Tom said quietly. “Don’t need help.” He swiped a blood covered hand across his eyes, leaving a bright smear of scarlet across his forehead as he did. “I’ll do it. I’ll take care of her.” His voice shook at the last, but he got to his feet, carefully holding Lydia in his arms, and headed for the pickup truck.

“Bob,” Candace said, motioning to the bodies.

Bob looked at her questioningly.

“In the river. We can’t just leave them here.”

Bob nodded, and together they bent to pick up the first body.

A few minutes later Candace let the last body slip from her hands and plunge over the cliffs and into the river far below. She turned her palms upright and stared at them for a second.

“Candace,” Bob said. She nodded, and followed Bob to the truck.

Tom sat behind the wheel, Lydia slumped on the passenger seat, her head resting against Tom’s shoulder. “You okay to drive?” she asked.

Tom nodded. His eyes met her own. They were red, and tears perched on the bottom lids waiting to spill down his cheeks. He cleared his throat, started to speak and then cleared his throat once more. “I’m going to drive out of the city. There’s a small little place out by Huntingtonville. My parents were raised there. There’s a cemetery there…” He trailed off, and Candace saw the tears that had been perched on his lower lid begin to course their way down his cheeks. He started to speak again, shook his head and gave up momentarily. Candace turned her eyes up to the clear blue morning sky and waited. Tom’s voice came to her quietly a few minutes later as she watched the empty sky.

“There’s a shed… In the Cemetery… I thought.” His voice choked up again.

“Yeah. Yeah,” Candace said softly. “You go. We’ll stop and get Jan and Mike. They’ll want to be there.”

Tom nodded. His hand fell to the shift lever on the steering column. His eyes, tear-filled and overflowing, swept up to her once more.

“You’ll be okay to get there?” Candace asked.

Tom nodded, not trusting his voice to speak. He turned his eyes back to the road.

Candace nodded. “We’ll meet you there.” She stepped away from the truck and watched as Tom pulled slowly away.

Mike ~ March 15th

It’s been a very long day in more ways than one. We are five now. Lydia is gone. It’s crazy, but true. Tom is in bad shape, sitting by the fire reading Lydia’s diary.

We buried her today in Huntingtonville, a little place outside of the city. There’s a cemetery there right by the river. Tom’s parents are buried there. Now Lydia is too. It took a lot of work; the ground is still frozen a few feet down. It could’ve been worse. If everything wasn’t melting, we would’ve had a much harder time digging the hole. Tom couldn’t bring himself to do it. Bob and I did it.

To make the explanation short, we were ambushed. I shouldn’t say we. I wasn’t even there. Neither was Jan. We were left behind to watch the cave.

It started in the night; these kids came and stole one of our trucks. We didn’t know they were kids of course. It turned into mess. Three kids are dead. Young kids. What a waste. We don’t even know why they did it, why they chose to shoot at the others. None of it.

Everyone is messed up, me included. Jan too, because we weren’t there. But it’s over. This part’s over, but really it’s not over at all. I don’t know what’s next. None of us do. The day has already lasted fifteen hours so far. The sun doesn’t seem to be moving at all. We don’t know what to make of it. Everyone just wants to get past this day, for it to be over.

Lydia ~ March 15th

Lydia is gone. They took her. I can’t believe it, it’s like a nightmare. I can’t deal with it. I won’t forget it. Tom.

~Huntingtonville~

The moon rode high in the sky. Frost gleamed from the freshly turned dirt that lay scattered across the gravel of the road that lead into the cemetery. Silence held, and then a scraping came from the ground, muffled, deep.

At the edge of the woods, eyes flashed dully in the over-bright moonlight. Shapes shifted among the trees and then emerged from the shadows onto the gravel roadway. One dragged a leg as he walked, clothes already rotted and hanging in tatters. A second seemed almost untouched, a young woman, maybe a little too pale in the wash of moonlight. She walked as easily as any woman, stepping lightly as she went. The third and fourth moved slower, purposefully, as they made their way to the freshly turned soil. They stopped beside the grave, and silence once again took the night, no sounds of breathing, no puffs of steam on the cold night air.

“Do you think…?” The young woman asked in a whisper.

“Shut up,” the one with the dragging leg rasped. His words were almost unintelligible. His vocal cords rotted and stringy. The noises came once again from the earth and the four fell silent… waiting…

Her hand broke through into the moonlight. A few minutes later her head pushed up, and then she levered her arms upward and began to strain to pull herself up and out of the hole. She noticed the four and stopped, her pale skin nearly translucent, her blond hair tangled and matted against her face and neck. Her lips parted, a question seeming to ride on them.
“It’s okay,” the young woman whispered, “it’s okay.” She and one of the older ones moved forward, fell to their knees and began to scoop the dirt away from her with their hands.

“It’ll be okay,” Lydia mumbled through her too cold lips.

“It will. It will,” the young woman repeated.


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