5.0 out of 5 stars 1 rating The public had known that there was a meteor on a near collision course with the Earth. The Spin doctors assured the public it was survivable… #Apocalyptic #Zombies
America The Dead Survivor Stories Two. March 1st (Night) Quakes; three. Warmed up fast, all the dirty snow piled along the streets has melted. Torrential rains. Thunder and lightening in the snow storm that came after sunset. #Zombies #Apocalyptic
America The Dead Survivor Stories Three Kindle Edition The hunger was all consuming. The impulse to feed was the only coherent thought she had. It was all she could do not to find the smell that tempted her and consume it… #Zombies #Apocalyptic
America the Dead Survivor Stories Four
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 rating Donita walked down Eighth Avenue towards Columbus Circle. Behind her a silent army of the dead followed, numbering in the thousands… #Zombies #Apocalyptic
America the Dead Survivor Stories Five. The city is a refuge… Until they try to leave it…
The trucks stopped; for several minutes there was absolute silence. Just as the sun began to sink, the first shots came. The battle began. #Apocalyptic #Zombie
The story of Fred The Cat: Dell Sweet’s Blog post today…
seemed like a Male cat. He acted like a male cat. He chased the
female cats around, corralled them (Cats do that, perfectly fine
behaviors for them. I would not recommend you try that at home) So, I
assumed Fred was a male cat.
THE CA T
mentioned Fred the cat the last time I wrote. Here is the story of
Fred the Cat.
rehabbed the entire house my mother, aunt and uncle live in about
twelve years ago, but over the years things have slid. Three people
in their seventies can not keep up the maintenance that needs to be
performed on a house as it ages.
here I am trying to fix up the house again after years of being away.
One of the thing s that had happened was that raccoons had found
their way into an old chimney, broken through that into a utility
area, found their way into a dropped ceiling in my Mothers living
room, and dropped down into her lap (Practically) while she was
watching T.V. With her Cats, and all Hell broke loose. Well, maybe
not all of Hell actually broke loose but I would say a good deal of
Cats were upset, or as we say here in the north country, Pissed off.
The raccoons believed, like Christopher Columbus maybe, that they had
discovered this new place, therefor it was theirs. They did not try
to make peace, however, with the natives like good old Chris did with
my people (Before he stuck it to us, that is…. Just want to keep
the record straight). No. The raccoons believed that both the Cats
and my Mother should move.
raccoons do not always have good access to legal representation, and
these were no exception. So as a result my Brother-In-Law Harry came
and sent them on their way and closed up the area they had been
coming in through. No problem. My Mother lived happily ever after.
The Cats basked in the Sunshine, and I came home to a secure well
maintained home. No.
are curious about everything. They are probably even curious about
other animals or people, besides themselves, but they would probably
never admit that though. So, instead of leaving well enough alone,
the Cats decided to find out why the raccoons had gotten in, and how,
and if a Cat could do it to, and then of course one cat probably
dared the other, and so while one held the flashlight the other pried
off the fix and got into the chimney. Oh what wonder! What absolute
Joy! A way to get in and out of the house without having to use the
door (Cats love things like this). And so the cats had their way in
and out. Up the roof, into the old chimney, down the chimney, out the
broken block that used to vent the furnace, drop right down on the
furnace and then spring out of the utility room as soon as the door
opened. My mother, who loves Cats, decided in her wisdom that since
the cats had worked this out she should help them along by leaving
the utility room door open. Oh those were happy cats (I assume).
I came along and the first thing I did was shut up the hole. That was
how I met Fred. Fred was the only cat still able to find a way in and
out, and Fred did not believe I had a say in it, and, well, as it
turned out Fred was right. I blocked every hole I could find and Fred
found some new way in. Finally, one late afternoon, I came into the
Kitchen after working all day on closing the roof line up and any
other spot I could find, and announced to Mom that the house was a
cat free zone now. The utility door bumped open and Fred sauntered by
me to the food bowl Mom had put down for him. She had more faith in
the cat than me, well placed too.
is how I met Fred. I just declared a truce.I
this rough and tumble cat beat me fair and square, he can stay.
is not a boy cat at all. Not only is Fred not a boy cat. Yes, this
means I had to give him a quick exam, have you ever had a cat jump up
on your lap and turn around and stick their butt in your face? Sure
you have. Cat’s do that all the time. They think you Want to
see their butt. Okay, it was at one of these times that I noticed
Fred was not Anatomically equipped to be a boy cat. Right Fred was
missing a few things and had a few things he shouldn’t have had.
Ma!” I yelled. “Fred’s not a boy cat!”
a quick thinker,” Mom said. “I told you he might not be.”
not be,” I said defensively.
I guess I can change that to definitely isn’t,” Mom said
and went back to watching General Hospital.
could I say. Fred cocked her head back to me as if to ask if I got a
good enough look. Cat’s are such smart asses, then jumped down and
of story, except, Fred is looking distinctly fat… Fatter. Mom and I
have come to a consensus, Fred the cat is probably pregnant. I said,
“Well I thought Fred was just hanging out with those male cats
’cause they were his buddies!”
they were her buddies alright,” Mom said wisely.
have a little kitten who likes to climb my leg while I’m typing. The
she looks at me like, Oh … Were you typing? It’s me! The kitty!
Let’s play! I’m cute! I’m also persistent. I’ll keep stepping on your
keyboard and attacking you thumbs (Which hang off the edge of the key
board as I type) Until you pay attention to me! Gotta go before she
actually manages to chew a hole through my thumb… Dell…
This book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This
book may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to
share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for
each recipient. If you are reading this book and did not purchase it or it was
not purchased for your use only, then please return to your bookseller and
purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
This is a work of fiction. Any names, characters, places or incidents
depicted are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual
living person’s places, situations or events is purely coincidental.
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.
Additional Copyrights 2009 – 2018 Wendell Sweet all rights
Six months before:
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.”
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
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.
“Multi–million 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
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.
The Lita Situation
“Lita… Lita, stop, Lita: What are you doing?”
“I want you… I want you… I know what I’m
doing,” Lita said. Her lips fell on his, her body pressed up against
his own. He had been okay until he felt the softness of her breasts pressing
against him: The firmness of her thighs as they moved against his own thigh.
Whatever he had held back: Whatever resolve he had, had, he lost. He felt it
fall away as he pulled her to him: Tasting her; feeling her hands on his body.
tried again, but without much resolve. He breathed it against her cheek as she
kissed his neck, ran her hands over his chest, squatted and came level with his
belt line. Her fingernails pressed against the fabric of his shirt, ticking
downward and she ran her hands across to stomach and found the catch to his
pants and then worked the zipper down.
“Lita… Think, Lita,”
She took him in her mouth and everything flew away.
Everything he had fought to say. Everything he had been afraid of. All of it
gone. There was only the warm night, the girl and the darkness.
She stood and lifted her dress, she was bare beneath: He
picked her up and her thighs parted, coming around his hips and locking
together as he slid into her. Her lips fell on his neck once more; his hands
pulled her closer, drove deeper into her. He stumbled forward until the wall
was at her back. She thrust her hips harder and the last vestige of doubt, the
last small piece of resolve, melted away: She came alive under his hands.
Two Days Later
Watertown, New York
Carlos and Gabe
The man moved more fully into the shadows. “You Gabe?” he
asked in a near whisper.
The darker shadow nodded. “You…?” He started.
“Now who in fuck else would I be?” He asked.
The darker shadow said nothing. The other man passed him a
small paper bag. “Count it,” he told him.
Gabe Kohlson moved out of the shadow, more fully into the
light. “It’s a lot; I can’t stand here, out
here counting it.”
The man laughed. “You asked for this place. It’s the middle
of nowhere. I Googled it, it comes up
marked as the middle of nowhere. Who in fuck will see you?” He laughed and then
choked it off with a harsh cough. “Count it. No mistakes… You got the shit?”
Kohlson’s head popped up fast from counting. “Of course I
don’t… That wasn’t the deal.”
“Easy… Easy… Keep your panties on… I’m saying you got the shit... You got access
to the shit?”
“That I got… I can get it out this Thursday at shift
end…” He held up the paper bag. “A lot of this goes to greasing the skids…
You know, to get it out,” Gabe told him. “This stuff.”
“Whoa right there,” the man told him. “Don’t say shit about
it. I don’t know what it is and I don’t want to know, see? I do a job. Take
this thing there, that thing here. That’s all I know. Keeps my head on my
shoulders when all about are losing theirs.”
“Uh… Lost me,” Gabe Kohlson told him.
“Just shut up about the shit, man. I don’t want to know
anything past what I know, okay?”
“Okay,” Kohlson agreed.
“I do know you got to get it out and I will be here to get
it… Hey,” he waited until the kid looked up. “You know who I work for, right?
You fuck this up you’ll wind up out at the county landfill… Gulls pecking out
your fucking eyes let me tell you. I will meet you here next Thursday night…
Seven… Don’t be late… Don’t fuck this up… Don’t make me come looking for
you…” He faded back into the shadows more fully, turned and walked down the
shadowed front of the building. A few minutes later he found his car in the
darkness: He waited.
He heard the kid’s shit-box beater when it started. A few
moments later he watched as it swept past him, heading out of the small park
area toward the river road. He levered the handle on his own car, slipped
inside, started it and drove slowly away.
This book, in this blog format, is licensed for your
personal enjoyment only. If you would like to share this book with another
person, please point them to this blog entry. Thank you for respecting the hard
work of this author.
This is a work of fiction. Any names, characters, places or
incidents depicted are products of the authors imagination. Any resemblance to
actual living persons places, situations or events is purely coincidental.
Permission is granted to use short sections of text in
reviews or critiques in standard or electronic print..
EARTH’S SURVIVOR’S – AMERICA the DEAD: BOOK ONE
We were down along the river checking over some of the old
buildings that perched on the cliffs high above the water. Summer was coming on
full and we knew we had to get moving, get out of this dead city. We had half
the country to cross and find a place before winter came back around again.
I was thinking back to March. Just two months ago but the
world was still the world. And for the next little while there, we didn’t even
know about the dead. Dead was still dead. When you closed your eyes for the
long eternal sleep you didn’t wake up a short minute later as something else.
No. We were ignorant up until a few weeks ago when they decided to come after
us. Ignorant. Stupid. Didn’t know a thing: Have a clue. We didn’t know what the
blue shit the government planes sprayed us with right after everything went to
hell was. And I am still not convinced I know all there is to know, but I
suspect things. I have been told things. I met a guy a few weeks back that said
he worked at the Army base. He knew what it was. What I do know was it was
designed to strengthen us. Keep us alive a little longer. Make us stronger
somehow. Some dip shit scientist’s idea.
I suppose it was meant as a help for us. A help. The world
slowed down, fell apart, everything stopped working. They knew they couldn’t
get to us. We would die. So they sprayed the blue shit on us. And I could
suppose further that some of us survived the last few months because of it. I
can’t prove it but I suspect it did help us evolve into… I don’t know..
Whatever the hell we are now. I know we’re alive? I know our hearts beat. I
still feel human and I truly think I am still human. If it made changes to the
living they are very small changes… At least so far.
But the dead. Oh, the dead. That’s a different story. It
did something else to the dead.
I walked along thinking my thoughts. I was lost in them,
I’ll admit it. We were right in front of a line of cliffs that overhung the
water, spread out a little, at least I was. It’s funny how you can forget to be
careful so Goddamn fast. It was somewhere past midday when they came for us.
Emma from a hundred yards down. The panic and fear in her
voice made my heart leap into my throat, and because of her fear, and probably
some of my own, I did a really stupid thing right then that cost me time. I was
so panicked that I threw my rifle down and sprinted towards the sound of her
voice. I got maybe twenty feet when the realization of what I had done hit me.
It would have been comical to see the way I locked my legs up and tried to turn
around ,before I had even come to a stop, if it had not been so Goddamned
I had the rifle back in my hands, the safety off, just a
fraction of a second later when Emma and Madison opened up on the UN-dead
closing in on the mouth of the cave on the narrow trail up from the river. I
added my fire to theirs before I had run another fifty feet and their leader, a
shambling wreck of a corpse folded up and then flopped over the side of the
trail and down into the river. I continued to run as I fired and was shocked to
realize that I was screaming at the top of my lungs as I closed in.
All strung together, fear words.
I did not hear them at first so I did not know when they started, and I could
not shut them down once I did hear them, the panic and fear were just too hot.
I watched as, unseen by Emma and Madison a Zombie crouched
on a narrow path above them swiveled his rotting head to me, seemed to take my
measure with a wide, yellowed grin, and then dropped from the ledge on to
Goddamn-son-of-a-bitches-dead-bastards-bastards!” I could not say Madison Look Out!Or
speed up my feet or any other damn thing. Time had slowed, become elastic,
strange, too clearly seen… The Zombie hit her hard and she folded like an
accordion and was driven into the ground, a few hundred pounds of animated
corpse riding her down into the dirt. Clawed hands clutching, mouth already
angling to bite…To taste her…
I was still thirty or more yards away. I could not see how
that could even be possible. I should have been closer but I was not. I saw
Emma turn, panicked, take her eyes off the other UN-dead, and start towards
Madison. Unchallenged the other Zombies closed ground far faster than they
should have been able to. I saw the Zombie on Madison take a mouthful of her
back and rip the flesh away from her spine. Emma’s rifle came up and barked and
the zombie blew apart, raining down on Madison like a storm of red. Somehow I
managed to switch to full auto, get my rifle up, and spray an entire one
hundred round clip into the other Zombies where they rushed along the path
towards Emma and the fallen Madison.
Madison screamed. Time leapt back into it’s proper frame
and I found myself five feet away as Madison arched her back, screamed, and
tried to stand. Blood ran in a perfect river from her gaping wound, across the
white of her T-Shirt and down to the waist of her jeans.
think… I think…” Madison tried.
Baby,” Emma sobbed. She dropped to her knees and pulled Madison to
her. “Oh, Baby… Baby,”
I looked back up at the trail. Empty. At least of moving
UN-dead. Three or four, it was hard to tell with the tangle of legs and arms,
lay dead on the pathway. Silence descended. I heard a bird in the trees above
calling as if nothing was wrong with the world. Emma sobbing. Madison crying,
hysterically. The wind moaning through the empty buildings of the downtown
area, which was set just back from the cliffs and the river on this side of
I was thinking… “That wind is colder. Colder even than
when we started out this morning. Fall is here. Maybe it will slow those bastards
down… We will be
okay… My, God… They bit
Madison… They BIT Madison!!!” I sagged to the ground my mind
full of confusion and numbness.
Emma was sobbing uncontrollably, Madison had lapsed into
shock. I was sitting crossed legged wondering where in Hell this would all end
up, my rifle fallen from hands and laying on the ground next to me. Time spun
out. Dragged. Seemed elastic once more, sticking in places and jumping ahead
from those places to where it should have been had it continued to run properly.
Emma sobbing, holding Madison up. Kissing her forehead.
Telling her how much she loved her… How she was her world… Madison… Eyes
rolled back in her head… Face pale… Fine beads of sweat standing out on her
forehead… Her back a bright slick of red running across Emma’s hands where
she held her. Slowing… Slowing… Emma mouthing words in such slow motion
that I could not understand what she said… Madison’s body sagging, eyes
rolled up to the whites… Bright dots of blood speckled across Emma’s
cheeks… Then time jumped, staggered, came back to normal and Emma was
screaming and screaming…
NO! … Not my… My, love, my Madison, my…” Collapsing to the
ground with Madison, crying still… Softer but continuous.
“Emma…” My voice, but I did not know it at first. I
actually stopped speaking and looked around, startled, before I realized
it was me
speaking. I turned my attention back to Emma. “Emma… Emma, it’ll be okay…
She scrambled back pulling Madison’s unconscious body with her. She wiped one
hand across her eyes trying to stem the flow of tears… “NO! She’s… She’s okay…
Okay… You can’t… You…” She broke down into sobs, pulled
Madison to her and began dragging her away from me.
“Emma… Emma, it bit her… Bit her… Emma…
Emma, it’s… It’s just you and me, Emma… It bit her… It bit her…”
She let go of Madison and lunged for her rifle. I sat,
still cross legged, stupidly, as she grabbed it and leveled it at me.
“Get out,” She said very calmly. Much more calmly than I
thought she should have been capable of.
are you doing… Emma.”
OUT, GET OUT, GET OUT!” She screamed. I reared back as the
rifle barrel came up and then slashed down across my face. I jumped back but
not fast enough. The steel barrel smashed into my lower lip, through it and
then hit my teeth. I immediately tasted blood, machine oil, and I could feel
pieces of my broken teeth on my tongue. Sharp splinters.
The pain was delayed but it came never-the-less. Hard,
heavy, fast, down into my lower jaw and then ricocheted back up into the top of
my head. I scrambled backwards, tripped over my own rifle, got it into my hands
and then time did that funny slowing, elastic thing again.
The blood dripped from my chin onto the ground. My rifle
was pointed squarely at Emma, safety off, and an empty clip, but Emma didn’t
know that. The blood dripped slowly. Emma’s eyes swam in and out of focus but
remained on me. Her rifle barrel dipped and rose again, leveled on me.
She seemed to take a deep breath that went on forever, and
then, once more, time sped up. “I’ll kill you,” Emma told me. “If you touch
her, I’ll kill you… I will,” She started out strong but ended in a doubtful,
I didn’t drop my rifle barrel but held one hand out in
front of me in a placating gesture. “Not touching anyone… Not,” I managed
through my busted lip and broken teeth. The pain was a live, throbbing thing.
“You will… But… I know you will… You think… You think…”
She seemed all at once to realize that she no longer held Madison in her arms.
She took a deep shuddering breath and then dropped her rifle to the ground. She
collapsed back down to the ground and crawled to Madison’s body.
I stood. Shocked. Not knowing what to do. Time side
slipped. The bird went back to calling out, if it had ever stopped, the wind
came back, blowing cold against my face, pushing the flush of heat that the
situation had bought with it away, cooling the sweat on my brow. The bird
called… Another picked it up and soon all of the birds were talking a though
nothing at all had happened. It became a perfect storm of noise after the
deepness of the silence. Time slipped away again, clouds moving across the
cold, blue of the sky.
Emma sat, Madison pulled up into her lap, a large smear of
maroon on her forehead, stroking Madison’s black hair. The birds called. The
coldness of the wind seemed to bite at my bones. Nipping. Tasting. An Undead
thing of it’s own.
I can’t tell you why I did it but I am glad I did. I pushed
the button on the rifle butt, dropped the empty clip in to my waiting palm, and
slid another up into the rifle where it socketed itself home with a solid
click. I did it perfectly. Like I had been doing it all of my life instead of
just the last six months since the Undead disease, epidemic, disorder,
what-ever-the-fuck it was had happened. She never looked up. The birds didn’t
stop singing their birdsong… Just in case, I told myself. Just in case.
I stood, my knees screaming, flexed experimentally and then
walked a short distance away, leaning up against the cliff face. Emma’s voice
had fallen to a barely audible whisper as she stroked Madison’s hair and held
her. A private conversation. A private conversation in the wide open, which
thanks to the UN-dead was a very private place. No one at all around, alive anyway,
and the dead could care less about love, secrets, whispered promises, goodbyes.
The UN-dead only cared about the hunger that seemed to drive them. Flesh, and
more flesh… The time turned elastic once more and spun out of control for
some unknown length. I only know that when I came back to myself the sun had
moved across the sky. My thoughts were about darkness, Zombies, staying alive.
When I think back on it now I realize a noise had brought
me back. Had to be, otherwise there was no reason for me to come back at all.
Just stay gone. Let the sun go down and the UN-dead take the night, me, Emma,
Madison and whatever else they wanted. But it didn’t go that way…
A noise. A sliding foot. A pebble falling from above… I
really don’t know. I know that this time I reacted fast. My rifle came up, my
mind was clear. I focused, two of them dropping from the cliffs above… Like
cats… Like dead, stinking, feral cats… Dragging that stink of death with
them. The stench of rotted flesh falling from the sky along with them and
enveloping me even as I fired into them.
I had a choice. I couldn’t get them both. One falling at
me, one falling at Emma where she sat with Madison cradled in her arms
oblivious to everything around her. My reaction chose for me. The rifle came
straight up and spat short, little barks of noise and flame. The Zombie started
to come apart before it hit me. A shower of cold, dead blood rained down on me,
splattered against my face. The body hit the barrel of the rifle and took me
down to the ground clutching the rifle hard to keep from losing it as the full
weight of the Zombie came down on it.
I kept it, but only by sheer determination. The Zombie had
impaled herself onto the barrel. Her flesh so rotted that it had simply punched
through her breast and out her back. I shoved her off as quickly as I could.
One booted foot kicking against her chest. Knocking her apart, pulling the
barrel back through the soft flesh and hard bone.
I expected to see Emma done for. I expected to see her dead
or dying, but she had somehow ended up about twenty feet from where the Zombie
had fallen. She looked herself as if she had no real idea how that had
happened, but when I raised my eyes and they took in the whole scene before
them, I saw exactly how it had happened..
Madison must have been awake. Laying there badly injured
but not gone. Taking the comfort from Emma that she offered. When the Zombie
fell she saw it. Saw it and managed to push Emma away from her and take the
attack on herself.
The Zombie was no match for her, wounded though she was.
She straddled the Zombie with a rock easily the size of her own head and bought
it down hard. Once. Twice, and then I lost count and the Zombie quit fighting.
The UN-dead dead again. This time for good.
The silence came back hard. Like a curtain on the last act
of a play just when the audience isn’t expecting it. It crashed down.
Time did it’s elastic trick and then snapped back before I
was ready for it. My senses were shot. A first I could not connect the dots of
memory that I needed to connect to make sense of what my eyes were seeing.
Emma rose to shaky legs and started towards Madison.
Sobbing once more. Madison’s eyes swiveled to me. A sick look in them and pain
riding there too. She slumped forward, one wrist flapping uselessly and lunged
for the rifle that Emma had had trained on me not that long ago. Time stopped
it’s elastic trickery right around that time. I knew exactly what she intended to
do before she did it. Emma stopped in mid stride and nearly fell backwards at
the effort of stopping so quickly. I think she believed for a second that
Madison intended to shoot her. I really believe she thought that, but that was
not the plan and I knew that was not the plan. Because the plan that had
resurfaced in her mind was the one we had talked about, half seriously, half
jokingly for the last several weeks that we had been traveling together. Before
she followed through on that plan I heard her tell it to me in my mind once
again, the way she had several weeks before. Several weeks before when she had
been unmolested… Whole.. Not about to join the ranks of the UN-dead herself.
“If I ever fuckin’ have to I won’t hesitate,” Madison had
said, “Once I’m dead I don’t want to be alive
again.” She shuddered and grimaced at the same time.
We had been in an old house on the outskirts of the city.
We had had gas lanterns for light. The windows were boarded. The UN-dead
scratched and cried and pleaded, but they could not get in. The four of
us–John had still been alive then, in fact he had died just two days later…
Fell through a rotted section of floor in that same old house… Impaled
himself on a pipe in the basement… Madison had shot him in the head nearly as
soon as he had stopped his struggles. Emma had bent double and vomited. I had
held it in but barely–but that night John had been alive, he had still been
with us. With us as we listened to the sounds of the UN-dead that were trying
to get us. To kill us. To eat us. To satisfy their ceaseless hunger. In the
flickery light from the gas lanterns, she had said it, and he had nodded his
head, agreeing immediately with what she had said. And I had not. It had not
been a real thing to me until two days later when John had died and she had
wasted no time. None. “He would have expected it,” she had said, and nothing
more. But that night… That night she had said it right out. Like a mantra.
Like looking into the future and seeing this day.
“If they come for me? If they get me? I’ll put a bullet in
my own head. I will . I swear I will.”
And Emma had begun to cry. “Don’t say it, Maddy… Don’t
say it.” And she hadn’t said it again, but it didn’t matter. She had already
spoke it into truth. I had heard it. I had heard it and I knew she meant it.
And now… Time stopped it’s trick. She jammed the rifle
under her chin and squeezed the trigger… Her head exploded in a spray of red
and gray. I swear I could hear the sounds of small bits of bone and blood
pattering down to the ground. And then the silence was roaring again.
I took a breath, another… And then Emma began to scream
It’s been three weeks. I thought Emma would never talk
again. I believed she wouldn’t right up until she did yesterday.
I just kept us moving. Out of the city and south. Walking
days, seeking refuge at night. The zombies smell us, you know. They can smell
us for miles. So at night it’s strong places. Strong places where they can’t
get in and then hope like hell these were not some of the new breed, the ones
that didn’t seem to have a need to avoid the day, and they would be gone in the
I started carrying a radio the other day. Clips on the
belt. FM. Picks up a lot of talk during the day. There’s a place that a lot of
the people I hear from have heard about. In the middle of no place. Somewhere
in Kentucky… Tennessee. Some swear they have even talked to the people that
founded this place. I had never heard them myself until today, but the word I
had heard was that it was a safe place. That it is open to everyone.
So that is where I’ve been walking us too. I don’t know who
these people are. If they even exist, I only know the whole world is fucked up.
I have come to understand that even if I get us as far South as I can, we wont
make it for long. We’re only two. The dead are getting smarter. And that is not
just my point of view. It’s on the radio. They all say it.
L.A. and New York both are barely hanging on. Both! Barely hanging
on! Nearly over run! If they can’t make it how can we? No. I’m heading for this
place. I’m hoping it’s real. Today on the radio I caught something. Someone
named Conner. I heard that name. And it sounded like he was talking about the
same place I have heard about. I’m just hoping it’s true. That I didn’t just
imagine it to assuage my mind.
Meantime I am trying to keep us alive. Find strong places
to stay through the nights. There are strong
places. Places you can find if you give it some thought. Stairwells in
highrises. Steel and concrete. They can’t get through those doors. Deep
freezers in grocery stores. Heavy steel doors. Vehicles if you have to and we
have had to. You can find a big truck with a steel trailer. The roads are
jammed with them. They can’t get in there either. A little fire at night if I
can. The Zombies are afraid of fire. Don’t like the smell of smoke. Canned
stuff to eat. Christ, we’ll be eating canned shit until we die. Get up the next
day and push on. Get moving again. And that is what I’ve done. Kept us moving.
Kept us safe. And she came willingly, although silently, like a big, semi
animated puppet. And then yesterday she was walking beside me, silent as she
had been since the thing with Madison, and she spoke.
“I don’t like beans, Mason. I just don’t… Maybe we could
find something different tonight?” She had lifted her voice at the end and made
it into a question. I stopped in the middle of walking between an abandoned car
and a wrecked, burned out truck. Months old. I looked back at her. She smiled,
tentative at first but then it lit up her face. I had to laugh. I had had so
much pent up inside me.
“The beans are a bit much then,” I asked?
“A bit,” she agreed.
I stood for a second not knowing what to say.
“You could say, welcome back,” she said softly
“Welcome back,” I repeated every bit as quietly. “Welcome
have been absorbed in the world of Bear, Beth, Billy, Cammy and the
other Outrunners. When I write, that is the way it is for me. I jump
in and it is as good as a movie for me, in many ways even better. The
craft, or art, of writing is like that for me…
imagine it is like that for other writers, I know several, but I have
never really asked. So, for all I know, it is only me. That sort of
brings me to my topic for this week. Writing and writers.
thought about this the other day. I do not have any non-writer
friends. And, I realized the other day that I live in a bubble. I
don’t purposely live in a bubble, but, a bubble is a bubble, purpose
built or not.
Some of it is unavoidable, because of the way I am, the rest is how it becomes because of that same thing. My time is my own; there is no one at all to put designs on it, make me feel guilty about how I spend it, and, I have lived that way for so long that I am pretty sure I could not be housebroken now.
Not all of my writer friends do that to the same extreme that I do, but nearly all of them do it to at least a lesser degree. To me eighteen hours of writing is no big deal. To me pounding out a novel in fourteen days, also no big deal. But ask me what day it is? That isn’t a joke. I can not tell you how many times one of my friends has said, ‘Hey, it’s Friday,’ and I’ll look at them like they’re speaking Russian. ‘What do you mean Friday?’ ‘Ha Ha.’ ‘No, it really is Friday, or Tuesday, or the 28th, or whatever.’ Of course, I’ll look at a calendar, watch, something, like they would really take the time to lie to me. They’re writers but their imagination isn’t that good, is it? Nope. It’s me. I fell into this world or that one and the time slipped away. It’s that simple.
What is pretty cool, what makes it so addictive, as a writer, is watching something come from nothing at all. No, I do not know where it comes from. I can not force it to come if it isn’t there. I have rarely been able to write exactly what I choose to write either, but when it shows up and it’s right there at the tips of your fingers, pouring out onto the page, and you are reading it, getting to know it intimately, as it is also being born, it is amazing: When, that happens you don’t want to stop. You are afraid that if you do the words will go someplace else. To someone else, and they will write your story, only it will no longer be your story, it will be their story. So you hang in there, type, let the magic pour out of your fingers, and then someone says, ‘Uh, you do know it’s Friday, right?’
That is writing for me. And there are times when it has to stop: When sleep has to take over. And in the old days I would come back from that break for sleep, slouch back to my chair, stare at my monitor, and think: Well, that’s that. My head is empty. The story is gone. Shouldn’t have gone to sleep. Two seconds later the words are pouring out. The story is back from where ever it went to, and I am along for the ride again. So when my other writer friends ask me about how I wrote this or that I really have no answer. In fact, usually I’ll look at them like, well, where do you get your stuff? Walmart Writers aisle? Or I’ll get the writer I don’t understand who will give me the song and dance about how he or she plotted this out, and then did this and then pulled teeth to write it, and then… I have no idea what he or she means. The process is not that way for me at all and I have tried it, writing on demand, the same way they do it, and I turn out stuff that seems like cardboard.
That is not to say I can not write something off the cuff. I can. But it works this way: Someone says, ‘Hey. Could you write me a story about a three-legged dog that stops to sniff at a dead cat on the interstate during rush hour traffic, gets run over by a Semi and comes back as a vampire dog that sleeps in the woods, flags down semis on the highway and kills the drivers as retribution?’ … ‘Uh, no… Sorry. And, if you can find someone who can, well, you should hire them.’
But, I will go back and think… Hmm a three legged dog… Dead cat… What the hell happened with that cat anyway? And why didn’t the semi driver stop?… Hmm… Maybe he didn’t stop because he was distracted by the truck stop cutie he had picked up… Right, and the cat… The cat had been on the way to its kittens which were across the highway… Hidden in the woods… And I’ll work it out in my head like that. But then I’ll set down and the story just shows up. It ends up being about the Truck Driver and his drug addicted daughter and it turns out the cat and the dog were simple distractions. Huh, I’ll think as I write it. I’ll be damned. Then, just at the end, the damn cat comes back, abetted by her three-legged dog friend, and kills the trucker. And I’ll think ‘Son of a bitch, never saw that coming.’
Let me give you an example: In a popular series I wrote, Molly and Nellie, major characters, are along on a resupply trip. Nellie gets shot and killed. I am shocked as I write it. I stop writing and think, ‘Wow, that sucks.’ I wonder about undoing it. In the old days I would have highlighted the whole scene and then deleted it. Kill a major character? No way. So I would then spent hours, days, weeks, re-writing it. And all to no avail because after that period of time I’ll see it had to happen that way because that was the story. Now, I may stop, look, but then I’m back at it. I am curious to know where it is going now. What will Molly do? Well, if you read it you know; Molly could not deal with it. She turned her own gun on herself before anyone could react fast enough to stop her. Another shock to me. But, that is writing for me. That is the gift God gave to me, and the way it comes out of me.
I suppose people will read that and think, bull. But it really is the process for me. And for all of the writers I know too, at least the ones I hang out with. And, hang out is a loose term for me. I don’t hang out with anyone at all, not really. Hanging out to me is giving up that time I was talking about earlier, and I don’t like to give that up. So hanging out might be a 3:00 AM Skype conversation. No, no camera, just chat. If the conversation lasts more than ten minutes before it lags, then something is really wrong, and that is not just me talking.
The other person has some sort of project open on their desktop, same as I do, and they are either writing as we talk or thinking about writing as we talk, or actively wishing I would shut up or get to the point, so they can go back to writing. I know that because after the ten-minute mark that is what I am doing, and the few times I have asked a writer friend honestly what they are doing they say those things, or, they are not as diplomatic as I am and just tell me to get the point or shut up. No, that doesn’t offend me.
That is the craft of writing to me with all the mystery and magic stripped off. I guess it is about as attractive a that dead cat in the road, huh? I wonder how that cat got there…
The police? Gone. Fire department?
Ditto. Army? Well, wasn’t the National Guard supposed to show up when
the shit hit the fan? But so far the army had not raised a finger to
do anything for them at all…
Classified: Top secret for the next
hundred years or so. He wondered, Would it even be released then? He
doubted it. The shit they were doing here was bad; shit you never
wanted the American public to know about.