The Zombie Plagues Book One
Created by Dell Sweet
PUBLISHED BY: Geo Dell and independAntwriters Publishing
The Zombie Plagues Book One
Additional Copyrights 2009 – 2015 Wendell Sweet & independAntwriters Publishing All rights reserved
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Dinner was eaten without a great deal of enthusiasm. No one found themselves too far away from their weapons. Mike made a point of talking to everyone during the meal, just a few words to see how they were doing, what was on their minds, or at least the most pressing thing on their minds.
Everyone was concerned about what could happen next. Two people had run off. Yes, they had set their weapons down, but there were weapons everywhere that they could pick up any time they wanted, weapons much nastier than the ex-GI who called himself Sin had gotten for them.
Mike had looked the two rifles over. They were both the same. A carbine that held a fifty round clip and was either semi or fully automatic with the slide of a small button. If the first guy hadn’t gone right down, he could have cut down Tom, Bob and the others easily. The second guy had laid his rifle down without firing a shot. What if it hadn’t gone that way? What if it didn’t go that way the next time? Those were the questions that mattered to everyone.
The second man and the woman had turned and run. Tom had berated himself for not stopping them, but as everyone had pointed out to him during the evening, what could he have done? Shoot them? Certainly that was not an option. But then Tom had said what was on everyone’s mind. What if they came back? What if they came back with Machine guns? Hand grenades? Or even, what they had the first time which were really very close to personal machine guns anyway, as far as Tom was concerned. Knowing that, and Tom had thought about most of that as they had suddenly bolted, but knowing all of that, that he or one of them may very well have to deal with those same two people again in the future, shouldn’t he have shot… To kill? To maim?
No one had answered at first when Tom had tossed his own doubts out and asked, but Mike had been about to. Before he could, Patty had spoken up.
“That’s a maybe, not a fact, not an absolute. And you can’t see the future. Maybe, maybe, someday we’ll have to deal with them. That doesn’t make killing them an option, doesn’t make it right. I mean, I’m scared too. They could come after us. Do they know where we are? But,” she lowered her voice which had risen with her passion, “It’s only fear. They might, they might not. If they do, I’ll shoot to kill. But until they do…
Do something… I couldn’t,” she finished.
Mike had let the conversations run their courses and nearly everyone had had something to contribute. But it became apparent that after dinner was over they were going to have to discuss it more fully, decide what they wanted to do about the situation, what the group wanted to do.
Mike looked around. The sun was setting slowly in the North East. The day had been a long one with nothing settled yet. The trucks had been unloaded and the supplies carried inside the cave. The back of the Suburban had been cleaned up. Dinner was over. The dog, which was still lacking a name as far as Mike knew, was nosing around playfully with the two children, wagging his tail. The children were smiling, coming out of themselves already. Mike was surprised, but happily so. The chill of the night was moving in on the air that rose from the river and flowed across the asphalt and dirt at the front of the cave.
“Why don’t we take this inside?” Mike said at last. “We’ll all get comfortable and figure out what to do, how we want to handle this.” It seemed that everyone had been waiting for that announcement. Within just a few minutes everyone was picking up items and heading into the cave out of the growing darkness.
Mike watched the two children laughing as they ran into the cave with their newest friend close at their heels, tail thumping against their legs. Mike looked over to where Annie walked with Patty and Candace. She was smiling also, in spite of the day. In spite of the heaviness of his spirit, he felt a smile rise to his own face. He hurried to catch up to Candace and the others, walking into the cave with them.
Tom went first. It was obvious to everyone that he blamed himself for letting the two run off, but it was also clear that no one – some after hearing what Tom had to say, some after giving it more thought – had placed the blame on Tom, except Tom himself.
Janet Dove went on for quite some time about it in an obvious attempt to cheer Tom up, but that didn’t look to be possible, Mike thought. Then Nell spoke, relating what the woman who had been shot had told her before she had died.
“She told me he had been stationed at the base, but he’d been A.W.O.L. for quite some time before things went bad. No one knew his real name; he went by the handle Sin. The other guy, the one that ran off, called himself Death. It was some sort of private joke between the two of them,” Nell grimaced, as if to say she saw no joke, private or otherwise. “No one knew whether they had served together or only ran into each other once things got bad. But they had both been soldiers, and they decided to walk back out to the base for weapons.”
“They never did make it back out there though, but found the two rifles they were carrying somewhere in town. The other woman that ran off was Death’s woman. They all met each other on the street. Emma, and Wanda, the one who ran off, had met Death and Sin. The four of them had found Ann and the two smaller children a few days after that. She just kept telling me Sin wasn’t a bad guy, just wired,” Nell finished. A low murmur greeted her last words. Mike looked around.
“She didn’t say she thought that; she said the woman thought that,” Mike said. Annie spoke up in the silence that took over.
“Did a lot of cocaine,” she said quietly. “All the time. Death did a lot of speed. Between the two of them you never knew what they might do. Sometimes they mixed it. They tried to get me to do it…” Her voiced trailed off to nothing.
Mike shook his head, bad thoughts running wild through it. “There was nobody else, Annie,” he asked?
“No,” she answered.
“Well, that’s something,” Bob said.
“You think so?” Lilly asked. She looked pasty sitting next to Tom. Too pale. Too fragile. Too young to be involved in all of this.
“Well, it’s only two is what I mean. And they saw there were more of us than them,” Bob finished.
“Maybe, maybe not,” Candace said. “They saw a few more. And they’re only two. There are probably others. That’s what we really have to talk about… others… the fact that we could’ve already had this problem several times over. Who knows how many little groups are wandering around out there? Are they all like that? Probably not, but how are we going to be now?” She looked around, “Trusting? Naive? I hope not either. But we will be some way. We have to be. We can’t close our eyes and just tell ourselves there aren’t people like that out there, because there are.”
“So, that’s it,” Mike said after a few moments of silence. “We need to discus it. What options do we have? Who has some ideas?”
“Better weapons,” Tom said.
“At least that,” Ronnie agreed.
“No more going out on trips split up,” Nell suggested.
“Maybe we should leave now,” Tim threw in.
“Maybe we should,” Lilly agreed.
Tom had lowered his head as he often did when he listened. He would turn his head toward the speaker and listen as they spoke. His head shot back up and his eyes focused on Lilly, but he said nothing. Candace shot Mike a quick look. Mike shrugged his shoulders.
“No guarantee that we wouldn’t run into the same type of people no matter where we might go,” Mike said.
“Probably would,” Patty added.
Candace nodded. “Bad is bad. It’ll be everywhere.”
“If we went back to the land,” Bob said, “Far enough out, who would there be to bother us?”
“But,” Candace said, “Not everyone wants to do that, Bob.”
“Maybe it’s the only way,” Bob came back.
“I don’t want to do it,” Patty said. “But I don’t want to live in a cave either, and here I am. I also don’t want to live in fear of what someone might or might not do.”
Mike raised his hands palms out in a gesture of conciliation. “We can talk about leaving,” He said.
“Maybe we’re all not wanting to go to the same place,” Janet Dove said.
“Maybe,” Mike agreed. He tried not to show it, but her remark surprised him. He knew she wanted to go back to the traditional Native way of life, but, hell, everything was nature now, wasn’t it? Wasn’t that the same thing?
“I didn’t really want to go,” Tom said. “But,” he looked over at Lilly, “Now, I don’t know.”
Even Candace’s head shot up. It seemed everything was a surprise tonight, Mike thought.
“Maybe,” Mike said, “We need to air all of this out.” He waited until all the little side conversations that had sprung up fell silent.
“It seems everyone has something on their mind. Maybe this is the best time to get it off your mind. Speak your mind. Let it go. We should work out where we all are, where we want to be, where we’re going to, what we’re working towards… I’ll be honest,” he paused, “I was surprised twice in a couple of seconds. What I thought I knew about some of you… What I had thought you had said, turned out to be wrong. We can’t… No… I can’t tell you what to do, but we shouldn’t do that to each other. We should all know what page we’re on. True?”
“It’s not like you can’t change your mind,” Candace said. “It’s your mind, your life. But to plan for all of us, we need to know where we’re going, where we are, don’t we?”
Bob spoke: “You’re right, of course. I guess once Sandy came along we started to think more about the real kind of life we wanted to live. I have always wanted to live, but I think I speak for Jan and Sandy too, I have always wanted to live the Native lifestyle. I want to go back to the land… I mean really go back. I don’t want to live in a cave either. And I’m not saying I want to live in a longhouse even. It’s the way of life I want, the stories I heard as a child. Only do it right this time, not give up our land, live on it… with it. Can you see that?” He seemed defensive but enthusiastic.
“I can see it,” Mike said. “I can’t say it’s for me, not yet. Maybe it will be someday,” he shrugged his shoulders, “But… But I don’t know what else might be left. Could the world really be destroyed? All of it? Everything? I can’t imagine it, not all of it. Not everything. I’m not saying I want my T.V. back, but I’m not sure I want to move into a cave either.” He grinned and looked around. “But I did. I’ll admit that. It’s the first thing I did. Maybe that says something… and not just about me. But that’s me. If Bob’s not talking about living in a cave or a long house…” He shrugged again. “I don’t know… We each have to make up our own minds. You have to live true to you, because if you don’t, you are nothing.” Silence held. Bob nodded his head a few times.
“So… What are you going to do, Bob? What are you really talking about? I mean, say it so we know,” Patty said.
Bob looked from Janet to Sandy. “We have to decide, but we will go – we just haven’t decided where yet – back into the wilderness… the lands… somewhere isolated. But we want to bring more people. It wouldn’t work with just a few of us. So we would like to go with you with the understanding that we would eventually go out on our own,” Bob finished.
“So you would try to recruit people from the people we meet along the way?” Ronnie asked.
“You make it sound like stealing,” Bob said.
“No. No,” Ronnie said. “I don’t mean to make it sound that way. But it makes it kind of hard to get behind. Here we would be trying to bring people together, and you would be trying to convince them to something else. We’d be trying to get them to work with us, and you’d be trying to get them to work with you. It might drive them away if they think we can’t even agree how it should be between us,” Ronnie finished.
“Stealing,” Bob said again.
“No… It’s… This is a community,” He looked to Mike and Candace who nodded for him to continue.
“So… it’s a community and we would be trying to get everyone to work together. You see?”
“Are you saying you wouldn’t have us because of that?” Sandy asked.
“No one said that at all,” Candace said.
“Certainly not,” Mike agreed. “It’s not like that. If you want to come, you come. I can see where you would be an asset to us. I can also see your need to do this thing you want to do. I can see where you would need more people to do that. I can see where I might be convinced to go with you. Let’s not shut doors. Let’s not start mistrusting or trying to read things into what we say. Ronnie asked the questions any of us might have. In fact I would have if he hadn’t. The people you need for what you want to do are probably not going to be the same people we need for what we want to do. It’s a different type of life. Different people… Different ideals… Different purpose, dreams, directions. How could that hurt either of us? I don’t see where it could. Let’s not go back to the old world view, fear of what we don’t know about each other; let’s just let it be. No one has decided yet to go with us or you. We don’t even really know if we’re on opposite sides yet,” Mike concluded.
“I agree,” Ronnie said. “I didn’t mean to imply that I have some great plan or idea. I could find myself wanting to go with you when the time comes too. Mike makes sense. Maybe we don’t want the same things, maybe we do. And after today, I think it would be safer if we all travel together. Less inviting to trouble.”
Bob nodded, satisfied. Silence held for a few seconds.
“He’s not coming back. I know that,” Nell said. Her eyes teared up. “My husband,” She added after a short pause. “I lied to myself, you know. I don’t want to believe he’s gone. But I don’t want to wait here, stay here; I want to go with you guys. This place is… like a city of dead,” she finished.
Make that three surprises, Mike thought to himself.
“I want to go,” Tom said. “I… I want to go.”
“I want to go,” Lilly said.
Mike had been sure that if Tom had said he wanted to stay, Lilly would have wanted to stay too. Now he wasn’t sure. It seemed now it might be the other way around.
Annie was looking from face to face.
“I don’t want to stay here,” she said at last.
“You could come with us,” Tim said. He smiled. “You want to, right?” he asked. His smile faltered a little.
She answered him with her own smile. “I want to.”
“Good,” Tim said.
Mike looked around. Amazing, he thought. “I’m amazed,” he said. Echoing his own thoughts.
“When?” Bob asked.
“Today changes it. Doesn’t it?” Patty asked.
“Does it?” Mike asked.
“I think so,” Ronnie said.
“I do too,” Tom agreed.
“Yeah, it has to,” Sandy agreed.
“Well, then it does,” Mike said. “What do we… what do you want to do? Leave sooner?”
Yes, they all answered in unison. He blinked, surprised again. “My concern is winter,” he told them. “I don’t like this situation either. We could have two people out there with weapons waiting to come after us… Coming around, maybe taking shots at us,” He shrugged. “Or maybe they’re as scared as we are. Just as scared. And maybe we shouldn’t over react because of that fear. In any case, the days are colder. It’s still winter. It could snow at any time. We have shelter here. Yes, it’s a cave, but we’re not cave men because we’re living in a cave. It’s shelter. We know the area. We know where to get gas for the trucks, food, supplies.”
“It’s close to April,” Patty said. “Just a few days really.”
“So we could shoot for getting ourselves ready to go by April first,” Mike said. “Supplies.” He looked around at the supplies in the vast cave. “April first. If the weather’s good, we go,” He paused. “Everyone agreed?”
Another chorus of Yes answered him. Even the dog barked and wagged his tail. The looks on nearly everyone’s face showed relief. The dog’s enthusiastic and well timed bark caused most of them to break into laughter. Relief, Mike thought.
“Until we go,” Mike waited for the talking and the laughter to die down “We only go somewhere together, and we take one of these carbines when we do.” He held up one of the rifles they had taken away from the two young men just hours before. “The other stays here to protect the cave. Double the guards at night, starting tonight.” He paused again, but no one spoke out. “Guess that’s it,” he said quietly. “We’ve decided.”