Zombie Kindle Edition by Dell Sweet

Zombie Kindle Edition


Johnny:
I am here in this farm house that Lana and I found a few weeks back. By myself. Lana is gone. I sat down here to write this story out before I am gone too. Maybe that sounds melodramatic, but it isn’t. I know exactly what my situation is.
We have been to Manhattan, outside of it, you can’t go in any longer, and we came from Los Angeles, so we know: It’s all gone, destroyed, there’s nothing left.

The Graveyard:
The moon rode high in the sky. Moonlight gleamed from bits of gravel in the dirt road that lead into the barn. 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, no air in his lungs to move his words. The noises came once again from the earth and the four fell silent… waiting…
A hand broke through into the moonlight. A few minutes later a young woman’s 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 black 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,” the young woman mumbled in agreement through her too cold lips.
“It will… It will,” the other woman repeated.

Johnny:
I got up a second ago just to move around. The silence is killing me. How can it be so quiet? I made the circuit, nothing. The whiskey is gone and no effect left from it either. Maybe my body just can’t respond to it any longer. Maybe there is nothing left that can shock it. I don’t know. I DON’T KNOW!
Sorry… I should just say to hell with writing this out. I mean it’s like some sort of penance, isn’t it? Feels like it is. I hate it, but it is so real in my head, and I don’t really know that it can’t help someone else if it’s down on paper… Maybe it can, maybe it can’t. Where was I at… Arizona…
I remember that night in Arizona… I thought Lana was dead…



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The Zombie Plagues Book One. If the world ended tomorrow? What would you do? Would you be able to survive?

The Zombie Plagues Book One

If the world ended tomorrow? What would you do? Would you be able to survive?


THE ZOMBIE PLAGUES:

What if the world ended tomorrow? What would you do? Would you be able to survive? The Zombie Plagues books follow a small group of men and women as they struggle to survive on a vastly changed earth, where the dead sometimes do not remain dead. Follow along as they try to rebuild their own lives as they rebuild their world.

A great change was coming to the Earth. Catastrophe was about to change everything her people took for granted. It made some wish for death, but death was no longer a guarantee. For some death had become some other sort of life. A life they could not easily leave.

Several lone survivors live through what will become the dawn of a new world. The only thing these people had in common is that they all lived in the same small city in upstate New York. Before the week was out they would be thrust together in a struggle for survival. Before the month was out those that survived would begin to seek others who had lived through the catastrophe that had blighted the Earth. Looking for ways to stay alive…


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

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.


This material is used on this blog with permission.

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


Evening

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.”

Mike nodded.

“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.”


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Earth’s Survivors: Watertown Book 6, Earth’s Survivors – Earth’s Survivors

Earth’s Survivors: Watertown

Book 6, Earth’s Survivors – Earth’s Survivors

Dell Sweet

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.

Description

Tuesday Morning:
Watertown
Project Bluechip
Major Richard Weston
He read the report twice and then carefully set it back on his desk. Johns or Kohlson: One of the two had stolen samples of SS-V2765. It was not a question. No one else had the access, no one else the proximity or knowledge of where it was stored. Two of the virus, one each of the REX agents were missing. Enough to infect several million people, and that was just the initial infection. From there the infected would go on to infect even more, where it stopped was anyone’s guess.
Knowing it was one of the two did not solve the problem of how for him though: There should have been no way to get it out. Every area of the facility was under surveillance. There had to be more than just one of the two involved.
From Complex C they were stripped down, showered: Out of the showers naked and into a locker room where they could retrieve their own personal clothing they had stripped out of that morning: Dressed, frisked, metal wanded and then allowed into the elevators that would take them six stories to the surface. This theft was not something either of them could have committed alone.
“Alice.” He picked up the report from his desk. “I have a problem… A problem that requires your… Expertise. Two fold… First, all the guard and camera operators for C Complex are to be relieved of duty. You will personally interrogate them and find out which of them took a payoff to look the other way… Our boys, Johns and Kohlson… Both or one, smuggled out the virus.” He paused… “It hardly matters in the scheme of things, it changes nothing, but it is the principle of the thing.” He tossed her the report. “Read it… Quartermasters office… Handle that too?” Alice nodded before she bent and looked over the thick report. “Second thing is the virus agent and the REX agent are out there somewhere.” Alice raised her head from the report. “Find it and bring it back?” Alice nodded once more before her head dipped low again. Eyes devouring the report. Weston leaned back in his chair, the cigar that was a near permanent fixture in his mouth, rolling from side to side as he closed his eyes and rubbed at his temples. “It goes without saying… They’re all expendable,” he added as an afterthought.
“Sir,” Alice said before she returned to reading…

Watertown is a mixed tale. It tells the story leading up to the Apocalypse. That tale includes the story of Billy Jingo, Alice Tetto, Major Weston’s private secretary. Ben Neo and Jimmy West, hired Killers, and a drug deal designed to hide the transfer of a top secret drug stolen from the Underground Bluechip facility, that goes very wrong…


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More from Dell Sweet: Author Dell Sweet

The Original Survivors Series from Dell Sweet

The Original Survivors Series from Dell Sweet

An effort to bring back the original series. The books that were published and the books that were not published.

Book One: The Original Survivors: From Ashes.

Candace March 2nd: This is not a diary. I have never kept a diary. They say, never say never, but I doubt I will. I have never been this scared. The whole world is messed up. Is it ending? I don’t know, but it seems like it’s ending here. Earthquakes, explosions. I’ve seen no Police, Fire or emergency people all day. It’s nearly night. I think that’s a bad sign. I have the Nine Millimeter that used to be my Father’s. I’ve got extra ammo too. I’m staying inside. Candace March 3rd: I lost this yesterday; my little notebook. I left it by the window so I could see to write, but I swear it wasn’t there when I went to get it; then I found it again later on by the window right where I left it. Maybe I’m losing it. There are no Police, no Firemen, phones, electric. The real world is falling apart. Two days and nothing that I thought I knew is still here. Do you see? The whole world has changed. I got my guitar out and played it today. I played for almost three hours. I played my stuff. I played some blues. Usually blues will bring me out of blues, but it didn’t work. It sounded so loud, so out of place, so… I don’t know. I just stopped and put it away. Candace March 4th: I’m going out. I have to see, if I don’t come back. Well… What good is writing this? Candace March 5th: The whole city has fallen apart. I spent most of yesterday trying to see how bad this is. I finally realized it’s bad beyond my being able to fix it. It’s bad as in there is no authority. It’s bad as in there is no Jimmy V. I hear gunshots at night, all night. And screams. There are still tremors. If I had to guess, I would say it’s the end of the civilized world, unless things are better somewhere else. I have to believe that. Power, structure, it’s all gone. I mean it’s really all gone. This city is torn up. There are huge areas that are ruined. Gulleys, ravines, missing streets, damaged bridges. The damage costs have to be in the billions… And that’s just here. There’s me and my little notebook I’m writing in, and my nine millimeter. I’ve got nothing else for company right now. I’ve got water, some peanuts and crackers. How long can this go on? What then? Candace March 6th: I’ve decided to leave. I can’t stay here. There was a tremor last night, and not one of the really bad ones, but even so I was sure the house would come down on me. It didn’t. Maybe though, that is a sign, I told myself. And scared or not, I have to go. I have to. I can’t stay here. Maybe tomorrow. Candace March 7th: The streets are a mess. I’ve spent too much of the last week hiding inside my apartment. Most of my friends, and that’s a joke, I didn’t have anyone I could actually call a friend. I believed someone would show up and tell me what to do. But no one did. I saw a few people wander by yesterday, probably looking for other people, but I stayed inside. I don’t know why, what all my reasons were. A lot of fear; I think. There have been earthquakes. The house is damaged. I went outside today and really looked at it. It is off the foundation and leaning. I should have gotten out of it the other night when I knew it was bad. It’s just dumb luck it hasn’t fallen in on me and killed me. It doesn’t matter now though. I met a few others today, and I’m leaving with them. I don’t know if I’ll stay with them. I really don’t know what to expect from life anymore. I’m taking this and my gun with me. Writing this made me feel alive. I don’t know how better to say it. I’ll write more here, I think. I just don’t know when; or where I’ll be.


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Book Two: The Original Survivors: On The Road.

He had been going up the hill? Going down the hill? He couldn’t remember. The… the attack had come. The attack had come and he was… must have been wounded… gravely wounded. And if he didn’t breathe soon, it would turn into something even worse. He had to breathe. He had to breathe soon or… She stepped into his line of sight. The bones in her face were close to the surface, pushing at the taut skin there. Her skin was greenish-gray, or maybe it was a trick of the moonlight. Her silvered eyes held his own. Her long black hair was a tangled ruin. The skin of the rest of her body was pale white: Unbelievably white. So white, translucent, that he could see the spidery trails of purple-blue capillaries, veins rising and touching the surface of her skin and then plunging deep into her body, under the skin and muscle… pulsing… seeming to be alive, although she seemed as dead as anything dead that he had ever seen. As a kid, he had happened into a vacant lot one morning on the way to school. He had seen something over in the weeds that ran along the fence line of the lot next door. There he had looked down upon the body of a bum who had either died during one of the recent cold nights or had been murdered and dumped there. His face had looked like this one before him. Gray, too pale, the bone structure too close to the surface: The skin looking more like wax than skin. Just like this… this… whatever this was. Jeff sank back down to the ground on his knees: The cold moonlight shone down, the others still silent and standing around him.


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Book Three: The Original Survivors: Alabama Island.

Rochester NY: Joel
Late Morning
Joel came awake with sunlight streaming in through the windshield of the small car. He looked around at the road. Stalled cars for as far as he could see in any direction He was somewhere outside of Rochester, but where, he wondered. He thought back to Rochester.
The drive into the city in the early morning had seemed uneventful right up until the attack had come. Afterward he had berated himself, cursed himself for not taking the events of the night before more seriously, but he knew that the truth was that none of them had. None of them had, and now he was the only one left. The only one left, and he was alone because of that decision.
They had just passed a large mansion, or what had once been a large mansion on East avenue: Nearly into downtown when the attack had come. The last Jeep, Ed… Terry, Gina? He couldn’t remember for sure, but it didn’t matter, they were only the first to go. The Jeep had blown up behind them. One second it was morning silent; birds whistling from the tree lined street, and the next a roaring fireball had erupted from the Jeep. The Jeep had lifted into the air engulfed with flame, and had come back down a split second later a twisted, shattered wreck. The roof ripped open crudely as if a giant can opener had done the job: Glass gone, body twisted: Blackened shapes, still moving, clearly seen through the flames.
They had all panicked. Joel had hit the brakes, somehow convinced they had driven over something in the road: Landmines. The word leapt into his mind and kept repeating. The second Jeep had rammed into them, Scott, Lilly, Jan, and that had distracted him further. As he had lifted his eyes he had seen the men squatting beside the once elegant mansion. A rocket launcher on one man’s shoulder, and he had known the truth.
His foot had seemed to leap forward of its own accord and slam into the gas pedal, but it was too late. His eyes swiveled back and he saw the rocket leap from the launcher. A second later a black curtain had descended.
He had come to hours later; the vehicles’ nothing but twisted husks, still burning in the black night. He could feel the heat from the fires. He had lain for what seemed like a long time trying to orient himself, make sense of what he last remembered, and what he now saw. Time did nothing to sort it out. It still made no sense some time later when he had first tried to sit up. Pain had flared everywhere and the black curtain had descended once more.
The second time the fires had been out. Heat still came from the blackened shells, but the fires were dead. The moon was high in the sky, bloated, bright silver.
He had moved slower, and while it had been close he had managed to fight past the first pain when he had moved.
His left leg was bad. Not broken, but cut badly, maybe sprung, after all he had lain with it twisted to one side for what he assumed was a very long time. He used part of his shirt to wrap his leg as he let his head clear.
His head was worse. Pain inside every time he tried to move too fast. It felt like liquid sloshing around inside his head, his brain shifting with it, slamming into the bone cage of his skull, and he wondered if it were true, or just something his mind provided in explanation of the pain. As he sat the pain eased enough for him to stand. Standing helped to ease it even more and he began to search for the others…


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