April 3, 2024

 Notes from the Edge 04-03-2024

Posted on April 3, 2024 by dello

 Notes from the Edge 04-03-2024

Dell Sweet

Dreamer’s Worlds

Dreamer’s Worlds: The Legend of Sparrow

I had come back to spend time with Laura. I could not tell her my real reasons. That I was afraid of leading the Dream Killer to her. #Mythology #Fantasy #Readers #DreamTravel #Kindle https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XRM98LP

Dreamer’s Worlds: The Dreamer’s Worlds

Laura and Joe live lonely lives, but they are dreamers. When they close their eyes they dream travel through space and time, to other worlds with little more than a thought… #Mythology #Fantasy #Readers #DreamTravel #Kindle

A free chapter read from the series…


Published with CreateSpace

Dreamer’s Worlds Sparrow Spirit is Copyright © 2015 Dell Sweet & Geo Dell

Copyright © 2010 – 2015 by Dell Sweet & Geo Dell All rights reserved.

Cover Art © Copyright 2014 Wendell Sweet

This book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This book may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’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 is a work of fiction. Any names, characters, places or incidents depicted are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual living persons places, situations or events is purely coincidental.

This novel is Copyright © 2010 – 2015 Wendell Sweet and his assignees. The Name Dell Sweet is a publishing name used by Wendell Sweet. The Name Geo Dell is a publishing name owned by Wendell Sweet. No part of this book may be reproduced by any means, electronic, print, scanner or any other means and, or distributed without the author’s permission.

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


My hope is that you enjoy this book as much as we enjoyed writing it.

Dell wrote the seed to this book some time ago. As we sat down together and began to work out how to write the actual book it seemed like a few hundred serious things happened all at once. I had things going on in my life, Dell had things going on in his life. It seemed time to concentrate on the actual writing would be difficult with a few hundred miles between us, and little actual time to get together physically, but in the end it all worked out. And now it’s your time. Read. Enjoy. We will be back in the fall of 2015 with book two…

Geo Dell 


“I had looked in that jerky way dreams have of showing you something. Pieces missing, frames skipped in the film, scenes out of order: Bits of information that seemed to mean nothing at the time. Things you only know and never see. Even explaining it doesn’t do it justice, but if you’ve ever dreamed you know what I mean.”

Joe Miller

“I will say this about buildings, walls, houses, cars, trees… They harbor evil. They can hate. Maybe not in the world most of us live in, but in the world I spend most of my time in the rules are different. They can hate you. They can love you. They can kill you. You should know that if you ever dream.”

Laura Kast 


Sparrow Spirit


On The Path:

Day One.

Laura Kast and Bear

The morning sun came up bright. Bear and I were sitting before a fire we had built a few miles from the village. We were not meant to travel in the night, that had been made clear. A few miles from the village everything changed. We weren’t in the land of the dead, any more than we were in the underground, but this was not the normal world either.

Neither of us knew exactly where we were or where we would end up. What would happen after three hands of time. Fifteen days.

But we had heeded the warning, and so, although neither of us needed sleep, we stopped, built a fire and spent the night wondering about what might lie ahead.

Several times in the night something came close to us.  Studied us. We could see the eyes reflected in the black.

Some of those creatures sounded like horses. Hooves beat the ground, but their eyes matched no horse I have ever seen.

Some made the ground shake as they walked. Just before morning one of them called out to us once more.

“Dreamer’s!” The voice had come from the blackness, after the sounds of labored breathing and vibration from the ground as the creature moved.

The silence spun out.

“Hear this!” The voice continued… “If I find you in the daylight, I will do all that I can to help you… I have prayed you well, and I will continue to pray you well, but if I come upon you traveling during the night I will kill you both.”

The voice alone made the ground tremble. When it finished, the sounds of labored breathing came back. And heavy footsteps moved away. We had no doubt that whatever it was, was meant as a straightforward warning to us. That, along with the warriors warning made us glad we had stopped for the night. If there were a doorway or doorways along this path, there was no telling what could cross over from other words. No telling at all.

Shortly after the sun rose, the second sun rose, and the heat began to build. We broke camp and began our walk on the well worn path that ran beside the river.

We looked but we found no footprints or unusually disturbed areas of earth. I began to put it from my mind as the morning wore on.

On The Path:

Joe Miller

Gary stood where I had left him. But it wasn’t really Gary. He was whatever I believed he was. My own guilt turned into a mirror.

His state had changed considerably since I had left. His face was sunken, split to yellow bone. Beetles and worms crawled busily over his moldy gray suit and through his hair. His eye sockets were deep black with chips of blood-red at the centers.  His hands not much more than bones and crumbly skin. Fingers clicking and clacking together as he moved them.

“I’m going in,” I told him. My hand fell on the knob.

“I’ll look forward to your arrival here,” The thing that was not Gary said.

“You’ll wait a long time,” I said quietly. My eyes left his and I turned the knob. It turned easily beneath my hand, the door swung inward, and complete blackness greeted me. I took a breath, tried to slow my heart rate and stepped into the blackness.

At first the floor remained under my feet the absolute black before my eyes. But the floor shifted, tilted down, changed texture. I stopped and regained my balance and at the same time the blackness began to clear.

A path came from the darkness winding down a steep cliff face to the valley floor below. I took another step, and another, and the blackness retreated completely to be replaced by  early morning sunlight that fell from the sky above. I turned my eyes up to those skies above the valley, where twin suns rode close to one another, lifting from the edge of the world, sailing into the skies. I looked back to the door but it had disappeared. Nothing remained of my old world. I turned my attention back to the path and the valley below.

A large village spread across the valley floor. Smoke rose from several fires. I wasn’t close enough to see what those places were. The people seemed no larger than half sized ants crawling across the valley floor. Even so, I felt that they knew I was there. Felt me. My presence. And they had been expecting me to come to them. I clutched my medicine bag where it hung on its leather cording around my neck. Sent a small prayer of thanks to the Creator and began to walk my path.

In The Stone.

Sparrow Spirit

Sparrow Spirits eyes opened. This world was as real as any she could remember. The physical world. The world she had traveled while she was dead, but she had never succumbed to its reality.

It was early morning. The sun in the sky seemed so real. The clouds that floated in the pale gray early morning sky, their bottoms tinged with pinks and oranges, seeming to promise rain. And rain may come, but it was not the thunders that would bring it, she knew. The clouds were no more real than anything else here.

Something had awakened her; she did not know what. As she wondered a sparrow song came to her, sending the greeting once more that had pulled her from her sleep.

She called the sparrow to her, and she materialized within the stone, her tiny feet wrapped around Sparrow Spirit’s small finger. The sparrows spirit looked and seemed as real as anything else in her prison. The sparrow sang its message as Sparrow Spirit listened.

Out Of Time

The Thief Of Souls

He strode briskly through the cool night air, his feet stepping on rocks, bricks, glass and nails alike. His feet were bare, but he paid no attention to where he put them. He stopped before a slight mound, just a few inches across and squatted next to it. One hand shot out and exploded the earth where it touched it. His hand reached down throwing the dirt that remained aside. He slowed, stopped, and then lifted out a few feathers and bits of bone, a fragile, yet intact bird skull. He placed the pieces all together on a clean handkerchief he had pulled from his breast pocket.  He stood, brushed the dirt from his hands, folded the handkerchief carefully and then walked off across the lot the way he had come. A few seconds later his feet touched down on a street in the city of the dead.

His boot heels clock clocked as he walked, bouncing off the empty buildings, echoing along the vacant streets. Dogs and coyotes fought over a nearby body. But they fled as the scent of The Thief of Souls came to them. The fight suddenly not important all. He walked to the edge of the city, savoring the pall of death that hung over it. The smells. The silence except for the death machinery.

He stopped at a small clearing. A stone altar and bare earth.  He walked to the altar, placed the handkerchief upon it and then carefully opened it, allowing the bones and bits of feathers to tumble out onto the cold, stone surface. He set the handkerchief aside leaving the bird bones exposed in the weak moonlight. He withdrew a shiny steel knife from a sheath inside his coat.

Long, over nine inches of smooth steel. Curved and honed to a razor-sharp cutting surface. The tip itself was honed to a needle like sharpness. He held one hand out, palm down, and drew the steel blade across it. A few drops of thick, black blood dripped down upon the remains.

The effects were immediate. The bones began to shift, curl, the feathers seemed to melt into black goo surrounding the bones as they twitched and moved.

Smoke began to rise in curls. The drops of blood slowed. The thief returned the knife to his sheath, took the handkerchief that he had discarded, wound it around his palm a few times to stop the flow of blood, stepped back and watched the blood serve its purpose.

A few minutes later the mess began to grow, covering the altar top. Time slipped by as it continued to grow. Finally, it ceased and Abignew lay stretched out on the table. The thief bent low, placed his mouth over the demons’ mouth and breathed life into him. Abignew came alive with a sharp cough and a cry of alarm. He settled down when the Thief laid his hand upon his chest, pushing him softly back to the stone altar top.

“You let them kill you…  You are not usually that stupid,” he said.

“I’m sorry,” Abignew told him.

He shook his head. “Don’t say sorry. Sorry is only a word. Go find them and this time, kill them. I don’t ever want to hear of them again.” The Thief removed his heavy hand and helped Abignew from the altar. Together they walked back into the City of Dead.

The Red Way:

Laura And Bear

The first dead passed us by before both suns had fully lifted above the rim of the world.

We had heard them long before we saw them. Crawling, stumbling, crashing around in a thick forest that crept up to the edge of the path in many places. In some places it fell back a few hundred yards, in others, limbs overhung the path as if reaching their wooden fingers for the river beyond. What the dead had been doing in the woods was beyond me.

Bear and I watched stunned as they began to pour from the woods, which were so thick that it seemed as though night still held dominion there and take up following the path.

Bear had no more explanation than I did for why they were in the woods. Like me he thought that they were here to finish following their own path. For all who died there was a journey of death to make. The final journey. And it made sense to both of us that they were on the same path as we were.

“This path is part of their journey,” Bear said. “We are in search of our entrance, and they are as well.” He seemed to think for a moment. “Somewhere along this path their journey may end, and they will find their way to the Ancestors, the Land of Dead, or the Underworld.” We walked in silence for a time.

The dead came heavy from the woods as the suns rose into the sky. They came as they had died, or as they had become after death. Some crawling. Missing limbs. Eyes. Some not much more than skeletons, collections of bones walking along to the accompaniment of the clacks and clatter from their bones.

Some seemed whole, some nearly so. A young woman walked past me and smiled shyly at me as she did. As she smiled, I thought she looked like the picture of life until she turned more fully to me, and I could see the opposite side of her face was a ruined mass of torn flesh. One bright eye stared back at me from the ruined mass.

“Could you help me?…  I can’t…  I can’t find my way.” She said. She moved on without waiting for an answer, drops of blood spattered to the ground as she walked.

Some were more terrifying than pathetic. They stumbled about headless, bumping into one another, and nearly bumping into us occasionally.

One came crawling along the ground. Her body was gone from the waist down. The flesh was stripped away from her face, rotted away or eaten by the birds who still harassed her as she crawled along. Landing on her and pecking away small strips of her flesh.

As I watched one landed on her head, dug in its claws and pecked one of her eyes out. Her hands, which had been working to pull her along, came up and grabbed at the bird as a scream came from her throat. One hand hit the bird and it fluttered up into the air.

A man stumbling along beside her snatched the bird from the air, crushed it in one fist and dropped it to the ground. The woman snatched up the bird in one hand. Her fingers were down to the bone from pulling her body along, the white tips poked from the flesh, streaked with blood, bits of flesh and dirt. The birds mouth opened weakly. The woman looked at it for a moment with her one remaining eye and then thrust her head forward and bit its head off. The sound of the head cracking and breaking in her jaws came to me as she threw the body away, dug her hands back into the ground and began once more to pull herself along as she continued to chew on the bird’s head.

Shortly after that we both began to focus farther off down the path so we wouldn’t have to look too closely. As the day wore on the woods seemed to empty and the path became crowded in places. No matter how fast we walked the dead moved faster, as they were always coming up behind us and passing us. Occasionally one would stop, look around, and then wander off the path to the river or the woods. I saw at least two dozen disappear into thin air as I watched.

By noon the predators showed up and the crowded path began to thin out.

My first reaction was to stop them. To chase them away. And I did the first few times, but that only told them to stay away from us.

Wolves, Bears, big cats attracted to the smell of so much death.  They ran at them, but the dead had no real way to run away or to defend themselves. They dragged them off into the woods where the screaming continued long after it should have.

Bear and I agreed that they were not really animals of all, but demons, spirits come to steal the souls of the dead. The ones that came as themselves were the worst of all. They swooped from the blue sky. Black shadows against the white clouds and dual suns. Hideous faces, some as dead as those they preyed upon. Some came from the ground, and twice they crawled from the river itself: After that we stayed farther away from the river.

By the time the suns were straight up in the sky there were very few dead left. The predators were stalking those and taking them one by one. They stumbled along fearfully, watching all around them as they tried to run. Or they ran toward Bear and me, screaming for us to help them. Swerving away at the last minute as if they realized we were something different and could not help them.

As the suns lifted higher into the sky the dead became less, although we could still hear their cries from the deep woods as they were devoured. Bear and I walked on in silence.

The predators, whether demons or real, ran along with the dead at the tree line. Sometimes concealed, sometimes showing themselves. Sometimes scenting the dead, sometimes seeming to scent on Bear and me. But always just a short space away.  We didn’t lack for company.

The river, black and oily in the darkness, was not much different in the daylight. An odor of death and rot came from its waters as they bumped over rocks and rapids on their way to wherever dead water went to.

The birds came in mass just before the first sun sank into the horizon. They picked at the bits and pieces of the dead that had fallen on the path. There were so many at times that Bear, and I had to push them aside in order to walk. Once the first sun set the birds took flight: The path was picked clean as it had been the night before when we had started out on it. Now we understood how it had gotten that way.

Just before the second sun set the Moon began to show herself.  I didn’t know if this was a Grandmother Moon, but I sent a prayer to her just the same as she came up to keep the darkness away.

As the sun set the other noises came: The shadows built at the edges of the forest. The heavy footfalls came from deep within the trees. The ground shook, and I remembered the voice from the night before.

Occasionally, as the sun set, we heard the cry of one of the bigger predators as they became prey to whatever it was that ruled the night. Just before nightfall we stopped, gathered dead fall together to see us through the night, and made a small camp at a wide area of the path.

The Moon came up full and Bear and I sat before the fire, each lost in thought.

The Red Way:


The suns were sinking lower into the earth by the time I came down off the mountain and wandered into the village. I was tired, as if I had a physical body. My eyes were heavy lidded.  My strength nearly gone. One moment I was alone the next I was flanked by warriors who had fallen in beside me. Ghosting from the trees and walking beside me, matching my stride. They were bare chested; war paint adorned their bodies. Red, black, and bone bead work was woven into their hair. I followed them into the village.

It was a large busy village. Small children ran here and there.  Happy, carefree. Wolfdogs chased after them, protected them, watched out for them, including keeping an eye on me, the stranger, as I walked past them deeper into the village.

The wolf dogs reminded me of Bear and made me wonder where Laura was. Whether Bear was physically with her, or only in spirit, walking some other path himself.

A clearing opened up and I found myself before a large teepee at the center of the village.

The tepee was off by itself, it was also clear that it approximated the center of the village. The heart. But it was a place of importance. An ancient old man sat close to a fire, nearby a young woman held a rabbit up to the sky in one hand. In the other she held a forged steel blade. The blade glinted in the moonlight. She closed her eyes, praying the rabbit’s soul back to the creator, and then lowered her hands.  A few short minutes later the rabbit was spitted over the fire across from the old man.

I studied her face as she spitted the rabbit. Tattoos of small blue-black squares on one cheek. Exquisitely made clothing. Leather tunic, leather dress. Moccasins with high built-in leggings. She was young, graceful, her eyes sparkled with amusement as she caught mine looking at her. I felt the need to apologize, but she was gone long before I could say anything. The old man beckoned me to sit. He had apparently been waiting on me. I felt like apologizing again. He spoke slowly.

“You could apologize your entire life. But your actions say those words for you. If you truly walk the Red Path, there is no need to apologize it is known that you feel remorse. And if you do not, you do not walk the Red Path at all.” He picked up an iron Tomahawk from the ground beside him. “We will eat shortly. For now, I ask that you honor the Creator with me,” he said as he packed the tomahawk’s pipe bowl full of tobacco.

I didn’t understand what he said on one level. I didn’t know the language. On another level I heard him perfectly and understood the things he didn’t say. That he had expected me. That I was welcome. That he knew I would honor the Creator.

He lit the bowl, puffed, blew smoke in the four directions, and then passed the pipe to me. I acknowledged the directions myself, smoked and then passed the tomahawk back to him. We repeated the passing of the pipe two more times without acknowledgment of the directions, and then he set the pipe down. He reached forward and turned the rabbit on its spit where it sizzled and browned, and then looked up to my eyes.

“You still live,” he said.

I nodded.

He nodded back. “It will be harder if you live. Hard to walk among the dead with a body to live for… You should let it go.” He finished.

I digested his words slowly. “Is it required?” I thought to add something else but couldn’t think of a single thing to say.  Across from me a young woman arrived with a skin and poured liquid into small wooden bowls. The old man gave me a bowl.

“It is not,” he said. “But I thought you loved the woman. Wanted her to succeed.” He nodded for me to drink and then drank himself.

I took a deep drink. I hadn’t realized how thirsty I had become walking down off the mountain. Heavy, fermented, sweet, it burned my throat on the way down. My eyes teared up. He smiled at me. “I want her to succeed,” I answered honestly. “I had hoped to dream her to life.”

“You cannot dream another to life,” he said simply and sipped at his bowl.

“I meant,” I started.

“I know what you meant. But death. Life. These are not your choices. These are choices the Creator makes long before we are born into these worlds. We can only accept them… She has died… None return from the dead… The legend of Sparrow Spirit should tell you that.” He said, holding my eyes with his own.

I sipped and nodded my head. “I should die,” I asked at last?

“I cannot say… I can only say I’m surprised you have chosen to walk alive. It is difficult dead… Alive…” He shrugged and sat his bowl aside.

Two young women appeared with a platter of steamed vegetables, and taking the rabbit from the spit, prepared a platter of food for each of us. The platters, I noticed when I took mine, were shoulder bones from Elk or Moose. I lost myself in eating. Surprised at my appetite. The old man ate with me, both of us silent. The two young women moved off a short distance and talked quietly between themselves. One had spirals on one cheek, the other wore a leather outfit with handprints and spirals. The same nine square pattern was tattooed on her cheek. The opposite cheek the young woman with the spiral had chosen.

“It is her name… Power… All she can be,” the old man said. It explained everything and told me nothing. “You could die a good death and be more help to her. What will you do alive?  How will you, a mortal, help her with the things of the dead?”

I met his eyes. I had no answer. “Is it required,” I asked again.

“Isn’t your purpose to win?” He countered.

“I don’t know,” I answered honestly.

He nodded. “Then you must leave it to the creator. Death.  Life. Is his gift to give to you. For now he has purposed you to travel in the land of the dead, yet live. If he decides you must die, you will die. If he allows you to live, he will use you in that state.” He picked up the bowl and sipped from it.

I picked up my own bowl, found it empty, and one of the young women rose and came to me with a skin and refilled my bowl. She went to the old man and filled his next. I sipped at my bowl and thought about what the old man had said.  But it made sense. Perfect sense. I had wondered, and more than wondered, even asked the Creator to allow Laura to have her life back once more, against my own beliefs. My beliefs said the Creator has given us all that we need. There is no need to ask for anything, only to give thanks. Sometimes hard to understand. A hard path to walk. But it was part of the path I had always walked, and I knew I would always walk.

“You will walk,” he said. “Starting tonight, after the Moon is heavy in the sky. But you will not walk for lengths in the moonlight. If you do you will surely die, and your death will be for nothing. You’ll walk until you can no longer see the glow of the village. You will stop and make your camp. When the brothers rise, you will rise quickly with them and be underway. You will see things that are not a dream. Things that can kill you. And some things that will try to take you away from your walk. You must walk, when the brothers set you will rest through the darkness. However, tempted, do not venture into the darkness…” He sipped at his bowl. “Will you live? Will you help her? I cannot say.” He sipped again and then nodded. “If you die, Brother, die well.” His hands rose, motioning me up and I understood it was time to leave.

The village was not as busy as it had been when I walked into it. The Moon was rising. The light bled from the sky. Four warriors walked beside me.

I passed Elders gathered around fires. They watched as I passed. A baby suckled at his mother’s breast. His dark eyes following me as I passed.

We left the village at a run and a few minutes later I was on my own. I built a fire and it burned brightly to keep the night away. The voices came to me shortly after that. Thousands it seemed, calling to me from the trees that started only a few hundred feet from me. Screams. Voices calling for me to help them. As the Moon continued to rise the voices came less often. I sat and waited for the sunrise.

In The Fight:


Dream Killer

Dream Killer: Abignew traveled with the Dream Killer. The Dream Killer was not much different from he himself. A minor demon. An evil device was how he thought of himself. An evil device that the thief could use to meet his ends. Dream Killer may have had legends spoken about him, but he was no different than Abignew himself, despite that.

They traveled at the edges of the forest with the dead. The spirit animals, the dead following their path, the predators that preyed on the animal spirits, none of those bothered Abignew, and from what he could tell, they didn’t bother the Dream Killer either.

The traveled in the black, and the shadows within the black.  Things screamed. Some human. Some not. Other things came close until they got their scent and then they fled in terror.  The Moon rose into the sky.

Abignew found himself wishing they could simply move from one place to the next as they did in any other world. But the rules here were different. No one did anything other than walk the trail of the dead.

Near to morning they slowed. A fire glowed in the near distance. Abignew’s crooked face split into a smile. They were here… All of them? He asked himself.

He scented the air. No… One. He didn’t know which one this one was, and he didn’t care. He would kill them all, either by fair measures or foul. That didn’t matter. So, it mattered very little which one he killed first. They slowed to a walk at the edge of the deepest shadows that favored the edge of the forest.

The things that had been in those places moved and crashed off through the trees in fear. The scent of their prey came to him as he drew nearer, and he smiled as they walked. Seconds later he was staring through the trees at the fire light…

Check out the book links above for the series…

Home: https://www.writerz.net


Draft 2 Digital has the Earth’s Survivors series!

Posted on April 3, 2024 by Author Sam Wolfe

EARTH’S SURVIVORS: The Earth’s Survivors Series follows survivors of a worldwide catastrophe. A meteorite that was supposed to miss the earth completely, hits and becomes the cap to a series of events that destroy the world as we know it. Police, fire, politicians, military, governments: All gone. Hopes, dreams, tomorrows: All buried in desperate struggle to survive. From L.A. To Manhattan the cities, governments have toppled and lawlessness is the rule. The dead lay in the streets while gangs fight for control of what is left. Small groups band together for safety and begin to leave the ravaged cities behind in search of a future that can once again hold promise. Author Geo Dell.

D2D Books from Geo Dell

Earth’s Survivors: Apocalypse:

Earth’s Survivors Apocalypse follows survivors of a worldwide catastrophe. A meteorite
hits and becomes the cap to a series of events that destroy the
world, as we know it. #Dystopian #ApocalypticFiction #Readers


Survivors: Rising from the Ashes:


The streets are a mess. I met a few others today, and I’m leaving with them. I’m taking
this and my gun with me… #Readers #Dystopian #ApocalypticFiction


Survivors: The Nation:

“Hello the

Mike unclasped the radio from his belt and raised it to his mouth and spoke. “I
guess you mean us,” he said more calmly than he felt.

“I do,”
the voice answered… #Readers #Dystopian #ApocalypticFiction


Survivors: Home in the Valley:

They came through
the roof…

Bear was leaned against the door frame, staring out at the night when the first
zombie dropped from the ceiling of the store behind them. #Readers
#Dystopian #ApocalypticFiction


Survivors: Plague:

It happened too fast, Mike told himself. No one had had any time to react. The flat,
loud crack of a high powered rifle. Mike’s head spun hard as it
automatically turned at the sound… #Readers #Dystopian


A free chapter from the first Earth’s Survivors book…


Copyright 2022 Dell Sweet – Geo Dell all rights reserved.

Cover Art © Copyright 2022 A L Sweet

This book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This book may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you are reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your bookseller and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.


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.




High summer: Plague year one

Base Ostega

Northern Canada

1:00 am

The first quake had been minor, the last few had not. The big one was coming. The satellite links were down, but Doctor Alan Weber didn’t need to have a satellite link up to know that. He touched one hand to his head, the fingertips came away bloody. In any other circumstances he would be hurrying to get his head wound taken care of, but these were not just any circumstances. The entire world was ending and it was a miracle to him that he had made it through the complex above and down into the control room of the facility before it had been supposed to automatically lock down. His office was a shamble, but his secretary had met him in the hallway having ridden out the quakes in the supply room, between the tall rows of steel cabinets: Together they had made their way to the office.

All main-line Comm links were down, probably because of the loss of the satellite systems. Underground back-up cable Comm: Down. The facility was in bad shape, and he was not kidding himself, there was no help on the way: No hope of reaching the surface and the worst was not yet here. He was probably lucky to have made it down the six floors to his office from where he had been. There was an automatic lock-down program that would shut down the entire facility within seconds of an attack or catastrophic event, it had failed somehow.

He laughed to himself, he had, had to lock it down manually once he had made his way in or else it would still be open to the world. He had blown up the two main entrances to the facility, sealing his own fate as he sealed it off from the world above.

He had spent the last several years here in the Canadian wilderness running the chemical countermeasure unit at the base. He had worked on a top secret virus designed to prolong human life in cases of extreme deprivation: Nuclear attack, war and other unlikely scenarios. He had spent the last two weeks working up to this event from his subterranean office complex: All wreckage now. Still, he had sent operatives out from here three days ago to do what they could to seed the virus: Following his final orders sent down through some now probably non-existent chain of command. He had heard absolutely nothing since, and believed that was because there was no one left in command any longer.

The virus was so secretive that no one beyond the base knew the true nature of it. Even the politicians that passed bills for funding while looking the other way had not truly known what they were funding. A couple of well-placed dollars in the pocket could buy a great deal of silence.

Several Army bases had secretly been infected and studied. The commanders of the armed forces had, had no idea that anything was being tested on their men. The troops had done well, surviving their training with little food and water much better than they usually did, but over the next week nearly every bird in the area had died. Some side effect they had not been able to ferret out.

That virus build had also been crippled. It had a built in self-destruct mechanism to kill the virus after a short amount of time. In fact that same version had been kept as an antidote for the newest version which had no such mechanism and would go on reinfecting indefinitely.

The entire virus design and its capabilities were top secret. Top secret, and usually Top Secret meant dozens of people knew, but this time it had meant that it really had been Top Secret. Withheld from the public, and even those in charge for years had known nothing of the true nature of the virus.

Last week had changed it all. Last week the news had come down from the finest scientific minds that an extinction event was about to take place. Up to ninety percent of the world population would likely be killed off as events unfolded. It was not a maybe, it was an absolute.

The public knew that there was a meteor on a near collision course with the Earth. They had paid off the best scientists to assure the public it would miss by several thousand miles. A lie, but they had found that even scientists were willing to look past facts if their own personal spin put a better story in the mix. A survivable story, and so some had spun their own stories without prodding. From there the internet had picked it up and run with it. From there the conspiracy theorists, and by the end of the week the meteor was survivable. The story that the meteor would destroy the planet was now a lie made up by commanders of the rebel alliance in the Middle East to take the focus off their actions, the public believed what it wanted to believe.

The truth was that the meteor might miss, barely, a near miss, but it wouldn’t matter because it would contribute to a natural chain of events that would make a meteor impact look like small change.

The big deal, the bigger than a meteor deal, was the earthquakes that had already started and would probably continue until most of the civilized world was dead or dying: Crumbled into ruin from super earthquakes and volcanic activity that had never been seen by modern civilization. And it had been predicted several times over by more than one group and hushed up quickly when it was uncovered. The governments had known. The conspiracy theorists had known. The public should have known, but they were too caught up in world events that seemed to be dragging them ever closer to a third world war to pay attention to a few voices crying in the wilderness. The public was happier watching television series about conspiracies rather than looking at the day to day truths about real conspiracies. The fact was that this was a natural course of events. It had happened before and it would happen again in some distant future.

In the end it hadn’t mattered. In the end the factual side of the event had begun to happen. The reality, Alan Weber liked to think of it. And fact was fact. You couldn’t dispute fact. You could spin it, and that was the way of the old world, spinning it, but the bare facts were just that: The bare facts.

The bare facts were that the Yellowstone Caldera had erupted just a few hours before. The bare facts were that the earth quakes had begun all around the world, and although they were not so bad here at the northern tip of Canada, in other areas of the world, in the lower states, in foreign countries, third world countries, the bare facts of what was occurring were devastating: Millions dead, millions more would die before it was over, and this was nothing new. The government had evidence that this same event had happened many times in Earth’s history. This was nothing new at all, not even new to the human race. A similar event had killed off most of the human race some seventy-five thousand years before. The space race had been all about this knowledge: A rush to get off the planet and settle elsewhere on an older, more sedate planet before something that had already happened time and again happened once more.

The virus was an answer, help, solution, but Alan Weber was unsure how well the solution would work. It was, like everything else, a stop gap measure, and probably too little too late. And it was definitely flawed, but he had temporarily pushed that knowledge away in his mind. Even now as he sat and waited for the end, which would surely come, out in the world operatives were disbursing the virus that could save humanity.

He thought for a moment, “Or destroy humanity,” he added aloud.

There were no guarantees, and there was strong evidence to suggest the designer virus did its job a little too well. Designed to help prolong life, there were rumors that it could raise the dead. Some scientists who had worked with the virus in the now destroyed facility had nicknamed it Lazarus.

Alan had seen evidence to support the rumors that it could raise the dead, or the near dead for that matter. He had been present when a test subject that had been pronounced dead had come back: Weak, half crazy, but alive again.

As the hours and then days passed the subject had become stronger, seemed to be learning from the situation it was in. The decision had been made to kill it: Even that had been difficult to do. Even so, he knew that it was the only hope for society. There was nothing else. The military machine was dead. The American government was dead. The president, from reports he had read, assassinated by her own guards.

While most of America had tracked the meteorite that was supposed to miss earth from their living rooms, and had been side tracked by all the trouble in the Middle East, he had kept track of the real events that had even then been building beneath the Yellowstone caldera and many other places worldwide.

Yesterday the end had begun, and the end had come quickly: Satellites off line. Phone networks down. Power grids failed: Governments incommunicado or just gone. The Internet down; the Meteorite had not missed Earth by much after all, and the gravitational pull from its mass had simply accelerated an already bad situation.

Dams burst. River flows reversed: Waters rising or dropping suddenly in many places. Huge tidal waves. Fires out of control. Whole cities suddenly gone. A river of lava flowing from Yellowstone: Civilization was not dead; not yet wiped out, but her back was broken.

In the small military base of Ostega that had rested above the defense facility near the shore of a former lake, the river waters that fed it had begun to rise: The chemical countermeasure unit, several levels below the base in the limestone cave structures that honeycombed the entire area, had begun to succumb to the rising river waters. By the time the surviving soldiers from above had splashed through the tunnels and into the underground facility, they had been walking through better than two feet of cold and muddy water. Shortly after that the pressure from the water had begun to collapse small sections of caves and tunnels below the base that fed the unit: That damage had been helped along by small after-shocks.

Alan Weber watched his monitor as a wall gave way and the main tunnel began to flood. It was only a matter of an hour at the most before the water found its way to him. He sighed and then relaxed back into his chair, reached down and pulled the lower file drawer open, and lifted out a partial bottle of scotch. He leaned forward and Amber Trevers cleared her throat in the silent observation room. Weber smiled and turned toward her.

“I suppose you have been watching, Amber?”

She only nodded.

He nodded back. “Share a drink with me?” He turned away, not waiting for her words of agreement. He heard her settle into a chair next to him as he pulled two plastic cups from the sleeve in the bottom drawer, left over from the Christmas party last year, and began to pour.

“I don’t usually agree to drink on the job, but this is a different set of circumstances, isn’t it?” His eyes met her own as she nodded weakly.

“It’s almost over, isn’t it Doctor Weber?”

“I’m afraid so… Call me Alan, Amber… Is it okay that I call you Amber?” He finished pouring the scotch into the plastic cup. He had stopped at just an inch in the bottom, wondered why and then filled the cup half way instead.

North America

Far above the Earth, satellites continued to orbit importantly.

The North American continent lay sleeping far below. A wide inland sea had formed in the middle, fed by a huge river that stretched from the former Hudson Bay to the middle of the continent. Small in places and easily crossed, no more than a river: Wide in other places as if it truly were a sea.

The state of Alabama had been divided in two along with most of the lower half of the former state of Florida. What resulted was the loss of the lower, southern half of the state. What remained now sat nearly forty miles out in a shallow bay that was quickly turning to sea: An island, the water surrounding it growing deeper as time moved on and the gulf reclaimed the land.

The upper north eastern section of the continent had already pulled apart and begun to drift. Although it was imperceptible, the two land masses were inching away from one another, and ultimately would be separated by a new ocean. And become separate, smaller continents.

The eastern end of the former United States was also drifting away from the northern section of Canada. The massive earthquakes had also severed the state of Michigan, turning it into a virtual island.

Toward what had been the north, the St. Lawrence river basin had widened, pushing the land masses further apart. The Thousand Islands bridge spans had toppled, and slipped into the cold waters. The other bridges that had once spanned the mighty river had also succumbed as the river basin had split and pulled apart.

The new continent had severed her ties from Nova Scotia, as she had been pulled south and slightly east, to begin her journey. Only the province of New Brunswick and a small portion of Quebec remained with the continent. The rest of Canada was severed from them by the wide and deep river, more like a huge lake in places that surged from ocean to ocean.

Most of the North American continent was now in a sub-tropical climate as well. The poles had been displaced by the huge force of the multiple earthquakes and volcanic blasts which were still ongoing. The old polar caps were melting, and it would be thousands of years before they would once again re-form in their new locations.

The run-off from the melting ice would eventually reach the oceans and even more land mass would be sacrificed to the waves before the polar caps would be re-formed.

There were only thirteen full states left on the small continent: The two former provinces of Canada, one of which was only a small fragment; and parts of five former states, the largest being Florida.

Before the dawn, fires could be seen burning unchecked in many major cities, pushed with the help of freak winds the flames continued in all directions, occasionally fueled by chemical, and oil facilities, as well as numerous other flammable sources they encountered. The world began its fall.


New York

Johnny: October 29th

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: Time to hold on to what is left for you. I had Lana… That was my something that was still left to me, but she’s gone now…

Lana… I knew they’d find out, Hell, they probably knew immediately in that slow purposeful way that things come to them. I can hear them out there ripping and tearing… They know. Yeah, they know, I know it as well as I know my name, John, Johnny Mother used to say. I… I get so goddamned distracted…. It’s working at me…

Bastards! If, only I could have… But it’s no good crying about it or wishing I had done this thing or that thing. I didn’t. I didn’t and I can’t go back and undo any of this, let alone the parts I did.

In August when the sun was so hot and the birds suddenly disappeared, and Lana came around for what was nearly the last time I hadn’t known a thing about this. Nothing. It’s late fall now and I know too much. Enough to wish it were August once again and I was living in ignorant bliss once more.

Lana: I didn’t want to do it. I told myself I would not do it and then I did it. Not bury her, which had to be done; I mean kill her. I told myself I wouldn’t kill her, and that’s a joke really. Really it is, because how do you kill something that is already dead?  No, I told myself that I wouldn’t cut her head off, put her in the ground upside down, and drive a stake through her dead heart. Those are the things I told myself I wouldn’t do, couldn’t do, but I did them as best I could. I pushed the other things I thought; felt compelled to do, aside and did what I could for her.

The trouble is, did I do it right? It’s not like I have a goddamn manual to tell me how to do it. Does anybody? I doubt it, but I would say that it’s a safe bet that there are dozens of people in the world right now, people who have managed to stay alive, that could write that manual. I just don’t know them… I wish I did. And it won’t matter to me anyway. It’s a little too late, but I’ll write this anyway and maybe it can be a manual for someone else… You

So the books say take their heads off. The books also say, for Vampires, put a stake in their heart, and older legends say turn them around, upside down in the grave. Isn’t a vampire a kind of Zombie? Isn’t it? Probably not exactly, precisely, but could it hurt to have done the stake thing just in case? To be sure? To put her at rest? I don’t think so.

They can come out during the daylight, you know. I thought they wouldn’t be able to. Every goddamn movie I ever saw, starting with the Night of the Living Dead said they couldn’t. You could get some relief. You could get some shit done. And you could if it were true, but it’s not. They rarely come out in the daylight, that’s the truth. It’s hard for them, tough somehow, but they can. It won’t kill them. They aren’t weaker than they are at night. They just don’t like the daylight. They don’t like it. And don’t you think writing that made me a little paranoid? Thinking it over once more? It did. I got up and checked the windows. Nothing I can see, but they’re out there. They’re right out there in the barn: Sleeping in the sweet hay up in the haymow. I know it, so it doesn’t matter whether I can see them. I can hear them and I know where the rest of them are. And I know they know what I did and they’ll come tonight. They’ll come tonight because I’m afraid of the night. Not them, me.  And they goddamn well know it! They know it! They think. They see. Did you think they were stupid? Blind? Running on empty? Well you’re the fool then. Listen to me, they’re not. They’re not and thinking they are will get you dead quick. And what about me? How will I feel tonight? What will I think about it then?

Zombies: I thought Haiti, horror flicks…? What else is there? Dead people come back to life, or raised from the dead to be made into slaves. Those are the two things I knew and nothing else. Well, it’s wrong, completely wrong. No, I can’t tell you how they come to be Zombies initially, but I can tell you that the bite of a Zombie will make you a Zombie. The movies got that much right.

I can’t tell you why they haunt the fields across from this house. Why they have taken up residence in the old barn, but I can tell you that it might be you they come for next and if they do you goddamn well better realize that everything you thought you knew is bullshit. See, Lana didn’t believe it and look what happened to her! Lana… Lana: I know, I know I didn’t tell you about her, but I will. That’s the whole point of writing this down before they get me too.

See, in a little while I’m thinking I might just walk out the kitchen door and right out to the barn. I’ll leave this here on the kitchen table. For you, whoever you are, who happened along into this kitchen.

Goddamn Zombies. Ever lovin’ Bastards! …

I am losing control; I know I am, but…

Anyway, it was August. Hot. Hotter they said than it had been in recorded time. I was not here in this kitchen in rural New York someplace; I was in L.A., outside the city up in the hills, a little farm. There was no wind. No rain. Seemed like no air to breath. Global Warming they said. Maybe… Changes coming, they said. Oh yeah, changes were coming. Changes right there on that wind, probably…

It was on a Tuesday. I went to get the mail and there were six or seven dead crows by the box. I thought, those goddamn Clark boys have been shooting their B.B guns again! So I resolved to call old man Clark and give him a piece of my mind, except I forgot. That happens to all of us: It’s not unusual. I remembered about four o’clock the next morning when I got up. Well, I told myself, Mail comes at ten, I’ll get that and then I’ll call up and have that talk.

I make deals like that with myself all the time. Sometimes it works out fine sometimes it doesn’t. It didn’t.

Ten came and I forgot to get the mail. I remembered at eleven thirty, cursed myself and went for my walk to the box.

I live alone. I have since Jane died. That was another hot summer when she went. I used to farm back then. I retired early a few years back. I rent out the fields. Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself.

I walked to the mail box cursing myself as I went. When I got there I realized the Clark boys had either turned to eating crows or they had nothing to do with the dead crows in the first place. There were dozens of dead crows, barn swallows, gulls. The dirt road leading up to my place was scattered with dead birds, dark sand where the blood had seeped in. Feathers everywhere, caught in the trees, bushes and the ditches at the side of the road. There were three fat, black crows sticking out of my mailbox: Feet first; half eaten.

Some noise in the woods had made me turn, but I didn’t turn fast enough. Whatever had made the noise was gone once I got turned in that direction, but there were bare footprints in the dry roadbed next to the box. They were not clear, draggy, as though the person had, had a bad leg. He had of course, but I had yet to meet the owner.

Hold on…

The day’s getting away from me. My ears are playing tricks on me too. I thought I heard something upstairs, but there’s nothing. I have the bottom floor boarded up. Those Zombies may be far from stupid, but it’s goddamn hard to get dead limbs to help you climb up the side of a house and we took everything down they could hold onto…

Where was I? The mailbox. The mail never came that day. In fact the mail never came again. Already Emma Watson, our local Mail carrier, was a Zombie. I just didn’t know it.

I tried Clark, but I got no answer. Later that day I heard a few shots, but we’re rural folks. There’s Deer wandering all over the place: Coy dogs too. Wouldn’t be the first time one got shot without a tag or a proper season. Lana came later, upset, her boyfriend had run off somewhere she thought. It’ll be okay I told her. She did the cleaning, ran some groceries from town and left. She seemed in better spirits to me.

I seen him almost a week later.

Lana usually came at the end of the week to help me with shopping, bills, she’s a… She was a good girl. A good one. A good Zombie fearing girl. She was… She hadn’t come as July had turned to August and I was sitting by the stove that night and heard a scrape on the porch.

His leg was bad. Somebody had shot him, but her fella had worse things going on than that. He was dead. What was a bum leg when you were dead? Small problem. But it made him drag that leg. I’m getting ahead of myself again though.

I picked up my old shot gun where it sat next to the door, eased the door open and flicked on the porch light. He jumped back into the shadows.

“Step out into the light,” I tried not to sound as afraid as I was.

“No,” he rasped

“Step out here or I’ll shoot,” I tried again.

“Lana,” he whispered. His voice was gravelly.

That stopped me cold. I squinted, but it was too dark to make out much: Still I had the idea it might be her boyfriend. Maybe he’d got himself into something bad. I couldn’t get the name to come to me. “You Lana’s boyfriend that went missing…?”

Nothing but silence, and in that silence I got a bad feeling. Something was wrong. It came to me about the same time that he stepped into the light. There was no sound of breathing. It was dead quiet, that was what my panicked mind was trying to tell me. My own panicked breathing was the only sound until he stepped into the light dragging his leg.

My heart staggered and nearly stopped.

“Lana,” he rasped once more. He cocked his head sideways, the way a dog will when it’s not sure of something. One eye was bright, but milky white, the other was a gooey mess hanging from the socket on the left side of his face.

I found my old shot gun rising in my hands. I saw the alarm jump into his eyes and he was gone just that fast.

I stood blinking, convinced that I had somehow dreamed the whole encounter, but I knew I hadn’t. The smell of rotting flesh still hung heavy in the air. In the distance I heard the rustle of bushes and then silence. Zombies are not stupid, and they are not slow.

The next day it seemed ridiculous. What an old fool, I thought. What had I imagined? But the next few days told me a different story.

I drove into a nearby town around the middle of the week. I passed maybe two cars on the way, but neither driver would meet my eyes. That was wrong. Trash blew through the streets as I drove. The traffic lights were out on the four corners and no one was on the streets. I didn’t see a state patrol car.

The ShopMart strip mall was closed. The road into it barricaded. I found a little Mom-and-Pop place open on the way back, but there was next to nothing on the shelves. I got a jar of peanut butter that I didn’t want, a package of crackers, there was no bread, and paid with the last of my cash.

The store owner wore deep socketed eyes in a lined face. His attitude said, I will not speak to you, and he would not: After a brief attempt I gave up and went home. I never went back. By that next night I knew what the deal was when Lana showed up.

She came around noon. I heard the sound of her engine revving long before she came into sight. She took out the mailbox and crashed into the porch and that was that. We were up most of the night talking about how much the world had changed. She knew more than I did. She knew there were no more police. She knew there were roving gangs of zombies on the streets of Los Angeles. She had met a man who had come from there. L.A. was a ruin. And she had spoken to another, this time a young woman from up toward Seattle; the same story there. The zombies, it seemed, owned the world.

We stayed until eight weeks ago. I wouldn’t have been able to get out my own. That was early, before we knew they would come out into the sunlight. Andy, that was her fella’s name, came for her in the daylight when we were leaving the house. If not for the bad leg he would have got her. If not for the fact that we were close to the living room door he might have got her. He might even have got her because we both froze. And when I realized I had to move she was still frozen, just looking at his ruined, rotted face.

I got the shot gun up and blew his head off. I thought she was going to kill me, then I thought he was going to manage to get back to his feet even without his head and kill me. He finally stopped and I managed to drag her inside the house and shut the door.

I had gone back out a short time later, after I got her laid down and sleeping off the shock in the back bedroom, to take a closer look at the body. There were five of them eating him where he lay up beside her car, and two watching the door: When I got out the two guarding the door were on me nearly that fast. I shot them both as fast as I could pull the trigger. My shot gun only holds four shells. Those two were gone and that had slowed them, but they were not deterred. I made it back inside, locked the door and began to wonder if my heart was going to explode.

Later, before dusk, I went back outside. Andy’s body was gone along with the other zombies. I decided that we had to try to get out, drive out and find help. She was carrying a child after all, the zombie fella’s baby, I suppose. Maybe there was a place outside of California where things were normal, okay, a zombie free zone. The problem was that I was on the wrong side of L.A., we would have to cut straight through the city to head east. There was no other way to do it.

We planned it. I got my truck, drained the gas from her car and my old tractor. That gave us a full tank in the truck and almost ten gallons in cans strapped into the back of the cab. There wasn’t much in the way of food, but we took what we had. We left early morning.

L.A.: August 13th

The trek east out of the city was harder than we had thought it would be. We had become mired down in traffic long before we had ever hit the city itself, and had been forced to give up the truck.

It was close to noon before we reached Alameda, and decided to try to find some kind of four wheel drive vehicles, at one of the many car lots that dotted it.

Once we had liberated a truck, it had still been slow going until we reached El Segundo Boulevard. The stalled traffic had been much lighter there, and we had been able to drive part of the way by cutting into the parking lots of fast food restaurants, that dotted almost the entire length of the highway. We had followed that to Wilmington, and picked up another truck that had seen better days. Getting that truck had not been a problem; there were several used car lots along the road. We had used the parking lots to swing around the worst of the traffic, and that had worked well until we had intersected Compton Boulevard. It was hopelessly packed with stalled traffic. We had left the truck, which had sounded as if it was close to dying anyway, and struck out on foot again. Lana led the way as we cut cross lots through Compton Woodley Airport.

Crossing the dead airfield had been unnerving for both of us. The runways had cracked, and either lifted skyward, or tilted down into the ground. Blackened skeletons of large aircraft dotted the airfield. Most of them were so badly burned that we had been unable to tell what they had been before. I thought a couple of them may have been military aircraft, but as badly twisted as they were it was impossible to be sure.

Luggage, some burned, some untouched, was scattered across the airfield in every direction, and many of the suitcases were burst, with papers and clothing scattered everywhere along with other personal effects. There were bodies there too.

On our way through the city we had seen very few bodies. It had been unsettling for both of us. Fewer bodies meant more un-dead. We had both wondered aloud if the changing was happening that fast. Raising the dead faster as time slipped by. The bodies we had seen had not been killed by the Earthquakes. They bore head wounds, and appeared to have been dead for only a short period. Possibly only the last two or three days, we decided.

The bodies at the airport were concentrated around the terminal building. The huge glass windows were peppered with holes as if a battle had taken place for the terminal. Most of the bodies inside were concentrated behind the long rows of seats in the main lobby where they had been trying to use the seats for cover. It had apparently done no good. We had paused only briefly, wondering what had occurred before we had moved on. The overwhelming stench in the shattered terminal building drove us out. The wrecked planes, where we had expected to see bodies scattered all around, were empty.

Occasionally we had heard gunfire around us, and twice explosions from further north, behind us had startled us. We had hurried along fearing the sounds, but fearing more the possibility that the owners of the guns might find us. We walked in silence across the remainder of the shattered airfield, and we were both glad when we left it behind us and eventually came to 91. 91 was traffic packed and we had abandoned the truck, making our way across the steel roof tops once more, crossing under 91 on South Central and making our way along the sides of the road to E Del Amo Boulevard.

There, like the Martin Luther King Highway, black topped parking areas fronted all manner of fast food restaurants, store chains and shops, which bordered both sides of the strip. It wouldn’t necessarily assure a way around the stalled traffic, I had realized, but it appeared as though it would give us a much better chance of getting to 405.


I set the pencil aside and listened to the noises outside the old frame house: Some other farmer’s house, three thousand miles from my own home. Dark sounds, rustling, had to be the dead, but there was nothing for it. I picked the pencil up, flexed my fingers and began to write again…

Yesterday I found an old bottle of whiskey in a locked cabinet in the living room and resolved to leave it be. Now I have changed my mind. I have been sipping at it while I sit here and write. Maybe it will help my resolve with the part I still have to play after I write this out. Maybe it won’t, I don’t know. But I do know it is helping my head right now, and that is enough for me.

So, we had been trying to get to 405…

Read more now!

Earth’s Survivors: Apocalypse (books2read.com) https://books2read.com/b/baq57y



Posted on April 3, 2024 by Author Sam Wolfe


    • The Joseph Short Story

During the war years in the early 20th century, Joseph
Short, a wealthy clothing mill owner, began a new division producing
trousers for the United States Military. At the same time his own
business was reduced by half, due to a cotton blight and rations
having been cut even further as cotton was appropriated by the
government for the war effort.

Short had invested the sum of $58.000
in his mill and was stretched to the financial limit. The contracts
for trousers were filled and payments were forthcoming from the
military, but there were massive delays in funding, and once issuing
the contracts the prices had been slashed by a senate sub-committee,
and so what was expected to eventually be paid, although a small
fortune, would probably not cover much more than the bank notes and
employee wages.. Still, it was thought a patriotic effort that Short
endorsed as did many other mill owners, and so he pressed onward.

Still, the problem vexed Short. How was
he to make a profit in these times, when the cotton he was allotted
for his own business had been reduced by half. After much thought
Short decided to make lemonade from his lemon situation instead of
sitting around pondering it. Specifically, if his cotton allowance
was restricted by half, then he would design a trouser that was able
to be produced with half as much material.

Short set to work with two of his best
seamstresses, and within a week he had prototypes for men and women.
The result was a striking, yet daring garment that fell to mid calf.
He christened this new garment the ‘Short Trouser’, and sent his
first shipments of to the Sears and Roebuck stores based in Chicago,
and the F.W. Woolworth stores based in New York. Within a week of
receiving them they were sold out, and thus was born the Short Pant,
or trouser.

Short went on to survive the war era,
but the government checks were too late to save his mill. He held out
hope for his short trousers for a while, but he had neither
trademarked nor patented the Short Pant, and the very retailers that
had made them an instant success, began producing their own versions.
Both Sears and Roebuck and F. W. Woolworth sold their own brand of
‘Short Pants’, under their own labels, and went on to make millions.

Shortly after bankruptcy, Joseph Short
disappeared and was never heard from again.

Editors note: This is completely made
up. Completely, yes, totally. I was sitting around bored at 3:00 AM
and wrote it up to amuse myself. Yes… This is the sort of things
writers do at 3:00 AM. Oh, by the way, copyright 2020 Dell Sweet.
Goodnight, Dell.