Posted by Geo 03-13-2017
It is cold in the city today. Glad you made it and glad you dropped by to see what I was up to. Winter is still laying it on us here in New York. Looks like there is no end in sight. Last week in the seventies, this morning just above zero, crazy.
I spent most of my weekend cleaning out my shop and getting ready for a new guitar build. I do the guitar builds to take me away from the writing at times. Stress relief. I have often wished I could split myself into three people, one to write, one to do music and the last to build video games. Probably Frankenstein way to do it.
So Dell Sweet is working on the Life Stories, the first two of which I am now editing and those will end up on Amazon in a few weeks. They are the individual stories of the Earth’s survivors. When Earth’s Survivors was originally published on the website that is how they were written. The first book was Rising from the Ashes and the story was a single about Mike and Candace. When they were published through Smashwords the other stories were tied in with it and the first book to be mass published was entitled Apocalypse.
So now you will have the individual Survivors Stories that some of you asked for. They will also be priced below the main Earth’s Survivors books.
The two new Collections were released last week. Collection four: Candace and Mike and Collection Five: Books Six and Seven. Both of these join the other collections that are only available from Amazon.
I think that catches us up on the news. I am writing all week and editing in my spare time, ha ha. There is no spare time. I feel some game building coming soon, I am missing it a great deal. I will leave you will an excerpt from Dreamers a SciFi book from Dell. Take a look…
Dreamers is Copyright © 2016 by Dell Sweet. All rights reserved foreign and domestic.
Cover Art © Copyright 2016 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.
Parts of this novel are Copyright © 2010, 2015 Wendell Sweet and his assignees. 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.
In The Moonlight:
“Easy… Easy, girl, I wont hurt you.” I lowered my hand slowly to let the dog get my scent as I approached the van… Boy, my mind corrected… Boy, Laura…
“Boy,” I said aloud and laughed. But the dog looked like he knew what I had said, cocking his head from one side to the other. His upper lip curled away from his teeth, but he was no longer snarling or growling deep in his chest. “Easy, Boy. Easy, Boy… It’s me, Laura… Easy.” I reached down and he allowed me to rest one hand on his head. I ruffled the thick fur there.
This was new. Did the dog know me? Did I know the dog? I thought about it and realized that at the very least I knew the dog. That didn’t mean the dog knew me. And the dog was definitely not letting anyone near the van. Guarding it. He seemed to consider me on a deeper level, his eyes locked with mine. When had I looked back at him? I couldn’t answer the question. With the dog looking at me like that the question didn’t seen important at all. Wasn’t, important at all, I corrected myself… The dog corrected…?
“You do know me… Don’t you? …Bear?” The dog, who was not a dog, cocked his head to one side and seemed to smile at me. … “Your name is, Bear? … Good, Boy… You’re… Joe’s dog… Bear. Good boy, Bear… Is he here… In the van?” I eased closer as I talked.
Bear watched me, but no longer growled at all. Even the stiff posture he had assumed had changed. His tail dropped and moved slightly. It may have been the beginning of a wag. He whined low in his throat. His eyes reflecting green iridescence in the blue of the moon light. He whined again and then came closer to me, easing his head back under my hand so carefully it seemed as though it had always been there. I rubbed his head once more and then my hand slipped under his jaw, scratching, my head lowered at the same time. Bear whined again and then licked my face.
Laura, you take too many chances, I told myself. Too many. But my hand continued to rub Bear’s head and scratch under his jaw, allowing my racing heart to slow. Catching my breath. Wondering what came next. I was new to this. I had never been this far before. I didn’t know what came next.
“You get in the van,” Joe said from the open window above me.
A small, sharp scream slipped from my throat before I could stop it; sounding like someone was strangling me as I tried to suppress it.
“Jesus… Jesus, Joe… Jesus!”… I managed to get myself back under control after a few seconds. I sucked air back into my lungs. Bear whined and looked up at me. My heart slammed against my rib cage.
“No… Not, Jesus. Thank God it’s not that time,” he said.
I met his eyes, but there was no smile in them. “You scared me,” I said defensively, still breathing hard, chest heaving, heart slamming against my ribs.
“No shit. You think I wasn’t scared too? You’re not supposed to be here … You never have been.” He finished quietly after starting in a loud, strained whisper. His eyes remained on mine. The wind picked up moving the limbs in a huge Elm that stood nearby. Its winter-dead limbs clicking and clacking as they came together. The heavy branches groaning and creaking as the wind momentarily gusted.
The wind continued to build for a few more seconds. Our eyes still locked on one another. Then the wind died down with an audible sigh and I shuddered involuntarily and shifted my eyes away.
“I know… I know,” I started. I moved my eyes back to his, but he just stared at me.
“I do know,” I started again. “I’m not even sure how… How I got here,” I finished quietly.
Bear pushed past me, tail wagging, and jumped up into the van as Joe opened the door.
“That’s how it happens,” he said every bit as quietly as I had started. His eyes that had wandered up to the night darkened sky were back on my own now. Staring at me out of the open door. Bear’s head popped up, looking at me from between the seats.
“Well,” Joe asked?
“What,” I asked? I cocked my head in an unconscious imitation of the way Bear was looking at me.
“Shouldn’t you get in,” he asked? … “Or don’t you want to?”
And that was the question, wasn’t it? Here I was, where I was not supposed to be, where I was not invited to be, where I had never been before and it was time to make the choice.
Bear cocked his head once more as if he were also waiting to hear my answer. The dog that was not a dog at all… a… wolf? Maybe… Maybe more than that too… His green eyes asked the question.
“I get in the Van,” I said quietly.
Joe looked away and then turned quickly back. “Yeah. Yeah. You get in the van and we… We go… It’s nearly dawn… There isn’t much time and we have to get as far as we can before the sun comes up.”
He stretched one hand across the seat, held out to me and I could hear the engine running… When had he started it? … I couldn’t remember. My tongue poked out and licked at my dry lips. Bear seemed to grin. No. Not just a wolf either… One side of his upper lip curled over his teeth.
I found my feet stepping up into the passenger area and I followed…
In The Moonlight:
On The Road With Bear
I rolled to a stop at the intersection. The city was ahead, the house behind, I had never turned left or right so I had no idea what might be in those directions. Were those two roads, one to the left, one to the right, winding away into the distance, just conceptions? One of those photo realistic things that made you look twice, maybe even more? I looked again.
The roads were night dark, the moon playing hide and seek, gliding in and out of the heavy black clouds. The falling rain distorted both the near road and the distant road. How long had it been raining, I wondered, once the rain finally registered. Big, fat drops formed and rolled off down the slope of the windshield. I reached for the wiper switch but found nothing.
I took my eyes from the windshield and looked, supposing I had put my hand in the wrong place, but I had not. There was simply nothing but a gray, formless mass that slightly resembled the lower half of a dashboard. I blinked and when I opened my eyes once more the wiper switch was there. Exactly where it had not been. Exactly where it should be.
Tired I thought.
Bullshit was my second thought.
I blinked again, but the wiper switch remained. I flicked it on half suspecting that it wouldn’t work. That the wipers, if there were any real wipers, would remain frozen to the glass, refuse to move, but they swept up and pushed the beaded drops of rain from the glass nearly silently. Bear whined and pushed his nose under my hand.
“Alright, Buddy,” I told him. I stroked his head and then looked back out at the road. Left, right, straight, I asked myself.
There was a mystery to the city. Sometimes it went bad for me and sometimes it simply frustrated me.
… Running down the clock… One thing was sure, I had never come back out of the city in the many times that I had driven down into it.
… Left, right, straight, I asked myself again.
I pulled a small wire bound notebook and a pen from my shirt pocket and thumbed it open. Pages and pages of notes on the many times I had gone, but none of them amounted to anything except four entries:
The first entry, page twenty-Six, an address, 52715 Randolph Circle. I had never found Randolph Circle in all of my trips, let alone 52715. I had no memory of ever being there. Of any trip to the city when I may have gone there. I did not remember marking the address into the book. Nothing. A total blank.
The second entry, page twenty-five, read; Be careful of Locust street. Big bold letters. And I remembered being there. I had barely got away with my life.
The third entry, page twenty-seven said; ‘West End Docks.’
I knew that place. I remembered being there, the first time and several other times. But the details weren’t there. I couldn’t see them. Why had I been there? I couldn’t see it. Put my finger on it. There was a long, low building that fronted the docks. A house across the street. An old run down neighborhood. A low, curving concrete wall where I had sat and watched people come and go several times. And more. The feeling that I had been there other times that I could not yet remember. I say yet because I had the feeling that I would remember it. But page twenty-six? Nothing. Nothing at all. Not even a ghost of a memory.
A map would be useful, but there were no maps. It had taken a dozen times or more before I could count on the wire bound note book being in my pocket. Bigger things, like the van, had taken even longer. Before that I had had to walk or steal a car and that was always risky. But there was hope for a map. Someday, just not this day. At least I didn’t think so.
A quick check of the glove box and the engine cover storage area proved that to be true. Nothing useful. And why was it so much useless stuff was there? A spare pen cap… A broken transistor radio, the van had a radio of its own… Sometimes anyway, but there were no stations on the dial, or at least not yet there weren’t. That was another maybe, but it was there, so what good was a broken transistor radio?
Two paperclips. An insurance card, made out to me… For what? A fuzzy life saver, it looked like lime, my least favorite flavor. A flashlight with no batteries, and a dog biscuit. That was new. There had never been a dog biscuit before. Bear whined and gave a little woof in his throat.
I laughed, “It’s yours, Buddy.” He took it gently from my hand. The dry scrape of the Windshield wipers dragged my attention to the windshield. No rain. No rain on the road either. I reached down and flicked off the wipers. At least the switch was still there.
Straight, my mind finally decided. Better the evil that you know. Left and right could wait for another night. I eased off the brake as Bear jumped up onto the passenger seat, rested his paws on the dashboard and watched the countryside pass us by as we made our way into the city.
The fourth entry was on page fifty-eight. A series of numbers. 2757326901. All strung together, followed by a name Laura K. Whole first name, initial only for the last: Like I knew her maybe? I didn’t though. I must have at the time I wrote the number down, but I didn’t now. Who was Laura? Were the numbers a telephone number? Code talk? It bothered me that I had written the entry and yet had no recollection of doing it. Same as Page twenty-six.
I passed the City Limits sign as I wondered. Regular street lights. No traffic. Sometimes there was traffic, sometimes there wasn’t.
The rain began to fall all at once. One second no rain, the next everything was drenched as though it had rained forever: Always; would never stop. I fumbled for the windshield wiper switch once more, but by the time I turned it back on the windshield was clear. No more rain. The road looked as though it had never seen rain, as if it had never been there at all.
I glanced at the speedometer and then lowered my speed. I didn’t need to attract attention. There were cops here and they had no problem putting me in jail. It didn’t seem to matter to them that I was no more real to them than they were to me, off to jail they took me. And before that was all said and done I spent ten days in that jail. Eating Bologna sandwiches, smelling that moldy-pissy jail smell and trying to convince my court appointed lawyer that neither of us were really there. Jail was no good. I had no intention of going back there. I looked once more at the speedometer, backed off a little more, and then passed the sign announcing the city limits.
The city was early morning dead. It wasn’t dawn. If it were I would not have been there, but dawn was close. There was a glow above the city skyline. Faint… Pink… Growing as I sat idling at the intersection waiting for the light to change.
I noticed the rain was falling once more and I had either never turned on the wipers the last time it had rained, or I had turned them off after it had rained. I reached down to flip the switch on and that was when I heard the sound of a heavy engine screaming. Gears clashing. Bear voiced a warning just as my eyes cleared the dashboard and tried to make sense of the scene before them.
There wasn’t much time to absorb it. A garbage truck just feet away from the driver’s door and closing fast. Sirens screaming. Red and blue lights pulsing. Chasing the garbage truck, I wondered? That was nearly the only thought I had time for.
Bear barked again. My eyes focused on the truck only inches away from me, and slowly rose to the driver. A woman… Laura? … Her eyes focused on my own for the split second before the Garbage truck hit the van’s driver door full blast.
Pain exploded inside of me. Faintly, far away, I heard Bear howl in either anger or pain. Then that sound, all sound, was quickly cut off, replaced with a low snapping sound that quickly turned into a heavy crackling sound. The smell of Ozone filled my nose, but something else quickly began to replace that smell. Gasoline. Gasoline and something else… Diesel? And then, with a low wham, the heat came. I struggled to free myself, but it was no use. I had time for one more quick thought … Laura … Laura … Why …? And then the explosion came and the pain flared, then ended almost as fast as it had come and I found myself flying through the blackness of the void… Flying…. Falling… Panic building… Lungs trying to pull a breath… Voice trying to scream… Nothing coming out… Then sight returning in a rush… The street racing up to meet me… The remains of the Van and the Garbage truck burning far below me…. Red and blue lights pulsing… Cars parked aslant in the street where they had skidded to a stop… Cops behind open doors… Crouched to fire… Their guns pointing… Rain falling… The pavement coming closer… So close I could see the individual pebbles of the surface embedded in the asphalt mix…
The impact came with no pain. The remaining air crushed from my lungs… I tried once more to scream, but it was no use… I hit hard, bounced, came down once more and my eyes flew open wide as I impacted the second time…
Gray half-light… The buzzing of the alarm clock… My own sheets tangled around me… Damp with sweat. The red numerals on the clock read 6:47 A.M. I sucked air greedily, like I had never been among the living at all. Never known how to breath. Just returned from the dead. I released my breath in a long, shaky shudder, found myself half sitting up in the bed and fell back to the mattress urging my racing heart to slow… Calming myself… Morning had come.
I reached over, shut off the alarm clock and silence descended on the room. I could hear my heart beating in that silence. Rapidly slamming against the inside of my ribs. Hard. Heavy. Loose and wet. Hear my labored breathing. I lay still for a few minutes watching more color seep into the sky, then got up and made my way to the shower.
In The Moonlight:
This Present Waking To life
Tuesday: Late Afternoon
Doctor Donna Shulman’s Office
“So… How did that make you feel?” Doctor Shulman asked me.
“Feel? I don’t know… Dead? …. Like it was real? … Like it’s always real until I wake up and find out that it isn’t real, you know?” I lifted my eyes to her, but she said nothing. “And…” I paused. No way should I say what was really on my mind. Shut up, Laura! I told myself before any of the words could slip out.
“And?” she prompted.
“And?” I questioned innocently.
“And you left off at And… It isn’t a typical ending to a sentence. At least not any structure I know of. I felt you had more to say?” She lifted say so that it made her statement a question. She waited. She was a good waiter. The best waiter. The best I had ever met. They probably taught that in the psychology classes she had taken.
I had known Doctor Donna Shulman for two years now. All in therapy. Two years ago I had been speed addicted, just coming off living on the streets. Now I was back to my old job as a website designer. No one I worked for knew about my past. My Probation officer wasn’t invasive like that. He was satisfied that I was working, maintaining a home, residence was the legal terminology he used when we discussed it, and probably what he wrote on the forms that went back to the judge. I was testing clean. I was clean, and had been the whole two years. My probation ended in a matter of a few weeks.
“Laura?” She prompted.
“Sorry,” I said, even though I wasn’t. It was ingrained. I hated myself when I groveled or apologized for no reason.
“The guy,” I said reluctantly. “I dream about this guy all the time. I mean every dream, and I’m dreaming about the same places all the time too. Over and over… He’s …. I don’t know… I don’t want to sound crazy… He’s … It’s like he’s real.” There, I told myself, I said it.
“Do you feel crazy,” she asked? “Impulsive? Like you’re worthless? The way your father always made you feel?”
“No,” I answered quietly. We’d covered a lot of ground in the last two years of mandated counseling sessions. All for resisting arrest. Well, I had kneed officer Macho Man who had insisted on touching me everywhere he possibly could while he justifiably subdued me. It still made me mad. And I had also shot a looping right to his eye, but it was only luck that I hit it. Okay, I had taken self defense classes… Maybe it wasn’t just luck.
“Not feeling like using? … Getting high,” she asked?
“Absolutely not!” I answered a little too strongly. But it was the truth. I didn’t feel like using. Hadn’t in a long while. Not since the last time that had found me in the fight with officer Touchy-Feelie. After all of that I would have had to have been insane to want to drink: Of course N.A. talked about that. The insanity of the drug use. The addict doing the same things over and over and yet expecting different results.
“I feel like he’s substantial… He knows me … Knows things about me… Everything.”I said.
“Well, Laura. They’re your dreams… Naturally…”
“Right… Right… That’s why I sound crazy… I know it… But it goes past that… Like… Like I’m not even in… In charge? … Control? … Control is a better word. Like I’m not even in control of the dream, you know?”
She studied me. “…No…” she said at last. “No I do not know.” She studied me some more.
“Like… Okay… This will sound crazy… Like somehow I’ve crashed into his dream. Like I’m part of his dream… Like it’s not even my dream, it’s his, and somehow… Somehow I’m like some bit player in his dream… But it is my dream… So it’s like I’m a guest in my own Goddamn dream… Or his… which ever it is,” I finished quietly. I studied her right back.
“I see… Well, what do you suppose that is telling you?” she asked me.
“Telling me?” I asked back.
“Yes. Telling you,” she countered, refusing to give me the answer. She waited.
“I,” I sighed. “I don’t know,” I admitted.
“Really,” she asked?
She sighed. “We’ve been over this, Laura… Your Father controlled you. Obviously this man… You feel this man is controlling you. You feel like you are living his dream.. Acting in his dream… As though it’s scripted by him… You can’t see the correlation?” She leaned forward expectantly.
“I,” I started, and then the small session clock on her desk chimed. I let out my pent up breath. She smiled.
“Saved by the metaphorical bell,” she said and smiled.
I smiled back.
“Next week then, Laura?” She smiled again.
“I will think about what you said,” I said, trying to mollify her. After all she did send reports to my probation officer; days to go could turn into weeks or months to go, maybe, if she turned in a bad report. “I really will,” I said, forcing my face to look as sincere as I could once remember looking, or wanting to look, when I really wanted to convince my mother that everything was okay in my world. It had worked then… Maybe…
I looked up and she was smiling. “I know you will. I’ll say that for you, you do the work… Have you given any thought to continuing therapy after the court ordered sessions stop? I’m sure you realize that next week is our last session.” She smiled once more. “I’ve already submitted your last report. I recommended you be released, Laura.”
My eyes immediately became moist and my throat caught. I cleared it, blinked a few times to keep the tears away. I hadn’t realized how afraid of all of it I was. Of all the times to start having nightmares. “I’m so grateful for that,” I said and I meant it. “I appreciate it.” There I was groveling again.
She smiled. “Let me know about the other,” she said as she opened the door for me. It took me a second, my mind was racing with all the possibilities of being free.
“Yes,” I said with a slight delay. I had felt compelled to answer, Yes I will. I’ll keep coming, but I bit that back. “I will,” I said, groveling again.
I stepped out into the hallway as I spoke and the door slammed hard behind me making my heart jump into my throat. I spun around thinking, the wind… Must have been the wind, but the door was gone. The hallway was gone. My heart hammered harder in my chest.
I heard the footsteps before I saw anyone. I was trying to take stock of my situation: Where I was. I had been there before. A wide open area of machinery. Huge ceilings twenty maybe thirty feet high. So much noise that I could hear nothing but the noise. And that made me wonder how I had heard the door slam. Heard the conversation for that matter. Heard the footsteps I still heard. My heart jumped higher, seeming to block my windpipe with every beat. Pulsing like drums in my ears.
‘Run, Laura, Run,’ my mind screamed.
I turned and ran blindly along a high metal catwalk that was elevated about fifteen feet above the floor. The sounds of the machinery now blocked out the sounds of the footfalls, but a quick glance over my shoulder showed me the two cops behind me. Right behind me. Maybe all of twenty feet. I tucked my arms into my sides, pumped my legs harder and put on the best burst of speed I knew how to put on. The ribbed steel treading of the cat walk provided good traction, but how long would it go on for I wondered.
I turned a corner. The cat walk ended, and I found myself in a huge garage. A large Garbage truck sat idling, the driver’s door hanging open. It seemed my only choice. Later I began to doubt that, but at the time it seemed so final, like there really was no other choice, but to jump into the idling truck, slam the door, and get away from those cops. Later it was obvious that it was too pat. A set up.
I hit the step of the cab and launched myself inside of it. My breath was coming in hard, painful gasps. My heart slamming so hard against my ribs that it felt capable of breaking bones… Or itself. A second later I was sitting upright, the stick shift in one hand, racing the gas pedal, punching my foot into the clutch, releasing the emergency brake and then nearly dumping the clutch all at once when one of the cops seemed about to jump onto the cab step. The truck roared, lurched forward and slammed into the closed garage door in front of it.
Glass and wood sprayed the garage. The door didn’t slow the huge truck down at all. I ducked reflexively as the truck lunged through the door and out into the street.
Halfway down the street I had the engine wound out in fourth gear when a couple of things occurred to me. First; I had never driven a stick before. I didn’t know how to do it. I shouldn’t have been able to know about the brake and be able to get moving that fast. Second; were the cops right behind me even now?
As if to answer my question the sounds of sirens came to my ears. Red and blue lights pulsed against the interior of the truck. The rear view mirror reflected them, catching my attention. It was only a second, but that was all it needed to be. I looked up and there was his face. Shocked. Eyes wide. Just a few feet away from me. A red van. Inches now. No time to stop. I heard myself scream as I hit the van broadside in the driver’s door lifting it off the road and into the air. The hood of the garbage truck flew up, smashed the windshield, and then came through it. It all happened in a split second, but in the same instant it seemed to last forever. To go on for a very long time.
I felt the pieces of the hood strike my face. Pain flared bright, hot, all consuming. All just a brief split second and then I was falling. I couldn’t breathe… Absolute dark consumed me…. Falling faster… I hit the mattress hard, a scream tearing from my throat as I did. I screamed a second time before I realized I was in my own bed. Grayish-pink dawn light glowing against the dirty window panes. The hands of the old wind up clock standing at a quarter to seven A.M.
“Oh, Jesus God,” I sobbed once I caught my breath. I curled up into a fetal position. Sickness ripping through my stomach. It was so real… So real.
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