New releases and partner projects with Geo Dell

Posted by Geo Dell April 10th 2017

It has been a pretty good week here and it looks like spring has sprung!

I finally finished, to my satisfaction, Earth’s Survivors QutRunners Book One. It ended up, after two read throughs, at 115 k. So it will be a nice long book. I did not get to Billy Jingo. I did build out GeoDell.com, I also made a decision about Rapid City, previewed Earth’s Survivors four, and looked over the construction work that is coming up on my home. It was a week with a lot to do and it kept me away from writing for the most part. For the lesser part though I did get all of my ducks in a row. So Monday I will be able to jump right in.

I will also try to get an Earth’s Survivors Book Five preview out soon too. It is a good book. I think you will like it. But since it was written two years ago I had forgotten exactly how it went. I was shocked when I opened the front cover and realized which story it was. Can’t say more, but you will probably be very surprised. There is a small preview in the back of Book four, I just need to get a longer preview done and post it.

Rapid City: I gave a lot of thought to America The Dead, another Earth’s Survivors series that follows Other characters from New York, L. A., a few other large cities. Decided to release the America The Dead books instead of the Rapid City books.

Okay, a little humor concerning cats…

I would just like to say I have a cat. It loves me. It’s not a dog, but I do my best to overlook that and for the cat’s part he seems to do a pretty good job of overlooking my shortcomings too… Like Not being all that appreciative of the dead snakes, chipmunks mice and birds he brings me. He looks at me like I’m an idiot because, hey! He’s done all the hard work. Hunted it. Killed it. Bought it to me. All I have to do is eat it. So, I have a cat. I do not wish any harm to befall any cat. Please don’t write to me and tell me I hate cats, because it would really hurt my cat to find that out…

I have often daydreamed that the cats have wandered off. Become lost. But then I think, how will I explain it to Mom when she gets home and wants to know where the cats are? Hmm. So, I came up with…

‘Excuses for why the cat is gone.’

It was past it’s expiration date so I had to chuck it.

There was a terrible showdown between the cat and three mice. I think the mice were carrying knives. It was bad. Yes they may have been blind mice, but they were friggin’ mean blind mice.

I traded that cat for Volkswagen

What cat? We had a cat?

Other Cat Stuff…

Used cats: You never see ads for used cats, you know, “Gently used cat. Very low miles. Will trade for good dog, beaver or camping tent.”

One of the things I have against cats: They have fur all over them, and since I am in denial about having evolved from some sort of monkey or other animal, it bothers me to know they may rise and take over the world some day. Funny? I’ll bet that’s what the other monkeys thought about 25,000 years ago when Bob the different monkey shocked them all by fixing a hamburger and fries for dinner instead of insects and grass.

Whistling. If you whistle to a dog they’re coming. He or she will be right there. Whistle to a cat and they may flip you off, but they’re not coming.

Things you never hear… “Brother, can you spare a cat?”

Famous Quotes:

“Give a man a potato he can eat for a day. Teach a man how to grow a potato and a cat will probably come along, dig up his garden and crap in it.”

Things I have not seen: Three legged cats. Cats with their suitcases packed (Do they have suitcases?). Cats with a drivers license. Talking cats. Unpretentious cats.

Okay. That is me this morning. Forgive me for the cat remarks. I love cats. Okay I don’t love cats. I like my cat though and I wouldn’t let a dog eat him, and I really like dogs so that’s a big deal. It is beautiful here in New York. It’s nearly 11:00 A.M. this early morning it is appreciated as it has been such a tough winter.

Okay. I hope you had a good week. Check out the new Geo Dell site. See you next week…

New Releases that I am involved with:

All of these new releases have FREE Previews through Amazon…


 Earth’s Survivors Life Stories: Bear Kindle Edition


KOBO Books from author Dell Sweet

Earth’s Survivors Box Set by Dell Sweet

Earth’s Survivors

Synopsis

Earth’s Survivors box set contains the entire Earth’s Survivors series in one volume.

Book One: Apocalypse.
Earth’s Survivors Apocalypse 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. Hopes, dreams, tomorrows: All buried in a desperate struggle to survive. Small groups band together for safety, leaving the ravaged cities behind in search of a new future…

Book Two: Rising From The Ashes.
Earth’s Survivors Rising From The Ashes continues to follow the survivors of a worldwide catastrophe. From L.A. To Manhattan the cities, governments have toppled and lawlessness is the rule. The small groups are growing, branching out in search of a new future. It chronicles their day to day struggles as well as their dreams as they search out new hope in their shattered world…

Book Three: The Nation.
This part of the story really concentrates on the formation of The Nation and the people who will build it and carry it forward, but it also brings along the side story of The Fold and the people who will build that haven. It gives a more complete picture of Adam and Cammy, and picks up the Tale of Billy and Beth, Mike and Candace, Conner and Katie as they work to sort out their lives.

Book Four: Home The Valley.
Home in the valley concentrates on the building of the first and most important settlement of The Nation. The valley settlement is where the people that run the Nation will come from. They will rise to leadership positions across the former United States. The first supply trip out for the Nation nearly turns to disaster, and more of the separate parties join and become one under the Nation Flag.

Book Five: Plague.
Plague outlines the sudden rise of the dead, chronicling the spread across the country. It follows Adam, Beth, Billy and Pearl as they head north looking for an antidote that can bring the plagues to end. It also sees the first babies born to the Nation, the formation of both the Fold and Alabama Island, and the loss of one of the founders of The Nation without whom the Nation may dissolve…

Book Six: Watertown.
Major Weston read the report twice and then carefully set it back on his desk. Johns or Kohlson: One of the two had stolen samples of SS-V2765. It was not a question. No one else had the access, no one else the proximity or knowledge of where it was stored. Two of the virus, one each of the REX agents were missing. Enough to infect several million people, and that was just the initial infection…

Book Seven: World Order.
This book steps back to the beginning to bring you the story of the Fold. Jessie Stone, why and how Snoqualmie settlement came to be. It begins in present day and then falls back in time to the beginning of the Apocalypse. The Fold becomes the biggest challenger to the Nations power. The community that can force the Nation into compromise, or bring a war that may destroy both societies…

All seven books in one collection. Follow the survivors as they struggle to survive in a vastly changed world, where the living are just as likely to kill you as the dead are.
The release of this box set puts the series to an end. I have enjoyed writing it, I hope you have enjoyed reading it, Dell Sweet.

  • #11298 in Science Fiction & Fantasy, Science Fiction

Take a longer look at Earth’s survivors Box set: Click Here

Also In this series

View all

Earth's Survivors: Knock ebook by Dell Sweet
Earth's Survivors Apocalypse ebook by Dell Sweet
Earth's Survivors: Home In The Valley ebook by Dell Sweet
Earth's Survivors: Plague ebook by Dell Sweet
Earth's Survivors: Watertown ebook by Dell Sweet

New paperback books from Wendell G Sweet this month

New paperback books this month

THE LEGEND OF SPARROW

“In the beginning the Creator made a way to the peoples that will always be open. First Woman, The Clan Totems, the Star People, were all able to communicate, and they are still able now, up to this day and beyond, until your days cease you will have a pathway to that knowledge. A way to reach all that is possible. You hold the keys to all that is within yourself. We all do…” “This is how the Creator came to make that way open for us, Benjamin told me.” Laura nodded, curled her feet under herself and settled in to listen. “We were in a sweat lodge at the time. One Benjamin had built with the help of my Uncles and Cousins. So many used it though that we had to check first to see if it could be used.” “The Owl Woman’s Society uses it,” he told me. “That meant nothing to me. At least nothing concrete. I had known my mother belonged to the Owl Woman’s Society. I didn’t know what they did: Where they met. What they decided. How important they were to each other, to us, to the well being of our people.” “We settled into the sweat lodge and Benjamin began to tell me the legend of the Dreamer’s Way… What came to be known as the legend of the Sparrow…”


Get A Free Preview of The Legend Of Sparrow: Click Here


 Zero Zero Paperback – October 15, 2016

 Russia and America’s decades long silent war escalates in the shadows. With Nuclear weapons armed and waiting both believe the other will be the one to flinch. Most of America is not even aware these weapons still exist, and the few that know they do exist believe no one will ever use them. One last time Earth comes to the brink of destruction. Controlled by powers both on and beyond the earth her fate is left to a small group of survivors to secure. Zero Zero begins with a secreted base that holds the keys of destruction: A madman who holds those keys in his hand, and a small group of men and women who challenge him as the clock ticks down to Zero Zero. As the clock ticks down for our planet and her inhabitants, powers that have lain dormant for centuries are loosed on the Earth. Zero Zero takes a look at a post apocalypse world in ruins. The governments are gone. The police, the military. The United States is no more. And even the simplest things are hard to come by. Some have hidden to ride out the storm unleashed upon the Earth, others have taken a stance in the fight. Those that survive the apocalypse are splintered and isolated. Mistrustful of one another, but beginning to come together in small groups. They have been told of a place a safety, but getting there, if it exists, is not a guarantee. The powers that have been unleashed may not be done with them, and they have to be wary of everything and everyone in a world where firepower and fearlessness rule the day…


Get a free preview of Zero Zero: Click Here


Earth’s Survivors Life Stories: Billy

The Deal… The man moved more fully into the shadows. “You Gabe?” he asked in a near whisper. The darker shadow nodded. “You…?” He started. “Now who else would I be?” He asked. The darker shadow said nothing. The other man passed him a small paper bag. “Count it,” he told him. Gabe Kohlson moved out of the shadow, more fully into the light. “It’s a lot; I can’t stand here, out here counting it.” The man laughed. “You asked for this place. It’s the middle of nowhere. I Googled it, it comes up marked as the middle of nowhere. Who will see you?” He laughed and then choked it off with a harsh cough. “Count it. No mistakes… You got it?” Kohlson’s head popped up fast from counting. “Of course I don’t… That wasn’t the deal.” “Easy… Easy… Keep your panties on… I’m saying you got it… You got access to the it?” “That I got… I can get it out this Thursday at shift end…” He held up the paper bag. “A lot of this goes to greasing the skids… You know, to get it out,” Gabe told him. “This stuff.” “Whoa right there,” the man told him. “Don’t say anything about it. I don’t know what it is and I don’t want to know, see? I do a job. Take this thing there, that thing here. That’s all I know. Keeps my head on my shoulders when all about are losing theirs.” “Uh… Lost me,” Gabe Kohlson told him. “Just shut up about it, man. I don’t want to know anything past what I know, okay?” “Okay,” Kohlson agreed. “I do know you got to get it out and I will be here to get it… Hey,” he waited until the kid looked up. “You know who I work for, right? You muck this up you’ll wind up out at the county landfill… Gulls pecking out your eyes let me tell you. I will meet you here next Thursday night… Seven… Don’t be late… Don’t mess this up… Don’t make me come looking for you…” He faded back into the shadows more fully, turned and walked down the shadowed front of the building. A few minutes later he found his car in the darkness: He waited. He heard the kid’s beater when it started. A few moments later he watched as it swept past him, heading out of the small park area toward the river road. He levered the handle on his own car, slipped inside, started it and drove slowly away…


Get a Free Preview of Earth’s Survivors Life Stories: Billy: Click Here


Earth’s Survivors Life Stories: Jack and Maria

When a catastrophic natural disaster looms on the near horizon, the government releases an airborne virus designed to make the human race tougher, better able to survive. It was developed for soldiers to make them better able to fight, go longer without food and water, and increase their strength. The bonds itself to human cells and helps them to regenerate at an advanced rate, so that even if the person dies they can rise again. In non combat field tests the soldiers become aware of this, they called the phenomenon Overclocking and looked at it in a positive light. How could you look negatively at being able to live forever? A quick shot of the antidote after the heart had begun to beat again and the virus seemed to slip into remission, leaving a healed body that would then come out of the virus induced coma in a few days on its own. But the virus does something the governments didn’t consider, it never stops working, never truly becomes dormant. Even after the body has ceased any real life, the virus lives on, rebuilding its host in a new and potentially indestructible way. Days later, what was dead becomes alive once more. Joel: 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 ate. 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. I had seen him almost a week later. I was sitting by the stove that night and heard a scrape on the porch. His leg was bad. Somebody had shot him, but this 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. 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…


Get a Free preview of Earth’s survivors Life Stories: Jack and Maria: Click Here


Guitar Works: Volume Five: Repair Work

Whether we are customizing a guitar, repairing a fractured neck, refretting a beloved instrument or building our own guitar from scratch, there are those of us who love to work on and modify our guitars. I have done so for many years and I build hundreds of guitars in the process. This manual is designed to get you comfortable with doing your own neck repairs, refretting jobs and cutting, shaping and installing your own nut or saddle. It covers a complete rebuild of a damaged neck: Fret board removal, truss rod installation; it will show you how to radius the new board and install new frets. This will cover a snapped neck, where the neck is cracked in two. How to make a lasting repair and the order in which to do the multiple repairs you will need to perform to do that. It will show you how to take a bone blank and turn it into a saddle; how to get the shape and measurements you need to accomplish it: How to install it and set it up to your own tastes. This manual covers repairs that can save you hundreds of dollars in a professional shop. It can allow you to save money purchasing guitars that need work and give you the confidence that you will be able to perform the repairs yourself. This guide is illustrated with full color photos to help you to understand the work.


Get a free preview of Guitar Works Five: Click Here


Earth’s Survivors Collection Five

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. Earth’s Survivors Collection Five brings together book Six and book seven from the earth’s Survivors series in one volume. From the theft of the virus from a top secret facility to the births of The Nation’s first babies to the formation of The Fold and how it came to be. Book six tells the story leading up to the Apocalypse. That tale includes the story of Billy Jingo, Alice Tetto, Major Weston’s private secretary. Ben Neo and Jimmy West, hired Killers, and a drug deal designed to hide the transfer of a top secret drug stolen from the Underground Bluechip facility, that goes very wrong. Set in the days leading up to the catastrophe that ends the world as we know it, Watertown is a hardcore ride through a world few would want to live in, but the world it leaves behind is somehow even worse than the one it helped to take away… Book seven steps back to the beginning of the catastrophe to bring you the story of the Fold; Jessie Stone and why and how Snoqualmie settlement came to be. It begins in present time in the Nation and then falls back to just a few days after Watertown ends and the beginning of the Apocalypse. The Fold becomes the biggest challenge to the Nations power. The community that can force the Nation into compromise, or bring a war that may destroy both societies. Both stories in their entirety in one volume…


Get a Free preview of Earth’s Survivors Collection Five: Click Here


Earth’s Survivors Collection Four: Candace and Mike

The Earth’s Survivors books follow groups of survivors as they struggle to stay alive in a vastly changed world. The most popular group from the website writings were Candace and Mike. They are from the northern New York town of Watertown close to project. Mike was a long time resident of Watertown. He knew the ins and outs of the small city: The people; the bars. He worked a boring factory job, the same job his father before him worked, but he didn’t think of escape from his life. He had settled into it. He liked the small city and he was looking forward to his first vacation in many years. He went to sleep thinking about how great his vacation was going to be, but he woke up in a world that had little to do with the one from just a few hours before. Candace was a transplant to Watertown. She had found work at a 24 hour convenience store but it barely paid the bills. Then someone had dropped her name to one of the local club operators and suddenly she was tending bar in a fast moving club. When she went to sleep she believed that in just a few days she would start work in the club as a dancer. Life seemed to finally be going her way. In the early morning hours of March 1st great change came upon the entire planet, touching the small northern New York town where Mike and Candace lived as it touched every other place in the world. The world was no longer predictable, stable and the coming days would bring even more changes. Follow along with Mike, Candace and the other survivors as they struggle to survive on the new planet Earth… Earth’s Survivors Collection four presents the only story that completes the original story of Candace, Mike, Patty and Ronnie as well as fills in the missing pieces of where they went…


Get a Free preview of Earth’s Survivors Collection Four: Candace and Mike: Click Here


Checkout author Wendell Sweet @ Amazon’s Author Central: Click Here
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Snow day and a free short story from Billy Jingo

Wednesday! Posted by Geo 03-15-17

Well we made it to mid-week and we can see the finish from here so it will probably all be good from here on out…

If you live in New York and have somehow not looked out the windows in the past 48 hours go do it. Okay, pour yourself a drink, it’ll be okay. The storm did hammer us, but it left us alive. we got about two feet here but other places in the state got up to eight feet. No that is not a misprint there were places that got that much up north near the Tug Hill plateau, Lake Placed, far northern New York. In Rochester and Syracuse travel has been limited but the traffic is moving again and it looks like the worst of it is over.

So go to work. I know, or you could call in sick and shovel the driveway, at which point you really might be sick if your ticker is not too good and you might actually end up in the hospital in which case everyone will come and visit you, send flowers, talk about how the streets are a mess and you are better off here… And then the surgeon will come in and say…

“John, we’ve scheduled the chest-buster for 11:00 am.” He looks down at his wrist. “You have about three minutes to prepare.”

“Three minutes,” you ask, but no one answers. Instead Joan, and Bob, and Devon from accounting are asking their own questions. “What the hell is a chest buster?” and “He looks weak, probably won’t make it.”

And then, just as you are wondering what a chest buster is the nurses on the surgeons team rush in , kick the parking brake off on your bed and you are off. Rushing through the hallways headlong…

Sorry, I got carried away, but that is why I am a writer. That imagination that never shuts down. Anyway, you will probably be alright, just call in sick, go ahead…

So it is Wednesday and that means the weekend is on the way, so hang in there. I am working on editing and writing and just awestruck by all this snow when the ground was bare 48 hours ago. Crazy.

I will leave off and give you a short story to help you through the day.


This material is copyright protected under foreign and domestic law

This material is NOT edited for content.


Star Dancer

By Dell Sweet

Copyright 2016, all rights reserved


STAR DANCER

PROLOUGE

Universal Planet Time was part of the Space Travel Treaty signed into planetary law back in 2050 when regular cargo trips had begun between the moon bases and the first private colonies on Mars. Of course now there are dozens of colonies on Mars, Venus and Jupiter’s moons: Plus six major colony cities on the moon, and new colonies are being proposed daily to the space council.

Universal time meant that space ran on a different non-changing schedule from the Earth. Space time ran twenty-four hours, and business was always conducted seven days a week. There was no down time, only changing crews, flight coordinators, colony station personnel. Space was the biggest cash venture on Earth. It was what had pulled the global economy from the slump and severe depression at the beginning of the century, and it was still growing.

The technology had been ready for a very long time, there had simply been no economic stimulus to begin the push. Men and women with the money and the fortitude to put that push on and get the entire global community involved and interested: After that initial global push the speculators had poured onto the scene. Then the serious investors, then the corporations, and the industry had been born. And as the saying goes, nobody has looked back since.

ONE

Earth Date: 2096 – 08 -25 – 16:21:43

Moon Base 14: United Planet Technologies

Intra Flight Systems: Star Dancer

Michael Watson

I purchased Star Dancer right after college, and I’ve never looked back. I can remember my great-grandfather, gone now for more than forty years, talking about what he had, had for opportunities right out of high school. That would be laughable now. My parents had, had my life mapped out from the age of two. Life Mapping was a serious thing, I don’t know any that don’t have their lives mapped out now from birth.

School was not complete without college. You could not be licensed to work the counters of Planet Burger unless you had two years of college. My own career had taken four years of specialty college and geared trade school from the first grade on. When other first graders were learning about monetary systems and world level banking, I was learning about Star Drives and ION Propulsion units.

The grades, one through twelve, start at age three and last on average seven years. Some fall behind, some spring ahead, but by ten years of age most are ready and I was no exception. I began my specialized training, four years, four more years of global military service after that with an option for six more, which I declined, and I am pretty sure made my instructors very happy by doing so, and so at the old age of eighteen I signed a twenty year funding commitment for Star Dancer. At the time I was sure I would never dig myself out of thirty million credits of debt, but for the last two years I have been watching credits build in my accounts.

Today I was docking at UPT on Fourteen to pick up a four year re-supply for a prison colony at Mars-Twenty-Seven: Some kind of Tech drop for Colony One, and two panel pre-fab labs for IO’s base six.

Moon Base Fourteen is United Planet Technologies own base. There is not much else here; a small cafeteria, some lounges for through travelers, each progressively worse than the last: The best being Vic’s, and Vic’s was the only official bar, the other two were simply overlooked. That could happen at a base that was not really a base at all, but a company town.

I had, had the tour before, and short of taking on a small crew, and maybe a new navigator to replace the one I had been without for the last seventeen months, I would be here only long enough to fuel, be unloaded and then loaded and once I was re-supplied I’d be off: So there would be no downtime in the next twenty-four.

The crew was a transport crew. In other words, a company crew that would accompany me to all three of the offloads, do all the offloading and on loading. I would be coming back to Fourteen with a full load of finished products bound for Earth. They would pack it all, all I had to do was bring it back.

On my last stop, IO, I’d lose the crew. That would leave me alone for the return trip, unless of course I signed a navigator today. So far out of twenty possibles I had, had only five show up, and out of the five three turned me down. I turned the other two down. So if I was a betting man, and I am usually, I’d say the odds were that I would be riding this trip alone.

I eased my ship into dock. Some go with the auto-nav, but I have heard too many horror stories about out of phase computers, last second power surges and more to trust my ship to the machines. I do it myself. I have known how to do it since third grade in the flight sims. Microsoft had the best federally approved space flight sims, and my parents had made sure I got the best.

I gave my reverse thrusters a quick slap with my palm at three hundred feet out and watched my lock coupler drift home with nothing more than a small frame vibration when I went green on lock-in. I keyed my overhead.

“Central, I’m locked on 6B… Standing by for loading, over…”

“Green on my board, Dancer… Unlocking for loads… You have company standing by, Dancer.”

“Oh yeah?” That was a surprise.

“Uh… Lounge seven… Navigator?”

“Oh, okay, right… Send him right up, and thank you.”

“Uh, her.”

“Her?”

“Oh yeah… Pretty sure, unless I’m blind.” He chuckled.

“Huh… Supposed to be…” I punched the name up on my scheduling screen. “Pete Stanovich.”

“Uh huh… Short for Petra, no doubt… Petra Stanovich… See, you must have heard the Pete part and not the tra part.” He chuckled again.

“Someone screwed up… It’s entered as Pete in the com. Okay send her up then, and thanks.”

“Coming at you… Base out.”

I clicked off and sighed. This meant number twenty-one was most likely a wash too. Most women who interviewed for the job were not interested once they realized it was an intra-galaxy, or system cruiser, and one that was considered a dinosaur of a ship. About all I did have to offer was transferable credits for Federal space-work. I had what was called time for time credit. A perk because I had done my four in the service and never deactivated my six. That meant technically the feds could still pick me up for that six any time they wanted to. In exchange, it meant that I could offer my employees who were fresh out of military service time for time credit. A young navigator would have to be fresh out of military service, or within their benefit time window, thus making them eligible for the time. The time would count directly as military experience in advanced navigation. A big plus, but maybe not worth the two year minimum hitch on my ship.

Even so it was a good perk, and the past three navigators I had hired were immediately picked up for star ship service at the end of their contracts. It was both my ace in the hole and my queen of spades.

I unbuckled, thought about it, and then keyed my Com-Link

“Unlocked, central, and could you delay my visitor by twenty?”

“Be at least that… Problem?”

“No… That’ll work… Out.”

He keyed his Com-Link as an answer. I flicked the unlock switches for the cargo holds, electronically signed my security certificate to allow off loading and loading and headed for the showers and fresh clothes. I may as well make the best impression that I can, I reasoned.

Earth Date: 2096 – 08 – 25 16:27:14

Moon Base Fourteen: Visitor Lounge seven

United Planet Technologies:

Petra Stanovich

I could see the bar through the glass wall, I suppose that was the idea, but the last thing I needed before the interview was a drink.

This would be my fourth interview: Each interview had started good and then spiraled downward. I supposed my job broker was doing the best he could though. I had no experience. My parents had used all of their remaining influence to get me into the military after two years training school. I had worked out of field for the last two years, a bad mistake. You became obsolete fast as a navigator. I had been considering using my six on the back and going back into the military side of the feds. There would be plenty of navigators and pilot positions there. The out of field work had really put me in a bad position, and if I went to the Military side of the feds I could forget ever having a civilian career.

The only good thing about this particular position was that it was a time for time position. It would count as military time; restart my clock and qualify me for something better down the line.

Time for time did not take away from my on the back time, it added to my military experience instead: So my two years became four years, and two more became six. In that sense it was a good opportunity, but nothing else about this position looked good at all.

I had watched the Star Dancer dock: A twenty-eight year old Intra-Cruiser. Straight cargo. She was shaped like a giant box with rounded corners. The propulsion units, ION drives and living quarters sat atop the box, rounded, slightly flattened spheres looking as though they had been added as an afterthought. I had thought, ‘How many of these were left in service?’ … ‘Two?’ … ‘Three?’ … A quick check of my wrist pad showed me just how wrong I was. There were over ten thousand Intra-Class cruisers of this configuration in service right now. That was mind boggling. I had assumed that the heavy Star-Cruisers were what dominated the heavens, but I was wrong. The same link gave me the data for that configuration: Only slightly more than four thousand, and out of that number only one hundred twenty-eight were licensed as Star Cruisers, the rest were Galaxy-Cruisers, short run re-supply craft, and drone craft for quantum travel. The antiquated Intra-Cruisers far outnumbered the Galaxy-Cruisers of the official Federal fleets. Maybe the whole thing could be a plus, I thought.

I watched the huge, plastic outer wall. I saw loading was already taking place on the cruiser. Two hatches were open, and company workers in full radiation suits could be seen inside the cargo bays.

Rows of lights lit the space. It yawned open like a cavern, far into the interior of the ship; so far that I could not see the end of the space. All the approaching shuttles and even the workers all seemed to be moving in slow motion. Space did that. It seemed to take forever for something to actually happen: A shuttle to close the pace to a dock facility; a worker to push off and then maneuver with suit thrusters to their next work station.

On the other hand, I had stopped watching twice, chasing thoughts in my head, and when I had turned back so much had happened that I was surprised. More support shuttles towing cargo barges had shown up: Teams of workers riding on the open barges for their short trip to their work stations. The whole ship was crawling with workers: Inspectors, mechanics and repair persons. Seen from this perspective it made the Intra-Cruiser appear to be a very important ship after all. I shook my head. It was still thirty year old technology. If I was offered the job, and I hoped I was, I would stay no more than the required two years to get my career back on track… Nothing more, if I did stay longer the technology curve would pass me by. That was the last thing I needed. I would have absolutely nothing left to fall back on, and that was bad. That was how the prison colonies were populated.

The prison colonies had started with the undesirables: Murderers, rapists, predators that were deemed unfit for society: As the colonies grew they moved on down the criminal line to fill them. Multiple offenders, thieves, and other criminals. Finally, the prisons on Earth were emptied and all prisoners were re-located off Earth.

The real estate on Earth was suddenly deemed too expensive to use for housing them. Yes, correctional services was still a cash cow, but it was simply moved off planet. Earth’s citizens did not want their criminals living among them. The colonies on Mars, IO and Venus were perfect for penal colonies. All the first off Moon colonies had been founded by, and built by prisoners.

It had worked perfectly, and long before the massive death tolls and horrid conditions came to light, the Feds had perfected living condition requirements and buildings that could withstand life in those places. What was past, was past, those that write history shape history they say, and it had been that way, I knew.

The changes and colonies had come at the expense of some ninety-two thousand inmates and political prisoners. Earth’s citizens turned away their blind eyes, happy that those prisoners were not a blight upon the Earth itself, walking among them in some cases. Glad to risk lives that were not their own for progress.

It left a bad taste in my mouth, but my own position was not much better. Last year both of my parents were killed in a random terrorist attack on their building. It happened about twice a month somewhere in the world. There were so many factions opposed to the unified Federal Global Government.

Truth be told, I didn’t like it myself. It scared me in its impersonal approach to life and death, human rights. Two years before it had become a world class felony to be found homeless. Picked up and convicted, the offenders were deported off-world to one of the penal colonies. An unspecified sentence which was a black mark forever, and then usually an offer of half pay to work at some back water colony base, or new base construction project, with little or no law.

The new law affected me because I was not yet a viable worker, and the government had seized all of my parents property and assets for unpaid Life Taxes: Poor planning on their parts. I was, essentially, homeless, living on my two year service benefit. That benefit entitled me to free government housing, education and job placement: Meals, as well as a small monthly credit allowance, but it was not indefinite. It would continue for three years, four if I applied for the extension. Time was running out.

Of course, worse come to worse, I would re-enlist before I would allow myself to slip into an illegal existence and be shipped off to some penal colony. It was still far from a happy existence for me. Better if I got this job. I needed to get this job.

I turned my attention back to the infra-cruiser and saw that the first two shuttles had arrived in the first cargo hold and were off loading. If I were on that ship it would be my job to monitor that off-loading and re-loading as it occurred. I would be doing my pre-flight checks as I did it. I would probably be thinking about my first off-planet trip. I had never seen Mars, Venus or IO except in video clips.

My concentration was broken when I heard my name announced over the loud speaker system in the lounge; I got up, gathered my case and headed for converse four as instructed. It was easy enough to find. Ten minutes later I was strapped into a battered dock shuttle on my way to the Star Dancer.

Earth Date 2096-08-25 16:52:58

Star Dancer

Michael

I got a good look at Petra as I flagged her through the air-locks: All fresh air; your basic space bug, Earth bug delouser unit. People had, at one time, believed that space was sterile. A few serious contaminations early in the century had stopped that. Of course the process rendered you sterile. It was the same, male or female. The price you paid, so you banked your eggs or your sperm and didn’t give it any more thought. Space travel, constant radioactive exposure, caused all sorts of birth defects. It only made sense.

She was tall, blue-black hair, high cheekbones. Russian. The hair had to be died, but it suited her face, which was hard edged and a little angular. Something past pretty, but less than beautiful… Maybe, I decided.

I had read her information over twice as I had waited for transport. I had picked up the lounge seven video feed, so I knew who I was looking at, matching the details with what I read.

She was on thin ice. About a year left on her military benefits and she would be declared homeless, and probably insolvent shortly after that. Her only choices were military services or a foot in the door somewhere. I had no doubt she would use that as a stepping stone, but it would set up my operations with Star Dancer for the next two years, and I needed the stability back.

Top ten percent of her classes. Short on military experience, only a two year plan. Fluent in twelve languages, double the average. She had no political advantages, so she had no opportunities in the corporate world. She needed me, it seemed, as much as I needed her.

I buzzed her through the last lock. Flushed the air, and then keyed my Com-Link.

“I’ve sent the El for you. It’s a slow go traveling three hundred decks, but it’s programmed to bring you to the bridge. I’ll see you in about twenty minutes, Miss Stanovich.”

She turned her dark eyes to the camera. “Thank you.”

Star Dancer Bridge

17:13:22

Michael

“Full gravity?” Petra asked as she stepped from the El. I had met her at the elevator door and we were walking the curved and window ported outer hallway that ringed the central area.

“It’s magnetic, and yes it’s full-time… Doe it feel like Earth?”

“Very much so… I didn’t…” She colored.

I laughed. “Don’t worry about it. You won’t hurt my feelings. I know, fresh out of service you must have seen technology that makes this old bucket look its age.”

She smiled, but her face was still flushed.

“Really… I do understand, and don’t worry. The field is a perk. The feds installed it. They ship some gravity sensitive stuff, there’s a small cargo space directly above us, and really sensitive ‘Destroy if captured’ stuff in security safes on the main deck. So… We get gravity full time.” I smiled at her again and she smiled back. “It’s not perfect though. The mag field takes a little getting used to. It’s never bothered me though,” I finished abruptly, realizing I had just run on longer than I needed or intended.

“What does it do?” She asked.

“Space sickness… Upset stomach. Two of my navigators and one of the crew who came up here to exercise… It lasted a few days and then they got their space legs. “I laughed.

“Exercise equipment?”

“Another perk. I carry full crews out bound every trip, and I almost always come back with a dead head crew too. They’re supposed to use it, but they rarely do. They tend to socialize together on their own deck, two below this one. There’s a small inner-deck El that connects us. The exercise deck is up here: Treadmills, elliptical, stationary bikes… It’s nice.”

“But, shouldn’t they check in with you?” She seemed surprised.

I shook my head and shrugged. “Technically, I am their captain, in actuality they couldn’t care less. They’re company men and women. They take their orders from the company. As long as they don’t interfere with the running of my ship we operate independently. You’re accustomed to the chain of command…”

She nodded.

“Nothing like that here. We’re like neighboring countries, my own crew stays here, they stay there. I can’t recall a time when I have met more than two or three of a crew at any given time. Usually one or less.” I shrugged once again. “That’s the reality of intra cruising.”

She nodded and followed me onto the bridge.

The bridge on an Intra-Cruiser is a very small area. It is at the front of the pod with two huge viewing ports and one even larger viewing screen in between them. Contrary to popular belief, even my own until the fourth grade, there isn’t anything of great interest to see in space at any given time.

Most of the rooms wall space is taken up with smaller flat panel displays hooked into ship systems. There are three console units with chairs directly facing the view ports.

“You would be here with me most of the time.” I waved my hand to include the entire room. “Take your pick of seating, any can be configured the way you want it to be. Sit down, give a shot. It’s pretty straight forward.”

She sat, pulled the overhead monitor down and had the navigation screens up in just a few moments. She studied them for a few seconds. “Looks easy enough.”

“It is… Believe me, you’ll be bored most of the time.”

“When would I have to decide?”

I looked at one of the wall monitors and the time stamp that ran along the bottom. “You have about four hours from now. That will give me time to re-configure rations, get your licensing in order, passport, extra fuel supplies… Or, you could think it over this trip and I’ll be back in thirteen months, give or take… That’s my average return trip.”

“So… So, you’re offering me the job?” she asked. She was a little wide eyed.

“Absolutely… You’re qualified… Listen, let’s face it, you’re overqualified. I’d be damn lucky to get you. The only thing I’d ask of you is the standard two year contract.” She started to speak, but I held up my hands.

“You can’t hurt my feelings. Two years, as we both know, is the maximum benefit time for you, and it will give you the time to look around. It is an incredible world out there. You won’t believe all the contacts and people you’ll meet. It will give you some real time to breath… Think about what you really want to do. I’ve got some good contacts I could point you at.”

“You’d do that for me?”

“Absolutely… You do right by me and I’ll be happy to do right by you.”

“Okay.” She looked around the room. “My stuff is in a locker off Lounge 7.”

It took me a second. “Oh, you meant okay as in you’ll take it… The job?”

“She smiled. “Sorry. Guess I forgot to add yes I’ll take the job.”

“No, no, I’m a little slow.” I turned back to my monitor and pulled up the re-stocking charts. “Any particular wants or needs? We eat pretty well. The Fed contracts load us up with all kinds of stuff. Perks again, but they are well stocked here at Fourteen… Real coffee… Media… Whatever.” I continued through the screens and began to recalculate the fuel requirements.

Earth Date 2096-08-25 00:03:51

Moon Base fourteen

United Planet Technologies

Intra-Cruiser: Star Dancer

I ran down the lists as Petra pulled them up on her screens and checked them off. Flawless.

“It looks good, Michael.”

“It is good, Petra… Take it out.” I picked up my mug of coffee, the first real coffee I had, had in a while. It sure beat synthetics. I felt the vibration as she threw the dock lock switches and expertly palmed the thrusters. We did a slow, nearly perfect half turn, then she did a longer burn to put us into our ten mile safety limit before she could engage the ION engines.

I watched Moon Base Fourteen fall slowly behind us on the main monitor, and then continued watching as Petra went through the pre ION drive check lists. I had done it so long by myself that I felt almost guilty sitting back and letting her take care of it. Nevertheless, it felt good, and I was looking forward to the company.

“Ten plus zero zero one,” Petra said.

“Kick ’em,” I told her.

She grinned at me and then reached forward and engaged the ION drives.

I sat back and watched the red mileage numerals begin to move fast, then I turned my attention to my own checks. Cargo, decks, company crews. A few minutes later I was done and I sat back and watched as Petra finished her calculations and sent them to my screen to check and approve. She began to program her side navigation console.

Moon Base Fourteen was gone. The moon itself was a distant smear of dull gray next to the big blue ball. Sometimes there were things to look at in space.

I sat back and relaxed into my chair and thumbed by Log-Link.

“Intra-Cruiser Star Dancer, forty-five minutes and twenty-eight seconds out of Moon Base Fourteen. Present, Michael Watson, chief operating officer, Petra Stanovich, navigation officer. We have at present, twenty-eight UPT crew members, see contract FQHPX2879 for a crew manifest… Mars Prison Colony Twenty-Seven will be our first stop, a re-supply, see manifest 97715. Mars One tech drop, see Fed contract 771926f, our second stop. IO six, last drop, pre-fab building shipment under science contract 279916bx… Watson out.”

I picked up my mug and sipped at my coffee while Petra did her own log. I had a navigator for the next two years, after that maybe I would bite the bullet and spring for an Intra-Galaxy Cruiser. I thought about it. I just might do it. Maybe it was time for a change. Maybe I could even run it by Petra, see how it sounded to another set of ears. Maybe it would even interest her.

It made me feel good. I guess I had fallen into a rut over the past seventeen months. I was surprised how good the bridge felt with someone else on it. I sipped at my coffee and watched the Earth grow smaller as we picked up speed.


Take a look at the other short stories in Billy Jingo: Amazon | iTunes | NOOK | Smashwords


Cold Monday and a look at Dell’s SCIFI Fantasy book Dreamers

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

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.

 

LEGAL

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:

Laura Kast

“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

Joe

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

Therapy, Laura

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?

I shrugged.

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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