Earth’s Survivors Life Stories: Beth

EARTH’S SURVIVORS LIFE STORIES: BETH

Copyright © 2017 Dell Sweet. All rights foreign and domestic reserved in their entirety.

Cover Art © Copyright 2017 Dell Sweet

Some text copyright 2010, 2014, 2015 Dell Sweet

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

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 person’s places, situations or events is purely coincidental.

This novel is Copyright © 2017 Wendell Sweet and his assignees. Dell Sweet and Geo Dell are publishing constructs owned by Wendell Sweet. No part of this book may be reproduced by any means, electronic, print, scanner or any other means and, or distributed without the author’s permission.

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

Prologue

Plague Year One

The Nation

Cammy sat drinking coffee with Annie and staring down the length of the valley. It was an hour past sunrise. The sun had finally lifted past the mountain tops in the distance, and golden light had spilled into the length of the valley.

“I know you said it was this nice, but no way did you do it justice. Or I’m so damn jaded that I just couldn’t believe it.”

“If you live here, you take it in stride sometimes, I guess. But, coming back this time? Being away after being here, living here… I will never leave again. I don’t care,” Annie said.

The door to the main area of the cave opened, and Candace came out with Lilly and Patty. A second later Jana, Sandy and Bob stepped out. Tom followed shortly after, sipping at a cup of coffee as he and Bob talked. They both said their hellos, Tom bent and kissed Lilly, she had sat on the wall next to Annie, and then he and Bob started down the wide ledge into the valley below. Jana settled down next to Cammy.

Cammy lifted her eyes to Sandy. “How’s our girl?” she asked.

Sandy smiled cautiously. “I want to say okay… I took the rest of her forearm, pumped her full of penicillin. She seemed to tolerate that well. I think she’ll be okay.”

“They say anything at all about how long they think they’ll be?” Candace asked. She looked from Cammy to Annie.

Annie shook her head, as did Cammy. “I think though,” Annie said, “That things were going well. It seemed like things turned up fast… maybe…”

Candace nodded.

“What was it like?” Lilly asked. “I mean, with so many dead around. How did you manage? We didn’t have that to deal with, and we still barely made it here.”

Cammy shook her head. “I had no direct dealings with it. Bear and Beth… Billy, Mac, David to a lesser extent.” Her voice seemed to choke up for a moment. “Bear and Beth; those two have no fear. I guess we owe them a lot. They lead us together. That was something I thought would be bad, but they seemed to click.”

Candace nodded.

“The city… we came from the city. It’s bad there. I mean, the dead are everywhere. They’re different too. When we were in Pennsylvania, Bear and Beth told us that. The dead there were not smart like the dead in New York.”

The door opened, and Arlene stepped out onto the wide stone ledge and sat on the wall.

“The radio here tells us a lot. But it’s tough to believe some of it. They’re stronger than us? Some people are turning without being bitten?” Lilly said. “I know I should let you be… Ask another time. I don’t mean to push you.”

“It’s okay,” Cammy said. She sipped at her coffee and then began to talk.

On The Road

Bear and Tim

Bear sat silently with Tim as Mike talked to the young woman a few yards away.

“She’s had it pretty rough,” Tim said.

Bear Nodded. He looked over at the girl talking with Mike once more. “She was one of the ones that tried to kill you guys?” Bear asked in a near whisper. They were far enough away for her not to hear, but Bear pitched his voice low anyway.

Thirty feet away, Mike stared across the fire at the young woman. She met his gaze levelly, but her eyes were still red and puffy and told a story about a long, searching night. Her hands seemed at war with each other, the black fingernail polish chipped and flashing in the muted light.

“It was back at the campground,” Tim told him. “It started in Watertown. That’s where we came from, up north next to Canada…” He looked at Bear.

Bear nodded, and Tim continued.

“So these guys tried to kill us there. They did kill one of the girls that were with Mike and Candace before I was with them. Then they all out attacked us. That was when Molly and Nellie escaped from them. We killed a bunch of their guys when that happened. That put us right into it with them as far as they were concerned. Annie?”

Bear looked at Tim and nodded.

“They had made a deal with the people that had Annie. They intended to have her, but she escaped too. So they came to us to try to buy her back. The guy thought Mike would do it.”

“Christ,” Bear said.

Tim nodded. “Not long after that we got away, but they followed us.”

Mike spoke quietly. Too quiet to hear his words, but at his words Chloe’s eyes began to leak once again. Bear fought back the anger that was bubbling just below the surface.

Although there were no words for context, Bear understood she was asking how the others might feel.

“If they forced her, then it’s not her fault,” Bear said. He focused on a patch of scuffed dirt on the ground. Ronnie and Tim seemed to be bird watching. There seemed to be huge birds of prey everywhere now. Two of them floated high in the sky now.  He turned back to Tim but there was nothing to say. They would be calling the Nation on the Radios in a short while. Let them know they were on their way back. Let them know about Molly and Nellie. It would be nice to talk to Cammy, find out about Beth. He turned back to Tim once more.

“I’m sorry that your girl had to go back,” Bear said.

“It’s okay,” Tim said. “I’m actually relieved… Especially after what happened with Nellie and Molly.”

Bear nodded and the silence descended once more. He felt used up, out of words. He scuffed at the ground again with his boot heel, shifting gears, pushing the remembering out of his head, wondering what he would say to Cammy, whether Beth would be able to talk.

The Nation

“Hey,” Cammy smiled. “I thought you were just going to go on sleeping forever.”

Beth levered her arms down to scoot up in the bed and nearly banged the stump of her arm against the side of the bed before Cammy stopped her.

“Honey… Honey… Your arm. You have to be careful,” Cammy told her. She took her under the arms and lifted her gently back into the pillows.

“Oh God,” Beth whispered through her dry lips as she stared down at the stump of her arm. “Somebody chopped off the rest of my arm.” Her eyes came up to Cammy’s own.

“Honey, Sandy had to take it. It was infected,” Cammy told her. She gently pushed her back into the pillows. Sandy appeared over her shoulder with a wooden cup of water. Cammy took it and helped Beth to take a sip. “Easy, Honey, just go slow,” she told her.

Beth cleared her throat and took a larger sip. “Oh my God… I have such a bad headache. Kind of sick to my stomach too.”

Sandy took her hand, and her fingers rested lightly against her wrist for a moment, feeling for her pulse. “The stomach is a couple of things, most likely. I have no idea when the last time you ate is, but I would bet it’s been a few days. Pain killers and penicillin on an empty stomach are tough. I gave you a sports drink when I could get you to swallow, but you need real food. The headache is probably the morphine. You’ve been living on it the last few days. I can give you some aspirin for that.”

“She told me I couldn’t have aspirin,” Beth said as she looked at Cammy. “Said I had to have the Morphine.” She licked her lips for what seemed like an hour and then took another deep sip from the glass Cammy still held.

“She wouldn’t take it at first, true,” Cammy agreed with a laugh.

“Said I had balls… Thinks I don’t remembner… Rember,” she sighed.

Cammy laughed. “Remember… Remember, Honey. Yes. I asked you if you had balls,” she turned to Sandy and her arched eyebrows. “She wanted to take only aspirin after Bear took her arm off.”

Beth nodded. “I did. She talked me into Morphine, and now look at this… I woke up with the rest of it gone too.”

“Only from the elbow down,” Sandy said. “You’re lucky.”

Beth tried a lopsided smile on and then took another sip of the cold water.

“Listen, Honey, you needed the Morphine. You still do, really, and you can still have it if you want it. It just plays hell with your body when you’ve been on it a few days,” Sandy told her.

Beth took a deeper sip that was more like a real drink. “That is really good water,” she said.

Cammy and Sandy both laughed. “How about a sandwich, soup, broth? What do you think you can handle?” Sandy asked her.

“I think I can handle some more water,” Beth said.

“I’m sure you can. And you need liquid. I just want there to be some nourishment in it,” Sandy told her.

“Hot anything doesn’t sound good. My stomach is still off,” Beth said.

“How about some cooled beef broth?  Soup? Doesn’t have to be hot,” Sandy agreed.

Beth swallowed, took a deeper drink of the cold water and nodded.

Billy and Pearl

“Bill, Billy… William?” Pearl asked.

“Billy’s good,” Billy told her. “William makes me feel… too high class, I guess.”

Pearl laughed. “It’s not wrong to think proper of yourself.”

The two were walking slowly down through the valley. Billy looked around at the valley. “You came with them? Helped to build this? It’s awesome… really incredible.”

“I would love to say it is so, but no, I was here visiting family, in the states, I mean. I came across country with friends I only met them after the fact. I’ve been here about three months so far. I believe this place began in April. I arrived in June,” she brushed a shock of thick brown hair out of her eyes and looked up at Billy. “I did help to build the second and third barns. The rest has been catch what comes, for all of us really.”

“I could listen to you speak for hours,” Billy said. He blushed a second later. Pearl blushed too and looked up at the clear blue sky and then back down at the stone path they walked. “What will you do?” Pearl asked.

“Well, I’ll wait for Bear to come back. When we left, we really didn’t talk about it. I just don’t know yet.” He looked up at the sky and then back down to the stone flagged pathway. “He may not want to stay.”

Pearl nodded. “And if this Bear of yours decides to go, then you will go with him, I suppose. That man thing. All for one and one for all… follow you to the ends of the Earth?”

Billy laughed, but stopped when he looked back down at Pearl. “I…” He started. She smiled up at him, and he lost his words.

“I didn’t mean to do that to you,” she said. “Take away your words.”

He thought of a dozen retorts but said nothing for a second. “Well, maybe I would have said something dumb. I wouldn’t have meant to. I suck at conversations like this, Pearl.”

She nodded. “Is she your girl? Jamie?” She blushed harder. “You don’t have to answer; it’s really not my business. I’m sorry.”

“No… No… Don’t be sorry,” Billy told her. “Is she my girl?” He looked at her frankly. “No. Probably was once upon a time. In fact was… but I screwed that up, like a few other things I’ve done.” Billy looked away.

“Look,” Pearl told him. “Doesn’t matter. I pry too much sometimes. I know that about me. Come with me if you like. I have to make a patrol. Just the valley, foothills, takes most of two days to do. I have a truck with four wheel drive, a camping tent that I never use, and I go around and check all the perimeters. Boring, I suppose, unless you like the solitude… the mountains,” She smiled up at him. He towered over her by at least a foot. “I promise, no dead people, at least there never has been. Of course I’m looking for them though, aren’t I?”

Billy laughed. “Just like that?”

Pearl stopped on the path and looked up at him. “Just like that? What did you think, then?”

“Uh… I.”

Pearl burst into laughter, slipped her arm through his and pulled him forward once more on the path. “Rattled you. I did, no use contradicting it.”

Billy laughed after a second. “You did. You did,” he caught up, leaving her arm where it was. “So two days?”

“You’ll love it,” she told him.

“Okay. What do I need to do?”

“Not a thing. No one to say goodbye to?”

“No,” Billy agreed.

“Then we go.” She pulled at his arm. “Come on. I’ll show you the truck.”

The Nation

Beth sat up on the edge of the bed, got her feet under her and then stood. “Whoa,” she said as she sat back down.

“Slow, Honey,” Susan told her. Susan was on one side, Sandy on the other, Cammy anxiously standing in front. “Take a deep breath or two. Let the lightheadedness pass.”

Beth did as she was told, the lightheadedness passed, and she stood once more. This time her feet felt steady. Her stomach did not flip flop. All three of the other women hovered close by but did not attempt to help her. She laughed nervously and then walked to the door.

“Hmm. A little shaky,” Sandy said. “You feel up to an outside trip?”

“Oh, God yes. Please,” Beth said.

Cammy laughed. “She will never be any sweeter,” she said.

All four of them laughed. Sandy stepped ahead, opened the door to the room, and Beth followed her out into the main cave area.

Beth looked around as she walked through the main area. “I had no idea it was so big.” Her eyes rose to the ceiling some hundred feet above her.

“This is nothing, only the main meeting room. The passages go all through the mountain. It’s riddled with them,” Susan told her.

Sandy swept open the main door, and a cool breeze came in as she did. The four women stepped out onto the rock wall edged ledge and its view of the valley below.

Beth drew a quick breath. “My God, it’s so beautiful,” she said.

Cammy came up behind her and rubbed one hand across her low back. Beth turned and looked at her. “Anything else?” Beth asked.

“No. They’re on the way,” she told her.

“Cammy,” Beth started.

Cammy shook her head. “I know. He told me that he told you, and what he told you was the truth.” She smiled as she finished. Susan and Sandy slipped past them and walked over to the long waist high rock wall that had been built on the edge of the ledge. Beth looked pensive, but allowed a smile to float up from the depths of her worry. She made her way across the ledge and looked down into the valley.

“It’s so pretty,” Beth said. She breathed in the cool, fresh air.

“You are officially off bed rest,” Sandy said.

Beth smiled. Her eyes slipped over to her arm and the thick pad of bandage at the elbow. She sobered, but as her eyes swept back out into the valley, the smile surfaced once more and stayed. Cammy settled beside her and looked out onto the golden foliage of the trees and the tall golden-brown fields of wheat.

“I will never leave here,” Cammy said.

Beth nodded.

Cammy looked at her. “Do you think this can hold him?”

Beth shook her head, but the smile stayed. “I don’t think a woman or a place can hold Bear,” She said.

Cammy nodded her face a careful mask.

“Feel up to a short walk down there?” Sandy asked.

“I say, let’s go,” Beth answered.

“You get tired, say so,” Susan told her.

“She will,” Cammy said. She linked one arm through Beth’s good arm, and the four women started down the ledge that dropped down into the valley.


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Earth’s Survivors SE3 available at Kobo eBooks

  • Earth’s Survivors SE 3. The Outrunner Books

by Dell Sweet

Earth’s Survivors Collected Books

Earth’s Survivors SE 3, The Outrunner Books is all the collected OutRunner books in one place. There were three books written that were then discarded and the storylines were written into the Earth’s Survivors books instead…

https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/earth-s-survivors-se-3-the-outrunner-books

Earth’s Survivors: The Nation

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.

  https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Wendell_G_Sweet_Earth_s_Survivors_The_Nation?id=MsFTDwAAQBAJ

Earth’s Survivors: Rising from the ashes

Rising from the ashes: This book 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.

  https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Wendell_G_Sweet_Earth_s_Survivors_Rising_from_the?id=MMFTDwAAQBAJ

Earth’s Survivors: Apocalypse

Apocalypse: 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.  https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Dell_Sweet_Earth_s_Survivors_Apocalypse?id=DsFTDwAAQBAJ

Earth’s Survivors: The Nation

Book Three: The Nation

The Nation takes shape and the people who will build it.

Billy and Beth have reached Manhattan and a small camp with those they met on their trip across the country. They are waiting, for what they do not know… #eBook #horror

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Earth’s Survivors: To Build a Nation

EARTH’S SURVIVORS: TO BUILD A NATION

Copyright 2019 Dell Sweet all rights reserved.

Cover Art © Copyright 2019 Dell Sweet

This excerpt is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This excerpt may not be re-sold, copied or given away to other people. If you would like to share this  with another person, please point them to this blog. 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 person’s places, situations or events is purely coincidental. No part of this book may be reproduced by any means, electronic, print, scanner or any other means and, or distributed without the author’s permission. Permission is granted to use short sections of text in reviews or critiques. The Earth’s Survivors characters are copyright protected.


This excerpt is not edited for content


June 22nd Year Two

The Nation

Candace’s Diary

Another long day, but, Mike, Chloe, Ronnie and Adam are off to see what they can find and I am left here to lead and run the meeting.

There will be a group coming in just a few days: I only know they were over to the west somewhere; Rollie has dealt with them a few times. It’s the same problem Sam had, settling too close to the old world; several places have done that and are now having problems with outsiders. As far away as we are we still have problems. I say that because of what recently happened.

We still don’t know how they found us or what their motivation was, but if they know we are here others will also know we are here. It could be the lights; Rollie had mentioned they could be seen from sixty miles away.

We have four new posts: One at each point of the compass; added to the others we had, plus every cave has their own observation post on top of Ridge Mountain. We’ve got sand bags going along the rocky trails to cut down on rock chips; believe it or not, children, the bags to make the sand bags were hard to come by. But Rollie found them somewhere and they are on the way.

I can’t see how Sandy can get any bigger. She is due next month. Was I that big? Patty tells me I was bigger, but I can’t imagine it. Cindy is due in August. Debbie and I are on the fence; will we have babies this year or just over the line in January? Chloe definitely next year; and Pats too: Lisa and Sharika are due about the same time as Pats.

I am really happy with a song that Bonnie and I are writing together. I think we’ll play it soon: We titled it “A woman like me”. It’s the first time I have worked on something with someone else. It’s tough to do, but in the end I hope it comes out well. Hopefully we’ll do more together.

Candace folded her journal closed and slid it in a drawer. The babies were asleep; the kids as well.

Patty had a thick book in her hands Music notation and chords, Candace saw.

“What’s doing, Pats?” Candace asked as she settled on the bed beside her.

“Learning the basics of writing music and scales, and chords, and I don’t know how you keep it all straight, Baby,” Patty told her.

“I don’t see why you keep a body like that covered up, Honey,” Candace said. She pulled up Patty’s over-sized t-shirt and wiggled her head up under it.

“Hey, that’s for the baby,” Patty said.

“Sorry, Lover, wrong direction.” She popped her head out from under Patty’s t-shirt and tugged at the elastic waistband of her sweatpants with her teeth. Patty arched her back and Candace slipped her sweatpants and panties down with one quick movement; she worked her way down.

The island

Mike, Ronnie and Chloe

They had run no more than two or three minutes when they heard thrashing through the trees ahead of them. They came to a quick stop and faded into the greenery on the sides of the wide path they had been following.

Mike held the rifle ready and calmed the dog with his other hand. A large group of women came into view at a trot, struggling to carry a fat man on a bier that rode on thick poles resting on their shoulders. The fat man held a military machine gun in one hand, pointing it up in the air: The bier danced up and down, the women struggling to carry the load. Mike stepped out into the pathway: Pointing his pistol into the air and fired a short burst. The women in front screamed and tried to stop, but the momentum of the women behind them knocked them over. The bier crashed to the ground, nearly in front of Mike. He reached down and snatched the machine gun as it hit the ground. The fat man grunted in pain as he slammed face first into the hard-packed dirt of the path.

A woman toward the back threw herself to the ground and fell to her knees as if in worship.

There were several women and two young girls. Mike sent Ronnie and Chloe back with word to bring the trucks up: Once through the heavy kudzu near the water, they could negotiate the path easily he knew. There was no fight left in this group. Many of the women wept openly, several leaped up and began to kick and pummel the fat man, but he was beyond feeling. Most likely he had broken his neck in the fall. Although two women had also attacked him right after he had fallen, jumping up and down on him, kicking his head and body. By the time Mike had gotten them to stop the man was gone.

When the trucks arrived they made their way back to the encampment. Mike ordered several of the women to carry the fat man’s body back to the camp. He followed behind the women, the trucks behind him.

Once they reached the camp and released the fat man’s captives, it was clear several of the women were more hated because of the things they had done, and it was hard to keep the captives from killing them with their bare hands. As it was; several were badly beaten before the beatings could be stopped. Mike had found himself having to threaten to shoot people on both sides before they would calm down.

One dark-haired woman came over to Mike.

“You seem like a nice guy; I guess you just don’t understand.” She pointed at a particular woman. “They killed my son… They did… She took him, her right there, they ate him, don’t you see? They ate him and you’re protecting them… If I had a gun I’d kill you just to get to them,” she told him.

The whole conversation was low pitched and calm, but the woman’s eyes were mad. Heavy bags hung under them, red-lines spider-webbed the whites. She stared at him a few minutes longer and then walked away. As she went, she suddenly lunged at the other woman. A sharp bone spearhead appeared in her hand and she drove it into the woman’s throat. Ronnie stepped up and clubbed the woman in the head with his rifle; she collapsed like dirty laundry in a heap. Mike raised his voice.

“That is enough: Next one jumps, from either side and I start shooting. And I mean it.” He glared back and forth between the two groups. No one spoke.

 “Chloe, take those captives somewhere: Somewhere where they can get cleaned up. Adam, go with her. Jeff.” He waited until the big man looked at him, “You still with us?”

The big man nodded.

“Them,” Mike continued, “go with them and talk some sense into them. When you get back we’ll have this mess cleaned up, and try to work up some food. What is there to hunt on this island?” Mike asked.

“Cows,” Jeff said.

“Cows?” Mike asked.

“Yeah… A couple of wild herds on the other side of the island,” Jeff said.

“Mike nodded. “Ronnie? Adam? Take one of the trucks and get at least two, maybe three. Jeff… That is my woman,” he said pointing to Chloe. His warning was clear. After everyone left, Mike turned back to the large group of women.

“Is there a stream, river, lake, some sort of water close to the ocean? Because if not we’re walking all the way to the ocean.” They wound up at a small stream nearby.

“Don’t be shy, get clean,” Mike said. “Is that all you have to wear,” he asked, indicating one of the loincloths.

“There are boxes of stuff back there… He wouldn’t let us wear it,” one woman volunteered.

“Good. Scrub that shit off, get clean. Throw those things away. We’ll get clean stuff when you get back,” Mike said.

When they came back Mike had some of the women hand out clean clothes. By the time the other group came back the body of the one woman had been removed and all the other women were dressed in real clothes.

The two groups declared an uneasy truce.

Ronnie and Adam came back with two cows and a pig: Soon the smell of roasting meat filled the air. Evening closed in and as darkness set in Chloe helped some of the other women find clean clothes to wear.

The nation

As the sun set in the main valley, the lights came on in the new addition to the school and the track in back of the school.

“Run Patty, run,” Candace shouted.

Lilies Journal

I cannot believe I played baseball tonight. We all ate hugely and then went down to the new ball field on the pretext of testing the bats. We had a game going within a few minutes. Just pick-up teams we threw together. Nobody cared, we just wanted to play ball.

Pats, me, Candy and Debbie were all in the same team. But we got it handed to us.

Tom, yes my own husband, Josh, Brad and Alexa were the best hitters on the other team. They got us one by one, and we made them work for it too.

We had been hoping to hear from the guys that are away. Sometimes they’re in range, but nothing. Maybe another few days: I know they are out for very specific things, wiring being the majority of it, but real plumbing articles like toilets, sinks. Specific types of computer and hardware and software that Stephen and Lisa want. And of course, they have huge lists from just about everyone.

Well, my Tom has a sore shoulder from hitting all those home runs so I guess I’ll rub it out for him. You know, for a little while, it seemed like the old world, a good part of the old world, tonight. And that felt good.


Earth’s Survivors: To Build a Nation.

Coming in early spring 2019 from Dell Sweet