Journal Entry: Day 47

Day 47

There are monsters outside and we almost died today!  After what I saw today I am okay living in the shelter for the rest of my life.  I guess I should start from the beginning. Dad woke me up early to leave the shelter.  Mom made a light breakfast and afterwards we geared up. Mom helped Lily suit up and Dad helped me.  We then went over the plans again. Mom kept hugging Lily and I telling us everything will be okay and to stay safe.  I told her I would watch Dads back and will be home soon. Got an extra hug for that. I was nervous and I knew it showed. There was no way to know what laid in wait for us outside.

There are two room you have to go through before you leave the shelter. The first room was the airlock. The second is the anteroom where you decontaminate. Dad lead us into the airlock closed the door then we did a comms check in the anteroom. Each one of our suits has a radio to communicate with everyone. The comms don’t have a far range. After all our gear was check and plans double checked Dad opened up the door to the outside world.

The sky was red and the air thick with ash.  It looked like it was raining outside. There was no noise outside except for the buzz of the comms.  No birds, no cars, nothing. It made the hairs on the back of my neck stick up. Lily took position near the shelter door and waved us goodbye.  At least I would have Dad on this trip out. Lily will be all alone. It did not take us long to get to what was left of our house. All that was left was a pile of smoking debris.  Dad and I carried on to the barn. The barn was dug into ground and was mostly intact when we got there. Dad had me watch the tree line as he tried to open the door leading down. I thought I saw something in the forest and turned to tell Dad, but just then he also  got the barn door open. We both hurried inside and closed the door. It was dark inside until Dad turned on his flashlight and lead us to the beast. Dad pulled out some strange tools I have never seen before and started taking readings of the area. Lily checked in on the comms and made me jump.  She told us that animals were coming out of forest quickly and that we should probably make our way back to the shelter. Dad said we will be heading back soon. Dad opened the door to the Rv and we headed in. Again he took more readings inside the beast then started it up. I looked around for something that I could use for entertainment and found Davids old slate tablet, even a charger!  Dad also took some tech we kept inside. Once Dad was done with his work he headed back to the shelter. We were having trouble with the barn doors again it seemed to take forever to get them closed. The whole time Lily was telling us to move because she saw something. She kept saying we should be heading back. I have never seen so many animals on our land all running out of the forest. It was so quiet not to long ago.  Now it was almost deafening. Dad had me unholster my firearm and let Lily know we were heading back. That is when I saw what the animals where running from. Out of the tree line came three very large looking things. They stood taller than a man. Their skin was cracked and burned with angry red lines. On their hand where claws larger than my head. The eyes glowed a sickly green and their mouth frothed like a rabid bear.  Dad told me over the comms to take position and walk slowly back to the shelter. One of the monsters eyed Dad and I then charged us. I didn’t think, I just reacted. I shot it.. All the blast from my gun did was make it charge faster. The closer they got the more I could see just how nasty they where. There was no chance dad and I could out run them, so we fired until the guns charged drained. We downed two of the three but the third was on us.  Dad dove and pulled us both out of the way. The monster stopped. It started moving in a wide circle around us. It stood again and I saw just how large it was. It looked like it was going to charge us again. Before it got the chance its head twisted sharply spraying green blood out and it dropped to the ground dead. I realized Lily had shot it. Any other day she would have gotten a talking to from Dad about gun safety for firing too close to us, but not today. Not waiting to see if more of them showed up we all ran back to the shelter.

Advertisements

Week one of the book

Last week I had my first book go live. Here that it is if you want to check it out https://amzn.to/2z7dmVR. I sent out over 67 review copies from a mailing list using https://mailchimp.com/ and gave them 30 days to review the book. I also gave away 25 paperbacks here in Fresno and have gotten 10 reviews from that. I started a Amazon ad campaing after the book came out. I have 1547 impressions and 8 clicks It ends next month on the Aug 10. I have been on this podcast https://tradingjustice.com and I am trying to find more to be on but it is a process. I started my first give away here https://www.amazon.com/ga/p/838bdb198ca75716#ts-afo. I have found KDP and Createspace to have better customer support than Ingramsparks. For social media I have gotten more views to my website using twitter over facebook which is crazy I only just started using twitter those # really work. My plan for week two is to have at least 20 reviews for the book. Which should not be hard I have 10 reviewers that have finshed the book that I need to bird dog more. On July 26 I will be doing a book signing here in town with the local networking group. I am working on getting banners made for that. If you do go with ingram they have a list of where thier lightning source locatations are. Here is a link to that https://www.ingramcontent.com/about/locations. If you are close to those locations you can get away with the cheaper shipping and get it pretty quick once the printing is done. This is my first book so I am excited and will keep you updated on how week 2 has gone. Also If you have a podcast I have a nice audio setup and would love to be a guest you can PM or If you use Twitter can reach me at @jake_pelley.

Week one of the book

Last week I had my first book go live. Here that it is if you want to check it out https://amzn.to/2z7dmVR. I sent out over 67 review copies from a mailing list using https://mailchimp.com/ and gave them 30 days to review the book. I also gave away 25 paperbacks here in Fresno and have gotten 10 reviews from that. I started a Amazon ad campaing after the book came out. I have 1547 impressions and 8 clicks It ends next month on the Aug 10. I have been on this podcast https://tradingjustice.com and I am trying to find more to be on but it is a process. I started my first give away here https://www.amazon.com/ga/p/838bdb198ca75716#ts-afo. I have found KDP and Createspace to have better customer support than Ingramsparks. For social media I have gotten more views to my website using twitter over facebook which is crazy I only just started using twitter those # really work. My plan for week two is to have at least 20 reviews for the book. Which should not be hard I have 10 reviewers that have finshed the book that I need to bird dog more. On July 26 I will be doing a book signing here in town with the local networking group. I am working on getting banners made for that. If you do go with ingram they have a list of where thier lightning source locatations are. Here is a link to that https://www.ingramcontent.com/about/locations. If you are close to those locations you can get away with the cheaper shipping and get it pretty quick once the printing is done. This is my first book so I am excited and will keep you updated on how week 2 has gone. Also If you have a podcast I have a nice audio setup and would love to be a guest you can PM or If you use Twitter can reach me at @jake_pelley.

Journal Entry: Day 46

46

I am so sore from yesterday! You forget what working out feels like after being stuck in a tube for over a month. Mom ran us through the packing and unpacking drills again. Then more Pt with Dad.  He had us do squats, planks and lunges. It was a pretty boring day after that until after bed. During the night Mom and Dad woke Lily and I up. They took us to the dining room and told us Tomorrow morning Dad, Lily and I will be leaving the shelter to get the beast ready. The beast is a old RV Mom and Dad rebuilt. It has a lot of cool features in case we have to be on the move for a long time. There is even a hidden gun turret on top. Though I have only ever seen Mom work on it. Mostly she uses colorful words when she does, so I don’t know if it even works.. The plan is to put on our biohazard suits and get to the barn where the beast is. I am to be Dad’s backup in case something happens. Lily will cover us and open the door  if we need to get back into the shelter quickly. David was Dad’s back up and I had the honor of door duty, but he is not here anymore. It will be a short trip out. The barn is in back of the house. On the opposite side of the shelter near the forest line. Once we are back in the shelter we will decontaminate in the anteroom for an hour. After planning we set out all the gear we would be using. Dad got out the two plasma guns that he and I would be using from the shelters safe and a long rifle for Lily. Dad, Lily and I cleaned the guns then he put them back in the safe. Only 6 hours till I get to see the outside world again. Maybe I can convince Dad to take a detour into the house to get my slate before going back to the shelter.

Journal Entry: Day 45

Day 45

Mom and Dad had us start packing for the trip to the cabin. Each of us had to pack then repack our bags. I must have packed it 80 times before Mom said it was good. Then she made me repack it again to make sure I could do it in a hurry. After that Dad made us to do some PT. there was not a lot of room, so it was two at a time. Lily and Mom went first then Courtney and I. Dad said that this will be the routine until it is time to leave. That night Mom went all out at dinner, she even made sugar cookies! After all that we had a family game night. Dad even joined in. Brooke fell asleep in the middle of it and my parents put her bed.  Then gave us the talk. Not that talk, but what we might see while traveling to the cabin. We talked for a time about how to cope with what we might see. Courtney started tearing up just thinking about it. I sure hope I can sleep tonight.

Journal Entry: Day 41

Day 41

Tonight at dinner Mom and Dad said we are going to start preparing to leave the shelter! Dad said in 19 days we will be leaving and heading to the cabin. It is the best I can’t wait to be out in the open again! I wonder what sunlight feels like and TV oh how I missed that so much. Our cabin is connected to a little community of families like ours. We meet up every couple of months to talk peppering and learn about survival. The guy who lives in the area fully time  is loaded he was some extech company person. I hope there will be other kids there. The Robinson’s should be there with Will and Beth. I can’t wait to meet them finally. I should make them something. I will ask Lily to help me in the morning.

Journal Entry: Day 38

Day 38

Dad has been on the radio all day today talking to other families in their shelters. Whatever Mr.Robinson told him yesterday with the headsets on must have been bad. I wish Dad would talk to me more I can only stand talking to my sisters for so long. Today they started a knitting circle with Mom and talked reality tv all day. I ended up joining them I mean you can only cheat at solitaire so many times!

Day 37

 

Day 37

     I was working on sewing a potholder when the Radio came alive. It was Mr.Robinson! We all grouped around the Radio waiting for Dad to reply. Will and Beth are going to make it! Mr.Robinson said that they had to take Will and Beth to a new shelter. Dad and Mr.Robinson talked for a long time about the conditions of the outside world. From what they talked about it sounds like we are going to be staying in this shelter longer than I hoped for. At least Will and Beth are safe.

Day 32

Day 32

Today dragged on forever waiting for the Robinson’s to check in. Mom and Dad tried every trick in the book to keep us busy, but not too far away from the radio.  The call never came in. That night no one could sleep other than Brooke. I hope Will and Beth are okay.

Sneak Peek

                                                        Veteran of the Wastes

Blood matted the cuff of the man’s pant leg, as he limped along, moving with a strength that belied the haggard look on his face. He stoically ignored each passerby, as they stared, then hurried away.

Always with the plague victim treatment.

He winced as he pulled himself up the stone steps and knocked at the back door of the doctor’s simple home. A riveted igloo, the dwelling did not have the usual electric fence other homes required. The owner, Doctor Harvey, had no gardens or livestock to protect. As the leading medical man of Helix, his service was all he needed to earn his rations.

The bleeding man waited. He heard the raised voice of the doctor through the door, “Rebecca that had better not be you. You still have a whole month before that baby comes. I know you’re—” a freckled, middle-aged man, opened the door and paused at the sight of his visitor’s pale face. “—worried,” the doctor finished his outburst. He grinned. “Maazer Basilisk.”

“Doctor Harvey.” The wanderer stumbled into the small, curved kitchen and settled himself in at the table

2

“Who is this barging in here, all soaked in blood?” The pear-shaped nurse said eyeing the man like he was something the cat drug in.

“This is Maazer Basilisk. He’s made of steel and sinew.” Harvey clapped him on the shoulder. The patient grunted. “He isn’t the biggest guy around, but he’s got the biggest presence, you’ll ever see. Don’t get on his bad side, he won’t hesitate to knock some teeth out if he thought it would do any good.”

The nurse harrumphed, “Don’t give him the right

to come in the back door. We see patients in the exam

room. Not the kitchen,” as she went back to the clinic.

The doctor shouted, “I don’t need your attitude, Phoebe. And get back in here, I’ll need your help.”

“Always someone special, always an emergency. I swear if I ever—.”

“Phoebe, pretty please?”

“Pretty please, Phoebe. Get me the bandages, Phoebe. Stop the attitude, Phoebe,” she muttered, as she scrubbed her practiced hands at the sink.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve seen you in here, all bloodied up.”

Maazer humored him with a weak smile, his eyes closed.

The nurse helped remove his leather duster and rolled up his shirt sleeve, in order to insert an IV into his arm. The doctor was eager to chat, once the color had gradually returned to the wanderer’s face.

3

He was glad to see his adventurous friend despite his infrequent, and mostly self-serving, visits. Not only did he enjoy Maazer’s visits, but he always looked forward to seeing the better half of the duo. The dynamic raven-haired beauty that was Madalynn Dove, Maazer’s partner. No power source in Helix could light up a room the way she did, and few were more dangerous.

“Where’s my girlfriend? I’m surprised the charming Madalynn’s not hovering over you, with an injury like this.”

“She won’t be coming,” Maazer replied in a cold and tired tone, opening his eyes momentarily. The doctor swallowed his disappointment. Silence followed. Harvey tried to remember ever seeing one without the other. A few moments passed, before the significance of her absence sunk in. Madalynn Dove wasn’t off running errands. She would never come.

“What happened?”

Maazer gave no response.

“Is Madalynn dead?”

Maazer swallowed, nodding once. Doctor Harvey sat back.

The silence was deafening.

The nurse busied herself, organizing the already clean linens, so as not to intrude. Grief sucked the air from the room. When Doctor Harvey looked up to his face, Maazer appeared to be asleep. The doctor was momentarily grateful; he was at a loss as to what to say, how to comfort someone like Maazer

4

In his unconscious state, some of the naked emotion began to show in the creases around the man’s eyes and lips. He seemed much older.

With the wound still calling for attention, Doctor Harvey couldn’t wait much longer. He lifted his patient’s right arm carefully and traced his finger along Maazer’s skin.

Each wanderer had the unique and alien companionship of a symbiote that provided them with the ability to survive the toxicity of the wastes. Doctor Harvey fantasized about the day he would be able to study one. At the doctor’s touch, Maazer’s eyes snapped open and he yanked his arm away.

Sitting up, he pulled out the IV, muttering, “Thanks for the fill-up, I was exposed to some high toxin levels.”

Harvey sat back. Maazer tried to sit up, but the doctor knew just the right place to apply pressure to keep him in the chair. The wanderer yelped and shot daggers with his eyes.

“Sit,” Harvey challenged, and in a softer tone, “Please… we need to stop the bleeding on your leg. Your symbiote in combination with the painkillers might make you feel superhuman, but you’re still mortal. You’ve been wounded in more ways than I even know.” Harvey paused, waiting for a reply, but none came.

“Maazer, you’re my friend,” the doctor stated. “Maazer?”

“What?” he hissed.

5

“We are fixing that leg.”

Maazer glared. Finally, he gave in and allowed them to move him to the recliner in the exam room.

Together, the doctor and nurse gently cut the blood-soaked fabric from his leg. Turning him to his side, they revealed a deep gash with ragged edges. Both Doctor Harvey and the nurse let out a hiss at the sight.

“I don’t know how, but your hamstring seems intact. Suppose we should start with a gel coating to stifle the bleeding and stifle the pain,” Doctor Harvey said to the nurse.

As a cool, tingling sensation gradually covered the wound, Maazer let out a sigh. He could feel pressure from the prodding, but the pain was gone.

“Old Man, if you weren’t a wanderer, you would’ve snapped this femur the second you put weight on it. You’re tough as nails.”

Doctor Harvey’s voice faded as Maazer drifted toward unconsciousness. Finally, the vibration from the drilling of his bone woke him.

“Hand me the hernia mesh,” Doctor Harvey requested with an outstretched hand. The nurse and doctor delicately inserted a thin artificial layer of skin. The mesh was a sort of patch that held the fleshy bits in place while allowing the damaged skin to stitch together. Another thin gel coating was applied across the gooey attempt to reconstruct the leg.

“You had a large bone shard break away from your femur, I had to reattach it with a couple screws. I

6

Think you were with us for the rest of it.” Maazer sat up and stretched.

“Much appreciated, Doc,” Maazer said. He slowly stood. The nurse helped him back into his worn leather duster.

“You’re just going to stroll—well hobble, on out of here aren’t you? Wanderer wonders never cease,” the doctor said.

“I’ve got wandering to do.”

“You’re going to call a SAW Ceremony because Madalynn’s gone,” Harvey stated as a matter of fact. His ability to be tactful was usually lacking. Maazer looked at the doctor and nodded curtly, his face long, tired, and expressionless.

“Got no choice. We all gotta’ do what we gotta’ do.”

“Best graduation ceremony in the west.” The wanderer shook his head. “Come watch their faces when that first name is called. Come stare at the families, while they give up their children,” he harrumphed. “Only two wanderers will be called, and no one will want it to be them, but someone’s got to do it,” Maazer growled. Harvey made a face. “No one volunteers to be a wanderer.” Maazer hopped carefully on his whole leg and slipped on his pack.

“I know the timing is all wrong,” the Doctor said. “But when are you going to give me a chance to study those things?”

“Just things, are they? Those things, are the reason we survive. The reason anyone in this forsaken town survives, I don’t have time for…”

7

The wanderer opened the back door. “Some other wanderer might give you a chance to study ‘em, to poke around in what you don’t understand, but it ain’t me. I didn’t choose this.”

“Forget I asked. Not now, not that… Look, I’m sorry. You will be the best mentor anyone could ask for. Just go easy on ‘em, the ones you pick, okay?”

Maazer Basilisk felt the eyes of the curious homesteaders peeking through the windows in the evening light. When he was chosen years ago, he felt the sting of their disassociation. Now they were the least of his concerns. He wished the same agent that numbed his leg would work on his mind. He raised a hand in greeting to the tower guards, as he hobbled through the wrought iron gate of the city. He could hear the sizzle of the spiked electric fence as the top portion reconnected. Gaps in the iron palisade provided insulation to the bottom half to prevent it being electrified.

Bolves, dark hulking bear-wolf creatures, whose shoulder stood as high as a man, sniffed the air. Though they caught the scent of Maazer’s blood, they remained loyally, at the bottom of the metal look-out tower, where their young masters kept watch.

The trip to the Wanderers’ base took longer than normal. At the foot of the fortress, Maazer brought out a massive wreath of keys and fumbled for the one that would open the entry door. Once inside, he removed

8

his duster and boots, with some difficulty. What was left of his pants had to be cut free. He wrapped his freshly patched thigh with a clean towel and wobbled into his bedroom and dug through his desk for food. Energy would help the healing process.

Maazer bit into a dense ration bar and held it between his teeth. He used his now free hand to rifle through the desk. Finding an earbud, he pressed it to his ear, suppressing a yawn. The meal bar dropped to the floor. Maazer grumbled and touched a large data screen. It flickered to life with the insignia of a blazing green hydra. The last thing he felt like doing was making a report, but he carried the mantle of leadership.

“This is Maazer Basilisk reporting on the trip to Silent Crossing. It was a success. The outpost is fully supplied. I am wounded, nothing that won’t heal in a few days. Madalynn… I… I lost her.” He stuttered the last sentence. He paused for a moment, his head bowed. He faced the screen again. “I will be out of contact for the next couple days while I sleep it off. I will need to return to the Grove to retrieve the symbiotes. I will make a full report later. Madalynn Dove is dead. I have requested an early SAW to take new wanderers from this year’s Mill. Maazer out.” He swiped the screen and it went dark. He removed the earpiece and dropped it into a drawer.

Still compressing his wound, Maazer hopped away from the desk, lurched to his bed and collapsed on the worn, faded quilt. He could summon no words to describe the shock nor the depth of grief that had been

9

crashing over him in angry waves. Doctor Harvey was right; he wouldn’t have made it without his sym. At the moment, he’d rather be fighting for his life than enduring the emptiness of the sanctuary without Madalynn Dove.

Sneak Peek Here is a PDF of the first chapter to.