Monday, April 4, 2016

Author's Notes: Writer's Block

So as you probably got from the title I have a bad case of writer's block. I was on a roll, hitting my goal for getting you guys a post a week and then bam! nada. That little cursor is blinking mocking me, I tried a couple exercises that sometimes help, nope. I know where I want to go, but the words just aren't there at the moment. As much as it disappoints me to do so, I'm going to take a step back and work on some other projects that have been pestering. Maybe once I get that out of my system I'll be able to come back and get back to work.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Survivalistas- Book 4: Chloe- Chapter 6 - Part 2

Chloe flopped down on the couch next to Luke, she had never been so happy to have new clothes in her life. She would never take clean underwear for granted again. She rolled her neck trying to get the kinks out. “How Sofia doing?”
“She says she’s fine, but I think we can expect those babies anytime now.” He leaned back on the couch tossing his arms along the back. An awkward moment of silence passed.
Chloe leaned forward elbows on her knees, twirling a wet lock of hair. Her mind kept flashing to that woman in the storeroom and what she’d said about Roy’s gang. “Do you think Roy and the good ol’ boys really killed that woman’s family?”
“I don’t know. This is a new world, what we saw out there…” He trailed off and she felt a hand on her shoulder. “Come here.”
She didn’t resist as he wrapped his arm around her, pulling her into a comforting embrace. Chloe curled into him needing the solace after everything that had happened. Her mind whirled as she tried to work through all the craziness she’d seen today.
“Hey,” Luke tipped her chin so she was looking up at him. “Everything’s going to be all right.”
She flashed back to their kiss in the drugstore, and without thinking she wrapped her arms around his neck. Her eye’s fluttered close as their lips met and Luke wrapped his arms around her waist, tugging her on to his lap. Chloe’s mind finally quieted as she gave into the sensations of the kiss and Luke pressed against her.
The door burst open, they jerked apart staring at the doorway as RJ barreled in, gasping “Mom’s water just broke.”
Chloe jumped up rushing to shove on some shoes and grabbed her coat. Luke followed a little slower, muttering, “Go on, I’ll be there in a minute.”
Nodding in understanding Chloe dashed out the door and a crossed the yard with RJ right beside her. Entering through the kitchen door, Chloe made her way to the downstairs guest room they had set up as a birthing room slash nursery. Sofia lay on the bed sweat beaded her forehead, her eyes scrunched shut in clear pain. Robin sat on the edge of the bed, holding Sofia’s hand and murmuring softly to her. He glanced toward Chole with a look that read help me. Sofia exhaled and sank back on the mound of pillows behind her. Her eyes opened and she looked at Rob then Chloe giving them a wan smile, she said, “What I wouldn’t give for an epidural right now.”
Chloe grinned, shrugging off her coat and handing it to RJ who was hovering near by. “RJ I need you to do me a huge favor, go take care of Maria. I need you to keep her out from under foot. This is super important, sweetie, can you do that?”
He nodded and turned for the living room, without any argument. Luke passed him, coming toward her down the hall. “You I need you to put a big pot of water on the stove and bring it to a boil. On the counter there is a box with hemostats and scissors in it, put them in the boiling water to sterilize them. We’ll need those to cut the umbilical cords.”
“Got it.” His eyes lingered on her lips for a moment, then he turned and headed back down the hall.
Chloe rolled up her sleeves turning back to Sofia and Rob. Another contraction wracked Sofia’s body. Closing her eyes, Chloe drew in a deep breath, then let it out slowly. She was no midwife, but she had to see what was going on. Stepping to the side of the bed, she spoke softly. “Sofia I have to look and see if the baby’s crowning.”
Sofia just nodded, gritting her teeth. Moving to the foot of the bed, Chloe tried to remember how things had gone with Sally. Her sister-in-law had asked her to be there when the kids were born as Benny fainted at the sight of blood. Mostly she remembered the grunting, pushing, and then a crying wriggling slime covered little person appeared. Bracing herself, Chloe gasped. “Ok Sofia, I see the head. You need to push.”
“What the hell do you think I’ve been doing?” Sofia growled.
Ignoring the other womans outburst, Chloe pulled a pair of rubber gloves from a box on the dresser and snapped them on. Moving back to the end of the bed she proceed to coax Sofia.
“Rob we need towels and the stuff Luke was sterilizing.”
Reluctantly he got up and left the room, she heard him bark something down the hall as he did, returning a moment later with a stack of clean towels. Taking one she laid it on the bed, just as the baby slid free. Rob handed her a still warm hemostat and she clamped the umbilical cord before cutting it with the scissors. The baby began to scream as Chloe wrapped the towel around the wriggling mass and handed it to Rob.
Sofia looked up at the little bundle, panting, “One down, one to go.”

Author's Note: Unedited Version

Thursday, March 24, 2016

The Survivalistas- Book 4: Chloe- Chapter 6 - Part 1

Chapter 6
“I don’t like or trust that guy.” Chloe muttered jerking her thumb toward the truck following them.
“Hon, I don’t think anyone really likes Roy, they just tolerate him.”
Chloe huffed and frowned at him, as they pulled into the farm’s driveway. Parking and turning off the engine, Luke slid out with Chloe right behind him.
“Would you run in and get Rob, so I can keep an eye on these guys?” Luke asked as she climbed out of the truck.
“Sure.” She jogged to the house and entered through the kitchen door to find Rob already pulling on his coat. “So here’s the quick version in order to get the stuff we needed Luke had to barter a cow to this yahoo named Roy and his gang of douchecanoes who took over the Wally World.”
Rob nodded, then asked. “You got what we need for the kids and new arrivals?”
“I hope so.”
“Good because the babies are getting impatient. I had to force Sofia to go lay down. I think she’s having contractions, but playing them off as braxton hicks.”
“Ok go on, I’ll get RJ to help me unload the truck. While you get rid of the stooges.”
Rob smiled and yelled, “RJ get down here, Chloe needs your help.” With a wink he headed out the door. Seconds later there was the thumping of feet running down the stairs and a moment later RJ appeared in the doorway.
Chloe smiled, at him. “I need help bring the supplies in.”
“Sure thing.” He moved to the pile of shoes next to the door and dug out a pair of ratty sneakers. Jamming them on his feet, he grabbed his coat and pointed to the door. “Ladies first.”
Outside Chloe paused to watch the men, shake hands then walk toward the barn. Luke and Robin didn’t look to happy, but Roy seemed overly pleased with himself.

Author's Note: Unedited Version

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Survivalistas- Book 4: Chloe- Chapter 5 - Part 3

Luke lead the way out of the store and to the truck. Chloe tossed the bags in the back, then pointed toward the back of the dinner. Nodding Luke led the way to the McDonald's as they rounded the building they realized it had already been hit. A red SUV had been driven through the front of the restaurant. The zombified driver clawing at the window, made Chloe cringe. Inside the place looked ransacked, wrappers and cups littered the floor, chairs had been toppled and broken. Sighing Chloe gestured for Luke to go ahead. Gripping the tire iron tighter she followed him through the door. The smell was the first thing she noticed, it wasn’t as bad as it could have been she was sure, but the rotten meat and vegetable stench was not pleasant. Holding the rifle at the ready, Luke slid behind the counter and into the kitchen area. Chloe frowned, as the sound of someone sobbing reached her ears.
Reaching out she grabbed, Luke’s jacket, whispering, “Do you hear that?”
He nodded and pointed toward the store room. They edged closer and Chloe tried the door, it was locked. Inside the crying stopped, and the sound of fevered scrambling came through the door, yet it didn’t open.
“Maybe whoever's inside thinks we’re zombies trying to get in. Say something.” Luke suggested.
“Why me?”
“Women are less threatening than men.”
Chloe shot him a glare, but conceded. “Um, hello…”
“Go away!” A frightened female voice shouted from behind the door.
They exchanged a glance and Luke gestured for her to keep going. “Listen we just want to help, if we can.”
“You can’t help me…” She sobbed.
The door wrenched open, and a sickly looking chunky blond glared at her from the doorway. “I was bit, you stupid bitch, I’m done for.” Chloe took a step back, shocked at the woman’s venom. They were just trying to help. The woman continued, “none of this woulda happen if those fucking hillbilles had just left us alone. They got my whole family turned…” The woman’s anger turned to despair and hiccupped a sob. “We shouldn’t have stopped, but the kids were so hungry and tired.” She sank to the floor her eyes glazed and mumbling unintelligibly.
Chloe and Luke exchanged a glance, unsure what to do. The woman slumped over, eyes falling shut, and began to convulse. Chloe reached for the woman but Luke stopped her as the poor lady began vomiting blood and bile. They began backing up as blood leaked from her eyes and nose. With a coughing sputter she collapsed on the floor. Chloe moved closer to Luke, the scene looking far too much like Paul for her comfort.
Tugging on his coat she whispered, “We should go.”
He looked from the woman to her, seemed to be debating something then nodded. As they began to back away, the woman twitched.
“She’s still alive,” Luke murmured, pausing.
“No, she’s not.” Chloe tightened her hold on Luke’s jacket pulling him back with her.
The woman’s head snapped toward them milky white eyes, in a rage filled face. As she struggled to her feet, Chloe dragged Luke from the kitchen, only to be confronted by a huge man brandishing a handgun in the dining area. Glancing over her shoulder, to see the woman had managed to get to her feet and was coming after them.
The big man asked, “one of those things back there?”
“Yeah, Roy.” Luke replied.
Chloe swallowed as Roy jerked his head to the side, and they scurried out of the way. As the woman rounded the corner, Roy pulled the trigger. The sound seemed much louder than it should have from such a small gun. Chloe clung to Luke’s arm, more scared than she had ever been in her life as the guy turned toward them.
“Either of you bit.”
“No.” Luke replied as she shook her head.
“Good,” He shoved the gun into a holster on his hip. “Come on, let’s get out of here. The sound attracts the little bastards.”
Chloe let Luke guide her out. One minute that woman had been talking and the next dead or undead. Her mind was having a hard time processing. Killing the decaying ones made sense, they had to be dead, but that woman…
Shaking her head she tuned back into the conversation between the men. “We cleaned out most these places already. Me and some of the boys are hold up in the Wal-Mart. I suppose you’re living on the farm still with Rob and his family, right?”
“Sofia must be about ready to pop. You and your girlfriend must be looking for supplies, huh?
“Yeah, we need some supplies.”
Chloe was about to argue the girlfriend remark when she noted the wariness in Luke’s voice. Instead she stayed quiet and switched her death grip to his hand.
Roy stopped at the truck, two other guys climbed out of a SUV parked next to it, both holding shot guns. “I’ll make you a deal. Come on over to the Wal-Mart and you can have whatever you need, within reason, for a cow.”
“One cow.”
Roy shrugged, “one should suffice.”
“Deal.” Luke held out his hand and they shook.
“Follow us over.” Roy climbed into the SUV with the other guys.
Chloe climbed in the truck and Luke followed. As she reached for her seatbelt, Luke caught her arm and tugged. Her leggings offered no resistance against the fake leather and she slid to sit next to him. He glanced out the windshield, then said, “girlfriends sit in the middle.”
“Right.” She murmured, buckling the lap belt.
“You ok?”
“No, very far from it. How do you know these guys?”
Luke started the truck and followed the other vehicle toward the Wal-Mart. “Roy owned a farm, he did business with Rob from time to time. I don’t trust him, or his buddies, so keep your guard up.”
“Ok.” As they drove Chloe cleared her mind, she’d deal with all the crazy stuff later, right now they needed to focus on staying alive.
Following the SUV around the Wal-Mart to an employee entrance in back, Luke glanced at the tractor trailers sitting behind the building. A few sat near the loading docks as if waiting to be either loaded or unloaded. Getting out, they trailed after the men, entering the building. The door led to the stockroom, shelves of stuff sat untouched, platelets dotted the floor some ripped open others collecting dust.
Roy took them to a set of black swinging doors, he pushed a cart into her hands and tossed a head lamp to her. “Have fun, sweetheart.”
Catching the head lamp she slipped it on, and grabbed the cart heading for the doors. When Luke made to follow Roy put out his hand. “She’ll be fine the store is zombie free. I wanna talk to you.”
“I’ll be fine.”
Luke nodded, but didn’t look convinced. Flicking on the headlamp she pushed through the doors. Pausing she tried to get her bearings. The store was dimly lit by the skylights in the roof, giving it an eerie feel outside her circle of light. She’d come out in the hunting section and from her position she could see that the gun cases had been pillaged. Turning she began to push her cart toward the clothing section when a peg of hemostats caught her eye. Her mind flashed back to Betty’s labor and how the doctor had clamped the umbilical cord, before cutting it. She grabbed several from the peg tossing them into the cart. Her eyes flicked over each aisle as she passed, as she tried to figure out what they needed. Aftering making a complete circuit of the store, she stopped in the baby section and was tossing onesie into the cart when she heard a whiney voice behind her.
“Luke’s a lucky man.”
Chloe jerked around, to find a skinny greasy looking guy standing behind her. He eyed her and then the cart.
“Boss wanted to know if you’re almost done.”
“I’m done.” She replied, probably too quickly. His gaze made her skin crawl and she wanted to get back to Luke, load this stuff in the truck and go home.
He led her through another set of black swinging doors and into the store room. As they moved through the maze of crates, shelves and boxes, they guy said. “We’ve got a pretty good thing here and plenty of room. If you’d like to stay…”
Chloe shot him a glare and he shut up. They turned a corner to find Luke and Roy standing next to a pile of empty boxes.
“There’s the little lady,” Roy chuckled. “Ok boys pack the stuff up and load it.”
Chloe moved to Luke’s side counting to ten in her head to keep her temper from flaring. Luke’s good natured ribbing about her heights she could tolerate, but this guys condescending attitude pissed her off. Yet they need the supplies so she would bite her tongue.

Author's Note: Unedited Version

Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Survivalistas- Book 4: Chloe- Chapter 5 - Part 2

“So you have a game plan, right?”
Luke glanced at her then back to the road. “Sure, I have a plan of sorts.”
“Which means no, we’re winging this.” Crossing her arms over her chest she flopped back against the pickup’s seat. They were driving down route twenty six heading for Lowville. Luke had chosen a roundabout route, hitting mostly back roads, and bringing them in closer to the stores. Chloe was on edge, she hadn’t had to face another one of those things since getting to the farm. The few that had stumbled near the house, Rob or Luke had taken out with a rifle before they’d gotten close. Aim for the head, just like in the movies, that’s what the reporter told them.
Chloe glanced out the window as they passed another house, most the houses they’d gone by had looked abandoned, this one’s door was wide open blocked by something that looked like a body. Swallowing, Chloe turned her gaze ahead not wanting to see what the other houses held. They pulled into the Kinney Drugs parking lot and stared at the building. The front doors had been shattered, glass covered the entrance.
“We’ll start here.” Luke handed her his revolver, then turned and took the rifle from the gun rack behind them. Chloe made sure the safety was on then tucked the revolver into her coat pocket, reaching down she picked up a tire iron that was on the floor boards. “I give you a gun and you grab that instead.”
“I’m better at close combat, and guns are noisy. We don’t know if these things can hear, firing a gun might be like ringing a dinner bell.”
“Ok good point, but it’s all I got.”
They climbed out of the truck, and headed for the entrance. Glass crunched under their feet as they entered the store. Shelves were ransacked, displays littered the floor, something that may have been blood or soda covered the floor in front of the coolers. Steeling herself, Chloe grabbed a basket from where they lay.
“Let’s see what’s left.”
Avoiding the coolers, they headed down the next aisle. They found a few cans of beef and barley soup, a loaf of penicillin bread, and a very stale bag of Cheetos. Shaking her head Chloe tossed the Cheetos back on the shelf. “We should check out the restaurants for food.”
“Don’t you think it would be all spoiled?”
“Fresh stuff and meat, but the diner might have stuff for baking. Although the double arches is probably a long shot.”
“Worth a look, I guess. Let’s check the baby aisle and then get out of here.”
Chloe nodded and turned looking for the sign that read baby. A hand snaked out from a knocked over display, grabbing her foot. Letting out a high pitched shriek, Chloe jumped back kicking out as she did. The hand flew across the store, and Chloe landed in Luke’s arms. Under the shelves, the thing thrashed and fought to get up, yet didn’t seem to have the awareness to push the shelves off itself. At one time thing had been a young woman, now her skin was a ghastly greenish yellow and decaying in places. Milky white eyes, fixed on them and her teeth gnashed as she struggled.
Pushing away from Luke, Chloe set down the basket and took a firm hold of the tire iron. Moving closer she angled the flat pointy end toward the things head and in a quick thrust rammed it through the eye. Instantly it stopped moving. Swallowing down the bile in her throat, Chloe yanked the iron back. She turned toward Luke, “I couldn’t leave her that way…”
He nodded, then surprised her by grabbing her free hand and pulling her into a hug. He held her for a moment, then tipped her face up to look at him. “I get it,” he pressed a quick kiss to her lips. “Don’t ever scare me like that again.”
She stared up at him for a second, then smiled. “No promises.”
Luke let her go, and they carefully made their way to the baby aisle. Compared to the food they hit the jackpot. Chloe found several diaper bags, which she transferred the soup to, also diaper rash cream, baby shampoo, soothing bubble bath, pacifiers, bottles, even a breast pump. Some of the stuff Chloe had no idea if it was usable or not she just tossed it in with the rest.
Luke searched the surrounding aisles, as she filled a diaper bag. He came back with a bunch of first aide, dumping it in the bag he said, “Couldn’t find any diapers.”
Grabbing a stack of receiving blankets, Chloe sighed. “We’ll just have to make our own.”
“Anything else while we’re here.”
Chloe glanced up looking at the signs overhead with the aisle names on them. A smile crept over her lips when she read toys. “Yeah.” She grabbed another empty diaper bag, and hefted the full one. Luke grinned at her when he saw where they were headed.
“Great idea.”
They jammed coloring books, crayons, Barbies, baby dolls and a couple random toys into the bag. Hefting the second bag, Chloe nodded, “ok let’s go. You first since you got the gun.”

Author's Note: Unedited Version

Monday, February 29, 2016

The Survivalistas- Book 4: Chloe- Chapter 5 - Part 1

Chapter 5
Chloe felt sweat trickle down her back as she kicked the crap out of the feed bag hung from the barn ceiling. It was a decent makeshift punching bag, since Luke didn’t have one. Behind her the door opened, bring a cool gust of wind that raised goosebumps on her arms.
A moment later Luke stepped into her line of vision. “Thought I’d find you out here.”
She stopped punching the bag and gave him her attention. “What’s up?”
He glanced away from her, shoving his hands in his coat pockets. “Rob, Sofia and I were talking...”
Chloe’s stomach twisted, she’d figured this was coming. Whatever was happening had been going on for a month now. The only new piece of information they’d gained was this was the zombie apocalypse for real and no help was coming. With two growing kids, a pregnant lady and three adults the food was running out.
He continued, “We’re running low on food, Sofia’s due date is looming and we need supplies. We were wondering if you’d be willing to run to town with me?”
She blinked at him, that was totally not what she expected.
“I don’t know what we’ll find out there and no one’s going to force you, but…”
She cut him off, “I’ll go.”
“You’re sure?”
“Yeah, Sofia can’t go and Rob should stay, it just makes sense.”
“Ok, we’ll hit the road first thing in the morning.”

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Survivalistas- Book 4: Chloe- Chapter 4 - Part 2

Sofia spoke up, “Honey, go get your brother and clean up for dinner.”
Maria scampered out of the room, yelling. “RJ!”
Going back to her cooking, Sofia added. “Luke would you get Rob out of the man cave.”
Giving a snappy salute, he said, “On it.” Then took off out of the kitchen.
After standing for an uncomfortable moment, Chloe asked, “can I help?”
“Oh no, Honey, you're our guest sit. Tell me about yourself.”
“Uh,” Chloe pulled out a chair and sat at the kitchen table. “What do you want to know?”
“The usual,” Sofia smiled over her shoulder.
“Kay, well I’m the middle child and only girl in my family. My parents and older brother live in Florida, he’s married with three kids. My little brother lives in Chicago, at least that’s the last place we heard from him.”
“You must be worried about them.”
Chloe nodded, “yeah I am a little. I mean I know Gordy will take care of Betty, the kids, Mom and Dad. Benny… well he’s resilient.”
Sofia chuckled, “no offence but it makes me glad that I’m an only child. So why are you up here?”
“Grew up in La Fargeville, my parents had a small farm. One cow, a pig, some chickens, and a goat. Dad only raised things we could eat. After highschool I started going to JCC and moved to Watertown. I’m working toward becoming a physical therapist, but currently I work at Paulie’s Gym.” Chloe found her voice catching and swallowed.
“You ok, Hon?”
“Yeah…” Chloe bit her lip then said, “Paul turned into one of those crazies. I fell down a flight of stairs running from him. It’s how I sprained my ankle.”
“Oh, Honey, I’m sorry.”
Chloe shook her head, “Let’s not talk about it, please.”
“Ok.” Sofia pulled some plates from the cabinet and began setting the table. “I used to be a kindergarten teacher, but decided to stay home with the kids after Maria was born. Rob’s run the farm since his parents passed, it’s enough to make ends meet and keep us happy. Luke used his inheritance to buy that monster of a truck and is on the road most the time.” Sofia shrugged, and added, “But he enjoys it. Makes it hard for him to find a good girlfriend though.” Giving Chloe a wink she turned back to the stove.
Feeling her face get hot, Chloe changed the subject. “Are you sure you don’t need any help?”
“Mm hmm.”
Before she could say anything else Maria skipped back into the kitchen, announcing,“I sit next to Chlo-wee.”
Sofia didn’t turn around, but replied. “Ok get your seat.”
The little girl grabbed a pink booster seat from the corner and put it in the chair next to Chloe, then scrambled up into it. “I’m five, my teacher at school says I’m small for my age.”
Smiling Chloe said, “I’m twenty-one and small for my age too.”
Maria grinned, “Mommy says I’m still growing, are you still growing?”
Shaking her head, Chloe replied, “Nope. This is as tall as I’ll ever be, but that’s ok cause I’m still bigger than my brothers.”
“I’m not bigger than my brother.”
“And you never will be squirt.” A pimpled faced teen with shaggy sandy blond hair entered the room and flopped down in a chair. He looked at Chloe, and his hazel eye’s grew wide. “Holy crap! You’re Chloe “The Poison Pixie” Parker.” He jumped back up and raced out of the room, bumping into Robin and Luke on the way.
“What’s with him?” Rob asked, entering the kitchen.
Sofia set the bowl of spaghetti on the table. “I have no idea.”
“Um, Does RJ like roller derby?” Chloe asked quietly as Luke sat down on her other side.
Luke’s eyebrows shot up and he glanced at his brother. “Oh right.”
RJ reappeared carrying a calendar, “I knew it.” He crowed holding the calendar up.
Chloe groaned, she knew that stupid calendar would come back to bite her in the butt, sooner or later. It had been a fundraiser for the Black River Babes. Thankfully it wasn’t super riskie. The girls had dressed her like a roller derby Tinker Bell. A sparkly green mini skirt, a green halter top, fishnets and skates topped of with a pair of sequined fairy wings. Like on derby nights she’d streaked her hair with green and purple.
“So you weren’t joking about the roller derby.” Luke said, snatching the calendar from his nephew.
“Enough!” Sofia took the calendar from Luke. “It’s dinnertime, you can discuss this after we eat.”
Everyone quieted and sat down. As Sofia began doling out the spaghetti Maria tugged on Chloe’s shirt. “Are you really a pixie? Is that why you're so short?”
On her other side, Luke chuckled. Chloe ignored him and replied, “no, hon, it’s just a nickname.”
“Aww it would have been cool if you were a pixie.”

Author's Note: Unedited Version