Thursday, April 29, 2010

American Apocalypse IV - Heartland - Chapter 3e

"Well, not much to tell you really." I told him. I looked around. We were in a fairly large room that was empty except for a couple of picnic tables that had been pushed together to form one long table. About halfway down the table were a pair of nice silver salt and pepper shakers. There was a china cabinet which held dishes and a side table that was empty. At the head of the table, where Brother Tom sat of course, was a rough hewn wooden chair that looked a lot like a throne. On purpose I was sure. Behind it on the wall was another version of the same flag they had flying outside. It was actually a satin bedsheet that had been spray painted. Who ever did it had held the nozzle to close and the paint had run.

On his right sat Elder Bob and Brother Tom had gestured for me to sit on his left. His men, all four who had followed us in, took their seats below the salt. The empty space above it was supposed to be filled by Ricky and Loco. Ricky had moved to sit down, Loco growled at him, then he walked away from the table and took up position against the wall by the open door that probably led to a kitchen. Ricky started to take the same wall but Loco looked at the far wall and back at him. Damn, he was slow about some shit but he got the message and moved over to the far wall by the china cabinet. Brother Tom did not like this at all. He opened his mouth, thought about the loss of face involved, and shut it. Inwardly I grinned.

"So where are you coming from? You know how it is. We don't get the news like we used too." He smiled. I am sure he thought it was his best "Talk to me" one. Before I could say anything he banged on the table with his fist and yelled "Women! Where the hell are you! You got thirsty men in here. Bring us some water!" He continued "I am sorry that all we have to offer is water but this is a poor village. Perhaps we could convince you to tithe a small bit to the church. You are good Christians are you not?" Oh yeah. His boys who hadn't missed a word of what was being said popped a woody of nonverbal delight over this comment.

"Well Brother Tom, you know there are many roads that lead to the Fathers house." I remembered hearing someone say that once and liked it. It had lots of weasel in it without being nasty. He thought about it for a second, or pretended too, then he said "Yes, but there is only one God and one true path." He smiled at me. Then yelled "Water! Woman get your ass in here now!" I heard her voice saying "Coming!" before I saw her. That was a good thing. I needed it. A cold wave splashed over me and a jolt of pure energy lit up my nervous system. She came through the door struggling with a five gallon plastic container two thirds filled with water. Another woman was right behind her carrying coffee mugs on a silver serving tray. She said "Sorry Brother Thomas. The stupid bitch, I mean woman, had problems with the pump." She curtsied, set the cups on the table and told Carol "Don't splash the water all over the place when you pour."

She looked like shit. She probably hadn't been that skinny since she was twelve. Her hair was dull but when she looked at me, only for a second before dropping them, her eyes told me she was still alive. I slid my legs up over the seat and dropped them on the floor. Then I bent down and began retying my boots. I had too. I knew if anyone saw my face then it would begin. It would too, just not until she was out of the room. I heard her bare feet move across the floor and Brother Tom say "Do you have a problem with women knowing their place amongst your people? I didn't look at him first. Instead I looked at his men and then Loco. I heard Loco say softly "Holy shit." Then I turned to Brother Tom and said "No. Not at all."


  1. Nice writing.These folks are what John Scalzi refers to as "Leviticans" rather than Christians.They always seem to be the kind of men who wash their hands after they pee rather than before...

  2. Wow, nice surprise,lol! Carol was always cool, but we'll see how it plays out now that things have changed further...
    Rock on Nova!

  3. If that K98 is still on Gardener's belt, it could be handy. A gunfight will bring a lot of unwanted attention. Of course, I'm biased, because when Gardener goes on a hot-blooded rampage with his knife, it tends to be epic. Loco and Ricky would get a taste of what makes Gardener legendary, and Freya might also be pleased. The leader's head on a bayonet could be enough to scatter the rabble. (Just MHO, of course.) On the other hand, the opposition doesn't seem too much to handle if the guns come out. Ricky and Loco are up to the task.

    Thanks for the installment, it's always a highlight of my day to read the latest. And apologies if my rambling suggestions are too forward- your work sparks my imagination. I'll be happy to stfu if it's a bother.


  4. Derek,

    Not a problem. I like your comments. You would be surprised at how comments influence the direction of the story. It also makes it fun

  5. nova,

    it's damn good to have you back in the saddle! Kickass bit of anticipation for the next chapter with the appearance of Carol...

  6. Does gardener end up with a harem? How does night feel about Carol...

  7. Yeah, I guess I always knew that she would have to reappear. I have no idea how this is going to play out. Writing nonfiction I always have a structure that I work from. This story just goes where ever it wants to. Carols reappearance popped into my head when I was eating dinner. I finished and came up to my hotel room and wrote it.

    I am going to be flying back to VA today so I probably won't get a chance to write until Sunday.

  8. "...I probably won't get a chance to write until Sunday."



  9. I think I remember in one installment Night said something like, "Don't ever lie to me or cheat on me."

    Jim in Mo.

  10. First time poster, just caught up to this point after buying the book on a recommendation by a friend who knew I enjoyed dystopian literature.

    So Carol is back..... You know, I sort of expected she would come back. She represented basically the last link of how things used to be for Gardener. His last link to his old life. I wonder what he will do to get her back or will he have to lose that last link forever.

    Rob from Chicago

  11. 100 pages by sunday night would be nice...

  12. I've always had in my head that G had the crush on Carol, but that she already belonged to Max.

    I need to refresh apparently.


  13. Jerry,

    Yep. You read it right.

  14. Sure Tom, no problem. Thanks, I am glad you liked it


    Thanks for reading. If you can, please leave a review on Amazon.

  15. Nova,that makes me feel as rich as I do when I buy a lottery ticket!(it should make me feel richer,those suckers cost a buck)I have loaned my AA1 copy to several friends and have had positive responses and will ask them to post reviews on Amazon.A good story and the writing continues to improve.

  16. I was just thinking about the influence technology might have on writing. With so many readers having computers and Internet access, there is no reason to limit the mode of expression to text. An online novel might be more effective when rendered as a multimedia experience. We already have e-books on devices such as Kindle that make use of features such as hotlinks and search functions. For AA it might be useful to link to technical descriptions and diagrams of the weapons the characters use. Maps would come in handy. Music could be used to suggest a mood, for example, although copyrighted material, if used, would present a potential problem. There could be graphics and animations for major battle scenes. I’m thinking the animations would have to be sort of simple. Complex animations would be time consuming and costly to produce, and, besides, if a work made heavy use of complex animation it would become a movie, instead of a novel. A re-enactment of a battle scene in animated form might use stick figures and rough pencil-like drawings for backgrounds. The animations themselves might be stored on You Tube, for example, with a hotlink provided at the appropriate place in the text.

    Anyway, I’m just doing a little brainstorming here. I’ve thought about this subject before, but this is the first time I’ve put it into words.

    A multimedia novel would be big project, and might require a team specialists and not just the efforts of an individual writer.

  17. "her eyes told me she was still alive".I have seen the opposite too many times.

  18. "A multimedia novel would be big project, and might require a team specialists and not just the efforts of an individual writer."

    This is called a Motion Picture, and they require many specialists to do well. Not least of all, bankers and MBA's start telling you how things ought to work out.

    A novel (text) is one of the last places in our popular culture that an idea or story can be created, owned and controlled by one person. It's also one of the most-free and most-protected forms of expression, especially when obviously political, as AA is.

    It's one of the last pieces of uncorrupted Enlightenment pieces of culture left to us, imho.


  19. I've always had in my head that G had the crush on Carol, but that she already belonged to Max.

    I thought she was married to somebody else (after the "Good Sociopath") totally unknown to us. (Still very fond of Max, however.)

    IIRC, in Fairfax, Max had multiple girlfriends, according to Night. ("No wonder he's tired." "Don't worry - you will be tired too.")

  20. "It's one of the last pieces of uncorrupted Enlightenment pieces of culture left to us"

    Last pieces of uncorrupted Enlightenment pieces? Please, send me a few grams of whatever it is you're smoking. :)