Archive for May, 2021

Texas Dead Storm

Posted: May 15, 2021 in Book V Texas Dead Storm

Texas Dead Storm is Book 5 in the Torn Apart Series. All 5 books are available on Amazon and Amazon Unlimited.

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Chapter 1


“Well, honey, if y’all get out there and it’s too much, y’all beat feet right back here,” Bessie advised.

Everyone laughed, and Dan answered. “We’ll keep that in mind. I know we have a lot better chance with the help you and Bennie have given us. Your neighbor’s pickup will give us a better vehicle for the whole group to get there together.”

“Most of you picked up using those guns just fine. Just ‘member, quiet is better. Them dead folks hear a lot better than folks did before,” Bessie added.

Dan glanced around. “We gotta get going, gang, if we’re going to make any time today.”

Britt rushed up to Bessie and hugged her. “I’ll miss you, Bessie. You could come with us.”

“Oh, honey. We can’t leave the farm. My Henry’s buried here, and poor Bennie would be lost.” She patted Britt’s back. “Now y’all load up and move on down the road. God, go with y’all. Me and Bennie will be sayin’ a prayer every night; you have a safe trip.”

Kelly gave Bessie a quick hug and ushered the whole crew toward the F-150 and Dodge Ram pickup.

Dan held out his hand to Bennie. “Thanks, man. You’ve been a lot of help.”

Bennie grinned and pumped Dan’s hand before stepping back and smiling shyly. “I will miss you, Dan.”

Jen hurried up to Bessie and hugged her. “Thank you, Bessie. You’ve helped us so much.”

Bruce, Denise, and Rudy joined the others in the farewell with Bessie, and Bennie then all climbed into the two pickups and waved as they drove through the gate and drove away.

“Are we ready for this?” Britt asked as Bennie closed the gate behind them.

Kelly laughed nervously. “I sure hope so.”

“We’re as ready as we can be, girls. Bessie made sure we each can use a handgun and rifle. We have two trucks, supplies, maps, and we’ve planned out our route. I don’t know what else we can do to be more prepared for this,” Dan answered as he glanced up at the pickup following.

“Bruce is doing better. I was worried when Sarah died,” Kelly said.

“Bessie helped more than any of us could have,” Dan answered.

Kelly spread the folded map out on her lap. “I’m sure glad Bessie helped me plot out a route heading west. She said the best way to go is to head southwest then skirt around Llano. It’ll take us out and around the metro areas of San Antonio and avoid the freeway and interstates, for the most part, then we’ll be on the farm to market roads.”

“This is it, we’re heading west now,” Dan announced as he pulled on the state highway. Dan picked up the two-way radio they had retrieved from the sporting goods store. “This is it, Bruce, we’re turning on 71.”

“10-4, good buddy,” Bruce joked.

Dan groaned. “I’ll shoot him if he does that for very long.”

Kelly and Brittboth laughed. “At least he’s joking,” Kelly answered.

They passed several cars stranded along the highways but saw no one around the vehicles. Britt leaned toward the front seats. “I wonder where the people went?”

“Who knows?” Dan asked as he accelerated and glanced at the rearview mirror to make sure Bruce was doing the same.

They drove in silence for over an hour when Dan slowed the truck as they neared an overpass looking down at the remains of a roadside rest area. Dozens of vehicles surrounded the remains of a large camp that told a story that was hard to witness. The roadside park had bathrooms in a brick structure and a creek along the back of the narrow building, making it a natural place for people to gather together for safety with a water source. They set up a perimeter of cars and trucks for protection. It was hard to tell how many people it had sheltered, but remnants of over two dozen tents remained, plus several tarps flapped from branches in nearby trees. With the slowing of the two pickups and the powerful engines’ rumble, the dead campers began to appear. Mutilated bodies lay scattered on the pavement, and those trapped inside the vehicles started to pound on the windows. Some of the broken bodies on the pavement moved in the harsh morning glare at the sound of the pickups.

The two-way radio crackled to life. “Are you seeing the people at the back of the camp?” Rudy asked.

“Where?” Kelly asked.

“Near the bathrooms. Two kids and an adult. I think they’re infected. One doesn’t have an arm,” Rudy answered. “It’s pitiful.”

“Go! Just go,” Brittcried. “Can’t we just go?”

“They were overrun. We’ve seen enough; we’re getting out of here,” Dan answered as he accelerated. “Tell Bruce to move out.”

Dan glanced at the camp one last time, and more than a dozen infected stumbled toward the rumble of the two pickups. Both trucks accelerated and were out of sight within minutes. When they had driven for an hour, Bruce’s voice called over the two-way radio. “I got a couple of girls needing a bathroom break.”

Dan look from side to side as he slowed, and with no buildings or vehicles around, he answered. “This is as good a place as any.”

“Dan…” Brittwhined. “I hate peeing in the bushes.”

Dan slowed the F-150 and stopped the big pickup. Everyone stepped out of the trucks and were more subdued than when they left Bessie’s ranch. No one seemed willing to go far from the vehicles after seeing the campgrounds, so the guys stayed on one side, and the girls walked to the opposite side to relieve themselves behind bushes at the edge of the road.

“I hate this,” Britt said; she and the other girls did their business while Kelly stood guard over them.

“I know, but we can’t clear buildings just to use a bathroom,” Kelly argued.

“I guess. I just hate baring my butt to the world every time I have to pee,” Britt answered. All four of the girls laughed. Kelly stepped behind a bush for her turn, then quickly reappeared.

When the group had all returned and were standing around drinking water and eating snacks, Jen finally voiced what everyone was thinking. “They were attacked, and all died.”

“It looked like that’s what happened,” Dan answered.

“We’re getting close to Llano,” Bruce announced as he threw away the wrapper from his power bar and opened a second bottle of water. “Are we taking 71 or taking 29 out of town?”

“I’m not sure. We have to see when we get there. It’ll depend on the traffic and if we can work our way through the city,” Dan answered.

“Gotcha,” Bruce answered.

“Everyone needs to be ready for whatever we find. There could be infected, and we might have trouble. You know what Bessie said,” Kelly advised. “If they swarm the trucks, we could be overwhelmed.”

“Stop it!” Denise yelled as she covered her ears with her hands. “I don’t want to hear you talking like that.”

Rudy pulled her hands down and wrapped his arm around Denise’s shoulder. “We have to face the reality of going into a populated area. There can be a lot of infected, and it can be dangerous. We have to get used to it.”

She turned and hid her face against Rudy’s chest. “I can’t shoot people. I’ll never be able to do that.”

Rudy patted her back and whispered. “Now Denise, we’ve been through this. They aren’t people anymore, just dead bodies walking and trying to attack us. They’re monsters now.”

“I keep telling myself that, but I still see people,” Denise whimpered.

Jen made an exasperated sigh. “We need to get past Llano before dark. Shouldn’t we get back on the road?”

Dan slapped Bruce on the back. “You’re right; let’s load up. Everyone good with the seating?”

Jen stepped up and grabbed Britt’s arm. “I think I’ll join y’all for a while.”

Kelly smiled. “No problem. Let’s get in the trucks. Get your bag and come on.”

Jen raced to the second truck and grabbed the bag Bessie had packed for Jen, and shoved it in the back seat ahead of climbing into the pickup. “We got all these supplies; why do we have to have a backpack to drag around?”

“Because if something happens, we each have supplies that will keep us alive, just like Bessie says. It’s why we each have our own gun,” Dan answered. “Something bad happens; we each grab our bag and run.”

“We got guns and knives, so, with the backpacks and the supplies inside, we’d have a real chance of surviving even on foot alone until we find new transportation,” Kelly continued.

Dan started the pickup and accelerated. A glance assured Dan that Bruce was following in the second truck. “That’s why when we leave the trucks, we’re each taking our weapons and packs with us.”

“Got it. Bessie said it enough times. Good grief, Dan,” Jen laughed. “You nag as much as my mother, and my mother sounded a lot like Bessie.” Suddenly Jen grew quiet, and the smile faded from her face.

“Sorry,” Dan apologized. “I just don’t think Denise gets it. She worries me.”

Kelly reached over to lay her hand on Dan’s leg. “She’ll come around. Just give her time. I think the situation with Jason just freaked her out.”

Dan covered Kelly’s hand. “We can’t afford to have someone not carrying their own weight. It’s a long way across the state and lots of dangerous places to pass through. We need everyone willing and able to do their part.”

“Denise will get there,” Kelly answered.

“She needs to be there now,” Dan answered. “We all need to be there.” Both Jen and Britt remained quiet for several minutes, and Dan asked. “Are you two?

Finally, Kelly glanced at both Britt and Jen. They both nodded, and Kelly answered. “Yes, we all want to survive and know what we have to do. We keep the packs with us, and we have to be able to defend ourselves. You guys may not always be around to do it.”

“Now, if you and Rudy can just convince Denise,” Dan sighed.

“I’m sure he is talking to her again,” Kelly announced.

The terrain grew more arid and dry as they traveled west and got closer to Llano. Dan watched the gas gage, and when it slid below the half-tank mark, he picked up the walkie and depressed the button and spoke. “Bruce. Let’s look for gas before we hit Llano if we can. I’m at half a tank.”

“I’m not quite there, but it might be a good idea. We can watch for a station,” Bruce answered.

Kelly glanced down at the map. “Seems we should be coming up on a few crossroads in a few miles. Maybe there will be a gas station up ahead.”

Dan used the walkie. “Kelly says there are a few crossroads in a few miles. We’ll watch for a gas station.”

“Sounds good,” Bruce answered.

They drove in silence for several minutes when Britt leaned forward and pointed to a sign in the distance. “I see something.”

I hope you enjoyed Chapter 1 of Texas Dead Storm. All 5 books are available on Amazon and Amazon Unlimited.

Escape Texas Dead Book 4 in the “Torn Apart Series” is NOW available on Amazon and Amazon Unlimited. Order and enjoy an undead thrill ride. Escape Texas Dead

Chapter 1

Come and Go

Ben seemed more curious than alarmed at the still-healing fissure in his forearm. “Well, Doc? What do you think? Can I keep it?”

“It’s not as bad as it was,” Carrie mumbled while she rotated Ben’s arm back and forth examining the flesh under the glaring light. Finally, she announced. “Well, I only see healthy tissue, but with that said, it’ll still take quite a while to heal. I still can’t stitch it.” She looked up and added. “You should be on IV antibiotics for at least five days more days or longer. You should definitely not be going off into the mountains on a camping trip.”

Ben sighed. “Maybe, but the tribal elders have decided to move the camp, and I have to respect their decision. You’ll just have to give me pills.”

Carrie sighed and packed the wound while she tried to provide a laundry list of reasons to remain close to the lodge, but Ben was just as determined to leave. In the end, she bandaged the wound and gave up any further protests. Carrie disinfected a plastic top and bottom splint, taped them together, and finished the dressing with an Ace bandage to hold both halves in place. She replaced the sling over his shoulder and eased Ben’s arm into the sleeve. “There you go. Now, let me get supplies together while you sit there and rest. I don’t want you passing out.”

Ben laughed. “I’ll try not to litter your floor.”


Liz Jameson watched her father, Will Edmonds, greet Ben’s son, Machn, when he entered the lodge. Machn led a black couple with two teens into the great room. Close on their heels was Tammy Robertson, carrying a single bag. Tammy glanced around as if checking into a hotel that was not meeting her stringent standards.

Liz cringed when she saw Robertson examine the room with such a critical eye. She wondered what her father would decide to do with Robertson, the civil rights attorney. As far as Liz was concerned, Tammy Robertson had not made a stellar first impression.

At a sudden commotion, Liz turned to see John Tilman, and Harry Walters saunter into the great room from the kitchen. Both men dressed in jeans and boots looked like bearded mountain men with sidearms strapped to their hips.

When John and Harry saw the black family, John stomped over to the black man’s side and rested his hand on the man’s shoulder and grinned at Liz and Will. “Folks this is the man I was telling you about, Jesse Burns and his wife, Becka. The kids are LJ and Pattie. Jesse and LJ are both experienced mechanics and Becka cooked at a retirement home.” John winked at Pattie. “The little ‘un is just trouble. Gonna be her daddy’s worse nightmare in a few years when she grows up to be the best looking girl in Texas. Gonna be a knockout.” He laughed and bumped fists with the gawky ten-year-old with skinny arms and knobby knees.

When the child smiled, Liz realized it was probably right. Pattie was all arms and legs at ten, but in five or six years, she would be a real beauty. In addition to a golden mocha complexion, she had large dark eyes and full lips that were quick to smile.

Will stepped forward and extended his hand and greeted both Jesse and Becka. “Welcome. We’re glad to have you with us.”

Liz echoed Will’s greeting, and after handshakes and a few words, Will nodded at John and Harry.

John laughed. “Come on, folks. We’ll get you breakfast then we’ll see you settled in your new home. The two men hustled the family off to the dining room.

Liz turned to Tammy. “Dad, this is Tammy Robertson.” This is going to be interesting.

Tammy Robertson struggled to maintain her appearance of boredom. “Sir. Thank you for accepting us into your little community.” She failed at any attempt to hide her scorn.

Will sighed. “You, Ms. Robertson, present a problem to our little community, as you call us. It seems as much as Ben tried to think of skills you could bring to the table, he could think of nothing you would add to our little community. You can’t cook. You can’t shoot a gun. You can’t even build a fire. You admitted yourself every plant you touch withers and dies. The fact is I just don’t have a clue what you offer.”

Liz struggled to keep from laughing while Will continued to study Tammy as he waited for a response.

“Well…I…I….” Outraged, Tammy began then faltered.

Will interrupted the stammering, “Add that to the fact, we’ll have another problem with where to put you. You see, we don’t have living facilities for single adults. Only families.”

Tammy glanced over her shoulder at Machn whose face was the mask of indifference. “Aren’t you going to say anything?”

Machn shrugged. “They already agreed to take you. I’m waiting for my father.” He looked at Tammy for the first time since walking through the door. “You are no longer my problem.”

As if on cue, Carrie led Ben into the great room, unaware of the conversation she was interrupting. “He’s as ready as I can get him.” She handed Machn a large box of supplies. “There’re supplies for cleaning the wound, packing material, and antibiotics. For heaven sakes, use the gloves once and throw them away each time you change the dressings. Do it every day. If it’s not completely healed in two months, come back for more supplies. I didn’t do all of this for you to screw it up.”

Machn smiled for the first time. “You’re the boss. Can he go now?”

“If I were the boss, he’d be turning around and heading back to bed, not chasing off to the mountains,” Carrie answered. “Go, but at the first sign of fever or infection, he needs to come back.”

“Yes, ma’am.” Machn turned to Will and Liz. “Thank you. John says you are familiar with the area we will be calling home. You will always be welcome to our valley.”

Ben shook hands with Will and nodded at each Liz and Carrie in turn. “Will, you and your family have been kind in a cruel world. We all face many struggles in the years to come, but we will always be grateful for your help and offered friendship.” He gave a quick nod, and Machn shifted the box under his arm before guiding Ben out the door. Footsteps crossed the porch, and a few minutes later, the motor of Ben’s truck roared to life. The vehicle drove away.

Will turned to Tammy. “What to do with you is still a problem, but for now, you may as well come and have some breakfast.” He led Liz into the dining room, unconcerned whether or not Tammy followed. She followed, but she failed to hide the frown distorted her face.

When they entered the dining room they found, Harry and John sat at the table with the Burns family. The group laughed as if old friends. John continued a story, “And LJ turned on the main valve with Jesse still looking into the line with the shutoff wide open wondering why it wasn’t working.” John laughed.

Jesse slapped his son on the back with a broad grin. “The first shower I’d had in a couple months,” His laughter boomed.

Pattie pinched her nose. “LJ still needs one.”

“Sorry to interrupt, but this may help that issue, young lady,” Will laughed and handed Pattie a plastic bag of supplies before he turned to John. “Put them in the unit next to your cabin. One of the boys stocked it with some basic supplies yesterday afternoon. Maria and a couple ladies put these together for the women coming in. They said the ladies would like the stuff inside. Stop by the store so they can get clean clothes then get these folks settled. Be sure to show them the golf cart and explain the solar system on the water, so everyone gets a warm shower. Once they get their truck unloaded and refueled, they can put it behind the cabin.”

“Got it.” John gave a thumbs up. “We’ll pick up stabilizer for it at the warehouse.”

Will gave a quick nod, then turned to follow Liz and Tammy to a table with the remains of a breakfast of boiled eggs, ham, biscuits, white gravy, coffee, and juice.

Tammy looked at the buffet. “I don’t eat…”

Will interrupted and stepped up to the table, “Suit yourself. Go sit down, and we’ll join you in a minute.”

Tammy picked up a plate, a biscuit, and a glass of juice. She carried the small meal to the table and settled on a chair looking as if waiting to be sentenced, knowing in a sense, that was what it would be.

Liz and Will stood at the buffet, adding biscuit, gravy, ham, and eggs to their plates. Each carried cups of coffee to the table, then Liz went back for juice for both her and her father. When all three were seated and eating, Will continued his conversation from earlier.

“Young lady, despite all you’ve seen, you seem to have failed to grasp the fact that you have nothing to offer to this brave new world. Now, that said, we offer you a chance to become a productive member of society.”

Tammy looked up from nibbling at the dry biscuit long enough to mumble. “Thank you.”

Liz was enjoying the food. She imagined her child and smiled at the thought of him growing with the high-calorie diet of late. Suddenly she was snapped back to the conversation around her.

“And to ensure you stay on track, my daughter will be the one to guide your development of new skills. She will see that you find a niche to aid our community.”

Liz looked on in horror. “I’m sure…”

Will reached over to cover Liz’s hand with his own. “I’m confident that two mature women will be able to work something out.” He stood. “Meanwhile, I have a lot on my plate this morning. Liz, don’t forget to find her a place to sleep.”

Liz sat, staring at her father’s retreating back. Finally, she whispered under her breath, “Coward.”

Tammy laughed. First, it was a chuckle, then she saw Liz smile, she burst into a full belly laugh. Reluctantly, Liz joined in.

Shaking her head, but still smiling, Liz returned her attention to her plate. Around a piece of ham, she asked.”So, back home, did you live in a condo or an apartment?”

“Neither. I inherited an eighty-year-old three-bedroom craftsman from my great aunt,” Tammy answered. “Mind if I get a bit more breakfast?”

“No. Of course not,” Liz answered.

When she came back, Tammy had ham, coffee, another biscuit with packets of butter and jelly. “The house was a mess.” She smiled at the memory as she added.”Probably hadn’t been touched since my aunt moved in when she was a twenty-year-old war bride. The woodwork was beautiful, and just needed a lot of elbow grease. Of course, back then, I was working on a budget, so I did all the painting, water lines, new electrical…oh, I added high-speed internet lines, media, the whole shooting match. It’s amazing what you can learn on Youtube,” Her voice trailed off, and her smile disappeared.

“Sounds like it was a lot of work,” Liz responded.

Tammy chuckled. “You wouldn’t have believed how bad the bathrooms were; crumbling tile, mold, and water damage.” She sighed. “It took three years, lots of nightmares all rolled together. I learned a lot, though. I found out about weight-bearing walls, plumbing, electrical, repairing water damage, installing sheetrock, mud, floating tape. The list goes on and on.”

“You managed the contractors?”

“Contractors, hell!” Tammy laughed. “I did most of the work with the help of a cousin that worked construction off and on. When I had a project, Abe was there. He helped when he could, explaining what to do and why then he left me to it. I know how to do almost anything from electrical, plumbing to tiling.” Her eyes glistened with unshed tears. “Abe was with me. He died that night the bandits attacked the camp. He was the only family I had left.”

Liz responded softly, “I’m sorry.”

Tammy shrugged. “Abe told me to survive. Have a good life. I don’t see how that’s going to happen.”

Liz laughed. “We all lost people we loved. Are you ready for that new life?” Tammy looked up and nodded, then Liz continued. “Alright. You have skills. With that said, let’s get your bag and get you settled. We have a community store for non-food supplies, anything from shampoo to clothes.”

“That’s unexpected,” Tammy commented.

“It won’t be endless, but we cleaned out a couple discount stores. Threw it all in a parade of eighteen-wheelers. We still haven’t cleaned out all the trailers.” Liz sighed. “There was no organization to what they collected. They cleaned out a whole clothing department in two sporting goods stores. All sizes of sports and hunting clothes when they went to get weapons and survival gear.” Liz laughed. “After that, we started created search lists. We didn’t need any more soccer uniforms. You’ll see a lot of kids all dressed the same.”

Tammy laughed. “Never know. You may want to start team sports.”

Liz stood and smiled. “Let’s get you settled.” She led Tammy back in the great room that served as the entrance of the Pine Springs Lodge where Tammy looked around and actually began to appreciate the care and skill it took to create the rustic beauty. At the side of the expanse was the shaved wood stairs and railing leading up to the second level balcony sporting six doors. Liz led Tammy to the front door where her bag lay.

“This place is beautiful. I heard it was going to open as a hunting lodge.” Tammy commented.

“The website went live two weeks before the attack. A few calls had already come in inquiring about hunting trips,” Liz answered. “Now we worry about who saw the site.”

Tammy picked up her small handbag, and Liz led her up the stairs to an open bedroom door. She turned the wooden plaque on the door to read occupied then prompted Tammy inside. “This will be your room, right next to Dad’s. My room is at the other end of the balcony if you need anything.”

“OMG!” Tammy whispered. “Here?” She looked from the dresser with the TV and DVD player to the woodstove, the curtained window, two queen beds with quilts, to the small bath, and closet.

“I can’t say you’ll always be alone since it has two beds, but for now, this is where you can rest your head. We still have six half-finished cabins and expect more survivors to find their way here.”

“What do you mean?”

Liz laughed. “We have the supplies to finished more cabins. Being this remote, Dad had materials brought in by the truckloads. He just completed phase one. It was cheaper to get all the materials at once. Besides, with the storage sheds of supplies, workmen could always find what they needed.”

“Sure, isn’t anything just around the corner up here,” Tammy agreed.

Liz grinned, “Come on. If you’re up to it, we’re going for a ride and pick up clothes, and I’ll show you around.”


John hung on the side of the truck and guided the Burns family down a gravel path a few hundred yards from the lodge. They rounded a stand of trees, and he pointed to his and Harry’s cabin and explained they shared the home with two children. Cody and Trace who now stood outside the bungalow waving excitedly. John directed Jesse to back up to a second cabin nearby. Cody and Trace ran to the cabin after they parked.

“The general imagined anyone coming up here for hunting would come in groups, so the cabins are set up pretty well for families. The construction was scheduled in two stages with eventually a total of sixteen cabins in total projected. What you see nearest to the lodge is the first group, and that first segment of cabins is completed. They’re rustic, and not fancy, but serviceable.”

“Remember, we lived under tarps and on the run for months,” Jesse laughed. “I’m sure what you can provide will be a hell of a lot better than what we’ve been facing for the last few months.”

Next, to Jesse, Becka sniffled and wiped the back of her hand at the corner of her eye. “It’s perfect. It feels like heaven after the way we’ve been living. She leaned into Jesse and hid a sob. After a full minute, she pulled away and smiled. “Sorry. Guess I’m just a little overtired.”

John laughed. “You haven’t even seen inside.”

Jesse parked the truck, and the family jumped out to find Cody and Trace standing at the cabin waiting and excited to meet the new arrivals.

While the boys played it cool, Trace walked up and grabbed Pattie’s hand. “I’m Trace. You want to be my friend? I have a candy bar. You want some candy?”

Pattie looked shell-shocked, then giggled. “My name is Pattie, I like candy.”

John raised his hand. “Trace, calm down. Pattie and her family are moving in, so you got plenty of time. Let me show the family around then you girls can get to know each other.”

“Yes, sir,” She answered, still with a smile creasing her face. She sat down on the steps with her chin in her hands. “I’ll wait right here.”

“Okay folks. Let’s do the grand tour.” John opened the door with the key and gave it to Jesse. “We’re pretty trusting around here. Of course, none of us have much to steal, so not much point in locking doors when a cabin is not in use.” He stepped inside to the small cabin with a sitting area, a kitchenette with a coffee pot, microwave, a few open shelves with dishes and cups, a sink and back door. John pointed at a darkened hall. “Down there are two bedrooms and up above is a loft with twin beds. There’s a full bath with a shower. Each cabin has a cistern setup that catches rainwater from the metal roof. The water is filtered and used in the showers and toilet. Well, water feeds both sinks and is potable. The water heaters are solar-powered and on-demand. The storage batteries can also be charged by heat from the stove during winter, but you have to remember, you leave a bunch of lights on, and the batteries run out you get a cold shower and are left sitting in the dark.” John laughed. “That’s freezing cold showers in winter. Also, keep in mind, the cistern is the only water source for the shower. Run it dry, and you’ll be hoping for rain and taking spit baths until it does.”

Pattie looked confused. “What’s a spit bath? Sounds, gross!”

Everyone laughed.

“We’ll discuss it later, Pattie. What about meals?” Becka asked.

“All meals are served at the main lodge. Three a day. Breakfast is between six and eight, lunch is served from eleven to one and dinner between five to seven. Now that said, and shit happens, so exceptions are made, and if you come back late, there will be some around to reheat something.”

“Thank you. I think we can work with that. If you need help in the kitchen, I have experience in the area,” Becka volunteered.

“I’ve already discussed that with Will. They’ll be glad to know that you’re willing to help in the kitchen. Now that said, we need to discuss some rules we’ve established around here. If someone gets sick or injured, no matter how minor, they see the doc. Someone goes off-site, they get screened at the lodge. No exceptions.”

“No problem. It sounds reasonable.” Jesse agreed. “Where is the garage? You said something about me and LJ working there.”

“Will agreed it would fill a real void that we have. I’ve been filling in, but I just don’t have the skill, for damned sure,” John answered. “Oh, I almost forgot. Be sure to close bedroom doors at night. Knock and don’t enter until you’re sure the person inside is okay no exceptions.”

“Why?” Becka asked, looking a little confused.

“You know what happens, now. We all have to take precautions. Whether it’s a child or an adult, if a person is sick, be careful about going into a room.”

Suddenly understanding, Becka whispered. “We’ll remember.”

“There’s a battery clock, and a couple LED lamps around. They’re rechargeables, and small solar charger is in the desk drawer. It’s up to you to keep the extra’s charged.” John headed toward the door then turned back. “Jesse, if you want to follow me. There’s a solar-powered golf cart in the garage. The boys rolled it out into the sun this morning so it should be charged up. You can start using it at lunchtime. It’s up to you to keep it charged.”

Jesse stuck out his hand to John. “You folks have done so much. I don’t know how to thank you.”

“You’re part of the community now and will be filling a need,” John answered. “You folks get cleaned up, and familiar with the place. I’ll be at the maintenance shed down by the community store if you want to ride down to pick up some clothes. Otherwise, Trace will be hanging around since she’s excited to have a new friend so if you need anything, she’ll probably know who, what, when, or where. We did clean out a Bass Pro, so we have shoes and clothes. Not much for style, but it’s new.”

Harry added. “We have a lake about a mile back in the canyon that is stocked with trout and catfish if you’re interested.”

Jesse laughed and gave him a thumbs-up. “LJ and I will be ready for that fishing trip when you have time.”

If you enjoyed reading the first chapter of Escape Texas Dead, remember, all the Torn Apart books can be found on Amazon.