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Authors: Gregory Carrico,Greg Carrico

Apocalypstick

BOOK: Apocalypstick
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Apocalypstick
by Gregory Carrico

This book is a work of fiction. The characters,
places, and events portrayed in this book are products of my imagination or are
fictional representations. Any resemblance of the characters and events in this
book to actual persons or events is coincidental.

Apocalypstick
is
licensed for your
personal enjoyment only.
If you are reading this book, you should have either
purchased it, or received it as a gift or a loan through the gifting and
lending systems of approved retailers. If you are reading this book in
violation of copyright laws, do the right thing, and buy a copy.

Copyright 2012 Greg Carrico.
All rights reserved. No portion of this text may be reproduced in any fashion
without written consent of the author.

Published by Gramico

www.gramico.com

Version 1.040912

Greg Carrico

Amazon.com Best Selling Author

 

Readers are saying:


You just can't stop reading once you start.”
*
 “‘Finding Home’ was captivating in a twisted way that keeps you thinking long
after you've finished it.”
*
“…the characters leave a haunting impression long after the story ends. I see
more good works coming from Mr. Carrico in the future.”
*
“Can't get the stories out of my head.”
*
“I think this new author has a hit on his hands!”
*
“I wasn’t able to put it down from the first word. Not usually my Genre but
this author has got you hooked and leaves you wanting more…”
*
“This is not my usual genre, but I loved both stories. The author hooks you in
right away, and keeps you there. Two creepy short stories, that keep you
thinking about them long after you read "The End". Extremely well
written and entertaining! Brilliant start for a new author!”

Amazon.com Best Seller, Apocalypstick, has
been on several best seller lists for its categories, entirely by word of mouth
and recommendations from one reader to another. Thank you for purchasing this
book, and for telling someone else about it.
For more information about this book, upcoming releases, or the author, visit
http://www.gramico.com/blog
,
or
http://www.gramico.com
.  

Dedication

This book is dedicated to my partner, Amy Carrico, whose
wisdom and guidance are invaluable to me in every aspect of my life.

It is also dedicated to my best friend, Amy Carrico, whose
mere presence is more of a comfort than she knows.

Finally, I would like to include my wife, Amy Carrico
in this dedication. She may not have written a single word of this text, but her
labor, her patience, her encouragement, and her love are the reasons it exists.

This, and everything I do, is for you.

Foreword

The new age of publishing, and reader interaction

In this new age of digital publishing, readers no longer have to
rely on a handful of big publishers to tell them what they are allowed to read.
The good news is that now, anyone can publish a book. The bad news is that
ANYONE can publish a book. Readers are now the gatekeepers, critics, and
ultimate judges of what constitutes a
good book.

I hope you will take part in this new system by leaving an
honest rating and review for this, and every book you read, on the site where
you purchased it. If you liked it, hated it, or somewhere in between, let other
readers know. Your opinion really does count.

Finding Home

by Gregory Carrico

 

The yawn hit me with such violent strength and speed that I had
no hope of resisting it. It pried my mouth open and forced my eyelids to
squeeze closed. It utterly controlled me for three, maybe four seconds, but that
was plenty of time for the minivan to drift over the line onto the grooved
shoulder. The whole vehicle shook and hummed like a car-sized bumble bee. The
yawn died, and my pulse slammed into overdrive.

Jerking the van back onto the pavement, I smacked myself four
times in the face, hard enough to make my eyes water and my hand sting. The
blue digital clock in the dash dimly said 4:58 AM, which meant I had been
driving for over sixteen hours.

With three more cans of RC Cola and a plastic bag of questionable
lunch meat in the electric cooler, I should have been able to keep going for a
while, yet, but my brain was starting to struggle to find its way through my
mental fog. I needed to sleep.

“You haven’t earned sleep, yet,” my other voice said. “What kind
of pathetic man are you, anyway? You’re even smoking women’s cigarettes!”

He was right. I was weak. I was practically a woman. I flipped the
lid to the console ash tray open, and stuffed the Ultra-Slim Menthol down among
the other butts, noticing the whore-red lipstick rings on nearly half of them. It
was just another reminder of what that hateful bitch had forced me to do. Not
wanting to think about that, I opened the window and dumped them out onto the
highway.

“Clever. Just throw your trash on the street, and let someone
else clean up after you. Who deserves to have hard working people follow them
around and pick up their trash more than you do? It must be tiring, being such
a good person.”

“I’m sorry,” I said, starting to cry. I could never do anything
right. My tears would only invite more scorn, but I couldn’t help it. Instead
of insults, though, I heard sirens. I looked over my shoulder, past the toddler-sized
car seat and the canvas bag of soccer balls, at a police cruiser, speeding up
behind me.

“Dammit!” I yelled, punching the steering wheel. “How did he
find me so fast? What do I do?”

“Pull over. Get arrested. Go to prison. You might as well get it
over with. It’s where you belong, after all; with the rest of the bad people.”

I knew my other voice was being sarcastic, but maybe he was
right. “I’m so tired of always running. I don’t want to do it anymore. I just
can’t…”

I switched the right turn signal on, and pulled out of the left
lane. Except for the cop, there were no other cars on the road. I briefly
wondered what it would be like to be a police officer, but as I slipped into
the right lane, he sped up and drove by.

I let out a breath that I didn’t realize I had been holding, and
laughed. Was it a sign? Everything happened for a reason. Maybe I really did
deserve something good for once. If not, I’d be in the back of a police
cruiser. This was the sign. It must be.

Just as I started feeling a tiny bit of hope, I saw my sneering
face in the rearview mirror, and my budding confidence oozed out of me into a
pool of toxic sludge. I wailed with pure despair, weeping like that little boy…
but I couldn’t think about that now.

“I just want to go home,” I said, gritting my teeth against the
sobs that shook my whole body. My knuckles were white on the steering wheel. “It’s
not supposed to be like this.”

My other voice was uncharacteristically comforting. “Okay, okay.
We’ll go home. But not to our last one; never to that one again. We’ll have to
find a new one. We’ll be ok. I’m going to help us get through this.”

“You will? Really?” I sniffed hard to stop my nose from
dripping. Why did that always happen when I cried? It must be some sort of
punishment. “Can we really find a new home? I want to be a normal person. I
could get a job. I don’t care what it is. I could be a teacher.”
Stop
thinking about that boy.

“We’ll see. If you can behave.”

I could. I knew I could. To prove it, I drove for three more
hours without drifting off once. The sun had come up behind us, and cast its
rosy light over the whole world.

“Look!” I said, pointing at a giant billboard. It showed an idyllic
neighborhood with big trees, and beautiful homes with flower gardens, and it
said, ‘If you lived at Greenwood Gardens, you’d be home in three minutes. Exit
Now.’

Now
that
was a sign! I knew for certain that it had been
put there just for me. My other voice knew it, too.

“There’s a Marriot at the next exit,” he said. “Pull off, and we’ll
get a room.”

At the bottom of the ramp another sign said, ‘Open House, 108
Maple Drive, Greenwood Gardens. All day Saturday and Sunday.’

The Billboard was true to its word. In less than three minutes, I
had followed the signs, and was turning onto Maple Drive. Red and blue balloons
floated above the third mailbox on the right, and an ‘Open House’ sign on the
lawn welcomed us. A bluish Toyota SUV on the curb was the only car there.

“It’s just like the picture on the billboard,” I said reverently.
“Except for the trees.” It was a new development with sod yards and shrubs, but
too new for full grown trees. I stopped the van on the curb across the street
and admired this little slice of perfection.

A middle aged woman in a grey skirt suit opened the front door
and stepped out onto the patio. She spotted the van and waved. I forced a smile
and waved back.

“I’m going in,” I said. “I want to see the house.”

“Someone lives here, idiot. Remember what happened last time?”

“I don’t care. This could be the one. I’m going in.” I pulled my
Red Sox cap down over my oily, messy hair, and walked up to the patio.

“Good Morning. Welcome to Greenwood Gardens. How did you find
out about us?”

I smiled. I wanted to say something glib, clever, or charming,
but I searched and searched for just the right words without finding a single
thing to say. So I stood there. Smiling.

She stood there smiling back. I could tell that she was looking
for the right thing to say too, and I felt a bond with her because of it. We
understood each other. We didn’t need words. I nodded my understanding of her
troubles, and walked around her into the house.

“Um, so, you can see that the owners have made a bunch of real
nice upgrades. Just look at the fantastic tile work in the foyer. The entire
house has colonial crown and base molding. It really helps give the home a
special atmosphere.”

That was exactly what I thought. “Special,” I said, still
smiling and nodding. My attention was on the coat closet, though. Behind the
double folding doors with tiny nobs that didn’t turn, I found pure gold: a man’s
black cashmere jacket, umbrellas, shoes, dog leashes and collars, women’s coats,
a five foot level, and a broom.

I was almost overwhelmed by its normality. If this were my home,
I would hang my coat here after a long day at the office. Would I grab a leash
and take Fido for a walk? Maybe I’d have a glass of wine first. Isn’t that what
normal people did when they came home from work?

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