Not Dead in the Heart of Dixie (2 page)

BOOK: Not Dead in the Heart of Dixie
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while, the Urgent Care Center is closed to new patients. There were enough patients in the waiting room and lined up out the door to cover all blocks of time for the full day. You can expect a 6-8 hour wait to see the doctor. I'm glad I never went into the health care field because I'd be a nervous wreck right about now.

Carisa's piano teacher called to cancel her lesson for this afternoon. She's feeling ill and plans to "stay in bed with chicken soup" hoping to thwart the illness. I'm glad she canceled. If I'd seen her sniffling and sneezing
, I might have grabbed Carisa and high tailed it away from there with no thought at all to my manners.

Mr. Peterson's knocking at the screen door and he has a
solemn look on his face. I need to find out what's wrong.

Be right back…

Whew! Mr. Peterson's son is very sick and they won't send an ambulance unless he's at deaths door.

Mr. Peterson wanted to know if Mick or Jason could take his son to the hospital in Birmingham. I told him
that Mick and Jason were working and I have kids to care for and Christmas things to prepare. I feel bad about it, but I don't want any of us near anyone that may have the unknown illness. I sent Mr. Peterson home with peppermint tea, a big apology, and half a loaf of banana bread we had left from last night.

I'm glad that Christmas is two days away. I wanna get it over with so I can get back to worrying over my supplies and the crazy news in town. I can barely keep my mind on sweet potatoes and Christmas presents right now.

Carisa's been on the computer in her room all day. I hope she's feeling okay. I know she'd come to me if she was feeling ill, but, oh hell... I'll just go check on her.


9:00 PM...

Carisa's fine. She's in an online chat with friends and they've been on and off all day. She has a nice group of friends.
I like them all. They're the "smart" kids in school but they’re not nerdy or geeky, nor do they run in the pancake-makeup/cheerleader/football jock crowd.

Carisa's favorite thing, second to band, is her computer. In my opinion
, she's on that thing too much. She's a very quiet, polite, and respectful teenager. She makes A's and B's and she's never late for anything. She grew into the sweetest, most tenderhearted and loving teenager I've ever known.

I see a police car turning into Mr. Peterson's driveway. I hope it's a friend who can take his son to some type of medical facility.

It's dark now, and these old eyes are wanting to close.

Bye for now.


11:40 PM...

I barely got to sleep when the sirens started. There's police cars and a fire truck at Mr. Peterson's house. I have no clue what's going on but I pray it has nothing to do with his son's illness. Mr. Peterson's had a couple of strokes. We've seen police and ambulances at his place before. Hopefully, he hasn’t had another stroke.

The goats are making strange sounds. I'll get Mick up to check on them and see if it's just the lights and sirens that have them stirred up.


12:05 AM...

I sent Mick out with my 9mm Glock to check on the goats. They're raising a ruckus.

There's a helicopter shining a spotlight on the woods to our left and right. The only other time I've seen a helicopter and spotlight around here was when two convicts escaped from a prison in Huntsville and were last seen taking the exit off the Interstate a few miles from us. I hate nights like this whe...

I just heard a gunshot and it was loud!

It has to be Mick!



Tuesday, December 24

Yep, it was Mick.
He saw something looking large and in charge in the pen with the goats. He shot in the air to scare it off, and it hopped the fence and took off through the woods. A few minutes later, we had visitors from Mr. Peterson’s driveway. They hollered for Mick to "drop the weapon and get down on the ground" until they could secure the area and find out exactly who Mick is and what he was doing, firing a gun in the middle of the night. I was laughing my rear end off while they sternly questioned him.

Anyway, we learned from the police officers that Mr. Peterson's son, Steven, became so delirious that he ran out of his
father's house butt naked and hasn't been seen since. Mr. Peterson said black foam was coming from his mouth like a rabid animal.

The police spent most of today
looking for Steven. They searched the woods and up the side of the mountain behind Mr. Peterson's property. They followed the little creek at the base of the mountain as far as they could, but found no sign of him. Mr. Peterson's beside himself with worry. I really hope they find Steven before Mr. Peterson suffers another stroke.

One of the neighbors
past the right woods has two large dogs that often give us problems. Once, I had chickens free ranging about the place. Those stinkin' dogs caught and killed all my chickens. I threw one heck of a hissy fit on the neighbor's front porch, but they still allow those dogs run loose.

The "thing" in the goat pen was running on all fours, so we don't t
hink it was Steven. I'll bet it was one of the neighbor’s dogs. Please Lord, let them find Steven soon.

ll be limiting our time outdoors today in fear of Steven Peterson. I'm trying hard not to think on it too much but it's there, right on the edge, all the time. I immediately think of it with every bleat of a goat, bark of a dog, or scratch of a limb on the window. Please Lord, let them find him today.

What a fun day this is go
nna be. I've been up most of the night and I still need to get sweet potatoes and a couple of desserts ready to go for Christmas Eve at my parent's house.

We call my parents "Pop and Nana." Mick's parents are "Grampa and Gramma."

Mick's family lives in Michigan. It’s beautiful there, during winter. I always pray for snow when we go to Michigan in winter so that Marisa, Amber and Carisa can go sledding.

Please Lord, Let them find Mr. Peterson's son today.

Mick was in the Navy and he and I met in Connecticut after my divorce from Marisa’s dad. She and I were renting a condo so I could continue making a living by running a little retail gift shop I owned and she could stay near her Dad. The rent was so expensive that my only choice was to find a roommate.

Mick came into the
shop a couple of times to get gifts for his mom or a girl he was dating. I liked him right away. I knew he was tired of staying in the barracks and asked if he'd be interested in renting a room.

He moved into one bedroom of our little condo and I shared the other bedroom with Marisa.

Several months later, Mick and I were truly "together." I'd planned to stay in Connecticut and work but, if you are Southern you know, there’s no place like the South.

I sold my little shop and told Mick that Marisa and I were moving back to Alabama
, and if he wanted to be with me, he could come along. If not, then, it was a good time and no hard feelings. Of course he came with us 'cause I'm a good catch and so loveable (snort). About a year later we were married and along came Carisa! She was a very good surprise.

Yes, my
kid’s names rhyme. I'm Southern and we do that with our kids name sometimes. So what? What does it hurt?

My ex-husband passed away a few years ago. He
suffered from severe diabetes. He didn't take care of himself and, after several years of illness and having an insulin pump implanted, he died. I hope he's resting in peace. His parents passed away several years ago and I'm glad they didn't have to see their son die.

We lost power for an hour this afternoon and it screwed me over with my time plan on getting everything done. We'll be a little late, but this time we get to blame it on the power outage.

I gotta get going on the sweet potatoes.

Bye for now.



Wednesday, December 25

Merry Christmas! I guess.

Everything went according to plan at Pop and Nana's last night, even if it was a little late. We all had a great meal and I got to spend time with my sister who I hardly ever see. We live in the same town, but she’s always busy.

twin nephews are fifteen years old, same as Carisa. They're into basketball, football, and drag racing. Most of their summer weekends are spent at a drag strip. They stay busy and spend more time away from home than they do at home. When they aren't racing, they're at the lake, or mud boggin' with their friends.

Everyone's worried about the
unknown illness and the hospital situation. We all agree that we should take precautions when we're around groups of people.

They found Steven Peterson early this morning
, and he is not okay. He was frozen in place among the cattails of a local farmer’s pond. When they got him thawed out, he was still kickin'. They had to "eliminate" him.

Otherwise, it was a pretty good day. We had a great Christmas morning with all the kids here, opening presents. We had a big ol' lunch of leftovers from Nana's. Then, we went out and did some plinking and target practice with the rifles and pistols.

Carisa's really good with the rifle. We'll get her a .22 LR of her own when tax money comes in.

It's late now and I can barely keep my eyes open. Christmas is over tomorrow. Hallelujah!



Thursday, December 26

Can I take it back?

Can we go back in time a couple of weeks so I can be better prepared for everything that's happening? Just two weeks. That's all I really need.

The hospital is still on lock down. They have twelve more cases of the unknown illness. These new cases are people that were
the hospital at the time of the lock down.

No one is allowed within 500 yards of the hospital.

The CDC is there, and one of the new cases was a CDC researcher who got a little too close to an infected patient. The patient bit through the elbow of his HAZMAT suit.

One little tooth broke through the skin
, and within twenty-four hours the researcher was dead and back up. He was trying to bite his colleagues who were sleeping in the makeshift barracks they'd set up. He didn't tell anyone he had been bitten, much less that the skin had been broken when that one little tooth got through.

He was put down by
a hospital security guard who was not usually armed, but was carrying a weapon due to orders from the head of security when the "well" or "almost recovered" folks in the hospital were told they couldn't leave. Thank goodness the security head had the forethought to arm his guards.

The local
National Guard was sent to secure the entrances, exits, and public areas of the hospital. People are sleeping on the floor, on chairs, in the staff rooms, and in the sick-bed with their loved ones. It's a mess.

There was a big ruckus at the end of our street this afternoon. Mick ran into the fray when he was on his way home from picking up a carton of cigarettes.

The farmer who owned the pond where Steven Peterson was found has (had) three children. His six year old daughter became ill Christmas morning. She was feverish, lethargic, and her eyes were glossy. She chewed the insides of her cheeks until they were raw and bleeding.

The family decided to wait ‘
til after Christmas to take her in for treatment. Three hours later was too late. She passed away and got back up before the coroner could be called. She bit her two older brothers, ages nine and eleven. She was fast, and was chasing everyone in the house. Her cousin took her out with a wooden baseball bat to the head.

Men in official looking uniforms came to pick up the two boys
, but could only take the nine year old and the body of the little girl. The eleven year old escaped up the mountainside. He wasn't sick at the time, but he was very frightened. They haven't found him as of 9:00 PM and have called off the search until morning. I don't know where they've taken the nine year old, but they took his parents with him. The body of his sister went along for the ride.

The CDC is making public announcements on local radio that the unknown illness is a virus and i
t’s mutating quickly. They've second guessed their prior assumption that the first two babies died from an unrelated cause. They know that being bitten guarantees almost 100% infection. (How do you get 99.5% infected?) Several people who've passed away were not bitten at all.

They have no idea what the "end game" of the virus will look like. The latest cases have all been bite victims
, including the farmer’s daughter who had a bite wound on her lower back. I don't know if her parents knew about the bite wound.

Sometime after 6:00 PM
, the local LEO's were driving down every street in every neighborhood with their speakers blaring loudly. They "encouraged" us to stay indoors, keep pets indoors, lock all the windows and doors, and call 911 if we see or hear anything suspicious or if anyone in the family has bite wounds and/or becomes suddenly ill.

BOOK: Not Dead in the Heart of Dixie
7.37Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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