Sam awoke with a start. Something had just smacked into the service window.

Fuck me. How long was I out?

Sam looked at her watch, 2:30 pm. She’d been awake since eight o’clock yesterday morning and the lack of sleep mixed with stress was catching up.

Can’t keep waiting here. I’m going to have to make a play soon.

There had initially been reports passed down over the switchboard, from neighboring precincts that were still functioning, of the widespread panic and deaths occurring in other cities. People were changing into monsters, corpses were walking about in the daylight—it was all still so hard to believe. But one look into the lobby and out on the streets confirmed the worst. Sam had a limited view of her surroundings considering the only windows available were the ones facing out the main entrance and a couple in the back, which only showed a fenced-in parking lot for the cruisers with a large indoor parking garage obstructing all further view. She could take her chances out back, maybe even make it to the garage, but not without gaining a bigger picture of what she’d be walking into first. Once she was outside, there would be no turning back.

Sam had been able to gleam a little more information off the few television stations that were still broadcasting, until they started playing continuous warnings on a repeated playback loop before completely going off the air. The radio stations had gone down soon after. All Internet, telephone lines and cell phones communications were also out. Sam had found that strange.

I thought nothing could stop the internet. Facebook was completely shut down in just a few hours… I can’t even imagine that.

Was the Federal Government somehow responsible for all of this? Were they trying to control information gathering and sharing? The old detective was rising up within her and the unanswered questions were piling up as high as the body count.

Besides a viable escape plan, the other thing that kept her at the station was the naive belief that law and order would be restored at some point and all those who had abandoned their posts would have to give an accounting of their actions. This was still her post, and she was responsible for the lives of those scumbags in the cell block. Besides, restoration was already underway; the power plants were now being secured (smart move for that meant they could keep the lights on). Power had already been restored in many areas, but some cities were still without electricity, including Eastlake.

Sam crept around in the dark to get a better view out into the lobby. The lobby was now packed wall-to-wall with the infected. She estimated that there had to be at least forty of them now. Sam stared over at the barricaded door, which led into the lobby, and began to doubt it would hold if they ever figured out it was there, or, if she was behind it. She’d moved office desks in front of the door and stacked them on top of each other. Sam still couldn’t make out much beyond their shadowy frames, but it looked like a mix of men, women and even children.

Children!? What the fuck is this bug or virus that kills children?

That had been one of many questions she and Steve had tried to figure out while securing the station. If they had known then how bad they’re circumstances would get, they could’ve left a long time ago. Now, there were just too many of them (whatever they were). They could’ve bailed long before Steve went outside to investigate a burning smell…

Steve. Fuck man, I can’t do this shit by myself.

It had turned out to be an out-of-control car that struck a telephone poll last night and caught fire. Detective Ackers had gone out into the lobby, before the dead had claimed it, and discovered the crash one block down. He’d told Sam to remain on post and that he was going to see what he could do to help. Steve had grabbed the first-aid kit and took off. That was the last time she saw him… before the mob of monsters jumped him in the street.

Sam had exited the station long enough to watch Steve disappear and she got a good look at the number of infected people crowding the area. A few had seen her and chased Sam back into the station. She’d fired several rounds through the glass doors, trying to keep them out… but they kept coming. She’d fled the lobby and barricaded the door, effectively imprisoning herself… and abandoning Ackers.

Sam had closed her eyes and tried to shut out the sound of his cries for help, before he went silent.

Steve Ackers was not only her superior, but at one time when Sam still held her detective’s shield, Steve had been her partner.

Sam had always dealt with anger issues. From childhood bully to beat cop, Sam found outlets to express her uncontrollable fits of rage. Steve had been good for her as a partner, mentor, and as a friend. He had kept her out of trouble more times than she could count as Sam often threatened to cross the line between professional behavior and just plain out abuse of authority when it came to apprehending criminals and interrogating suspects.

Sam was an intimidating big-boned girl with short-cropped blond hair who kept in shape. She could pass as a man more than a woman, especially in uniform. This often made her a source of ridicule among her peers who thought women had no place in law enforcement. Once, when she was a rookie cop, Sam had been called a dike by a senior officer and she’d broken his nose with a sharp right hook. Sam’s police career would’ve ended then if not for the embarrassment of the cop, who refused to fess up and say that a woman bested him.

Her volcanic nature finally cost Sam her detective’s shield when she had assaulted a prime suspect in the murder investigation of a local teen who’d been savagely beaten to death. Sam could tolerate a lot of things, but the abuse of children made her exceptionally volatile. The man she’d attacked turned out to be innocent of the crime, as they caught the murderer three weeks later. No charges were filed, which saved Sam from losing her job, but she was demoted to save face with the public and commanded to seek counseling to get her anger under control. Since then, she’d been assigned a desk job, until further notice.

“Hey, pig! I know you can hear me out there. You can’t just leave me back here with this guy, he’s fucking crazy!” It was the brawler.

Sam silently cursed for leaving the door open between the service office and the cell block. If she could hear him, they could as well.

From the lobby, several dark shapes began to get excited, pushing into each other as they tried to pinpoint the new sound.

Sam slowly backed away, turning toward the cell block hallway.

“I think he’s like the others. It’s not safe back here and you’re supposed to keep me fucking safe! It’s your sworn fucking duty!”

She quickly closed the door and ducked down behind a nearby desk as several disfigured faces with dark holes for eyes pushed up against the glass.

Sam shuddered at the sight, and drew her gun.

My God, they’re all fucking demons!

Contorted, blood covered faces turned and twisted, pressed up against the glass, and with mouths wide open, they tried to bite their way in. Their movements were sluggish and frustrated as some began to pound on the glass. These were not the same creatures that Sam and Steve had fought off earlier. Their eyes looked vacant and far away… and very dead.

Sam shook the thought and turned away from the window to watch for movement around the barricaded lobby door. She wouldn’t allow herself to believe that the lobby was full of walking corpses. That was just too much for her over-stressed mind to handle. Hearing the reports was one thing, seeing the dead coming alive all around her was quite different.

After a few minutes, the demon faces were gone, once more lost in the growing mob of shadows which haunted the lobby.

If they had seen me…

Sam cast out that thought, not wanting to consider what it would have been like for those things to break through the barricade and have them crawling all over her body.

She entered the cell block, closing the door behind her, and waited for her nerves to steady.

“Hey, cop, is that you?” Brawler called out from the end of the hall. “Get me the fuck out of here!”

I should’ve shot that loud mouth prick earlier. Sam could feel the temperature rising. From a far off place, she could hear the specter of her former partner trying to calm the storm:

Don’t do it, Sam. Keep your head this time and don’t do anything you’ll regret.

Sam took several deep breaths and relaxed her grip on the Glock. Her knuckles were white from squeezing the pistol grip. As a final gesture to her departed friend, Sam re-holstered her side arm and then calmly approached the loud mother-fucker’s cell.

“It’s about time,” Brawler said through the bars. He pointed to Carmen’s cell. “That asshole tried to attack me. He tried to reach through the bars and bite me like that other guy. You gotta get me out of here!”

“Should’ve followed your first impulse, cop bitch. Killing that waste-of-a-life would’ve been a public service,” Frank Carmen advised from his bunk. He never looked up and was now folding what looked like a paper tiger with another page of the magazine.

“Fuck you, man!” Brawler said. “Just wait until I get out-”

“Shut up,” Sam said coldly. The look she shot Brawler spoke volumes.

Remembering the burn marks on the side of his head, Brawler obliged, returning to his own bunk where he chose to sulk instead.

Oh, what a fucking child, Sam thought.

Sam turned to Carmen, maintaining her cool (fucking Master Ackers would be so proud of me right now) demeanor, and asked, “Convict, what’s with the paper dolls? The world’s falling to pieces all around us and I’m all you have keeping some nasty fuckers from eating you alive, and all you can think to do is keep smart mouthing me and making paper-fucking-airplanes? What are you going to do, fly out of here?”

“It’s called Or-a-gam-i. It helps me relax, helps me focus. Maybe you should try it sometime. It might help you with that itchy trigger finger you’ve got. Although, I like a good time bomb in a person—it makes for a great show.”

Brawler snickered.

Calm, Sam.

“And as for you, numb-nuts,” Sam said, turning back to Brawler, “If I catch you hollering like that again, I’m going to come back there and cut your tongue out! Those things outside don’t know we’re here, but your shouting nearly changed all that.”

So much for calm, Sam. Tick… tick… tick…

Brawler defended, “It was that fucking guy’s fault! He started acting all crazy and reaching for me through the bars! I thought he… you know… changed.”

“Is that true, convict? What’s your game, are you trying to get us killed?”

Frank put the paper tiger down and stretched. He stood, walked near the cell door, and said, “Oh, I don’t know, maybe I’m just bored and like fucking with this idiot. What are you going to do, cop bitch, arrest me for it?”

“Stop calling me that.”

“Stop letting it bother you so much,” Frank countered. “You’re just giving me another button to push, another weakness to exploit. Maybe I’m testing you, by fucking with him. Maybe I wanted to see what you would do when you realized you couldn’t watch all the corners in this place all by your lonesome. And maybe, just maybe, you might need my help if you want a chance of getting out of here.”

Sam snickered. “I don’t need a fucking thing from you, convict. If not for you two, and some fucked-up sense of responsibility for your worthless lives, I could’ve been long gone from here by now.”

“What… like you partner? Is that why I haven’t seen the good Detective Ackers for a while now? I figured something happened to him… when I heard the gunfire.”

Sam frowned. “Don’t talk about him. That’s none of your concern. You should be more worried about yourself right now.”

Frank smiled and said, “Yes… that’s it, isn’t it? I can see it all over your frightened face. What happened, did he get himself killed trying to keep you out of trouble again?”

Keep it together, Sam, the ghost of Ackers advised.

“I’m not afraid, convict.”

“Sure you are. Only a fool wouldn’t be. But acting on it is your failure. You’re afraid of me, you’re afraid of them, and you’re most certainly afraid of yourself. Hell, with all that fear pulling you apart, it’s no wonder you don’t have a plan yet. You’re so busy fighting on too many fronts to think clearly.”

“For someone convicted of murder and drug trafficking, who was foolish enough to get caught, you sure have it all figured out, don’t you?”

“Ok, so now we’ll play your game, then? See whose dick is bigger, sort of thing? Maybe your cheap shot will be better than my low blow, is that it?”

“What are you babbling on about?”

”Why don’t you tell me how brave you were when you let your partner die? What did you do, hide under a desk while your friend got his face ripped off?”

“Shut your fucking mouth, convict!”

“I bet you were ready to run then, weren’t you, cop bitch?”

“I mean it-”

“You call me a convict, fine. Hell, at least my actions were my own. What was guiding yours when your friend needed you? What will your peers call you when they find out how you left poor Detective Ackers out there to die?”

“You weren’t there, asshole! You don’t have a fucking clue what you’re talking about!” He’s trying to push you, Sam.

“There’s a name for that kind of shit, you know. It’s called cowardice. So are you a coward, cop bitch? I’d rather be a convict than a coward.”

Sam’s gun was out and pointing at Frank’s head. She wanted to unload an entire magazine into that clever fucking smile. She couldn’t stop her hands from shaking. Tick… tick… tick…

Frank did not flinch. He moved a little closer. “And there you have it, cop bitch. You just keep on leaving me that button to push, and I just keep pushing it. What’s the matter, I thought this was your game?”

“Keep talking,” Sam hissed. “You’re just begging me to put you down. It’s just you and me now, convict. No lawyers, no judges, and no fucking laws to protect your sorry ass. I can get away with just about anything I want at the moment, and when the smoke finally clears… one less murderer feeding on the system won’t matter to anyone.”

Frank laughed and said, “Do I look worried, cop bitch? You go on and do what you have to do. It’s a dog-eats-dog world now… hell, it always was.”

She took a step closer to the cell door to get a clear head shot.


Next Episode 8-3

Previous Episode 8-1


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“Chapter 8-2: State of Emergency” Copyright © 2014, 2015 Scott Scherr. From the Novel “Don’t Feed The Dark, Book One: Southbound Nightmares”.

No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission by the author.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

  1. Sam says:

    I only found your work a few days ago. All caught up, loving it.
    very well written, believable characters and the best way for me to spend my lunch break!

    Liked by 1 person

    • sscherr says:

      Hello Sam,
      I’m excited that you found the place and had a chance to catch up. Thanks for the encouraging comment and for reading. There’s a lot more coming and I hope you decide to hang around :)


  2. Hannah says:

    I am absolutely in love with this book! So glad that I found it, so well written! I read it just about every night before bed, gives me some crazy effing dreams, but so worth it! Lol. well done =D


    • sscherr says:

      I’m glad you found my story, Hannah, and it’s great to read that you’re enjoying it so far. Thanks for the encouraging response and I look forward to hearing what you think as you get farther into this tale. See you around :)


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