“Shut up, man!” Brawler pleaded. “Don’t get her upset, she’ll shoot you! The other one’s not here to stop her psycho ass. She’s the bad cop and bad cops do bad shit when no one’s looking.”

Bad cop? This broke through Sam’s fiery wall. What the hell am I doing? I’m acting no different from the criminals.

Sam felt disgusted by her lack of self-control. She lowered the gun and holstered it. She’d been so close to giving in to the anger this time, so damn close. “I’m not a bad cop, just an exhausted one.”

Frank’s smile faltered slightly.

What was that, disappointment? Watch this prick closely, Sam.

Brawler collapsed to the ground and began to weep again.

So much for your hardened criminals.

Frank wasn’t done yet. “Now that we’ve finished playing your game, can we get back to the matter of you needing my help?”

“No fucking way,” Sam said.

“How are you going to get us out of here? I hope you’re still not waiting for the calvary to arrive?”

“Don’t you worry about it, convict. I’ll find a way to save your sorry ass.”

Frank shook his head as if dealing with a stubborn child. “You’re not thinking straight. How long have you been awake? How long before you make that one tired mistake like the one you almost made? You need my help.”

“What are you talking about?”

“For one, you almost shot me.”

“Okay, Captain Obvious, what’s your point?”

Frank reached out and grabbed the bars with both hands and shook the cell door. “THINK! What do you suppose would’ve happened if your temper had its way and you shot ole’ Frank in the head? How fast do you think those creatures would’ve been in here after hearing the shots? Wasn’t so bad last night when there were just a few, but if I’m collecting the details I’ve overheard correctly, this place is seconds away from being overrun.”

Shamefully, Sam had to admit, the convict was correct. Her anger was anything but reasonable. Add in exhaustion and Sam would soon be her own biggest threat.

“How much longer can you go without sleep?” Frank continued. “There’s no one to stand watch while you take a rest, and you’re certainly not going to let me do that or risk getting your throat cut, which means, you’re running out of time.”

“Get to the point!” Sam was too tired for this mind fuck. She needed a plan.

“You haven’t even checked the roof yet to get your bearings. How can you consider anything until you know what you’re dealing with?”

Sam said nothing.

Frank shook his head again and dismissed her with a waving hand as he went back and sat on the bed. “Do it all, then, cop bitch. You better head back out front and check your defenses since you can’t be in two places at once. They might already be inside, for all you know.” He began to fold another piece of paper.

Sam was glad to get out of there. The prick was right, of course. She couldn’t keep the precinct secure by herself, but she was quickly running out of options. She could just leave them. Bail out. No one would hold it against her considering the circumstances.

Sam shook her dark thoughts off and walked into the service office to check on the barricade.

Her poor timing could not have been more devastating as Eastlake power was just restored.

From the lobby, the dead, nearly sixty strong, received their first good look at Officer Samantha Petroskovich as the overhead lights lit up the entire precinct.


The distinguishing difference between Frank Carman and the fish bowl which housed the rest of humanity was not that he’d killed three people. Hell, most people were just one or two rungs away from falling off that ladder, committing daily acts of murder in their dark thoughts as though they were the moral ones because they had not acted on what they so desperately tried to hide. No, Frank was more honest with himself than that. Hypocrites. They always spoke of the ‘pursuit of happiness’ while living a contrary life. And why should he hide who he was by wearing lies embraced by society which defined how the decent man lived while they simultaneously plotted against each other whenever backs were turned? Why should he be branded ‘criminal’ when so many wept in their beds at night long after the farce of the nine-to-five world was over, once they had willingly bent forward and took it up the ass repeatedly by such harmonious bullshit like community, service, commitment and respect? In the end, most people were nothing but liars with happy face masks who cursed each other at the end of the day. Love thy neighbor as thy self? Please… just more hollow concepts to tame the true savage who festered in the pit of Man; another lie claiming that they were something better and more evolved than the rest of the animals in the kingdom.

Pursuit of happiness? That was just another open-ended fairy tale waiting for Mr. Happy and Mrs. Joyful to finally snap under the weight of all that pretension, walk into a supermarket or an office building and start blowing people away with their registered weapons of choice.

So yes, he’d killed people, bad people who would’ve done him in if circumstances had leaned in their direction. If ninety-nine percent of the population judged him as an ‘evil man’ because he did what he had to do to survive, then what of it? They were all just beasts, no better than he, born of the same corrupted dust, and they were in no position to judge him, and not a one of them his equal because they told lies to themselves to feel like ‘good’ people.

Fuck ‘em all, Frank Carman did not weep in the darkness.

It wasn’t dealing drugs that made him detestable either. All those weak fucks dealt some poison or another. Whether it was watered down religion, self-help diet fads, do-it-yourself get rich scams, or late night dating services… dealers were everywhere. He was just one among many supplying a product that was in demand. Take away the need for the junk and there would be no drug dealers. If the fucking DEA ever got their heads out of their asses, they might one day see that you can’t stop the supply if you can’t stop the need.

No, what made Frank truly different from all those lying whores of a broken system was that he paid attention to the little things, all those subtle details that went overlooked by the majority. To Frank, the details spoke volumes and offered opportunities to exploit the truth buried in his pathetic fellow man. Frank Carman loved those little details. They were like small cracks in the back doors of vulnerable minds. Sneaking into their heads was what made Frank tick.

He continued to plot his new escape plan, staring into the creases on the paper. Each fold would serve to reveal the next until the worthless page became a new creation. In this case, a swan. He loved to take the same page, fold it, and then unfold his origami creations to make another. His mind worked likewise. He could see the patterns in people, the creases old and new, and reform the patterns to his liking. Predictable sheep—every single one—all waiting to be led to the slaughter.

From the neighboring cell, Brawler continued to pace. Frank both loathed and was fascinated by the man’s fear. Loathed, because the man was a slave to it; his tell-tale actions were nothing but wasteful and served no one but himself. Fascinated, because Frank could use that fear and manipulate this fool, and others like him, into serving his own purposes.

“How can you sit there and do nothing?” Brawler asked.

Frank ignored him with a knowing smile. Silence. That’s all that’s required with chumps like this, he thought. He would love nothing more than to have me join his worry parade and march aimlessly over a cliff. Fucking idiot. Not worth my time or my words.

Brawler continued to pace when Frank offered nothing in response. Brawler found this unnerving, just as Frank knew that he would.

Frank had done far more than nothing from the back of his cell. He’d watched, waited, and made adjustments in light of the quickly deteriorating situation. After the initial gunfire from up front, Frank had listened intently, piecing together bits of frantic cop talk, and discovered that three of the five officers were dead.

The only one that mattered had been Leland, the inside man, the soon to be paid off pawn that Carman’s boss, Malcolm Hathaway, had put into play to arrange for Frank’s escape during the prearranged prison transfer.

Malcolm had promised to get Frank out after going down in a bad drug bust, which led to his incarceration. When the cops had caught him and three of his cohorts in the middle of receiving a shipment, Frank had shot all three of his partners before almost getting shot himself by the police. He’d quickly dropped his gun and surrendered.

After his arrest, Frank had refused to deal with the district attorney and sell out his employer. He would not lead them to the ‘bigger fish’ to save his own skin. Malcolm had sent word to him in lock-up and asked why he’d shot his men.

Frank had said, “They would’ve told them everything. I knew from the start that those shady bastards had no backbone.”

Malcolm had agreed with Frank’s assessment and had been impressed, promising to get him out for his loyalty.

After Frank had spent two months in Lake County Jail, awaiting trial and sentencing, Malcolm had made arrangements to intercept and delay the transfer, forcing the overnight stay in Eastlake, before Frank was shipped to a maximum security prison farther south.

Frank had an idea or two as to how Malcolm pulled it off, cashing in on a few favors owed by VIP’s in high political standing.

With a hefty financial compensation and a new forged identity waiting for him upon escape, Frank was promised a new position in an out-of-state operation down in Tampa.

All was going smoothly until the world decided to go to hell.

When the drunk across the hall had gone crazy and attacked another inmate by reaching through his cell bars, Frank had been beside himself, unprepared for the rapid change that transformed a mere man into monster in seconds. He’d already been monitoring the conversations from down the hall when the violence began. Brawler had voiced his disbelief and fear like the pointless fuck that he was, babbling incoherently about demons and devils. Never had Frank witnessed such sudden savagery as this former man began to rip the skin off his neighbor’s scalp with his bare teeth. It was then that he clearly understood that the original plan was now null and void and he was on his own.

When the female cop had entered the last time, he’d almost had her; a few moments more and he could’ve reached through the bars, side stepping the first shot in the dimly lit cell block, and disarmed her before she knew what had happened. But then that whining idiot brought her back to the land of reason and she had holstered the gun.

He’d tried to use her anger against her. Now he would have to play on her fear. Things had gotten considerably worse outside, as far as Frank could deduce. And now, add in the demise of the good Detective Ackers, there was only the female cop to work with—the loose fucking cannon. He had to get her to see that she was up shit creek without him. He was close.

Time was Frank’s true enemy; time, that indifferent master of man who waited for no one. You could not deal with it, outwit it… or kill the fucker. And time was quickly leaving the building. Frank needed to win the cop’s trust before then, or it was Game Over.

He needed a new angle, another page to fold anew.

Frank got his wish when the lights came back on.


Next Episode 8-4

Previous Episode 8-2

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“Chapter 8-3: 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:

    Frank is my kind of criminal…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. mike says:

    To slow must have more

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sam says:

    I’ve read a lot of online submission stories like this, some come weekly and some come monthly and most start with quick submissions because they’ve already written a lot, but it slows down as they catch themselves up. The few good ones are definitely worth the wait. Yours Sir, is one of them :)

    Liked by 1 person

    • sscherr says:

      Thank you Sam. Your comment made my morning :) Between you and me, I would not have started posting DFTD if I hadn’t thought it through. I have three quarters of this book completed (rough draft) with a clear line of sight to the finish line. I needed to get that far before I was willing to start this serial novel because in order to ask people to commit to reading a book done this way, I felt I had to be committed to the readers as well. Rest assured, I have a clear plan of attack and DFTD will make its minimum 3 episodes a week until the book is finished. That is a promise :)


  4. Jesse says:

    Oh I really like this Frank Carmen. Awesome that he’s tied in with Malcolm Hathaway. When I narrate Frank Carmen, I actually imagine Tychus Findlay speaking, a character from the Starcraft series. Using imagination and comparison like that makes it a lot easier to get into character for me. In fact I do something similar to that for all the characters I’ve narrated so far in Don’t Fear The Dark.


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