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~~~

The crescent moon smiled down upon the vineyard like a lunatic, scaring off the nearby stars and dominating the black void above. On the ground beneath, Charlie’s smug smile was equally terrifying.

“Don’t you dare try anything,” he commanded her. He put his gun to her temple. “Put your hands together and place them on that fucking tractor wheel, or I swear I’ll let it loose on you. I speak, you obey. Do you understand the rules?”

Amanda nodded through tears, too terrified to open her mouth as she kept looking over at the old shed nearby. The dead thing inside continued to pound against the other side of the frail wooden door with such dreadful force. She thought it would break out at any moment. Its bone-chilling screams told of its maddening hunger and intense aggravation at being held back from reaching its meal, just a few short feet away.

She was forced to sit in the kneeling position and rested her hands, as instructed, on the lower part of the wheel.

Charlie tucked the gun in his armpit and quickly tied the old broken lamp cord he’d found in the shed around Amanda’s hands while using the rest of the cord to secure them to the rim of the large tire.

The back of her head felt wet and throbbed in pain. He’d come at her on the porch without warning, without a word, grabbed her by the hair and pulled her off the porch. Before she could call out, he’d hit her in the head with something hard. Then everything went dark.

“Ch… Charlie,” she finally managed. “You don’t have to do this. I’m sorry I didn’t- ”

“Who owns you?” he asked.

She looked confused.

Charlie rolled his eyes as if dealing with a child. “As per our arrangement at the boathouse, who has control?”

“You do,” she said.

“That’s right! I do! So tell me, Amanda, when did you decide to break our arrangement and betray me? Did you just think you could keep hiding among the others and that I’d forget about you? Did you forget what I was capable of?”

“You… you scared the hell out of me, Charlie. I wasn’t thinking straight. Give me another chance and we can go back to the way it was. I can make you feel good… like before.” She wanted to vomit after saying the words.

Confident the cord would hold, Charlie stepped away, tucked the gun in his belt near his belly, and placed his hands behind his back. He began to pace behind her. “Yeah… I have to admit, you were ‘enthusiastic’ at the beginning. How long did that last again? That’s right, three nights. You were an amazing, if not brief, distraction from dealing with those other idiots… and then you started pulling away, distancing yourself from me. At first, I thought it was your addiction that was fucking you up. I was patient with you, waited for you to get your head on straight, but you only got worse.”

“You were right. I was sick. The withdrawal… I couldn’t stop shaking at night.” She was telling partial truths. “I wanted to get better so I didn’t disappoint you… sexually. You can understand that, can’t you?”

Charlie shook his head and laughed. “You are a talented whore, not very good a lying though. What happened in Painesville?

Amanda got quiet.

“That’s right,” Charlie continued. “I heard what you did. You tried to talk them into leaving me there. Do you deny it?”

There was only one answer he would accept. “No, Charlie. I don’t deny it.”

He raised his hand. “That’s okay. I let that one slide too. You were only trying to save your own skin when the Painesville horde was coming. I get that. I would’ve certainly have left you there in an instant if the situation was reversed.”

“I’m glad you understand, Charlie. You’re a great guy- ”

“Shut your condescending pie hole! You’re not fooling anyone, whore!”

The monster was getting more aggressive, responding to the sounds of their voices and screaming louder.

Charlie covered his ears and turned toward the shed. “For the love of God! I can’t think with all that damn noise. SIT AND BE STILL!”

The shed was immediately quiet.

I’m so fucking dead, Amanda thought. She tried to free her hands but the more she struggled, the more it hurt her wrists.

“There, that’s better. Where was I… oh yeah, your fucking disobedient attitude.” He began to pace again. “What the hell am I supposed to do with you now? I gave you every chance to turn it around and come back to your senses. But then you humiliated me in front of the group and left me hanging when I expected your support for my leadership. Now that—Amanda—that I can’t forgive! You punked me out in front of that red-headed bitch and made me look like a loser!”

“What do you want me to say, Charlie? I fucked up… I admit it. I’ll do whatever you want. Just tell me what it is that you want.”

He ignored her. “Has it occurred to you why I haven’t come right out and displayed my ‘power’ to the group yet? Does your puny little mind even think about things like that?”

Amanda did not trust answering.

“I’ll tell you why, dear… it’s because of you! If I couldn’t get a frightened whore to obey me, even after you knew what I could do, what chance did I have of getting the others to follow me. That’s when I realized that their fear of me would make them as insolent as you. Fear is a powerful master to usurp, and all of you scare babies reek of it! You look at me like another monster, not your master, and react accordingly. Therein lies the problem. As long as my power is misunderstood by the sheep, the shepherd can’t maintain control.”

He’s insane. Amanda wanted to drink… and drink… and drink… until she could just forget everything and pass peaceably into the hell that awaited her.

“You were my pilot program, Amanda; my test run. If I could keep you in line, then I could reveal myself to the others and take over… but you screwed that all up!”

“I’m sorry,” she said weakly.

“It’s not your fault… really, it’s not. Fear has been your master for years. It’s hard to break away from that one. I used to be like you, scared shitless all the time. But not now. I was destined for this time, and I now understand what it requires to make you all obedient to me. I should’ve seen it sooner.”

“What do you mean?” Amanda asked.

“Let me show you.” Charlie smiled like the devil, got up and walked toward the shed.

“What are you doing, Charlie? Please… don’t do that.”

Charlie reached for a wooden latch across the shed door and tossed it aside. The door came open with a slow agonizing creak until the pale naked woman, covered in tattoos, was revealed standing in the doorway.

Oh, my God! What sick fucking madness is this? Amanda thought.

The dead woman with blond braided hair and a nose ring, lifted its head and spotted Amanda. It came alarmingly to life as it pushed its way out of the shed and began to move toward her.

“NO!” Charlie commanded. “STILL, BE STILL!”

It cocked its head toward Charlie and barred its teeth at him. The woman hissed in frustration and clawed at the air in front of Charlie’s face. But it moved no further.

“My goodness,” Charlie laughed. “You are a feisty one. SIT DOWN!”

The woman fell clumsily to the ground as if its bones had just turned to jelly.

Charlie laughed at it and turned toward Amanda. “I’ve been playing ‘Simon Says’ with this thing all day long, working out how to command it better. Seems that shorter words and phrases work the best. It’s almost like training a dog… almost. I’m starting to get the hang of it though.”

“What the fuck, Charlie? Kill it!” Amanda was pulling hard on the cord. She no longer cared if she broke her wrists in the process.

“Now stop that, whore, or I’ll let my new friend have a go at you.”

Amanda stopped. She started weeping as the dead woman turned its dark lifeless gaze on her again and opened its mouth. It was actually snapping its jaws at the air.

“Celine?” Charlie said. “Hello… Celine… are you still in there?”

The creature did not respond.

“She can’t remember a damn thing about her life, as far as I could tell. She’s completely obsessed with feeding. I think that’s all these pitiful things want to do anymore is eat. I let her have the other dead one she’d killed earlier. It was rather difficult to stomach watching that.”

“Please get it… get it to stop looking at me, Charlie. It’s unnerving.” Amanda said.

“What’s the matter with me,” Charlie said as if coming out of a trance. “Introductions are in order. Celine, this is Amanda. Amanda¸ meet what used to be Celine. I never caught her last name. She’d died rather suddenly.”

“You… you killed her?” Amanda was stunned.

“No… no… of course not. She was already on her way when I found her. She’d got bit and died about where you’re sitting. I waited until she reanimated and then got her to follow me deeper into the vineyard. I thought she was going to bite me a couple of times… apparently the recently reanimated ones are much more stubborn than the rotted ones. I thought Celine was still in there for a while. I conducted some… experiments just to find out. She never showed a hint of self-awareness, not even after I stripped the fucking thing… and then not even after I took it a bit further…”

“You didn’t! Please tell me you didn’t!” Amanda didn’t think Charlie was capable of something so heinous—or anyone. Her mind couldn’t even conceive of something so foul.

Charlie didn’t appreciate the accusation. “Oh, you would think that, you fucking whore! You must think I’m a complete idiot! There’s a big difference between a little foreplay and… that! It’s still an infected carcass, for crying out loud!”

She wasn’t convinced.

“Are you done stabbing at me with your devilish tongue and sneering eyes? Or should I feed them to Celine?”

“You wouldn’t…” she whispered. Amanda looked into Charlie’s disturbingly vacant eyes, as dead to compassion as Celine’s now were, and then she knew what his endgame was. She looked at the dead thing lying naked on the ground. Celine, the shell of a woman no longer present, save for a name attached to slowly rotting flesh. She almost felt sorry for it—humiliated, violated, desecrated, and now reduced to a pet on a verbal leash.

He wants to turn me into that!

Charlie smiled at the recognition painted across her horrified face. “Shall I tell you what I learned about my gift today, Amanda. Shall I share the grand revelation that came to me when I found this worthless girl begging me to stab her in the head and end her life?”

“Charlie… please… don’t do it. If you go through with this, there’s no turning back. Believe me, I know all about major mistakes… you won’t get another chance to come back after you’ve crossed the line.”

Charlie dismissed her with his hand. “Don’t speak to me about boundaries as if you could stand on any moral high ground, you fucking hypocrite! You were a waste of a life before this all happened. Dead marriage. Dead daughter. Dead to your own emotions and thoughts as the fucking bottle controlled you like a puppet. You let your world collapse all around you and then had the audacity to continue sucking on the air and sucking down the booze as if your drunk ass deserved to still be here. Look around you, Amanda. Your world is long… DEAD… and so are you. You’re just too stupid to lie down and accept it. It’s time to move on… don’t you think? I’m going to make your death mean something after you’re gone. I promise you.”

Charlie looked to Celine and said, “COME. FOLLOW.”

The dead thing got up and followed Charlie over to Amanda.

“Wait… Charlie! Don’t fucking touch me!” Amanda yanked hard on the wire. The pain shot up her arms. She frantically started turning her wrists. The wire sawed into them as fresh blood helped lubricate her right wrist. She almost had it free.

“STOP,” Charlie commanded Celine. It stood there like a viper over Amanda’s head.

Amanda refused to look up at it. She could hear it panting with anticipation.

Charlie bent down to her right ear and said, “I can make this quick and painless for you, Amanda. One bite on the arm and it’s over. If you struggle, this is going to get messy. It’s easier to control her if you remain calm. If you get excited, she’ll get excited, and it might take off your whole damn arm before I regain control.”

“Charlie,” she begged, “please stop this.”

“It’s almost over. Afterwards, I’ll cut you loose and make you comfortable… before the end comes.”

Do something! Anything!

“Hold still now.”

Do something you piece of dirt!

“CELINE… COME CLOSER…”

Dirt… dirty? Yes! Oh, my God… FUCK! Just do it! Do it NOW!

“Charlie wait a minute!” Amanda nearly yelled. “It’s important! Hear me out… and then I’ll go quietly… I promise!”

Charlie sighed heavily. “BACK. I said, GET… BACK!”

Celine growled its unhappiness at the command, so close to tasting flesh. The monster stepped back.

“What is it?” Charlie barked impatiently.

Amanda turned her head toward Charlie, quickly locating the gun still in his waist, and put on the performance of her life. Forsaking any attempt at feigning seductive, she settled for desperate and needy (the desperate part was already there). “Fuck me,” she commanded.

“What?” Charlie was immediately confused.

“Do it right now! Get behind me and fuck the shit out of me!”

“Are you for real?”

“Come on! Last chance for a real piece of ass. I want to feel you inside of me one more time. I want to die remembering something good!”

Charlie felt his blood rise. Feeling self-conscious, he looked over at Celine and felt stupid for doing so.

“Come on, Charlie! What are you waiting for? Let it watch!”

“What?”

“You heard me.”

“You’re fucking nuts!”

“No, I’m fucking horny!”

Charlie was shaking. He’d never felt so… aroused. He quickly stepped behind Amanda.

She pushed her ass up into the air and spread her legs.

Charlie looked to Celine and said, “SIT DOWN.”

The dead thing fell to the ground.

And then for no reason other than fueling his twisted new fantasy, he commanded, “WATCH!”

He reached around, unbuttoned her pants and pulled them down to her knees.

She could feel the cold steel of the gun on her bare ass as he leaned forward.

Amanda pulled down with all her might on the cord, trying to free the right hand. Blood dripped down her forearms. She was beyond the pain.

Come on, let me go!

Charlie removed the gun from his waist to get to his belt. He watched Celine, placing the gun on the ground within backwards reach of Amanda, if she could get her arm free.

He unbuckled his belt. Unbuttoned his pants.

“LOOK HERE!” he said to it.

The dead thing looked at him.

Charlie’s heart was pounding a thousand miles per second.

He focused on Amanda’s ass. Began to pull down his pants…

“Charlie! What are you… doing? Get away from her!” came the strained voice from behind him.

He immediately pulled up his pants and turned.

It was Stephen, standing at the end of the row.

“Help me!” Amanda cried out. “Kill him! He’s fucking insane!”

Charlie was furious. “Celine, KILL. KILL. KILL!” he commanded.

The creature went for Amanda.

“Hey!” Stephen called out, stepping dangerously close to the dead thing. “Come on! Here’s your lunch!”

The dead thing turned and charged after Stephen.

He back peddled and fell.

Charlie turned and noticed a large shadow coming out from around the back of the shed. He went for his gun, forgetting it was on the ground.

Amanda beat Charlie by inches. She managed to get her legs over the gun.

“Give it back bitch!” he shouted.

“FUCK YOU!” she shouted.

Charlie got to his feet and watched Frank tackle Celine. “No! Leave her be! She’s mine!” he shouted.

Frank ignored him, pulled out a large knife and buried it into the back of her skull.

Celine ceased to move.

“You fucker! You’ve no right…” Charlie shouted.

“Hey!” came the female’s voice from behind him.

Charlie turned around. “You!”

“Yeah. Me.” Gina said. She slammed the butt of the shotgun hard into Charlie’s nose and broke it.

He fell to the ground as his sick world went dark.

~~~

Next Episode (21-7):
https://freezombienovel.wordpress.com/2014/08/16/chapter-21-7-goodbye-charlie/

Previous Episode (21-5):
https://freezombienovel.wordpress.com/2014/08/11/chapter-21-5-goodbye-charlie/

~~~

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________________________________________________
“Chapter 21-6: Goodbye Charlie” Copyright © 2014 Scott Scherr. From the Novel “Don’t Feed The Dark” Copyright © 2014 Scott Scherr.

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.

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Comments
  1. Artcp says:

    Hey Scott,

    I believe the “then” in “the recently reanimated ones are much more stubborn then the rotted ones” should be “than”.

    Keep up the good work.

    Like

    • sscherr says:

      Hey Art, welcome back :) Thanks for all the typo catches. I’ve fixed this one. I’m going to have a field day when I sit down to edit more than 300,000 words…lol.

      Like

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