this is the end


Easy. Don’t push him. Remember, he’s a lunatic with a gun. Gina turned back to the video.

Most of what she saw on the film were echoes of the scattered images from her foggy memory. She watched herself fall to the ground as the house guests began stripping off their clothes, turning into their ‘animal fucking selves’, and then the orgy. She shuddered when she saw Gerald approach, cover her shoulders with the robe, and then walk her out of the frame.

Fucking predator, I thought that monster was Tony!

She forced herself to watch the video for another fifteen minutes, trying to ignore the disgusting sexual exchanges on the off-chance of seeing Tony in the background. She was troubled that she could only see a piece of the bonfire in the right side of the frame. The camera was zoomed in close on the house guests to capture their faces.

Insurance, remember?

Gina found herself wanting to see the bonfire, trying to will the camera to pan over with her mind, and yet, that was the last thing she wanted at the same time.

Before she could consider this further, Malcolm was over her shoulder, saying, “Watch carefully now. Watch what happens.”

She had no idea what Malcolm was talking about. They were fucking like wild rabbits. What else was there to see? Cult Beach Porn, the sequel?

Then it happened.

“What the fuck? Play that back!” she said.

“Watch,” Malcolm hissed, rewinding the tape slightly.

Gina watched as the one-eyed captain stood up from a pile of naked bodies and walked over to his wife, who was riding another man. The jovial Captain Bellington grabbed Madeline by the shoulders, spun her around, and… what? Kissed her?

No, Madeline was grabbing her mouth, falling backward.

He just bit her fucking nose off!

“That didn’t just happen!” Gina said.

“Keep watching.” He reached for a small dial and added, “Now you’ll be able to hear it, too.”

Malcolm picked a point in the audio where the bongo drums had stopped. Gina immediately recoiled at the sound of Madeline’s screams from behind the pile of skin.

There were other screams as well; both men and woman. The pile of bodies near the fire began to disperse as some tried to flee while others gave chase.

Gina watched in horror as one woman lifted up her hands to ward off the attack of another crazed woman. The woman grabbed a hand of her victim and bit her pinky clean off.

“My God!” Gina whispered.

The night vision showed an increasing amount of deeper green among the bodies, indicative of the blood frenzy.

“Look, at their veins… just like Gerald, yes?” Malcolm seemed less repulsed and more like an excited school boy discovering a secret. “And although you can’t tell with the night vision, I’ll bet all their eyes had changed as well!”

Yellow eyes, she thought.

“It’s extraordinary isn’t it? And I caught the whole transformation on video!”

These are your fucking friends getting mutilated, asshole! Gina wanted to shout.

Scenes of spontaneous murder, brute savagery and cannibalism continued to play out before Gina’s eyes. One moment that would linger longest in her nightmares was watching a woman, still oblivious to what was happening all around her, nearing the edge of orgasm as the man who was fucking her began to bite into her left breast, tearing the nipple clean off.

“Stop this,” Gina whispered. “Please, I’ve seen enough.” Gina turned away, unable to stop the emotional breakdown that was coming fast and hard as the tears freely flowed. Gerald’s transformation was one thing… but now this? Up until this point she’d wondered if the lingering drugs in her system had caused her to hallucinate the monstrous Gerald Schuler who had attacked her. But the tape was undeniable.

Malcolm seemed almost disappointed, but was unable to stop the video just yet. “Wait… wait… there’s one more thing you need to see.” He hit the fast forward button, skipping the remainder of the bloody massacre. “Here, now. Watch… what… happens… here.”

Gina looked at Malcolm, and then at the gun firmly locked in his wrist. She wanted to scratch his fucking eyes out.

Gina looked back at the screen. “Where are they going?”

Both predators and what remained of their prey ran away from the bonfire and out of camera coverage and toward the lake. Both screams of terror and howls of extreme rage and hunger continued to register on the audio.

“They all ran into the lake, every one of them,” Malcolm said. “The video never shows them returning. I checked the beach after I saw to your needs. Nothing. I think the ones who… changed… chased the others into the water, fed on them, and were carried out by the tide.”

“Why would they stay in the water?”

That is the question, my dear. I believe they all shut down after feeding and simply let the current drag them under. I noticed the same thing after Gerald fed. I think their bodies must exert extreme amounts of energy to digest what they’ve eaten and they simply… sleep. I think that’s the reason Gerald hadn’t finished you off yet while you were unconscious. The other two had slowed him down. Not to mention, he was adamant about getting in here, as you heard from all that pounding.”

“Well isn’t that reassuring,” Gina snapped. She felt mentally exhausted. She needed to put her mind elsewhere, back on anything that didn’t defy reality. “So please tell me what this has to do with Tony. I didn’t see him out there at all, so where the hell is he?”

Malcolm looked at her with a forced sympathetic expression. “I’m afraid it explains more than you wish to see, my dear. From what I could tell, the infection struck randomly and quickly. There was no way to distinguish how one was affected and not another. Just as you and I were not apparently selected.”

“Infection? Selected? What are you talking about?”

Malcolm tapped himself on the forehead, “I’ve nearly forgotten. You haven’t seen the news. Dear Gina, this is happening all over the place.”

“What is happening all over the place? Please start making some sense, you’re really scaring the shit out of me right now.”

Malcolm turned on his television. The first channel was already off the air flashing a multi-colored background and audible whine. Several other channels were also down. “Shit, I was afraid of this. It’s just a matter of time before all contact is lost. Internet and phone services are already gone, but that could be the government’s doing.”


“Wait a minute! Found one!”

The signal was weak; the picture faded in and out of static. Gina could clearly read the message flashing red and scrolling across the bottom of the screen:


Gina stopped reading. Above the warning messages were scattered images of complete and utter chaos throughout the state. Fires burning out of control, mass riots, lawlessness, open murder in the streets, people eating people…

“Turn it off,” Gina said.

“Hmm?” Malcolm was still staring at the screen.

“Turn it the fuck off!”

Malcolm turned off the television. “Poor, Gina. This must be overwhelming for you, especially on top of the night you’ve already had. I’m truly sorry, for what it’s worth.”

“One more time, asshole,” Gina hissed, “where is Tony?”

Malcolm laughed so hard, he triggered another coughing spasm.

Choke on it, bastard!

“Tony? Tony, you say?” Malcolm was losing it again. He started waving the gun about.

“Excuse me, I need to use the bathroom.” Gina quickly stood up and exited the room. Malcolm followed her out into the den.

There was definitely something wrong with him. Out in the light, his eyes looked… dull gray. “Tony… Tony… Tony… always Tony. I don’t know, Gina! Maybe he’s out buying you a dozen roses, or maybe he went home to sleep off the weed! I know! How about, I have him chained up in my secret laboratory where I’m conducting vicious experiments on him!”

“Shut up,” she cautioned.

“Maybe I’ve shrunk him and placed him in my pocket… or… or… maybe he’s out back taking a fucking swim with the rest of my party guests!”

“Would you please calm down.”

“Don’t tell me to calm down!” He pointed the gun in her face. He shook violently for a few moments, finger on the trigger. “Maybe I should just blow your head off… hmm… I’d be doing you one more favor, for I imagine things are about to get considerably worse out there.”

Gina almost prayed he’d do it and end it all right now.

Realizing that his nose was bleeding again, Malcolm wiped it with the back of hand, looked at the blood, and then wiped it absently on his khakis. This distracted him enough to regain control. “I don’t know where Tony is, you silly woman. Chances are good he’s changed into one of them and fled the house. Maybe he’s roaming the sand dunes for something to kill. Or maybe he’s feeding on someone back in town.”

“Please, just stop it. I get the point. You win. Tony’s probably dead.” She felt completely defeated. Then she looked up at Malcolm and asked, “Why us, and not them? Why are we not… infected?”

Malcolm sat back down, laughed, and responded, “You said it yourself, I am a drug dealer, not a scientist. I have no answers for you. I’m sorry.”

Gina nodded, resigned to leave it at that. She wanted to crawl into the smallest ball possible and simply disappear. Her whole world had just gone to shit overnight.

After granting her some silence to digest all she just heard, Malcolm said, “If it’s any consolation, my dear, I will be dead soon. From what I’d gathered earlier when more information was available, those who get attacked by the infected and survived, they are getting sick. It’s my understanding that they’re not dying, just staying sick and wishing that they could die. That to me is worse than death. It’s the torment of death without the grace or release that death affords. I’ll spare you those stories. Needless to say, when Gerald bit me, he infected me, too. So, if it provides you with some small sense of justice for all you’ve suffered, then at least my demise will grant you some peace.”

“Strangely enough, though I should be ecstatic, it really doesn’t offer me anything. I wouldn’t wish what you described on anyone… not even you.”

For once, Malcolm had nothing to add.

“Well, then, let me give you what I can,” Malcolm said. “It’s my understanding that you’re safe for the moment because we’re so isolated out here, but be warned, once you get back into the city limits, all bets are off. People are being slaughtered farther inland.” Malcolm laughed again and said, “I can’t decide who has it worse, me or you. I’m already dead, in a sense… but you… you’re something else’s next meal now.”

“Oh, that’s fucking comforting,” Gina barked.

“You’ll have to watch your back, my dear. Take whatever you wish from my beach house; whatever you think will help you. I only wish I had another gun to spare because you’ll certainly need one.”

“Going somewhere?” Gina asked the sick man.

Malcolm smiled, leaving the question hanging.

Gina got up and walked to the nearest window facing the lake. She stared out into the dark night. Everything looked so peaceful, like a black blanket thrown over the horrors that took place, temporarily upholding the lie until dawn. It was hard to believe what the media was saying; hard to swallow that this nightmare wasn’t going to end after all. Truth was, it was just beginning.

“One more thing,” Malcolm said after another coughing fit. “Don’t know what to make of this. One of the networks was out on the streets interviewing survivors, if that’s what you want to call them. Seems there are quite a few folks saying that the dead are rising from their graves.”

Gina turned and stared in disbelief.

Malcolm thought about this for a moment, and then said, “If there’s any truth in this, then it’s reasonable to assume that this infection that’s changing folks on the spot—like crazy yellow-eyed Gerald—perhaps they’re not crazy but dead. Dead inside, at least. Then there are people like me. I can tell you that if what I’m feeling tearing away at my insides isn’t something close to ‘rotting’, then I don’t know what dead means. If folks are rising from the grave, and I do mean ‘if’, then this infection is redefining the rules of the game.”

“What game is that?”

Malcolm sighed impatiently. “It’s redefining the rules of what death means, and what death is capable of creating now.”

She had no response. Gina closed her eyes and let the tears fall. If she wanted to survive now, there would have to be no more of that.

Time to get tough, girl, and decide where you want to fall in this shit storm. Do you want to lie down, spread your whore legs once more, and let this new fucked-up world rape your ass, or do you want to make damn sure that it never happens again?

She opened her eyes and stared out at the lake. She thought about walking with Tony on a beach like this, but far away on some European shore. Yes, that was the dream, once. She held on to it for a moment more, just like those tears she let fall. After she walked away from that window, there would be no room left for either.

“Malcolm, I have only one more question to ask you. I don’t care if you’re lying about all the rest to cover your own ass, but you owe me one honest answer. What were you burning in that fire tonight?”

The sound of the gun made her jump. She turned around in time to watch Malcolm’s arm hit the floor, the weapon falling from his dead hand.

He’d decided to try to make his own rules and bend death to his own will, while he still possessed control.

Gina felt nothing. She simply walked over, picked up the gun, and checked the chamber. It was empty.

“I guess I’m not even allowed a single bullet or one honest answer in this new world.”

She knew what the question really was—it was a stab at holding on to hope. If Malcolm had told her that Tony hadn’t been tied up and placed in that fire—Sacrifice, was what he’d said—then maybe she could allow herself to believe Tony was still out there… somewhere. But either way, monster or ashes, Tony was dead.

She knew what had to be done. Without looking back out the window, Gina left her dreams, tears, and even hope, to rot on that beach.

She began to search the house for anything she could use to survive the unknown horrors of the pending day.


Next Episode 7-1

Previous Episode 6-2


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“Chapter 6-3: Dinner and a Movie 2” 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. oncegiants says:

    This is true survival horror, man. The unease and fear of what’s out there is palpable. I think Gina has become my favorite character. She’s hit rock bottom and still has the moxy to push on. I’m praying Tony is still alive… somehow!! Great stuff. :)


    • sscherr says:

      Thanks. I was really striving to capture the insanity of that first long night through these multiple perspectives. I think Gina is discovering just how much steel she has within. If it were me… I’d probably never crawl out from under that bed.


  2. Jesse says:

    God, I really couldn’t stop reading. Absolutely great, Scott. I’m honored to narrate this.


    • sscherr says:

      Thanks, Jesse. I originally wrote chapters 2 and 6 together, as well as, 1 and 7 (You’re gonna love 7, too, I think). They were the first two chapters I wrote in their entirety that showed me what this story could be. It was exciting… and still is ;)


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