“Do you guys hear that?” Charlie asked, trying to keep up with the group. “Sounds like every car alarm in Percy’s going off.”

“Just keep moving!” Doug barked over his shoulder.

Charlie turned toward Amanda and the new guy and said, “What’s that all about?”

They ignored him.

The big moron was talking hurriedly to that redneck, Greg, who was pointing insistently toward a section of tall grass toward the south-eastern section of the perimeter fence. Apparently, they were having trouble locating the train tracks. Idiots, Charlie thought.

Gunfire—from the same direction farther south where the alarms were going wild.

Everyone stopped and turned.

“Shit,” Amanda said. “It’s really happening, isn’t it?”

The question went unanswered as Doug broke their collected paralysis. “Move. Now!”

They stopped again as the sound of gunfire could also be heard from the east.

“Jesus,” Stephen muttered. “That sounds real close.”

More gunfire. This time it was coming from behind them, toward the center of camp. People were screaming. Running. Like a match starting a blaze, the panic was instantaneous.

Frank turned to Greg. “I strongly recommend you find our exodus, Moses, before your Red Sea turns into a fucking blood bath!”

Greg was terrified. He looked at his daughter, registered his own fear in her face and manned up. “It’s this way. I’m sure of it.” He led them toward the tall grass, hoping to God that they hadn’t already passed up the location. “It’s just on the other side of an old gate in the fence that’s a hair shorter than the rest.”

“There,” Marcus said, pointing out a faint trail in the overgrowth directly to their right. He then traced it with his finger to a barely visible gate. “Is that what you’re looking for?”

Greg nodded with relief as he led them into the tall grass.

“Thank God,” Charlie interrupted, drawing their attention toward a group of people rounding the eastern corner of the fence line. “Here comes the fucking cavalry!”

“That’s not the National Guard,” Doug said, lifting his bat. “Everyone get down in the grass before they see us!”

They all ducked down into the weeds as the first of the monstrosities rushed past. They were headed for the main camp.

“Dad,” Ashley whispered, staring up at Greg with a pitiful look, “all those people… they don’t know what’s coming… ”

“They’ll be alright,” Greg lied. “The guardsmen will look after them.”

Gina’s blood turned to ice as she retrieved her handgun. The dead advanced like the one she’d fought on the beach. Their movements were disjointed, as if their bodies no longer functioned correctly and yet continued to support their need to move at horrific speeds to reach their prey. “Remember… head shots,” she said.

Frank’s gun was out. He aimed it at each horror until the last one sprinted by. They counted thirty. “Hey, Chief Wahoo, you might want to get this party started.”

“Let’s go, people,” Doug said. “Anyone with a weapon, get ready to fucking use it. The rest of you get Meredith and Ashley to that gate and get it open. We’ll cover you until you’re all on the other side.”

“Go under it,” Greg corrected, holding his axe at the ready. “Fence is older than dirt and should be weaker underneath since them tracks run beneath it. Not much to ground it to.”

Frank signaled that all was still clear. Amanda and Stephen helped the older woman to her feet. Meredith looked half-dead from her earlier ordeal and seemed only partially aware of what was happening. Charlie took Ashley’s hand and closed in behind them.

Marcus held up, getting Amanda’s attention. “I’m going to stay here and help out.”

Amanda gave him an open-ended look and then continued toward the gate.

He moved in between Gina and Doug. “Nice to meet you both, I’m Marcus by the way… Amanda’s friend.”

Doug and Gina exchanged a puzzled look.

“Oh, yeah… right,” Marcus said, retrieving an item from his pack. “Thought this might come in handy when I packed it.” He showed them his camping machete.

Doug seemed satisfied. “Greg, Frank, Marcus, you’re with me. Gina, go with the others to the gate.”

“Don’t give me that ‘let the men handle this’ bullshit. I’m perfectly capable of-”

“Calm down, Fireball. You’re the only other gun we have and we don’t know what’s on the other side of that fence. If you’re a decent shot, they’ll need you if there’s trouble. Besides, if we get overrun here, we’ll lose two guns. Understand?”

“Got it,” Gina said, embarrassed by her premature outburst. She started back to catch up with the others, thankful that someone was still thinking clearly. She was running in automatic mode fueled by pure adrenaline and terror.

Something stirred within the tall grass behind them and fifty feet to their right, midway between the two groups.

“There!” Greg said, pointing toward several bloody faces bobbing in and out of the weeds. “They’re headin’ for the gate!”

Greg was about to shout a warning toward the others, but Frank moved up behind him and covered his mouth in time. “Shhhh!” he whispered in his ear. “They don’t know where we are yet.”

Greg eased up and nodded.

“Let’s move. We’ll intercept them from behind,” Doug said.

“Where’s that new guy with the machete?” Frank asked.

Marcus was gone.


Survivors in the large tent community were enjoying the day, each preparing to do their part in working to make living together as comfortable as possible. They held on to hope that everything would soon return to normal out beyond the fences and loved ones would be reunited in the aftermath of Saturday’s madness.

The sounds of gunfire invaded their temporal society from the south, shattering all illusions of normality in seconds as the terrified camp turned on itself. People ran over top of one another to get away from the pending slaughter; their sense of community, trampled beneath fleeing feet and fear-filled hearts.

The yellow-eyed monsters stormed through the center of their camp, tearing into thin tents and soft flesh as many were devoured before even exiting their canvas tombs. Some fled toward the central camp as the beasts brought them down one by one, spreading their foolish remains across a crimson splattered parking lot. Every one of them was slaughtered before reaching the central camp.


From the west, the undead continued to exit the pine forest. They scaled the fences and joined the mass meat market of crowded survivors huddled around the main pavilion. A wall of panicked civilians kept the guardsmen from reaching the monsters who blended into the hysteria that followed. Survivors fell in pools of ravished flesh as others slipped and fell in their remains as the monsters pounced upon them. The camp fell apart in moments as the ant hill was struck, causing all of them to scatter. The dead were among them, tearing and biting into flesh and bone. No one knew when and from where the next attack would hit until they felt savage teeth tearing into them. The large pavilion tent was overrun by panicked citizens and denizens of the dead that struck with no mercy at men, women, children.

The guardsmen at the civilian gate to the north immediately retreated to fend off the attack from their flank. They could not discern between friendlies and hostiles as moments of hesitation cost them their own lives. Yellow-eyed monsters ambushed them from within the fleeing survivors as the guardsmen began to open fire on anything that moved in their immediate vicinity.


A barrage of bullets rained down upon the horde which pursued Sergeant Hash’s squad once they were in range of the Percy Power Plant’s security force. The sound of assault rifles ripped apart the day as shots rang out from every tower and rooftop position until the dead were brought down. More killers continued to surface from the eastern gully, as Hash and company rounded the northern end of the inner protected area and continued toward the civilian gate.

“I can’t reach anyone, Sarge,” Thompson said. “The big-wigs in the power block aren’t answering up either. I don’t like it.”

“Ditto,” Hash said as he focused on reaching the camp. “Let’s haul ass!” he shouted. “Triple time, move it!”

The north gate was within sight. Percy’s security force continued to lay down suppressive fire toward the east and north, stopping the much smaller groups that managed to get around the north side to pursue fresh meat.

“Where the fuck’s everyone?” Thomson asked. “This isn’t good.”

They entered the civilian gate and abruptly halted in their tracks.

“Oh, dear God… we’re too late,” Hash said as he and his men stood horrified, witnessing the ongoing massacre of the survivor’s central camp.

Five sharp tones chirped across their radios as Thompson turned to Hash and said, “That’s Command. They’re sending instructions.”

From their radios, Hash heard the following broken message: “All units, initiating Delta Foxtrot Five. Repeat, Delta Foxtrot Five. All units return to base camp. Repeat, return to base camp.”

“No fucking way!” Hash yelled. “They can’t be serious.”

“That’s a DF5 direct command,” Thompson said.

“I know what it is, you fucking idiot! I just can’t believe they’re issuing it.”

“Sarge, we have to go… now! You know what’s coming next. We can’t be out here when the purge protocol goes active.

”But what about the survivors? We can’t just abandon them!”

“That’s exactly what we’re doing. DF5, Sarge! Worst case scenario, class fucking five! There’s no room for dispute here.”

“Fuck that. Get the men together, we’re going to help these people.”

Thompson aimed his handgun directly at Hash’s face causing the squad to share confused looks.

“What are you fucking doing, Thompson?”

“Don’t make me relieve you, Sarge. I don’t want to do this, but I’ll shoot you down right now. You know as well as I do that the camp’s lost. Nothing we can do now will change the order. No sense in getting us killed, too.”

Sergeant Hash looked at Thompson and said, “You are the worst kind of coward there is, Thompson. Orders or not, this is as wrong as it gets. Do you understand that?”

Thompson simply nodded. “Changes nothing. You know it. I know it. These people are dead already.”

Hash knew he was right.

“Order the withdrawal, Sarge, or I will.”

Hash turned back to view the slaughter, allowing it ample time to burn within his memory forever. Then he turned to the men and said, “Fall back to the power block. Our work’s done here.”

The guardsmen looked apprehensive.

“It’s a fucking Desperation Factor Five event! That’s all you need to know. Move it!” He then said to Thompson without looking into his disgusting face, “Send the order over the radio. Tell them all to fall back.”

“Copy,” Thompson said, lowering his sidearm. He relayed the order for all units to fall back to the inner protected area muster point for emergency ingress into the plant. They were not to bring any survivors with them.

Hash moved his men away from the fight and they retreated to the muster point.

On the way, Hash advised Thompson, “Next time you draw your gun on me, you better pull the trigger. That will be the only thing stopping me from killing you where you stand.”


Gina rounded a bend in the tracks and found Stephen and Charlie about twenty feet ahead kicking in a section of loose mesh at the bottom of a ten-foot fence. She noticed right away that trying to climb over it was not an option due to treacherous spiral strands of razor ribbon at the top.

Amanda and Ashley were tending to Meredith who lay like a rag doll against the fence. The older woman seemed more responsive as she noticed Gina and began to wave.

Gina felt like an idiot, but smiled and waved back anyway. Wait, they’re all waving now… no… they’re pointing. Fuck me!

She heard its heavy feet running up behind her and ducked down, avoiding a lethal swing by an enormous man who reached out to take half of her face off with blood stained fingernails. She felt the rush of air whiz by her head as the bear-sized, yellow-eyed monster howled at her in frustration. Gina lost her balance, falling forward in the tall grass. She rolled over on her back as a large, hideous burly man, face drenched in fresh blood, advanced toward her. He was dressed in a torn leather biker vest and chaps, his bulging veins running up and down his large tattooed biceps like he was about to explode.

Gina dropped her gun in the fall. It sat on the tracks, just out of reach like a horrible joke.

She could hear the others yelling in the background. Time seemed to slow down. The beast was already sitting on top of her legs, pinning her shoulders down with a ferocity that immediately reminded her of being raped. It opened its mouth wide to reveal what once might have been a healthy set of teeth, now stained red with pieces of flesh and bone piercing its gums. It leaned in to end the nightmare.

She closed her eyes and felt strangely at peace. I loved you, Tony.

And then it was over.

She felt the pressure weaken on her shoulders as the beast went limp. Someone kicked its headless corpse off of her legs.

“We’re not safe yet, I’m afraid,” a voice said, reaching down to help her up.

It was Marcus.

Gina was shaking. “Thank… thank you.”

Marcus smiled weakly, lifting up the bloody machete by the handle with his fingertips as though he were holding a viper. “That was… disgusting,” he said at last, looking like he was about to vomit. He reached down and retrieved Gina’s gun. “Are you able to use this?” He handed her the weapon.

“I think so,” she said, grateful to have the heavy cold steel back in her hand.

Three more monsters exited the tall grass and darted down the tracks toward them. Another three quickly rounded the bend where Gina had come and were catching up.

“Now would be a good time, I think,” Marcus suggested.

Fucking six of them! I can’t miss a single one or we’re dead! Gina raised the revolver, aimed, and then fired three wild shots into the sky.

“What the hell are you doing?” She gave Marcus a disbelieving look.

Marcus had moved in and pushed her arms upward at the last second. He pointed just beyond the first three beasts at the remaining three who were now raising weapons.

“Oh Christ! I could’ve shot them by mistake.”

Frank lifted his gun and fired, blowing the back of one head to pieces. This caused the other creatures to turn around. Greg let out a yell while sending his axe blade into the forehead of a middle-aged woman. Doug swung sideways, sending his nail-spiked bat into the cheek of what used to be a business man, judging by its tattered suit.

“Go!” Doug yelled. “There’s more coming!”

Gina and Marcus shared a quick look, each seeing the other’s terror mirrored back at them. They turned and ran toward the fence, with Doug, Frank and Greg coming up on their heels.

Gina was relieved to discover that the others had safely managed to reach the other side. Stephen and Charlie were holding the loose end of the fence up like a chain link doggy door while the others were urging them to hurry with hands gripping on to the opposite side of the fence like terrified children.

Gina and Marcus crawled through the gap and helped the others hold it open for the bigger men to squeeze through.

“There’s a small trestle up ahead!” Charlie started. “It’s wide enough to cross with a gap at the center. If we can get across that…”

“…we’re home free,” Doug finished. He nodded at Charlie. “Take us there, quickly. The fence won’t buy us much time. Stephen, Amanda, Ashley stay behind us with Meredith. Greg, you’re with me and Charlie at that gap in the bridge. Frank, Gina, you two take the rear since you have the guns.”

Frank and Gina were already up and aiming toward the fence. They could hear more movement in the tall grass on the other side.

Frank said, “You alright, girl?”

“I’m not dead yet,’ Gina responded.

“You two,” Doug barked, “are you ready for this?”

Frank snickered and snapped back to Doug, “We’re good here. Less talk. More fucking action!”

They moved down the decrepit tracks until they reached the trestle. Crossing over it slowed them down, but each step farther from the plant made them all feel better.

They reached the gap in the tracks and were alarmed that it was over ten feet.

“Shit,” Charlie said. “It didn’t look that bad from a distance.”

The tracks themselves were completely gone, leaving a twenty-foot drop into thick vegetation below. But a small section of the trestle’s support beams remained intact, connecting both sides.

“We climb down and up,” Doug said. “Just be mindful of your footing on those support beams.”

Doug climbed down first to insure the beams would support their weight. He made it across and up the other side. “Come on… move!”

One at a time, they climbed down and across without incident.

Safely on the other side, Gina and Doug looked back at the gap.

“Think they’re smart enough to get across?” she asked.

“God, I hope not,” he said. “All we can do is keep moving.” He turned and was surprised that the others had stopped. “Come on, people. This is no time for a fucking break!”

They all stood looking off toward the right as the view from the trestle opened up, affording a view of the camp below.

“Doug,” Greg said weakly. “You have to see this. It’s… awful.”

Doug and Gina came over and stopped.

Gina placed her hands to her mouth.

For once, Doug was out of commands.

The Percy Power Plant parking lot, converted survivors’ camp, was filled with hundreds of yellow-eyed savages chasing after what was left of the survivors as they hunted them with no remorse—men, women and children. A few guardsmen who were left scattered and broken off from their squads, fought back valiantly, but were soon sliced to pieces with the rest. Screams filled the remains of the day as people fled and were slaughtered on blood-splattered asphalt.

Each one of them stared at the devastation below, the true face of the horror they had once believed themselves safe from, and understood that they were truly alone now.

“Why don’t they help them, Daddy?” Ashley was saying through tears. “Why don’t they let them inside?”

Greg had no answer.

“That’s a hell of a good question,” Frank said. “Look, none of those things have breached the inner fence. Not a one.”

“Those fuckers left them to die out there, that’s what’s happening!” Charlie said. “Probably to save their own high-and-mighty political skins!”

“Something’s happening,” Marcus said. “Look at the guard towers.”

From within the power block, the order was given, as the final stage of Desperation Factor protocol Five went into effect.

From every fortified position within range of the parking lot came the thunder of automatic gunfire as everything moving within the outer protected area camp was engaged. Bodies, both dead and undead, fell silent.

“Oh my God!” Stephen was horrified. “How could they just…”

“Bastards! Every single one!” Charlie was flippant. “I’ve been writing about this kind of crap for years! You see now? You see how they really are? Those are Americans down there, and they’re just shooting them down like dogs!”

“Like sheep at a slaughterhouse,” Gina whispered.

“Enough!” Doug said, glancing back toward the gate.

Everyone turned.

“There’s no time for this. We leave now.” He turned back toward the tracks to hide his silent tears mixed with frustration. When the others hesitated, still mesmerized by the horrific scenes below and letting the images seep beneath their resolve and poison their hearts with despair, he turned and said, “Try to remember something now, get this firmly planted in your fucking heads: They’re dead! We’re not. But we’re going to have to fight like mother-fucking hell to stay that way! So man the fuck up and either follow me out of this hell-hole or just jump the fuck off this trestle and be done with it! Either way, make your choice. But don’t waste one more moment staring down there into that hopeless mess. Not one more instant! We will find a fucking way to make this right… to make those senseless deaths mean something by the choices we make right… fucking… now!”

“Frank,” Meredith whispered, catching everyone off guard. “I’m ready to go now. We’ve much to do and this place is dead. Could you help me down the tracks please?”

Frank was there, as was Gina. Marcus quickly followed behind.

“Thank you,” she said to them. She raised her voice toward the others. “Douglas is right. We have to leave this place. There’s no hope here… there never was.”

The four of them walked up to join Doug.

“Good speech, but you’re still an asshole,” Frank told Doug in passing.

Doug shook his head. To the rest, he invited, “Come on, we’ve made it this far already.”

The others tore away from the slaughter, each silently wrestling with their own overwhelming fears of what waited for them farther down the tracks. All their illusions of safety were savagely stripped away and left dying on that parking lot turned graveyard—the body of Hope, now just another bloody corpse, lay rotting beneath the noonday sun.


Next Episode 12-1:

Previous Episode 11-5:


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“Chapter 11-6: Nowhere Safe” 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. Joseph Hebebrand says:

    OMG Scott, Even better than the last chapter. I’m hooked can’t stop reading. Thank you


  2. sscherr says:

    You are welcome. I’m glad you’re enjoying it :)


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