Chapter 30-2: Aftermath

Posted: June 14, 2016 in Apocalypse, books, creative writing, drama, Free Online Novel, free zombie books, Horror, horror fiction, killing zombies, living dead, monsters, mystery, novels, serial novels, Survival, suspense, thriller, Uncategorized, walking dead, zombie books, Zombies
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~~~

They all went back to the control room after Gina collected herself. She felt immediately better as soon as she was away from that hellish room where the half-dead creature and the traitor resided. After expelling all the sadness which threatened to take her down, Gina was rescued by what always remained… the cold, emotionless darkness that had kept her alive for so long… if you could call it living.

She sat silently in a chair and laughed at herself. I came all the way out here, put myself and Frank through hell, risked all their lives, lost people in the process… and all for what? Just to find out that the girl we came to save has been a fucking zombie the whole time? Fuck! And all I wanted to do was something good… something noble and right… and now Megan is dead and I’m still just as much a monster as she is… maybe worse. And to top it all off, Samantha’s dead, and they’ll all look to me again for answers I don’t fucking have! Where’s the justice in all of this? Who wins in the end? Okay… so we’re still alive. Big fucking deal! Not a damn thing has changed!

As the others stood around, looking for anything else to talk about other than the elephant in the room, Stephen filled Gina in on the rest of what they’d found in this strange underground facility.

“Other than the sleeping quarters, the lab area is full of first-aid supplies and medicines, there’s a fully stocked pantry, and a small armory. So on the bright side, we’ve struck gold here. Once we get this stuff back to our people outside of Andover, we can get moving toward the mountains again… or maybe we could just stay put in Andover, now that most of our threats have been blown to oblivion.”

“There’s one door at the end of the hall that’s still locked,” Diane added. “I’d love to know what’s hiding in there. Maybe there’s some real answers hidden in there that might explain all of this.”

Gina half-listened as the others speculated on the purpose of this place and how it must have been where the Shadow Dead lived and operated until they were forced out or killed by the yellow-eyed horde which entered the western woods. For all they knew now, since the explosion, they were the only ones left in the area. The wilderness preserve was now mostly a wasteland as hardly anything had survived the blast.

“There’s still the matter of two murders that need to be addressed when we get back,” Frank said. “I don’t think anyone will feel completely safe until we have that mystery resolved.”

“Do you think it was Charlie?” Stephen asked. “He was obviously watching us for a while, building up his army discreetly or else Meredith would’ve known…”

And there it was again… the elephant.

“We have a lot to sort out,” Tony said. “But the first thing we should do is reconnect with our people and let them know we’re okay. I’m sure they saw the explosion and Orosco’s probably getting a search party together as we speak. I suggest we take just what we can carry and head back for now.” He then turned and looked to Gina, as did everyone else.

Why me? Why do they all continue to look to me? Gina wanted to scream. It’s all part of this huge cosmic joke that I can’t get away from no matter what I do. I don’t want to play follow-the-fucking-leader again! I just want to know why this all had to happen… why it all feels like such a fucking waste! And then it dawned on her. There was only one thing they could do to make everything they sacrificed matter somehow. But first, she had to deal with Megan… and Meredith.

“I want to talk to Meredith… alone,” she said.

They all looked at her.

“Gina… are you alright?” Tony asked.

She turned to him and answered, “The girl I came to rescue is a raving lunatic in the next room and the woman I thought was my friend, who I trusted, has been keeping secrets from us since the day I met her—secrets that probably got that girl killed, as well as everyone we’ve lost up until now… so… no, Tony… I am definitely not alright.”

~~~

Gina pulled up a chair in front of the quiet woman who smiled at her and said, “I’m so glad that you’re okay, Gina. You had me worried when they brought you back here.”

Gina leaned over, placed her elbows on her knees and ran her hands through her short hair. She wanted to forget everything she’d found out about her friend… but the screaming young woman from the next room made it impossible for her to just let it all go.

She sighed heavily and asked the older woman, “How long have you known about these… people?”

Meredith’s face changed. She became guarded. “Gina, before you ask me questions that I may not be able to answer, I just want to tell you that I have never done anything deliberately to harm you or the others. I am not affiliated with these… people… any longer. I haven’t been for many, many years.”

“But you’re a part of it somehow… right? You know what Mother is… you’ve known from the first moment we came across those damn symbols spray-painted on those hangar doors in Fairport Harbor?”

Meredith refused to answer.

“I don’t understand. Why won’t you talk to us? Did you know we were headed into a trap that day we tried to make it to the harbor? Did you fucking get Doug killed?”

Meredith looked up and snapped, “Of course I didn’t know! If I’d known what they were planning… do you really think I would’ve just let it happen? When I saw those symbols, I tried to warn you all… but it was too late by then.”

“But you still kept your damn secrets…even after. I want to know why you’re protecting this organization. You say you’re not part of it anymore, so why not tell us what’s happening? Why keep us in the dark?”

“Because you’re not ready to hear about it!” Meredith snapped. “I’ve spent too much time trying to get away from these people and make them think I’m dead. It took me a long time to pull that off. The last thing I’m going to do is get any of you involved with them.”

“We’re already involved!” Gina said, rising to her feet. “Have you taken a good look around you lately? This whole damn place, from this lab to the camp where Frank and I was tortured, to the fucking Shadow Dead… all reek of your old friends! And still… you guard their precious secrets!”

“They’re not my friends,” Meredith spat. “And yes… for your own sakes… I will keep all of you in the dark for as long as I can. If I tell you what I know, you’ll want to find them because I know you, Gina. That’s what you do. You can’t just leave the matter alone and move on. So view my silence any way you wish, but know that I’m trying to protect all of you.”

Gina was getting upset. She pointed to the room across the hall. “You’re responsible for what happened to that poor girl! I don’t care if you’ve cut your ties with them or not, you’re still responsible!”

Meredith looked to the floor and said, “Yes, Gina. I don’t deny it. I may not have dragged that poor woman in here or even knew this place existed, but I still knew what they were capable of.”

“And you just allowed me to let that girl go anyway! Even knowing what might happen to her! We could’ve kept her in Andover with us! Don’t you realize this? Don’t you even care?”

Meredith shook her head and said, “I believe she would’ve gone no matter what I told her… but yes, I might have been able to make her think twice about the people who ran that camp.”

“And you still said nothing!”

Meredith took a deep breath and said, “Gina… I know you’re upset with me. I can’t change that. But there’s no time for this right now. You need to get everyone away from here and far, far away from this place. Maybe in time, you’ll escape their notice… as I once did. You need to think about Tony and the others now. Please… just let it go. Some secrets are meant to be kept… no matter what.”

Gina stared at the older woman intently. She finally asked, “So what am I supposed to do with you now? Keep you locked up and under guard?”

“If that’s what it takes to make you all feel safe around me… then I’ll do whatever you wish. Just don’t ask me questions that I won’t answer. I can’t change what these people have done… or what they plan to do… but what I can do is keep the rest of you from ever going any farther than you are right now. And I intend to do just that. Now, please just leave me alone. I don’t wish to talk any further.”

Gina shook her head and said, “You got it… and thanks for clearing up at least one decision for me.”

“What do you mean?”

“You said we should leave this place… right?”

Meredith nodded.

“Well… what if I tell you that I have no intention of leaving? What if I tell you that I want to be here when your old ‘friends’ come back? Hell… if you’re not going to talk to me… maybe they will.”

“Gina, please… don’t stay here.”

She got up and pulled out her handgun. “I don’t feel like talking anymore either,” Gina said. “I have a rather unpleasant task to finish in the next room. I have to clean up your fucking mess!”

Meredith’s eyes went wide in understanding. “Wait, Gina!”

She turned back reluctantly.

“I know that you despise the grey-eyed ones more than any of the others… but you must understand something about them. I’ve had time since Harpersfield to sift through the impressions left on me by those poor souls.”

“Go on,” Gina said wearily.

“If I’m convinced of anything about them, then it’s this: I believe the grey-eyed infected ones are not beyond saving. They’re at war within, slowly dying from the inside out, but they’re not completely gone.”

“What the hell are you talking about?” Gina said. “Did you see her? She’s fucking out of her mind and ready to attack the first one of us that enters the room! They’re nothing but savage animals now… dead just like all the rest!”

“But you know that’s not true,” Meredith defended. “You’ve seen it yourself. Some of them can still reason and speak and control what’s attacking them, while others are beyond control. Yes, some of them start off very bad… like Megan… but I believe some of them can retain who they were… even while they’re rotting away. They are not like the others. The others are completely gone. This is different. The grey-eyed ones are dying at a much slower rate. As long as they keep it from taking over their minds… they still have a chance.”

“A fucking chance for what? To regress later and kill us in our sleep? I don’t see it the way you do, Meredith. I think these zombies are the worst variety we’ve come across so far. It’s because they can still act like us and think like us… but still crave human flesh… that’s what makes them so fucking dangerous!”

Meredith didn’t know what else to say. She then said, “I was the first one to find Megan. I wasn’t able to sense her in this place, but what I did see required no medium to figure out. I could tell right away that she either miscarried or they… took the baby out of her.”

Gina balled her free hand into a fist.

“The longer I looked at the pitiful woman in the next room, the closer I came to understanding that she was in deep pain and agony… and not because she desired to eat me. I don’t know what happened here, but if I had to guess, Megan had lost everything and everyone she cared about. And now, even her dignity is gone. All she has left is a chance, a chance to come back from the madness that’s trying to consume her. I beg you, Gina, please allow her time to do this. I don’t think she’s been this way for very long so it’s far too early to tell if she’s beyond saving yet.”

Gina shook her head and laughed. “And I guess that’s a big damn difference between us. What you call a ‘chance’, I call ‘suffering’. Maybe you’re no different than the people who made her like this and left her in that observation room. You want to run a fucking experiment to see what will happen to the monkey in the cage, and I just want to give that poor girl peace.”

Meredith said nothing. She was hurt my Gina’s harsh words.

“If there’s even a chance that Megan can comprehend the hell that she’s going through, then why the fuck would I allow her to slowly transform into a monster? That’s sick… and I won’t have anything to do with it!”

“She’s not dead, Gina,” Meredith added weakly. “If you go into that room and shoot her in the head… you’ll be murdering that poor girl.”

“Shut up!” Gina shouted. “She’s not alive!”

Meredith turned to her and finished, “Go do it then. I can’t convince you of the truth. Maybe you’ll see it for yourself when you look at her. And when you catch a hint of recognition in the poor girl’s eyes, beyond the grey, then maybe you’ll see yourself reflected there… and realize that you’re a step away from being half-dead like she is already!”

Gina stormed out of the room before she struck the traitor across the face. How fucking dare she say that to me!

When she reached the door leading into Megan’s glass cage, she stopped short.

The blond-haired woman was no longer acting like a maniac. She was sitting in one of the corners at the end of the room with her legs rolled up into a ball.

And if Gina wasn’t mistaken, it appeared as though Megan was… weeping?

She looked down at her shaking gun hand and realized that she was gripping the weapon so tight that her hand was losing circulation.

Gina continued to watch the half-dead woman as her anger started to relent and her heart calmed down enough to feel something for the wretched creature in the room.

Is this pity? she wondered. Or am I just masking the monster in a memory of the innocent and naïve girl I once met?

Gina waited by the door with her gun drawn as she contemplated the first of many hard decisions she had to make.

~~~

Next Episode 30-3

Previous Episode 30-1

~~~

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__________________________________________
“Chapter 30-2: Aftermath” Copyright © 2015, 2016 Scott Scherr. From the Novel “Don’t Feed The Dark, Book Three: Recruits”.

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. Anonymous says:

    Fuck Meredith.

    Like

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