After The Dark (Premiere) – Unlikely Hero

Posted: June 24, 2016 in Apocalypse, books, creative writing, drama, Free Online Novel, free zombie books, Horror, horror fiction, Interviews/Reviews, killing zombies, living dead, monsters, mystery, novels, serial novels, Survival, suspense, thriller, Uncategorized, walking dead, zombie books, Zombie Talk Show, Zombies
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After the Dark1 (2)


“Hello everyone, and welcome to the premiere episode of After The Dark. I’m your host, John Ecko, and this is the weekly DFTD after-show that will attempt to answer your burning questions while we shine a light into some of the darkest corners of this chilling apocalyptic serial to see what we can uncover.

Each week we will explore a diverse range of topics as we sit down with our featured special guests who have come right out of the pages of this dark serial novel to enlighten us and hopefully give us some additional insights into their characters, as well as what we can expect in the days ahead.


At this time, I must advise you, avid readers, that from here on in, there will be major spoilers discussed. So in the event that you haven’t read the first thirty chapters of Don’t Feed The Dark, I strongly suggest that you don’t continue on with us until after you’ve caught up. Consider yourself warned.

So let’s get on with the show.

For our special guest this evening, to help us kick off the inaugural episode of After The Dark, I thought it would be fitting to bring back a fan favorite. Ladies and gentlemen, would you please put your hands together and welcome Frank Carman!”

(Loud standing ovation from the audience as Frank enters, waves a grateful hand at the crowd, and then takes a seat beside our host.)

“Wow, Frank. You look pretty good for a dead man,” John teases and then turns to the crowd. “Doesn’t he look good, everybody?”

(The audience erupts into another burst of applause.)

Frank laughs. “If I’d known that getting killed off would make me this popular, I would have done it much sooner and saved myself a lot of grief.”

(The audience laughs.)

“Speaking of popularity,” John begins, “just what was it about your character that readers liked?  Up until the second book, it wasn’t clear if you were going to be a real problem for the group or not.”

“That’s an easy one,” Frank says.  “I’m that uncompromising ‘bad boy’ character who just doesn’t give a shit what you think about me… and I’m going to speak my mind regardless.  That and the fact that I never pulled any punches when dealing with my traveling companions.  I think throwing me into the mix made for some fun drama at times.”

“I think your fans would agree.”

(The crowd roars their approval.)

“So tell me, Frank, did you know from day one that you were destined to die at the hands of serial killer, Russell Bower, or did that shocking turn of events catch you off guard like the rest of us?”

Frank nods. “No surprise here. From the beginning, the author made it very clear to me that myself and Bower, a.k.a. Marcus Dempsey, would eventually confront each other… and that would mark the end of my journey. Nothing has ever deviated from the original plot outline to change that fact.  I just never knew when that moment would arrive.  I don’t know if the readers were aware because there was so much going on in and around both of our characters, but there was never a single instance where Marcus and I exchanged words… not until the end. This was deliberately executed by the writer because he knew that if Marcus and I ever spent too much time together, I would’ve put the pieces together much sooner and exposed Marcus much earlier in the story.  People watching was my primary talent, after all.”

“So is it safe to say that you were suspicious of Marcus all along and kept your distance, keeping one eye on him at all times, but were still in the dark about his true nature through most of the first three books?”

“When Marcus started killing people in Andover, that’s when I started filling in what was left of the blanks. That marked the first time Russell started tipping his hand enough for me to see the rest.”

“Do you think if you were not dealing with prior injuries that you could’ve taken the serial killer?”

Frank smiles. “If I’d been at a hundred percent, I don’t believe I would’ve confronted him at the river in the first place. I’m usually much smarter than that, but I acted hastily. I probably would’ve called him out publicly after gathering some tangible evidence… or simply slit his fucking throat while he slept.”

“Now that sounds like the old Frank Carman talking,” John says. “Some might say that becoming a ‘good guy’ caused your demise. Any thoughts on this?”

“It’s very possible,” Frank admits. “A whole lot of things have happened to all of us over the past month and a half, bringing out the best and the worst of who we are. I think I started in a very dark place and gradually climbed out of it. And as a result, the old me who was great at pushing others away… you know… and throwing people off rooftops or into zombie hordes without a second thought… wasn’t there to stop Marcus like the old me could have. The trade off: I was able to give a shit about people again. Gina did a good job of slowly chipping away at my rough outer exterior until she had me sold on the family concept, however dysfunctional we were. But the price for caring left me vulnerable for the first time. And that was how the fucker got the edge on me. The new me gave him a chance to run. The old me would’ve just shot him dead in the woods and made up a story. In the end, I had gained so much, but not enough to save myself from a man as ruthless as I used to be. I can appreciate the irony and karma associated with how I died.”

“If you could go back and change things and remain that man who ‘had what it takes’ to survive, would you trade all the good you achieved to have that lone-dog mentality back? And if so, would Russell Bower be the dead man now?”

Frank considers this and responds, “If I had not changed, and even if that gave me the edge to kill that slippery son-of-a-bitch, I think in the end I would still lose.”

“How so?”

“I could’ve ended up being the next Russell Bower if I’d continued down that dark road. No. I wouldn’t change a thing. In the end, I paid the ultimate price, but I gained back my humanity in a world threatening to destroy whatever’s left of it. For that, I am the victor. I feel sorry for Russell Bower. He’s just one step away from being like the dead roaming about the world… he just doesn’t know it yet.”

(The audience roars their approval.)

“What caused the turn around?  It seems to me that criminals could thrive in this new world without any rules to keep any of you in check.”

“I believe it was my unexpected friendship with Greg Dermont, followed by the death of his daughter, Ashley, that changed things for me.  I’ve seen some pretty nasty shit in my day, long before The Change, and I had a fair understanding of what men did to one another to get ahead.  My faith in humanity was restored, I think, by Greg’s faith first, and then how hard he fought for his child, and of course, how his faith never wavered even after he had to put her down.  You just don’t forget something like that… ever.”

“Did you feel responsible for what happened to Ashley?”

“I carried my share of guilt… sure… but I’d already done enough bad things in my life to know where to store the guilt and keep on moving.  I think over time, the more I started to care for these people, the more all that guilt started rising to the surface… and it was some ugly shit to deal with.”

“You’ve done some uncharacteristic things since the end of Book One which demonstrated you’re willingness to give people another chance.  You stopped Gina from leaving Charlie behind in Painesville, you saved Megan’s life, you tried to make peace with the cop you threw off the rooftop, and then you even joined Gina on her suicide mission into the wilderness preserve.  It would appear that the apocalypse was the best thing that could’ve happened for you.”

Frank smiles.  “You may have hit the nail on the head.  I was on a self-destructive course long before the dead took over.  I probably would’ve died in prison… or much worse… if the world hadn’t become a lot more silent overnight with most of the population dying off in the blink of an eye.  Once all that old chaos went away, I was able to see who I really was for the first time… with a chance to do something differently… and I took it.”

“Indeed, you certainly did,” John agrees.  “So tell us, Frank… do you consider yourself a hero in this new world, no matter how unlikely?  You’ve apparently found a way to reform yourself and strive to be a better man where others have fallen into darkness, like Charlie Ottermeyer.”

Frank laughs.  “A hero?  Hell no.  I will certainly never consider myself that.  Let’s just say… I found a way to live with myself, despite myself.  And with the help of my adopted family, I’d finally found my actions lining up on the right side of the fence for a change.”

“Fair enough.  Frank, is there anything you can tell us about the new story arc coming up? There’s a rumor going around that you may be in the next book.”

Frank smiles wickedly. “All I can say is that there’s one more story that hasn’t been touched on yet involving my connection to Meredith. Her and I go back a ways. I’m just not sure if that story will be in this book… or the following one. But it’s coming.”

“So a flashback story, then?”

“Yes… and one more additional appearance in this next book that I won’t discuss other than to say that it isn’t a flashback.”

“Intriguing!” John turns to the audience. “What do you think, people? Are you as excited as I am that we haven’t heard the last of Frank Carman?”

(The audience goes nuts with applause.)

“Well, Frank, we’re about out of time for this episode. I want to thank you for joining us and I believe I speak for everyone when I say that you were a wonderful character to have around.”

(The audience applauds in agreement.)

“Is there anything else you can share with us before you go?”

“Well… never mind… I shouldn’t say anything else…” Frank teases.

John looks to the audience. “Now we can’t let him get away with that! Right people?”

(The audience protests.)

Frank laughs. “Well… I have heard the writer mention my name a couple of times in regards to a certain ‘spin-off’ story that he’s been adamant about. I can’t talk about the details or when this may or may not occur, but if it does happen, it will be a very unique story. That’s all I’ve got.”

(The audience sighs heavily.)

“Well… thanks Frank for telling us what you can,” John says. “In any event, we are out of time for this part of the show. Now, I’ll open the floor for our readers at home. If anyone has any questions they would like to ask about the series, or specifically to Frank, please feel free to do so now.

If not, then I just want to thank you all for joining us for the premiere episode of After The Dark. Please let us know what you think of the show so far or if you have any suggestions for improvement.

We will be back next week with a brand new episode and another surprise guest.  And don’t forget, Don’t Feed The Dark will return in August with a brand new story arc that we will reveal more about here as we move closer to August.

See you next week!”


Next Episode:
After The Dark (#2) – WTF Just Happened?


Please show your support for Don’t Feed The Dark by voting for it at topwebfiction. Just click and vote. Nothing else required. You can vote every seven days to help me keep this series listed.

Thank you,


  1. Tiffany says:

    What made you put a character like Russell in the book? Murderer…psycho… then to one of the most like characters?

    Liked by 1 person

    • sscherr says:

      Hello Tiffany, that is a great question. From the beginning, I loved the idea of taking a diverse range of ‘troubled’ characters from our world and then throwing them into this hellish one to see how they would react and adapt. With Russell, it occurred to me that from a ‘survivor’ point of view, people might gravitate toward someone like this who already wasn’t a stranger to killing and who had already been surviving in the shadows of our world for a long time. To anyone fleeing from monsters, Russell Bower might appear less monstrous if he was ‘hiding’ in plain sight. He might also appear strong, calm and collected… all qualities survivors might cling to in a crises. And then to flip it, what would a serial killer be like in a world where he was now reduced to prey, just like his intended victims? What would someone like that evolve into if he needed his victims as much as they needed him against mutual predators out to get them all? For me, Russell makes for an interesting character study in survival. The fact that a lot of people did not spot Russell in Marcus, although I left many subtle hints along the way, showed me that a killer…a psychopath… might become something less terrifying in some ways, and yet more terrifying in other ways, especially if he was now someone you considered a friend, but could turn and slit your throat with no warning. I hope that answers your question a little. I look forward to sharing his character in the next book, now that he’s not a secret any longer… well… at least not to us. Thanks for stopping by and for your great question.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. An interesting idea for getting more mileage out of your dead characters. Good way to summarize for those that are late arrivals to the DFTD series.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh Franky boy… I’ll miss your exorbitant humor. *winks *blows kiss

    Liked by 1 person

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