After The Dark (#3) – Villains

Posted: July 15, 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, talk show, thriller, Uncategorized, walking dead, zombie books, Zombie Talk Show, Zombies
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After the Dark1 (2)


“Hello everyone, and welcome to the third 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.

Today we wanted to talk about all those shady characters who make life hell for our survivors every time the dead take a break. As we know by now, there are plenty of bad guys who have emerged throughout this series. I’m sure we would be hard pressed to pick our favorite nemesis since they each inspire their own brand of terror. To kick off this episode dedicated to DFTD’s villains, we have one of those early dark characters with us today. Would you please put your hands together for Malcolm Hathaway!”

(The audience applauds as Malcolm enters in an expensive-looking suit, his slick black hair tied back in a ponytail. He waves with a smile at the crowd and takes a seat beside our host.)

“Welcome to the show, Malcolm,” John begins. “I imagine our crowd won’t soon forget your early appearance in the series.”

“Thanks for having me,” Malcolm says. “I do have to point out something before we begin, and before my feelings get hurt any further.”

“And what’s that?”

Malcolm feigns hurt and says with the shake of his head, “I’m really starting to resent the label ‘bad guy’. If anything, I’m more gray than bad, don’t you think?”

John turns to the audience. “What do you think, people? Is Malcolm a bad man?”

(The audience immediately voices their agreement.)

“I’m sorry, Malcolm, but everyone here strongly disagrees with you,” John says.

Malcolm lifts his arms to the audience and playfully says, “Hey now, I did save Gina’s life… right?”

(Some within the audience play along and clap while others call out a single name: AN-GEL-A! AN-GEL-A!)

Malcolm pretends not to hear and takes a sip of coffee from the cup on the table to hide his smile.

John shakes his head at Malcolm and says, “You know… they’ve all read the spin-off story, don’t you?”

“I guess I was hoping we’d forget that little dark tale,” Malcolm teases.

“Yeah… tell you what, we’ll all forget what you did to poor Angela when you decide to stop hosting freaky-ass parties.  I started to feel like Tom Cruise in Eyes Wide Shut after the bonfire dance!” John says.

(The audience laughs.)

“Well… as far as Angela’s concerned, she did steal that money,” Malcolm says. “Some might say I was acting as the hand of justice in that story.”

“I call bullshit,” John says with a laugh. “Anyone who blows a hole in a woman’s chest with a .357 Magnum and then throws her body into a bonfire is definitely ‘bad guy’ material.”

(The audience roars their approval.)

Malcolm laughs. “I guess I can be very naughty on occasion.”

“Speaking of naughty,” John continues, “let me be the first to ask: What the fuck kind of party was that anyway? Many readers have come to the conclusion that you were some sort of Satan worshipper, or something. There was definitely some occult action happening in Chapter 2. Can you fill us in on the background of that disturbing chapter?”

Malcolm considers the question and carefully says, “Satan worship? I wouldn’t go that far. Let’s just say that I was very open-minded to new things.”

(The audience laughs.)

“That’s one way to put it,” John adds. “Chapter 2 is debatably one of the most content controversial chapters in the entire series as far as being so very ‘graphic’ that early in the story. The author, himself, has been quoted as saying that Chapter 2 was so loaded with ‘adult content’ that he wondered if he needed to water it down just to get readers to keep reading beyond it, for fear that many readers would be ‘turned off’ so very early in the series and miss out on the story’s potential. Aside from Gina’s rape, her erotic dance routine, and then your freaky, cult sex party… it’s a wonder anyone made it to Chapter 3.”

“Yes… there was definitely a lot of disturbing content right out the gate. But in truth, Chapter 2 is also debatably one of the strongest chapters of the series as far as building character and intensity. I believe, as does the author, that as controversial as it was, this chapter certainly raised the bar very early and showed what this story was capable of: the good, bad, and the very ugly. I, for one, am glad that the author chose to leave it as is. As ugly as the chapter got, it was brutally honest. Once you start omitting details for the sake of sensitivity, you lose something genuine.”

Malcolm sips from his coffee cup and then continues.  “Now, as far as my ‘sex party’, I believe it was the intent of the author to throw Gina and Tony into a very dark and bizarre rabbit hole to show some of the strange and dangerous types of people associated with their line of work… and how sometimes it might be better to follow your gut instinct and turn down the money rather than give in to that age-old temptation of an ‘easy payday’. It was very clear that my very wealthy associates and I were involved in some very dark rituals, which included quite a bit fantasy sex, but the rest of it was a bit ironic considering we were attempting to get in touch with our ‘animal selves’ right before The Change  struck and revealed animals of another kind. Ultimately, the author wanted to set this ritualistic scene up, throw the readers into this crazy mess, just like Tony and Gina, and then let everyone draw their own conclusions.”

“Interesting. I know I lost count how many times I said, ‘Get the hell out of there Gina! This shit is getting way too out of hand!’ And you could really feel the same thing from Gina, herself, while she battled the influence of some very powerful drugs. Speaking of which, we know that you were a drug dealer, and by the looks of it, a very successful one. We also know that Frank Carman was involved in your operation and that it ended up getting him incarcerated. Frank was with us for the premiere and mentioned that there might be a flashback story in the near future. Could that story also include another appearance by the mysterious and ruthless Malcolm Hathaway?”

Malcolm smiles. “I suppose it’s very possible… and that’s all I can really say about it.”

“Had to try,” John says. “So tell us, if you hadn’t been bitten, where would Malcolm Hathaway be now?”

“I strongly suspect that I would’ve found an angle in this new apocalyptic world and capitalized on it somehow.”

“Do you think you might have changed for the better, like Frank did, or is Malcolm Hathaway set in his dark ways?”

Malcolm smiles. “As I mentioned earlier. I believe I had excelled at playing on both sides of the fence. I did save Gina, but I also murdered Angela. So I guess I could be viewed as hero or villain, dependent upon the situation.”

“So your sticking to gray then?”

“Absolutely,” Malcolm laughs. “Hey, if someone can profit from being popular and well-liked, or by being a tyrant, then that guy would be me. Six months in, if I were still around, I’d have to say that I’d probably be running my own town by now… just something not as Mayberry and more like Vegas.”

(The audience laughs.)

“So, by your definition, what makes a great villain?”

“The ability to remain in the gray and constantly make the readers second-guess your intentions. A truly great villain is someone you just start to like… and then… splat! He does something to remind you that he’s not a great guy and that you need to stay on your toes because you just never know what he’s going to do next.”

“So, let me throw some names at you, Malcolm,” John says leaning over in his chair. “From a scale of 1 to 10, you tell me how Malcolm would rate the following villains.”

“Sounds like fun. Go ahead.”

“Charlie Ottermeyer?”

“Well, since Charlie was still just beginning to explore his dark side, I’d have to give him a solid seven. If he hadn’t blown up and had made it to now, perhaps a nine. Either way, Charlie was getting very dangerous very fast. Who knows what schemes he might have concocted by now if the wilderness preserve hadn’t ended his run. For me, Charlie was like that child who enjoyed tearing the wings off of butterflies and then just discovered that he had ‘super powers’ in this new world to control things that terrified the rest of us. If he had survived, Charlie would definitely had moved on beyond the butterfly stage.” Malcolm stops himself and asks, “Charlie is dead… right?”

“That’s the general consensus. But until I see a damn body, I’m not believing shit,” John says.


“Okay, what about Russell Bower?”

“That’s an easy one. I’d give Russell a ten. Anyone who can suppress their dark tendencies, as he’s done, and hide within plain sight and assume an entirely new identity all this time… well… that’s just frightening. Russell is capable of a lot of dark shit. I suspect that once he lets his hair down and releases the crazy out of the box, Russell is going to be hurting a lot of people.”

“Agreed. How about Micom?”

Malcolm shook his head. “He gets a five. That man had just enough crazy dressed up in fanatic ideals to be dangerous, but for me, his short-sighted vision was his own downfall. Guys like Micom can’t see the bigger picture. Not high quality villain material in my book. I’m not surprised he lost the preserve as easily as he did.”

John nods and says, “And then, of course, we’ve had a number of what I call minor league villain roles. There’s your despicable buddy, Gerald Schuler, Violet and Donovan from the recruit side of the house, that prick with the sword, Copperfield… any of them catch your eye as far as potential?”

“No. With the exception of maybe Donovan, who I expected to last much longer than he did, the rest of them were just minions of a much darker landscape of characters who have emerged to indulge their sick natures. Many people, like the ones you’ve mentioned here, are just wild animals who lash out and eventually run out of leash. Then, once exposed for what they are, they either self-destruct or are put down.”

“Interesting take,” John says. “So where does Malcolm Hathaway rate among this villainous cast? Obviously you didn’t get a chance to move on to the greater apocalyptic landscape, but if you had… I imagine you might have been a major player.”

“Well… like I mentioned earlier, I’m certain I would’ve seized an opportunity to advance my own interests. Hell… I’d done a great job of doing that in our world while everyone else mentioned were either working in the shadows or unaware of their dark potential. I’d give myself a solid eight to start with.”

“What do you think, people?” John addresses the audience. “Would Malcolm have made a scary good villain by now?”

(The audience roars their approval.)

“I think, for our survivors’ sake,” John continues, “that’s it’s fortunate you weren’t around to make matters worse. They all had enough on their plate to deal with without having to handle a post apocalyptic Malcolm Hathaway, as well.”

“Well… I’ll take that as a compliment.” Malcolm laughs.

“I strongly suspect we may not have heard the last of your story,” John says. “So… can you confirm your appearance in a later flashback story surrounding Frank?”

Malcolm laughs. “You’ll have to stop fishing. I’m not biting.”

“That’s not a denial. I’ll take that for now,” John says with a laugh. “In any case, we’re almost out of time. Is there anything you can reveal to us about any future villains we can expect from the next story arc?”

Malcolm folds his hands in his lap and finally says, “I will say there is a villainous character you haven’t mentioned from the previous three books that might get a second chance to make a bigger impression upon us. Also, there are at least a couple of new ‘biggie’ villains in the days ahead that I’m sure will make the readers… uncomfortable.”

“Intriguing. Any names?”

“Absolutely not.”

“Damn it,” John says with a dramatic wave of his hand. “Well, in behalf of everyone here, I just want to thank you for joining us today, Malcolm, and for adding your fantastic role to this villainous cast. I’ve heard from readers several times that they wished you had been around a lot longer and that they enjoyed your character.”

“Well… that’s great to hear.” Malcolm turns to the audience. “Thanks for allowing me to play my small part in a much larger and darker picture.”

(The audience applauds.)

“Well, that’s it everyone. If you’d like to ask Malcolm any specific questions about his role in the early part of this series, or about the encore presentation of Playing With Fire, the spin-off story featuring our very special guest that we released earlier this week, please feel free to ask away. Also, if you have any questions about our cast of villains from the series so far, or anything else from the story, please feel free to inquire and we will endeavor to answer what we can.

Aside from that. We will see you all next Friday for another episode of After The Dark!”


Next Episode:
After The Dark (#4) – Sudden Deaths


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  1. andrekroon says:

    Honestly, I don’t feel like Russel is a villain, certainly he isn’t a good guy. But I’ve never viewed characters such as him as villains, the psychos and serial killers that the cops usually chase after I mean. He’s just fucked up in the head due to a tragic childhood. Don’t know how exactly to put my thoughts about it into words.

    Liked by 1 person

    • andrekroon says:

      Also, Charlie is obviously not dead :P. I mean you could certainly just leave it and never explore it further, basically saying that he actually did die there together with Micom, but I’d be kind of disappointed. Much more intresting if he becomes an unwilling (or maybe willing) pawn of Mother and has to struggle with that aswell if he actually is unwilling.

      Liked by 1 person

      • sscherr says:

        You bring up some great thoughts on everyone’s favorite asshole, Charlie. I, of course, am not able to confirm or deny anything other than everyone else believing that Charlie perished in the explosion. Would be something if he did survive, though ;)


    • sscherr says:

      I hear you. For me, one of the most fascinating things about going into this story was taking unlikeable, rejected characters from society, and giving them fresh slates. Take Russell. He would be introduced as ‘the killer’ at the onset of the The Change, but then would spend the next three books as Marcus, a very valuable and likable member of the group. The original question I had with him was: Would a serial killer become a valuable alley in a monster-infested apocalypse, if you didn’t know about his past? I thought that premise alone was intriguing to explore. I’ve taken some flack from people who think my characters are not ‘likable’ from the start. I don’t really care as long as they’re redeemable. I think even someone like Russell might have a chance to end up on the right side of this monstrous thing. Only time will tell ;)


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