After The Dark (#4) – Sudden Deaths

Posted: July 22, 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 fourth 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.

***SPOILER ALERT***

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 will be talking about ‘life expectancy’ in the apocalypse and whether or not we should give a damn about any of our survivors in this long, dark tale. What I mean is… what are we supposed to do when it seems like every time we start to like some character in the story, or even when we don’t and we simply got used to them being around anyway, and then… BAM! They’re dead? I don’t know about you, people, but I hate it!”

(The audience immediately roars their agreement.)

“Well… to help us get through these frustrating but inevitable deaths, we have a very special guest with us today who knows all about dying before his time. Would you please put your hands together and help me welcome Doug McFarlane!”

(The audience stands and claps as the big man enters holding a spiked baseball bat over his shoulder. Doug waves than points at the bat, causing the crowd to go nuts. Doug takes the bat off his shoulder and then pretends to swing at a baseball. The audience claps and laughs as Doug takes a seat beside our host.)

“Wow, this is exciting!” John begins. “Thanks for joining us today, Doug.”

“No problem,” Doug says. “I’m just here to add another interview with a dead guy for your show. By the way, will there ever be any ‘live’ guests on the show or do you have to croak to get this gig?”

(The audience laughs.)

John eyeballs him suspiciously and teases, “Damn you, Douglas. We told you backstage not to give away our casting secrets.”

“Sorry… my bad,” he smiles.

(The audience laughs.)

“Anyway, thanks for coming. And let me be the first one to say right-here-and-now what I said when I read about you getting killed by that horde in Chapter 14.” John gets up and dramatically shouts, “Son…of…a…bitch! Why didn’t you get Charlie? Not Doug! Fucking Charlie!”

(The audience laughs and then enthusiastically roars their agreement.)

Doug laughs. “I know, I know, it sucks. Imagine how I felt getting torn to pieces for everyone to see. How fucking embarrassing!”

John laughs. “Yes, it sucked. I loved your character the moment you squared off with Frank in Chapter 10, and thought, ‘Man, this is going to be like watching WrestleMania when these two eventually go at it.'”

(The audience laughs.)

“So tell me, Doug, did you know early on that you were going to be the first casualty of the group, or was that an unexpected ‘sudden death’?”

“‘Sudden death’… I like that. To answer your question, yes, it was clear early on that my character was to represent the ‘hero’ element in the middle of all these shady types, and that the author wanted to eliminate the ‘hero’ first to show that no one was exempt from death. And also, I needed to be gone in order for Gina to eventually take up that leadership charge in Book Two.”

“Yes, that was an interesting turn of events… especially since Gina was the last one to want that responsibility.”

Doug nods and then puts up his hand. “In all fairness, I may have been the first death in the group, but it was hardly ‘sudden’. I mean, the author tossed so much damn foreshadowing at it in the chapters leading up to my death, that it wasn’t a surprise when that horde finally got me.”

John nods. “Yeah… I think we all saw it coming but some of us, like myself, figured that the author wanted us to believe you were going to die…right? Some kind of trick, perhaps? I mean, seriously, who kills off the damn hero first for crying out loud!”

(The audience roars their agreement.)

Doug laughs. “Yeah… the apocalypse sucks. I was just hoping my bat would’ve survived. I thought it would be great if, like, Gina picked it up after her bullets ran out and then went savage on that horde. I can already imagine her walking around with it now, knowing what kind of bad-ass she turned into with that scar running down her face.”

(The audience laughs.)

“Yes, that would’ve been pretty cool,” John agrees. “I was sad to see you go when you did, but I will say that I firmly believe that if you hadn’t been there, none of them would’ve made it out of the power plant.”

(The audience roars their approval.)

“Well, that makes dying worth all the trouble,” Doug teases. “And besides, it did get me on the show.” He winks.

“So, after killing off the hero, the very next thing the author does is kill the kid! I mean, what the fuck? Is he a sadist or something? Does he love to torture the readers?”

Doug nods. “Yeah, Ashley’s death was hard to take. But you have to admit, every death becomes significant in this story. It took my death to wake Gina up. Poor Ashley… her death was a huge reason Frank got his shit together later on. I think this new horrific world doesn’t give a shit about how things are supposed to be. Happy endings went out the window on this tale. Everyone dies by the end of the series, anyway, so I guess what matters is how we live before it’s our turn.”

(John and the audience look alarmed.)

Doug smiles. “Just kidding. I have no idea how this thing will end. But you never know.”

“So first we lose you, then Ashley. And then our favorite town drunk came next.”

“Yep,” Doug says. “I think she got a little taste of my hero complex at the end. Kudos for her.”

“Yes, she did save Stephen… after almost killing him.”

The big man lifts his arms out wide and shrugs. “Hey. No one’s perfect.”

(The audience laughs.)

“What I find most interesting about Amanda’s departure is how much I missed her, too,” John says. “I mean, through most of the first book, I was hoping she’d trip over a damn bottle so the dead would get her. But then she started to come around and we saw a much softer side to her character. I was starting to think she might really surprise us if she’d managed to stick around long enough… but then… the dead got her in that cellar. I know you weren’t fond of her while traveling together on the tracks. Do you think if you’d survived up to that point that you would’ve missed her, too?”

Doug smiles. “Yeah, I could never imagine the two of us not butting heads, but if I’d still been around, I probably would’ve gotten shit faced in her honor or something.”

John nods. “It’s interesting the way we find ourselves missing characters when they die, even when we spent so long despising them. Do you miss Charlie?”

“Fuck no.”

“No… really… take your time before answering,” John teases.

(The audience laughs.)

John shifts gears and sighs heavily. “And then there was Greg’s shocking death, just after losing Amanda. I wanted to run up on the rooftop and kick some ass after that!”

“Yeah, that was a real stab in the heart. If I’d been there for that one, I probably would’ve gotten killed storming the building head on.”

“And then, after discovering that Tony was still alive, we were finally +1 for a change, and then we had to lose one more. Frank’s death pissed off a lot of people.”

Doug nods. “That was crazy. In truth, we lost two at the same time. Once Marcus was revealed as Russell Bower, the ruse of Marcus, as far as the reader was concerned, died.”

“That’s right! That’s crazy! We did lose both of them then, didn’t we?”

“Yep.”

John shakes his head. “Well… it was awesome to get the cameo of you near the end of Book Three, when Gina was tied up to that tree and very close to death. So was that a dream or was Gina… someplace else?”

“I don’t know, John,” Doug says. “But I do know that Gina was about to check out. I think she really needed me in that moment to kick her in the ass. Whether or not that was a ‘dream me’ or I was some fucking ghost… doesn’t matter. She needed help. I was there to give her what she needed so she could keep looking death in the face and say, ‘Not yet, fucker’.”

(The audience applauds their approval.)

“So… it’s pretty clear by now that anyone at any time can ‘check out’ next… and with no damn warning, as we’ve experienced already,” John begins. “Can you tell me, Doug, if most of these ‘sudden deaths’ are planned?”

Doug shakes his head and says, “Some deaths, like mine, Ashley’s and Frank’s, were planned well in advance. Other deaths, like Greg’s and Amanda’s, revealed themselves later. I believe the author takes every death seriously and they aren’t just wasted deaths either. The author puts a great deal of time into each and every character and when it’s time for one of us to depart, there’s a lot of reasons happening behind-the-scenes for it. Now, are there more deaths planned for the future? I’m sure there is… but I’ll be damned if I know who they are. I do know that at times, even the author is surprised by ‘sudden deaths’ that occur. When that cop, Samantha, was murdered… the author never saw that coming, believe it or not. He’d originally had bigger plans for Sam, but things changed in a hurry and the author simply ran with it.”

“That’s fascinating,” John says. “To think that character deaths can surprise even the writer, is something I never considered. Of all the characters in the main group, I think a lot of us thought Stephen was the next to go after Amanda got killed. It really seemed like he was barely hanging on after Jefferson.”

Doug nods. “Yeah. Well, it just goes to show you that in this world, the ‘only the strong survive’ concept just doesn’t cut it. Sometimes, guys like Eddington get quite a few chances to come back from the brink. I wasn’t in his corner much during our march along the tracks, but now, I think that school teacher may surprise us in the days ahead.”

John nods. “Well, we’re just about out of time, Doug. Is there anything you can tell us about the new story arc coming out in August? Are there any deaths we need to prepare ourselves for ahead of time?”

Doug smiles wickedly and then says, “All I’m allowed to say is that the first chapter of the next arc gets very intense very quickly… and yes… there will be deaths.”

“Shit… that sucks,” John says shaking his head. “Could you be any more vague?”

Doug laughs.

“Well, thanks for joining us Doug. We will miss your character, but I believe you live on in the better parts of Gina.”

“Thanks for that,” Doug says.

John turns to the audience. “What do you say, people, don’t you miss this guy?”

(The audience stands and gives Doug a loud ovation.)

“And that’s all we have time for this week,” John finishes. “If anyone would like to ask Doug any additional questions about his character, our topic today, or anything else from the series, please feel free to do so and we will endeavor to answer all your burning inquiries.

If not, then we will see you all next Friday for another tantalizing episode of… After The Dark!”

~~~

Next Episode:
After The Dark (#5) – Faith in the Apocalypse

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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,
-Scott

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Comments
  1. I am glad to hear that you have several more of these After the Dark (AtD?) posts planned. This is an excellent way to get more mileage out of older posts, and look at them from a new perspective. Perhaps some new ideas and plot hooks might emerge, as well as some new character developments.

    Liked by 1 person

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