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

Posted: July 23, 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)

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“Hello everyone, and welcome to the fifth 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.

Among the many things that might challenge us should we ever find ourselves in a world we no longer know, full of predators out to make our species extinct, a reasonably devout person might ask the questions, ‘Why God? Are we being punished? Are you still there?’ For this episode of After The Dark we will endeavor to explore these questions in the aftermath of what many might consider ‘the last days’. I can’t think of anyone better to ponder these matters of faith with us today than a simple man of faith himself. Ladies and gentlemen, please put your hands together and welcome one of the good guys, Greg Dermont!”

(Greg enters in a suit with his long grey hair tied back into a ponytail. The audience is on their feet immediately offering a thunderous round of applause. Greg strokes his beard nervously, shakes his head with a laugh, and then waves off the audience. He quickly takes a seat beside our host.)

“Well, Greg, it’s good to see you again,” John begins. “Thanks for joining us today.”

Greg nods. “Thanks for havin’ me. It’s good to know that I left an impression,” he says with a laugh.

(The audience laughs and then erupts into another round of applause.)

When everyone finally quiets down, John says, “As you can obviously feel from this crowd’s reaction, Greg, I think you were one of our favorites. Why do you suppose that is?”

Greg laughs and says, “I guess I’m just that unassumin’ guy who would give you the shirt off his back if ya’ asked. I reckon’ we all know folks like that who just give you what they are, with no pretense, no hidden agendas, and those kinds of people just make everyone feel comfortable around them. I’d like to think that I was one of them. Know what I mean?”

John nods and leans forward. “In such a diverse cast full of individuals with short fuses who harbor secrets and unsavory pasts, you seemed to be the one constant in the group. You just get what you get with Greg Dermont, and I think you hit the nail on the head, your character made all the rest of them comfortable around you. I believe you made all the rest of us comfortable as well. Greg was just ‘that guy’ who always tried to help and make the most of some extremely hellish situations. Can you attribute that to your faith in God?”

“Absolutely. I could probably assemble a car engine from scrap faster than I could fathom the ‘deeper’ matters of faith and scripture, but I believe my character had a real strong understandin’ of the basics… but beyond that… the rest didn’t matter much, especially since all that prim and proper ‘churchy’ stuff went away. I learned about my faith from my wife before the apocalypse, and probably never appreciated it more until after we all lost everything.”

John nods. “Along those lines… you lost your wife before The Change, and then your daughter gets infected and there wasn’t anything you could do to stop it. How the hell did you not doubt God after that? Didn’t you want to curse his name after Ashley?”

Greg considers the question. “I think the old ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ applies here. But this is why: When Ashley got sick and we knew enough then to know that she was gonna turn, I think that was the hardest thing I ever had to face. It was like, do I hold off hope for a miracle healin’ from God, or was this His way of removing her from this horrible place in a merciful way? I think in the end, I understood that my daughter was going home to be with her mother, and far from this dark world. I think in that difficult moment, God gave me that clarity and grace to do what needed done, and the strength not to cave afterwards. And that’s how faith really works anyway. If we could face all the hard choices in our own strength, what good would having faith in God be? I think it took reaching the end of myself, in that instance with the death of my little girl, to truly reach out for help. When we are broken and humble, God shows Himself the strongest through us. I think that’s the place where I was at when God met me by the river with my dying daughter in my arms.”

John shakes his head and says to the audience, “Can you believe this guy? Wow!”

(The audience applauds.)

“So, what do you think about everything that’s happened? What I mean is, a lot of good, bad, and indifferent people died. Would this event be considered an ‘end time’ scenario that the Bible talks about and are we being judged?”

Greg laughs. “I don’t know about all that. Can’t say that I ever made it to the end of the Good Book and all that Revelations talk. Can’t say that I understand it much either. But I believe I had the gist of the message. The whole, ‘love thy neighbor’ bit. I think that there’s been a number of major catastrophes throughout history that have made people ask those very same questions in the past, and every time, humanity has bounced back. Now… a zombie apocalypse has to rank among the worst of it, but that doesn’t mean that God can’t heal the world like he’s done before. I think the flood might have done more damage, and yet, here we still stand today. So I don’t believe that this is an end-time event. But I could be wrong.”

“So what about the souls of the dead? Do you think they’ve moved on to heaven, and if so, what do we make of these things that have risen in their place?”

“I believe they’re demonic,” Greg quickly answers. “And if not that, then they’re some abomination that Man created, messin’ around with and going against the nature of how things are supposed to be. Maybe we’re finally reapin’ what we’ve been sowin’ all these years with all that ‘unnatural’ science. I don’t know. But as far as the departed themselves, I think you only die once in this life and that’s it.”

“That sounds acceptable when it comes to most of the variations of the dead we’ve learned about so far. But what about the so-called ‘half-deads’? The ones with the mercury colored eyes? Are they just as soulless as the rest?”

Greg shakes his head. “I know Meredith believes they’re dying on the inside, like a slow-eating cancer, but she also believes they’re still with us, even after they’ve gone savage like that poor girl, Megan. Death is strange now… and we’re all coming to terms with it in this new world. Can I girl like Megan come back? I don’t know those answers… and I’m glad I’m not around anymore to have to deal with it.”

John nods. “So back to the matter of faith, we know that Gina and Tony have both turned to God in these dire times. As I’m sure many, many others have as well. Would you say that faith in God now is much more difficult in light of all the death and devastation?”

“Absolutely not. I think our faith stands up and shows its worth in the fire, now more than ever. It’s always been that way. It’s easy to have faith in God when everythin’ is going well. But it’s when the shit hits, that’s when we find out what we really believe.”

“But with so much darkness out there, Greg, how does one continue to believe in God… or that he even cares at this point? It seems like the dead have taken over the world and the living have been reduced to a food source. What good is having faith when a horrible death is so certain?”

Greg sighs heavily. “I’ve always believed that the darker the night becomes, the brighter the light burns… and you can see the substance of your faith, the Light of Christ, much more clearly now. Of course, there will be hard choices to make down the road. Do we give in to the persuasive power of the darkness or do we run toward that pin-prick of light in the distance? And that’s a question every survivor has to wrestle with now. But without faith in God, no one stands a chance.”

John shakes his head. “So, the zombie apocalypse challenges are faith in God like nothing ever has. To what end? An inevitable righteous death? A quick trip to hell? And if this isn’t hell, then what is it? What would God say to us while the dead hunted us relentlessly?”

Greg laughs. “I think He would tell us to continue loving each other… no matter what. Especially since there are a whole lot less of us these days.”

John laughs and shakes his head. “You, my friend, are unshakable!” He turns to the audience. “What do you think, people, are you inspired by this man’s great faith?”

(The audience roars their approval.)

Greg chimes in. “You speak of great faith. The simple truth of it is that there is no such thing in and of itself. My wife was fond of sayin’ that faith is like a rubber band, the more resistance it receives the more it can stretch out later… when you really need it. And it all starts with a little seed. I imagine the greater the peril, the greater our faith must be to stand up against it. And God will provide us the proper resistance to strengthen us for those dark days ahead.”

“I love the analogy,” John says. “So, I wanted to ask you about your conversation with Meredith at the vineyard house in Chapter 21. She clearly identifies you with the Christian faith, and herself with the Christian belief that what she does goes against your faith. How do you believe your God views the rest of the surviving population who share a different faith system?”

“Nothing has changed,” Greg quickly says. “God didn’t make us all to be at each other’s throats, condemning each other at the foundations of who we each are. No matter what, if you start and end with love, than that’s what matters at the end of the day. Does it matter if your faith and my faith are different? Does it matter who’s right or wrong when we’re all trying to stay alive and make it through one more night? I believe in Jesus Christ and, for me, he is the embodiment of love, so I’ll just do as he does… I just wish there had been more stories about him slaying zombies. That would sure come in handy right about now.”

(The audience laughs.)

“Well, Greg, we’re almost out of time. Can you tell us anything about what’s coming up in the new story arc? Will our friends continue to meet ‘resistance’ in the days ahead?”

Greg laughs. “Of that I’m sure. As for what that resistance might be, I’m not sayin’. But I will add that the readers will be meeting another man of faith in the next arc which may surprise them. His name is Logan and I believe he fancies himself some sort of preacher, but a very unconventional one. I suspect he knows quite a lot about what he believes… and I’ll just leave it at that.”

“Well that sounds interesting,” John adds. “Is there anything else you can tell us?”

“Nope.”

“Had to try. Well, Greg, thanks for joining us today. It’s been an enlightening conversation and we will always appreciate your unwavering faith and compassion toward your fellow survivors. Since you’ve been gone, some of our friends have fallen down darker paths that might not have happened if you’d been there.”

“Well… thank you for your kind words.” Greg begins to play with his beard again.

John turns to the audience. “Let’s give our special guest a hearty thanks for sharing his wisdom with us. Greg Dermont, you will certainly be missed.”

(The audience gives Greg a standing ovation.)

“And that’s all we have time for this week,” John concludes. “If anyone would like to ask Greg any additional questions about faith in the apocalypse, or about his character in general, or about anything else, we will try to answer what we can. Also, if you have any of your own pearls of wisdom you would love to share about faith during times of tribulation, especially a zombie tribulation, please share them with us and continue this excellent discussion. If not, we will see you next time for another insightful episode of After The Dark!”

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Next Episode:
After The Dark (#6) – Phantoms

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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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