Chapter 31-2: Marvin’s Day

Posted: August 31, 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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Marcus and Hagar lay prone in a dry patch of the field between two ancient bales of hay where they could observe the rear of the house and watch for any activity coming from the stables to the east. Other than the low hum of the generator coming from somewhere in the stables, everything was still.

“I don’t like it,” Hagar, a gruff-looking man with a Mohawk remarked from Marcus’s right. Hagar and Dwayne were both Logan’s men who had all-too-eagerly volunteered themselves for Gina’s mission.

Marcus strongly suspected that Logan had his own agenda at play by sending some of his goons to keep an eye on their fragile community’s leader, the fiery-tempered red-head, but at the moment, he could care less.

“Too damn quiet,” Hagar mumbled to himself as he kept aiming his silenced rifle between both targets. “She should’ve called by now. This is taking too damn long.”

Marcus peered over at the man and rolled his eyes.

This big piggy’s just full of nervous energy, ‘aint he, boss? the other one teased. I bet if you yelled, BOO, Mr. Bad Hair would start shooting into the back of the house. Why don’t you give it a go and see what happens.

As usual, you’re not helping, Marcus thought back. You are supposed to be behaving yourself.

Oh, you know I’ve been behavin’ for a long, long time now, boss. You can’t keep me locked up forever. I might just kill the Prize in a fit of bloody frustration. Speakin’ of which, aren’t you worried about the Prom Queen all by herself in that dark den of death and despair? This might be the day, boss, that she finds herself in over her fuckin’ head… right before something removes it from her shoulders.

Marcus tried to ignore him.

C’mon, boss! You had to have felt it as soon as we got close enough. This place reeks of blood. We should be in there, not out here. There are… signs… that only our kind could appreciate. She can’t read the blood like we can and put the pieces together.

Yes, Marcus could not disagree. There was something extremely wrong about this whole situation. Maybe it was the fact that, on some level, he could identify with the killer, which Tony referred to as, ‘The Bad Man’. He’d patiently absorbed the details of Tony’s story when he’d shared it during the planning of this attack, making mental notes as he began calculating his response to several different scenarios. The only problem was that insanity always chose a path no one could anticipate.

He scanned the property again. This was the perfect location for evil to thrive, left all alone out in the middle of nowhere. Especially now, with no law enforcement of any kind to keep evil men in check and restrained to the shadows. Russell Bower, just like The Bad Man, we’re free to indulge in this horrifically exciting new world.

The stables went completely silent.

“That’s the generator,” Hagar said. “Someone turned it off.”

“Could be on a timer,” Marcus offered.

“Bullshit, someone’s in there! We should check it out.”

Marcus lifted his machete just enough to put Hagar’s reflection in the tip of his blade. Men like this are fools driven by impatience and impulse, he thought. The moron would charge to his death, anything to keep from sitting still.

One less piggy to cry ‘wee, wee, wee’ all the way fuckin’ home about, boss. Let him have his way. If Mr. Spooky Pants is in there, we’ll get to assess his skills right before he shuts this numb nuts up.

“Maybe you’re right,” Marcus said, acknowledging them both. “How do you want to do this, Hagar?”

Hagar stared at the strange man with the machete and understood that Marcus had just yielded. He’s probably scared shitless right now, he thought. I wonder how any of them survived this long. He nodded and said, “Alright, Marcus, you keep monitoring that radio and watch my back. We’ll just take a quick look and make sure those stables are clear.”

“And if they’re not?” Marcus asked, leading the horse to water.

Hagar smiled while raising his rifle, looking like some bad actor in B-rate action flick. To Marcus he looked like an idiot. “Then we fucking kick some ass. You good with that, Marcus?”

Holy shit, boss! Ya’ didn’t tell me we brought Charles Bronson with us? Shall we ‘take names’ as well? Mr. Cliché seems to have it all worked out.

Marcus tried not to smile. “Whatever you want to do, Hagar. I’ll back your play.”

Hagar seemed pleased. “Let’s do this.”

By the time they reached the rear entrance into the stables, the overpowering scent of something recently slain assaulted their senses.

“Holy fuck!” Hagar said, turning away and covering his nose and mouth. “That’s enough to kill my appetite forever!”

Marcus ignored the man. His senses were on high alert as he immediately retrieved his machete.

We know that smell, don’t we, boss? That’s the aroma of a recent fuckin’ massacre. Something… a lot of somethings… died here recently.

Marcus could feel the savage within getting excited by the smell of so much blood. “You ready?” he asked Hagar.

Hagar collected himself and nodded. He then looked at Marcus’s weapon of choice. “You have something against a good firearm, my friend? That fucking toothpick isn’t going to help us if we walk into an ambush.”

“I’ve been in a few tight spots before,” Marcus said. “A good blade is the extension of the one who wields it. A gun is far less satisfying up close. And its loyalty is questionable.”

Hagar gave him a strange look. “Whatever you said. Just don’t expect me to save your ass when the dead pin you into a fucking corner while you try to hold them back with that.”

Marcus gave him a devilish smile. “I’ll try not to get in your way.”

Hagar opened one of two large stable doors just far enough to peek inside. The area was dark. He could hear the buzzing of flies. The rotting smell of the dead was much worse now that the door was open. Hagar shook it off and looked to Marcus.

Marcus nodded.

Hagar opened the door wide enough to let in the light and quickly stepped inside, rifle raised, and scanning all around the stables.

Marcus stepped in behind him, ready to lash out with steel.

“Dear God,” Hagar whispered, lowering his gun.

They were standing in a long aisle with several stalls on either side. Within the stalls were the remains of several people suspended upside down from the rafters. It was hard to distinguish their gender or age because all the bodies had been stripped of their skin. Their heads and hands were also missing.

Marcus quickly counted. There were twenty-five corpses spread out over six stalls.

“Who would do this?” Hagar asked.

Marcus was calculating.

Fresh kills, boss. You can smell ‘em… you can still hear their screams when they were skinned alive! The savage within spoke with an admiring tone.

Marcus studied the bodies. Judging from their various sizes and heights, there were men, women, and a couple of children. What he found most troubling was the effort required to hang so many.

You seein’ this, boss? You understandin’ yet what’s happenin’ here?

“This is a feeding ground,” Marcus said out loud.

Hagar turned. “What the fuck are you talking about?”

“We need to get back to the others. Whoever did this is expecting company.”

Hagar’s face went white with understanding. “Shit!”

And don’t forget the most important thing, boss. We know how much effort it would take to perform such carnage…

Marcus frowned. He looked to Hagar and finished, “This is the work of more than one killer.”


When they reached the stairs leading to the second floor, Tony took the lead. He held his gun out in front as they slowly crept up the carpeted steps. Every muscle in his body tensed up and he had to remind himself to breathe. They reached the upper landing and were met with a strong nauseating stench.

“My God, what is that smell?” Gina whispered.

Tony frowned. Everything was the same. The long hallway with doors on both sides and the lone door at the very end that seemed alive somehow. Welcome back, my pet, it seemed to mock.

Every door and wall was covered in blood stains, which spoke of violent deaths and madness.

“Tony,” Gina whispered from his left. “You okay with this?”

He nodded. “This was the worst of it. What that maniac did to people in these rooms… just prepare yourself, Gina. It’s pretty gruesome.”

“The one at the end of the hall… that’s her room, right?”

“Yes. If she’s in there, kill her quickly. She’ll not hesitate to attack you. We used to listen to the mad woman’s screams all the time. It was unnerving to hear while being chained up in that dark basement. And then when I saw her…”

“Got it,” Gina said. “Let’s just take this one step at a time. We’ll open each door, make sure the room is clear, and then never look back. Alright?”

He nodded, wiping sweat from his brow.

The moved toward the first closed door on the left. Unfortunately, it wasn’t locked. Tony reached for the door knob and nodded to Gina.

Gina turned to guard the hall. “Do it.”

Tony opened the door slowly. He remembered this room. It was the Bad Man’s kill room. He was not prepared for what he found this time. “Dear, God…”

Gina turned and closed in next to Tony. Her face went pale when she looked into the room.

They found a naked elderly man, what was left of him. He was strapped into some sort of improvised torture chair. The man’s eyes were cut out. His nose had been removed. It looked like pieces of flesh had been gradually sliced away from numerous parts of his upper body. Both his feet had been chopped off and all the fingers on both of his hand were gone. Beneath the chair was a bucket where the man’s waste was collected from a hole in the seat. Whatever horrors this poor soul had undergone, it was apparent that he’d been in this chair for a good long while, kept alive, while his torturers gradually picked him to pieces like a piece of chicken.

“Close the fucking door,” Gina said, trying not to vomit.

Tony quickly exited the room and shut the door. “That should be the worst of it,” he offered.

Gina took a deep breath and reached in deep, beyond the little girl within who wanted to scream, and found that familiar cold, dark place, which made it possible for her to function in this sick new world. She raised her gun and flashlight and resumed scanning the dark hall.

Tony did the same. “Ready?”

Gina nodded.

There were two more doors on the right and the mad woman’s room at the end of the hall.

“Next room was some sort of laboratory and the other one’s a bathroom,” Tony said.

“Experimentation and torture,” Gina said. “I wonder how many of these demented fucks were roaming around in our old world just waiting for an opportunity like this. While the dead hunt the living, sick fucks like this prey on the remains.”

“Now you know, Gina. Now you know why we had to come back here,” Tony said with difficulty as he leaned up against the closed door. “This kind of evil can’t be allowed to exist… ever.” He looked sadly into her eyes and finished. “There’s no one to help them now. Anyone this fucker catches might as well be erased from the world. No one’s looking for these people, especially since everyone they ever knew who loved them were wiped out by The Change.”

Gina looked at him. She had never seen Tony so emotionally distressed and terrified, yet insistent on facing the source of that terror. She knew firsthand how many nights of sleep he’d lost because of his imprisonment here, how many nightmares had him waking up in the middle of the night, desperately rushing to light a candle and escape the darkness of his dreams. Yes, when they had heard the CB transmission again after Marcus had temporarily fixed the communication part of the long console in the compound, during the worst winter storm of the season, she knew that nothing was going to keep Tony from coming back here after the thaw. And as she looked around this dark, hopeless house, she could see and truly feel Tony’s nightmares for the first time.

“I’ll take the next room,” she offered. “Guard the hall.”

Tony gave her an appreciative look and nodded.

Gina opened the door while Tony provided cover. He noticed that the laboratory wasn’t neat and orderly like before. Everything had been torn to pieces as if a tornado had passed through the room. Bloody gurneys were toppled, glass jars of various sizes were shattered in pieces all across the floor. A number of syringes and other frightening surgical tools lay scattered about. There was more blood splattered across the walls.

Gina couldn’t stop staring at a solitary jar, which remained intact but had rolled into a corner. It appeared to be full of… human eyes… in various stages of decay.

“Whatever he was doing, he gave up,” Tony said. “Looks like he lost control and destroyed the room.”

Gina was still staring at the jar of eyes. “I don’t care to know what he was doing… ever.” They exited the room and Gina slowly closed the door and exhaled with relief.

“You okay,” Tony asked.

“I’m just tired of this horror show. This… house… is like walking through the inside of some lunatic’s mind and the longer you try to make sense of it, the crazier it gets until you start to feel that insanity crawling all over your skin.”

Tony flashed her a weak smile. “Seems like the horror show is all there is anymore. I used to think things would get better…” He let the thought hang.

Gina stared at the tired man. It’s finally caught up with him. How long has he felt this way? How long have I failed to notice? She suddenly felt something penetrate her harsh exterior. She felt sadness. A part of her wanted to reach out and embrace him, tell him not to give up and keep on believing and being the man who offered light and hope in any situation. But another part of her, the part which ruled her, believed that he was better off coming to terms with this dark world. Because if he didn’t, Tony would die. Survival was a brutal bitch which demanded all ties to the old world’s kinder ways to perish. That was her non-negotiable terms to continue breathing… if that still meant anything.

“Let’s get this over with,” Tony said, shaking off his heavy thoughts.

Gina nodded.

They continued down the dark hallway, flashlights and guns raised, as they quickly checked the small bathroom on the left. It was empty. That left the last room… the mad woman’s room.

Tony stopped before the door, noticing the cleaver mark in the frame. The Bad Man had swung at him from behind but Tony had fallen, avoiding the blow. He clearly remembered just how many times he’d almost died in this room. The sliding latch was not secured. He stared at the door knob and took a deep breath.

“She’s probably not in there,” Gina said, noticing his difficulty. “But if she is… we’re ready.”

Tony nodded half-heartedly. He remembered the gruesome scene of finding Lydia’s corpse in the arms of the yellow-eyed beast, her face completely devoured beyond recognition. The only thing that identified her was a hand missing most of its fingers.

He could still hear Lydia’s words. They haunted him still:

“I don’t want what’s outside… because there’s nothing outside but more of the same… monsters… monsters waiting to feed on me like that slice of cake… Don’t feed the dark, Tony! Don’t you ever feed the dark!”

“Maybe she was right all along,” Tony whispered.

“What was that?”

Tony looked to Gina and said, “Nothing. Just a bunch of ghosts running around in my head.” He turned the knob and nodded. “Three… two… one…”

Tony pushed the door forward and scanned left. Gina took the right.

The room was empty.

For a moment, Tony saw the mad woman chained to the large bed that dominated the room and he almost fired. He could still hear her hunger-driven screams penetrating his soul.

Just more fucking ghosts, he thought and then relaxed a little.

Gina stared at the monstrosity of a bed. Chains hung loosely on and above the blood-stained sheets, just beneath the canopy. There were several metallic rings that were used to hold someone there with limited movement restricted by the chains. She couldn’t help thinking about the rape room in the beach house, the night the world went mad. Although bound for different reasons, such beds all shared the violence in common. She shivered uncontrollably as she forced the memories away.

Tony was staring at something beneath a pile of chains. He walked over to the bed and retrieved a crumpled picture. It was a man and a woman standing on a boardwalk with the city of Cleveland skyline behind them. He almost didn’t recognize them since they looked so ‘human’ and happy in the picture, but this had to be the bad man and… Helen.

“Something?” Gina asked.

He handed her the photo.

Gina stared at it absently. “It’s them, right?”

Tony nodded. “I… I remembered her from before. At least, a little bit. I was still fucked-up from Malcolm’s drugs and I’d just been struck by a car, but I remembered her kind face. She sincerely wanted to help me before she became… all this.” He stared at the bed in disgust. “I guess, in a way, she saved me… before she changed.”

“You were held prisoner in a basement, slowly being starved to death. Did she really do you any favors?”

He looked at her and frowned. “All I know is she could’ve just left me to die on the side of the road. That still has to count for something.”

Gina said nothing.

“All this… all that we went through… myself, Lydia, the others… he did it all for her. I think he was trying to save her. By the looks of that laboratory, maybe even cure her. Not that I’m justifying what he did, but even after the bad man went insane, his love for her still drove his actions.”

“He was bit by his wife and turned into a monster. End of story.” Gina was getting angry. “Don’t waste another moment trying to ‘remember’ what they were. They were both sick and died. What came back… what did all this… is inhuman and fucking evil.”

“I know, Gina… I know. But, it says something that his love for her was still there… perverted and distorted beyond all semblance of love… but maybe even the monsters are still capable of holding on to… something.”

“Doesn’t matter. They’re both dead. Their love is dead.”

Tony looked at her and snapped, “Don’t ever say that again!”

Gina was confused. “Why does this bother you so much?”

“What if it happened to us, Gina? Doesn’t it mean something that we might be more than just monsters if we can still… love… on some level?”

Gina looked him dead in the eye and said, “If you love me, and I turn, you will put a fucking bullet in my brain. I will do the same for you. That’s what people who love each other do now. After that… there’s nothing. If we ever became these things, there would be no more love. Period.” She turned away and watched the door.

Tony gave her a sad look and then stared back at the photo. You’re wrong, Gina. Love is something even death can’t diminish… I know it. When she wasn’t looking, Tony stuffed the photograph in his pocket.

“Let’s get back,” she said. “The others-”

Just then, Gina’s radio began to squawk. Someone was trying to transmit.

“Shit! I told them to maintain radio silence.” Gina retrieved her radio.

An unfamiliar voice started speaking through the receiver:

“To the deaders who are fuckin’ around upstairs with things that don’t concern them, we give you five minutes to come down, turn over your weapons, and surrender peacefully. If you’re not down here before that, we’re gonna kill Dwayne and Diane. You’ve seen what we’re capable of. Don’t fuck with us! Get down here… or we’ll feast on them and make you watch.”


Next Episode 31-3

Previous Episode 31-1


Don’t forget, a new episode of After The Dark, my DFTD talk show, will resume on Friday. Gina Melborn will be our special guest. Come join us to discuss this weeks episodes and other topics related to the series.

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“Chapter 31-2: Marvin’s Day” Copyright © 2016 Scott Scherr. All Rights Reserved.

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.

  1. murkytruths says:

    Good chapter, glad your back.


  2. Test. Test. Death speaking. Helloooo?


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