After The Dark (#6) – Phantoms

Posted: September 2, 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 another 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 up through Chapter 31-2 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.”

John approaches the edge of the studio stage and raises his arms to the audience. “Well, all I can say is, damn, those first two episodes were fucking crazy! Wasn’t that an awesome premiere, everyone?”

(The audience rises to their feet and applauds vigorously.)

“I’m so excited that Don’t Feed The Dark is back in full swing! We have a fantastic show for you. And to help us celebrate the launch of the new arc, Phantoms, I’m ecstatic to announce our very first ‘living’ character from the series! Would you please put your hands together for our very special guest, Gina Melborn!”

(Gina enters wearing a strapless emerald-green dress, her shoulder-length hair hanging stylishly over the right side of her face. She is grinning from ear to ear as the audience goes nuts when she enters. She blows them an enthusiastic kiss and then sits down beside our host.)

John leans in and begins. “Gina, It’s great to finally get you on the show. I think everyone was beginning to believe that character deaths were a prerequisite to appearing on After The Dark.”

Gina laughs. “I’m sorry, John. I wanted to be here much sooner but the author threatened to kill me off in the first chapter if I appeared any earlier on the show. And as we already know, that sadistic son-of-a-bitch behind the keyboard isn’t afraid to kill off anyone… even yours truly.”

(The audience laughs.)

“Well, we’re all just glad you’re here now… and still alive. I gotta tell you, it’s hard for me to picture you stripping in that unsavory night club from way back in Chapter Two when you’ve become a leader in the apocalypse, especially since you’ve evolved into one of the most undisputed ‘bad asses’ in the series.”

(The audience roars their approval.)

“Well… thank you. Although I’ve been keeping my clothes on since those early days, I think I’ve been dancing on the edge for quite some time now,” Gina explains. “I think it’s easier to shut down and become ‘cold’ than it is to hold on to compassion. In the first couple of books, I struggled a lot, trying to do the right things while also having to live with some less than popular decisions. Over time, we’ve seen quite a downward trend from my character.”

John raises his eyebrows. “I think that might be the understatement of the day,” he laughs. “You’ve come a long way since the beginning. Hell, before the very first episode of Marvin’s Day is finished, you’ve already killed someone, and without much hesitation, I must add. Are we discovering a Gina who has succumbed to the ‘Dark side of the Force’?”

Gina laughs and brushes her hair from her face, revealing her scar. “All I can say is that the winter months have not been kind to my second stab at leadership. As we get further into Phantoms, we will find that I’m not winning any popularity contests right now.”

“Well, we still love you, don’t we audience?”

(The audience applauds.)

John shifts gears. “So, let’s talk about this chapter. This is probably one of the most ‘throw you right into the fire’ openings we’ve seen in the series. It doesn’t take long for the action to kick in as the rest of us are simply trying to keep up with the realization that we’re back at that terrifying house where Tony was being held. How did you all find yourselves back here?”

Gina nods and answers, “Well, it’s obviously been several months since the end of book three. We’ve all been living in the compound beneath the burned-up wilderness preserve, trying to survive a very brutal winter. A lot has changed, as the story will get into, but one thing that hasn’t, is Tony’s nightmares as a result of his captivity by the ‘bad man’. Eventually, Marcus manages to get a portion of the control console back up directly tied in to the facility’s communications with the outside world. We pick up that bullshit CB transmission by the ‘bad man’ and find out that he’s still out there luring people into his web. When Tony discovers this, he is adamant about returning and confronting the bad man and he fears that there are more people being kept locked up in that horrid basement. Well, due to the long winter, it wasn’t possible for us to get here any sooner than now, but as you can see, we’ve been preparing for this fight for quite some time.”

“And so we meet this freakish Marvin character, who is obviously not the ‘bad man’, and then we meet Lydia’s replacement in this woman without a name character who is simply referred to as ‘the voice’… and then you blow a hole in her chest like a fucking assassin!”

(The audience laughs.)

“Yes,” Gina says. “We’ve found quite a few new toys in the compound armory that we’re employing right now.”

“I see that. Obviously you all have been taking advantage of the down time to do some tactical training. Have you been safely hidden away from the dead all winter?”

Gina sighs. “‘Safety’ is such a subjective concept in this harsh world. Sure, we’ve managed to remain undetected from the dead throughout the winter, but we’ve had to deal with each other, and with Mother Nature, who essentially imprisoned us all within the compound with nothing to do but deal with one another. One might argue that handling the living now is much harder than dealing with the dead. There are… complications.”

“I’m sure,” John says with a nod. “So, how long has it been since the end of book three?”

“Well, it was early November when we claimed the compound, and now it’s late April, so it’s been over five months.”

John shakes his head. “That’s enough time for all sorts of things to change, I imagine. Just like our buddy with the CB radio has changed. Apparently he isn’t working alone anymore.”

“It would appear that way.”

“And I also see that along with our newly reacquainted serial killer, Marcus, Tony, and the last of the hunters, Diane, who we met back in Chapter 25, it would appear that you’ve recruited some new people as well?”

“Yes,” Gina says. “Without getting too much into it, I’ll just say that we’ve lost people and gained people before the winter sealed us all in. Our community is much bigger than Samantha’s Andover community was, but we’re smaller than we should be due to circumstances discussed in the next chapter. Bigger isn’t always better, as we’ll find out. And there is much more division in our happy little family now.”

John laughs. “Sounds like I’d rather be out running for my life and killing dead-heads than to fill out a membership card in your new community.”

Gina raises her eyebrows and says, “Ditto.”

(The audience laughs.)

“So, you all storm the bad man’s house and discover all kinds of strange shit. When Diane discovered the finger stew on the table, shouldn’t that have been a clear sign to get the hell out of there?”

Gina nods. “Yes, I think it was quickly becoming obvious that we were getting into more than we bargained for.”

“And then I assume that Marvin guy gets on the radio at the end of the second episode to inform you he has hostages. I would say that things suck right now in the anticipation and planning department.”

(The audience laughs.)

“No shit,” Gina agrees. “As usual, I’m sure I’ll have to bullshit my way out of another tight situation.”

“Agreed. So let’s talk a little about the tension we’re all sensing between you and Tony. Has something happened?”

Gina frowns. “I think it’s extremely difficult to keep a relationship healthy in a fucked-up zombie world. Let’s just say that we’ve had our share of disagreements over the past few months… on a lot of things.”

“Well that’s unfortunate,” John says. “But if you two have a falling out, I just want to say that I’m still available.”

Gina smiles. “Well, that’s good to know, John. I’ll keep that in mind should you ever become the last man on earth… which is closer to being possible than it ever was,” she adds with a playful wink.

“So you’re saying, I have a chance!” John responds playfully. “Score!”

“You are an idiot.”

“Just wanted you to know I’ve got your back, beautiful… or your front, or any damn side of you for that matter,” John adds with a wink.

“Just don’t get on my bad side.”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

(The audience laughs.)

“Seriously though, we’re running out of time so I want to get one more question in before we close. Can you give us any insights into the direction of this new story arc, without spoiling anything, of course? Why Phantoms?”

Gina considers the question. “I’m starting to think that the author should have called this book ‘Haunted Houses’. What I mean is that we’ve all had too much time over the winter to let everything we’ve been avoiding creep up on us. We are all truly ‘haunted’ now. Haunted by our pasts, our mistakes, our grief, our fears… and now we have to deal with it. I think Phantoms has a lot to do with our own ghosts, and it’s the story, in part, of facing those enemies, which can be extremely devastating after losing so much but not having the time to accept it and move on to what’s next… whatever that is.”

“That’s good, Gina. I’m sure we’ll have a lot more to discuss on the matter of phantoms in the days ahead.”

“You can count on that.”

“Well, that’s all the time we have for now.” John turns to the audience. “You will all be delighted to know that Gina will be joining us again next week for part two of this interview, to usher in the new story line. How does that sound?”

(The audience stands up and applauds.)

“Thanks for having me on the show, John,” Gina says.

“It’s been a pleasure.” He turns to the audience. “How about a big round of applause for Gina!”

(The audience goes nuts.)

“Before we run out of time, I just wanted to remind everyone about the new schedule:  New episodes of Don’t Feed The Dark will be posted every Monday and Wednesday, and a new episode of After The Dark each Friday.

Now for anyone who has questions for Gina about her character, the story, or about anything else, please feel free to ask away and we will try to answer what we can. If not, then we will see you all next Friday for another enlightening episode of After The Dark!”

~~~

Next Episode:
After The Dark (#7) – Phantoms (Part 2)

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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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