After The Dark (#8) – Evil Gina

Posted: September 14, 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.


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 to Chapter 32-1: Wasteland, I strongly suggest that you don’t continue on with us until after you’ve caught up. Consider yourself warned.

So, we’ve finished the first chapter of Phantoms and got our first peek into the next chapter, titled, Wasteland. What do you think… is this some crazy shit so far or what?”

(The audience applauds enthusiastically.)

“Well let’s get right to it. I’m excited to introduce out next guest. For the longest time we thought this man found his way into Malcolm Hathaway’s barbecue after smoking some bad weed back in Chapter Two.”

(The audience laughs.)

“I think we were all delighted to discover that he survived the sex party on the beach. Ladies and gentlemen, please put your hands together for Tony Marcuchi!”

(Tony enters smiling and rolling his fists at the crowd. The audience stands and gives him a loud ovation as Tony takes a seat beside our host.)

“Tony,” John begins. “It’s awesome to have you on the show and I’m glad one of the genuine good guys actually survived past Book Three.”

“I know… I know. Believe me, I thought I was going down in that crazy camp with Charlie’s zombies once I saw Gina chained to that tree. You know, some kind of heroic rescue followed by a traumatic end right after being reunited with the one I loved.”

“Well, I for one am glad the author didn’t let that happen. We’ve already lost enough characters who were trying to do the right thing that I was starting to wonder if you had to become a mega dick or something to survive the apocalypse.”

(The audience laughs.)

“So what the hell is happening, Tony?” John asks, leaning forward. “After this first new chapter along with Stephen’s account of the last several months, opening up the next chapter, I’m staring to get the impression that morale is at an all-time low.”

Tony laughs. “Yeah… that’s an understatement. As you can tell, none of us are happy campers at the moment. The last few months have been rough on all of us.”

John shakes his head. “With the exception of the serial killer and the dude with the imaginary dead girlfriend, everyone else seems to be having some serious anger management issues or something.”

(The audience laughs.)

John continues. “Why do you suppose life has been so difficult since you all moved beneath the Wasteland?”

Tony sighs and says, “I think there’s a number of reasons why life has been hard for us, although you’d think we’d all just stop fucking whining and just be thankful we’re all still alive… right?”

(The audience applauds.)

“Seriously, though,” Tony continues, “I think none of us were prepared for the lull in the fight when we went into hiding. As it turns out, standing still for too long during the apocalypse is deadly. With nothing to do but overthink everything, it’s a wonder that any of us are still functional after having to stare so long at all our ’emotional baggage’. This is the first time for a lot of us, myself included, that we had to serious accept the possibility that law and order were not going to be restored and that our old lives were never coming back.”

“Yeah, that had to suck,” John says. “If all you knew was gone, what’s left but the uncertain future, especially from the vantage point of the compound where everything seems so dark and bleak.”

Tony shakes his head. “As you all read from Stephen’s narrative on Wednesday, we discovered a new enemy: each other. I think the strain of dealing with everyone’s conflicts, grief, and hopelessness created a challenge that none of us we’re prepared for.”

“That certainly seems to be the case so far, Tony. So lets shift gears a moment. What the hell is wrong with your damn girlfriend? Is she applying for a new villain role we’re not aware of, or is this just a case of apocalyptic PMS?”

(The audience laughs.)

Tony covers his face with his hands and says, “You would wait to say that until after she left.”

“Absolutely! I’m not going to put myself on Gina’s shit-list right now. She might go all evil on my ass, lock me in my car, and then set it on fire!”

(The audience and Tony roar with laughter.)

Tony points at him between bursts of laughter and says, “You are a naughty host! Behave yourself!”

(The audience laughs.)

“Okay… sorry… but I’m calling her ‘Evil Gina’ for the duration of this show. I think she’s earned it.”

“Fair enough,” Tony says with a laugh and throws his hands up in surrender.

“All joking aside, Tony,” John continues, “is what’s happening with Evil Gina a direct result of the last few months, or would you say that it’s accumulative, going all the way back to the beginning?”

Tony shakes his head sadly. “Hell yes it’s accumulative. Look, that woman is tough as nails, but she’s been through one shit storm after another since the start of this thing. When you consider that our first introduction to Gina, and her first introduction to the apocalypse, was right after she got brutally raped, which I will add that she still hasn’t told me about, and then everything that’s happened since… shit… I don’t know if anyone but Gina could’ve made it through all that. But I believe she found strength in her new apocalyptic family. When she had to start dealing with those deaths on top of everything else, Gina had two choices: Either forge her pain into anger or simply cave. She chose anger and it’s really starting to bite her in the ass now.”

John nods. “So tell me honestly, Tony. Is Evil Gina becoming a serious problem and is the Wasteland community, as Stephen states it, right about her? Is she dangerous?”

Tony’s face turns to stone. “Well, we’re just going to have to wait and see.”

“Fair enough. Let’s move on. So now we get our first glimpse of the yellow-eyed zombies after months have passed. Are these monsters starting to evolve? Are they getting smarter?”

“They’re definitely becoming something we did not expect,” Tony says. “How that factors in with everything else is a frightening aspect we will have to consider since we’ve been waiting all winter to escape the compound that has slowly been killing us from the inside out.”

“So Helen is out among the dead surrounding the house, the prisoners you came to save have all turned postal, and the bad man is nowhere to be found. On top of all this, Gina is out of control and you’ve already lost one member of the team. I can only imagine the mind-fuck this is amounting to for you. Does all of this factor in as to why you decide to show Marvin a bit of mercy near the end of the chapter?”

Tony sighs heavily. “Before arriving back at this nightmare place, I’ve had my own difficulties adjusting to the long winter stuck beneath the ground. I think it’s obvious that my positive attitude took a heavy hit with everything else that had already happened. For me, coming back here was a chance to essentially ‘undo’ some of the bad shit that happened to me personally, since there’s been so much that I’ve had no control over. I’m not used to reacting to situations and people. I’ve always been more proactive, but this winter has forced me to come to terms with a lot of things that are beyond my control. From the difficulties I’ve had with Gina, to the factions that have formed within our community, to the overall state of the world not improving but actually getting worse, and then the suicides… I think I’ve been suppressing a lot of shit. Finally getting here and believing that I might get to do some good and actually save some people this time around, since I couldn’t do that before… hell, nothing turned out the way I’d hoped. Just like things got bad for us back home, things got even worse out here, and we’re just finding out about it. Showing Marvin a little compassion was like saying, ‘Sorry I wasn’t here to show you how to fight back’. Although it wasn’t my fault what happened, I think I feel guilty. You know, like I was the damn lucky one that got away and I should’ve come back here much sooner to stop all of this somehow.”

John nods. “Understandable. Do you think there’s a part of you that wonders if you hadn’t escaped, would you have eventually caved and become like Marvin?”

“That’s where the anger comes from. I look at that guy and see a mirror of what I could’ve become if Lydia hadn’t helped me escape. I deny it, of course, but who knows? I don’t know what Marvin was like at the beginning of his captivity. He could’ve started off strong and resisted, but then watching all those people around him paying the price for their own defiance, day after day, might have finally caught up to him. I was a prisoner here for a little more than a week. Marvin has been here for months. I’m left to wonder what I might have become if the bad man kept me alive all this time. I would like to think that he would’ve killed me long before becoming… docile, like Marvin.”

“So back to ‘Evil Gina’.”

“Oh boy,” Tony laughs.

(The audience laughs.)

“So it’s not good enough that she’s the cause for Marvin bleeding out and the dead outside are surely gonna finish off the job she started. Then, she sets the house on fire and locks the basement door! What’s that all about?”

Tony shakes his head. “As I’ve already mentioned, Gina’s anger is what’s driving her right now. Truth be told, I don’t believe Gina cared as much about coming back here and rescuing people as much as she did about getting a little bit of payback for what the bad man did to me. In her eyes, Marvin, the woman on the porch, the others… doesn’t matter who they were. To Gina, they’re all part of the pain she’s watched me suffer through. I think if she’d showed up alone, Gina would’ve killed everyone in the house immediately, no questions asked. Locking that basement door was her way of insuring that Marvin had absolutely no chance of surviving his blood loss or the pending arrival of the yellow-eyed monsters outside. She wanted Marvin, and everything he stood for, destroyed.”

John shakes his head. “Man, you have got to have a serious sit-down conversation with that girl. If her idea of expressing her love for you is to kill anyone that looks at you funny… I can only imagine what she’d do if you all ever ran into one of your ex-girlfriends.”

(The audience laughs.)

“Believe me, we have talked. In fact, it’s becoming a full-time job covering her ass every time she makes the wrong call. That’s part of the reason she’s so unpopular with our community.”

“So why does she keep doing it? Why does Gina continue to lead this group when she clearly doesn’t want the job? That was apparent when Samantha took over way back in Chapter 25, and also when everyone looked to her again at the end of Book Three.”

Tony nods. “I think leadership’s a double-edged sword for Gina. When she believed the Shadow Dead were coming back and that they still had a battle to prepare for, Gina could thrive in that environment. She knew what needed done and believed she was the most capable of getting us all ready. Her anger was focused… needed. But when her war never happened, and the winter came instead, Gina was not prepared to deal with the subtleties of leadership, or the wide array of emotional turmoil that came with all that ‘down time’ we suddenly had to deal with. In order for her to ‘lead’ in that atmosphere, Gina would have to look at her own emotional issues. This is something she’s not able to handle right now.”

“So she volunteers herself for every dangerous mission just to get away from the real problems waiting for her.”

“Exactly,” Tony says. “Gina needs the fight more than it needs her. She wants to attack this horrible new world head on and inflict her wrath upon it for all she’s had to endure. She doesn’t want to look back, mourn for the dead, or reconcile her damaged relationships, like what she suffers through with Meredith’s betrayal. She’s at a place, unfortunately, where the only time she truly feels alive is when she’s pushing back, violently, against this world. It’s been my job to help her understand that there’s other ways to push back, other ways to live without the violence… but we’re having some real communication problems at the moment.”

“Has it occurred to you, Tony, that her pain, or her inability to face it in a non-violent way, may be bringing you down, as well?”

Tony smiles and leans back in his chair. “All the time, John. All the time.”

“Well, I hope you two can work this out and get passed this difficult place in your relationship, and I know we all hope Gina will surface from the darkness. Right folks?”

(The audience stands and applauds, offering their encouragement.)

“Well, thank you everyone, it means a lot. We’ll just have to see what happens.”

“We’re all rooting for you two, Tony. So on a lighter note, is there anything you can tell us about what’s coming next? I know we’ll be getting more into Chapter 2 next week and discussing what’s been happening on the home front with our next guest, but what about the bad man? We know Gina’s destroyed his radio, but will that be enough? What’s to stop him from just finding another hell house and another radio?”

Tony shakes his head. “All I can say is that we still have our hands full at the moment trying to get away from this new horde of zombies. As you read at the end of Chapter One, Helen was aware of our departure.”

“Well, I hope you all make it back safely.” John turns to the audience. “Let’s give our guest a big hand for joining us today.”

(The audience applauds as Tony waves at them.)

“It’s good to have you here, Tony,” John finishes. “I’m so glad we’ll be reading more about your character in the days to come… hopefully.”

“Hopefully,” Tony teases.

John turns to the audience. “And that’s a wrap for this week. As always, if anyone would like to ask Tony questions about his character, or the story in general, please feel free to do so and we will endeavor to answer what we can. If not, then I’ll see you all next week for another informative episode of After The Dark!”


Next Episode:
After The Dark (#9)- Trauma


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  1. Sadpanda says:

    I hope this whole Gina thing gets resolved quickly and she stops being such a bitch. Especially towards Tony. Her whole situation is irritating.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I have continued enjoying these excerpts and hope they continue for a while.


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