After The Dark (#11) – Outcast

Posted: February 4, 2017 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, walking dead, zombie books, 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 Don’t Feed The Dark 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 episode 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 the first 35 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.”

John stands up and addresses the audience. “After ten episodes of our show, we finally managed to corner our very own psychic to the undead stars… and she never saw it coming.”

(The audience laughs.)

“Would you please put your hands together for Meredith Montgomery!”

(The audience stands and gives Meredith a huge round of applause. Meredith enters wearing a blue and white flowered sundress, waves enthusiastically at the crowd, and then takes a seat beside our host.)

The crowd continues to cheer as John attempts to get a word in. “My, oh, my, these folks love you, Meredith!”

Meredith kisses her hand and pretends to blow it at them. “The feeling’s mutual, John,” she adds with a wink.

“I gotta tell you,” John says as the audience settles down, “I think we’ve all been dying to find out just what’s been happening on your side of this rather long tale. According to Stephen’s journal entries, you haven’t been a very popular member of the Wasteland Community. Why do you think that is?”

Meredith chuckles. “I have no idea. Everyone knows that I’m just a charming old gal who tries to get along with everyone.”

(The audience laughs.)

“You’ve been named the Wasteland Witch… I bet you’ll be a big hit around Halloween if that name continues to stick.”

“Well… I don’t have a broom, a fancy black hat, or even a cat,” Meredith says. “But it’s pretty clear that I’ve developed a rather larger-than-life reputation.”

John nods. “Obviously, the community has been passing along stories of what you did prior to the explosion in the last book. And I’m sure having Megan as your roommate in the clinic just adds fuel to the fire.”

Meredith leaned in and whispers, “Is isn’t mentioned in the story, John, but Megan started out as a cat until she started scratching up the furniture… and then ‘Poof!'”

(The audience laughs.)

“Seriously though, is it fear? They seem unable to accept what you’re capable of and would rather find any old excuse to exclude you.”

Meredith frowns. “Yes. It’s a lot like how I was treated as a young girl. It’s far easier to laugh with your friends about the freaks living with you than it is to attempt understanding someone very different from yourself. Also, being labeled an agent of Mother doesn’t help my cause much either.”

“Agreed,” John says. “So, rather than fight against what the community has turned you into, it seems like you’ve decided to embrace the role and enjoy the isolation it affords. Is that a fair assessment?”

Meredith smiles. “I’ve always tried my best to maintain the peace. I don’t like being a source of conflict, or causing discomfort. I would rather accept being their ‘witch’ and keep my distance, rather than try to join the community by forcing myself upon them. Nothing good can come of that… at least, not while people are suffering down in that dark dungeon.”

“Well, you’ve handled yourself with typical Meredith class. I suspect that very few of us could endure what you’ve had to put up with over that long winter and not lose our cool by now.” John turns to the audience. “Wouldn’t you all agree?”

(The crowd applauds.)

Meredith looks at her hands resting in her lap and says, “Well… that’s kind of you to say.” She looks to the audience. “It’s wonderful knowing that not everyone hates me for simply being different.”

(The crowd stands up and roars their approval.)

“So, let me sum this up,” John says. “Over the past several months, you’ve been trying to reach out to Megan who is essentially ‘half dead’. You’ve not be able to use your abilities to peek inside her head, and as a result, you and Dr. Cooper have been shooting in the dark.”

“Yes, that’s about right,” Meredith says. “I’m drawn to that poor girl because I know what she’s going through. I felt it once in Harpersfied. Megan’s in a very scary place… a very sad, lonely place… and I feel compelled to help her in any way I can.”

John nods. “If given the option, would you consider going topside with her and using your powers?”

Meredith carefully considers the question. “Well, John, I don’t think that I could… even if I wanted to. Last time I was around Megan’s particular illness it nearly drained me to death. There’s a black hole of hopelessness inside this particular breed of zombie that sucked the life right out of me. If Gina hadn’t shown up at that church way back in Chapter 20… well… I don’t know what would’ve happened… but it wouldn’t have ended well.”

“Considering they already had you on the menu for a sacrificial supper… I’d have to agree,” John says.

(The audience laughs.)

“So, what you’re saying is, because of the unique design of this Mother-sponsored compound, you wouldn’t last long around Megan without getting ill again?”

“I believe my resistance to her would’ve been better, now that I know what was making me ill, but ultimately… yes… if I started opening up my mind to poor Megan, it could potentially kill me.”

“Let’s move on,” John says. “So, after Gina put you under ‘house arrest’ in the compound, you’ve been able to be just Meredith for the first time. How did it feel when you realized you were cut off from your abilities?”

“Wonderful… and a little strange,” Meredith admits. “It’s like a fog suddenly lifting from your life, a fog that’s always been there, separating me from that clarity of my own life and causing me to learn how to defend my mind against it creeping in under the door cracks. It’s been an adjustment, for sure.”

“And now that you’ve been lowering your shields, so to speak, it appears as though you’re remembering a whole lot of things from your past that you haven’t had access to… until now.”

“That’s right, John. As we’ve found out from this present chapter, it’s all starting to come back… and apparently… I am more involved with Mother than I ever realized. It’s a rather frightening awakening.”

“So let’s talk about young Meredith,” John says. “You were an orphan?”

“Yes. Although I don’t think I’ve ever been told the particulars of how I entered the system, I’ve been moving around from foster home to foster home as far back as I can remember… and that’s a slippery slope at the moment.”

“Yeah… your memory’s like Swiss cheese, lady,” John says.

(The audience laughs.)

“So, you’ve been really adamant about keeping Gina out of that mysterious door. Can you tell us your theory of what the compound really is, or what the humming sound coming from beneath it is?” John asks.

“Probably not… but that doesn’t mean I won’t recall something later on in this story,” Meredith says with a wink.

“I had to try,” John laughs. “So, tell us about your old buddy, Clem? How does it feel knowing that she has survived The Change?”

“Well, my character obviously doesn’t know Clementine is alive… and I hope I never have to find out. That should tell you exactly how I feel on the matter,” Meredith answers with a smile. “But if you’re trying to get out of me whether or not I’ll be reacquainted with my old friend… well… I suppose anything’s possible.”

“Fair enough,” John says. He turns to the audience and adds, “For those of you who don’t know, Meredith’s former best friend, Clementine, makes a special appearance in the latest Don’t Feed The Dark spin-off story, Hangar Six. You’ll definitely want to give that a read and find out what Clem’s been up to.”

John turns back to Meredith. “So, let’s talk about a few things which were mentioned in this chapter.”

Meredith rubs her hands together like an eager child. “Let’s do that, John.”

(The audience laughs.)

“First… let’s talk about the damn lions. We have your dreams and the strange picture on your bedroom wall that show us the emerald lion with yellow eyes that apparently want to devour everything in its path. There are also drawings of lions on the classroom walls along with other scenes depicting death and destruction… creepy. We also learn that lions are mentioned in the children’s mantra at the end of class… that gave me a very weird cult-vibe, by the way. If I were to connect the dots, it would seem that all these lions are symbolic in nature. Then add in the fact that we have our modern day flyers that were hung shortly before the shit hit the fan, mentioning, you guessed it… lions. Are all these connected in some way?”

Meredith laughed. “If you’re asking me if I think the lions are symbolic of The Change… well, it certainly appears so. Especially when you factor in the yellow eyes.”

John leans back in his chair. “If that’s true, then it means that as far as this orphanage is concerned… they’ve known about it for a very long time. That’s mind blowing.”

Meredith nods her head. “Yes, it would seem that they knew something was definitely coming. Whether it was the girls who first saw it through their ‘gifts’ or something else… well that’s yet to be made clear.”

“Fascinating,” John says. “So let’s talk about the three-pronged symbol. You drew one in class which clearly freaked out Finch, and then found another one marking the secret door behind the doll cabinet wall. Obviously this orphanage, which is not an orphanage, is clearly another Mother-run operation. Is that right?”

Meredith smiled. “It would certainly seem so.”

“I hate it when you answer a ‘yes or no’ question like that. You sound like your saying ‘yes’ with a big ‘however…’ attached to it.”

(The audience laughs.)

Meredith leans back and folds her hands. “Questions, ask you. Answers, I may have,” she says in a bad imitation of Yoda voice.

(The audience roars with laughter.)

John shakes his head. “Meredith… you’re killing me!”

She laughs. “I’m surprised you haven’t asked about the dolls yet?”

“I was getting to that,” John says. “But let’s talk about Toby first. Is he the young man from your dream, the doll, or the sick man in the bed?”

Meredith scowls and says, “Well… I don’t know what to say to that question. But I think the better question might be, ‘What does he want from me?'”

“Agreed,” Johns says. “So… what do you think he wants?”

“I don’t know… yet.”

John feigns distress by hitting his forehead. “And what about those creepy dolls? Can you tell us anything about them?”

Meredith rubs her chin. “Well… I will say that it can’t be just a coincidence that they’re just happens to be four dolls and four patients hidden away in that secret room.”

“Interesting… but I bet you can’t tell us anything else, can you?”

“Probably not,” she says.

“Of course,” John says with a laugh. “So with all these memories crashing to the surface, what’s that mean for your character now? Do you keep what you’ve discovered about your past to yourself? Do you tell Gina and risk being alienated even further from the community?”

“Your guess is as good as mine, John,” Meredith admits. “All I know at the moment is that Meredith has a whole lot to process, while trying to keep herself and Megan safe.”

“That’s right,” John says. “After Logan’s unusual visit and veiled warning things aren’t looking very safe at the moment.”

“Agreed,” she says. “And we’ll just have to find out what happens in the next chapter… so don’t even ask.”

John threw his hands into the air.

(The audience laughs.)

“I will say,” Meredith adds, “that the next chapter will have us all back together again, and our resident preacher, Logan, will have center stage for quite a bit of the next chapter.”

“That sounds awesome!” John says. “Before we run out of time, let’s talk about Megan. After those tears, do you think she’s coming back from that black hole you mentioned? Is she remembering what happened to her?”

“I believe she might be. Which is all the more reason to keep her safe.”

“Okay,” John says. “Is there anything else you can tell us about what to expect in the days to come?”

“Well, I do know that this little flashback story from 1973 isn’t finished yet.”

“So we should expect a Dead Dolls, Part Two?” John asks.

Meredith hesitates, then answers, “Yes and no.”

“What’s that mean?”

Meredith laughs and explains, “This story from my past is definitely not finished… but it might not be continued from my thirteen-year-old perspective. A lot can happen between now and then that might make me… unable to finish that particular story.”

(The audience gasps.)

John points a finger at Meredith and says, “You’re just saying that because we don’t know what happens next chapter… right?”

Meredith smiles and shrugs her shoulders. “Folks die all the time in this series. We’re just going to have to find out what happens next.”

John shakes his head and turns toward the audience. “How’s that for a scary answer, folks?”

(The audience shouts out for more clarification.)

“Sorry,” she says sheepishly. “I can’t say anything else.”

“Well, we’ll just have to hope for the best,” John says, “and we’ll all pray that Meredith returns to us safely so we can ask more questions she’ll probably not be able to answer.”

(The audience laughs.)

“So let’s move on to a lighter subject. Is there some romance potentially brewing between yourself and the good Doctor Cooper?”

Meredith laughs. “Well, I think Coop will keep trying. Maybe he’ll wear me down eventually. But for now, we’re just really good friends.”

“Well, I’m just glad you’re still around. You seem to be at the center of a lot of things which were hinted about in the past, and now we’re starting to see what’s really going on. I have one more question for you,” John says.

“Please… ask away,” Meredith says.

“It’s about your connection with Frank Carman. Will we ever find out what was going on between you two?”

Meredith smiles. “You know, John, that’s very possible. Now that my past is free game, I wouldn’t be surprised if the author touches on our relationship at some point in the story.”

“That sounds intriguing,” John says, and leans back in his chair. “Well, I want to thank you for joining us today. It was such a pleasure to finally get you on the show.”

“Thanks for having me,” she says.

John turns toward the crowd. “Let’s give Meredith a big hand for hanging out with us so long.”

(The audience rises to their feet and applauds.)

Meredith is glowing as she blows them another kiss of appreciation.

“And that’s a wrap for this episode. Just a reminder, Chapter 36: Uprising begins tomorrow. If anyone has any additional questions they’d like to ask Meredith about her character specifically, or just about the story in general, we’ll try our best to answer your questions. If not, then we’ll see you all next time for another adventurous episode of After The Dark!”


Next Episode:
After The Dark (#12) – The Killer Cut (Part 1)

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