~~~

David Fintner had inherited the old farmstead five years ago. On paper it had looked promising. Several acres of land, including the surrounding forest, seemed to hold so much potential when he first moved his family here. Sure, the land needed a lot of work, the farmhouse hadn’t been upgraded in years, and the old barn was about to collapse, but David had once had big plans for the place.

Unfortunately, so did the bank that made it nearly impossible to keep up with the debt he also inherited.

He, his wife, Mary, and his older Brother Daryl, along with David’s two frustratingly unappreciative sons, who were both over eighteen and threw it in his face every time David asked the freeloaders to help with the place, had all moved in. It had been a living hell ever since. The only saving grace had been little Amy, David’s youngest child, who absolutely loved the farm. When Mary threatened to leave him for moving them out to this wasteland of life, and Amy’s uncle Daryl caught the cancer and was unable to help with the hard labor, it was eight-year-old Amy who brought a ray of sunshine even on David’s darkest days. When they were on brink of losing the farm, that little girl kept David afloat as he’d tried his best to take the blunt of the strife in his household and keep Amy far from it.

Then the outbreak happened.

As it turned out, losing the rest of the world to the dead had saved David’s family. No one came to reclaim the farm. Those ungrateful older siblings stopped threatening to move away. Mary never uttered another word about divorce. Even Uncle Daryl seemed to get better.

They’d all listened to the news on the radio, when there still was news, and had heard what happened to families. Children attacking their parent. Parents attacking children. They’d heard the odds: one in five had turned into monsters. But somehow, David’s family had been spared.

The farm, originally a curse, had become a blessing overnight. While the dead ravaged the landscape around them, David and his family had hunkered down for the long winter, living on canned preserves, a well-stocked pantry, well water, and an abundance of fuel that kept the generator running, one of the few things David had done right. They had all drawn closer as a family and survived when so many had not. His family had turned to him for comfort and David provided reassurance, however false it was. It didn’t matter. They were still here.

And all the while little Amy remained oblivious to it all.

David knew he should’ve started talking about leaving the farm after winter ended, especially after he explored the surrounding forest for game, only to discover that the dead were slowly moving closer to the farm. One lone ridge was the only thing keeping those sickly-looking beasts from discovering them, but he did nothing.

He told them nothing.

David had returned with news that the wildlife had gone away and that they should just stay put and wait for the world to right itself. He’d locked up the only two guns in the house, telling his family that using them might draw attention from the living who would try to take what they had… but in truth, it was the dead he feared. One gunshot and all David had achieved would be over.

His family did not question his judgment, something David wasn’t used to, and they agreed to defend the farm with blunt weapons, should it ever come down to it.

Time passed. Complacency became a slow poison. The Fintner family continued to live, grateful for the farm, and safely hidden away from their dying world…

…David continued to stare at the body of his young daughter as the dead fought for it. He could only see her foot sticking out of the mass of bloody savages that had attacked her from the forest. He held the pitchfork in numb hands. He felt his legs give way as he dropped to his knees, oblivious to the scattered dead that continued to approach him from the surrounding forest and invade the back of the property.

Her pitiful screams would haunt the remainder of his short life… and the hell that followed.

He’d just gone out back to fetch her for breakfast. Amy loved to dance in the backyard in the mornings, talking to her invisible friends who she’d made up over the winter months. He enjoyed watching her imagination thrive and she made him laugh. She never wandered far, just far enough for the first of the shadowy forms which had emerged from the wood line to beat him to the girl. He’d shouted at them. But that only made the monsters move faster.

He knew he should get up and fight them, defend his family, his home, but all David could do was watch as his daughter was devoured by the dead… and he wanted to join her. And of course, the rest of them weren’t out here now. He might have shouted for them to run… David couldn’t remember. Or maybe they were watching from the windows as David’s lies materialized and invaded the farmstead. Maybe they were waiting just long enough to watch him die while cursing his name for ever moving them out here… and rightly so.

He had told them they were safe. He had locked up the only weapons they had. And now the monsters had finally come for them, too.

All debts were now being collected.

“Come on, mother fuckers!”

David followed the voice, looking up past the mob consuming his daughter, beyond the monsters coming for him, too, and saw something that defied belief… even now. At first, he thought the dead were attacking their own, as one of them, apparently wielding a hand axe, stormed out of the woods and started hacking into them.

He managed to get to his feet.

As the dead thing came closer, causing the rest of its kind to turn back toward it, David swore he heard it speak a second time.

“Fuck you! Every single one of you! You want it… come on then! I’LL FUCKING KILL EVERY ONE OF YOU!”

Its clothes were not deteriorated like the others. But it was covered in blood and filth. The thing’s wild reddish hair concealed its face as the monster continued to kick, shove and hack into the dead all around it. David heard it swear into the faces of its victims, and for a moment, the beast looked and sounded like a woman. He raised the pitch fork in shaky hands toward the crazed talking beast, believing that a devil had come straight out of the woods to claim him for his sins.

The devil/woman thing briefly locked eyes with him. It spoke again, “RUN!”

“David!”

David turned back toward the farmhouse. It was Mary. She was standing with the rest of his family on the back porch. They were armed with whatever weapons they could find. Terrified, but they were there.

He smiled at them. “It’s okay,” he shouted back. “I’ll take care of this. You all… you all just go back in the house and wait… just wait for me to… take care of things.”

“David… where’s Amy? We can’t find Amy!” Mary was bordering hysterical.

“Just…GO!” he shouted. “I’ll find her… I’ll bring her back! She’s just out here playing like she always does… I’ll just go get her and-”

Several cold limbs reached out from behind and pulled David to the ground. They dead tore him to pieces in seconds.

The demon woman had made it as far as Amy when she saw the farmer go down. She looked toward the rest of David’s family who were screaming from the porch and shouted, “What the fuck are you waiting for? RUN YOU FUCKING IDIOTS!”

The Fintner family had seen enough. They scattered from the back porch and started running around the front of the house.

Gina, enraged that she couldn’t reach the farmer in time, turned on the closest dead things and hacked into their faces, screaming and howling until her voice gave out.

There were far too many now. Gina’s only chance was to make it to the farmhouse. She pushed her tired legs forward, just ahead of the herd, and watched the rest of the family flee.

Please… let them all be gone, she frantically prayed. Please tell me this wasn’t all for nothing.

“Come on you stupid fuckers!” she shouted back, hoping to keep the monsters’ attention on her. “You want to eat me… come and get me!”

Gina almost stumbled on the steps climbing up the back porch. If she had, the dead would’ve had her. Instead she clumsily struck the back door, opened it, and just managed to fall inside. Gina rolled on her back and slammed the door shut with her foot. She immediately smelled something burning from the kitchen that made her think of breakfast. Corned beef hash?

The dead started pounding on the door. Light coming through the windows facing the back of the house was immediately blocked out as hollowed-out faces pressed up against the glass.

Gina struggled to her feet, using a wall to keep from falling over. She was spent, burning up all her physical reserves a while ago, she’d been running on the fumes of pure rage and adrenaline.

She took a deep breath and shouted into the house. “Is anyone in here?”

No answer.

Good.

Her senses were overloaded with the manic sounds of the dead trying to penetrate the home, combined with the comfy-looking interior of the small house. Her heart pounded in her ears. She caught a glimpse of the small breakfast table, just outside the kitchen. Plates and glasses were set before a window of bloody dead hands pounding for today’s menu specials.

Gina laughed at the thought. Her laughter sounding strange… bordering insanity.

She moved toward the table, staring out at the dead, and hissed, “Come on… then. Let’s get this over with.” She reached down toward the table, picked up a half-full glass of water, and inhaled it.

“I’d kill for a cup of coffee.” She laughed, a little longer then she should have.

Gina sat down at the table, knocked a plate to the floor, and set her axe down. She stared at the place settings, bemused by it all, and shouted over her shoulder at no one, “What’s a girl… what’s a girl gotta do to get service around here?”

The glass in the window started to crack.

“Oh… just fucking wait a damn minute,” she hissed toward the window, refusing to look at them. “Just… give me five fucking minutes of piece. Then you can eat.”

She could hear the back door starting to give. They’d break through any moment now.

Gina no longer cared. She had nothing left. It took all she had after foolishly sitting down, not to let her heavy eyelids close. “I always could sleep right after a big home-cooked breakfast,” she said with a smile. “To bad I didn’t get here sooner. Probably missed out on the bacon and eggs… although, I’ve always been a pancake girl.”

More cracks appeared in the window. She could hear other windows cracking.

The dead stared in at her, oblivious to breakfast or anything else. The exhausted woman sitting at the table was only another blood bag carrying what they needed… what they absolutely had to have.

Gina stared toward the window into the tightly pressed pale and bloody faces of the former living, their rotting teeth snapping at her through the cracked glass, their eyes, dark and sunken in—void of life, and she started to weep. She tried to shut out the chorus of hungry indifferent moans with her own pained words. “I’m sorry… I’m sorry for all of this. Not that it’s my fault… but… someone should be… sorry.” She wiped fresh tears away. “Someone should grieve for you pitiful pieces of shit, I suppose. Hell, it’s not like you dumb fucks had a choice.” She closed her eyes. “It’s not like any of us really had a choice… to do the horrible things we’ve done.” But deep down, that excuse wouldn’t hold. For the dead… yes. What else could they be or do other than what they’ve become? What did that say about the rest? What did that say about the living who still possessed choices, no matter how limited they were?

Gina smiled bitterly and shook her head. In a few more moments, she wouldn’t have to contemplate it.

There was that, at least.

Suddenly, the dead started quieting down.

Gina felt light from outside strike her closed eyelids. She opened them, staring bewildered toward the clear window. “What the hell?”

The pounding at the back door had stopped.

Gina rose to her feet, feeling like there was a knife firmly planted in her side. She picked up her axe and approached the back door, staring out through the windows and watching the dead turn away.

“Where are you going?” She watched them collectively move toward the side of the farmhouse and disappear from her view.

Before she could investigate further, there was a light knock on the back door.

Gina was stunned. What is this?

“Gina?” a familiar voice called through the door. “Open up. It’s me… Marcus.”

Uncontrollable tears started streaming down her face as she raised her hands to her mouth. For a moment, she couldn’t believe it. “I’m hearing shit,” she said. “It’s official. I’ve finally lost my fucking mind.”

“Gina? You alright in there? It’s safe, for now, but we don’t have long. If you could-”

Gina opened the door.

A man with short black hair and dark, penetrating eyes, stood at the door. For a moment Marcus appeared as shocked as she was, observing her ragged appearance. He finally smiled. “It’s good to see you, Gina. I thought-”

Gina fiercely embraced him and started to bawl like a child.

Marcus caught her and reluctantly placed his arms around her. “It’s okay,” he whispered. “Everything’s going to be alright now.”

Gina managed to nod, digging her face into his shoulder. “I’m… all fucked-up,” was all she managed to say.

“Okay, well… let’s get you out of this horrible place,” Marcus said, gently leading her outside. “We’ll talk in a bit.”

Gina allowed herself to be led off the porch steps. Marcus escorted her back toward the rear of the property and into the forest. He kept his arms around her, feeling the broken woman on the verge of collapsing.

Gina looked around at the surprisingly empty field and said with alarm, “What about the dead? There all over the-”

“I took care of that, Gina.” Marcus said. “Don’t’ worry about it. They’re… distracted… for the moment.”

“Did you see them? That… that family? Did they get away?”

“Sorry, Gina. I didn’t see anyone.”

Gina gave up. Marcus was here, and that meant she wasn’t alone anymore.

Things will get better now, she thought. They sent him back to bring me home. The admission caught her by surprise, causing her to weep again.

Home?

Fuck me, maybe I’m not better off without them, she wondered. Her thoughts drifted to that breakfast table and the family that once drew strength from sitting together at it each day. She smiled and thought, Take me home, Marcus. I miss them terribly. I don’t care if I have to spend the rest of my days in a prison cell… just… just take me…

Home.

Marcus and Gina disappeared into the trees.

~~~

From the side of the Fintner farmhouse, just beyond Gina’s view from within the house, the dead had found a new target for their blood lust as they’d swarmed together, fighting over the freshly slain.

A once distraught Mary Fintner, her two terrified sons, and overwhelmed Uncle Daryl had been butchered behind an old rusted tractor.

The man wielding the machete had shown them no mercy when he’d hacked the Fintner family to pieces, scattering their bloody remains out in the yard in full view of the dead.

~~~

Next Episode 45-1

Previous Episode 44-7

~~~

If you’re enjoying Don’t Feed The Dark so far, please consider voting for it on Top Web Fiction and Top Site List by clicking the links below. This will help increase its visibility and draw in more potential readers. No registration is required. Thanks for your support and for reading :)

Vote for DFTD at topwebfiction

Vote for DFTD at Top Site List

__________________________________________
“Chapter 44-8: The Nomad” Copyright © 2018 Scott Scherr, from the novel, Don’t Feed The Dark, Book Five: Remains. 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.

Advertisements
Comments
  1. nashmcgowan says:

    Gruesome ending. I’d say Marcus is back but…..

    Like

Comments? I love to read them

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s