Archive for the ‘talk show’ Category

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Hello Everyone,

Just a quick update from behind the scenes.

I’m slowly working on the first chapter for DFTD Book 5 (currently untitled), while enjoying some much needed rest. I’m also planning on editing Book 4 over the summer, time permitting.

If you haven’t found out already, I’ve removed the “Updates” tab on the top of the main page and replaced it with the “Other Short Works” tab. This will now be the place where I post links to additional short stories I’ve written that aren’t DFTD related, as well as some dark poetry, etc., that I will update as I post more material.

Also, the newest episode of After The Dark is now available, titled: The Killer Cut (Part One). This is part one of a two part episode featuring our latest special guest, Marcus Dempsey (a.k.a. Russell Bower). I’ll be posting the second part of this intriguing interview as soon as it becomes available.

In case you missed it on the main sticky page, a special thanks goes out to author, Michael Fitzgerald (Rev. Fitz), for featuring Don’t Feed The Dark on his, 31 Days of First Impressions Challenge, which he has now completed. I encourage you all to come on over to Michael’s website and read all about it. Also, Michael is currently writing a fascinating serial novel, titled, Existential Terror and Breakfast. I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read so far and it’s definitely worth a read.

Lastly, the latest update link, as well as any additional news, will be posted on the bottom of the sticky post on the main page from now on.

That’s all for now. I’ll check back in a little later.

-Scott

~~~

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.

***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 the first 38 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 enters with his arms wide as the audience rises to their feet and makes a lot of noise.

“So how about that, ladies and gentlemen!” John begins. “We’ve reached the end of another exciting volume in this long, dark saga. Don’t Feed The Dark, Book Four: Phantoms has broken the record for longest book in the series so far, clocking in at over 225,000 words and 62 more online episodes. And I have to say, this book really took a departure from the norm and opened up a lot of new developments to think about.”

The audience voices their approval.

“Well, let me waste no time introducing our next guest. It’s been a long time coming… but hell yes! We finally have none other than Marcus Dempsey, a.k.a. Russell Bower, here on our show today. Please put your hands together and welcome our favorite serial killer!”

Most of the crowd roars their approval. Some boo. Others wisely choose to sit back down, hoping to escape notice.

Marcus walks across the platform dressed in an un-tucked black button-down shirt, jeans, and wearing a pair of dark sunglasses. He ignores the audience as John motions for him to sit in the open chair. Marcus sits and John immediately follows.

When the crowd settles down, John says, “Welcome to the show, Marcus… or would you prefer Russell?”

Marcus half smiles and answers, “Marcus is fine.”

“I think I can speak for all of us here and say that we’re finally glad to snag you for the show. You are certainly a hard man to get a hold of.”

“I’ve had years of practice escaping notice… John.”

“Indeed.” John scoots his chair to the side, creating a little distance between himself and his guest. “You’ll understand if I’d like a little more… space… between us, right Marcus? It’s not everyday I get a chance to interview a serial killer.”

John’s overdramatic motions of discomfort cause the crowd to laugh.

Marcus adds a laugh of his own, which feels more contemptuous than accommodating.

John shifts uncomfortably. “Anyway, it’s good to have you with us, Marcus. I have a shit-load of questions to ask you, so why don’t we just jump right in. Okay?”

“Certainly,” Marcus adds, adjusting his glasses to hide his eyes.

“Is your… friend… with you today?” John asks.

“No. I gave that savage the day off,” Marcus starts. “It probably wouldn’t go well to have him here with all these fine people in attendance.”

The audience laughs… nervously.

John laughs and says, “Well, that puts me at ease. I’m not afraid to admit it. So, let me ask the most obvious question. Why the hell did the author choose to keep you under wraps for so damn long?”

Marcus nods. “That’s a good one. I suspect the author didn’t want me killing off most of the main cast in the first book by leaving me out in the open… especially in this new free-for-all environment.”

“That’s a good point,” John says. “But seriously, why so long?”

“From the author’s perspective, when my story started all the way back in Chapter 1, with the hunting of Janet Schuler, I was one of many characters introduced. At that time, the author wanted to create an impression with the characters, leaving the readers a glimpse into their lives before The Change in the form of mini-stories, and then he wanted to leave us all in a state of uncertainty as to ‘when’ and ‘if’ any of us would return later on. In my case, the author told and completed the story of what happened between predator and prey during that insane night the dead came to visit. With the death of Janet Schuler, the author finished that particular tale, and then wanted the readers to forget about me by getting them engrossed in other character stories, especially when some of them started finding each other, while hiding me in plain sight. The author knew that some readers would forget about me, others wouldn’t suspect the ruse but would still be waiting for me to return, and then still others would have me pegged right away… but would never really know for sure, until the author revealed who I was and how. In all cases, he wanted an insider threat within the group, sitting patiently like a timed explosion, and only the author knew when that bomb would go off.”

“Very interesting,” John says. “And with everything else going on, I can easily see how you’ve been able to escape the reader’s notice for so long. And then what? That bomb goes off with the death of Frank Carman at the end of Book Three?”

“Exactly. Even the readers who long suspected who I was by then, couldn’t see that coming.”

“And so after waiting through three volumes to finally discover who you really were, we get this one long damn chapter which is loaded with… well… everything.”

Marcus laughs. “The author calls Chapter 37, a ‘novella within a novel’. He wanted to reward the patience of the readers by giving them ample make-up time with yours truly… and one hell of a story to go with it. Through the Eyes of a Devil was the very first chapter the author wrote for Book Four, long before the premiere, and he put a lot of thought and time into it, based in part, on things he’s been seeding for a while now… and things yet to come.”

“Fascinating,” John says with a nod. “Before we dig into that awesome tale, I have to ask: How far in advance did the author know when you would be returning? Was your reveal coinciding with Frank’s death planned well in advance?”

“In many instances, the author is just as surprised by events as the readers are since the outline can change rather suddenly. But in this case, yes, Frank’s death was in the works since Marcus was born. Several times, as that moment came closer, the author entertained changing the script to keep Frank alive, only because, like so many readers, the author also fell in love with that character. But it couldn’t be changed. The author had gone through great lengths to keep my character and Frank apart, and for good reason, because Frank always suspected there was something ‘off’ about me. The closer are moment came, the more the author understood that for me to continue to exist with these survivors, one of us had to go. The author knew that keeping Frank alive would have been a betrayal to the story’s intended course, much like if he had chosen to keep Janet Schuler alive, which he debated doing for a while, just to give the readers that predictable plot dynamic between predator and prey teaming up in the apocalypse. So, we had our destined dance together by that river, and I prevailed.”

John shakes his head. “And does our author have your death planned well in advance?”

Marcus smiles. “Nice try. I won’t bite on that one.”

“Well… no offense… but I hope the author puts an end to you soon. I don’t like the thought of you killing any more of my favorite characters.”

The audience laughs.

“I understand completely,” Marcus says. “At least I’m nowhere near any of them right now… well… maybe just one.”

“And we’ll get into that,” John injects. “But first, let’s talk about your story. I found it interesting that we got to revisit specific chapters from back in the first book to get your perspective on events. And then we even got to go back further and find out how you ended up at the Percy Power Plant, and how you came up with your new name. Also, I found it intriguing how you met Amanda Howard, who we might not have met at all if a certain savage had been in charge.”

Marcus nods. “Yes, Amanda was the latest mission, up until my character started having doubts. And then, of course, I met Gina… and that changed everything.”

“Why Gina? What made her so special?”

“I knew right away that there was tremendous potential in her to become something beautiful born of darkness.”

John scowls. “And what the hell does that mean?”

Marcus raises an eyebrow and answers, “I could tell you… but then I’d have to kill you.”

“Next question.”

The audience laughs.

“So, answer me this one: Obviously, you attacked the three scientists because they boasted they could cure the epidemic. And nice twist, by the way, discovering that the woman in the ravine was your handiwork. I guess I’m trying to figure out if you really love this new zombie-infested world, or you just hate the old world more. I get the impression that you might do anything to sabotage efforts in restoring law and order, or anything associated with ‘civilized’. So which is it?”

Marcus sighs. “My character appreciates what this new hostile world has given to everyone still breathing. And that is, a second chance to live without pretense, without fear, and without dipping into the stagnant pool of dead living. Everything else related to the past… all irrelevant now. My character firmly believes that everything that’s happened since The Change is progress… maybe even an evolution of a sort. In any case, he will do his best to interfere with anything attempting to put people back to sleep, content in their automatic lives.”

John nods. “So, we’ll get more into Chapter 37 in our next segment. But let’s talk about your childhood. That was some warped shit. Were you… the serial killer… caused by your awful parents, or were you always a bit… ‘off’?”

Marcus raises an eyebrow. “Yes, I suppose my lovely home life had a little to do with my blood lust. But in truth, I think I was like this long before all that. If anything, my wonderful parents simply accelerated the process.”

“And what process is that?”

“My understanding of the liberating power of death, first for myself, and then for others.”

“And… is that who you mean when you refer to The Lady?

Marcus smiles. “She is my destiny. She is Death… but not in the limited sense that the rest of you see her as.”

John shakes his head and smiles. “Well… I guess we’ll just have to take your word on that one.” He turns and addresses the audience. “And on that note, we’ll have to conclude for the day, folks. But not to worry, our second part of this interview will continue our discussion.” He turns back to Marcus. “I want to thank you for joining us today, Marcus… and for not killing anyone… especially me.”

The audience laughs.

“It was my pleasure,” Marcus says. “And I look forward to sharing more with your lovely audience.” He turns and scans the crowd with a menacing stare.

Many cower down a bit lower in their seats.

John laughs. “Well, we’ll definitely be talking more next time.” He turns to the audience. “For now, if anyone has any burning questions they’d like to ask, please feel free to ask away and we’ll try to answer them, if possible. If not, we’ll see you next time for part two of this discussion. How about a big hand for our special guest.”

The crowd reluctantly puts their hands together.

John stands. “In case anyone missed it. Book Five will be starting August 2017. We hope to see you all back then!”

~~~

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

~~~

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.

***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 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!”

~~~

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

~~~

Don’t Feed The Dark Updates: 1/10/17

Posted: January 10, 2017 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, talk show, thriller, Uncategorized, walking dead, zombie books, Zombies
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the dead

~~~

Happy New Year Everyone!

I just wanted to keep you updated on what’s going on behind the scenes. I’ve just completed writing the current chapter, Dead Dolls, which is actually the first part of a much larger story that will be continued in Book Five, scheduled to be serialized later this year. This current part ended up being a long one (aren’t they all these days… lol) and will run until the end of the month.

In February, Chapter 36: Uprising will begin and cover what happens when the Wasteland community turns against itself. Also, we’ll get a deeper look into the community preacher, Logan, and find out whose side he’s really on…. and that’s all I’m going to give you.

Chapter 37: Through the Eyes of a Devil, will begin immediately after and it’s the longest chapter I’ve written in the series to date. As I’ve mentioned in an earlier post, this chapter is the long-awaited Russell Bower story (yes… he survived the fall off the cliff) and we will be making up for lost time with our resident serial killer. You definitely won’t want to miss this one.

Finally, Chapter 38: Healing will finish up Book Four, which I estimate should conclude early May. All I’ve got left to write is Chapters 36 and 38 and then I’ll begin writing Book Five (not currently titled).

I can’t give anything away, but I will say that I’m already looking forward to writing Book Five and I have a tentative outline already slated. What I will say is that it’s going to be HUGE!!! Damn… and we’re not even finished with Phantoms yet! This apocalyptic ride is about to get really wild and crazy… lol.

As far as the present, if you haven’t already, be sure to read the latest spin-off story, titled, Hangar Six because it’s not only a spin-off of Chapter 14, but it’s also a spin-off of the current chapter, Dead Dolls.

The tenth episode of my DFTD talk show, After The Dark, is also out if you missed it. The topic is: Confessions. After the conclusion of Dead Dolls Part One, a brand new episode will be released featuring our special guest, Meredith Montgomery. So if you’ve been dying to ask her a shit-load of questions, that will be your chance.

Well that’s it for now. As always, thanks for reading and for your encouraging comments along the way.

I would ask that you please continue to keep supporting the cause and help me get Don’t Feed The Dark known to more and more readers by spreading the word via social media, and especially by voting for it every seven days at topwebfiction to keep me listed.

More to come,
-Scott

After The Dark (#10) – Confessions

Posted: December 29, 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 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.

***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 the first 34 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 before a live studio audience and is met with applause. Seated behind him on a large couch is Gina Melborn, Tony Marcuchi, Diane Conley and Nine Lives. He raises his arms to quiet the crowd. “Welcome back everyone to another informative episode of After The Dark! I’m excited to have all four of our special guests here today. How about another round of applause for Gina, Tony, Diane and Nine!”

(The crowd is on their feet as the studio erupts in another round of applause.)

John sits down in a chair across from his guests as the audience takes their seats. “Wow, it’s great to have all of you here… and what’s better is that you’re all still alive.”

(The audience laughs.)

“It’s been a wild run so far and we’re already twenty-four episodes into this new story arc. I’m going to just jump right in because I know we have a lot to cover.” John turns to Gina. “Welcome back, Gina. How’s my favorite bad ass doing?”

Gina laughs. “I’m doing okay, all things considering.”

“So… we’ve already discussed your current state-of-mind in a previous episode. I guess one of the big burning questions at the moment is, ‘What the hell is wrong with you?'”

Gina gives Tony a suspicious glance.

Tony sheepishly scoots a little farther away from her on the couch causing everyone to laugh.

“Why, John, whatever do you mean?” Gina jokes, feigning her restrained anger.

John shakes his head and says, “It’s confession time, Gina. You’ve suddenly gone from heroine to borderline villain since your time spent in the compound. Are we finally seeing your character pushed passed her limits?”

Gina nods. “As I’m sure you’ve already discussed, I’m at a very fragile place at the moment. I think what my character is experiencing is due in part to an accumulative amount of bullshit since the beginning of all this madness. I think losing Frank and Megan, as well as being betrayed by Meredith, has put me in a very volatile place, somewhere between wanting to go on an all-out killing spree and drowning in my own deep, dark self-loathing.”

“It seems very apparent that you murdered those two men who accidentally killed another community member who tried to break up their fight. Can you confirm this?” John asks.

Gina frowns. “Yes. I executed them. It was always my intent to do so. I just wanted them to give me a reason so I provoked their escape attempt, but they caught on to what I was doing, laid down their arms… and I shot them anyway.”

(The audience is unusually silent.)

John nods solemnly. “Ironically, it was Frank, the convict, who stopped you in the past from killing Megan, the pregnant girl. But now, his death has also set you back on a similar path, with no one to stay your shooting arm this time. Would you say that you’re having a tough time distinguishing who the enemy is?”

Gina folds her hands in her lap. “All is can say is that my character is in a very dark place. There’s a pain ripping away at her from the inside out and she’s losing a vital battle within. Tony is perhaps the only thing keeping her from plunging completely into the dark, but at the same time, my desperate need to keep him alive no matter what, is also contributing to some really bad decision making.”

John turns to Tony. “It would appear that you are also nearing a breaking point, Tony. You’ve been covering for her all winter long while the community has grown weary of Gina. And now we find out that you concealed her crime out in those frozen woods.”

“Yes,” Tony begins. “My frustration with Gina, and with myself, is reaching a boiling point. I think I’m starting to realize, as was evident near the end of the last chapter, that I can’t keep continuing to bail Gina out of her messes… not without losing myself. Something’s about to break within me if I don’t find a way to reach her.”

“Indeed,” John agrees. “So… Gina has essentially crossed the line with you, with the community, hell… even with Orosco, since he left the group early because of her. What’s all this going to mean when you all get back to the compound?”

Tony smiles and shares a secretive smile with Gina. “John, we’re just going to have to wait and see… and that’s all we’re allowed to say about it.”

“Fair enough,” John says. He turns to Diane. “And you, young lady, it’s nice to see another side to your character. All we knew of you from Book Three was that you were the good and faithful soldier character. Seemed like nothing could get to you, until that young man next to you came along.”

Diane looks to Nine and laughs. “What can I say? The heart wants what the heart friggin’ wants.”

(The audience laughs.)

“Seriously, though,” she continues, “I was delighted to find out that I would be playing a more central character in this story arc and I look forward to discovering, along with all the readers out there, just who Diane really is beneath all that armor.”

“Well, I’ve been enjoying how your relationship with Nine is developing. It’s good to see that young love can still find a place in this crazy, dark world.”

Nine puffs up and nods. “Yeah, she wants me.”

Diane gives him a playful jab to the ribs with her elbow.

(The audience laughs.)

John shakes his head with a smile. “So first off, Nine, welcome to The Dark. It’s great to meet new people in these storylines… hell… we’ve already lost too many.”

“Glad to be here,” he says. “I’d like to think that my character brings ‘cool’ back to the table.”

All four of them look to Nine disbelievingly, causing the crowd to laugh.

“So what’s with that crazy name?” John asks. “It’s because you’re real name is Bartholomew or something equally nerdish, isn’t it?”

(The audience laughs.)

Nine shakes his head. “No… nothing like that. It’s all about my luck with numbers, mostly.”

“Yeah… you say that,” John starts. “But I still think you’re just some kind of math nerd stuck in the 80’s.”

Nine lifts his hand. “No… I’m much too cool for math-”

“Math nerd. Just admit it,” John presses.

“Nope.”

The others nod their heads making the audience laugh. Nine turns to the others as they all turn away, trying not to laugh.

“You see what I have to put up with?” Nine says. “It’s a wonder how they’ve gotten by this long without me.”

John laughs and says, “Seriously, though, either you really have some understanding of how to use numbers in your favor, or, you’ve just been extremely lucky so far. Which is it?”

“I’ve always been good at the numbers game,” Nine says. “Without getting too much into it right now, let’s just say that the numbers are my character’s comfort zone. If I didn’t have them to rely upon, I’d probably be hiding under a bed until the apocalypse ended.”

(The audience laughs.)

“Fair enough,” John says. “I think we’d all be hiding under our beds if we each didn’t have something to fall back on. I’m looking forward to discovering how your character develops in the days ahead… and finding out a lot more about your ‘number system’.”

“Oh, well that’s easy,” Nine starts excitedly. “First you have-”

“Don’t get him going, John, or we’ll be here all night,” Gina interrupts, giving Nine a warning glance.

“Another time, then.” John looks through his notes and then turns to Tony. “So we’ve finally dealt with the Bad Man… and Helen. What was it like finding out that our favorite yellow-eyed monsters seemed to get smarter? Are the dead evolving over time like our characters or was Helen and her horde simply a fluke?”

“I believe we’re going to discover a whole lot of new things to deal with as we get farther out and away from our hole in the ground,” Tony says. “But it would definitely appear that at least some of the dead have… changed. What that will mean for us is still a mystery. But the implications are frightening.”

“Indeed. So did putting down Helen near the end of the last chapter give you some sense of closure, Tony?”

“I think so. It was rather sad… but in the end, Walter got what was coming to him and I think Helen and I both got a little retribution for the suffering we received from that evil man.”

“What’s really interesting about the last chapter,” Gina chimes in, “is that it was an unplanned chapter that came to the author late as he was nearing the completion of ‘Detour’. We were supposed to confront Walter at the end of the third chapter, but then the author saw an awesome opportunity to share with the readers what it was like being in Walter and Helen’s shoes before The Change happened. I think the bonus backstory between them really gave both those characters more depth and made events much more interesting by the time we confronted the Bad Man in the fourth chapter.”

“That is interesting,” John agrees. “I guess that’s why stories take on a life of their own and occasionally drift off course. Even writers can be caught off guard when a tale takes an unexpected ‘detour’ from the story line… pardon the pun.”

(The audience laughs.)

“So, we’re almost out of time,” John states. “I wanted to ask what we can expect from the next chapter. Gina?”

“Well… all I can say about it is that it’s Meredith’s turn to take the spotlight and Chapter 35 centers entirely around her storyline.”

“Fair enough,” John says. “I also understand that we have our third spin-off story that was posted on Monday, introducing us to a new character while taking us all the way back to the marina incident back in Chapter 14. Any additional comments on this, Tony?”

Tony smiles and says, “Again, we can’t say too much about it… but… it does tie in to the next chapter. Not only is it a Chapter 14 spin-off story, but it’s a Chapter 35 spin-off story as well… and it bit more than that.”

“That’s all you’re going to give us, isn’t it?”

“Yep,” Tony confirms.

“Damn it,” John shakes his head. “Well, on that note, we’ll just have to look forward to the next chapter and see where we land next.” John takes them all in and says, “I want to thank you all for joining us today and I’m sure we all hope to see you alive and kicking in the days to come.” He turns to the crowd. “How about a big hand for our guests!”

(The audience rises to their feet and applauds.)

Gina, Tony, Diane and Nine all wave and nod to the audience.

“And that’s all the time we have today,” John finishes. “If anyone wishes to ask any of our special guests a question about their characters or just about the story in general, we shall endeavor to answer your questions here… if possible.”

“Aside from that, be sure to check out the brand new spin-off story, Hangar Six and don’t forget that Don’t Feed The Dark returns on Monday, January 2nd for a brand new episode. As for us, I have been informed by the author that new episodes of After The Dark will now be posted at the conclusion of each new chapter. See you next time on After The Dark!”

~~~

Next Episode:
After The Dark (#11) – Outcast

~~~

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

~~~

Don’t Feed The Dark Updates: 12/5/16

Posted: December 5, 2016 in Apocalypse, books, creative writing, drama, Free Online Novel, free zombie books, Giveaways, Horror, horror fiction, 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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the living

~~~

Hello everyone,

Just wanted to check in a final time before the holidays to let you knew what’s brewing behind the scenes while we wait for Don’t Feed The Dark, Book Four: Phantoms to resume on Monday, January 2nd.

Sometime later this week, a new episode of After The Dark (The DFTD talk show) will be posted. Our host, John Ecko, will sit down with Gina, Tony, Diane and Nine to discuss where we are so far and perhaps get some further insights into this new story arc. Be sure to stop by with any burning questions you may have for any of our special guests and we will try to field them on the show, if possible.

Later this month, time permitting, I’m hoping to have my third spin-off story available, titled, Hangar Six. This short story will take us all the way back to Chapter 14 and give us some additional insights into the strange happenings surrounding Fairport Harbor Marina. This story will also tie in to the upcoming chapter due out in January.

As mentioned, Chapter 35: Deal Dolls (Part One), will start us off in January. It will be a Meredith centered chapter which will show us what she’s been up to in the present as well as delve into her mysterious past and hopefully shed some light on her connections to the notorious group known only as Mother.

Chapter 36: Uprising , will take us back beneath the Wasteland compound and will tell the story of what happens after a dissatisfied faction of survivors decide to take over leadership… and that’s all I’ll say about that.

Chapter 37: Through the Eyes of a Devil, will be the long awaited chapter that so many of you have been waiting for. That’s right, it will all be centered around our resident serial killer, Russell Bower… and yes, he survived the fall off the cliff. This chapter is already written and not only is it the longest chapter to date, I think it’s going to blow you away (how’s that for a teaser?).

Lastly, Chapter 38: Healing, will be the last chapter for this latest book and it will take place about three weeks after Chapter 36. And that’s all I can tell you about it without spoiling anything.

Just to add, I’ve already begun plotting for Book Five… and it’s going to be crazy as hell.

That’s all I have for now. I look forward to catching up with all of you again after the break. Hope you all have a great Christmas and an awesome New Year.

-Scott

~~~

Hello,

My name is Scott Scherr, part-time poet and fiction writer. I want to welcome all of you and thank you for giving my story a read.

Don’t Feed The Dark is an apocalyptic serial novel that I started posting back in the spring of 2014. It has since grown into a rather long work consisting of four novels totaling more than 689,000 words so far, and 210 episodes online. In addition, there are currently three spin-off tales and an online talk show titled, After The Dark.

Some might call this a zombie story. But I assure you, it’s a lot more than that. I prefer to think of this as a character-driven survival story with all sorts of mysteries and monsters both within and without. For a more detailed synopsis of the first three books in this series, please click HERE. You can also find out where to purchase DFTD in paperback from there, if reading online isn’t your thing. Sorry, there are currently no ebooks or audiobooks available (and I really need to get on that).

For as long as it takes for me to complete this dark saga, I will always make it available to read for free online. You can click right here to start reading from the beginning, or simply refer to my sidebar for chapter links, spin-off stories, online interviews, reviews, etc. Also, to find out more about me, my various publications, or the latest DFTD updates and giveaways, refer to the tabs at the top of the home page.

For readers who are returning and want a refresher synopsis of the first three books in the series: The Living and the Dead (A Look Back… )

If you’ve been enjoying Don’t Feed The Dark, please help support the cause by liking it on facebook, following along on twitter, voting for it on topwebfiction (just click on the cat in the corner), writing reviews for it on Amazon or anywhere else it’s listed, or just by spreading the word via social media. Every little bit helps in getting this long dark tale known.

As always, thanks for listening. I hope to hear from you in the comments and that I might find some of you with me when this story eventually comes to an end.

-Scott

~~~

Don’t Feed The Dark Updates: 6/5/17

~~~

Update 5/11/17:  Don’t Feed The Dark, Book Four:  Phantoms is now complete!  Thanks for staying with me this far and I hope to see you all back in August, 2017, for the premiere of Book Five.  For now, I’m taking a much needed rest…

~~~

Update 5/3/17:  Special thanks goes out to author, Michael Fitzgerald (Rev. Fitz), for featuring Don’t Feed The Dark on his, 31 Days of First Impressions Challenge. I encourage you all to come on over to Michael’s website and read all about it. Also, Michael  is currently writing a fascinating serial novel, titled, Existential Terror and Breakfast. I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read so far and it’s definitely worth a read.

~~~

Don’t Feed The Dark Updates: 9/29/16

Posted: September 28, 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, talk show, thriller, Uncategorized, walking dead, zombie books, Zombie Talk Show, Zombies
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the dead

~~~

Hello Everyone,

I hope you have been enjoying the new story arc so far. Now that the first two chapters are complete, I thought this would be a good time to make a few adjustments to the schedule.

Effective immediately, my DFTD talk show, After The Dark, will be going on hiatus for a little while so I can focus on finishing Book Four. Will go ahead and call it a 9 episode first season. But not to worry, ATD will be returning at a later date.

Also, as of Monday, October 3rd, I will be posting new episodes of Don’t Feed The Dark on Mondays and Thursdays.

As far as what’s ahead, here’s what the remainder of the year looks like:

Chapter 33: Detour, will be starting on Monday, October 3rd and will run for eight episodes, finishing out the month of October.

Chapter 34: Secrets, will begin on Halloween and run for another six episodes followed by a week off for Thanksgiving Break.

Chapter 35: Dead Dolls, will start on Monday, November 28th and will run until completed, shortly before Christmas, and will close out the year.

Chapter 36: Uprising, will start in January followed by Chapter 37: Through the Eyes of a Devil (and that’s going to be a long, long chapter). And then finally, Chapter 38: Healing , will complete Book Four sometime, I’m guessing, in early April of 2017.

As far as chapter specifics, Chapter 33: Detour, will begin on Monday and pick up where we left off with Gina and company as they continue their pursuit of the bad man while continuing to discover terrifying new changes in the world around them.

And that’s about all I can tell you about the plot for now.

~~~

For my old readers who are just returning, I know it’s been a while since you completed Book Three. I’ve posted a refresher course, highlighting some of the main points leading up to the premiere of Book Four: The Living and the Dead (A Look Back at Where We’ve Been)

And here’s a direct link to the beginning of the new arc: Chapter 31-1: Marvin’s Day

For new readers, feel free to start at the beginning: Chapter 1-1: Demon Night

And for those of you not yet familiar with my DFTD talk show, After The Dark, you can find out more about it here: After The Dark

Also, I’ve created a new facebook group called Spider’s Web Fiction dedicated to serial novel writers and their readers. You can find out more about it here: Spider’s Web Fiction

And finally, please continue to support the cause by spreading the word about Don’t Feed The Dark through your social media pages and by voting weekly for it on topwebfiction.

More to come,
-Scott

~~~

After The Dark (#9) – Trauma

Posted: September 23, 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
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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 to Chapter 32-3, I strongly suggest that you don’t continue on with us until after you’ve caught up. Consider yourself warned.

Now let me introduce are next special guest, he’s another original from the series, and still alive… which is a good thing… please put your hands together for Stephen Eddington!”

(Stephen sheepishly crosses the studio stage and waves to the audience. They stand and give him a big round of applause. Stephen makes it to his seat and sits beside our host.)

“Welcome to the show, Stephen,” John begins. “It’s great to get another living cast member here with us. So many have fallen along the way.”

Stephen fidgets nervously and says, “Wow, this is something else. I’m not much for crowds but it’s great to be made to feel welcome.”

“Nothing but the best for our survivors here on After The Dark. We didn’t get a chance last week to discuss the beginning of the second chapter so let me get right to it.”

“Alright.”

“You covered quite a lot of ground in your historical narrative. It seems you all did alright for yourselves taking over the compound. Lot’s of supplies and ‘creature comforts’, as you described. So with what amounts to a survivalist’s ‘wet dream’ as far as a refuge to hold out through the winter and avoid the dead, what the hell went wrong?”

Stephen laughs, adjusts his glasses on his face, and says, “I think we all underestimated the effects of the trauma introduced into our lives when The Change wiped out everything and everyone we knew. None of us, up until relocating into that place, has had any length of time to process all these horrors. We’ve been too busy running. But moving below the wilderness preserve allowed that tidal wave of emotions to finally hit us dead on. And we were certainly not prepared for the outcome.”

“So, essentially, constantly running from the dead and moving from place to place made it easier to avoid the trauma. Is that your assessment?”

“Absolutely. When you’re sleeping with one eye open all the time, and jumping at every sound around you, you’re not thinking about everything you’ve lost. You’re only thinking about how close you are to becoming a ghost yourself. Out in the wild, You’re living moment to moment; the person next to you could be ripped apart right in front of you, and you still have no time to grieve or register the shock of witnessing such brutality. Now imagine getting used to living that way, becoming hardened by it, and then you reach a place of so-called safety where all that suddenly goes away. It’s not an easy adjustment, as we’ve discovered. Then multiply all that violence, all that savagery, by however many people are forced to suddenly live together, and you have one hell of a problem on your hands by the time everyone now has to collectively deal with all that shit finally catching up to them.”

“You make some excellent points, Stephen. It almost sounds preferable to stay out in the wild rather then deal with all that built up trauma.”

“If you said that to Gina, and folks like her, they would quickly agree with you.”

“I imagine so.” John shifts in his seat. “Of all our characters so far, you seem to be handling all that emotional baggage reasonably well. Do you think that has a lot to do with the fact that you, more than most, seemed to be dealing with your issues along the way? Of the original ten, you were constantly struggling with the guilt caused by your actions, or inaction, did that build a sort of tolerance to it by the time everyone else had to catch up and face it, too?”

Stephen raises his eyebrows.  “You bring up some great questions.  In part, I think you’re correct.  Because of all my baggage and all my suffering with it leading up to now, I think I might be better suited to handle this internal storm better than most.”

John nods. “Well, it sure seems like you have a handle on things. Probably doesn’t hurt that you have a bit of ‘help’ as well. Which leads me to the elephant in the room. Stephen, what the hell is going on with you and Nicole? I think many of us have been wondering… is he hallucinating? Is he talking to a ghost? After that last episode, I don’t know what to believe anymore.”

Stephen laughs. “Well, I can only tell you that my character has moved on to a place where he doesn’t question Nicole anymore. He simply accepts whatever she is, and because he does so, this allows Nicole to have a bit more freedom in his life.”

“You mean, like, ‘Invasion of the Fucking Body Snatchers’ type of freedom that we discovered last episode? Are you even aware that she’s taking your body out for midnight strolls when you’re sleeping?”

“No, I most certainly am not. But I think the real question might be, ‘Is it her, or is it really me pretending to still be her?'”

John shakes his head. “I can’t wrap my mind around this relationship that you two share. If it is really you, and Nicole is simply a personification of your insanity, than I have to say, Stephen, that you have some serious issues to still work out.”

Stephen laughs and says, “Of course, you can’t work out issues you’re unaware of, right?”

“Shit, like I said, I can’t wrap my mind around this,” John says. “So did you… excuse me… did Nicole talk that poor woman into killing herself?”

“It would appear so,” Stephen says.

“That’s fucked up, Stephen. There was mentioning of other suicides, seven total I believe. Did Nicole have anything to do with those as well?”

Stephen shakes his head and says, “Well… John… I don’t really know. I suppose it’s very possible.”

“Okay… so let’s recap this: While you’re awake, you see visions of Nicole. But when you’re sleeping, she’s moving around inside your body… and having visions of ‘you’. What the hell is that all about?”

“I would say that our relationship is a lot more complex than any of us realized. And that’s all I can really say.”

“Fair enough,” John finishes. “So let me go back to Chapter 25, when you burned Nicole’s diary, and I’ll add that it’s pretty creepy that she’s started a new one that you’re unaware of. What happened after that when Nicole appeared? It seems like that was a real pivotal point for you when things started to change.”

Stephen leans back, considers the question, and says, “I believe Nicole represents a lot of things for me, whether I’ve concocted her or she’s something else entirely, it doesn’t matter. What I’m certain of is that, in part, she was my guilt personified. What I believe is that in order to move on with our relationship, I had to accept her… all of her… which meant the good that she described us as in her journal, the parts I was inspired by, as well as the bad… the fact that I cheated on my wife with a minor and than killed her. Until I was ready to accept all of it… all of her… I would never be able to move out from under that oppressive dark cloud. She helped me get there. And that was what that moment at Amanda’s grave was all about. I think I was finally ready to move past it all and take our relationship to the next level.”

John laughs. “Stephen, my man, you have the strangest damn relationship… you know that, right?”

“I’ve seen the dead come back to life and try to eat me,” Stephen says. “What’s so strange about our relationship after that?”

(The audience laughs.)

“You got me there,” John concedes. “Well, we’re almost out of time. I wanted to ask you more about events that happened in that laundry room, but I’m guessing there’s not much more you can say, is there?”

“Correct.”

“I figured as much. Well, it’s great to see your character coming out from under that dark place of guilt. I have to confess, I never thought you’d make it into the final four from the original ten who left the power plant. But here you are.”

“Like you said, I had help. Not only from Nicole, but from the others in the group. I think we all leaned heavily on one another to get this far.”

“Man, there’s so much in these first three episodes that I just want to dig my teeth into,” John says. “Let me touch on your scene with Logan. There was a moment there where it seemed like he was aware of Nicole on some level. Can you elaborate on that?”

Stephen shifts uncomfortably. “Well, I seemed to think so. But Logan could have been addressing something else entirely. It’s far too early to say. But I think that scene if very revealing in where my character is now. Back when I was first struggling with Nicole’s visitations, I would have loved it if someone else had seen her… you know… to validate that I wasn’t crazy. But now, that’s the last thing I want, as you all saw in how protective I became with Logan, and how I ripped that page out of the book after I wrote about her. So I am in a whole new place with all of it.”

“That’s interesting. Last question before you go: Since Marcus is the only one who knows the truth about what happened between yourself and Nicole, and considering how protective you are about her now, does that pose a problem between you two?”

Stephen shakes his head. “Well, obviously none of us know who Marcus truly is, but because he’s no stranger to secrets… or to murder… I imagine that man might be pretty bored with it by now.”

(The audience laughs.)

“However,” Stephen continues, “Marcus is very intelligent. I wouldn’t put it past him to exploit what he knows if it would work to his advantage.”

“Indeed,” John agrees. “Stephen, is there anything else you can tell us looking ahead? What’s in store for our group’s historian in the future?”

“I think by the end of this chapter you might get a sense of that,” Stephen says. “What we’re going to discover in this arc, as far as my character is concerned, is that I finally have a chance to find my role, my place in this new world… whatever that means. And that’s all I can tell you at this time.”

“Alright then. Well, it’s been a pleasure talking to you, Stephen, and thanks for appearing on the show.” He turns to the audience. “How about a big hand for our special guest.”

(the audience stands up and applauds.)

Stephen waves back and says, “Thanks for having me.”

John concludes, “And that’s a wrap for today. If anyone out there wants to ask Stephen anything about his character, the story itself, or about anything else we’ve covered today, please feel free to ask away, and we will try to answer what we can. If not, then I’ll see you next week for another exciting episode of After The Dark!”

~~~

Next Episode:
After The Dark (#10) – Confessions

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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

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)

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“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 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

~~~

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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