Posts Tagged ‘Book Three: Recruits’

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If you’ve been reading Don’t Feed The Dark online and want to help support the cause, the best thing you could do to show your appreciation and let me know you’ve been enjoying this series is to help spread the word so that more readers find out about this long, dark apocalyptic series.

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Exiled – Day 5

The mid-afternoon sun gave her a boost as the May sky opened up, dispersing sunshine through gaps in the new spring canopy overhead. The forest was alive with flourishing green, once again clothing the tall woodland sentinels with life.

At least something still thrives in a world consumed by so much death, she thought.

Gina pushed cautiously but efficiently through the brush, understanding that the springtime forest provided concealment, but the same was afforded the dead that continued to hunt for her by scent.

She stopped to catch her breath beside a large oak, placing the gun bag near her feet. Gina squatted down and ran a dirty finger over the layer of mud that cracked and started peeling away from her cheek. She’d done what she could to hide her scent by covering her bare arms and face with the earth, but the dead were relentless.

Gina whirled her head around toward the sound of branches snapping behind her. She couldn’t see them, but they were there, slowly shambling through the woods, oblivious to whatever slowed them down.

The farther south she traveled into these unknown woods, the more re-animated she discovered, now that spring was in full force and the beasts were no longer suppressed by winter. The dead in these woods had become the new ‘wild life’. Gina started to become accustomed to the sounds of their clumsy attempts at maneuvering through the forest; their occasional frustrated moans and growls as they stumbled upon each other, or just moved alone as their rotted flesh or deteriorated clothing snagged on some bush or got stuck in some dense section of smaller trees. For all the trouble they had initially caused her as she’d tried in vain to relocate her camp and recover her supplies, a part of her welcomed their presence, preferring to be hunted and forcing her into ‘battle mode’ as opposed to the long hours of silence in the dead winter woods of the wilderness preserve. Out here, in this new wilderness, she had to struggle with all she had to remain, leaving no time for guilt-ridden thoughts, slowly eating her away each night. This was what she understood. Survival didn’t have to second-guess every decision. You either reacted to the threat or died. Simple. It was dealing with the living all those long winter months beneath the ground that had forced her into a corner, like some animal kept in captivity for far too long. The longer she remained out here, the more Gina believed getting exiled was the best thing that could’ve happened to her. She wasn’t cut out to live among people anymore… and all their complicated ways.

But even out here, in survival mode, where adrenaline became her addiction, Gina understood her limitations. It had been two days since she’d eaten anything of substance. Gina had fed on plants and berries, but her body was starting to reject it. She had not slept for more than an hour at a time since the first attack by the camp fire and her mind was losing its sharpness as the dead continued to get closer and closer to her each time before she forced her exhausted limbs to move again. She was pushing her body to the limit and eventually the flesh machine would fail, and the death machines would win.

She had found no traces of the living in these vast woods—in truth, that was part of the appeal. But as her hunger increased, she’d hoped to find a cabin, campsite, or perhaps an abandoned camper with supplies—anything she could use without having to leave the forest. But there had been nothing, not even a trail. Understanding that she was running out of time, Gina was forced to turn west, where she knew from looking at her map before losing it with her supplies, that Interstate 90, which bordered these woods, was her only option before her tired body gave out. The Interstate had become the unofficial “Death Zone” between the once populated suburban areas, now infested areas to the northwest, and the remote smaller towns and farmlands on the southeast side

Since initially fleeing the Percy Power Plant so long ago, and escaping via the Grand River, Gina had only crossed back over to the northern side of the Interstate once. When Tony—she winced as if in pain every time that name invaded her thoughts—when Tony had insisted on taking a group back to his former captor’s house to rescue people who didn’t need rescue, that’s when they’d all gotten a good look at the carnage of blood and vehicles on that haunted highway. They’d crossed over an overpass and saw the horrific view of that graveyard, still infested by the dead that had remained all winter like some sick and tortured disease feeding off the bones of all who’d perished at the beginning. It had been a disturbing sight, but a brief one. Now, Gina would need to re-visit those ghosts if she wanted to stay alive. There were vehicles, which meant, supplies. And she seriously doubted anyone left alive would dare try to forage while the dead refused to forsake it.

I wonder how long the scent of slaughter remains in this world? Gina thought. Will the dead always make a home in places where the blood spilled the most? Perhaps they’re still drawn by all those screams echoing forever. A chill seized her as she pictured the Percy Power Plant still infested by the mutilated remains of the dead, feasting on the apparitions of the slain, ever since that horrific day.

Gina shut it all out as she suddenly cleared the woods. She was looking up from a large long ditch that ran parallel to the quiet, eerie interstate. She could see the top of the guardrail, but nothing else.

“In and out,” she said, needing to hear her own voice to break that intimidating silence. “Search the larger vehicles—S.U.V’s, that type of shit—get what you need, then turn the fuck back around.” The plan sounded simple enough, but still, she hesitated. It wasn’t potential dead-heads roaming the freeway like vultures that terrified the hell out of her. They’re all dead, Gina. They’ve been dead for a long, long time. Get over it… quickly… or go die in the fucking woods! With that, she took a breath to steady herself, then proceeded up out of the large ditch toward the guardrail.

Can the ghosts of the dead still haunt places like this? her frightened mind wondered. And if so, do these beasts feed on them… somehow? But then a more disturbing question struck, almost causing her to turn around… almost. Will they be able to see me… and know what I’ve done?

~~~

Gina stood still as stone in the center of the multi-lane highway, staring west. The concrete jungle of rusted and blood-stained vehicles stretched out before her like a permanently shut down assembly line in some slaughterhouse. There were bodies, or what resembled human remains, littered across the hoods of cars, beneath them, and all along the narrow spaces in between each vehicle. Most were surprisingly… fresh… still in various states of decomposition due to being frozen beneath the snow over the long winter but had now resumed baking beneath the May sun. Some had been stripped to bones like ten-cent, all-you-can-eat wings night at the local tavern. The rotting smell of flesh mixed with motor oil was almost too much to endure. Gina was suddenly not very hungry.

Gina raised her silenced handgun and forced herself to move. Broken or dust covered headlights stared unblinkingly back at her as she walked in between the rows of bumper-to-bumper carnage and scattered debris, watching around every corner of every vehicle for some straggler dead thing to jump up at her after she interrupted some sickening meal. Fortunately, the dead were currently not on lunch break in this area. Gina tried not to stare too long through the blood-stained windows, occasionally glimpsing into mobile tombs where entire families had perished in unspeakable ways. Several car doors were left hanging wide open—the last futile attempts to flee the freeway, or those trapped inside when the dead barged in. Gina avoided those vehicles, not desiring to rouse any vagrant dead-heads lurking within.

She spotted an overloaded mini-van packed with what looked like someone’s entire house. Even the top of the vehicle had everything but the kitchen sink hastily strapped down to the roof by bungie cords. Other vehicles were loaded down in similar fashion as the panicked sheep grabbed everything they could, possibly believing they would never see their homes again… but somehow saving their precious possessions.

How much time did they waste grabbing all that shit? Gina thought sadly. Did they really believe they would simply relocate, start their lives over, and carry on? Questions like this were pointless now. Everyone had been unprepared for The Change… including herself. They had all responded, whether out of irrational panic or complete self-denial. It was either try to flee… or die in their homes. Out of reverence for the deceased, Gina allowed them that. At least these poor souls tried to get away. That should count for something.

After twenty minutes of painstakingly foraging through several trunks—she refused to enter any vehicle, save to simply reach in and hit the trunk release buttons—Gina had found surprisingly little food, water, or emergency supplies. She shook her head in frustration every time she found another suitcase full of clothing, or trash bags packed with household memorabilia, or one more fucking stuffed animal or toy that little Suzie or Johnny, apocalypse or not, absolutely refused to leave behind.

She opened one trunk and nearly vomited as the rotting smell of some long dead family pet, rotting away in its travel cage, assaulted her immediately.

Gina walked over to the guardrail and leaned against it, needing a moment to process so many long-dead memories of loved ones from that obsolete life. She smiled bitterly at the abandoned vehicles, and thought, And here I was worried about fucking ghosts. I forgot all about the poison loaded in those trunks. Every fucking thing I see or touch rips out my heart again. We’ve lost so damn much.

Her thoughts were interrupted as a warm wind gusted across the freeway, coming down from the east, and rearranging scattered trash across the vehicle graveyard. And then she heard something in the wind… faint… but something.

Gina stood up from the guardrail and looked to the east. All she could see were more vehicles.

“What the hell is that?” she whispered. The sound was getting louder, carried by the wind, but still faint enough to avoid recognition.

She spotted a tall utility truck, three rows back. Gina rushed toward the truck, climbed up on the hood and then up to the roof of the vehicle. From there she could see over the tops of most cars in the immediate area. Gina looked to the east and froze.

“Fuck,” she hissed.

A large, tightly packed herd of dead-heads were moving straight toward her location, spilling through every gap between the cars like water running downstream around the rocks. Their collective moans became louder as the scent of so much death got them all riled up.

Lunchtime.

Gina estimated, by the frantic pace at which they were moving, that she had less than ten minutes before they reached her. Her stomach growled intensely—a reminder that she hadn’t found anything.

If I leave now, empty-handed…

She left the thought unfinished as Gina scrambled off the utility truck and ran toward the nearest car. It was a beat-up looking green Ford Trailblazer.

I need to find food… now! She moved to the driver-side door. It was locked. Sonofabitch! She no longer cared about avoiding the vehicle interior as she put her face up against the tinted Trailblazer windows and spotted a backpack in the rear seat…attached to a corpse.

The mangled body of a man was lying on its side, as if asleep. Half its face looked like something had ripped it clear off. She couldn’t tell if the man was dead… or something else.

There must be something worthwhile in the pack, she reasoned. Why wear it otherwise?

Aside from the man, the crowded backseat was filled with bloody blankets, pillows and assorted trash.

Gina could hear the dead coming.

No time!

She tried the passenger door. It too was locked.

Gina stood three feet back from the car, raised her gun, and fired into the rear window. She waited for the backpack man to move. He did not. Like the trunk with the dead animal, the backseat reeked of rot and filth. She could hear flies buzzing inside. He hasn’t been dead that long, Gina assessed.

She gagged involuntarily as the stench struck her nose, then she reached quickly through the shattered window and unlocked the door. She opened it and stared at the dead man. “Hey!” she hissed. “Hey… asshole!”

The man did not move.

Gina turned as the sounds of several dead-heads, cramming into each other and slamming into the front of vehicles, could be heard just a few rows to the east. Their moans were more distinct now, separate. They were close.

Gina shook her head and decided to grab the man by the feet and pull him out of the car. After, a quick bullet to the head would solve the mystery.

It took considerable effort to pull the man out of the vehicle. Gina was running on fumes. The man’s backpack got stuck on the seatbelt. Gina pulled as hard as she could, swearing at herself for wasting so much time. The backpack became unstuck and the body came out quickly and fell to the pavement. Gina, unprepared for the sudden release, fell on her ass in the attempt.

Shit! Shit! Shit! Gina dropped her gun in the fall. The corpse had fallen on top of it. She’d left her other guns in the bag, hidden at the edge of the woods. Now she wished she’d brought her damn shotgun!

She did have her hunting knife. Gina retrieved it, expecting the man to attack.

The man did not move.

The dead were getting closer. She had maybe a couple of minutes before she was spotted. All it would take is one, and then she’d be leading a herd into the woods.

Gina took her knife and stabbed it into the man’s ear. “Okay,” she said, out of breath. “Dead for sure now.” Upon closer inspection, Gina discovered that the man already had a bullet hole in his skull. “Okay, so he did himself in. Explains why he didn’t attack.” Her nerves were on edge as she tried to ignore the sounds of the closing heard.

She frantically started pulling the backpack straps off the corpse and then stopped. Wait! her mind screamed. Gina’s survival instincts were taking over. She looked at the man’s face again. Yes… something had bitten him and started gnawing on his face.

Alarms were screaming in her head now. The damn doors were locked! The windows… unbroken!

Gina turned toward the Trailblazer just as something jumped out from beneath the bloody blankets and hissed at her. It was a woman with a mess of curly brown hair, damp with blood. She was dressed in nothing but her filthy underwear, her decaying brown flesh, resembling the bark from a tree, was stretched tightly around her bones. The man may have died recently, but this thing had been dead since before the winter.

Gina had no time to consider anything else as the dead woman lunged toward her with dark blood-crusted fingernails attempting to scratch her eyes out. Gina caught the dead woman by the wrists as it fell on top of her. The thing snapped its bloody teeth toward Gina’s neck. Gina turned, knocking the frail thing off her, then grabbed her knife. The dead woman was surprisingly quick considering its deteriorated state. Just as Gina picked up her knife, it got up and came for her throat. Gina ducked under its sickly arms and jammed the long blade under the monster’s chin and twisted it.

The woman’s arms dropped. The creature fell silent. Gina retrieved her knife and let the thing fall to the ground.

She backed away, trying to draw breath. Gina was close to blacking out due to the extra exertion, adrenaline surge, and low energy.

The monsters were coming. She had seconds before they discovered her.

Move! MOVE YOUR ASS!

Gina stumbled toward the man and got the backpack free. She rolled the corpse over, retrieved her handgun, and then stood up and started dragging the pack toward the guardrail with one arm, while aiming her gun with the other toward the coming horde.

She could hear them… they were so close. Silhouettes started blocking out the sunlight pouring through the windows of several larger vehicles that still obstructing their view.

Gina reached the guardrail and tossed the backpack over the side. She had just enough time and strength to fall over the guardrail and roll down into the large ditch. She landed roughly on her back, staring up into the blue sky. She turned her head toward the top of the ditch, where she saw the shadowed forms of the dead, parading past the guardrail.

Gina refused to move. If she tried to make it into the woods, they would spot her… and it would be all over. She focused on breathing, conserving her strength, and just trying to stay conscious as the hungry moans of the dead filled her ears for the next thirty minutes.

She spotted the backpack just ten feet from where she lay.

I swear… if there’s nothing but dirty socks, a fucking Playboy magazine, and a damn CD player in there… I’m going to go back up there and put another bullet in that fucker’s head!

~~~

Chapter 44 continues on Monday…

Previous Episode 44-1

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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 :)

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“Chapter 44-2: 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.

~~~

Exiled – Day 3

Gina Melborn sat crumpled up before the small fire, entranced by the warmth of dancing flames that stood up against the chilly night. Her shoulders tensed up as a light but steady breeze penetrated the gaps between the roots and dirt that made up her wind barrier. Not for the first time since being out here, she wished she’d never cut her hair. A little more length past her shoulders would’ve helped keep the cold from tormenting the back of her neck.

With the old stump of the large overturned tree at her back, Gina felt protected from the rear, and allowed herself to relax a little. The fire light lit up the woods in front, and on both sides of her, for about twenty feet before being swallowed up by a dense ring of trees which resembled cage bars in the half-light. Beyond nature’s prison cell, the darkness dominated with an eerie silence not natural to any forest. With the absence of wildlife, Gina had struggled with that awful silence, constantly reminding herself that she wasn’t being watched… although it always felt like it.

She had exited the wilderness preserve three days ago, deciding to head southwest. After inspecting the map Tony had left her, that area looked the most remote as she departed one large forest which turned into another larger forest. Since Gina still had no real plan, she chose to remain in the woods and live off her provisions to avoid the living and the dead. She wasn’t ready for conflict, and just wanted some time to process everything that had happened that led her here. Whether God was showing mercy, or if it had been sheer luck, Gina had seen no one, living or dead, in the past three days, allowing her time to heal.

Gina let out a big yawn, stretching her arms out wide. She felt like she could sleep indefinitely as the large weights above her eyes continued to fall. Each time the Sandman threatened, she shook herself awake, reaching instinctively for her silenced handgun.

Relax, oh, great paranoid one, she thought. You’re safe. You’re so far off the grid that even the dead can’t smell you out here.

She laughed at herself, the sound of her own voice seemed strange. “Go ahead and talk,” she tested the waters. “There’s no one out here who cares what you have to say any more. Just a crazy woman talking to herself. Might as well be dead already.” She’d meant it as a joke, but the moment she’d said it, Gina felt like she’d just invited this sick dead world to come alive and devour her.

Doesn’t matter. Nothing matters.

Losing her fight with sleep, Gina lowered her guard considerably, lay on her side two feet from the fire, and let her eyes close…

~~~

…Panic-filled voices. Frantic footfalls. Screams. Gunfire. She can hear her own labored breathing competing with her pounding heartbeat as Gina races down the hallway toward the cafeteria. She can smell smoke. The compound low lights are flickering. There are streaks of blood along the walls of every corridor acting like macabre markings leading her toward the end of everything.

I’m too late! she thinks.

Gina turns to enter the galley but there is no entranceway—just another bloody wall.

What the hell?

She can hear them behind the wall, where the door should’ve been, crying out for anyone to stop the pain.

Gina slams her fist against the wall in frustration. “Let me through!” She stops, notices her hand is covered in thick syrupy blood. Within her fist, she’s holding a hunting knife. It’s still dripping crimson from her latest kill.

What?

From another hallway behind her, she hears more chilling sounds of violence. The clinic and Cubicle City are back that way.

Gina turns back, takes a sharp left down another hall, then discovers the clinic door is gone. The control room door, also gone. But the walls are screaming! Everyone is dying!

No… NO!

The lights go out.

And then she hears them in the darkness, shambling toward her from the end of the hallway, from Cubicle City. Everyone is gone. She is too late.

Gina slowly backs away as the dead reach out for her from the darkness. Their moans of insatiable hunger fill her ears, pushing her toward the brink of insanity.

She thrusts her knife into the densely packed hallway full of rotting corpses, limbs flailing toward her like some monstrous unstoppable beast with a thousand arms, bellies full of her friends, their bloody flesh still falling from decayed teeth.

Gina screams into the darkness, stabbing… stabbing… but the moans of the dead block out her screams. She loses her knife as steel finds bone and is ripped from her hand.

She still has her shotgun.

Gina lowers the barrel and fires into the black.

The hallway is lit up momentarily as flashes of light reveal the eyes of the indifferent beasts seeking only to tear into her warm flesh. They are hideous shells of former men and women, sunken eyes peering lifelessly out of bones stretching out through rotting skin. Their ashen faces with bloody mouths howl toward her… and then recognition sets in.

It’s them! All of them! Her friends!

Gina lets loose a guttural sound as she fires the shotgun into those horrific faces… but they keep on coming!

She turns the corner, continuing to fire. The shotgun is hot in her hands. She should be out of shells, but the gun becomes an extension of her need to survive. She wills it to keep firing.

Gina backs up past where the cafeteria should be. She continues firing the shotgun into the never-ending horde. She shuts her eyes to block out those familiar cold faces, fearing that she’ll simply collapse from grief if she looks at them.

She lets out a final scream as her mind snaps. She turns the shotgun toward herself intending to blow her own head off.

Click

The shotgun is empty.

Gina drops the hot weapon, falls into the fetal position on the floor, and covers her ears.

The hallway is now silent.  The lights have flickered back to life.

She dares to open her eyes.

“What? What is… WHAT IS THIS?” she shouts down the hall.

The savage horde of her former family is gone. Instead, she sees the bodies of the recently slain, their bloody remains piled on top of each other down the hallway, eyes forever locked open, capturing the last moments of their deaths just moments ago.

Gina stands up on wobbly legs. She places her bloody hands over her mouth to keep from throwing up. She walks among them, every corpse blasted to pieces by shotgun blast… not one bite wound. Bodies lying in contorted positions, faces turned toward her, dead eyes—now acting as mirrors—reveal one word in the deafening silence of the hallway:

MURDERER!

“NO!” Gina tries to flee the hall. She turns the corner into the previous hallway, only to find more bodies going all the way back toward Cubicle City. She has slain them all.

“No… no… I didn’t… they were already… they were already dead!” Gina feels her grip on sanity slipping.

From behind her, a big bloody man with a shotgun hole in his chest, rises from the pile.

Gina turns and stares in horror.

“I tried to stop you,” Tony says. His face is pale and bloody. His lifeless eyes—condemning. “We sent you away… but you came back. Now, see what you’ve done? Do you understand what you are now?”

Gina covers her face and shakes her head violently. “No… I’m not like this! This is wrong!”

The lifeless Tony is standing before her now. He grips her wrists in cold, clammy hands, forcing her to look at him. “You did this!” he screams into her face. “Why did you come back? See what you’ve done? You’ve murdered us all!”

Gina struggles to free her wrists from the ghastly thing. She falls to the ground with the corpse of Tony falling on top of her. She forces her eyes close and screams, “No! This is not me…

~~~

…THIS IS NOT WHO I AM!” Gina’s eyes shot open as she was ripped from the dream. Something was on top of her, gripping her wrists. The dead thing snapped its rotting teeth at her, just inches from her nose.

Gina reacted with a violent scream, rolling both herself and the monster to her left until she was on top of the creature, its back now sizzling on top of her camp fire. The beast let loose a frustrated howl as its dry rags, resembling clothing, caught fire. It let go of Gina’s wrists.

Gina rolled off the beast and out of the fire, her back striking the hard ground just as another beast was about to pounce on her. A savage looking teenage girl, her once long blond hair now a ratted mud-streaked mess of knots on top of a rotting skull, wearing what might have once been an attractive mall ensemble, fell toward her. Gina lifted her legs and kicked the savage thing in the chest, knocking the murderous teen to the ground beside her. Gina caught the thing’s arm as the savage teen reached over with manicured claws, months of dirt and blood caked beneath them, just avoiding being sliced across the throat. She got to her knees, pushing up on the teen’s arm and used it to push the dead girl on to her back.

The dead teen flailed on the ground, hissing at Gina as if just being told that she couldn’t have that expensive dress from some name-brand store. Before it could move and bite Gina’s ankle, she repeatedly brought her boot down hard into the tantrum-filled, dead things face, bashing it to mush.

Before she had a chance to recover, something wrapped its long arms around Gina’s waist, pulling her back and off-balance. She could hear it chattering its teeth near her right ear.

Gina desperately slammed the back of her head into what must have been the creature’s nose. She felt it crush up against her head, leaving something cold and sticky on the back of her hair. She then pushed back against the creature until they both fell to the ground. The creature lost its grip around her and Gina got to her feet and turned. What used to be a tall man, made much slenderer and brittle after a winter’s worth of malnutrition, hissed violently up at her with its caved in face.

Gina turned away from the thing, feeling dizzy and disoriented, and forced herself to breathe before she hyperventilated and passed out.

Several more dead things were scrambling toward her from out of the ring of dark trees.

The zombie in the fire pit, smoldering and half-charred, lunged out toward her legs. Gina easily side-stepped away from the thing and stumbled toward her handgun.

Two more dead-heads had reached her. One mas a bald man, naked from the waist up, wearing filthy pajama bottoms. It took a swing at her and Gina ducked beneath him. She reached her gun, turned, and fired two silenced shots into Pajama Man’s rotting face. The second, much larger zombie, nearly stumbled over the first, as Gina backed away before it fell on her. The second zombie tried to tackle Gina, but she kicked it in the face as it fell at her feet. She placed the gun directly to the back of its head and fired a shot.

Five more zombies charged at her from around the fire pit, including the one on fire, as Gina only had time to shoot the first two, grab her weapons bag, and stumble off into the darkness.

Her head felt hot, her limbs weak, and it took all she had to get the weapons bag around her shoulders as she pushed forward into the trees. Limbs whipped across her face as she ran blindly into the forest. As each new tree came into view, she aimed her gun at it, not knowing whether the next one would reach out for her, or if it was just a tree. She almost stumbled as her foot caught an exposed root. Gina cried out, believing something had grabbed her foot as she managed to keep from falling and bounced off a tree.

Gina continued her manic run. She didn’t dare look back, fueled by adrenaline and her survival instincts, not knowing if the night was going to swallow her up of if she’d just sprain her ankle and lie there like some injured animal until the blood maniacs found her.

She needed to stop soon and find somewhere to hide before her body gave out.

But more importantly, she needed a moment to find out if her race to stay alive was already lost.

Gina had no idea if she’d already been bitten or not.

~~~

The fresh morning light brought some relief as shadows fled before the opposing silence of a new uncertain day. She looked down at her blood-stained clothing, not yet convinced that some of it wasn’t her own.

Gina stood before a narrow river, hidden at the bottom of a ravine, and stripped naked. The morning had begun to slowly warm up, but the cool water assaulted her bare skin. It didn’t matter. She had to know.

There were no established timelines on being infected. She remembered that it took Greg’s daughter, Ashley, a while before she died… and came back. For others, it happened much sooner. She stepped into the widest portion of the river that ran up to her waist and washed up as best she could. Aside from some previous injuries and several scrapes and bruises resulting from her reckless dash through the forest, Gina found no bite marks or scratches.

Feeling a little more refreshed and relieved, Gina crawled out of the river, put her filthy, but dry clothes back on, and just sat there by the river as a bleak realization struck her.

It doesn’t matter, she thought, staring out at her lonely surroundings. I could wander these woods forever like a flesh-craving lunatic… or manage to lick my wounds and survive for a few more days like this… either way… I end the same. Alone and forgotten.

After the last three days, prior to being attacked, she’d almost convinced herself that she was immune out here. Immune to the monsters in the world who had simply forgotten about her, and immune to the monster within who had no further purpose… and no one left to harm. But now, she’d had her wake-up call.

“You’re a damn fool, Gina Melborn,” she scolded herself, vowing to never lower her guard again. “Just because the living have forgotten you, that doesn’t mean that the dead have.”

The gravity of her own words stuck home as she felt a wave of hopelessness strike her on that shore, and for a moment, she allowed it to consume her. Her eyes started to water up as she pulled her shivering legs in close and stared out at the vibrant river. It, too, would move on with or without her. “This is the last time you allow the weakness to win. So, get it over with.”

With no one left to care about her fate, Gina attended her final pity-party for one as she wept into her knees, feeling completely alone in the wilderness.

~~~

Next Episode 44-2

Previous Episode 43-9

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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 :)

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__________________________________________
“Chapter 44-1: 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.

~~~

A quick reminder: Don’t Feed The Dark returns in five days! See you all on Monday, April 16th!

If you’ve been reading Don’t Feed The Dark online and want to help support the cause, the best thing you could do to show your appreciation and let me know you’ve been enjoying this series is to help spread the word so that more readers find out about this long, dark apocalyptic series.

Here’s an easy way to do so:

Please consider voting for DFTD over at topwebfiction No registration is required. just click and vote. You can vote for DFTD every seven days to help keep it listed.

Anything you can do to help me get Don’t Feed The Dark to the readers is appreciated. Be sure to spread the word on all your social media sites as well.

Thanks again for all your support and for reading.

-Scott

~~~

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Just a quick update: Don’t Feed The Dark will resume Monday, April 16th. We will be starting the second arc of Book Five, titled, The Nomad. I’m expecting it to run four chapters, finishing up the fifth book in this series. As mentioned before, we will be returning to Gina Melborn to find out what happened to her after being exiled from the Wasteland community.

Just a weekly reminder: If you haven’t voted yet this week for Don’t Feed The Dark at topwebfiction, you can do so by just clicking the link above. Thanks again to all of you who have been voting for this long dark series each week and for helping me stay listed. This helps more readers find my story.

I look forward to resuming this creepy tale with all of you in a couple of weeks,
-Scott

~~~

~~~

If you’ve been reading Don’t Feed The Dark online and want to help support the cause, the best thing you could do to show your appreciation and let me know you’ve been enjoying this series is to help spread the word so that more readers find out about this long, dark apocalyptic series.

Here’s an easy way to do so:

Please consider voting for DFTD over at topwebfiction No registration is required. just click and vote. You can vote for DFTD every seven days to help keep it listed.

Anything you can do to help me get Don’t Feed The Dark to the readers is appreciated. Be sure to spread the word on all your social media sites as well.

Thanks again for all your support and for reading.

-Scott

~~~

~~~

Here’s the next episode of Don’t Feed The Dark, the audio edition, narrated by Jerimiah Vega. Please show your support and encouragement by visiting Jerimiah’s Soundcloud page and letting him know what you think in the comments.

I’ll be adding links to everything Jerimiah’s done so far up on the main page in the tab marked ‘DFTD in Audio’, and also at the end of every written episode.

Chapter 4: Happy Hour (Narrated by Jerimiah Vega)

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Previous Episode 3-3

__________________________________________

“Chapter 4: Happy Hour” Copyright © 2014, 2015 Scott Scherr. From the Novel “Don’t Feed The Dark, Book One: Southbound Nightmares”. Audio edition narrated by Jerimiah Vega Copyright @ 2018.

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.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

~~~

If you’ve been reading Don’t Feed The Dark online and want to help support the cause, the best thing you could do to show your appreciation and let me know you’ve been enjoying this series is to help spread the word so that more readers find out about this long, dark apocalyptic series.

Here’s an easy way to do so:

Please consider voting for DFTD over at topwebfiction No registration is required. just click and vote. You can vote for DFTD every seven days to help keep it listed.

Anything you can do to help me get Don’t Feed The Dark to the readers is appreciated. Be sure to spread the word on all your social media sites as well.

Thanks again for all your support and for reading.

-Scott

~~~

~~~

Here’s the next episode of Don’t Feed The Dark, the audio edition, narrated by Jerimiah Vega. Please show your support and encouragement by visiting Jerimiah’s Soundcloud page and letting him know what you think in the comments.

I’ll be adding links to everything Jerimiah’s done so far up on the main page in the tab marked ‘DFTD in Audio’, and also at the end of every written episode.

Chapter 3-3: A Higher Education (Narrated by Jerimiah Vega)

~~~

Next Episode 4-0
Previous Episode 3-2

__________________________________________

“Chapter 3-3: A Higher Education” Copyright © 2014, 2015 Scott Scherr. From the Novel “Don’t Feed The Dark, Book One: Southbound Nightmares”. Audio edition narrated by Jerimiah Vega Copyright @ 2018.

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.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

~~~

Here’s the next episode of Don’t Feed The Dark, the audio edition, narrated by Jerimiah Vega. Please show your support and encouragement by visiting Jerimiah’s Soundcloud page and letting him know what you think in the comments.

I’ll be adding links to everything Jerimiah’s done so far up on the main page in the tab marked ‘DFTD in Audio’, and also at the end of every written episode.

Chapter 3-2: A Higher Education (Narrated by Jerimiah Vega)

~~~

Next Episode 3-3
Previous Episode 3-1

__________________________________________

“Chapter 3-2: A Higher Education” Copyright © 2014, 2015 Scott Scherr. From the Novel “Don’t Feed The Dark, Book One: Southbound Nightmares”. Audio edition narrated by Jerimiah Vega Copyright @ 2018.

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.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.