Posts Tagged ‘Railway Exodus’

Don’t Feed The Dark Updates: 2/13/17

Posted: February 13, 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, thriller, walking dead, zombie books, Zombies
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

crying2

~~~

Hello Everyone,

Just a quick update to where we are in the series. First, my thanks to everyone who’s been reading, voting for the series, and for spreading the word via social media. Your support is greatly appreciated and every little bit helps in getting DFTD as visible as possible.

We are currently half-way through Chapter 36: Uprising, with three episodes remaining. Time dependent, I’m hoping to get another episode of After The Dark, my DFTD talk show, released shortly after the completion of this chapter. If everything goes according to plan, John will be interviewing the strange and enigmatic preacher, Logan McCalister, to discover some additional insights into his character and what lies ahead in the series.

From there, we move on to the long awaited Chapter 37: Through the Eyes of a Devil, which will continue the story of what happened to our favorite serial killer, Russell Bower (a.k.a. Marcus Dempsey). This chapter was the first I wrote when I sat down to start Book Four and I almost made it a stand-alone novella due to its size. This next chapter will easily be the longest chapter in the series to date and it’s a wild one… sorry I can’t say more about it. I expect this chapter to take us into early April.

Finally, Chapter 38: Healing, will wrap up Book Four in this series, picking up three weeks later and returning to the Wasteland community to find out what happened after the failed insurgence. I’m estimating that chapter will take us into late April, early May for the conclusion of this story arc.

After Book Four is finished, I’ll be taking the summer off to rest and prepare for Book Five (not yet titled) which will start late August 2017… and I’ve already got one hell of an outline in place for that book. I’ve always strived to make each book in the series a little different from what came before and Book Five will be no exception. There may also be time in there to write another spin-off story. I’ve been meaning to return to the Percy Power Plant for quite some time to tell the story of what happened to Sergeant Hash (remember that guy?). If I get around to it, that tale will be titled, The Desperation Factor.

Book Six (yep… there’s already a plan for that one, too), will tentatively be titled, Mother. I’ll let you all draw your own conclusions about where that one’s headed… lol.

And that’s all I’ve got for now. As things change or develop I’ll keep you updated.

-Scott

~~~

Advertisements

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
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 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!”

~~~

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

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

~~~

Chapter 35-10: Dead Dolls

Posted: February 2, 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, thriller, walking dead, zombie books, Zombies
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

tunnel

~~~

Meredith stared at her shaking hands holding the coffee thermos. She sat alone at the table in the low-lit clinic trying to process all these new and frightening memories that came crashing to the surface.

Why has all of this eluded me for so long? she wondered. The orphanage (which wasn’t really an orphanage), the girls, the symbol, the lions… the experiments?

She closed her eyes, not yet brave enough to let in the rest, and yet, powerless to stop these phantoms from condemning her now that her abilities were unavailable to keep her mental walls firmly in place.

Have I been using my own abilities all these years to shut out these memories? Is that when I first learned how to shut out the voices of the dead? Or, were they deliberately hidden from me? It deeply distressed her to find out that she couldn’t trust her own mind. How far back is my involvement in all of… this?

Meredith shook her head, wondering for the first time if she deserved to be shunned by the community. Perhaps Mother had been manipulating her all these years, leading her exactly to this place… now.

“No!” she said, slamming the coffee thermos hard on the table. “I won’t believe that! My heart is still my own… no matter what else has happened!”

“‘The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?’” The deep voice startled her from down the hall, causing her to rise to her feet.

“Who’s there?” she asked, staring into the shadows at the end of the hall.

A short stocky man in a black tank top, exposing his tattooed muscular arms, slowly approached with his hands in his jeans pockets.

Meredith frowned. “Mr. Logan, this is an unexpected visit. What brings you into my neck of the woods?”

Logan smiled, stroked his bushy beard and finished, “‘I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve’. That was from the good book of Jeremiah chapter seventeen, praise God. Good evening, Miss Montgomery.”

Meredith nodded, ignoring his quoting of Bible scripture which felt like bait.

“Sorry for startling you,” he said with a hearty laugh. “I’d just come in and saw you there, deep in thought, and hadn’t figured out how to address you without… upsetting you. Seems I failed.”

Meredith shook her head and laughed. “Well… come on in and sit. I promise, I won’t turn you into a toad… if that’s what you’re worried about.”

Logan took a couple of steps down the hall and stopped, looking into the observation room on his right. Megan was sleeping on her mattress. “If it’s all the same to you, Miss Montgomery, I’ll just stand here for a spell… pun not intended.” He flashed her a big old grin.

Meredith rolled her eyes and then straightened up her nightgown, got up and walked toward him. “Don’t worry about her, she won’t bite.” She stopped a few feet away from the preacher, hoping to put him at ease, as she leaned against the observation room glass and took a sip of coffee from her thermos. “What can I do for you, Mr. Logan? And please… just call me Meredith.”

Logan seemed to study her for a moment and then relaxed with a laugh, running his hands through his long black hair that he hadn’t tied back. He turned toward the observation room and crossed his arms. “I’ve been meaning to stop in for quite some time. I don’t visit as often as I should, and that’s my fault.”

“Well… we wouldn’t want the local preacher to get caught conversing with the resident witch, now, would we?” she teased. “You’d have to spend a whole Sunday preaching against the sin of gossiping.”

Logan laughed and shook his head. “Well… I could always tell the congregation that you bewitched me, then pray for the Lord’s forgiveness for letting my curiosity get the better of me.”

Meredith laughed. “Seriously, what brings you out here so late to visit little ole’ me? I hope you’re not here to invite me to service again. Tried that once. Didn’t seem like a good idea.”

“Yes… your presence was a bit distracting… but for what it’s worth, I was still delighted that you tried to attend.”

Meredith waited. She had only spoken with Logan a handful of times since his arrival several months ago, and she wanted to like the man because she’d learned early on that Logan usually said exactly what was on his mind, a quality she respected very highly these days, but he also made her uncomfortable with his sideway glances. It was as if he was always trying to figure out whose side she was on, and to Logan, there was only God’s side, or the devil’s. She’d learned enough about the man to know that he wasn’t always a devoted servant of God. His tattoos clearly pointed to a very different man that she was glad to have never known. But when he spoke with her, she never detected a hint of hate, just that puzzled curiosity he always had about her, which just reminded Meredith of how different she was from everyone else. Her dear friend, Gregory, also a man of God, never looked at her that way… he was just a simple man of faith who followed his heart, and Greg’s heart had accepted her without the need to have her scrutinized by any religious dogma.

Logan finally said, “I’ve been thinking and praying a lot about you… and about what happened to this poor girl.”

“Her name is Megan,” Meredith said.

“Megan… of course.”

“Please don’t refer to her in the past tense. She’s not the monster everyone around here thinks she is. She’s still in there… I’m just… having trouble finding her.”

Logan gave her a curious look. “I was told that you no longer possess your… abilities… since we came down here.”

“That’s correct.”

“Then, forgive me for being so frank, but how do you know?”

“How do I know what?’

“How do you know that Megan… is… well… still Megan?”

Meredith was getting angry. “How do you know that your God is real?”

Logan smiled. “Well… that’s another matter entirely, that I would be happy to discuss with you some time-”

“Just answer the question.”

“Alright,” Logan said. “I know that my God is real because he speaks to my heart, because he’s changed me from the inside out. He’s saved me through his son, Jesus, and redeemed me from my hellish past.”

“So… although you’ve never seen you’re God, you can feel him in your heart?”

Logan pointed at her with a smile. He nodded and said, “I see where you’re going, Meredith. I do. I’m sure you care deeply for this girl and want to believe she’s still with us… but you and I both know that if you were to step inside this cage…”

“Yes… she would rip me to pieces,” Meredith said. “But that doesn’t mean that Megan is gone. She’s… lost… and I’m trying to help her get back. Surely you can understand that?”

Logan raised his eyebrows. He was no longer smiling. “Are you trying to save her or yourself, Meredith?”

“I don’t know what you mean.”

Logan looked back at the sleeping girl. “Just look at her. She’s been this way ever since we found her. Megan was infected, just like so many others, and if we released her right now, she would hurt so many more people. Do you think if Megan was really in there that she would want to remain this way? What kind of life could she have now?”

“That’s a question we are all striving to answer for ourselves,” Meredith said. “Megan deserves a chance to choose… and not have someone choose for her.”

Logan sighed. “There’s no shame, no guilt, no fault in offering Megan mercy. For all you really know that’s what she wants.”

Meredith had no response to that.

“Yes, I believe in God and a place where we can be together with him forever,” Logan pressed. “If I’m right, then poor Megan could be done with all this madness right now… and go home.”

Meredith wiped a frustrated tear from her eye and stared at Megan. “You speak of heaven with the same enthusiasm as a dear friend of mine once did. He was so convincing at times. Even after all the death we’d experienced, even after he lost his own daughter to this sick world, my friend would not be swayed. He never faltered once in his belief of your God.”

“He’s your God, too, Meredith,” Logan said with a smile. “And he’s that young woman’s God, as well. We’re all his children whether we’re still alive and kicking… or infected.”

Meredith turned. “Do you really believe that?”

“Yes… I do,” Logan said. “I struggle with this new world and all the suffering it brings… but there was always suffering long before the dead came along. I have so many questions that I can’t answer, and I pray every night for those answers. But whether I understand this world or not, God does not change. I don’t understand what’s happened to that poor girl any more than I understand what’s happened to you in your life, but I do know that the darker everything becomes, the brighter the light gets in that darkness… and that’s what keeps me going, even when I fumble around, trying to understand the present nature of things.”

“Is that why you’re really here?” Meredith asked. “Were you hoping that I had answers? That I could explain what this sickness is all about because I’ve been into the heart of that darkness and seen what’s inside the mind of the dead?”

Logan laughed. “I struggle to grasp the mind of the Lord… especially in these dire times. I’ll admit, I’m an impatient man. It’s hard to pray and wait around for answers. I’ll take the answers anyway I can get them.”

Meredith shook her head. “I can respect that… and should your God ever share them with me… I’ll be sure to let you know. Now, let’s stop beating around the bush and why don’t you tell me why you really came down here in the middle of the night to talk? Usually, I don’t have to pry it out of you.”

“You are a very perceptive woman, Meredith. Must be the witchcraft talking.”

“Stop stalling.”

Logan nodded. “Very well. Truth be told, I was working on my sermon for tomorrow and it occurred to me that I hadn’t come to a decision about something that’s been troubling me.”

Meredith waited.

Logan’s face lost all humor. “Many in the community believe that you and Megan being here is extremely dangerous. Some, like your friends, Stephen, Tony, Marcus… and even Gina, have stood up for you since day one.”

Meredith looked at her feet. “I feel a big ‘but’ coming.”

“My point is, I’ve never really come to a decision either way… never needed to until now.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?’

Logan looked back at Megan. “Just stay vigilant, Meredith. Circumstances around here are changing rapidly. There are events in motion that can’t be stopped that have caused me to come down here and speak with you one last time.”

“What ‘events’ are you eluding to?”

Logan gave her a grave look. “Events that have motivated me to get off the fence and decide where I stand one way or the other.”

Meredith frowned. “And how are me and Megan’s chances fairing in your eyes?”

Logan smiled. “That’s entirely up to the will of my God.”

Meredith didn’t like the sound of any of this.

After an awkward pause, Logan started to shuffle his feet. “Well, I’ve taken up enough of your time this evening, Meredith. Thanks for speaking with me.”

“Sure.”

“Goodnight,” he said, and started toward the exit.

“Logan,” she said.

He turned.

“You said that he was my God, too… and Megan’s.”

Logan smiled. “Yes… I did. And I meant it.”

Meredith swallowed hard and came at him directly. “Are… Megan and I… are we in danger, Logan?”

He hesitated before answering, refusing to look her in the eyes. “I sure hope not, Meredith. I really do. I suggest we both earnestly pray on it.”

She watched the preacher depart, staring at the door as if this were somehow her last chance to leave this room alive. Something’s terribly wrong. I can feel it in my bones.

Meredith just stood there, lost in thought, as her mind started to wrap itself around a very crazy and desperate plan. If they were in danger, as Logan’s visit seemed to suggest, then she needed to find a way to keep herself and Megan alive until Gina and the others returned. She could talk to Stephen, but that wouldn’t be enough. Bless his heart, he would try to help us… but only put himself in the same predicament. No, she would not do that to her old friend. She had known for a long time that there were people here who wanted her and Megan gone; persuasive people, like that snake of a man, Carl Lannister. And if someone like that ever decided to get the community riled up against them, especially while Gina was absent, who knew what they were capable of doing. Fear motivated decent people to do despicable things. Meredith thought way back to when she’d had an ‘episode’ at the Percy Power Plant, and how quickly people turned and wanted to hurt her. Could that happen again? She could not afford to be dismiss the possibility. She thought of her plan… yes… it might just work. She needed the community to see herself and Megan like them… and not monsters fear represented them as.

Something struck the glass next to Meredith.

She turned, startled, and was looking into the mercury-colored eyes of the pale faced girl. Megan had pressed her face against the glass, her tangled hair pulled back. Meredith sighed sadly, realizing how ‘alien’ this poor girl looked now. Even she shuddered at the sight of Megan. How could she ever convince the others that she was still… human?

“What is it, Megan?” she asked. Meredith didn’t expect a response… well… not in words. In the past, Megan had come up the glass, just like this, revealed her sickly looking teeth, and then started biting at it, attempting to reach warm flesh on the other side. This sort of behavior from the sick girl would certainly not help Meredith’s cause. “You don’t want to bite into me, Megan. I assure you, the taste of failure is all you would find here.”

The sick girl placed her hands up against the glass and pounded hard three times, letting loose what sounded like a frustrated scream.

Meredith was about to turn away and summon Coop to sedate the girl, but then she stopped.

Megan wasn’t trying to bite her way through the glass.

Meredith’s eyes went wide as she discovered something in the girl’s face that she had not seen before, something other than insanity-driven hunger, rage, or the cold, indifferent absence of self-awareness on any level.

The tired woman moved in close to the glass to make sure her eyes were not deceiving her.

Megan appeared surprisingly calm when the woman approached.

“Oh, my!” Meredith whispered, clutching her chest. “Megan? Is… is that you, honey?”

The half-dead girl lowered her arms and stared back through the glass… her two silver orbs reflecting the light from just outside the room in an entirely new way.

Meredith covered her mouth with both hands, a mixture of emotions rising up, putting a lump in her throat as she was unable to speak.

Megan was crying.

~~~

Next Episode 36-1

Previous Episode 35-9

~~~

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

Vote for DFTD at topwebfiction

Vote for DFTD at Top Site List

__________________________________________
“Chapter 35-10: Dead Dolls” Copyright © 2017 Scott Scherr, from the novel, Don’t Feed The Dark, Book Four: Phantoms. 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.

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.

Chapter 35-9: Dead Dolls

Posted: January 30, 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, thriller, walking dead, zombie books, Zombies
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

doll10

~~~

Meredith decided against hiding in her room for the day, fearing a return visit by Clementine. Between that and waking up in the basement with the creepy dolls, she was more than relieved to discover that Finch’s class on creative expression was still being conducted in the school room. She needed to get her mind off of last night. She suspected Clem had something to do with her waking in the basement with the doll out of the case… but she just didn’t want to think about it right now. The implications frightened her too much.

She slipped into the school room and took a seat with six other girls who were already engrossed in various crafts. She was immediately relieved to discover that Clem was not present.

Finch noticed her and gave her a wink.

Meredith smiled back. She noticed several different colors of construction paper in front of her, as well as a community box of crayons, scissors, glue, markers, and pencils.

She grabbed a yellow piece of paper and a handful of crayons, hoping to look busy while she simply stared at the blank paper. Now what? she thought. If I had any artistic ability at all I would make an escape door and get out of this ‘special’ orphanage that isn’t an orphanage. But in truth, she had no idea where she would go. She had no family, friends, and she didn’t fit in to the world out there. She wanted to believe that she could belong here, among the misfit girls with abilities considered normal, but nothing about this place made her comfortable. There were just too many secrets.

“Are we stuck?” Finch said, startling her from behind.

Meredith turned. “Sorry. I guess I’ve never been very… artsy… if that’s a word.”

Finch smiled. “Well… you don’t have to paint a masterpiece or pen the perfect prose in here. This is more about expressing yourself, Meredith. Sometimes all you have to do is start with whatever you’re feeling, and then just let that lead you. Understand?”

“I think so.”

“Why don’t you just pick a crayon and give it a try. You may surprise yourself. I’ll come back in a bit. Just… have fun.”

Meredith smiled. “Okay.”

Finch stopped and added, “Oh… just please don’t draw any boring birds. That stuff drives me nuts.” He gave her another wink to remind her of the inside joke they’d shared about his name on the drive over.

Meredith watched Finch walk over to another table and peek over top of a younger girl to see what she was drawing. He said something encouraging and then walked on.

He almost acts like a real teacher in here… well… minus the long girlish hair, she thought with a smile. Meredith turned back toward her yellow blank paper and sighed. You heard the man… you have to feel it first… whatever ‘it’ is. She closed her eyes and tried to relax. When she opened them, she stared at the yellow paper again and thought of the sun. She picked up a black crayon and decided to draw the field out back with a large summer sun hovering above it. Sure… that was kiddie stuff… but it gave her something more pleasant to think about. If nothing else, it encouraged the idea to spend some time outdoors this afternoon and try to forget about… everything.

Meredith put the black crayon to the paper, intending to draw a large circle. What she drew instead resembled an oval… actually… it looked like an eye. She stopped and stared at it. That’s not a sun. What was I thinking about? And suddenly, she knew exactly what she wanted to draw. She put a black dot at the center of the oval. Then she added a long vertical line down from the eye followed by two short horizontal lines–one just beneath the eye and one at the bottom for a base. Then she added two curved lines midway down the vertical line until she’d drawn what looked like a fancy letter ‘U’. She stopped and stared at her creation. Rather than a sun, she’d drawn what looked like some kind of three-pronged symbol, or a strange flower–she couldn’t decide.

Before she had time to consider it further, Finch reached over and snatched the picture off the table.

“Hey!” she said, turning around. “I’m not finished yet.”

Finch ignored her and stared at her drawing. She’d never seen him look so intense. Finally, he looked over the picture at Meredith. “Who showed you this?”

Meredith noticed an alarming urgency in his voice. It made her very uncomfortable. “No one. I just… I just thought it up. Actually… I have no idea what it is yet. If you’d let me finish-”

“You are finished,” Finch said abruptly, folding the paper up and putting it into his pocket.

“What? I… I don’t understand. Did I do something wrong?”

Finch, realizing that they were attracting the attention of the other girls, smiled at Meredith and answered, “No… no, of course not. I just meant that you should try creating something else.”

“Something else?”

“Yes… yes… uh… come with me out into the hall for a moment and I’ll explain what I mean.” He was looking around nervously, reminding Meredith of a shoplifter before bolting from a store.

Finch started toward the exit, motioning for her to follow.

She got up and followed him into the hallway, feeling like she’d crossed some forbidden line with her amateurish use of crayons.

Once in the hall, Finch looked around again and then squatted down in front of her. “Listen to me, Meredith. Listen very carefully.”

She tensed up.

“It’s about your drawing. You have to promise me that you’ll never draw that symbol again… ever. Do you understand?”

“But… I don’t know why you’re so upset with me, Finch. It’s just a silly drawing. It doesn’t mean anything.”

“Are you positive that no one showed you that symbol before?”

“I… no one showed me anything… I just… I just saw it in my head… and then I drew it. I don’t even know what it is.”

Finch gave her a scrutinizing look and then nodded. “Okay… that’s fine. Just don’t tell anyone about what you drew… promise me you won’t draw that again, Meredith.”

“But-”

“Damn it! Just promise me!”

He was beginning to frighten her. She took a step back. “I… I promise,” she said.

Finch shook his head, trying to calm down. “I’m sorry. I’m not trying to scare you. You just have to trust me right now, okay? I’m looking out for your safety and I know none of this makes any sense… but… you must never speak to anyone about this picture again.”

Meredith nodded. She didn’t know what else to do. Finally she dared, “Is it… is it bad?”

Finch’s face looked very pale. He gave her a sad look and nodded. “Yes, Meredith. It’s very bad.” He looked around to make sure they were still alone, and then lowered his voice. “There used to be more girls here, Meredith. Really cool girls, like yourself, who were here one day… and then gone the next.”

“I don’t understand.”

Finch frowned. “These girls… well, they knew about this symbol, too.”

Just then, a series of erratic agonizing screams reverberated down the hallway, causing them both to jump.

It was coming from upstairs.

“What in the holy hell?” Finch said.

The girls in the school room exited into the hallway looking terrified and confused.

One of them said, “That sounds like Claudia!”

~~~

The landing at the top of the second floor steps was crowded as Meredith managed to squeeze her way through the frightened girls standing just outside of the bathroom. She stopped and put her hands over her mouth when she saw a lot of blood streaked across the linoleum floor, walls, and countertop. It looked like a crime scene straight out of a horror movie.

Miss Evans, and the two mysterious men she had seen outside during the volleyball game yesterday, were busy trying to hold Claudia down. The bloody young woman was still screaming as she tried to break free of the grip both men had on her arms.

“Let go, Claudia!” Miss Evans shouted while trying to pry Claudia’s bloody hands open. Claudia clenched them so tightly that her hands bled.

“Get them off me! I can feel them… GET THEM OFF ME!” Claudia yelled, kicking her bare legs out at the two men.

That’s when Meredith noticed the multiple wounds bleeding from Claudia’s half-naked flesh. She was only wearing a bloody bra and panties and it looked like someone had sliced her up. Her legs, arms, stomach… her face… all displayed deeps cuts.

Finally, Claudia opened her hands and two razor blades fell to the floor.

Miss Evans quickly snatched them up just before Claudia managed to kick the large woman square in the chest, causing her to fall back against the counter.

The two men pinned Claudia down more forcibly as Miss Evans tried to catch her breath. She looked terrified. One of the men managed to turn Claudia over on her back and sit on her legs while the other appeared to be tying her hands together with a plastic band.

Claudia continued to scream as if she were on fire.

Miss Evans got to her feet and turned toward the girls standing in the hallway. She just stared for a moment, her hair disheveled and her face white with shock. Finally she said, “Girls, get to your rooms… now!” She then slammed the bathroom door shut.

Everyone stared at each other. Some of the girls were crying while others seemed so confused and frightened that they were having a hard time remembering where their rooms were.

“What… what happened?” Meredith asked anyone.

Abagail, a younger girl, managed to speak. “She said that they were crawling all over her… that they were eating their way out.”

“What do you mean… who did that to Claudia?” Meredith asked.

“She did it to herself,” another girl responded. “We saw it. She just started jumping around like something was chasing her. She ran to the bathroom screaming. She started scratching herself until she bled… then she started cutting herself up with razor blades.” The girl stopped, looking like she was about to vomit or pass out.

“What was chasing her?” Meredith asked. “Did… did someone try to hurt her?”

“No,” Abagail said, starting to cry. “It was the spiders… the spiders were attacking her.”

“Spiders?” Meredith was shocked. “I didn’t see any spiders.”

“Claudia’s deathly afraid of spiders,” another girl said. “But we didn’t see any. She had us so freaked out that we all jumped into our own beds looking for them, too.”

“Out of the way, girls!” Finch barked as he stormed past them and entered the bathroom with a first-aid kit. He immediately closed the door behind him.

Meredith made herself take a deep breath. Spiders? There aren’t any spiders.

The girls continued to speak to one another in hushed voices as Claudia finally stopped screaming. The older girls started consoling the younger ones and they all slowly retreated toward their bedrooms.

Meredith looked up through the thinning crowd and saw Clem standing just within a doorway farther down the hall. She wore a wicked smile on her face as she looked up and caught Meredith staring at her. Her face immediately changed as she frowned at Meredith, retreated into her room, and gently closed her door.

Meredith felt the blood leave her face as the truth slowly dawned on her.

There were no spiders, she thought. But Claudia believed there were… she believed they were crawling all over her body and it made her hurt herself… because someone made her believe it!

Meredith could hear sirens approaching the house.

She remembered what Clem said about Claudia… and how she invaded her mind and exposed her secrets.

“She knew!” Meredith whispered. “She knew exactly how to do it!”

Some of the girls looked back at her and gave her a fearful look.

Meredith turned away and headed back down the stairs. By the time she reached the kitchen, her heart was racing, putting her into a full scale panic. She forced herself to take deep breathes and calm down.

Finch came back down, opened the front door, and two paramedics carrying a stretcher entered the house.

Meredith watched from a distance as Finch led them up the stairs.

Clem did this! I don’t know how… but I think she… she turned Claudia’s own fears against her!

She looked around the empty kitchen, expecting Clem to show up and make her see monsters, too.

She’ll come for me next! her mind screamed. She’ll come for me because I won’t be her friend anymore! Because I made her angry last night!

Meredith wanted to be anywhere but in this madhouse. She considered bolting out the back and running across the field until she could find somewhere to hide… somewhere Clem would never find her.

She meant to run toward the back door but went the opposite direction instead, toward the other end of the house. She got confused and started to panic again. Her own fear almost overpowered her as she thought about Clem coming down the stairs and finding her all alone.

She focused on a familiar door… the forbidden door.

She won’t go down there! Meredith thought. Clem’s never told me what’s in the basement because she’s never been down there… or she’s afraid of what’s down there! She had no proof, but this felt right. She couldn’t explain it. Meredith no longer believed that Clem was capable of bringing her down to the basement last night and moving the doll to terrify her. That also felt right.

A familiar compulsion stole over her, compelling her to go to the basement… quickly. If Clem did follow her, she’d be trapped with that evil girl, down in the dark place… with the creepy dolls.

Meredith no longer cared. Something far more important was pushing her forward.

I want to show you something… something important.

Where had she heard that?

Toby?

She started toward the basement door, convinced that there was no safer place to hide.

~~~

Her head began to throb again the moment she entered the toy room.

Someone had replaced the little brown-haired doll with the gentle eyes.

Meredith walked over to her cabinet and said, “Show me, Toby. Show me what was so important.”

Toby spoke with her again through images. You already know, Meredith. You’ve already seen it… remember?

Meredith stepped back, confused. What had she seen? Why couldn’t she remember? She started pacing around the toy room, frustrated by her own anxiousness at being so close to the truth… and yet, it still eluded her. She stopped abruptly and muttered, “The truth…” Then she remembered something… something the young man named Toby had told her twice in her dreams:

Pay special attention to the man behind the curtain. That’s where the truth is.

Meredith walked back over to the doll cabinets. She ignored the dolls and stared at the paneled wall they all shared. This feels… familiar, she thought, but didn’t know why.

She carefully examined the wall space between each doll cabinet, looking for something that should be there… but not knowing what that ‘something’ was.

When she reached the paneling just to the left of the first doll case, the one which held the intense looking doll with the blond curls, she found something etched into the wall. It was very small and faint, and if she hadn’t been looking, Meredith never would’ve found it: A three-pronged symbol with an eye at the top.

“I recognize this!” she said excitedly.

She lightly ran her fingers across the carved symbol… and then remembered what she’d been shown.

Meredith pushed against the strange symbol, moving it inward until a small square indentation appeared. She heard a loud clicking sound and then nearly fell forward as a narrow door opened inward.

Meredith stepped back and gasped as a rush of cool air exited the secret doorway.

I’ve… I think I’ve done this before!

She cautiously approached the doorway, now able to distinguish a faint light coming from within. Meredith stepped through the door and stopped. The room was large and smelled like the clinic. There were four hospital beds lined up in a row, surrounded by numerous monitors and gadgets performing mysterious functions. The monitors provided the only illumination in the room. There were multiple electrical wires running above the beds and along the floor. She dared a few steps closer. All four beds were occupied by people hooked up to large machines. They all wore some sort of mask that covered their nose and mouth.

As she moved closer, Meredith made out what looked like another room along the back wall. There was a brighter light, the amount produced by a desk lamp, pouring out from a door that was partially open.

Meredith looked back at the people in the beds. She was drawn immediately to the one furthest to the right. She stepped over wires and tried not to make a sound as she moved in next to what appeared to be a man… a very sick man… breathing through one of the complicated-looking masks. His eyes were closed. Other than the steady rise and fall of the man’s chest, everything else about the man made him look… cold and lifeless.

“Hello, Toby,” she whispered. Yes. She had been in here before. The man was much older now than he looked in the dream, and he certainly did not resemble the little brown-haired doll with the gentle eyes from just outside this strange room… but this definitely was the real Toby.

Toby did not respond to her voice. Aside from the machines, which appeared to aid in the man’s breathing, Toby looked dead.

“I know you’re still in there,” Meredith said. “I know you’ve been trying to find me, too. Well… I’m here now.”

Toby did not respond.

“How long have you known about this room?” a woman’s voice inquired from Meredith’s right.

She jumped back, nearly knocking over one of the machines. Meredith turned and saw Dr. Forrester standing just outside the second room. She was wearing her doctor clothes again and she did not look pleased.

“Answer me, girl!” she barked. “And get away from that respirator!”

Meredith started to move until a cold hand grabbed her wrist.

She looked back at the pale arm covered in veins that looked like they were about to burst through his skin. She tried to pull free and looked into Toby’s face. His mask had fallen off. His face was that of a ghost with more veins like trails on a map coursing up his neck and cheeks.

“What are you doing? I said get away from there! GET AWAY FROM HIM!” Dr. Forrester pressed with urgency. She started to rush toward her.

Meredith was using her free hand, trying to pry open the cold fingers tightening around her flesh.

Toby suddenly opened his eyes.

In her mind, she heard him clearly. Thank you, Meredith. I can see it now… the way out.

Meredith wanted to scream but the pounding in her skull had intensified. She felt like her head was about to implode.

Toby’s eyes were filled with yellow madness… and that’s when Meredith knew that she was staring into the eyes of the emerald lion.

Two hands grabbed her roughly from behind and whirled her around.

“Meredith?” It was Dr. Forrester. “What the hell is wrong with you?”

Meredith quickly looked over her shoulder at Toby.

He was still, the mask back on his face, his eyes… closed.

What is happening to me? She turned back to Dr. Forrester, her eyes wide with terror and confusion. Before she could ask a single question, she felt a sharp pain in her right arm.

Dr. Forrester removed the syringe. “I’m sorry, Meredith. You were not supposed to find out about this room.” was all she said.

Meredith felt her eyes go blurry and then the world faded to black…

~~~

Next Episode 35-10

Previous Episode 35-8

~~~

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

Vote for DFTD at topwebfiction

Vote for DFTD at Top Site List

__________________________________________
“Chapter 35-9: Dead Dolls” Copyright © 2017 Scott Scherr, from the novel, Don’t Feed The Dark, Book Four: Phantoms. 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.

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.

Chapter 35-8: Dead Dolls

Posted: January 26, 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, thriller, walking dead, zombie books, Zombies
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

child-1179463_960_720

~~~

An uncomfortable tension lingered throughout the house after Clementine and Claudia’s fight. All the girls were unusually somber and distant during dinner. No one had seen either girl since the volleyball game, leaving too many questions hovering unanswered. Finch tried his best to get the day back on course, but even he wasn’t his usual jovial self.

After Dr. Forrester escorted Meredith back into the house, she’d converted back into ‘professional’ mode, showing a surprising amount of cool detachment when she’d announced that she would be available to anyone who needed counseling, but not until she returned on Monday morning. Then she’d departed the home without another word.

Counseling? Meredith had thought.

Miss Evans made a brief appearance later that day, but volunteered nothing, only wishing the girls a good night before disappearing herself.

When Meredith couldn’t stand the awkward vibe any longer she retreated to her bedroom and waited for Clem to show up for one of her nightly visitations. It took several hours but Clem finally showed up an hour after bedtime, looking like someone had just killed her favorite pet.

Meredith smiled and said, “I saved you a plate from dinner. Meatloaf.”

Clem stared at her for a moment as if trying to understand the strange girl’s language. She finally said, “Thank you. May I sit down?”

Meredith nodded.

Clem collapsed on to the bed beside Meredith, lying down on her back and staring up at the ceiling. “I really hate this place sometimes.”

Meredith laughed. “Sounds like your day sucked the big one. At least you found your hairbrush. Your nest looks much better than it did at breakfast.”

Clem gave her an incredulous look and then caught the joke. She smiled. “Sorry I was so bitchy with you this morning. I’m glad you were here tonight.”

“I’ve been waiting for you to show up. Figured you might need a friend right now.”

Clem covered her face with her hands. “I think I freaked everyone out today. I’ve never seen Miss Evans so… furious with me.”

“Who were those men that came outside with her? They looked… mean.”

Clem gave her a puzzled look. “Men? What are you talking about?”

“Miss Evan came outside with two men dressed in white. It looked like… well… it looked like they had weapons or something.”

Clem gave her a blank stare. “I don’t know, Meredith,” she finally said. “I believe you saw them… I just didn’t. I was… not myself today.”

“What was up with Claudia?”

“She’s just a stupid bitch who doesn’t know when to shut her fucking mouth.”

Meredith was caught off guard by Clem’s swearing. She turned toward the door half-expecting Miss Evans to come in with a bar of soap.

Clem started laughing. “I’m sorry. I keep forgetting how sensitive your ears are.”

Meredith crossed her arms in defiance. “I’m not… sensitive,” she said, and then whispered, “Fuck that Claudia bitch!”

This just made Clem laugh harder as she rolled over on her stomach and tried to quiet down.

“What’s so funny?”

“You… but that’s okay. I think I haven’t laughed that hard in ages. I needed that.”

Meredith, shaking off the laughter at her expense, shrugged her shoulders. “Well… I’m glad you’re feeling a little better… but knock it off!”

Clem waved a hand in her face. “Okay… okay… I surrender!” She sat up and took a deep breath. “Thanks for waiting. I didn’t know if I’d scared you away or not.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well… most of the other girls tiptoe around me, especially when I lose my temper like that.”

“Why would they be afraid of you? Fights happen. I’m sure you and Claudia will work this mess out… right?”

Clem ignored the question and turned toward the small window. “This room is really depressing. You should move into my room. When Miss Evans cools down, I could ask her… that is… if you want to.”

“That would be great! But… what about the other girls you share the room with? Would they mind? I don’t want special treatment or any-”

“I have my own room,” Clem snapped, not meaning to be so harsh. “I mean… there used to be three of us… but the other two girls are long gone now.”

“Where did they go?”

“They left a long time ago. What’s it matter to you?”

“Calm down!” Meredith said. “I was just curious. You don’t have to bite my head off about it.”

Clem looked at her hands. “Sorry… I’m just feeling a little defensive today. Miss Evans tore into me pretty good. I don’t mean to take it out on you.”

“That’s okay.”

“Do you think the fight was my fault, Meredith? You can be honest with me. Everyone keeps looking at me like I did something wrong… everyone except you.”

Meredith smiled. “Well… I remember Claudia pushing you to the ground.”

“That’s right,” Clem said, feeling vindicated. “She did push me first… that whore!”

Meredith giggled and covered her mouth. “Sorry… you caught me off guard with that.”

Clem laughed. “Just… don’t say ‘whore’ or I’ll never stop laughing. I love you, girl, but you swear like someone trying on a new word that doesn’t fit… at all.”

“I do not!”

“Okay!” Clem raised her hands in surrender.

“Why did she call you a liar?” Meredith asked, wanting to change the subject.

“What was that?”

“I heard Claudia call you a liar right before she pushed you.”

Clem tensed up. “I don’t know what that crazy bitch was talking about.”

Meredith gave her a scrutinizing look. “Come on, best friend, no secrets… remember?”

Clem looked agitated, but gave in. “Fine! Before the game started she was bragging about some long lost older brother that was going to come here when he turned eighteen or something. She kept going on and on to the other girls about how much her precious brother, Charlie, loved her and missed her, blah, blah, blah… She said the only reason she was here was because Charlie had to wait another year before he could become her legal guardian and take her away from all of us losers.”

Meredith gasped. “She said that in front of all of you?”

“Yeah… the dumb whore bitch said that. But I knew she was full of shit. I’d already looked into her pathetic thoughts a long time ago and I knew exactly how she came to be here.”

“What do you mean, ‘looked into her-’”

“Her parents were fucking drug addicts!” Clem continued. “They used to pimp her out to strangers for drug money. There was never any damn brother! Claudia’s so fucked in the head that she’s convinced herself that some guy named Charlie, who was actually one of her parents’ regular customers, was some older brother that loved her… oh… and he loved her alright… loved her again… and again…”

“Stop it!” Meredith was covering her ears. “I don’t want to hear this anymore!”

Clem was shocked into silence. “What’s wrong?”

“Those things… those nasty things you said… there just… awful!”

“But it’s all true!” Clem defended. “I saw it! Buried deep in her mind! But whores like Claudia are easy to pick, and I saw all her dirty little secrets.”

“What do you mean, ‘pick’?”

“That’s what I do, Meredith. I can unlock mental doors within people and find out who they really are. They try to hide from themselves, like Claudia does; they put up all these barriers in their minds to keep the bad stuff away… but I can get into those rooms… I can pick the locks.”

Meredith didn’t know what to say.

“What? Why are you looking at me like that?” Clem shifted uncomfortably. “You can do things, too! Like when you delivered that message to that boy from his dead father. We can all do things. That’s what makes us so damn special! That’s why this place is so… ‘special’.” She spat the last word out with contempt.

A horrifying thought crossed Meredith’s mind. “What did you say to Claudia?”

“What? It doesn’t matter what I said to that stupid bitch!”

“Did you tell her? Did you tell her all that nasty stuff you just told me?”

“She was lying to everyone.”

“Just answer the question.”

“No. I won’t. Not until you stop looking at me like that!”

“You did, didn’t you? You ‘picked’ that girl’s mind like tearing at an old scab. Then you ripped it off and watched it bleed when you told her those awful things!” Meredith was furious. If Clem really possessed such a frightening ability, if she could invade anyone’s mind and pull out their deepest, darkest secrets… she suddenly felt vulnerable… and she knew exactly how Claudia must have felt.

“Why are you… why are you so upset with me?” Clem was confused. “I didn’t do anything to you! I would never do anything to hurt you!”

“But you hurt Claudia when you told her who her parents really were… who Charlie really was… that’s just… wrong!”

Clem looked like Meredith just slapped her hard across the face. She started to cry. “I didn’t mean to… really, I didn’t. She was just… she was such a bitch… and I… I just wanted to hurt her a little.”

Meredith sighed and eased up. “You can’t do that to people, Clem. Sometimes the past is… horrible. We all carry a lot of pain from our broken, messed-up lives. That’s why we’re really here. If we had people who loved us, we wouldn’t be orphans. No one deserves to have all that… ugliness… thrown back in their face.”

Clem nodded silently. “You’re right. What I did was wrong. Can you forgive me, Meredith?”

“It’s not my forgiveness that matters.”

“It matters to me.”

Meredith smiled. “Yes… I forgive you. But only if you apologize to Claudia.”

Clem stared back defiantly. “Fuck that! I won’t! She’s always been mean to me! She belittles me in front of everyone!”

“But you crossed the line, Clem. You must know that. How would you feel if someone ‘picked’ your memories and did that to you?”

Clem’s face suddenly changed–her fierce eyes barely contained behind a mask of stone making Meredith extremely uncomfortable. She let loose a wicked smile and calmly said, “I would kill anyone who did that to me. I would kill them from the inside out until their eyes bled.”

Meredith wanted to be anywhere where she wasn’t alone with this… evil person. She wisely didn’t say that out loud, but Clem could see it anyway.

“You’re afraid of me now… aren’t you?” Clem asked, looking back down at her hands.

“I… I think you should leave,” Meredith managed to get out.

Clem nodded. “Sure. We’ll talk tomorrow.”

“I don’t think so.”

Clem looked at her. “We’re still best friends… right?”

Meredith didn’t answer.

“I’ll… I’ll apologize to Claudia. I don’t want to… but if it means we can still be friends… then I will.”

“I think you need help, Clem. Maybe you should talk-”

“This is all her fault!”

Meredith shook her head. “This is no one’s fault, Clem.”

She looked at Meredith, tears of frustration and heartache breaching stone. “Claudia did this… that fucking bitch! We were just fine until… and now…” She got up and wiped the tears away as she bolted for the door.

“Clem! Wait!” Meredith stood up.

Clem stopped before the door, her back turned to Meredith. She spoke softly but clearly over her shoulder. “I’ll make her pay for this. That’s what I’m going to do, Meredith. Then you’ll see how much I love you.”

Meredith was out of words.

Clem opened the door, exited, and gently closed the door behind her.

Meredith climbed into her bed, feeling emotionally drained, and buried herself beneath the blankets. I need to get out of here, she thought, closing her eyes to keep the tears from falling.

She mercifully began to drift off into sleep, recalling familiar words she’d heard her first night:

You’re not safe, Meredith. None of the girls are. This place is bad… very bad.

~~~

Meredith is back in the grassy endless field. The storm is much louder. The winds are howling fiercely. The sky is frightening; dark ominous thunderheads hover so close as though they will fall upon her at any moment. The rain is falling erratically as gusts of wind spit it into her face.

“Meredith!”

She spins around, wiping rain from her eyes.

It’s the young man, Toby… or what’s left of him. A thin, pale figure stands directly in front of her. His deteriorated shirt has been blown away by the wind exposing his frail frame. She can see his rib cage penetrating ancient flesh. The dead skin around his face is stretched thin. Most of his black hair is gone. His eyes are sunken in so deep that she thinks they’re gone. He raises a bony arm toward her and like before, he speaks without moving his lips. He speaks within her mind. “Not safe… no time… not safe.”

“What?” she attempts to shout, unable to project her voice over the deafening wind. “I don’t understand?”

“Place… bad… pay attention, Meredith. Pay special attention to the man behind the curtain. That’s where the truth is.”

As before, the emerald lion roars. It sounds like it is all around her.

She turns just as it pounces toward her with its sickening, hateful yellow fire for eyes.

Meredith screams and ducks down.

The lion bolts past her and jumps on Toby.

Meredith turns back.

Two more lions have joined the first, attacking from behind Toby.

She tries to move but her body feels like a large immovable stone. Meredith can only watch in horror as the three emerald lions rip what’s left of Toby to pieces.

She screams but no sound escapes her mouth.

Each lion snatches a piece from the carcass and they run off, forgetting all about her.

Meredith senses something behind her.

She turns around and discovers the little porcelain doll with the head too big for her small body, standing in the grass. It speaks to her through frantic images assaulting her mind.

“What do you mean?” she shouts at the doll. “What do you want to show me? I don’t understand!”

Suddenly, the little doll’s facial expression changes into a sinister scowl. It opens its mouth, revealing bloody razors for teeth. She tries to move away but she can’t.

The doll’s face begins to crack like an egg. Pieces fall away until the true face beneath reveals itself.

Meredith tries to scream again.

It is now her face…

~~~

…Meredith woke up surrounded by children’s toys, her throat so sore that her scream was cut off. The muscles in her back and legs were sore and stiff from sleeping on the carpeted basement floor. She painfully got to her knees and started to panic when she realized where she was.

How… how did I get down here?

She looked up toward the doll cabinets and gasped when she saw that the one on the right was empty, the glass door left hanging open.

“Toby?” she whispered.

And just like the horrible dream, she knew exactly where it was.

Meredith slowly turned around and froze.

The little doll with the wild hair and gentle eyes stood three feet behind her.

“Shit!” Meredith hissed, forcing herself to her feet and backing away from the doll.

Toby didn’t move.

She waited there for what felt like eternity, just watching the doll, expecting it to charge at her the moment she looked away.

“Calm down, Meredith,” she told herself. “It’s just a stupid doll. Someone’s played a mean prank on you… that’s all this is.”

She backed away a few more steps, until she reached the hallway.

Toby didn’t move.

She took a deep breath and mustered up the courage to turn away. Meredith moved quickly toward the stairs. All the while she imagined hearing little doll footfalls chasing after her. She nearly stumbled as she raced up the steps, her heart racing in her ears. She opened the door, exited, and quickly slammed it shut behind her.

The house was dark, like the first night she snuck down to the basement.

I couldn’t have been down there very long, she reasoned. Meredith tried to remember what happened. Her head began to throb with the worst migraine imaginable. Why can’t I remember?

No longer desiring to stand between the creepy basement and the rest of the dark, silent house, Meredith only wanted to reach her bedroom, bury herself beneath the blankets, and sleep the remainder of the night with Clem’s flashlight on.

~~~

Next Episode 35-9

Previous Episode 35-7

~~~

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

Vote for DFTD at topwebfiction

Vote for DFTD at Top Site List

__________________________________________
“Chapter 35-8: Dead Dolls” Copyright © 2017 Scott Scherr, from the novel, Don’t Feed The Dark, Book Four: Phantoms. 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.

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.

Chapter 35-7: Dead Dolls

Posted: January 23, 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, thriller, Uncategorized, walking dead, zombie books, Zombies
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

abstract-748680_640

~~~

Summer 1973

Meredith sluggishly sat at the dining room table before a bowl of oatmeal and a glass of orange juice, trying to stay awake. Saturday morning breakfast was not the formal affair her first morning had been. Most of the girls who didn’t have assigned chores that morning were allowed to sleep in and serve themselves from the kitchen after they woke. Afterwards, they scattered to have what Miss Evans called, ‘Free Day’, which consisted of either hanging out in the school room to work on arts and crafts, or just to kick back and read, or go outside and play games with the other girls until lunch. Normally, Meredith would have loved to just kick back and chill outside, but not today. Her head throbbed and she had no appetite. As she stirred her soggy oats with a spoon, she tried to remember how she got back to her room last night. Her memory was foggy. She remembered her excursion to the basement and then finding the strange toy room with the porcelain dolls. But aside from that, she couldn’t remember much else.

That’s not true, and you know it! she thought. Toby was there! Toby spoke to you… through that doll! She didn’t want to think about it. Dolls couldn’t speak to people… and if they could… only crazy people could hear them.

Clementine entered carrying a plate of toast, looking like she hadn’t slept yet as she let out a big yawn and roughly sat down next to Meredith.

Meredith turned and marveled at the black bird’s nest atop Clementine’s head and couldn’t help snickering. “Lost your brush?” she kidded.

Clementine shrugged her shoulders and shoved a piece of toast in her mouth.

“Somebody woke up on the wrong side of the bed,” Meredith observed. “That’s okay. I’m not feeling great this morning either.”

Clementine didn’t respond.

Meredith tried again. “Want to go outside after breakfast? The fresh air might-”

“Where were you last night?” Clementine barked.

“Excuse me?”

“I stopped by to visit. You weren’t in your bed.”

Meredith began to panic. She took a sip of her orange juice to stall. “I went downstairs to get a drink. Maybe you just missed me coming back?”

“Stop lying to me. I waited for over an hour. You didn’t come back.” Clementine refused to look at her. She shoved another piece of toast in her mouth.

Meredith was getting irked. “Sorry. I didn’t know I had to clear my every move with you first,” she snapped. “I went… exploring.”

Clementine stared at her and finally smiled. “You went to the basement,” she accused. “Don’t deny it.”

Meredith said nothing. She took another sip from her glass.

The dark-haired girl looked like she was about to explode. “Don’t ignore me when I’m talking to you!”

“Stop ordering me around!” Meredith fired back. “Maybe I did… maybe I didn’t. What’s it matter?”

Clementine eased up. “It doesn’t matter,” she said. “I just… I was just upset that I waited for you and you never came back.”

Meredith gave her a puzzled look. “Did you think I took off in the middle of the night? That I ran away?”

“It crossed my mind,” she said. “Just forget it and eat your damn… whatever that is.” Clementine got up and stormed out of the dining room before Meredith could say another word.

Meredith shook her head and said, “Wow…. What a mega bitch!”

“Good morning, Meredith.”

Meredith turned around, startled to discover Dr. Forrester standing at the other end of the dining room with her arms crossed and leaning against the entranceway. She wasn’t wearing her white coat and looked a little too casual for a doctor, dressed in jeans and a blouse.

“I… uhh… hello… Dr. Forrester…” She stood up.

“Candice,” she said with an amused smile.

“Uh…yeah… Dr. Candice… I mean… Candice…”

“Relax, Meredith. You’re absolutely right… Clementine can be a bit of a mega bitch sometimes. But you didn’t hear me say that… just like I didn’t hear you say it.” She added a playful wink.

Meredith smiled and nodded. “Would you like a bowl of disgusting oatmeal? It’s about the only thing I can make.” She looked at the soggy mess and finished, “Honestly, I don’t think I can make oatmeal either.”

“No… I’ll pass. But thank you. I came by to see how you were doing.”

“I’m a little tired, but I’m okay.”

“Trouble sleeping?”

“Well… you know… new place and all. I’ll get used to it eventually.”

“I’m glad to hear that, Meredith. Sounds like you’re starting to like it here.”

“It’s okay.”

Candice ran a hand through her shoulder-length brown hair and yawned. “Excuse me. Apparently I could’ve used a little more sleep, too.”

“You’re very pretty for a doctor,” Meredith said.

Candice flashed her a surprised smile. “Well… thank you… I think.”

“Oh… I didn’t mean it like that. I’ve just never seen a doctor in regular clothes before. I mean… forget I said anything.” Meredith stared down at her feet, feeling embarrassed for speaking out of turn.

“I understand. No worries, Meredith. The word you’re looking for is ‘professional’. Usually we doctors look and act the part, with very little time for anything else.” Candice hesitated and gave her a thoughtful look. “I’m about to go off duty for the weekend but I’d love to take a walk first. Why don’t you join me? Unless you’re bound and determined to finish that delightful bowl of… what are you calling it again?”

“Oatmeal?”

“Okay… sure… we can call it that if you want.” Candice gave her a ‘yuk’ face, putting her finger to her mouth.

Meredith laughed and said, “No… I’m good. I’ll take you up on that walk.”

“Great. I’ll take you out back. I think some of the girls are playing volleyball this morning.”

~~~

The view from the back side of the property was breathtaking. Meredith was awed by how vast the fields were, which seemed to go on forever, reminding her of the dream with the emerald lion.

She sat down with Dr. Forrester at a picnic table as six of the older girls, including Clementine and that know-it-all girl, Claudia, from class, were picking teams. Finch was also there, supervising the game. From a distance he almost looked like one of the girls sporting that long red ponytail.

Meredith snickered at the thought.

“Something funny?” Candice asked.

She nodded at Finch. “I didn’t know he was still here.”

“You mean, Michael?”

“Yeah. I didn’t see him at breakfast yesterday. I thought he’d left.”

Candice smiled. “Michael’s here on the weekends. Among other things, he’s our activities director. All the girls love him and he keeps things light.”

“He was nice to me on the drive over. I was so mean to him.”

“Don’t worry about it, Meredith. Michael’s an easy going guy. He won’t hold it against you. If I’m not mistaken, he’ll be running crafts tomorrow afternoon in the classroom. Michael enjoys helping the girls tap into their creative sides. He firmly believes that the best way to understand ourselves is through what we create. I believe you’ll enjoy it.”

Meredith smiled. “Sounds fun. I think I will. As long as I don’t have to create anymore oatmeal.”

Candice laughed.

The girls started playing.

They watched in silence for a few moments, absorbing the sights and sounds of a beautiful summer morning. For Meredith, this almost felt normal and she relished anything that made her feel… normal… and not some freak standing out in a crowd.

“Meredith,” Candice said. “Since I have you here, I wanted to ask you about last night.”

Meredith turned to look at her. “Last night?”

“You know… when you left your room and visited the basement.”

Meredith was caught off guard. She didn’t know what to say.

Candice laughed. “It’s alright. You’re not in trouble. I just wanted to ask you about it, if that’s okay?”

“How… how did you know? Did Clem tell you?”

Candice gave her an ‘are you serious’ look and answered, “Meredith, nothing goes on in this house without someone knowing about it. It’s part of our job to look after all of you. But how I know is not important. What I want to know is why you went down there in the middle of the night?”

“I… I don’t like secrets,” Meredith confessed. “Clem made it such a big deal telling me that the basement was ‘off limits’, but she wouldn’t tell me why. It drove me nuts. So… I had to find out.”

“Of course you did,” Candice said. “I’d probably do the same thing in your shoes. So what was your impression when you visited the dolls? I assume you found them.”

“Yes, I did,” Meredith admitted, but would say nothing else. “I thought the room was strange… all those toys and those crazy dolls in the cases. Why is all that down there?”

Candice nodded. “Originally, when we first moved into the house, we’d planned on having a room for much younger children than the rest of you. But due to unforeseeable expenses, and a lack of staffing, it was decided that toddlers wouldn’t thrive here, so we moved all those toys into the basement. I think the plan was to get rid of that stuff, but then things got busy and everyone forget about the toys. So we just left them alone. The reason the basement is off limits is more for safety concerns since there’s a lot of stuff being stored down there.” Candice quickly looked away and back toward the girls.

Meredith only saw it for a brief moment, but she was certain Candice was lying… or not telling the whole truth. Besides, none of that explained why a girl doll named Toby spoke with her. Maybe it was all in your head, she thought with concern. Maybe you inhaled paint fumes or something and imagined all of it.

“So… there was nothing else?” Candice pressed.

“Excuse me?”

Candice sighed. “The dolls, Meredith. Is there anything else you can tell me about them?”

“I don’t understand the question.” Meredith could clearly sense Candice’s annoyance beneath her friendly exterior. What does she expect me to say?

“You’re a damn liar!” Claudia yelled, causing the volleyball game to come to a halt.

Meredith turned toward the girls just in time to watch the know-it-all cross over to the other side of the net and get in Clem’s face.

“What did you call me?” Clem looked like she was ready to punch the taller girl.

“Ladies… please calm down,” Finch said, taking a cautious step toward the pair. “It’s just a friendly game.” He stopped and gave Dr. Forrester a worried glance.

Meredith turned to Candice. She looked terrified. “Meredith,” she said, getting up from the picnic table. “I want you to stay right here.”

“Is everything okay?”

“Just… stay here.” Candice was frantically reaching into her purse.

Meredith turned back toward the girls.

“You heard me, bitch!” Claudia nearly spat in Clem’s face they were so close. “You’re a liar… and you know it!”

Clem gave the taller girl a frightening smile. “What are you going to do about it, Clau-di-a?” she mocked.

The taller girl shoved Clem in the chest, knocking her to the ground.

The other girls gasped and took a step back. They were all looking at Finch.

Finch appeared unsure how to proceed. “Okay… enough is enough,” he finally said. “Clem… just… just take it easy now. Claudia, stand down.”

Claudia’s angry expression changed the moment she realized what she’d done. “This is a stupid game anyway,” she said to no one, trying to save face. But Meredith could clearly see it: Claudia was terrified. She turned and headed back toward the house.

“Where are you going, Clau-di-a?” Clem taunted with a sinister little laugh. She slowly rose to her feet. “We’re not done talking yet, Clau-di-a.”

Candice retrieved a small black box from her purse. Meredith watched her push some sort of button on it repeatedly as she started moving toward the girls. She turned back when Meredith started to rise and said, “I mean it! Stay right here!”

Meredith quickly sat back down.

Clem started to follow Claudia toward the house. The other girls quickly parted, allowing her to pass. Finch simply stood there, but cautioned, “Clementine… don’t. Let it go and calm down.”

Clem ignored him and yelled at Claudia’s back, “Where are you going? Turn around and come back, you coward!”

Claudia refused to look back. She actually quickened her pace toward the rear of the house reminding Meredith of a swimmer trying to reach the shore before the shark caught up.

Candice stepped in front of Clem with her arms raised. “Clementine… please calm down.”

Clem stopped, looked into Dr. Forrester’s eyes and barked, “MOVE!”

“Candice!” Finch yelled. “What the hell are you doing? Get out of her way!”

Candice took three steps back from the enraged girl.

Meredith stood up. She had no idea what was happening but the fear was contagious. Without thinking, she yelled out to Clem. “Stop it!”

Meredith’s voice distracted Clem. She looked over at her new best friend, saw something familiar in Meredith’s face, and frowned.

Miss Evans came bursting out the back door accompanied by two big men wearing white shirts. She only saw it for a moment, but Meredith swore she saw one of the men trying to conceal what looked like a gun belt beneath his long untucked shirt.

The big woman signaled the men to stand back and then rushed toward the angry girl.

Claudia was almost in tears by the time she made it to the back door.

“Clementine!” Miss Evans voice carried like thunder. “Clementine, you stop this foolishness immediately!” She stopped ten feet from the girl.

Clem turned away from Meredith and gave Miss Evans a threatening glare.

Miss Evan’s face reminded Meredith of an approaching hurricane. “Don’t you dare look at me like that, child! You stand down this instant… before you find yourself in a world of trouble.”

Something clicked in Clem. She stopped, let her shoulders droop with a heavy sigh, and then looked away from the big woman. “She started it,” Clem added weakly.

“And I’m finishing it… right now! Do you understand me, child?” Miss Evans didn’t even flinch. To Meredith, she was like an immovable stone.

“Yes, Ma’am,” Clem responded, staring at her feet.

Miss Evans put her hands to her side and gave Clem a disapproving stare, shaking her head. “We’ve talked about this, child. We’ve talked about your… temper… and the consequences. Have we not?”

Clem simply nodded. All her anger had dissipated.

“Girls… inside!” Miss Evans ordered.

The other girls who had been too scared to move, suddenly dispersed, rushing toward the house.

The big woman gave Finch and Candice a glance and nodded to them.

They nodded back.

Finch followed the girls into the house.

Candice came back to Meredith. “Time to go, Meredith. I’m sorry our talk was cut short.”

“Is everything-”

“Not now,” Candice cut in, grabbing Meredith’s arm. “We need to let Miss Evans and Clementine have some space. Everything is alright now.”

Meredith could hear the fear in Candice’s voice. She looked back once at Clem who looked like she was receiving the scolding of her life as Miss Evans hovered over her. She could not hear what the big woman was saying but Meredith could tell Clem was not enjoying it.

Meredith looked for the two mysterious men. They had disappeared.

The only thing she knew for certain was that everything was definitely not alright.

~~~

Next Episode 35-8

Previous Episode 35-6

~~~

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

Vote for DFTD at topwebfiction

Vote for DFTD at Top Site List

__________________________________________
“Chapter 35-7: Dead Dolls” Copyright © 2017 Scott Scherr, from the novel, Don’t Feed The Dark, Book Four: Phantoms. 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.

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.

Chapter 35-6: Dead Dolls

Posted: January 19, 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, thriller, Uncategorized, walking dead, zombie books, Zombies
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

megan

~~~

Doctor Arnold Cooper stared into the microscope with a heavy sigh. He looked back up and leaned back in his chair, ran a hand through his messy gray hair and then rubbed his eyes. “No matter how many times I look into that damn thing at those damn dead cells, I always come up with the same damn conclusion.”

Meredith came over with a cup of Cooper’s coffee and handed it to him. “And what ‘damn’ conclusion is that?” she asked with a teasing smile.

“Number one: I need a cigarette. Two: There’s nothing in that girl’s blood that makes a lick of sense. She should be dead… and yet, there she is, moving around in that observation room like a really bad joke.”

“Maybe you just need to take a break, Coop. Come back at it with a fresh set of eyes.” Meredith
sat down in the chair across from him. “I’m sure it’s just a matter of time until we come across something we’ve overlooked.”

Cooper laughed and dramatically waved his hands above his head. “And there you go again spilling that extra-large cup of optimism all over my damn ‘bitch-fest’! Frankly, Meredith, I don’t know how you keep on doing it.”

“Doing what?”

He got up and walked over to glass window of his lab and stared across into the observation room. Megan was sitting on her mattress with her knees up, head buried into her crossed arms while she rocked back and forth. “You keep trying to reach out to her, hoping that she’ll come back from that savage place, while everything I know about medical science says that we’re looking at a dead woman… and I mean… D E A D… as in, the lights are out in that brain of hers and never going to come back on again.”

“I refuse to believe that,” Meredith said. “Besides, I got a good look at this sickness when I was in Harpersfield and I know that this poor girl is still in there… somewhere… behind all that death and violence.”

“You keep telling me that, Meredith. But I find it hard to believe. Hell… I’m still having trouble believing that you can do all the things I keep hearing about.”

She smiled. “You mean my witchcraft?”

“Now don’t go putting words into my mouth,” the doctor defended. “You know I think the world of you and I don’t give two shits what anyone in this bunker says. It’s just that I’ve never seen you use your super powers in here so any hypothesis based on your… abilities… has no bearing now. All we have is one unresponsive girl and a blood sample full of dead cells. What’s left that we haven’t tried?”

“Are you saying we should give up then?” Meredith was getting frustrated. “Just place a bullet in Megan’s head and put her down like a rabid dog?”

“There are more humane ways to put that poor girl out of her misery,” he suggested.

The fierce look she flashed him could melt steel.

He raised his hands. “All I’m saying is that we don’t know what hell that girl is going through… and that it might be time to give her some peace. If it were me in there, I’d hope that someone would end the madness and let me go.”

Meredith turned away. Maybe he’s right. Perhaps we’re just prolonging the inevitable. And even if Megan could come back, what kind of life could she possibly have… like this?

Cooper came back and sat down in front of the tired woman. “From what you’ve told me about this strain of the infection, I’ve heard you describe it as being ‘half dead’. They are not completely gone, but they’re not exactly alive anymore either. So what can we possibly do for this poor girl? And what kind of life could she have if she had to constantly suppress her need to feed… on us?”

Meredith nodded, hearing her own thoughts echoed. “I know what you’re saying. Believe me, I’ve spent many nights thinking about what Megan would do if she ever did come back. Would she hate us for keeping her alive? Would she blame herself for losing the child and curse life? Would she ever be allowed to live freely outside this cage and out among the population? Every perplexing question I come up with leads to fifty more questions… and so on. Bottom line, we just don’t know what Megan would want. And until she can tell us, we need to make every effort to try and bring her back to us. Hope is all there is now.”

Cooper sighed heavily and shook his head. “You are one stubborn and remarkable woman, Miss Montgomery.”

She smiled. “I know.”

“Wait, I said that wrong. I think I meant remarkably stubborn,” he added with a wink.

Meredith lightly punched him in the shoulder. “Thanks for not giving up on me, old man.”

“Well… you’re going to owe me big time for this.”

“I’ll buy you a carton of cigarettes,” she said.

He sat back and folded his arms. “Hmm… sounds good for starters. But I was thinking, you still owe me that damn drink.”

Meredith leaned forward and said, “When Megan comes back, I’ll be your date to the prom.”

“Promises… promises…” he said with a laugh. “Now, let’s go over it again. Like you said, maybe we’re missing something.”

“Alright.”

Cooper stood up and started pacing. “We know this all started with The Change. We know that the dead and the living were affected in different ways.”

“Yes,” Meredith continued. “It struck randomly among the living causing many people to turn into those yellow-eyed haters.”

“And at the same time, the already deceased were re-animated, which accounts for all those dark-eyed sluggish drunkards roaming the countryside. And then throw in the rare red-eyed monsters, which we have concluded came from a small number of animals which turned and infected people before said animals mysteriously died off. Perhaps they’re smaller bodies could not keep up with the ravenous command to feed. So that just leaves the half-deads. As far as we know, those silver-eyed creatures were created through infection by the yellow-eyed haters. Correct?”

Meredith nodded. “The yellow-eyed haters infect the living and create the silver-eyed half-deads. The dark-eyed re-animated infect the living and create more like themselves. And as far as anyone knows, the red-eyed beasts slaughter everything they kill so it’s not known whether they can infect the living. But I think it’s safe to assume that they can create more like themselves, especially since they have a ‘pack’ mentally like wolves.”

“Which means,” Cooper finished, “that we have no idea what would happen if Megan were to bite one of us?”

“That’s true,” Meredith said. “I haven’t heard one story from anyone about half-deads infecting the living. So we have no idea what would happen.”

Cooper paced some more and then said, “Maybe we’re going at this all wrong. Perhaps instead of studying the psychology and behaviors of the dead, we should be looking more at the living. This whole ‘random’ thing is very interesting.”

“How so?”

“Well, was The Change really random or are certain human beings simply immune to it? I think I should start taking blood samples from our group and try to find the common variable in all of us. Perhaps by comparing samples I might find a clue that could help us understand this outbreak better. Maybe even develop an antidote of some kind.” He stopped, noticing Meredith’s million-miles away stare. “What is it?”

Meredith shook her head. “Just ghosts. I’ve been visited by a lot of phantoms from the past as of late. Just listening to you get excited about studying the dead reminded me of someone else I once knew. Even Megan reminds me of the past.”

Cooper sat back down and sighed. “You know I’ve tried not to press. Lord knows, Gina’s done all but torture you to get you to tell her what you’re hiding-”

“I’m not hiding anything!” Meredith snapped. “I’m protecting everyone, Coop! What I know isn’t going to help us bring back Megan or answer any other questions we have. What I know will get people killed. I’ve made my decision, for better or worse, and I’m going to do what I must to keep people alive. If that means keeping my past to myself… well… then just believe me when I say that I’ve got my reasons!”

Cooper raised his hands and laughed. “Calm down, before you set me on fire with those intense eyes. All I was getting at was that maybe there is something in your past that could help us with that girl… something you’re not connecting the dots to yet.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well… think about it. This group… Mother… didn’t they abduct Megan to begin with? If so, they must have had a real good reason. If we can figure out what that reason was, maybe we can shed some light on how to help her now. That’s all I was trying to say before you shot my damn head off.”

Meredith eased up. “I see. Well, I’m sorry for yelling at you. It’s just… I’ve spent my whole life trying to forget my ties with these people, and that was long before they went by Mother. And then after The Change… I started seeing things out in the open that used to be nowhere but in my nightmares… and I’m not talking about the dead.”

“You’re talking about that strange three-pronged symbol,” Coop stated.

“Yes. When I first started seeing that symbol again, I knew right away that something was dreadfully wrong… something more than just the dead roaming the world. And like a frightened child, I just hid from the truth, hoping that it would just go away… but it’s not going away.”

“And you figure we’re close enough to the Devil without making it worse by knocking right on his damn door, right?”

Meredith smiled. “More or less. Truthfully, if there had been another option at the time, I never would have attempted accessing the security door into this place. I would’ve done everything in my power to steer us miles away from here.”

“It’s that bad?”

Meredith leaned in close and whispered. “This place and all those evil men protecting it before the explosion… I fear they are just the beginning of something far worse… something we won’t be able to control or stop if they figure out what to do with us.”

“So you’re saying that Mother is well aware that we’ve been living in their fancy bomb shelter? Why would they let us do that? Why not take the place away from us?”

Meredith frowned and stared at her shaking hands. She clasped them together to keep them still. “Because Mother likes games. Mother likes to observe… everything.” She let out a deep breath. “It took me years to believe that I’d liberated myself from them. I’d started a new life…” She stopped as the painful memory of losing Hannah threatened. “But when I put my hand in that access port leading into this facility… and that I was granted access… I knew how wrong I’d been in that one devastating moment. It was like Mother had left the door wide open for me to come back anytime, even after all those years running and lying to myself.” She gave Cooper a grave look and finished. “And just like when I thought I was free… that’s where we all are now. No one is ever ‘free’ of Mother. There is only the illusion of freedom.”

Cooper nodded. “So… are you saying Mother let us in here by using you to do it? Was that Mother’s intent all along?”

Meredith shook her head. “I don’t know, Coop. God… I hope not. The implications would be… terrifying. All I do know is that I was never really free… and that Mother has probably had her eyes on me for a very long time.”

Coop shook his head and laughed. “So we’re either the luckiest S.O.B.’s for landing this place before everything went ‘ka-boom’, or… Mother has us exactly where she wants us.”

“Precisely,” Meredith said.

“And that’s why you don’t mess around with that mystery door at the end of the hall?”

Meredith smiled. “I’ve already opened one door I didn’t want to open, and now we’re all here. I’m not about to open Pandora’s Box a second time. I’ll die first before I do that. Besides, opening that door is probably exactly what they want me to do. God only knows what we’ll find beyond that door.”

“Maybe we’ll just find more resources?” Coop offered. “Maybe even some advanced medications and equipment that we could use to help Megan?”

“Maybe,” Meredith said. “Or maybe we’ll find an even smaller prison than the one Mother’s already assigned us to.”

Cooper had no response. Finally he stood up and said, “I’ll go check on Megan on my way out. You get some rest.”

“Where are you going?”

“That’s enough conspiracy theories for one day. I’m gonna go see if I can’t kill someone for a cigarette.”

Meredith smiled. “See you later, Coop.”

After she was alone again, Meredith couldn’t stop thinking about that unlocked door which took her back to the age of thirteen. There was so much she’d forgotten about. Maybe I needed to forget for a reason, she considered. Or maybe Cooper was right. Perhaps if she looked hard enough into the past she might find some way to help Megan… or at least uncover some definitive answers for herself involving her ties to Mother.

She closed her eyes and let the ghosts back in…

~~~

Next Episode 35-7

Previous Episode 35-5

~~~

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

Vote for DFTD at topwebfiction

Vote for DFTD at Top Site List

__________________________________________
“Chapter 35-6: Dead Dolls” Copyright © 2017 Scott Scherr, from the novel, Don’t Feed The Dark, Book Four: Phantoms. 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.

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.

Chapter 35-5: Dead Dolls

Posted: January 15, 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, thriller, Uncategorized, walking dead, zombie books, Zombies
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

doll1

~~~

After the strangest class she’d ever attended, Meredith was required to visit the house clinic before she could hide away in her temporary bedroom and collapse beneath the blankets. She was emotionally exhausted… and extremely embarrassed by her public breakdown.

The clinic looked like any other clinic. Various posters displaying the human anatomy lined the walls. There was a standard ‘eye’ chart, weight and height scale, and a long uncomfortable bed surrounded by various medical gizmos. The small room gave off a faint latex/bleach aroma.

A small woman wearing a lab coat introduced herself as Dr. Candice Forrester, resident physician and psychologist. She wore glasses, had a tightly braided brown ponytail, and the typical demeanor of a school nurse who was just polite enough to make you feel a little better than a lab rat.

Doctor Forrester had conducted a routine physical, completing Meredith’s uncomfortable day. After getting dressed, Forrester had told her to take a seat in her much larger office while the good doctor cleaned up.

Meredith sat in a chair before a large oak desk, which seemed much too big for the room. There was a file cabinet in one corner and various certificates decorated the walls.

Forrester entered with a clipboard in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other. The small woman moved behind the large desk and sat down, completing the absurdness of the goliath desk, making the woman look comical. She took a sip from her cup and set it down, along with the clipboard. Then she started looking through a file on her cluttered desk, appearing to forget that Meredith was there.

“Well, young lady,” she finally said. “Everything checks out. I have nothing to report. You’re a healthy girl.”

“Thank you, Ma’am.”

Forrester removed her glasses, rubbed her eyes, and then replaced them. She then laughed and said, “All you girls are so well-behaved. None of that ‘Ma’am’ stuff with me, alright? You can call me Candice.”

“Alright… Candice.”

Candice folded her hands and looked her in the eyes. “So, Meredith, let’s get right down to it. How are you adjusting so far? Any concerns? Questions?”

Meredith had a millions questions, but now that she was put on the spot, she struggled to think of just one. Finally she asked, “I’m told this isn’t an orphanage. I don’t know what to call this place. Does it have a name?”

Candice smirked as if her question were an old one. “To answer that, Meredith, I need to ask you a question first. Did your previous foster home have a name… and I’m very sorry for your loss, by the way?”

“Thank you… and… no.”

“So what did you call it?”

Meredith found the question strange. She’d never really thought about it. “I guess… home?”

“Precisely,” Candice said. “Miss Evans took great care in not giving this house a name for the very same reason. She wanted to create a ‘home’ for her girls that was defined by what was inside of it… the people. If you asked any of the girls who have been with us for a while, they’d call this place their home, too.”

Meredith shook her head. “Makes sense. I guess I never thought of it that way. I’ve just never been in a place quite like this one before.”

“Yes… I feel very much the same, Meredith. This… home… is unique. Maybe in time, you’ll come to feel the same way as many of the girls do.”

Meredith nodded, as the questions started flooding her mind. “Are all the girls… well… like me?” She winced at the last part, expecting Forrester to give her that strange ‘you are a freak’ look she’d grown accustomed to when addressing her own abnormalities.

Candice leaned back in her chair, smiled, and nodded. “Now that is a very astute question, Meredith. I’m afraid the answer is much more complicated. But I will tell you that you’re not the only girl here who has ever shared a difficult and unusual story in Miss Evan’s class before.”

“Oh, you know about that?”

Candice kept going. “It’s not by chance that you’re here, Meredith. In time, you’ll discover that for yourself.”

Meredith laughed. “You sound like Clem. She won’t tell me anything either.”

“Let’s just say that some things are best answered through… self-discovery. What else do you have for me?”

Meredith treaded carefully. “What’s with the lions?”

Candice laughed. “Ah… the pictures in your room.”

“That’s not what I-”

“I assure you, Meredith. Everything here has a purpose… like those pictures in the guest room. They’re not hanging on the wall to frighten you… more to stimulate the creative process.”

Meredith considered her words and then raised her eyebrows. “You’re responsible for the pictures! You wanted me to dream about them?”

Candice looked please. “You are a very intelligent young lady,” she said. “Part of what I do here involves what I can retrieve from your… dreams. We process new experiences in different ways. Sometimes dreams unlock doors that we otherwise couldn’t or simply don’t know how to open when awake. That’s why we put new arrivals in the guest room for their first couple of nights. Have you had any dreams, Meredith?”

Meredith shut down. “Nothing I can remember clearly,” she lied, and then wondered what else Forrester knew. Did Clem tell her about my dream? In truth, she didn’t know why she was holding back other than a feeling which made her believe that speaking about Toby might be a bad idea. Besides, if they wanted to keep secrets, she could keep a few, as well.

Candice waited with a look of expectation. When Meredith had nothing else to add, she sighed. “Okay, we’ll talk about that another time… maybe when you feel more comfortable-”

“What’s in the basement?” Meredith blurted out.

Candice pretended not to hear the question. She started shuffling paperwork on her desk. “Well, that’s enough for one day, Meredith. I just wanted to introduce myself and let you know that my door is always open. Whenever you wish to talk, please feel free to come speak with me.”

Meredith thought she sensed a little attitude, as if the good doctor was saying, If you won’t talk about what I want to know… then I won’t talk about what you want to know. She decided to let the basement matter go, remembering what Miss Evans said about knowing when to ask a question.

“Well, it was nice meeting you, Meredith.” The doctor got up, putting on her professional mask again.

Meredith got up and put her own mask back on. “Thank you, Ma’am… I mean… Candice.”

“I’ll check in on you in a little bit,” Candice concluded. “Get some rest and enjoy your first weekend. I’m sure we’ll have a lot more to talk about later.” The doctor winked with a smile and walked her out of the clinic.

What was that wink all about? Meredith thought after Candice left her in the hallway. For a moment she believed the doctor had somehow read her mind, but then dismissed her suspicions as just her own guilt manifesting itself.

She hadn’t told anyone that she planned to sneak a peek into the basement that night.

~~~

Meredith lay in her bed watching the moonlit shadows of a large tree dancing upon the wall opposite her small window. She stared at her watch: 1:15am. She was positive that everyone was asleep by now. She’d made occasional trips down to the large community bathroom at the end of the hall, listening for silence coming from the other bedrooms where the girls slept. One by one, the voices had went away and lights were reduced to provide only what was necessary to keep someone from stumbling in the darkness.

She was still trying to work up the nerve to wander the large house, rehearsing in her mind what she would say if anyone caught her sneaking around, and then started to panic when she considered it. Finally, she ignored the excuses and the fear, took a deep breath, and got out of bed.

Stop acting like such a baby, she thought. You’re just taking a walk to the basement, not robbing a bank. Relax!

She started to feel silly as she opened her door a crack to peek out into the hallway again.

No one said there was a bed curfew, she tried to rationalize, although she suspected there was one but they just hadn’t told the new girl about it yet. They probably think you’re just a frightened little girl in a strange new place, and that you’d never think twice about sneaking around in the dark.

“I’ll show them,” she whispered. “If they didn’t want people to be so darn curious, they should never have made such a big deal about the basement in the first place.”

With that, her resolve was set. Meredith stepped out into the hall, slowly closed her door, and then crept toward the second floor landing. She quickly descended the stairs and tried to ignore the loud pounding of her heart in her chest.

Relax… they’re all asleep. You just came down to get a drink of water if anyone finds you. What’s the harm in that?

The house looked so different at night. She was used to it being filled with activity, but now, the large old home took on a life of its own.

What are you doing down here, little girl? her over-active imagination asked.

Her shoulders tensed up when she reached the dark kitchen. She was close.

You shouldn’t be down here all by yourself, little girl, the house warned. Bad things happen to little girls who sneak out of their beds… very bad things…

By the time she saw the basement door near the laundry room, Meredith had to stop and breathe after successfully giving herself the creeps.

“Meredith Montgomery,” she scolded herself. “You are being ridiculous!”

She pushed the fear out and focused on the basement door. Just a quick look and then we head back to bed. No one will ever know I was down there.

Meredith started toward the door and felt every hair on her body stand up by the time she was half-way to it. She shook involuntarily from a chill that seized her and crossed her arms across her chest.

What is this? She felt that same strange, unidentifiable feeling she’d felt earlier. Whatever it was made her want to crawl out of her own skin.

You’re doing it again, chicken. Stop being so afraid of nothing!

She dismissed her discomfort and slowly reached for the door knob. For a moment she imagined the knob changing into a large monstrous hand, reaching out to grab her extended arm just before she could turn and run.

Meredith quickly tapped the door knob and rolled her eyes when nothing ‘scary’ happened. And then a thought struck her: What if it’s locked?

She’d never even considered that until now. She turned the knob and the door opened inward toward the dark stairs. She retracted her hand quickly and took a step back.

Nothing happened as she stared at the partially opened door, but the strange unknown sensation that crawled over her body intensified. She could only compare the feeling to an electrical charge one might experience just before a bolt of lightning struck nearby.

She almost turned around right then… almost.

Oh not you don’t! You’ve come this far now get this over with! She frowned and stepped back to the door and pushed it all the way open. Again, nothing happened.

The stairs looked like any other set of old wooden basement steps. There were no monsters charging, no alarms going off… nothing.

She shook her head at her own cowardice and saw the light bulb with the chain attached to it. She reached across the basement landing, and pulled the chain until the bulb came to life.

Before she had second thoughts, Meredith forced herself down the creaky steps until her bare feet met the carpeted basement floor. To her immediate left, she could see a large open space full of boxes neatly stacked along the walls. Some larger objects, such as covered furniture, a couple of bicycles, and several long racks of old clothes were scattered about the center of the space. There was an old furnace toward the back… just your typical basement full of junk with a strong aroma of mothballs and what she could only describe as an ‘old’ smell.

Some secret basement this is, she thought with both relief and a hint of disappointment.

She looked to her right and saw another storage room across a hall that ran back behind the stairs. Meredith peeked inside the room, found a light switch, and turned it on revealing shelves full of paint supplies, tools, cleaning supplies, etc.

Meredith turned toward the dark hallway and immediately felt that strange creepy-crawly sensation again. Whatever it was had to be coming from back there. She saw another hanging light bulb further down the hall. Meredith crept toward it and quickly pulled the chain. The light revealed an open door to her right. She looked inside and found a small half bathroom. She looked dead ahead and saw another large open space at the end of the hall. Meredith moved toward the space, found a light switch along the closest wall, and turned it on.

Meredith’s eyes went wide with surprise. Before her was a large room full of discarded toys lying in a large half-circle across a padded floor with letters of the alphabet imprinted on it. There were numerous stuffed animals of various sizes and colors, toy cars, a train set, puzzles, building blocks for toddlers, old board games, and a jack-in-the-box. But what caught Meredith’s attention immediately were four large glass cabinets lined up along a paneled back wall with four porcelain dolls standing inside them. The dolls appeared to be the centerpiece of this strange basement playroom that looked long neglected… abandoned.

She smiled as a funny thought struck her. “I’ve discovered the big secret,” she whispered. “I’ve uncovered the Island of Misfit Toys… or the basement they ended up in.”

Her jovial mood did not last long as she felt that intense feeling again, making her squirm uncomfortably. She felt suddenly anxious for no reason. She rubbed her forearms and took a cautious step forward toward the toys. When she stepped upon the padded mat, she stopped abruptly. The air felt suddenly heavy, making her feel like a giant hand had just come down on top of her head and was trying to crush her. Another thing she noticed was how quiet it became. She could hear her own labored breaths due to the overwhelming silence that surrounded her.

What is this? It’s like all my senses are… confused.

She finally had words to describe the strange sensation wreaking havoc on her emotions. Meredith felt like she was being pulled further into the playroom, but not in the physical sense… something was strongly pulling at her mind. She understood now that it wasn’t her curiosity that drove her to come down here… she was being compelled on a mental level that was completely foreign to her.

She stood before the doll cabinets and knew right away that they were the reason she was drawn here.

Meredith took a closer look at the dolls and shuddered. The one on the far left was of a girl in a blue and white dress. She had long blond curls and penetrating blue eyes. Meredith quickly turned away, intimidated by the intensity captured in its stony expression. The next one was a young boy clown with red straw-like hair beneath a colorful hat and matching coveralls. Its painted clown face captured a pouty frown and deep sad eyes that made the doll look as though it were on the verge of tears. Was the intent to make its owner feel sorry for it or was it simply showing her the expression of a long-time prisoner, locked within that case? Meredith didn’t care much for it either way. The next one was a child dressed up in a cat outfit with brown, black and red face paint, whiskers, and large inquisitive eyes.

Meredith turned to the last doll and stared at it as though it were an old friend. It was the smallest and least intimidating of the group. She had wild long brown hair and a baby’s head that seemed much too small for its body. Its eyes were gentle with black rings around them, giving it a tired expression. The longer Meredith stared at her the more it seemed as if that child’s face had captured the many years it had been in existence, easily the oldest doll of the lot. She immediately felt a connection to the doll, a connection that couldn’t be described in words. In a way, Meredith felt like she was looking into a mirror.

She heard it speak within her mind… not with words… but with images that Meredith was easily able to interpret.

Meredith smiled after a long moment and said, “Well, it’s finally nice to meet you, too.” She laughed at a joke only she could hear. “No… I’m not making fun of you… it’s just… well… for a girl doll, that’s a very funny name… Toby.”

Toby continued to speak to the human girl.

“You want to show me something?” Meredith asked. “Something important?’

Toby did not so much as bat an eye, but continued to stare back at Meredith, somehow inviting her to move closer to the case.

Meredith moved closer…

~~~

Next Episode 35-6

Previous Episode 35-4

~~~

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

Vote for DFTD at topwebfiction

Vote for DFTD at Top Site List

__________________________________________
“Chapter 35-5: Dead Dolls” Copyright © 2017 Scott Scherr, from the novel, Don’t Feed The Dark, Book Four: Phantoms. 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.

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.

Chapter 35-4: Dead Dolls

Posted: January 11, 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, thriller, Uncategorized, walking dead, zombie books, Zombies
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

heaven-and-hell

~~~

After breakfast, Meredith changed into a sundress provided by Miss Evans and then helped Clem clear the table and wash the dishes as all the girls scattered to go about their assigned duties. Several of them had come up and briefly introduced themselves, making Meredith feel self-conscious, and yet, she started to feel more and more comfortable as the morning moved on.

Clem poked fun at her several times when Meredith stiffened up at each new encounter. “You’re not much of a people person, are you?”

Meredith took the defensive. “It’s not like that. I do like people… usually. It’s just overwhelming. Normally, people are trying to stay clear of me. But here, they all want to know me. I’m not used to that.”

“Is it because you’re a freak?”

“What do you mean by that?”

Clem laughed. “Come on, Meredith. In a house full of unusual girls, you don’t stand out, you’re actually quite normal.”

“That’s because they don’t know what I do… what I’ve done.”

“Because you’re gifted?” Clem asked. “Because you can do things normal people can’t do?”

Meredith looked shocked. “Who told you that?’

“No one. It’s just that you’re not alone, Meredith. All the girls possess ‘special’ talents that are a bit strange. Some of the younger girls are just finding out what they’re capable of… but you and me… we’ve experienced a few things.”

“Like what?”

Clem shook her head. “Nice try, but I can’t tell you that yet.”

“But I thought we were best friends. Best friends don’t keep secrets.”

“My, you are persistent,” Clem said. “I’m not keeping secrets, Meredith. It’s just that you’re not ready to hear the rest yet. Just be patient and I’ll spill the beans, alright?’

Meredith frowned. “Okay. But I’m holding you to it.”

“I’m sure you will. Now let me take you on the five minute tour before class.”

“Class?”

“Did you think by being all the way out here in the country that you’d be free of school? Monday through Friday we go to class for a few hours. Different subjects on different days of the week. It just so happens that the best class of the week is today… and you don’t want to miss this one.”

“But you’re not going to tell me anything about it, right?” Meredith asked.

Clem winked. “I don’t want to spoil the surprise. Let’s go before someone thinks we’re waiting for something else to do.”

The tour was nothing special: There were five bedrooms on the second floor; four were split up among the girls, and the guest bedroom where Meredith was currently staying… and of course… one master bath that all twelve girls had to share (what a nightmare). What Meredith had originally mistaken as a third floor from outside was actually a large musty attic filled with relics from another time. It had two large windows, one facing out the front of the house and the other toward the rear of the house. Both afforded spectacular views of how vast the property was. Clem told her that occasionally, Miss Evans allowed them to explore the attic and rifle through old clothes, pictures, etc., to find objects to research for their history reports. Most of the items in the attic had been there long before any of them had moved into the home, and since the house was very old, there were tons of items to investigate and look up in the books shelved in the large den on the first floor.

On the main floor was your standard dining room, living room, a large kitchen, and what used to be the large den, which housed a modest library of books. There were also many other additional rooms that had been modified to meet the home’s needs, such as a small clinic and an additional bedroom where Miss Evans slept.

When they neared a lone door at the end of a dark hallway at the farthest end of the house, just past the laundry room, Meredith stopped as a chill ran up her backside. “Do you feel that?” she asked without thinking. “It got really cold all of a sudden.”

Clem stood next to her and stared at the door. “That leads to the basement. The tour ends here, I’m afraid. The basement is strictly off-limits.”

“Why? What’s down there?”

Clem gave her an apologetic look and shrugged her shoulders. “Like I said, you’re not ready to hear everything yet. Especially about what’s down there.”

Meredith couldn’t look away from the door. She was strangely fascinated by it. No. She felt an unusual compulsion to proceed down the hall and open it, as if the house itself were summoning her to the cellar. She finally turned away and gave Clem an annoying look. “All you’ve done so far is show me all the old boring stuff.” Meredith stared at the door and finished, “Down there is probably where all the cool stuff is… and I can feel it, too. Some best friend you’re turning out to be!” She suddenly realized her tone had been harsher than intended as Clem recoiled as if she’d just slapped her. “I’m sorry. I… I didn’t mean that.”

Clem shook her head and smiled. “It’s alright. I get it.” She looked toward the cellar door and finished. “You’re not the first person that’s ever felt what you’re feeling now. You really want to go down there, don’t you? And I bet you don’t even know why.”

Meredith felt surprisingly defensive but caught herself in time. “It’s just a natural reaction, is all. Anytime a kid is told he or she can’t do something or go somewhere… they immediately want to do the opposite.”

Clem laughed and put her hand on Meredith’s shoulder. “You keep telling yourself that. Now… let’s stop hovering around this silly door and get to class.”

Meredith frowned again. “No matter what changes in my life, that’s the one thing that never does.”

“Not a fan of school, I take it?” Clem laughed.

Meredith rolled her eyes. “I’d rather wash more dishes.”

Clem gently turned her around and said, “Well… I won’t lie to you. Most of the time school here is as boring as anywhere else… but today… well… today is the exception. Friday’s are the best. You’ll see.”

Meredith gave up her resistance. “Well… at least it’s the last day of the week. I guess I can suffer a couple of hours. But if I have to stand at the front of the class and talk about myself… I’m going to punch you.”

Clem laughed all the way to the classroom.

~~~

The large den at the back of the house had been converted into an all-purpose school room. Four large round tables were placed at the center of the room where all the girls currently sat facing one wall, which held a large chalk board behind a podium. Miss Evans was writing something on the board, but due to her large girth, no one could see what she was writing.

Meredith sat next to Clem at a table with three other girls, presumably the oldest in the house. She couldn’t stop staring around the room. This was nothing like any classroom she’d ever been in. Due to the large amount of books that lined several tall book shelves, the school resembled more of a library than anything else.

In between the shelves, every inch of wall space was covered in crayon drawings, paintings, poems, and other various arts and crafts projects–all presumably created by the students. Meredith couldn’t help staring at the pictures. What she’d originally dismissed as typical kid drawings, such as rainbows, butterflies, and cute poorly drawn animals, upon closer inspection, she noticed that many of the pictures displayed grim scenes of destruction. There was a crayon-drawn picture of a city skyline on fire, another of what looked like a bomb falling on a house. In a another drawing, several cars were lined up on a road with sad-faced stick figures pressed up against the car windows while other stick figures jumped up and down on the cars with crayon blood falling from their eyes. There were also several pictures of lions–in all of them, they were devouring people. Meredith looked away from the disturbing drawings, reminded of the artwork in her temporary bedroom–especially the painting of the broken stairway between heaven and hell. She was about to lean in and ask Clem about the pictures, but Clem shook her off, nodding toward the chalk board.

Miss Evans turned around and approached the podium. She took a long, deliberate moment to glance at each of the girls, taking an especially long time gazing at Meredith who squirmed in her seat until Miss Evans finally looked elsewhere.

Finch was right, she thought. She doesn’t look like a teacher as much as she looks like she just ate the teacher. She covered her smile with her hand, hoping to escape notice.

“Good morning, girls.” Miss Evan’s words carried in the large space making her voice seem ominous.

“Good morning, Miss Evans,” they all answered together. Meredith simply mouthed the words, trying to oblige with protocol.

“I want to thank you all for that fine, fine breakfast this morning and for cleaning up so efficiently afterwards.” She beamed with pride as she smiled at the girls. “As you know, the weekend is upon us and this is our final class for the week. So, as always, I expect you to continue to be on your best behavior, participate in all discussions, and let’s make this a fitting end to a very good week. Alright?”

Some nodded while several girls, including Clem, replied with, “Yes, Ma’am.”

“Very well,” Miss Evan said, placing her hands together. “As you all know, we won’t be doing any written exercises today… Although I know how much you all love Math and Grammar classwork.” She added a wink.

The girls laughed.

“But since we have a new arrival with us today, I just wanted to make it clear what is expected from this very special class.” Miss Evans pointed to a younger girl from the table to Meredith’s left. “Sonya?”

A red-haired girl, who looked to Meredith to be no older than ten, stood up, straightened her sundress, and said, “When we are not expected to do written work, we are expected to participate in any and all discussions with enthusiasm and honesty.”

“Very good, Sonya. Please be seated.”

Sonya took her seat.

Miss Evans turned to Meredith’s table and pointed to an older girl with curly blond hair. “Claudia, please remind the class what happens if participation is found wanting.”

Claudia got up, looked right at Meredith with a sigh, and said, “If anyone doesn’t participate… we all spend the weekend writing an essay… so please… don’t mess this up, new girl.”

Some of the girls laughed.

Meredith wanted to disappear.

Miss Evans shook her head. “Thank you, Claudia, for your… brutal honestly. But let’s not single anyone out in the future, alright?”

“Yes, Ma’am,” Claudia said, sitting down. She refused to look at Meredith again.

Clem elbowed Meredith under the table and gave her a ‘don’t worry about it’ look.

Meredith tried to relax.

“Okay, now that we’ve had a healthy reminder of the ground rules, let’s begin with today’s discussion.” Miss Evans stepped to her right, allowing everyone to see what she wrote on the chalk board.

Written in big bold letters was the question:

WHAT IS AT THE END OF THE ROAD?

Miss Evans folded her arms and appeared to study her own question.

The class had grown quiet. After reading the strange question, Meredith looked around and noticed that all the girls appeared to be staring at the chalk board. She turned back and read the question again. To her, it sounded like a riddle.

Miss Evans mercifully broke the silence. “Would anyone like to share their thoughts on what I’ve written on the board?”

If this had been one of many public schools Meredith had attended, she would’ve expected the class clown to speak up by now and say, “The mall,” or, “Another road,” or the classic, “A question mark”, which would surely elicit a round of laugher and lighten the mood. But like everything else she’d experienced at this strange orphanage, which was not called an orphanage, Meredith did not expect the usual response.

Oh, please, please, please… just don’t call on the new girl, she thought. Meredith dared a glance at Miss Evans. She was looking right at her.

It was Clem who rescued her. She stood up and said, “Miss Evans, I have a thought I’d like to share.”

Miss Evans smiled and turned her uncomfortable gaze away from Meredith. “Clementine, it’s been a while since you’ve started the discussion. Please continue.”

Clem confidently raised her chin and said, “It’s a trick question, Ma’am. Since the road is eternal, there is no end. The only answer has to be… endlessness… eternity.”

“Well, that’s a fascinating thought, Clementine. Thank you for sharing.”

Clem nodded and sat back down. She could feel the eyes of several girls, including Meredith’s, gawking at her.

Meredith smiled and gave her a ‘That was awesome’ look.

Clem nodded as if to say, ‘I know’.

Miss Evans turned toward the others. “Clementine has offered an engaging response, class. Would anyone like to add another perspective into this question? Is she right? Is endlessness the answer?”

The blond, Claudia, stood up and said, “Clementine is right… and wrong.” She looked over at Clem with a wicked grin.

Clem scowled back in return, not appreciating being called out.

“Claudia,” Miss Evans said. “Do you have something to add?”

“Yes. The question is a trick. It’s a trick to lure the impulsive into a quick answer. But without the proper context, I could just as easily say that Maple Street’s at the end of the road, or, a white barn, or, an airport. It’s the answers that are endless… not endlessness.”

Miss Evans laughed. “Well done, Claudia. Another great response. Thank you.”

Claudia sat down with a smug smile on her face.

Meredith turned to her best friend. Clem was staring at the blond girl like she was trying to melt her with her eyes.

She elbowed Clem beneath the table and gave her a ‘stupid know-it-all’ look.

Clem turned those eyes on her and Meredith was suddenly afraid. The tempest barely contained behind her eyes made Meredith very uncomfortable.

Clem’s face suddenly softened. She smiled and rolled her eyes.

Miss Evans continued. “Both Clementine and Claudia have shared two interesting perspectives, girls… and that is the point of this question… perspective. Any good question requires careful consideration. Sometimes, we may think we know the answer, but in truth, an answer is only as good as the situation we find ourselves in, as Claudia pointed out.”

Claudia turned to Clem and mockingly blew her a kiss.

Clem wanted to rip her face off.

“Life is full of questions like this one. For some of you, the answer might be easily obtained, for others… it might take a lifetime to discover.” Miss Evans took a moment to pause and let her words sink in. “For us, the answers to the most difficult questions will not be readily accepted by most. It requires an open mind and a special insight that few possess. And sometimes those answers we know deep down in our bones… can produce disastrous responses if shared with the wrong audience. As perplexing as a question might be… there is nothing worse than a poorly timed answer. Do you understand?”

Most of the girls nodded their heads, including Meredith.

Miss Evans walked toward Clem and Claudia, stared at them both, and repeated, “Do you understand?”

Both girls caught the hint and nodded, choosing to temporarily put their mutual disdain on hold.

“So… there can be a question with multiple right answers, but the wisest answer is the one that waits for the right opportunity.” Miss Evans turned and headed back toward the podium. She smiled at them all and said, “Each of you are an elusive question, much like this one on the board. In a world not ready for the question you would create about yourselves… well… let’s just say that sometimes it’s just as wise not to become that question before an audience which isn’t ready to perceive it. You are all very special, very unique, and because of this, the questions you would create about yourselves might provoke a fearful response… and an answer prompted by fear is always the wrong answer. Do you understand?”

All the girls nodded.

“For the sake of context, let’s pursue Clementine’s answer for a moment. If the ‘road’ is life, and the ‘end’ is death, then does she make a valid point, considering where you are, but more importantly, who you all are?”

Meredith suddenly felt like she was trying to stay afloat in a vast ocean of thought. She had never considered such things in light of her abilities. To most people, what Meredith sensed and said about death frightened them so much that she considered it taboo to even speak of it again after an incident occurred. She could always see the fear in their faces and how uncomfortable they’d become when she spoke of what she’d seen. If she’d learned anything, it was that death terrified people because of how little they truly understood it. That fact did not make her ‘special’ to most people, it made her despised. But now, it seemed like she was free to discuss such a forbidden topic, to openly entertain the possibilities for the first time–but her own fear made her reluctant.

“Meredith?” Miss Evan had finally targeted her. “Any thoughts on what we’ve discussed so far?”

She could feel all eyes on her, making her feel like a ten-foot tall freak that no one could dismiss. Even Clem was staring at her with an encouraging look that still made Meredith feel like a condemned prisoner about to face the gallows. What could she possibly say about death that wouldn’t make her stand out in a world where dying meant funerals and goodbyes with some sort of afterlife thrown in to give the grieving hope in something more, since death would one day claim them, too?

Before the weight of the question crushed her, Meredith managed to stand up, her newly acquired sundress damp with nervous sweat. She didn’t have the strength to meet Miss Evan’s probing gaze, choosing to stare at her feet instead. She opened her mouth, unsure of what damning words would come out. “I… I once met a young boy sitting by himself at school. While all the other kids were playing, he just sat there. He was so very sad.” She paused as the memory came crashing to the surface. Tears started streaming down her cheeks. She tried to quickly wipe them away.

“Please go on, Meredith,” Miss Evans said in a surprisingly gentle tone. “You don’t have to be afraid here.”

Meredith looked into the woman’s eyes and saw that she meant it. In fact, all the girls shared a sympathetic look. That’s when she realized that she wasn’t alone this time. She felt empowered to continue. “At first, I thought… I thought I was just feeling bad for him… you know… because he looked so sad all by himself. But then I… I felt it… I felt his sadness. No matter what I did, I couldn’t turn away from him. I suddenly didn’t want to play anymore… I wanted to weep. It was like the pain I felt was making me cry on the inside because it was so… intense.” She was shaking. Meredith tried to steady herself by taking deep breaths. Someone put their hand on her shoulder. She turned. It was Clem. She was crying, too.

Meredith smiled at her and continued. “I couldn’t stand it anymore… all that pain. I… I had to go to him… the boy. I felt like the pain wouldn’t leave until I went to him. So I walked over to the boy and saw that he was holding a toy… a toy soldier… you know, like those ones that come in a pack of a hundred that you try to stand up on the kitchen floor but some always fell over no matter what you did?”

Miss Evans nodded.

“Anyway, I knew right away when he got the soldier… I saw it. I could see him and his father… I could feel that whole day when the boy and his father were setting them up… I could feel the joy, the laughter… the sadness… all rolled into one moment. I could smell his father’s aftershave–he was there, right there with me. It was so… real. It was like, I wasn’t even there anymore. The boy… he looked up at me… and I could hardly stand the pain anymore. It felt like my heart was… dying. When he looked at me, I knew, I just knew what his father wanted to say to him. So I said, ‘Johnathan, don’t be sad, son. Daddy misses you and will always love you.’ And then the pain went away.”

Miss Evans had moved in beside her and knelt down. When did she do that? Meredith thought. Clem was still there. She could feel her trembling hand on her shoulder. In that moment, when she looked into Clem’s compassionate face, Meredith knew that she felt it, she felt it all–everything Meredith was reliving from that memory when her gift first manifested. And in the moment, she loved her for bearing the pain with her.

“Go on, Meredith.” Miss Evan’s was holding her hand. “Get the rest of it out. It’s important that you finish.”

Meredith nodded. “After I told the boy, Johnathan, what his dead father wanted him to know, and it wasn’t that he told me… I just knew from the pictures in my head, and the feelings that I felt… I knew that what I said was true… that’s when the boy’s face changed. He wasn’t sad anymore… he was terrified… of me. He ran from me like I was a… a monster. Then adults came and yelled at me, questioned me… made me feel like the lowest piece of dirt on the planet for making the boy feel bad. But… but I didn’t do anything wrong?”

“Of course you didn’t, dear,” Miss Evans said, patting her hand.

Meredith took a deep breath. “After that, word got around. Kids were afraid of me. They teased me and some hurt me. Eventually, I was taken away and put in another foster home for being a freak.” Meredith couldn’t finish. She was openly weeping. She turned and met Clem’s embrace as her best friend held her tight.

“That’s okay, Meredith. You’ve shared enough. Thank you for your honesty, dear.” Miss Evan’s started walking away.

Meredith released Clem, giving her an appreciative look. She turned and said, “May… may I answer the question, Miss Evans?”

Miss Evans, genuinely surprised, smiled and said, “Of course.”

Meredith wiped tears from her eyes and said, “I know that there’s no such thing as dying… not if you love someone hard enough and if you’re strong enough and if you’re brave enough… so death can’t be the end, and it is certainly not at the end of any road… but love might be. That’s my answer.”

It was Clem’s turn to be astonished.

Even Claudia’s jaw dropped at Meredith’s response.

Many of the girls were talking excitedly among themselves.

Miss Evans stared at Meredith for a very long time with an unreadable look of stone on her face. Finally she said, “Thanks for sharing, Meredith. You may be seated.”

Meredith nodded and gratefully melted into her seat. She looked over at Clem.

Clementine was staring off toward one of the walls. She seemed distracted… distant.

“Alright, everyone, quiet down please,” Miss Evans returned to the podium. “I think that’s enough for today. I believe we’ve had a very enlightening discussion. I want you all to reflect on today’s thoughts and you will all be excited to know that there will be no essay this weekend.”

The girls all applauded and laughed.

“Now, what do we always need to remember?” she asked.

As one, the girls chanted enthusiastically, “THE LIONS ARE SLEEPING, BUT WE ALWAYS STAND GUARD!”

Meredith gave Clem a puzzled look, but Clem was elsewhere.

“That’s right,” Miss Evans said. “Because one day…”

“THE LIONS WILL BE LOOSE, AND THEN LIFE WILL GET HARD!”

“Very good!” Miss Evans said. “And who are the Lions?”

“THE LIONS ARE LIARS THAT ROAM EVERY BREATH!”

“And what will they do?”

“FOR THE UNWORTHY, THE LIONS BRING DEATH!”

~~~

Next Episode 35-5

Previous Episode 35-3

~~~

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

Vote for DFTD at topwebfiction

Vote for DFTD at Top Site List

__________________________________________
“Chapter 35-4: Dead Dolls” Copyright © 2017 Scott Scherr, from the novel, Don’t Feed The Dark, Book Four: Phantoms. 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.

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.

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
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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