Don’t Feed the Dark by Scott Scherr #zOctober2015

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Welcome to the 3rd annual zOctober event hosted here on My Book Addiction! I’m super thrilled to have so many fabulous authors on the blog, as well as so many incredible fans stopping by to see what’s new in the zombie world. Thank you to everyone for being here!! Let’s welcome our next author….

don't feed the dark

Don’t Feed the Dark
by Scott Scherr
Series: Book One, Southbound Nightmares
Publication date: June 30th 2015
Category: Adult
Genre: Horror, Zombies

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In the pre-dawn hours on a Saturday morning, something malevolent has awoken, striking fear and terror into unsuspecting citizens all throughout North East Ohio. Former acquaintances, neighbors, loved ones—all at random—transform into flesh-craving monsters hell bent on devouring the living. Corpses are rising from their places of unrest. Nocturnal animal-man hybrids hunt in packs. The dead are awakening from within the living…

By morning, the sun weeps over streets splattered blood-red as an unsettling silence soon follows, lulling the broken remains of society into believing the blood bath is over. Survivors gather to lick their wounds and mend their broken hearts and ravaged lives as local governments struggle to maintain law and order.

As a second wave approaches, a handful of survivors from all walks of life must put aside their differences and band together to escape the pending slaughter while storm clouds begin to gather from within their fragile community. Some who were once respectable in the eyes of society will devolve into madness while the despicable rise to the occasion in a world no longer respecting of persons.
It is their world now. The dead are hungry and do not discriminate…

~Guest Post~

Beyond Survival (What Can We Live With?)

What I find most appealing about writing apocalyptic horror fiction is discovering what my cast of characters will do when faced with extreme circumstances, and finding out how survivors deal with one another in a world no longer fit for the living. I find myself struggling vicariously through them as these characters come to life on the pages and drag me along on a life-or-death rollercoaster of decisions, loaded with consequences.

In my book series, Don’t Feed The Dark, a virus known only as The Change, strikes randomly, turning roughly one in every five people into flesh-craving maniacs. Survivors do not understand how they were spared while so many were not, including loved ones, neighbors… the person sitting next to you. Over time, strangers forced to fight together for survival must face more than the living dead, they must face the monsters within themselves and find out what kind of people they truly are. Which brings about all sorts of interesting questions to explore:

Is it enough to simply survive… and at what cost is that survival worth? How much of our humanity must we give up in order to preserve our fragile claim on the human race? When the hard choices are presented, what can we live with at the end of the day to ward off the phantoms of guilt which rise up in the night to devour our sleep-deprived souls?

I suspect that we may never really know the answers to these questions until we are forced to face a real zombie epidemic. At best, we can speculate, based on our present beliefs and perceptions of ourselves. I am sure we would all love to say we would do the noble or decent thing in all circumstances. However, when we are forced into survival mode, what would we really do to save our own skins and the people we care about?

Bottom line: What decisions can we live with long after the dead have moved on to easier prey, leaving us alone to face the implications of those decisions?

The following scenarios are intended to explore difficult circumstances we might face in a zombie apocalypse and find out what we would do. Survival is a brutal affair, especially after the rules of normal living have been slaughtered in the streets on Day One. There are no longer right or wrong answers, only survival and the loads we must bear to continue to stay alive. In the end, the dead cannot judge the living… or can they?

Scenario #1:

You have had one hell of an exhausting work week. When Friday finally arrives, all you want to do is crawl into bed and sleep for a hundred years. Fortunately, your oldest son, Michael, is home from college for the weekend and has offered to entertain his younger siblings: Jessica, age nine, and Marcus, age five. After making plans for the following morning, you slither into bed early and refuse to set the alarm clock. By 11:30 pm your spouse has crawled into bed next to you. He or she mentions something about a strange News report talking about increased violence around town which you acknowledge with a sluggish grunt and then quickly fall back to sleep.

Four hours later, you wake abruptly to Jessica’s high-pitched screams coming from somewhere in the house. You hear what sounds like a bar-room brawl in progress in your living room as furniture is overturned and glass breaks. You look over and discover that your spouse is missing. Something terrible is happening. You immediately believe someone has broken into your home as you quickly retrieve your handgun from your gun safe in the closet. You exit the bedroom and rush toward the living room. The only light is coming from the snow displayed on your television. You discover a tall intruder hovering over your spouse who is scrambling to get into the closest corner while trying to shield your daughter from a maniac.

You yell at the intruder and point the gun at him. Something monstrous turns toward you and howls as you get a good look into its fierce yellow eyes boring into your flesh. Your blood turns to ice as recognition sets in.

It’s your oldest boy, Michael!

And then your spouse yells something strange:

“Shoot him! It’s not Michael… not after what he did!”

You then become aware of two things with dreadful clarity: You have no idea where your youngest boy is… and this thing resembling your oldest, has blood dripping from its mouth.

What would you do?

Scenario #2:

You are on the run for your life in a busy metropolitan area. The dead are everywhere. You somehow manage to escape notice long enough to reach a five-story apartment complex. You are exhausted and it is getting dark fast. You decide to hide out in the top floor of the complex for the night, hoping you can getter a better view of your situation from up above. You find an unlocked and unoccupied apartment with an emergency fire escape down into an adjacent alley. Good enough.

While foraging for supplies, you hear movement from behind a closed bedroom door. You swear at yourself for forgetting to check the room. You approach the door and slowly open it. Inside is an elderly woman lying in what looks like a hospital bed. She is hooked up to a complex machine with tubes running into various places on her body.

The woman turns to you and pleads in a weak voice, “Thank God. My nurse left me all alone and I can’t get a hold of anyone to help me.”

Before you can respond, you hear screams coming from just outside the apartment and down the hall. The dead have made their way into the building and are heading in your direction.

“Please… please… don’t leave me like this!” the old woman begs.

You have five minutes before the dead discover you… maybe less. You still have time to make it down the fire escape if you leave right now.

What would you do?

Scenario #3:

After a grueling escape from the initial panic that has swept through your town, you and a small group of survivors manage to make it to a rural area and away from the hordes of the undead which have hunted you. It has been four days since the initial outbreak when your group discovers a small out-of-the-way grocery store with a large apartment above it. The place seems secure and loaded with essential food stores your group needs. Since you are responsible for making some critical decisions that have resulted in your escape, everyone looks to you for decisions. You make the grocery store your group’s temporary haven while figuring out the next move.

Meanwhile, a middle-aged man, who has been nothing but confrontational and has put the group at risk on several occasions, has been caught hording supplies from the group. He is detained, and brought to your attention. This man has rubbed everyone the wrong way several times and has often threatened the group in fits of rage, promising to leave and return to kill everyone in their sleep. The man curses the day you were born, believing that you had no right becoming this group’s leader and that he should be calling the shots.

The rest of the group has had enough. Some believe he is dangerous and that he will follow through with his threats if he is simply kicked out of the group. Others think that he is just taking out his emotional grief on the group and that he will calm down now that they are safe. Regardless, they want something done about this crazy person and they all look to you for a solution.

What would you do?

Scenario #4:

You and your spouse are pursued relentlessly by a horde of the undead. You both manage to make it into a house, lock the doors, and hunker down while the monsters move through the neighborhood. You both believe you are safe as it seems that the horde is moving on and that you have escaped notice.

Suddenly, a baby begins to cry out from another room.

By the time you both reach the child, who is left helpless and alone in a crib, the dead have also heard the child and are now approaching the house.

You both hear the sound of shattered glass from another room. When you reach the location you discover a bedroom. The dead are beginning to breach a broken window. You both struggle to move furniture in an attempt to block the window.

Just then, you both hear the sound of another broken window coming from the baby’s room.

“I’ve got this. Save the baby!” your spouse screams.

You frantically race back toward the baby’s room in time to see the first monster breaching the window.

Before you can react, your spouse screams, “Help me! They’re inside! I can’t get out!”

You have time to save the baby. You have time to help your spouse. But you don’t have time to do both.

What would you do?

Yes… these circumstances suck. Each decision we make has many possible outcomes and their own set of consequences, short or long term. In all of these scenarios, no one gets to be the hero. The apocalypse is not suited for heroes. Heroes die… and then come back.

So whether you choose to tackle all these scenarios or pass on a couple (I don’t blame you) tell me what you think you might do and share your reasoning behind it. I would love to have an open discussion about the tough choices we may be forced to make during a zombie apocalypse.

On a lighter note, later today on the Facebook event page, I’ll be sharing a scary story that happened to me many years ago that fits the Halloween theme. I would love to read all about your real life Halloween stories. Whether it’s your own experiences, or something you heard about from someone you know, I want to read about your dealings with ghosts, nightmares you had, or just hair-raising situations that happened to you late at night. Let’s see if we can’t scare ourselves silly.

I want to thank you all for letting me hang out with you this October and talk Zombies. A special thanks goes out to Toni for all her hard work behind the scenes hosting this event.

Thank you for signing up for the event, Scott. I love learning about authors I wasn’t previously aware of. I’m so thrilled that I have this chance to get to know you and your work. I hope you’ll come back for future events. Happy zOctober to you! ~ Toni

~About the Author~

scott scherr

Scott Scherr is an aspiring fiction author and poet that lives in Northeast Ohio with his wife and five children. His ultimate dream job is to be a screenwriter for “The Lost Chronicles” which he hopes J.J. Abrams will green light one day so that Scott’s favorite television show, Lost, will return to answer all our mind-boggling questions. But until then… Zombies!

He has worked full time in the nuclear industry for the last 11 years and has served in the United States Navy prior to that.

To date, Scott has written and published five books (two more pending release) either under his given name or his alter-ego name, John Ecko.

Scott has written numerous flash fiction and short stories as well as a variety of poems from traditional to free verse. He also lets John Ecko loose on occasion, who dabbles in experimental concrete poetry.

Scott’s Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

~Giveaway~

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Follower of Jesus, loving wife, homeschooling mom, blogger, author, gamer, and a lover of the culinary arts. Toni lives in Michigan with her husband and four children. If she's not writing or curled up with a book, you'll most likely find her playing with her kids, baking cupcakes, or killing zombies.
  • Pam E

    #1 shoot him if there is no other way to stop him, or draw him away so the others can escape.
    #2 tell her that the only way she’ll live is to be quiet, lock her in and tell her I’ll come back, then go down the fire escape.
    #3 if keeping him detained isn’t an option he would have to die. The risk of retribution if he was let go is too high to risk it.
    #4 I’d have to save my partner, he’s more important to me than anyone else, I’d rather regret the loss of an innocent than resent the innocent for the loss of the man I love.

    • Scott Scherr

      Hello Pam.
      I keep telling myself that I could shoot my son in that moment but I wonder… Scenario #2, I think I would do the same thing, maybe even barricade the door with furniture to keep the dead away. For #3, yep… definitely can’t just let him go. As for #4, that is tough… Great responses.

  • ZombieMomOf4

    Wow – those are very crazy scenarios! Let me give it a crack:
    #1 – After it registers, that my son killed my other son and was clearly going to do the same to another of my children and husband….I’d place a bullet squarely between his eyes. I’d then fall over and contemplate doing the same to myself – mothers killing sons is not normal. I am sure I would find solace in my surviving family members – and come out of it okay. I don’t think I’d ever get over it but certainly seeing others this way will make me feel like I did the right thing.
    #2 – I’d like to think I would at least try to assess how many “dead” there are, can I blockade the door to keep them out or are there too many (or not enough things to block the door up with) and I need to run. If I needed to run, I’d try to see if she were able to go with, is the machine complex but in reality she only needs oxygen and she has some? If she is essentially stuck there – I’d have to ask her if she wanted me to end it for her (pull her plugs, shoot her or stab her) or leave her to those beasties breaking down the door. I’d hope I’d be able to do it, regardless, I am saving myself.
    #3 – If this is the first “safe haven” we’ve had since we banded together, I think I would try to isolate Mr. Crankypants and see if we can’t get him to calm down and reason with us. If not, I would definitely not hesitate to make him dinner for our first uninvited guest! I am pretty good with people-powers though, so my honest hope would be that he would calm the heck down and perhaps share the responsibilities with me – responsibilities that I didn’t want or ask for – just sort of happened and I’d be glad to share. (But we are not having a Rick/Shane issue – I am Rick and I will shoot his butt!)
    #4 – As horrible as this sounds, I’d save my spouse! That baby is not mine and while it’s horrible, babies and the apocalypse don’t make sense – a baby will get you killed – hopefully my spouse won’t. I’ve chosen this person through sickness and health, thick and thin and I am not abandoning them because of a baby who was already abandoned. Sorry baby – you’re a zombie snack.

    • Scott Scherr

      Hello ZombieMomOf4 (another horde of children like me… lol)
      Great responses for all. I feel the same as you do about shooting my son. In the moment, I could probably do it to save the rest of my family, but I wonder what mind-job that would do on me later. I don’t believe I could kill the old woman, although it may be the merciful thing. I would try to secure her position in the hope of getting back… but I wonder if I would go back. As far a Mr. Crankypants, I like your reasoning approach and sharing responsibilities with him. Making him feel important might get him on the same page. Saving the baby seems like a guaranteed death sentence, but I still don’t know what I would do.

  • Mindy Hernandez Nabors

    All of those are tough. And it’s impossible to know what I’d actually do, assuming I am not one of the first to get preyed upon. Um yeah, “don’t put me down for cardio” is kind of my motto. I very may well be one of the first to go. lol Anyway here’s my best guesses
    #1 I would hesitate. I would quickly survey the scene, take in the carnage and probably listen to my husband at the last minute. It would suck more than anything, but I’d have two people left to protect.
    #2 I’d want to help the old woman, but in this type of situation the best help may be to put her out of her misery. I know that’s harsh, but it seems like the more humane way for her to go.
    #3 Tie him up in the most secure place I can find and leave him. I wouldn’t kill him and I’d make sure that he can get free, but not till we’re hours away. Then keep moving. Then always make sure we sleep in shifts.
    #4 I honestly don’t know…. I’d want to save the baby, but a baby could lessen my own chance at survival. I would probably save my husband. That one is so hard. I hope to never have to face this one.

    • Scott Scherr

      Hello Mindy,
      You bring out an excellent point from scenario #1. As hard as it is to do the unthinkable and shoot your own son, your spouse is already yelling at you to do it. That’s crazy in itself. I think in the end we have to protect who is left… but there’s always a price. Scenario #2 is rough because killing the woman is hard enough, but leaving her there to get eaten alive might even be cruel in the end. It’s a hard call. In Scenario #3, yes, you would definitely have to be long gone before he got free. It would hate to have that crazy-mad SOB finding us later after tying him up and leaving him behind. That could suck. I’m with you on number four, it is a hard, hard choice. One I hope to never face as well. Thanks for sharing your insightful thoughts on these hard choices.

  • Traci

    Rough…
    #1. As hard as it would be, Michael isn’t Michael anymore…must save the crest of the family. Michael wouldn’t want to live like this or hurt his siblings…put him out of his misery
    #2. Sounds awful, but unless you can find a way to save her and yourself, what choice do you have??? Maybe take her out so she doesn’t suffer the alternative
    #3. Tough scenerio..I would either talk to him, if that’s possible, and try to come to some kind of agreement or give him food and water and tell him to go find his own way…if he’s not completely nuts he won t leave the safety of a group. However, I would set someone up to keep eyes on him…at all times(maybe tie him up for awhile)

    #4. I am a grandma…I’d save the baby and hope my spouse could get away and rejoin us at a designated location previously established because I’m smart like that!!!
    That was a great post!!!

    • Scott Scherr

      Hello Traci,
      Yes, it would seem that we all would have to shoot Michael. It won’t be easy, but it is the merciful thing to do. And you’re right, Michael would not want to hurt anyone else, so in the end, we’re doing right by him. I would hope that if I had to do this that I could remember that later to keep the grief from consuming me. I also like your idea of setting someone as watch dog over the group troublemaker. If he starts acting up, then something more drastic will have to be done. As far as scenarios #4 is concerned, I’ve had all day to consider it and I think that I, too, would save the child. Knowing my spouse, she would never forgive me if I sacrificed the child to save her. But it might go badly, even if I did save the child. Tough call. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and I’m glad you enjoyed today’s offering.

      • Traci

        It’s a lot to think about, but I’m happy with my answers!!! You just made them sound so much better😁 it was a great post!!!

  • Tia

    1…Shoot him
    2…unhook all her machines so she can go peacefully and head down the fire escape
    3…send him out on his own
    4….save my spouse, the baby will never last long

    • Scott Scherr

      Hello Tia,
      I never even considered the ‘unhook the machines’ approach. That might be the way to go if putting the old woman out of her misery seems inevitable. Seems less violent that way. As far as the baby, I think I’d save the child… but that’s going to probably get me killed in the end, too. There’s no easy solutions, that’s for sure. Thanks for sharing.

  • Jeremy Hunt

    1. This one would be easy. Micheal is gone so I would shoot the monster.
    2. I would have to leave her. I would either offer to “help” her die, or I would lock up as good as I would and leave. I’m sorry, but if she is bed ridden and frail she won’t last long anyways.
    3. I would send him away. If my group doesn’t have a secure and safe place anyways, then we could stay seperate anyways.
    4. I would save my spouse. It sounds really bad, but I don’t have an emotional attachment to the baby and while I would feel horrible leaving it, I would feel worse losing my wife.

    • Scott Scherr

      Jeremy,
      I like how you immediately separate the son from the beast. You’re right, Michael is gone. If one could realize that quickly, they will be able to do what needs done. Perhaps even the guilt won’t be so bad after. I like how you said you’d “offer” to help her die. Maybe giving the old woman the choice after explaining that you can’t move her is the best call. Interesting thoughts. Thanks for sharing.

  • Scott Scherr

    Thanks Everybody for stopping by today and letting me know what you thought of these difficult scenarios. It’s been a blast. See you next time 🙂

  • Scenario #1 – A tough decision…nonetheless, I would have to pull the trigger on my son, or what use to be my son, to save my wife and our daughter. It would be the right decision. Very hard decision.

    Scenario #2 – I know this sounds like a murderous douche bag move, but I would shoot the old lady in the head then jump down the fire escape. The flesh eaters would kill her anyways, if it were me, I’d rather be shot in the head than eaten alive.

    Scenario #3 – I would rid the group of the man. I would take him away for a talk, then put a bullet in his head….tactically right but immoral.

    Scenario #4 – Ughh … this is truly a tough one. I’m sorry but I’d have to save the baby….I would just have to.

    • Scott Scherr

      Hello Ashley, thanks for stopping by. Yes, these are all difficult circumstances. I’m still torn on #4. I like your solution to scenario #3, taking the man aside for a talk and then placing a tactical bullet in his head… lol. It could come to that if the man were beyond reason. This is probably best if you had to get rid of him and not do it in front of others in the group who would object. Great input and thanks for sharing your thoughts on these scenarios.

      • I enjoyed the post very much. And thank you…I get most of my decision making skills from the Walking Dead lol.

  • Laura Wilson-Farmer

    I would probably choose to save my spouse, why let a baby live in a world like that? At least we could have a chance at possible survival together maybe for a little while. But if I save the baby and I die, it’s doomed anyway.

    • Scott Scherr

      Hello Laura, thanks for stopping by. I love your reasoning for Scenario #4. So true, would we want a baby to live in this world and face dying on another day since he/she would require constant supervision? Like you said, should you die tomorrow, so does the child anyway. Great input on a very tough situation I hope I never have to face. Thanks 😉

  • Jeanine

    #1 Shoot the zombie- that’s not Michael anymore. #2 Kill the woman. Why should she have to suffer? And I couldn’t rescue her if she’s hooked up to those machines. #3 Send the man packing with the understanding that he will be shot on site if he comes anywhere near the group.
    #4 Heartbreakingly, I’d rescue my spouse and leave the baby. It would probably not survive anyways and it would be difficult to care for it properly.

    • Scott Scherr

      Hello Jeanine, these are all great responses. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on these difficult scenarios. I thought for sure I’d save the baby, but after reading a few others’ thoughts on the matter, including your own, as heartbreaking as it is, I might have to save my spouse as well. Thanks again 😉

  • Michelle Willms

    #1 – If this is the first night of the zombie apocalypse, I wouldn’t be aware of the problem, and wouldn’t shoot my son. I simply would not be able to do that. I would isolate my family and incapacitate my son. I’d probably become a zombie. Game over. #2. I don’t have a clue. I’d work to quiet her to keep us hidden until the coast was clear. Then, I’d quietly have to find a way to overdose her. Realistically, if this was early in the game, I wouldn’t be able to do this, and we’d both die. Sadly. #3. If I’d been leader of the group for awhile, I’d first banish the man, guards would watch for him, while also watching for zombies and shoot him on sight. #4. I’d probably hesitate and lose them both. The decision is harder because my spouse TOLD me to save the baby.

    • Scott Scherr

      Hello Michelle, I love your realistic responses and your attention to the details in the scenarios. In scenario #4 I deliberately added the spouse telling you to save the child to add an element of conflict afterwards. On one hand, it’s reasonable (yet horrible) to say, save your spouse because of how hard it would be to keep the child alive. But on the other hand, what would our significant others think of us for saving them over a child? Our decisions may linger into an area of resentment long after. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts on these difficult scenarios 🙂

  • Jami Broveak

    #1 – I would shoot Michael, I would never be the same after, but it has to be done to save what is left of my family.
    #2 – Do a quick search for the painkillers she has to be hooked up to and give her a hopefully painless overdose. Someone bedridden would be in much more pain trying to get mobile that quick.
    #3 – I would send the man away with a warning, will probably bite me in the ass later on.. but there is already enough death in the world
    #4 – I would save my spouse, and have nightmares of baby screams for the rest of my life.

    dang.. gonna go hug my son now.

    • Scott Scherr

      Thanks for stopping by, Jami. Yeah… I totally agree, looks like saving our spouses is a guaranteed nightmare infested run from there on. I definitely don’t wanna hear that child’s screams… crap. What an unpleasant scenario this would be. We lose something either way. Thanks for your thoughts on these scenarios 😉

  • Scott Scherr

    Thanks for stopping by, Jami. Yeah… I totally agree, looks like saving our spouses is a guaranteed nightmare infested run from there on. I definitely don’t wanna hear that child’s screams… crap. What an unpleasant scenario this would be. We lose something either way. Thanks for your thoughts on these scenarios 😉

  • Julia Damatto

    #1- I’d shoot ZMichael and go looking for Marcus!
    #2- I’d give her mercy and run like crazy.
    #3- I’d talk to him and if he continues with the threats, I’d make him look at the flowers.
    #4- I’d save my husband, no doubt about it!

    Your book looks awesome!! Thanks for the chance

    • Scott Scherr

      Hello Julia, thanks for stopping by. I love your ‘Carol’ method for dealing with the troublemaker… lol. Thanks for your thoughts on these scenarios and for the book compliment. Good luck in the contests 🙂

  • Scott Scherr

    Hello Julia, thanks for stopping by. I love your ‘Carol’ method for dealing with the troublemaker… lol. Thanks for your thoughts on these scenarios and for the book compliment. Just three hours until W.D. I’m excited!