Charles Merriman, usually known by his nickname Orc, is a former bully who turned religious. He appears in all the books in the series.
Before the FAYZ, Orc was a bully. When the barrier came up he found a reason to become more violent and horrible. He sided with Caine when he took over Perdido Beach the first time and was made deputy sheriff to Drake Merriman. Orc kills Bette by accident and becomes unhinged. He then is drunk guilt-ridden for all the books after that until he finds belief in God in Fear. For most of the series, from when he accidentally kills Bette, Orc is loyal to Sam, as long as Howard, Orc's best and only friend, agrees. When Howard is killed by Drake in Fear we see Orc's softer side return again and it resembles the heart-ache he suffered from killing Bette and another unknown kid, but with much stronger sadness.
Orc's strong bullying and slight dumbness is due to an unloving abusive father and a mother who cannot do anything to resist Orc's father. On the exterior Orc is a hardcore malicious bully but after Gone he breaks and becomes a very emotionally damaged boy. In the end he dies while fighting the Gaiaphage, accidentally killed by a missile fired by Caine.
After he was nearly killed by a pack of coyotes, his lost tissue was replaced by gravel which made him into a stone man. Orc's rock exterior makes him invulnerable to most physical damage and also gives him superhuman strength.
His power for the replacement of his skin with gravel was even viewed as unusual by Gaia. She cannot use this power, so it is implied that it is not a power, as such.
Because of Sam's absence, Orc is now self-appointed captain, in charge of "stopping everybody running crazy" and "busting everything up, taking anything they wanted." Orc and Howard made sure that someone helped Mary get the necessary materials to take care of the Littles & Prees.
Orc is later seen when he takes Sam, Astrid, and Little Pete as prisoners. He agrees with Sam that Caine is going too far but he does nothing to stop him. When Sam escapes, Orc chases him until he gets away.
Orc was savagely attacked by the coyote pack, led by Pack Leader, leaving him scarred and torn up. However, this led to his mutation into a freak. In place of his damaged skin, a new, gravel-like substance grew. This made him invulnerable to many physical attacks, and gave him improved strength. By the end of Gone, Orc fights with Drake at the Thanksgiving Day Battle. The fight ends in a draw, with Drake being dragged away by Caine. Orc sides with Sam and helps the freaks. He pays a lot of respect to Astrid (it's implied that he has a crush on her), as she tutored him in school in remedial maths.
When the zekes first show up, Orc is used to pick up the cabbage. It is shown now that Orc is now an alcoholic who gets payed in beer. After a good period of time picking cabbages, Orc is attacked by the zekes finally. This attack nearly takes away his still human parts, which thanks to Lana were healed. In this moment, it is shown how scared Orc is of his power.
Orc helps out during the fire. He works with Jack to crush houses to prevent the fire from spreading.
Drake escapes from his jail after Orc accidently breaks the floor. Orc storms off in a drunken rage and kills a sick boy. Later, he takes Astrid and Little Pete to Coates Academy, and tries to kill himself by drinking. When the bugs come he tells Astrid to leave if she can, after which he runs out to them. He survives, although injured.
He and Howard go to the Lake at the Big Split.
At the beginning of the book it is shown Orc has given up alcohol and is now intently reading the Bible, often asking Howard about the words he doesn't know, causing Howard annoyance. Orc now has the job of standing guard of Sinder's garden. Later in the novel, when Orc finds out that Drake killed Howard and fed him to coyotes, Orc sets of into the wilderness to find and kill Drake. When the FAYZ has started turning completely dark Orc finds Dekka, and the two start looking for Drake together. Dekka later reveals to Orc she is a lesbian, which Orc is first confused about but then says that they are both the only one of their kind, her being the only lesbian and him being the only rock monster. They soon come upon Sammy Suns which Dekka follows, but Orc decides against it as he still wants to find Drake.
By Light, Orc has become absorbed in religion and can see signs from God. When he is looking for Drake he finds Dahra hurt in the woods. He carries her back to the lake, believing that God sent him to save her. He attends the many wars against Gaia and goes looking for her after she killed Brianna. In the end of Light, Orc is killed by a missile shot by Caine which was supposed to be aimed at Gaia.
- Howard Bassem
Howard Bassem is Charles' best friend and the only person who understands him completely. When Orc became an alcoholic, Howard stood by him and vouched for him.
- Drake Merwin
Drake is Orc's nemesis.
- Orc has given up drinking since Plague.
- His father was a drunk and cut Orc's hand with a power drill.
- Orc's parents are one of only a few who didn't attend the funeral at the end of Light.
- ↑ "He could not picture his mother without a cut or her wrist in a cast." - Book and page number needed!