"Living in a town that sits on a dimensional nexus can wear thin after a while. It's not so much the crawling shadows, bizarre weather, or late night visitors from places that never existed; but carrying on with your normal life and trying to act like nothing out of the ordinary is going on in your little corner of the world that gets to you."
A small rural town with surreal secrets, that happens to be situated on a dimensional crossroads, suitable for modern day supernatural/mystical/horror campaigns.
The Town I Call Home
This place? Sure it's got a name, appears in the US atlas and national census too, but none of that really matters; all that's just fluff and helps it fade in with everywhere else as just another sleepy bedroom community of retirees and backwoods hicks with nowhere else to go.
Those that have lived here for any length of time call it The Nexus, because that's what it is, a gateway between here, and everywhere else; kind of an inter-dimensional rest stop I guess you could call it. It's where people and other things stop off for a time while traveling to their journey's end.
Sometimes they stay for a few hours, others for a few days or weeks. Some never quite get around to leaving, which makes things a tad interesting for us regular folk. (Interesting in the Chinese curse "May your life be very interesting" kind of way.)
Besides flesh and blood arrivals our town also is exposed to trans-dimensional weather effects that also shape our community in their own subtle ways.
Appearing in the early morning hours, these gusts of wind are like the breath of a blast furnace, hot enough to bubble paint on the side of vehicles and set dry wood to smoldering, these "gasps from hell" (As Reverend Joseph calls them) are a brutal reminder of the silent doorways that exist between our world and others.
In the winter months, these hot winds can carve great swaths of bare ground through the snow drifts, the rapid heating of frozen trees causing cracking explosions many easily mistake for gunshots. The crazy curved paths they leave in their wake seem to follow an insane pattern, almost like an alien writing, or the passing of some great incorporeal beast.
(It is my hypothesis the hot winds are the manifestation of an extra dimensional entity, one that is unable to fully materialize in our plane of existence due to the likely difference between our laws of physics and reality and it's home world.)
This low lying fog only arrived a few months ago, and so is poorly understood by the community as a whole, and thus largely avoided when possible by most sane residents.
What is known is the mist arrives often without warning, and hugs the ground; rising to around mid thigh height and lapping at higher surfaces like ocean waves, with the mist itself undulating more like water then any earth like vapor.
Able to appear inside the basements of homes as well as outdoors, (One of the reasons many of my neighbors have recently installed heavy cross bar locks on their basement doors.) The mists most unpleasant feature is a faint sobbing and muffled crying that can be heard within, uncomfortably similar to the sound of a crying child hiding behind a closet door.
Bone chillingly cold and smelling faintly of barbecue sauce, (I know, BBQ sauce? I'm still trying to figure that one out.) Some residents have claimed to see faint shapes moving within, although many suspect it's a trick of the light.
To date nothing has been seen manifesting within the mist, and it's passing leaves only a faint sticky residue on surface areas; still this latest meteorological anomaly has given many cause for concern and fear it is only a prelude of worse horrors to come.
While not technically a weather effect, the crawling shadows still warrant mention as one of the apparent side effects of our connection with the shadowy doorways into forever. Like their name would suggest, crawling shadows are just that, subtly moving of shadows as that climb and slide along surfaces. Disconcerting to those unfamiliar with The Nexus, crawling shadows are occasionally seen all across town after the fall of darkness, a somewhat eerie side effect of the gateways that yawn around us.
The effect seems able to manifest on any shadow, be it one cast by a fluorescent bulb, or those given by the cold rays of the moon itself. Shadows so animated do not jump to life as one would see the by-products of a lantern flame do, but rather they crawl to life, twisting along the edges as if they are trying to escape the confines of their form and slowly twist themselves across surfaces in a almost deliberate fashion.
(I suspect the crawling shadows to be a symptom of nexus activity as the connection points search for an area of sufficient darkness surrounded by dim illumination to open a doorway and gorge forth unknown entities, but lack sufficient instrumentation to analyze them at this time.)
You want details? Examples of the visitors we get at the nexus? Sure, but first I should cover bit more about the nature of the nexus and types of tourists we get here before getting into a laundry list of unwanted guests.
Visitors arrive in blackness, no great sonic booms or electric light shows like you see in the movies; they just step out of the shadows at night, or when dawn and dusk fade into twilight. They emerge from the gaps between streetlights where the trees overlap, or the spots in the parking lots that fade into inky silence. Often times they appear much like a man exiting an elevator, quiet, unassuming, and usually with their own agenda that indirectly involve us folk who call the town home.
Sometimes the friendly ones pay late night visits to the 24 hour gas station down the street to knock back a pint of high octane, or help themselves to a grilled cheese; other times they knock on the doors of houses that leave the lights on, asking if they can drop in for a coffee and cold shower.
The ones people invite in (they never enter unless invited oddly enough,) always pay, at times with wild anecdotes of things they’ve done, places they've seen we can barely comprehend. (complete with accompanying trinkets or photo albums of their travels.) Or, more often with payment in whatever form of currency their home uses.
The majority of such payment takes the form of bits of metal or gems with outlandish engravings or eerie glows. A few odd ones pay with the kind of trash you'd expect to find in the pocket of a bored twelve year old, pieces of twisted plastic, the ends of a broken ruler, or sticky wads of fuzz that pulse and inch across a coffee table.
(Personally I think such trash is just that; refuse they offload on us clueless locals in lieu of actual payment; but some of the stranger folk around here collect the stuff. One old guy even has a terrarium full of the fuzzy fleshy bits, he claims they sing him to sleep at night in the voice of his dead grand daughter.)
The unfriendly ones, they're less welcome, they generally view us humans as a readily available protein source. Imagine the way a cheetah views a gazelle, now throw in a subtle alien malice and complete lack of fear when it comes to humanity, or the consequences of getting caught, and you have a pretty good idea of the kind of havoc they sow.
Fortunately those kinds of visitors are infrequent, and a lot of us locals have gotten pretty good at dealing with them; either directly, or with the help of more helpful visitors. (Such help usually costs, but fortunately the gems and metal junk travelers give us are often just as readily accepted by others in return for their aid in convincing unwanted guests to move along.)
Specific Arrivals (Friendly)
I can tell you want the gritty details, examples of just who and what frequents our little slice of tranquility in the backwoods of beyond.
Silver River Trash Removal
It's a run down slate gray trash truck, hardly much to look at really, driven by a hunched over man in dung beetle brown coveralls, with darting eyes and spindly limbs like a cockroach. Silver River is emblazoned on the side of his truck, complete with a faded panorama of a strip of silvery water running between green hills into nowhere.
(I've attempted to engage the man in conversation on multiple occasions but have been ignored entirely each time. Though tempted to physically block his path at some point, I find his demeanor and nearly frenzied movement off putting, and do not wish to force a violent confrontation.)
Every three nights like clockwork (4:37am eastern time by the internet's atomic clock) it rolls out of the shadows at the end of a dead end street not far from here, making the rounds and emptying dumpsters and trashcans alike with unnatural speed; a hiss of steam and unsettling mechanical howl accompanying its every stop.
In the winter months the truck seems to almost breathe a steady plume of mist from under its rear tires and creak in protest to the biting cold. At the end of it's rounds, just as dawn crests and the shadows lose their depth, the truck trundles back into the beyond where the dead end street merges with darkness; the silence all the louder for its passing.
We've found through cautious experimentation the truck will haul away anything we can fit into a dumpster, be it busted refrigerators, or the remains of animals whose owners forgot to bring them inside after dark.
It's a convenient way to dispose of refuse without cost, and talk has circulated among the town elders of using it to dispose of unwanted waste from the near by lumber mills; but no one has dared off load toxic chemicals into the dumpsters. Yet.
(Lately we've had issues with the truck and it's owner. Sometimes, after emptying a dumpster it will leave behind a parting gift. Dozens of small, fist sized, off pink eggs. They look much like oversized caviar, and reek of an alien odor that sticks in the back of your throat for hours. We've been destroying them just to be safe, but they keep turning up every few months, especially in the hot, sticky, dog days of summer.)
The Overcoat Men
It's what we've come to call them, even if it's not entirely accurate. (There are females in overcoats as well.) They are for all outward appearances non-descript men and women, shrouded under identical floor length heavy trench coats. The coats themselves are a bit unusual, not just in their uniform washed out peach color, but for the texture as well. A shiny, almost slippery skin much like a salamanders, that glistens brilliantly even in the faded light of the moon.
(I have yet to ascertain what, if anything they wear under these coats or the exact nature of the material. Of interest, despite the coats shiny appearance they seem to soak, rather then repel any kind of moisture; even going as far as to "drink" the contents of a mud puddle if stood in long enough, or the torrent of a cold shower; something they appear to deeply enjoy.)
Unfailingly polite, these individuals always travel alone or in groups of five, speaking in a faint outlandish accent that strikes me as a mixture of British crossed with Russian. These visitors are the most outgoing, given to ringing door bells and striking up conversation with us locals. They claim to be from The Center, a vast network of towering buildings, catwalks, and subways under a leaden sky that stretches into infinity. A place where everyone works for The Builder, and all life proceeds according to The Schedule and The Blueprint, and everyone’s dreams come true eventually. (While this may sound pleasant on the surface, I'm sure we've all had a few dreams we desperately wish never become reality.)
They view the nexus as a rest stop between meetings and appointments, a place to recharge their energies and gain refreshment before resuming their travels. They don't much care for our sun, stating in no uncertain terms it's light disagrees with their health, and thus often depart before daylight hours, or sequester themselves in basements and windowless rooms.
(Speaking of refreshment these guys have a thing for petroleum products, be it diesel, used motor oil, or a jar of Vaseline from your bathroom; to Overcoat men it's like hard liquor, and they'll pay generously for it in their outlandish currency.)
Their gadgets are equally as non descript as the overcoat men themselves, often taking the appearance of cheap plastic flashlights from the early 90's. The effects these devices have upon our world however are mind bending to put it simply. Reality flows like warm wax under their focused beams, the user able to bend the very fabric of space time to their will with concentration and practice.
A skill operator can turn a simple wooden foot stool into a phenomenally complex robotic lawn mower, or give a cheap antique porcelain wolf figurine breathing, howling life. The overcoat men say these tools are aspects of the builder, and an extension of its will over all creation. Though willing to use (or rarely lend) us their devices for demonstrations, (or as payment for a warm meal) none of us have been able to convince them to part with their machines on a permanent basis.
(More recently we've had a sharp increase in the number of overcoat visitors, they seem to have taken a liking to our towns hospitality, and the honey sugar cookies topped with WD-40 Mrs. Brown leaves on her porch table.)
Our regular dawn visitors, these large women, (they are always female, and always grotesquely over weight from what I have observed,) arrive in small packs of 3-4 individuals, dressed in garish clothing that's at least thirty years out of style.
Inquisitive to the point of rudeness, (I recall a group of these tourists once asking our pregnant neighbor to describe her daily genital hygiene routine for their travel logs.) they are unwanted, and barely tolerated guests of the town.
Despite their bloated, three to four hundred and fifty pound sizes, these "ladies" (and I use the term loosely) move with an unnatural grace and silence; seeming to know each others thoughts and intentions without the need for words, and often mirroring their companions actions down to facial expression.
(I speculate they perhaps share a hive mind, or some type of psychic bond that enables them to react in unison to external stimuli, but have been unable to validate these hypothesis's to date.)
Beyond their considerable girth and group mentality the tourists are also characterized by their identical flower print notebooks, and black stylus pens they are endlessly scribbling notes and making rapid sketches with.
(I was once able to sneak a glance at a notebook over the shoulder of one of the tourists several weeks ago, while they were preoccupied consuming the remains of a moldering bologna sandwich, and several Styrofoam coffee cups one them fished from a trash bin outside the library. My brief glimpse at the journal confirmed the notes are in no earth language I recognize, and the numerous hand drawn sketches are of photorealistic quality.)
After touring our small town and generally making a nuisance of themselves for several days, they often depart abruptly, only to be replaced a few days or weeks later by another few groups of tourists that repeat the process, often with new equally probing questions, and poking their noses into widely different areas of interest.
(To regular earth tourists and outsiders we refer to these women by the charming description, "local color" which most out of state people accept with minimal comment.)
These men and women are especially rare, with only a few dozen being seen over the course of a year. Dressed in a wide variety of military uniforms, armor, and camouflage patterns, carrying range of weapons that vary from the mundane to the fantastical. (I've seen a variety of firearms carried by these folk, from AK's and M-14's, to sleek looking, over sized plastic rifles better suited for an anime convention.)
Military in mannerism as well as dress, these folk treat us much like mentally challenged children, often answering our inquires as to their home, purpose, or weaponry with a smirk, or shake of the head and drawn out sigh.
Some of them have been willing to swap war stories with our towns service veterans over a few cups of local 'shine on slow evenings. Their tales are always of an endless war they call "The Eternity Conflict," a reality spanning battle that's lasted for untold millennia and engulfed countless worlds. Their enemy apparently is "War" itself, a faceless, nearly incorporeal entity that drives its followers (worshippers?) to an all consuming mindless aggression; and acts of depravity the likes of which our world has yet to experience, even with our war torn history.
(One of the more memorable tales I over heard, was of a group of enemy combatants that paused on the battlefield, in the midst of artillery strikes and airborne strafing runs to eagerly consume the flesh of fallen soldiers, bathing themselves in entrails with an almost erotic enjoyment, before continuing their assault, undaunted by the massive casualties they had taken during their feast.)
They speak of their conflict as if it is all they have ever known, and I suspect for some of them it is. Victory against war is said to be accomplished by killing its followers, leaving none under its influence. Such an achievement, they admit is unlikely to occur in the lifespan of our dimensional incarnation, yet resisting wars consumption slows it's spread, and spares countless worlds it's corrupting influence and ultimate destruction.
(A Doctor Preston once likened the soldiers to our bodies own immune systems, fighting a losing battle against a pervasive disease, struggling in vain to keep the host alive yet a little longer. His observation struck me as both accurate and sobering.)
Specific Arrivals (Unfriendly)
But enough about the more or less benign visitors we get, I can tell you're eager to hear about the problem arrivals, the ones that keep unarmed people off the streets after full dark, the ones that make stray pets unheard of and call the darker recesses of the forest and abandoned structures on the outskirts of town home.
Low Brows, Sour Milk Men, Lice Nests, those are but a few of the nick names we have for these primitive ape like men that infrequently wander into our township after dark. Walking hunched over, with their knuckles nearly dragging on the ground and reeking of sour dairy products, these humanoids still tower a good seven feet tall; with a thick mat of hair covering much of their bodies save for the facial areas and genitals. (Their faces are strikingly human, and capable of an unsettling range of normal expressions.)
Mistaken for apes at first, (until the shot gunned corpse of the first arrival was examined more closely the following morning,) these cavemen are a continual (and deadly) nuisance in the fall months. Seeming to possess only a rudimentary intellect, these barbarians wander aimlessly about, rooting through trash containers and eating from many a households flower garden, as well as making a gruesome meal of any living creature they can fix their hands upon.
Even dead however, these cavemen prove problematic, their bodies infested with a particularly nasty parasite, a form of flea that nests in body hair, with a bite that releases a mild toxin that to us humans acts as a mild hunger stimulant. (In sufficient numbers these fleas can drive a victim to sprees of sickening gluttony, causing an infested person to consume all manner of potential food sources, from the contents of their fridge and pantry, to the reminder of their garbage disposal and cat litter box.)
Bright enough to use lawn ornaments, mailboxes, and parking signs as crude clubs, (I once witnessed a single creature over turn a parked mini van in a fit of rage, and estimate their strength to be quite phenomenal.) their reaction to surprise, or anything them deem food, is to attack and pummel it into submission, often with accompanying grunts and human like shouts of fury.
Fortunately these primitives have an almost instinctual fear of fire, and will flee from the smallest blaze or unnatural light, giving many locals cause to leave a candle burning in the windows at night, or a porch light on. (The lights unfortunately, invite other arrivals to drop in for a visit, their illumination viewed as something of a mixed blessing.)
A few of these creatures have over the years managed to flee from the confines of our town, and inhabit the untouched forest depths, creating a small but growing problem of missing hunters and backpackers that unknowingly wander into their territory.
(Once a continual problem in the autumn months, a group of visiting soldiers was commissioned a couple years ago to pay the low brows home world an unfriendly visit and reduce their numbers. Though costly in visitor currency, the results have been worth the price, and now only a handful of cave men are seen per year.)
First mentioned in the bloodied journal of a human female visitor that collapsed on Glen's doorstep almost a decade ago, they were described as mistaken malformed naked children, three to four foot tall humanoids, with skin that shines a sickly white in moonlight, and heads too big for their bodies. The pumpkin sized heads were said to be composed of one large mouth, filled with sharp needle like teeth that glisten with bloody salvia.
Shortly after we disposed of the strangers’ corpse and circulated copies of her journal, the first of the Chasers were seen. (I deeply hope the other things she mentioned in her diary never pay us a visit, or I fear our town will quickly follow the path of Roanoke.) Quick and angle, they move like spiders, and hunt in packs of a half dozen or more. Mostly seen in the winter and early spring on nights with a full moon, these creatures are pack hunters with a cunning intellect.
Able to climb most surfaces readily, Chasers easily gain access to poorly secured households, often through a fireplace chimney or ripping through a window screen to feast on the unlucky victims within.
Their hearing seems almost unmatched, with even a single breath seemingly easily heard from the end of a street. (I speculate this keen hearing is why so few of them visit during summer and autumn months, with the sound of wind through the trees being all but deafening to them.)
As the journal suggested, this strength also proved a weakness, and we copied a tactic of the unknown author, using sound simple traps of battery powered radios to lure and exterminate packs of the monstrosities with relative ease.
(A few scattered nests of these things continue to inhabit one or two of the abandoned farmsteads on the outskirts of town, despite our efforts at extermination, making re-habitation an impossibility.)
At first we mistook these mechanical arrivals for discarded scrap metal, pieces of electronic trash some foreign land had decided to dispose of in our backyards. (Sometimes literally!)
It wasn't until we began cleaning up these unwanted bits of refuse and storing them in our woodsheds and garages their true nature was revealed. When left in close proximity to other pieces of technology, (I estimate approximately four to five feet,) these seemingly inanimate bits of machine parts flicker to life, coiling and folding themselves around the devices, melding with their form and function to form a synthesis of alien and contemporary invention.
Once animated, these creations seek out other house hold appliances and powered tools to assimilate into their growing form. Although not actively malevolent, these constructs will ignore human attempts at interference or obstruction when seeking out the shortest path to near by modern machinery.
(I still recall the crude demonic looking conglomeration of alien metals, lawnmower pieces, and saw blades from a work bench that screamed to life and tore its way out of Ben's tool shed to rampage across the lawn into the neighbors basement. We were forced to detonate a propane truck in the end to put a stop to the creations mad growth; and even then we still had to isolate and meltdown the intact scrap chunks before it could recompile itself.)
Many suspect the Junkers origin to be the same dimension the Overcoat men come from, although they refuse to comment on the possibility, blithely ignoring any of our inquires into the subject.
(Jeremy recently proposed we expose a piece of this alien technology to a functional computer and then attempt to communicate with the resulting entity in the hopes of learning more of its origins and knowledge. Thankfully his suggestion was met with outrage by the majority of townsfolk, who clearly remember the initial incident that cost the Carvers their house and hospitalized the youngest of their daughters. Still, some fear he may try to conduct such an experiment on his own at some point, and rumors circulate the council of elders are planning his silent removal from our township.)
By now I'm sure your curious about those of us that choose to call this place home, but if you think I'm about to go into detail of all four hundred some off of us you're sorely mistaken. I suppose I could cover a few of the more important townsfolk if you insist, but know up front I'll be changing their names to keep things suitably anonymous.
He's a nice enough guy, a man of the cloth like his title implies, and a bit of a fire and brimstone type of preacher that tends to face things straight on, even when smarter folk would run. His take on the town is naturally slanted by his beliefs, he views the town as sitting on a junction point between heaven and hell, and believes our visitors to be various apparitions of angels and demons sent to test our faith and see if we are indeed worthy of salvation.
(Personally I think he's way off the mark with his religious take on stuff, but he's faced down Cavemen, Chasers and lots worse with little more then his faith and a 12 gauge pump action, so he's got my respect on personal level, even if his beliefs are a crock.)
The local gun shop owner, he was originally a skeptic when it came to unknown events when he came to town a couple years back. He became a believer the third day after he moved into town when a pack of Chasers gnawed his beloved collie down to bloody bones in his backyard one moonlit night. He opened Suther's Shoot'n Irons a week later. Since opening his place has become the unofficial meeting center town, and he's likely sold more ammunition in the past two years then most places would in decades.
(If it spits lead he likely has it in stock, or can rush order it inside of a week, especially now he has a class III/type 11 Federal Firearms License. You can get full auto guns, Ap ammo, and some sweet enhancements for favorite weapon at great prices. Offer to lend him a hand next time he's got a visitor problem and you might just get that box of .40 cal ammo for free.)
She works (and owns) as the local gas'n go, an older lady around 60ish that's enjoys a home made apple pie as much as the next lady, and participates in the annual place in skeet shooting contests religiously. Somewhat motherly, she's always foisting free snacks on anyone that drops in for a tank up or gallon milk, and customers rarely leave without at least something edible extra in their bags.
(If you need to pick up a last minute side dish for dinner, or a gallon of high octane to burn those nasty arrivals infesting your sons tree house to ashes; she's got you covered. Best of all she's hired enough help to keep her place open 24 hours a day, and after dark you can usually find a few of the Overcoat men there enjoying a tankard of Ultra Premium, or shot glass of lighter fluid.)
Called the old saw bones by the older (70+) Locals around town, Henry is a local new comer to town, having taken over from Doc Blue roughly half a decade ago after a Flying Lamprey put him into early retirement. (Pity about 'ol blue.) Discreet and professional, he's good at treating the various injuries locals manage to acquire, and knows to keep the true nature of most ailments off the record books.
(He patched me up once a couple years back when I tangled with more then I could readily handle, and I owe him my life. A lesser doc would have panicked and botched up the surgical removal of that damn things head from where it'd locked its jaws around my leg. He managed to handle it with barely a raised eyebrow. The best and only man to see when something unnatural has taken a piece out of you.)
He's the local sheriff, born and raised here 42 some odd years ago, and likely more familiar with the oddities and inhabitants of the Nexus then anyone I know. He cleans up the messes surrounding human bodies, makes sure the State cops don't get too inquisitive, and keeps any reporters off the scent of anything approaching the truth in their tales. (Aside from the tabloid reporters, those lads'n lasses no one believes anyways.)
(If you got a problem with someone, or a visitor had the bad manners ta die on yer front doorstep he's the guy ta call. A bit gruff in the manners department, he knows how ta get things done an won't go asking all those annoying questions most cops would, just do him a courtesy and never question his commitment to the job. Last feller that did that needed a set o' dentures afterwards.)
Danny Deer Runner
He's the game warden, and handles all the nasty critter business Gordon can't. In his mind it's always hunting season on anything that walks on more'n two legs, and doesn't much tolerate visitors (both gateway and out of town) preying on the local wildlife or otherwise messing up our pretty countryside.
(This lad's the best tracker I've ever seen, bar none. He's native American an about 50 something I think, wears his hair in braids and carries a compound bow as well. He might come across as a bit out o' touch with modern tech, but no one knows the wilds and how to set up an ambush like he does.)
Aye, that'd be me, just one of the regular girls in the town, prettier then some, less then others and a Scottish ancestry that gives me a bit of a fiery disposition, especially when I get into the scotch. I'm more of an intellectual and investigator then a go getter these days though. (Having your leg tore up by a chaser so you have ta lean on a cane to get around will do that to ya.) I poke into things often better left alone, try to make sense of all this mess, and maybe figure out a way to improve things for me and my lady love in the process.
(I've been around the block a few times, got the scars and night terrors ta remember it all by too. Best piece o' advice I can give ya when it comes to living in The Nexus is stay armed. Always. I've seen what's left o' those folk that weren't, an those that tried ta run rather then fight. Also mind yer manners and don't go asking too many pointed questions, we get enough o' those from the blimpy Tourists. Those that ask too many questions tend ta disappear, and it'd be a shame ta see you vanish like those other fellers.)
Ya Want More?
What? Yer still here? What more are ya hopin ta hear about? Flying Lampreys? My lady love Rachel? The kinda weapons I carry? The time we had a nest o' Judas Screamers nesting in Hawthorne's attic? Juicy tid bits on the permnant visitors from otherwheres that decided ta make this slice o' reality their home?
Time enough fer all that later, drop by some evening with a bottle of single malt scotch, some words o' honey and maybe I'll tell ya more; but I'm not promising ya anything.
Flamingos arrive in flocks of 10-20 individuals. They show up in the spring months are gone as soon as summer ends.
Flamingos look almost exactly like lawn flamingos. They run around in quick, darting flocks and accost anyone they come across. They will crowd around a person and jostle against them until they are given a gift. If they are not given a gift, they may even grow hostile. Giving them food is the worst thing you can do, and causes them to fly into some sort of rage. They seem to especially enjoy hats, and may even follow you around and protect you for a short while if they are given a crisp, new fedora (for example).
Flamingos wear the gifts that they are given, whether it's a shamrock sticker, red lipstick, a chain of postcards, or a leather belt. Older flocks are often a motley assortment of knick-knacks and cheap jewelry. Once every bird in the flock has an ornament, the flock will settle down by rooting themselves in a quiet place. Oddly enough, the area around these rooted birds will grow grass, no matter where it is. Cul-de-sacs will erupt into grassy lawns in a few days if the flamingos are not chased away with loud noises. Once, they even got into the high school's gymnasium. The basketball court was filled with wildflowers by the time school started up again.
Lawn ornaments are rare in the Nexus, as the flocks of roaming flamingos will steal them and bury them. This is true even for lawn ornaments such as lawn gnomes. Flamingos seem to have an instinctive hatred for Cavemen, and will attack them on sight, perhaps because of the cavemen's habit of using lawn ornaments as weapons. Their greatest enemy is Hot Wind, which can (and has) instantly reduce a flock of flamingos to puddles of melted plastic and steaming cowboy hats.
Honey words a plenty, but no scotch? Ye sure know how ta tease a gal I tell ye!
But on ta yer questions, How do the blimpy tourists deal with Chasers?
Well if ye'd ever seen a tourist tear in ta something they thought was edible ye wouldn't be askin' that laddie!
A tourist seems ta be able ta eat just about anythin' they can fit in their fat mouths, be it a table spread o' Thanksgiving feast or the table itself, if they can get their jaws around it they can take a bite outta it.
Against Chasers they take the same approach, grab an chew; an once a pack o' chaser see four of these fatties gnaw the legs off one or two o' their brethren they look elsewhere for a late night meal.
Now yer second question, the National Guard, where are they?
Picture yourself for a moment as a the governor, or commander of a Guard Detachment, the integrity of the nation partially resting on your shoulders, and the threat of terrorist attacks by unknown forces or a natural disaster a reality you might need to deal with at any given moment.
Now picture receiving a phone call from some random civilian claiming their town is a gateway for otherworldly creatures and their dog house just got eaten by three fat women right before a bunch of beret wearin angry flamingo lawn ornaments saved them from a cave man attack.
Aye exactly, ye'd call'em a nutter and hang up, and likely ignore any future such claims from attention seeking delinquents after their four minutes of TV fame; orchestrating some big hoax that'll make you look like a grade A lummox for believing it.
Hope that answered yer questions laddie, keep 'em coming ye knowledge seekers, and I'll keep replying, as long as this bottle o' scotch holds out anyway.
Sometimes, after a particularly heavy spring thunderstorm, you might come across big, white bulbs in the soil. They're like mushrooms, except not as spongy as your average mushroom. Anyway, these white domes grow until they are ovals about a foot long. A few more days, and the things look like helmeted heads, buried in the ground up to their noses. If you actually put your face down there for a good look, you can see that they are helmeted heads, with ears and sunglasses and everything. After a couple of more days, the bicyclist will wake up, pull himself out of the dirt, and start walking around.
Brian Cooper says that he dug one up before it was done growing, but whatever it looked like scared him so bad that he's not talking.
Bicyclists look like people, except they're really skinny and they haven't got a butt. Like, at all. Their entire body is covered in black, foamy skin that looks like the stuff that real bicyclists wear. And I'm pretty sure that the helmet and sunglasses are actually part of their head (I've never seen under their glasses, or seen them remove any of their gear).
After they pull themselves out of the ground, they usually go into a corner and make a bicycle. I'm not sure how they do it, but Alana McBride told me that they make it from their spit, and shape it like a spider weaving a web. But she was finishing a bottle of scotch, so she might have just been pulling my leg.
The tend to bike around town furiously for a couple of weeks. I talked to one soon after he was 'born', and the bicyclist was only interested in learning which roads he could take in order to map a perfect rhombus. I told him we didn't have any roads like that. Then he wanted to find a route he could ride that would take him on a perfect circle 'about six or seven. . . no! eight miles in diameter!' I eventually just showed him a map, and he settled for a square route, but he didn't seem happy about it.
Bicyclists will pretty much always give you a ride somewhere if you ask. It might not be where you want to go, though, but I've ridden on their handlebars before to get to work. They bike really fast, too. I've seen one go 75 on the freeway before.
After biking around for a few weeks, though, they die. They just keel over while biking. Usually Silver River Trash Removal picks them up, but if they fall in a ditch someone's got to get them out of there. Once, I guess one died while it was biking, and flew right under Betsy Burnam's porch. I helped get the body out from under there. I guess it had hit pretty hard, because it had split open. On the inside, the bicyclist was filled with stuff that looked like chocolate cake, but smelled like vomit.
I still have the bike, though. I used to ride it to work until it started getting kinda crumbly.
The Men In Plaid
The government always sticks it's nose in.....eventually. These ever smiling Men sport head to toe Plaid , Hat,coats,tie,pants and shoes, often in different patterns that somehow denote rank.The Red seem to be in charge. Often heard disparaging 'Black' these operators are either military or medical trained.Speaking in 1 or 2 word sentances that make little sence,. They are most interested in The Tourists and The Soldiers, gathering all the info on them they can.Very polite firefights with the later often breakout. Interestly, The Plaid always win, with their musket pistols.They are often found arguing with the sheriff.
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? Responses (32)-32
I actually like this a lot. It's a small-town microcosm of weird. I don't need to know why the national guard hasn't been called in or why the townsfolk aren't more up-in-arms. This is their hometown. This is the way it is. And the idea is internally consistent.
The friendlies are very interesting (especially the Overcoat Men). The formula might be something like: serious thing + silly strange thing + strange thing. I also really like all the questions that are unanswered, and the imperfect knowledge of the narrator.
The NPCs are okay, (although Betsy stands out as a mold-breaker). And the modular idea of this piece makes it seem like a collection of separate entries, rather than a single place. How does a tourist handle a chaser, anyway?
You're right, Betsy does need a slight downsize, which I'll take care of momentarily.
As for the questions about the tourists and the national guard, (both of which have answers) like the narrator says, a bottlo o' scotch and some honey word and ye may get the answer ye seek. ;)
I've got the scotch. I propose that it be drank on the porch, during sunset, and while cleaning the guns.
Update: Reworked Betsy to make her less outstanding then the rest of the detail townsfolk.
I'm changing my vote. This is just such an awesome THEME for a game. Dark, silly Americana. I haven't seen it before. 5/5.
Not quite a bottle o' scotch but it'll do :P (update incoming!)
(Oh and you got some +5 comment votes coming your way when my votes refresh, love the flamingoes!)
Maybe in Zombies Ate My Neighbors?
It dips pretty close to honeyed words, though.
lol Indeed, and a update tis yer reward ;)
I love the delightful madness of this place! I think it needs a villian of some type more focused then what seem to be more environmental hazards.
I enjoyed reading it and hope for more.
After reading this I now need to take a deep breath, phew!
A particularly enjoyable read, it made me feel as if I was actually there, strolling through.
5 out of 5 from me, and my first ever favourite.
I would like to take part in a game that uses this place.
It's like a weird yet delightful xfiles meets a doctor who episode. I agree with Val that it needs a bad guy or possible group of antagonists. If a villain is added I can see this in a modern day Cthulhu if added right. Possibly even a modern era supers where a new group comes through that have similar powers of our comic book heroes.
I think valadaar hit the nail on the head with 'delightful madness'.
Great sub Sil.
I'm not sure it needs a villain. I see this more like a zombie-themed d20 modern sort of game, except the goal is normalcy instead of survival.
None of the NPCs listed are heroic-sounding, nor are they especially interested in eldritch lore. They're just people with other jobs who want to live a normal life in their town. I imagine quests would be more like 'clear the football stadium of chasers and cavemen before the season starts' or 'figure out why the tourists are bringing thousands of cans of cranberry sauce to the old mall and refusing entry to everyone else.'
But that's just my take.
But if you want to have villains, here's some brainstorming: (1)carnivorous Santa Claus. (2) Evil sentient restaurant that never appears in the same place twice. (3) The Electric Company, whose bills require very strange payments. (4) The Internet itself (which is very different in the Nexus than anywhere else), intent on animating junkers and building a spaceship. (5) The Captain, who lives in the gigantic cargo ship in a parking lot and frequently unleashes strange things from his shipping containers. (6) Poppa Zombie. (7) Dr. Fetus. (8) The Party Animal.
I'd like to see a separate submission on the Overcoat Men, their ways, beliefs, the builder.
I particularly enjoyed the section on them.
This is an exceptional piece for sure. It's long, well written and it really takes the reader there.
There are a few awkward spots in this sub, but then I remember 'We are being narrated to by a small town girl who has seen her share of strange things,' and I realize that it works. This is equal parts silly, interesting and creepy. Way to go!
Just enough detail to get the imagination working and well presented.
A well earned 5/5.
I run Urban Fantasy and Paratime/Waunderer games all the time. This is the perfect location for that kind of game,, either as a place to start or a place to pass through.
Now I can HoH this too, such excellence deserves no less!
This is incredible. Sorry I missed it till now! I want to read a novel about it. Makes me think of the style of King or Koontz with all this crazy goodness and awesomeness.
Great sub. Take a gold and hoh. By the by, which part of America is the nexus?
Or maybe not a gold. I'll gold it ASAP.
This is an awesome sort of Hitchhikers Guide to the Universe cross with the Fog vibe to it!!! Comical macabre and over the top film noir to it...LOVE IT!!!
. . . huh. I have no words for this, other than to ask what you were smoking when you came up with half of this. Well-written, impressively odd and imaginative. Not really to my tastes but I can't fault it for that -- it's still a great setting. Well done!
P.S. love the additions by Forganthus as well. The flamingos were one of my favorite creatures, right next to the tourists.
mor Sil MAGIC! 5
I love the Welcome to Nightvale podcast. Your sub predates the first airing of the show by 5 days. XD
Exactly what Forganthus said! (The third time)
Really detailed, good stuff.