Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Strange Places: Black Zones

There are black zones of shadow close to our daily paths, and now and then some evil soul breaks a passage through. When that happens, the man who knows must strike before reckoning the consequences...
H.P. Lovecraft

Not everything that dies necessarily stays dead. If you wander past the ash-encrusted furnaces of the Burned Over District, avoiding the Bleak Houses and those streets fallen to Urban Blight, there are places where the boundaries between life and death have been deliberately weakened and undermined by unpleasant people doing unwholesome things. Some dabble in matters they do not comprehend. Others are driven to commit terrible deeds by the whispered promises of power, glory or immortality. Thankfully, most who succumb to such bitter temptations are weak, stupid or inept and thus likely to fail. But even failure can bear horrific results in the Black Zones as not everyone who enters these spaces comes out quite the same.

In some spots the shadows of old atrocities linger, curdle and slowly turn ever more toxic. These are the Black Zones and they are prohibited by order of the Street Patrol and most other Local Authorities who post warning signs and sputtering galvanic lamps near the most obvious access-ways and leave it at that. No one has the resources to seriously cordon-off any of these places. So they do what they can and let nature take its course.

After all, some of the worst troublemakers often come back from the Black Zones as productive members of society...

Inspiration: The Thing on the Doorstep by H. P. Lovecraft is not considered his best tale, but it does feature an interesting take on the concept of soul transference as the mind-soul of a deceased wizard attempts to insinuate itself into the minds of  a succession of living victims until finally it is defeated...or is it? This sort of soul-transference is actually fairly commonplace among some of the Old Families of Wermspittle.

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