Monday, November 11, 2013

Dark Dimension hunt farewell & Winning Story!

Hello Peas! The Dark Dimension has officially ended.  We are saying farewell to this hunt, and thanks to everyone who made this hunt possible.  On October 6th, MadPea presented you with the Dark Dimension hunt, which came after a long Halloween Writing Contest Search.  The Winner was Telestoi Weissmann.  Once again Congratulations.

Many of you began your investigations on the day of, and became our top 5 first hunters to finish, Congratulations as well.  At some point we all began our investigations by talking to the different NPCs throughout the town.  This hunt kept many of us busy, busy, busy.  It took some people longer than others, but whether alone or in the company of friends, you investigated the strange occurrences on Death Row Island.  Thank you Jaimy Hancroft!

In the end, we prevailed and banished those demons.  
We'd like to thank you all who participated.  This was a challenging hunt!  We look forward in seeing you very soon.  We have a lot of things planned which include our next MadPea hunt! 

We have included in this post a special treat, please read Telestoi Weissmann's winning story.

The Lost and the Damned
by Telestoi Weissmann (Second Life username)

When the Blue Sky Corporation bought the ruined prison complex grounds and started to build a theme park and shopping center complex, it had at first seemed like a slam dunk, a buckets of money in the shareholder's pockets idea. Cheap land, subsidized taxes, and the new highways brought the people of two cities right to the front door. Money should have been pouring into the corp coffers, bonuses and promotions for everybody.

But, then the troubles started. Construction workers were injured in mysterious accidents - saying they were pushed, or saw something black that made them fall, or crush a hand, or lose an eye. Then, after a rash of accidents, a construction worker would vanish without a trace from one of the more isolated corners of the site. The accidents would end for a few days, then the cycle would start again, with uglier accidents each time, and stranger vanishings.
As the accidents and vanishings increased these tough men in iron toed boots started refusing to spend an hour more on the site. First one company then another took on the job - and quit, preferring to pay the cancellation fee rather than continue. Each new contractor wanted more and more money as word got out that it was a cursed jobsite - and more workers ended up mangled and screaming in ways that just did not make sense, or strangely much worse, just disappeared as if they had never been.
Massively overbudget, the complex finally started to come online, and the major stores and boutiques started to fill with fine clothes and luxury items. Workers were hired, happy to find jobs in such an upscale, but uniquely interesting place. The tourism and entertainment staffs opened the clubs and the doors and the guided tours.
The day after the Grand Opening a strange new type of terror came to Death Row Island, and the horrible injuries and sporadic vanishings of the construction workers seemed like the good old days in comparison.

The first reports were of more and more disappearances. Store managers, shopgirls, delivery drivers - vanishing without a trace, computers still on their desktops with their last email half written, trucks left running at the delivery docks, a store suddenly empty, the once perfectly reliable salesgirl not there, and never returned home, and not seen again.

Whatever was causing the vanishings had gotten better at it, and was doing them more quickly.
Workers whispered in the lunchrooms, managers worried at their desks, and the bosses at corporate headquarters made angry phone calls about books dripping in red ink. Then, for the first time, someone saw one of the "vanishings".
From the biggest shop at the top of the hill, it’s brand new manager (a replacement for one who had left claiming mental disturbance and nervous breakdown) was watching out the window, thinking about how to get his sudden responsibility out of it's ugly financial mess, and from there he saw a kind of cloud of dust, a growing vortex of dirty smoke and dark shapes and an ugly yellow light, swirl into existence a hundred yards away from his office. It started as a wisp, then congealed in seconds into a violently slashing and flashing mass three times the height of a tall man..
As if it were alive, it attacked the neighboring shop below, slamming aside the heavy steel and glass front doors like tissue, pulling itself inside the store like an octopus. Flashes of yellow and red lit it up for a few seconds. Then, it was gone. Not faded away, just not there. As if it had never been there at all.
And so was the manager of that store. This time the security cams, which had been increased in number when the disappearances started, caught a view. The cloud had shot a spear of filthy black and gray vapor into the managers mouth the instant it entered - then the bugeyed victim walked into the vortex, his body operated like a jerky puppet, unable to scream, but with a face so distorted with pain and terror that none who watched that video doubted that they were seeing someone who was inwardly wishing, praying, screaming for the agony to stop..
He walked into the vortex - and the vortex “sucked” itself into nonexistence, taking the manager with it. Not a thing in the store was left disturbed, despite the violent dirtiness of the thing, not a spot of dirt, not a tag on a dress, not a sign that anything had happened there at all.
Now they knew how the disappearances happened. But why? And how? And how could they be stopped?

When the suits at corporate saw the video, and looked at the ledgers at a project bleeding money, there was only one possible decision to make. Send in the troubleshooter.
Things seemed quiet when the troubleshooter and her team first arrived and had the first meeting with the locals. Sales were up, the local managers said, no more disappearances lately. Look around, they said, we still don't understand it.

Standing at the location of the last disappearance, the troubleshooter watched the video again, trying to figure out what kind of special effects or trickery was used to create what had to be a fake video. Some sort of extortion by a competing corporation maybe? It all looked so damn real.
"It's not over.", someone spoke from behind her. "I prayed it was, but it's not over.".

Standing in the doorway of the shop was a stooped old man, in old worn black, his head low. When he raised his face the neckband of a priest was exposed, grayish white, but, still, a priest.

"I could have stopped it, but I let it happen.”, he said, but it didn’t really seem like he was talking to her. “I should have stopped it, but I turned away, I hid in the church, I prayed instead of telling anyone. I heard their screams, I heard them beg, please god no they begged, I knew what was happening, I was the prison priest, but I was afraid. I let them die. I let them be erased from existence, and rot in hell."
He tossed a mass of papers on the ground. Old manilla file folders, stained, numbered, with the name of the former prison stamped in old fashioned red letters in the center of each folder, and a large black X drawn over each folder.

“The Warden thought he destroyed all the evidence that they ever existed, but I kept these files, they prove that I’m not mad, GOD FORGIVE ME I was evil but I was never mad like they said, those boys all existed, they came here to pay the price for their crimes, not to be abused and tortured to death like that just for the sadistic pleasure of the Warden and his gang of sick rapist guards.”, the old man said in a choking droning voice, a kind of chant, as if he had made this speech in his mind ten thousand times.

He spasmed as if hit with an electric shock, and stared straight into the troubleshooters eyes, his old reddened eyes bugging out, his tongue sticking out, and he screamed.


His hand lifted, trembling badly, and he pointed at the folders.

“Every one of those souls is buried or hidden here on this island! I have been praying for them to be at peace all these years but now the cancer in me has rotted my prayers and they are coming back to this place to take prisoners of their own! I can’t stop them again, they are coming for me now and GOD MY GOD I DESERVE IT!”.
Behind the priest a filthy yellow black mass began to form. As if he knew it was there, he thrust his hand behind him, his eyes still locked on the troubleshooter- holding up his palm - begging for a few more seconds.
“I waited for you, I held them off, I waited for you, you are the one, you must save them all - OR YOU TOO WILL BE TAKEN! YOU TOO WILL SPEND ETERNITY IN THEIR PRISON OF ENDLESS HELL, LOST AND DAMNED! No power of God Man or Devil can stop them unless you find their bones and take them back to the consecrated graveyard where they always should have rested. They know you have these files, they have seen me give them to you, and they will never let you go, they will haunt you as they haunted me, unless you save them. I was too weak, too old, too sick at heart to find them, but I marked the files, I figured some of it out, at least I did that, I just needed someone stronger than me and so I waited and GOD MY GOD sent you to me at last!”.

Like the pincers of a giant black centipede, black spikes lashed from the now boiling bloated rotting thing behind him, and drove into his guts from both sides. The troubleshooter heard his spine shatter, saw blood and intestines pour out of the rips in his body.

Something held the old priest upright. A look that was almost peaceful filled his face as his head fell back and he finally faced heaven. He spoke again, his voice younger, stronger.

“They were mostly good boys, they deserved better than to vanish like garbage, and, God Willing, perhaps I finally did something right, I tried, at least I tried, I may even be able to give myself now the forgiveness I knew I never deserved.”.
“But some of them, the last three, they were dark when they came here, and what those guards did to them turned them into demons in the bodies of men. They will not go quietly into holy ground, they were Death Row monsters and they cannot rest until Justice is done. They drive the good boys, made them ghost slaves, and until the last three are put down like the murdering monsters they always were, none of them can sleep, they will always come back, for you and everything you love and every person who sets foot here! You must become Justice!”.
Suddenly the force that was holding him upright and bringing him peace left him, and his body collapsed like something broken, lifted off the ground by the black spiny mandibles of the cloud. The cloud started to contract, like something being sucked down a drain.

“Save them…..” was the last thing she heard, then priest and cloud were gone.
But this time, a pile of tattered manilla folders was left behind.

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