So let’s cover the basics.
curse the darkness was directly inspired by a song. A Perfect Circle recorded a cover of “Imagine” by John Lennon:
I like the song anyway, but this particular version of it just amazed me. I could see, in my mind’s eye, the world as imagined by the person singing this song – harmonious, unencumbered by ideology or religion, but utterly terrified. This person, standing on the balcony of a ruined building or the , looking out over a landscape dotted with wreckage, destroyed buildings, and death, and solemnly nodding. This is better than before, he thinks, in aggregate.
As I listened to the song again (and again…this is what I tend to do when I find songs I like), I fleshed out more of the idea. This man (whom I never named and don’t have any intent of naming) could open shadows, calling forth creatures capable of tearing down walls. He was capable of opening shadows and listening to conversation across the world, hearing if people were praying or plotting against him or otherwise breaking the rules, and then out come the creatures.
It seemed like a horrifying and viscerally moving setting, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do with it. Thought it would make a fantastic graphic novel, but I can just about manage good stick figures. So it sat in my head for a while, not doing anything.
And then the Tea Party hit the scene, and I saw a web site with collected photos of the signs they were carrying. And that just really pissed me off. I needed to do something with that anger, so I wrote this:
Everyone remembers where they were when the Vatican fell. Or when the Dome of the Rock was pulled down. Or when Parliment and Congress were simultaneously invaded from the inside. Any one of the attacks, we know where we were.
But where were you when you found out about Him? That it was all connected?
So many crazy stories before the truth came out. Honestly, if the Internet had survived, those crazy stories would have, too, I’m sure. You don’t remember because you’re too young, but the Internet was a place where any insanity could thrive. You could spout any story you wanted and not only be heard, but be believed. The ubiquitous “they” that said mankind never landed on the moon, that Catherine the Great died having sex with a horse, that the late President Obama was a Kenyan-born Muslim – “they” found their voice and their pulpit on the Internet.
When you think about it, what He does isn’t so different than the ‘net. He opens a gate, and out they come. The gates are everywhere on Earth, because they’re nowhere. They just open, and he knows them. A server, a website, a router… Hell, never mind. Like I said, you’re too young.
I remember where I was when I learned the truth. I was in a big box store buying supplies. No riots that day, but the police were out from watching the store; it was one of the few in the city that had anything left. I had turned off my radio. I just couldn’t listen to death tolls and speculations and fanatics anymore. And then the lights flicked, and the TVs in the back of the store went dark. And I turned on my radio, and I heard what everyone else heard.
It’s over. What you knew is over. Ideology is over.
Ideology is the poison at the soul of the privileged. In the First World, people talk ideology over full bellies. In the Third World, people have been trained to kill and die for ideology over and above their own survival.
Some of our greatest heroes have said this, though never in so many words. They have said that to make any meaningful change in the world, we must let go of the chains of religion, politics, economics, and all of the other systems of beliefs that interrupt the real and true cycles of life. The hungry must eat. The cold must be given shelter. The world must be saved, and as long as ideology – any ideology – festers at the heart of the leaders, no salvation is possible.
Now it is possible. Now the shadows are open. Now the world has a savior.
From this moment on, ideology is forbidden. Any idol at which you worship – be it mythical figure, figment of economics, ephemeral political position – is shattered as of now. You have seen what I can do when I open the shadows. And now you will see it again. Turn your eyes, world, to Jerusalem in three hours’ time.
And we stood there, not knowing quite what to make of it. I heard people crying. I heard a man near me say that he had family in Israel. And all I could think was, “He’s going to nuke it.”
I wasn’t wrong. The effect was much the same.
Tune in tomorrow!
curse the darkness
I posted that on my Livejournal, and I got a bunch of good responses. And then I decided this was going to be a role-playing game. Players were going to take the roles of people stuck in the world that He created, and they were going to be able to travel between shadows and dodge the monsters. They’d be able to rise up and strike a blow for equality, ideology and free thought, or maybe just manage to eke out a comfortable living.
There were some holes here, of course. “What do characters actually do?” was my biggest question, and it took me a while to figure that out. But at the time, I was having too much fun just writing the fiction.
Next post: A bit about the system of curse the darkness, and about why character creation has to be fast and simple.