Creating curse the darkness

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Posted on May 30, 2017

The direct inspiration for curse the darkness was a song. My brother sent me a link to A Perfect Circle’s cover of John Lennon’s “Imagine” some years back. I like the original well enough, but the cover really got my brain moving. I tend to see scenes and characters and stories when I hear music anyway, and when I heard that song (which you can find easily enough on Youtube, if you want to give it a listen before buying it), I saw a man standing on a balcony looking out over the ruined world. The ground was blasted and blackened, and he — whoever he was — stood there thinking, “Yes, this was the right decision. I did the right thing.”

Who was he? What had happened? I didn’t know. I did know that the message of the song felt different with the cover. Instead of “let’s all get along,” it was “get along, and that’s not a request.” I let that sit in my brain for a while, not really knowing what to do with it.

And then in 2009, I stumbled across a photo album online with a bunch of pictures from a Tea Party rally. I look over people carrying signs that advertised their hatred, ignorance and prejudice, and I found myself thinking about the man on the balcony and why he destroyed the world. His philosophy — take care of people or else — became a zero-sum game. You did that, or you died.

To that idea, I added the imagery of shadows opening and monsters emerging. I’ve been enamored of the idea of travel using shadows as portals for years; it shows up in Abyss Mysticism in Dark Ages and as a fetch power in Changeling: The Lost. There’s just something really cool about the idea of touching a shadow and opening it, walking through a wall and emerging somewhere else (and, of course, I’ve been in long-distance relationships and fervently wished for that kind of instant travel). Combining those two things with the anger I was feeling, I sat down and wrote this:

Here’s What Happened

Everyone remembers where they were when the Vatican fell. Or when the Dome of the Rock was pulled down. Or when Parliament and Congress were simultaneously invaded from the inside. During any one of the attacks, we know where we were.

But where were you when you found out about Him? When you found out that it was all connected?

So many crazy stories around 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. A server, a website, a router… Oh right, I forgot. 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 front 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.