Thursday, November 01, 2012

The Shape

After taking the kids trick-or-treating, and then putting them to bed, my wife and I watched the second half of Halloween V: The Revenge of Michael Myers last night.  This post is partially based on that.

Disease and illness are always a problem in DARK•HERITAGE, and many have been brought down by the ravages of plagues and disease.  But among the most frightening and least understood are those that ravage the mind rather than the body.  Sometimes insanity can be explained--somewhat--the experience of severe trauma, for instance, leads to a somewhat understandable insanity.  Sometimes, though, it occurs for no reason that anyone can discern.  People are occasionally simply crazy.  Messed-up.  Something is born wrong with them, and it never gets better.  And sometimes, this can turn into violent fixations that put others around them at risk as well.

While a serial killer is frightening enough, there are times, for reasons that are completely unknown, when a serial killer with a fixation for violent death, when a serial killer becomes something less--and yet in other ways frighteningly more--than human.  Killers that seem unstoppable.  Endowed with superhuman strength, cunning, and a fiendish ability to be at the wrong place and the wrong time, these individuals become nearly unkillable, able to shrug off or heal from wounds that would kill a normal person many times over.

For reasons that are unknown, these Shapes--as they're sometimes called--become faceless and voiceless as well; in losing their humanity, they don faceless masks and utter no word or sound.  Some believe that this is some kind of ritual or curse that gives them their powers, others believe its a conscious choice, or even merely a coincidence.  But since nobody can say what gives these killers their seeming supernatural powers, nobody knows.

Numerous theories abound, and myths and urban legends are multiple.  Some say that these killers are not alive at all, but are some kind of ghost or other undead creature.  Others think them possessed by daemons or other evil spirits.  Others believe that they somehow accrue their own magic, and remain mortals--just magically augmented ones.  And there are many who dismiss any notion of supernatural powers at all, saying that the appearance of such is merely a side-effect of their mental pathology.

It is usually said that these Shapes can't be defeated.  They can be set back.  They can turn quiescent.  You can escape them, but not defeat them.

One of the most famous was one in Porto Liure who was originally called the Shape, and hence the source of the name.  As a "John Doe" in the Arcamo Asylum for many years, it is unknown who he was or where he came from, only that he had suffered some kind of serious injury as a child, since he was missing a hand and was fitted with the asylum doctors with a blunted hook.  But when he escaped, he focused on a small neighborhood in the outskirts of town, killing 11 civilians, mostly teenagers, and several City Watch guardsmen with a matchet and his hook, now mysteriously sharpened to a deadly weapon.  Although he was finally stopped, his body was not found, and occasionally rumors surface that he has come back to murder some more.  Frequently, these rumors are associated with illicit rendezvous by the unmarried young, prompting the belief that such can actually resurrect his spirit, others dismiss that as merely a cautionary tale invented to prevent youngsters from getting ideas.

The now aged Doctor Enrique Lumiço may be the only person alive who can shed any light on the mystery of the original Shape, or perhaps give some straight answers on what causes this phenomena, which has now been reported in other cities on occasion as well.  But he's notoriously reticent, and refuses to speak to most about the events some years ago which created the first mystery of the Shape.

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