Death Is The Only Cure
In the town of Crow Hollow, the changing of the seasons leaves its townspeople on edge. As summer turns to fall, the cool, damp air brings the return of a malevolent force. Each year the Headless Horseman rides and each year something beckons him to begin his hunt. Crow Hollow’s wet marshlands and sodden forest beds also give rise to another force of nature terrorizing this once sleepy town.
The Crow’s Claw mushroom thrives in the damp and decay, spreading uncontrollably when fed by any decomposition. Anyone unlucky enough to cross its path when it begins to spore quickly loses control of their nervous system, losing their mind and eroding into something far from human, stretching and calcifying its host with an almost crow-like appearance. This organism is both an intelligent and invasive species that can only survive and become active when the conditions are right. Some say their chemical compounds can both kill and wake the dead. Once the Crow’s Claw colony has peaked, there is little that can be done to stop the spread. It is this very chemical that beckons the horseman each year, drawing him closer to his tomb as he follows their distinct scent of rot through the forest’s fog.
Each autumn the Horseman rides, trapped for centuries between our world and the spectral plane. He relentlessly hunts for his physical body, destroying anything and anyone who crosses his path. Legend has it that the Horseman does not ride alone. Afflicted by the mushroom, these disfigured henchmen are driven to collect more mushrooms and deposit them at the colony’s center; the Horseman’s Tomb. A systematic and symbiotic relationship between this world and the next.
The townspeople have lived in fear of the Horseman's spirit reaching his body for generations, birthing the lore that should his spirit ever reach his tomb, he will stop at nothing to find a head to replace his own. The Headless Horseman of soul and body combined is the bringer of the unimaginable chaos and destruction of hell on earth. Residents have dedicated their lives to diverting him from this path and controlling these colonies however they could without becoming infected themselves. Despite extensive research and self preservation, it appears that death is the only cure.
At the heart of each year’s spread, controlling the spread has become the responsibility of the cemetery’s caretaker. Avoiding infection himself, his fascination with the power of the Crow's Claw mushroom has driven him to uncover new means of controlling the colony. Control the colony, you control the Horseman. Control the Horseman and you control the wrath of hell itself.
The caretaker has been able to farm small colonies year-round using corpses in various stages of decay. Whether the motive be for the greater good or an abuse of power, the colonies must stay fed and controlled. The people of Crow Hollow are determined to prevent the Horseman from reaching his body by any means necessary. If that means sacrificing a stranger for their own survival, they will. Fear drives humans to the brink of sanity and morality, blurring the lines of right and wrong.
What would you do for power beyond your imagination?
What would you do to survive?
For years the townspeople have lived in fear that once the Horseman’s spirit reaches his body he will unleash havoc and hell beyond their wildest dreams. They’ve dedicated their lives to doing whatever it takes to stray him from this path, desperately leading him off the scent to their farmed and controlled colonies of the fungus.
The mushroom colonies must be fed and this town has already sacrificed enough, forcing its townspeople to seek out new means and methods of nurturing their farmed diversion. The Horseman reaching his body is out of the question and the people of Crow Hollow will do everything in their power to make sure the Crow’s Claw stays fed and the Horseman’s ghost stays at bay.
That may require sacrificing a guest or two to save themselves. Beware!
The Lunar Motel
Everyone has their secrets, and there are shadows following us all.
One by one the cars fill the parking spots, the food truck, the business sedan, the pickup loaded with all forms of trash and treasures. Into the final spot rolls the family wagon. It’s filled with the noises of children who have been less than entertained with their drive. A weary father gets out just looking for some rest. He walks into the office, signs the guest book, gets a key, and gets scanned for spores. A good night’s sleep, maybe a hot shower in the morning that will help, he thinks to himself. But those things are far from what he will find here at the Lunar Motel.
What this weary father soon finds is that this hotel has a history. A history of unexplained disappearances, screams of fear and iniquitous figures lurking in the shadows. Not long after slipping into the world of dreams, he is awoken by the blood curdling screams from the next room. He busts open the door, only to find....
It's Room #2... we'll let you decide for yourselves.....
Glutton's Diner and Slaughter House
“Waitress, there’s a fly in my soup.” Consider yourself lucky if that’s all you find.
From the roadside, Glutton’s looks like any other diner. Once you enter that all changes. Inside you meet a crass waitress, barking orders to the kitchen and delivering meals to the customers. Customers that are slumped over the counter.
Are they asleep? Are they DEAD? From the kitchen window comes the stench of burnt meat. Down the hall and into the kitchen you meet the proprietor, Glutton. Shod in his chef’s coat, he keeps the orders filled. But what was that on the plate? Was that a finger? Where is he getting his meat?
Behind the diner is his source, the Slaughterhouse. Animals being butchered. Their meat, sourced from Butcher Joe’s in Crow Hollow, hanging from the hooks, waiting to be used. Was that a head hanging next to the pig carcass? As you pass through the bowels of the processing area, you come across the truth. Not only are animals being carved for their meat, but there are bodies awaiting the same fate. Head for the loading dock to make your escape. Do not delay, or you may be tomorrow’s blue plate special.
Mama Rose's Swamp Shack
If you knew how you died, would that change how you lived?
The names may have been different, the crazy old woman, the witch, the old hag, Mama Rose. But the stories were all the same. Never go down to that shack. Don’t talk to her. And more importantly, NEVER listen to what she says.
Just on the outskirts of Crow Hollow, near Terpening’s farm, is a beaten down shack. Broken down by time and by neglect. Living in that shack is a haggard old woman, named Rose. Or more specifically Mama Rose. Rumor says that she was once the wife of a very prosperous businessman in Crow Hollow, until he disappeared. Most people believe Mama Rose was to blame for his disappearance.
You see, Mama Rose believes she can see into a person’s future, including the way they die. And many townspeople believe the same. Some claim to have seen it. Farmers getting run over by their own tractors. Lumberjacks killed by the trees they were cutting down. All of these would seem to be accidents until you find out that Mama Rose had seen it all happen, years before it did. While others, changed careers altogether, just to be claimed by the very means that Mama Rose had spelled out.
So if you happen to come across that old shack and specifically Mama Rose. Cover your ears and clear your mind or she may tell you your fate. For some of you that fate is a long way off. But for many of you, it is just around the next corner.
Evil Reaping: Dark Harvest Corn Maze
First of all, it was October, a rare month for boys; full of cold winds, long nights, dark promises. Days get short. The shadows lengthen. The wind warms in such a way, you want to run forever through the fields, because up ahead, ten thousand pumpkins lie waiting to be cut. – Ray Bradbury
Pumpkins to be cut, corn to be reaped and souls to be harvested. The fields here grow more than you know and take more than you may be willing to give. Although you enter this field at night and believe that shadows don’t exist in the dark, I am here to tell you that night is simply one large shadow. As you make your way through the fields keep your eyes open and your mind closed. The deranged, the friendless, the insane and indigent all call this field their home now. Souls lost to the shadows. Bodies twisted and transformed by the very stalks they walk amongst. Are they still seeking the path out? Or are they trying to make you join them?
So many souls lost. So many lives changed forever. Heed my warning or join them in their torment. Torment from the shadows that destroys their minds and pulls their souls from them.
Lucy Fear's Circus Side Show
Twenty-two years of torment, fear, rumors and shadows.
Torment for the town residents,
Fear of what would happen next,
Rumors of what had come to pass,
And Shadows of the souls that once were.
Lucy Fear and her band of freaks and geeks have long been the talk of Crow Hollow. They have been the bringers of joy, the purveyors of pleasure and the traffickers of terror. Long gone are the squeals of children, the oohs and ahs of guests. These have been replaced by the wails of mothers looking for their lost child, the shrieks of victims pierced from behind and the cackles of Lucy’s lunatics.
All forms of souls now call this tattered tent their home, the Deformed, the Deranged, the Distraught and the Deadly. Souls Deformed since birth, their only purpose to draw the sympathy of those who pass by. The Deranged, long trapped here and forced to answer every one of Lucy’s requests. The Distraught, those still looking for the loved one that has disappeared into the shadows. And the Deadly, those that once brought joy and laughter to young and old, the Clowns. Dealers in Death. Lucy decries and they answer the call.
Will you make it out of the tent with the memories of what you saw? Or will your soul slip into the shadows and never return?
The Horseman's Tomb
"Do you want until Death separates you, to be faithful to Her for all days?"
The Headless Horseman. A story, a folk tale, a legend. Or is it?
Here in the quiet valley known as Crow Hollow, we know the truth. The Horseman is real and is a source of constant concern. Evil is an opportunist. It strikes only when the conditions are right. And this year the conditions have been perfect...
Heavy rains this summer have left the crops decimated and decaying. The only things that flourish in these conditions are the fungi. The king of fungi in this area is the Crow’s Claw. The Crow’s Claw is strange in the fact that not only does it spread by releasing spores into the air, but it also grows a root system. A root system that has been found to be a mile long at times.
It is in years like this that they arrive. The Harvesters. They collect the fungus by the thousands, depositing their rotting flesh at the mouth of the Horseman’s Tomb. The smell of death and decay permeates the air. Evil stirs, the air goes cold and the Horseman arises.
Now as you stand at the entrance of that very tomb, will you be able to enter? Will you make it out? Do you feel the cold breath of the earth keeping you from entering? Is that the night chill raising the hairs on your neck? Or is it the cold blade of the Horseman?
Crow's Cage Maze
There on the hilltop, you see it. A structure surrounded by an eerie fog. People in these parts call it The Crow’s Cage, for this is the place where the Harvesters go with their collections of Crow’s Claw mushrooms. Here on the outskirts of town the Crow’s Claw mushroom reaches the end of its life cycle, increasing in size until millions of spores enter the air to find new hosts.
That is the fog you see. Millions if not billions of spores searching for a new host. Mushrooms are known for attaching to dead and decaying things, but not these. They have the ability to attach to healthy living organisms.
Do not breathe deeply or the spores will take over your mind. They will make you see things that aren’t there. They will cloud your judgment. Leaving you to wander the pathways forever, slowly going insane, until death finally cures you...
Roots of Evil
Evil runs deep they say.
For the residents of Crow's Hollow, those words have never rung truer. Under the right conditions, the Crow’s Claw mushroom population explodes. And this year the conditions have never been better.
The root system of the Crow’s Claw spreads almost as quickly as the spores do on the wind. The roots searching for their next host like fingers reaching for something in the dark. One of the largest clusters of these roots is located here under the greenhouse in the corner of the cornfield.
Farmer Terpening experimenting with ways to control the fungus, has succumbed to it. It has invaded his mind. It now controls his every move. He spends every waking hour in that greenhouse searching for the right host to allow the Crow’s Claw to live in all conditions. Bodies have gone missing from the local cemetery. Now with most of the graves emptied, he is testing it on the living.
Keep your wits about you. Keep moving. Stay on the path.
The Feeding: Blood Thirsty
Once a bustling center of innovation and progress, this medical facility and sanitarium has lain dormant for decades after an unknown contagion spread through the wards like a plague. Dramatically affecting the nervous system and behavior, this parasite created violent delusions and fevered hallucinations that caused its host to become aggressive. Unpredictable.
Before long, the infected became impossible to contain. Once the state intervened, its doors were shuttered and any local hysteria was swiftly extinguished. Maybe the answer and cure has always been here within these walls.
Or maybe this seething plague was just trapped inside and never meant to be set free. Only one way to find out.
This house lives, breathes, and longs for a family of its own. Through the cracks in the plaster with jealous, watchful eyes, this entity in the walls has taken everything it knows about a family to create the perfect mother. The Unmother yearns for a child of her own to squeeze and hold. Something to stay here and love forever. But it is a curse to love so violently.
A child is just so fragile and can only be held just so tightly, keeping her on the hunt for replacement after replacement. And in the twisting, bending shadows won’t you take comfort in Mother’s arms?
She’ll keep you safe.