Lost Souls


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By Ryder W. Miller

The Mayor looked out over her town. The sun had gone down, but the sky would still be alight for a half hour. It was a grubby town, with a lot of industry. Dankerville was not a picturesque. It was a place where people had to be very serious about working. The summers were hot and humid, and the winters were very cold. All kinds of industry thrived in Dankerville and there were not a lot of interesting buildings that could be seen from the heights of City Hall. Dankerville did not have its tourist attractions, those could be found elsewhere.

But Dankerville was an understanding town. All sorts, all kinds, lived there. The Mayor knew that she had to like the residents of his city even if people elsewhere would not understand them. Dankerville was a town where the odd dark ones could seek sanctuary in a country that did not like or understand them. They could find real jobs in this industrial town. Dankerville, despite the humidity, produced. Being responsible for all this industry was fun, but The Mayor allowed her town to have a dark side. All kinds of monsters lived in Dankerville. But there were some who wanted to reform or at least take precautions to control themselves. And what was a "monster" anyway? Was that not in the eye of the beholder? Who were mere mortals to call something dark when it could be considered great?

The Mayor was a monster herself. Most on the City Council had figured out the reason why she was not seen during the daylight. She told the city she needed her rest and would respond to inquiries in her own way. She had assistants who would send her messages to The City Council. At night she and a bunch of her friends would cleanse the city. Dankerville was a dangerous place and not for the faint of heart. It did no like victims. Dankerville was a blue-collar town with its own sports teams. But there were still a lot of people who moved to Dankerville expecting it to be idyllic. It was idyllic if you had an interest in the dark or the occult. Those who pursued such things were understood. But one did not need to be a ghoul of sorts to live in town. There were many "normal" people in town. Dankerville had a variety of folks, but people in the surrounding area knew that Dankerville had its sinister side. Many of the monsters lived in town because the macabre was understood there and the residents had a sense of humor about it.

Serena looked out over the city and decided that she would go for ride in the wind currents. She spread her arms and she was quickly aloft. The winds tonight were warm. It was mid summer and the cold would not arrive for months. She could rest in the winds absorbing the warmth. Dankerville was hers to do as she wished. The police understood the special needs of Dankerville's citizens. Many came there because there was no other place for them to go. Dark Serena would understand their special dark needs. She was welcomed at all sorts of late night gatherings. Dankerville was known for the occult and its dark ways, but most of who lived there were just normal citizens. Most got up in the morning and put their pants on one leg at a time. But there were also many who just spent the days indoors waiting for their time during the night. There were dangerous parties especially on the nights of the full moon.

Among those with their dark ways there were also those under the false notion that they wished to reform. There were forces of good in town who were causing all sorts of troubles. It was their fault because this was not their town. They should take their message elsewhere, but there were still laws that protected them. Others strove for acceptance or to be normal, but they would be happier elsewhere. Dankerville took each problem on a case by case basis. Most of the macabre citizens were "okay" and understandable. There were times where some had gone too far. There were situations where individuals did not show enough self control. There were also cases where vigilantism was necessary and preferable to neglect.

The city was especially lively on the nights of the full moon. Not only were their vampires out, there would also be werewolves. Werewolves went too far sometimes, but they behaved most nights of the month. Vampires at least had a history and a sort of status they needed to maintain. Vampires had all sorts of powers and one needed to understand that they needed to keep out of their way. Serena understood that there was a necessary learning curve for the residents of Dankerville. They needed to learn how to defend themselves. There were casualties in Dankerville, but they were to be expected. Death was something that happens. One needed to keep their eyes out for Death who would visit Dankerville often.

Dankerville knew what Death and his consorts looked like and would notice them as they walked down the street. People would point him out and some would goggle. Some would giggle. Death did not need a special invitation to visit Dankerville. He was a regular visitor and Serena had bumped into him on the streets of Dankerville a number of times. Tonight he would meet with her for coffee. There was something he needed to tell her.

"Happy to still see you still around," he said over coffee.

"Just trying to keep Dankerville special for the night people," Serena said.

"You have done a good job."

"You are welcome here."

"I have noticed. More of my kind will be moving in."

"You are welcome. Dankerville welcomes the citizens of the night."

"What about your mainstream constituency?"

"The dark are my real constituency. They others know what to expect. I don't really want to be a Mayor."

"But your constituency needs you."

"What have they done for me lately?"

"We were hoping to fight our way in. We wanted to cause some causalities."

"You will have to be more subtle. There will also be plenty of pollution poisoning cases this year."

"Oh goody."

"You will see a change in Dankerville."

"I will look forward to it. We need to let the rank and file know what is special about Dankerville."

Serena was fond of Death. He facilitated a natural process. He helped people go to the next stage. Serena understood that he could help in such matters. She had always wanted to meet some of his friends. Not every town would invite him or his colleagues with open arms. Dankerville was special. Dark, yes, beautifully dark, but also special. She wasn't able to stay at the café long with him. She had to return to City Hall for a night meeting and to write some letters.

That night Serena paused to look out over her city now under the stars. There was the chance for some to be free here. "Dank but also dark and dangerous. Ingrown and smelly, but oh so special."

Copyright Ryder W. Miller 2007

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