Blister-Twist

Type: Warehouse, theoretically with Boutique "neighborhoods" of the township.

Entrances: Several rumored, and at least one (Twist-Piss) previously known to be in the possession of an infamously paranoid and now deceased toll-keeper by the name of Otto McCarthy, but none currently confirmed. News of a reliable cherry surfacing could spark a serious bidding war between several interested factions; if push came to shove, this might rapidly descend into bloody conflict along the lines of the late North-West Missouri War.

Transit Access: It seems that just about everything comes to Blister-Twist eventually, whether it be by road, rail, harbor or other transit. The Shuddering Storm famously makes landfall here with great regularity, blowing through the small town almost once a week during the rainy season; some cartographers (including Legend Kligrapp) have gone so far as to call this domain the infernal weather-system's "home port". In addition, the Creeping Dollhouse can be spotted lurching through the wilds along the outskirts of town on many days, and greasy pits in the empty forests are said to lead to their "twins" in the Lonely Woods. The tiny, almost picaresque train-station in downtown Blister-Twist serves several lines which run from Absear in the Silent City; it is unknown if the terrible Engine Driver of that place holds any practical power in town, but the foreign, militaristic Tonguers maintain a constant armed vigilance in that demon's name within the building proper. It should be noted that while inside the confines of Little Absear, the social and metaphysical laws of the larger station apply: everyone within is functionally illiterate, speech is forbidden, and wounds do not heal.

The tall, white-sailed ships of the Pale Merchants known so well in Tick-Tock also arrive regularly in the bay, easily navigating the broken boardwalks and shattered concrete edifices of the ruined waterfront, although the crews contained within behave less like salesmen and more like sailors on leave (or even pirates on raid) while docked. There is little to buy or sell within Blister-Twist, so the bound damned of this place are often used simply to vent the lusts and frustrations of the gibbering, inhuman traders; by and large, they go unnoticed by the Little Legionnaires of the Domain. The shunned and shuttered Main Street of Blister-Twist, however, marks the most major transit into and out of the village: it's a trickling tributary of Route 616, and all the badness that runs that road blows through Blister-Twist in some way or another on the way to and from Bulgone, Churmish, and other terrible places. In addition, many basement and cellar doors scattered across town open up into the Howling Corridor, although these are always locked, painted over and usually blockaded with heavy furniture; in this way, the town seemingly serves as a "central" domain to the Nether.

Of course, rumors persist that the great black rip in the horizon-paper to the west of town leads to something, but the only thing on the other side, so far, seems to be nothing at all.

The Place: Imagine the prettiest New England township ever sculpted from the rocky north-eastern shore by the hands of Puritans, with a church for every hundred people and an honest soul to keep out the chill. Now shoot it through the very heart with three hundred years of ugly progress, and a cold-smirking tourist-trap sensibility, all fake antiques up and down the historic downtown Square and over-priced fried clams by the boardwalk, with fat tourists from Manhattan dropping their empty Styrofoam cups in the water for the gulls to choke on. Give it bad winters and worse recessions, teen suicides and black lung from the coal mines; mix in mental illness and over-fishing and a few good sex scandals just for spice. Alcoholism and domestic abuse. Child molestation and meth getting cooked up in the trailers out by the dump. Tourists gone down to Florida, these days, or out to Cali. Personal tragedy and religious zealotry, a murder or two and just a wee bit of haunting in a few of the old buildings that are slowly shutting down as the town dies.

Now, just abandon the town for fifty years. Nobody lives there any more. Rotting into the earth, stinking of the fish that die when they get within a mile of the poisonous shore and wash up in rancid clumps of white, rotted fat and slick black algae drifts.

Then bring in a three-thousand-boy cast of "Lord of the Flies: the Musical," unafraid of death and told to have as much fun as they can, turning them loose with hammers on waves of old people, sick people, weak people.

Screws: They're not Halloween children wearing blood-stained, brightly-painted animal masks, and they're not dwarfs with cleavers, black eyes and grins. They're not greys toting cordless drills instead of anal probes, and they're not hammer-wielding rabid chimpanzees dressed up as tiny soldiers. And they are most certainly not were-rats or goblins or gremlins or even imps. But somehow, they're all of these things … at least a little bit.

The screws of Blister-Twist are industrious, mechanically-inclined, excitable little monsters, given to flights of artistic fancy and childlike glee and the military precision of many, many six-year-olds being governed by a cadre of preteens with a dark interest in Nazi history. Their tendency to dress up in strange costumes while they march through the city in loose formations and ride their creaking, cobbled-together bicycles may have given them the name "Little Legionnaires"; famously, Boyd Shultey popularized the term after observing a group of the bastards wearing prop centurion helmets crucifying a baby-raper.

These little fuckers aren't hard to kill, at least compared to most screws. One good gunshot to the chest is usually all it takes; for the bigger ones, which are still usually less than 100 lbs., a shotgun blast will almost always do the trick. The problem is that there are over 3,000 of them, according to an estimate from Azrael Scheiss, and they don't seem to be afraid of dying. Maybe they come back to life or something, spit out of the big rip on the western sky already wearing the unblinking masks over their huge, dark, liquid-filled sockets. In gangs of three, or five, or fifteen, or one hundred and fifty, or fifteen hundred and one, they swarm across town in waves looking for people walking around. And those people, they hurt. When they get bored, they go and hurt people who are already nailed to things.

Keeping people nailed to things is a full-time job. The only times they hunker down and stay inside is when the Shuddering Storm passes through: the lightning is worse for them than it is for the damned … and when the wind gets high, and the windows rattle, and the Little Legionnaires are all inside and hiding from the thunder, the baby-rapers make it their job to get free. And then to eat and fuck each other, and maybe get the hell out of town.

Citizens: The ravages of age, disease, hunger, disuse and sloth rule here. Basically, the damned of Blister-Twist don't get out much. Or, at least, they're not supposed to - and to that end, the Little Legionaries are constantly on the job, day and night, forever nailing those troublesome citizens back into place. Across town, the sounds of hammers, staple-guns, screwdrivers, soldering irons and saws in use towards the ultimate, unattainable goal of total restraint all-but-drown-out the constant screaming, sobbing, coughing and cursing. Those damned who pry themselves free, often yanking away pounds of infected flesh and broken, brittle bone in the process, stumble naked and terrified through the streets searching for food, water, and shelter. The only thing to eat, sadly, is other baby-rapers: nothing grows here except people … and infections. And it's tough to make a meal of another living being, unfortunately, no matter how wounded and restrained your feast may be. Screams and the smell of blood attract the one authority in town: the Little Legionnaires, and their ever-excited, over-eager construction projects.

On the plus side, it's impossible to die in Blister-Twist. A thumb-sized nub of nerve-endings jutting from a half-foot of splintered, severed spine nailed to a wall might not look like a living person, but it's still alive and able to feel pain just fine, here in town. Blind, sure, and crippled and deaf and probably lacking anything approaching a long-term or even short-term memory, but alive all the same. And injuries inflicted in Blister-Twist heal with remarkable speed … whether the locals want them to or not. Festering wounds thick with pus seal up over nails and splinters, and dense clots of bone wrap confusedly around staples and railroad spikes alike. Skin begins to fuse with carpet and couches after a while, and blood from busted fingers runs into the drywall, caking there until runny bits of hair and flesh-colored liquid starts seeping around the cracks between bricks. At some point, the whole mass has got to be yanked away like a foot-long, inch-thick fractal-hangnail. That is, if you can get the angle right and can summon the strength, and without making any noise.

One particular oddity marks the damned of Blister-Twist: apex physicality. Those few souls able to free themselves to eat, and eat often, become paragons of strength, size, youth, vigor and power. Baby-rapers with the skill to avoid re-capture for long periods of time can grow to monstrous proportions feeding on their fellows, lurking in the darkness beneath buildings or even in the caves up in the hills; the largest ever recorded by a team of 'crashers was over 800 pounds and almost 9 feet tall when it was brought down in a hail of shotgun fire. It's been suggested that some damned have grown even larger, and rumors speak of a beast living in the sewers beneath town reportedly twenty feet tall and weighing almost five thousand pounds.

Of course, nobody can actually produce proof of such a creature. And nothing can avoid the attentions of the Little Legionnaires forever.

Shackles: "Oh, Jesus. I could swear that we just fucking passed that place. What the fuck is that building over there? Was that there before?"

Although the sea-side town of Blister-Twist itself is relatively small, covering only about twelve square miles of worn, winding cobblestone streets, half-burned colonial-era churches, barren-earth lawns full of dead trees and rows of shattered-out store-fronts, the choked alleys and crumbling bridges of the city serve as a maze which tends to befuddle outsiders and damned alike; there are famously over 10,000 houses in the village, running the gamut from ruined antebellum mansions to gutted piles of brick, rust and twisted steel, and all of them like to wander around at night when nobody is watching. Getting into town is easy, and leaving town is pretty easy too, as long as you can keep yourself pointed at a landmark and use a major roadway, but finding a subtle path between any two points in-town is an exercise in maddening futility: fences and hedgerows and smoldering piles of garbage seem to pop up in the worst places, forcing detours and turns, and there's always a bricked-over alley entrance or a condemned building that seems to suddenly appear in the way when you think you've got a clear path. The few roads marked as such are always misleading, and every street in the city is in bad disrepair and poorly laid-out, going around and around and up and down without apparent purpose. The light here is low, grayish and gritty, no matter if it's sleeting, snowing, spitting rain or outright storming. Maps are useless, but a compass, oddly, is not.

Outside of town, in the wilds that run from the beach at the east edge all the way out to the fake horizon-wall in the west, the entire Domain covers something like 500 square miles of quiet woods, empty farms and rivers of something that smells like rubbing alcohol but isn't sterile. Nothing grows here, but the Little Legionnaires ride out here on their bicycles constantly, looking for things to cut up and pull back to town in their wagons and wheelbarrows.

Go far enough north or south, and the whole place "wraps". There's the city again.

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