The Lonely Woods

(AKA Wood of Suicides, the Hollow Woods, the Moaning Wood)

Type: Warehouse

Entrance: Little Angelo's Hiding-Place, a coat-closet tucked under the stairs in a collapsing brownstone in Chicago. Finding the number of the apartment, tracking down the correct recipe for scuttling back-behind the closet's rear wall and dealing with the squatters in the crack-house are an adventure in and off themselves.

It is rumored that there are many more entrances to Lonely-Wood - every 'Crasher with a little bit of Hell-Lore seems to have heard tell of at least a half-dozen others - but Little Angelo's Hiding Place is
the only one that can be pinned down with anything approaching semi-regularity. Most crews will sell their info on how to get there for relatively low prices (less than a grand), and depending on the time of year, usually in summer, the dilapidated brownstone may actually be abandoned.

Every early winter, however, another generation of drug users seem to move in - and the first 'crash team of each season to show up at the door with shotguns, flashlights, rations and camping gear in tow inevitably has to deal with a small mess, a big payout and occasionally a fire-fight.

Teams with access to a better Entrance may well keep such a thing secret.

Transit Access: The Furlough Bus Line and the Howling Corridor both connect with Lonely Woods, but Furlough is erratic in the extreme and the Howling Corridor's door requires a special key.

There are notes, markings and graffiti carved into the trees & rocks (and therefore, the baby-rapers) near many of the mist-filled pits, but a smart 'crasher regards anything he finds in Hell with a healthy
level of skepticism. A chasm without any graffiti near it is a dangerous gamble, as it may be "newer" than the others - as to how this works, no 'crasher can say. Some frequent users of Lonely-Wood attest that the best way to get a bearing on which pit leads to where (and to avoid one of the "wandering pits") is to speak with the Silent Wolf at the Crossroads, but that has its own dangers.

Citizens: Lonely-Wood residents are part of the landscape; stuck partway into the very trees, rocks and earth that make up the Wood. Their crimes in life are many and varied, but their punishment is universally a separation from all others - none are within arm's reach of any other resident, and they are starved for affection and human contact as much as they are for food and water.

Bringing even a small amount of McDonald's food, some heroin, a boom-box or a porno magazine into the Wood is a very good way to buy the favor of perhaps HUNDREDS of residents at once, many of whom will
fall all over themselves (figuratively speaking) to shout helpful things to well-stocked 'Crashers in hopes of even a conversation.

Unfortunately, this is also a very good way summon vast hordes of Crows.

Shackles: The Crows. These shackles watch for intruders who bring even the least bit of nourishment, succor or company to their charges - often, they will swarm to eat and shit upon whatever is offered to the sad folks of Lonely-Wood.

The Crows themselves are not particularly dangerous, dealing only small amounts of damage with their beaks and talons, but they CAN blind or cripple a man if given enough time. In addition, they are almost preternaturally smart, capable of opening backpacks or flying off with maps. Crows will do their level best to harass & separate a team of 'Crashers, getting them to twist their ankles in dry riverbeds or flee out of earshot - those who lose track of their crews can get turned around and lost with frightening ease, simple prey for the
Screaming Skinnies.

Screws: The Screaming Skinnies. These tall, emaciated black twists of flesh dwell in the cracks between objects and pull those they catch into their thin, sweaty, slick knot-holes in the roots. They fling their forms between trees, scattering twigs and crows as they go, making a song like a broken fire-engine.

Those who have seen the Screaming Skinnies (and survived) place them within a wide range of quite horrible parameters - their skin has been described as everything from wet and rubbery to jagged and bark-like, their faces as anywhere between asymmetrical and writhing to slickly featureless. A few 'Crashers have claimed that Skinnies never touch the ground, staying in contact only with the trees, while one survivor mumbles repeated references to "masks" when asked about the Skinnies, and spends days drawing dozens of pictures of them hiding inside closets and under beds in the Waking World.

The few unambiguous descriptions place Screaming Skinnies between eight and twelve feet tall, black as pitch and inhumanly thin – their fingers are two to three feet long and crooked like unbent wire hangers, their chests the width of a can of tennis balls. If there are joints to the ceramic-hard bodies of the Skinnies, they can flex at angles resembling lightning bolts and rotate at degrees that hurt the eye.

Their speed is legendary, but it is their ear-splitting screams that mark their approach and departure - they seem to dislike crowds, and have never been seen in groups larger than three at a time. The only
evidence that more than three or four even exist is anecdotal, having to more to do with the disparity of their physical descriptions and with hearing far-off return-screams when the Skinnies move than anything approaching hard fact.

The most dangerous aspect of Skinnies is that they only wail when they want to - a few 'Crashers have reported being horrified to discover that Skinnies had peeled out of the hollows of trees and slunk from
rabbit holes in the earth to soundlessly surround them, regarding the team with curiosity before bounding freakishly and howling into the treeline - sometimes with souvenirs tucked into their gaping mouths or under their arms.

The Place: Lonely-Wood is a Hell without seasons or days - it is always a late, grey afternoon on a cold autumn day, suffused with the moans of the Lonely and the creak of bone-brittle trees. Rain is intermittent, oily, bitter and freezing. Hands tug and claw at 'Crashers who walk too close to the trees: some angrily, some hungrily, and many blindly. Digging past the thick carpet of rotting leaves and more than a few inches into the black soil universally reveals broken body parts, usually feet, most often accompanied by thick sobs from far-submerged throats choked with dirt.

Getting lost is easy and often deadly.

The Crossroads, The Lake of Cold Tears

The Crossroads: This strange place appears to be several square blocks of an abandoned suburb into which the horrible grey reality of Lonely-Wood has inserted itself, bursting through the earth and choking out the sky.

At the outskirts, street signs can be seen jammed, bent and rusted into the earth; within a few yards, the shattered remnants of houses make harsh silhouettes in-between the trees. Before long, 'Crashers can find evidence of abandoned human habitation in the form of long-left-idle cars on the broken tree-filled streets, overgrown yards littered with rusted chairs, grills and lawnmowers, and even dusty and filth-surrounded convenience stores.

In some of these places, the old camping sites of earlier 'Crashers can be found - crushed packs of smokes and empty soda cans, dead batteries and other litter mark the passage of the living in the realms of the dead.

Screaming Skinny
Screws of the Lonely Woods
Athletics 7 (Climb), Brawn 6 (Brawl), Reflex 3 (Dodge), Survival 5 (Stealth), Brawler
Weapons: Beat & Toss Around Dam x2
Bruised 8, Battered 12, Beaten 16, Dying 35
All Firearms do Dam 1 to Screaming Skinnies.
Screaming Skinnies can make one Dodge as a Free Action each round.
Once every scene, a Screaming Skinny can emit a howl that is stress 4 to anyone that can hear it.

Suicide Crows
Shackles of the Lonely Woods
Athletics 3 (fly), Brawn 0, Perception 3, Reflex 4, Resolve 2, Survival 3 (Navigation)
Flaws: Crows cannot use the qualities of Aim, Education, Persuade or Technology.
Weapons: Beak & Claws x1
Dying 5

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