“Blessed is the beast that knows its purpose.”
Something has begun to creep in from the woods at night … something that stalks a young girl along deserted streets …
by Robert Dunbar
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An excerpt from WOOD by Robert Dunbar:
Towns and cities grow in spurts, sometimes encroaching upon places better left alone, areas that through a sort of negative geography remain neither forest nor park, neither rural nor urban. No proper designations exist. Unnamed and unclaimed, such regions appear on no map. They never have. Perhaps always they seemed too insignificant: half a lot, a strip of woodland, an acre of bog. Dead space. Easily overlooked or deliberately ignored. As though, all along, people knew … or at least suspected.
Yet such places exist everywhere. In every village. Every suburb. Ask any child. They form the terrain of all the darkest fairytales, the landscape of nightmares.
Alleyways through the worst sections of town inevitably empty into overgrown fields, scruffy and menacing and strewn with rubbish. Bad places. Dwellings on these outskirts slouch toward bitter soil. Boards splinter. Bricks crumble into gravel. So many futile walls loom, intermittent with tilting fences of all variety, a plethora of barricades (as though residents sincerely believed it could be kept at bay). Behind cinderblock barriers, chains rattle as dogs howl out their rage and fear. It is not wilderness that creeps up against these blighted neighborhoods.
Perhaps someday mankind will invent a term for that which seeps in, someday when the cities have decayed and the suburbs have withered and the bad places have inherited the earth. Perhaps, at last, the survivors will know Hell when they see it.