1

You arrived after a day of rain. That wouldn’t mean a thing anywhere else, but considering we are talking about a town in the middle of the desert… It meant a lot. A lot more than you could probably understand, but all of the cells in our bodies knew that something was going on. Well, of course, not that one. No, that one didn’t either. That lazy one on Rita Saez’s shoulder sort of had an idea, but I wouldn’t say it actually “knew” what was going on. Yeah, no, definitely that one did not, either.

Of course, citizens of Fiery Creek tend to be quite wary of tourists at first. Why, you ask? It’s the desert, I guess? You could say that we have trust issues, which we probably do. You could say that it is because we hide secrets, and nobody in this town would dare to claim that accusation is false. In fact, too many secrets for anyone, even the folks of this town, to fully understand.

But the fact is that, when you arrived, after a day of heavy rain which had left the streets muddy, the town went silent. It took us a while to appreciate the richness of the silence around us – we had grown accustomed to the noise -; it took quite a long time for some people to realize (Yes, you know I’m talking about you, Dave and Tina. You are a couple of slow mother*******).

So, of course, there was, in a sense, grounds to be wary, which was the reason why you didn’t see anyone until you got almost to the very centre of the town and found me carelessly trying to clean the walkway to my home.

“Hello!” you greeted.

“Hello” I answered, quite surprised.

“I just arrived in town. Is this Fiery Creek? There were no signs or indications in the map” you asked.

“Yes, it is, it is” I felt urged to answer. I introduced myself, and then… For some reason I felt the urge to ask you. “What brought you here?”

And now that you know a little more about city regulations, you know that it is against the law to inquire or ask any outsider about their intentions for visiting the town. This made my question, and the conversation that ensued, completely illegal, and the neighbourhood watch (composed uniquely by Doris Waters, a lovely 72 year-old hag who is always peeking at her neighbours lives because she has nothing else to do – Damn it, Doris! Find yourself a hobby!) did not take long to call the police.

“I’m Anne Black. I came to this town… looking for answers, I guess”.

“So you’re not here for any paranormal stuff? 90% of the tourists that come here come looking for paranormal phenomena to study, and the other 10% only get here by accident”.

“No, no, I’m not looking for any of that… I just… I’m looking for someone”.

I was going to recommend visiting the Registry of Lost and Found, if you were looking for anyone, when the Police arrived, sirens on, in several vans. They were all dressed in black, wearing their assault equipment with them, and soon had my house surrounded. You were confused, and put your arms in the air, but the police were there to get me.

The assault team approached slowly. I knew what was going on – in Fiery Creek, it is only normal to be in that kind of situation for everyone at least once a year – and I did not feel like going back to the Gulag where they kept law offenders for a week. So I tried to run for it, of course. I had prepared several escape routes for the time when this happened, and I always had a hand grenade on me, just in case.

I threw the grenade against one of the Police vans, which exploded in a large fireball. To be fair, this had not been a very good escape plan to begin with. Every single citizen of Fiery Creek needs to stare at any fire for a good 10 seconds before they can actually do anything. No, no, this is not part of town regulations. This is a biological thing, apparently a sector of our brain paralyzes the body for ten seconds at the sight of fire. It’s highly impractical, if you ask me, but you get used to it.

When we could all finally react – you were screaming in terror, which is quite normal for someone from the outside world -, I tried to run to a hole that I had dug in my backyard, from which emerged several tunnels in one of the most complicated networks that has ever been built. I’m very proud of that. Look, let me show you a map. Yes, well, that house sank and got destroyed because I dug the tunnel right below it. Hey, it’s not my fault that your house had a shitty foundation, Larry.

I never got there, though. The police had snipers in the area, and I got shot before I could even turn around. That was not fun. Getting shot in the right lung and the left knee: 1 star out of five. Would not recommend. That had been new for me, quite a surprise, because I didn’t know that the town police had trained snipers (maybe that explained why their budget had increased so much in the last year).

Long story short, the police took me to the hospital, where I got some treatment for my wounds, and then to the Gulag, where I had to undergo re-education for about a week. I did manage to escape, but I’m not telling anyone the route (I may need to use it in future occasions).

But this is not a story about me. This is a story about you, Anne Black. This is a story about your search for the truth.

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Neighbours of Fiery Creek, 12/05/2016

This is a public space to send messages to neighbours, to strengthen our community bonds and resolving our disputes. No form of violent comments will be tolerated, so refrain from sending them to this forum. Thank you.

From D. near the centre. John, I have gone through your garden again. I have already told you that you should get ready of those horrible cacti that you have there and should plant petunias, like everyone else in our street. If you don’t change them soon, I’ll be forced to call the police to take disciplinary action.

From John. Doris, shut up with your f*cking petunias already. I’ve told you countless times that nothing else grows in this area. Deal with it, and get rid of those dead plants in your front yard.

From D. near the centre. This is not Doris. Also, you could be a little more polite in your responses. My comment was just for the good of the community.

From Liza. Of courze it’s Doreez. You are zo annoying wiz the flowerz. Thiz iz the dezert, juzt get uzed to it.

From Dom. Definitely Doris.

From Ryan. It’s Doris, obviously.

From D. near the centre. I’ve said I am not Doris! Customs are to be respected. Petunias have been grown in our street for the last 25 years, and that’s how things work. Immigrants and young people like you should get accustomed to the customs of the community you join, not destroy them.

From Eleanor. Doris, please. Calm down.

From BHKFWEHGERN. Found a toaster, is anyone interested?

From Ba’al, Prince of Hell. Andrew, remember that you are on duty this weekend. Make sure to clean the black goat’s cage, and feed it the organic grass. Also, primaries tomorrow. Make sure you all vote for the right candidate, SATAN! ALL HAIL SATAN!

From Minion of the Dark Warlock Overlord. Satan is corrupt! He may have fallen, but he is actually an angel, you shouldn’t vote for him! If you want real evil, as marked by the American tradition, you should vote for the DARK WARLOCK OVERLORD!!!

Fiery Creek Public Service Announcements, 11/05/2016

The following Public Service Announcement has been made public by Town Council on the 11th May 2016. Its aim is to let citizens know that:

  1. Cats and Dogs have finally reached a truce in their territorial war. From now on, the districts of Fiery Creek will be tagged as dog free or cat free. Pet owners will have to move houses according to the pets they own. The city centre will be reserved as a shared space, for citizens that may own both types of animals. These changes will be enforced immediately, and no later than the 20th May 2016. Check the Town Council website for more information.
  2. Remind the citizens in the Old Creek district, especially the ones living near the Old Faerie Caliph Palace, that summoning thunder storms to power Frankenstein monsters or perform other such experiments into town is strictly forbidden and punished by the law. Such activity has now called the attention of the authorities and will be investigated. For reference, check a list of illegal scientific experiments in Fiery Creek Law, page 1437 (remember that the law is subject to change, and make sure to obtain updated documents).
  3. Current predictions point out that the desert may be on fire in the next few weeks. The gravel, rocks and sand that surround our town will probably burn with a green flame, signifying the arrival of terrible catastrophe to the world. This may have something to do with the presidential elections that are being carried out in the nation, but there is no way to know. Make sure that you get your Amazon deliveries before the fire starts, because we will probably be isolated for a long time.
  4. The Town Council needs volunteers for the Spring Fair this weekend. We will gather early in the morning to put up the stalls that will be full of pies, fruit, vegetables and poisonous snakes, as every spring. The volunteers will be chosen randomly from the population and teleported into the venue at around 7AM. Thank you for your cooperation!

Important Sites of Fiery Creek 1: Town Hall

It is quite easy to get to town hall. You just need to desire to want to go there. You may want to go there to visit the building, built in 1873 in the style that famous town Oracle Diane Vines predicted would be trendy in 2073. I would describe what it looks like, but a common thing with buildings of that style is that they are indescribable in physiological terms, which means that the language processing centres of the brain get blocked when you look at them. Or think about them.

So you have this desire to get to town hall for some reason. Well done. Now you need to go to the centre of town, and find your way to Mama’s gelato shop. It’s fairly simple, look for the ice cream and broken dreams trails and follow them all the way to Mama’s gelato shop. Should be easy. Yep, you’re on your way. Great job, you’re good at this!

Now, I would tell you to stop there and take some ice cream, but the next part is hard enough without you having to balance two scoops of strawberry cheesecake ice cream on your ice cream cone. Leave it for another occasion.

The next step is a bit more complicated. Basically, you need to get lost. I don’t mean anything like lost in thought, or “getting lost”, like your annoying rich hipster friend says. You know which one I mean. Yep, I mean Emily. Or Emmelie, I think she wants us to write it like that from now on? I don’t know, I can’t keep up with all of the things that are going on in her life. It’s way too much to cope.

What you need to do is get miserably lost. Walk for a couple of hours without finding your final destination. You will ask for directions, and everyone will tell you that Town Hall is right in front of the municipal library. However, when you get to the library and look for the Town Hall, you will not find it there. You will feel like you are walking in circles, wandering aimlessly through the same set of streets trying to obtain a different result. In the end, you will sit next to the orange tree in Main Square, weep and give up. As you cry, an orange will fall from the tree, hitting you hard in the head and leaving you unconscious.

When you finally get up, you will see it there. Completely indescribable. You will post a picture on your *nstagram and will only get likes, no comments at all. Congratulations, you’ve made it to town hall, as has been said, right in front of the library. There is a shortcut to all of this method, but you need to know the particulars of Main Square to be able to use it. I will explain them to you in another occasion.

So now that you are here and you have taken enough pictures of the building to make a mural of stamp sized pictures big enough to cover the whole Sistine Chapel ceiling, you might as well walk into the building. It’s OK, this one is hardly as dangerous as any of the other buildings in town.

When you get into the building, it’s customary to do the Macarena dance. Nothing bad will happen to you if you don’t, you will just fall down a trap door right behind you into a pit full of vine plants that will try to asphyxiate you. It’s fairly easy to get rid of these if you can summon a spirit of fire or if you have a flamethrower at hand. Some say that we ripped this one off a certain magical school in Scotland, but Town Council has always denied this, showing proof that our system was established in 1891, including the Macarena dance, which didn’t exist yet.

Inside you can visit the Mayor, Laura Garcia, and the rest of Town Council, composed by the only cool animals in the Chinese Zodiac (hint: the dragon is not one of them!). They will give you autographs and a pat in your back, congratulating you for making it all the way to their offices, and then will ask you to leave politely.

If you were to take too long to leave the building, the Mayor is allowed to throw against you an immortal Bengal tiger that will haunt you for the rest of your life and kill all of your loved ones, so be swift! Make sure you let the Council workers be productive (and remember that this applies to all 9 days of the week!).

History of Fiery Creek 1: Foundation of the town

There are many tales that account for the foundation of our small town. But among them all, there are seven stories that are repeated the most. None of them match, but all of them are true, as this town has been founded 7 times. Each new foundation involved the complete annihilation of the previous one by some means of failed crops, lack of water reservoirs and/or fires. The dead of the first six Fiery Creek foundations still haunt us to this day (they also provide quite a good client base for John Fier’s bar).

Our community descends from the seventh foundation. This foundation was done by Mary Clark, the wife of a gold hunter from the Midwest, who decided she was not taking any more of her husband’s bullshit and she wasn’t going anywhere. She stopped her van right in the centre of town and did not move from that spot ever again. To this day, the van can be visited, and it is in fact a major tourist attraction of the town, but Mary doesn’t take well that people try to get into her van without her permission – quite rightfully –, so you should get her permission first. This is the reason why the town council installed a ouija board right next to it.

As to the name of the town, some have theorized that Fiery actually comes from Faerie, as Mary Clark wrote in her diaries that the faeries sometimes visited her. This has been interpreted as her delirium in the heat of the desert where she did not have anything to drink, however, this theory is utterly wrong. It is a well known fact that faeries did live in this area, and that they had a Muslim Caliphate style kind of society, but the town’s name does not derive from them.

The town’s name has to be taken literally. Mary Clark, being a sound person, decided to listen to the voices that lurked in her head and made her feel guilty – Not that she had schizophrenia. You know what I’m talking about, you also have these. Oh, you don’t? I thought it was a perfectly normal thing – and, as a tolerant Christian she was, she set the Faeries’ community on fire.

Why did Mary do this? Her reasons are still unclear. We have asked her several times through the ouija board, and we have never had a fully satisfying response from her. She says they attacked her first, which could be true because of the faeries’ violent territorial nature – also their three fearsome rows of teeth and their highly perfected senses of smell and hearing – but many things have yet to be cleared.

The faeries, obviously, did not appreciate this. Thus a war started between her and the Caliphate. For the next couple of years, Mary fought and destroyed the only known Faerie State in the world, decimating the faerie population and reclaiming the territory as her own. By doing this, she secured the current town’s borders, and she started the community we all live in right now.

Fiery Creek

There is a weird sound that haunts our small little town. It is an unexplained phenomenon, the source unknown, many hypotheses unable to render the secrets of the desert open. Many have tried to explain it, several legends talking about spirits of ancient colonizers, scientists hypothesizing that it could have something to do with the Earth’s magnetic field, or with the fact that our town is in the middle of the vast desert of the continent. The truth is, nobody really knows what this noise is, and when someone asks one of us about it, the response that they will most likely receive is “it’s the desert”.

That is the nature of Fiery Creek, our little town in the middle of the desert. Well, that is not the whole truth, but that was what Samuel Reed knew when he arrived to our town. He had heard about it, and was interested in discovering the source of the noise. So he had packed a suitcase with clothes and money for a month, he had filled the gas tank of his Prius, and, saying his goodbyes, he had driven all of the way to Fiery Creek for a vacation of exploration in this desert community.

When he arrived, he booked a room in Rita’s inn, where he was going to spend the rest of his stay in Fiery Creek. He first noticed the sound when he started to unpack in his room. It was a mix, he noted, between the buzz of a bee and the white noise you can hear when you put a seashell to your ear. He was excited to hear it, and did not even finish unpacking his stuff. He started his research earlier than planned.

He questioned everyone. He wanted to know when they had first heard it, whether the elders had heard it as children, whether anyone recalled a time without the screech, as he called it. The responses that we gave him were all truthful: the stories talked about the sound before the first settlers founded Fiery Creek at the time of the Gold Fever. In fact, the aboriginal men talked about that sound in their stories, and the place was apparently a pilgrimage area for the tribes of the Midwest. But none of these were any helpful for him, as he could not establish whether the phenomenon had any particular cause. Much as some of the townsfolk tried to persuade him to enjoy his vacation and stop his research, as he would find nothing good enough to make it worthy, his enthusiasm did not waver.

He then searched the library, with its archives, to see whether there was anything that he could find. He did not have any luck with biographies and books about the town, but he did find something interesting in the files of the archive. A newspaper from the 4th March 1962 stated that a couple of tourists, husband and wife, had died in the town after reporting an extremely loud noise that nobody else could hear. That was not what he had expected to find, yet it was interesting enough to study the phenomenon. There was no description on how the Dylans had died, or why, and he could not find any other information about them in posterior newspapers.

Samuel knew that he had to solve the mystery. It was in the tip of his fingers, and still so far away… There was only one place where there would be reports on the deaths of the Dylan couple, but it would be very difficult to get permission to access the police files. He then had an idea: instead of trying to get the police to give him permission to check the autopsy reports, he would look for the coroner himself. He soon found that the coroner at that time had been a certain Walter Simons, and he found out that he was still alive, and that he lived in Fiery Creek.

Samuel paid him a visit. When an elderly Walter Simons opened the door to his house, Samuel greeted.

“Hello, Mr Simons, do you have some time? I would like to talk about certain deaths that happened in this town in 1962, if you don’t mind”.

Walter grimaced. “Those”.

After a few seconds of awkward silence, Samuel talked again. “Yes, sir, I just…”

“You are like those men that crossed the country with the Gold Fever. They were persistent. Too persistent. That couple found horrible deaths of extreme pain and suffering. Don’t go any further in your enquiries about them”. He closed the door.

Samuel knocked again, but he did not receive any response. He tried to look for other leads that would help him with his research, but the townsfolk all started to respond in the same way in which Walter had done it. Soon, his month ended, with several leads including that couple from Minnesota that had died horrible deaths, and he went back to his native Oregon.

We do not know how long it took him to realize. Maybe a couple of hours of driving? Of course, he had grown accustomed to the noise, and had unconsciously trained his brain to ignore it during that month in Fiery Creek. What he noticed, at some point in his trip back to Oregon, was that the noise had not left him. It was there, with him, a buzz that never stopped. He also noticed that the sound’s volume incremented with time. In less than a month, he was back in his car, back to the desert, back to Fiery Creek.

His second stay was not as enjoyable as the first one. He would sleep in his car, and wander the streets of Fiery Creek, moaning. He behaved as a lunatic, and we avoided him. He would stay in one place for hours, rocking back and forth, mouth and eyes open in a crazy expression. He hyperventilated and would suddenly start running. The sound was deafening in his ears. One day he ran towards the desert at dusk, half naked and screaming. The next morning the police reported that they had confirmed him dead.

For, what Samuel Reed had not known was that the sound haunting this town is the Sound of Death, and that he who looks for Death, shall eventually find it.