Deep in our monkey brains, there’s a little part of us that fears the night. Our primitive ancestors jumped at the slightest noise. Those who didn’t met death by big sharp point teeth. With our poor hearing and sense of smell, we’re very reliant on our eyes. When we can’t see, we worry. We fear. We fear want we cannot see, what could be waiting out there. Our think tank this week was to name the unknown horrors on the edge of imagination.
Jaye – The Toy Haunter
On the far outer planes exist creatures that feed on your dreams. The more innocent and happy the dreams, the tastier they are. Toy Haunters prey on children by taking over the shadows of one of their toys. They emerge in the dark once the child is in bed and seep into their subconscious to sate their hunger. Of the shadow plane, they cannot truly exist in our world. When the light is upon the toy they are haunting, they are tied to it’s shadow, adopting some measure of it’s shape and form. They cannot be separated from the source of the shadow, the toy, but can be banished if the toy is burnt by holy fire. Without a real physical form, they use psychic assaults to repel attackers.
Emily – Cancer breath
We’ve all done it. That moment you wake up and study your surroundings in the middle of the night, to have the blackness faze into the dim surroundings as your vision returns. However this is not always your vision adjust to the dark. The creature commonly known as cancer breath, is actually a swarm of much smaller creatures who feed off human life and leave disease in their wake. By themselves you can sometimes see them, that small dot on your eye, or a dot on the flesh that disappears when you take a second glance, taken only a small amount of life leaving the host with a little more than an ache or pins and needles. However when these creatures are drawn to together to swarm their effects can be deadly. Attacking its victim while it sleeps in the night, when it is easier to drain life, the swarm surrounds the body in an inky black haze slowly draining what it can, before the victim wakes and the swarm scatters around the room. If the swarm is undisturbed, the victim grows noticeably weaker and can suffer from a number of wasting illnesses which result in the victim’s death.
Most worryingly these swarms seem to be moving into villages and town, rather than lonely dungeons.
That moment when your half asleep when you feel like someone is there under the bed, in the doorway, stroking your hair, climbing on the bed: that is her.
Occasionally she’ll wake you up from sleeping by crying or muttering, but when you look she’s gone, leaving just that eerie feeling someone is there. Some say she is a ghost, or a demon or a witch gone mad, some stories she’s searching for her stolen baby, her dead lover, or the person who betrayed her. Whoever or whatever this spirit is she is longing for something and will not rest until the party/individual leaves her searching ground or offers her something to hold.
Danger wise if left alone to hold you she is no danger, she will simply disappear in the morning light, if you disturb her when you first look, she’ll run away and hide in the shadows, however if you try to find her she will attack. Some stories say she wails like a banshee bringing a death to all that hear, some say she’ll steal your children for daring to find her, and others simply say those who go looking never come back. Except maybe the women and girls who come back longing for something of their own….
Chris – Light Thief
In the loneliest, most remote spots you find the Light Thief. There may be more than one but none know because few have survived their encounters and none have any physical evidence other than the bodies of their dead companions. The Light Thief kills quietly and slowly while the victim’s friends wait nearby, unable to help.
The Light Thief is intangible, an almost invisible mist. It is drawn to light sources like a moth to a flame but it smothers them. It sucks the energy out of the light source until its battery runs out or the flame flickers and dies. The moment a new light source appears it smothers that as well. Only when the darkness is complete does it turn onto living beings. These too are sucked dry of energy, their body temperature dropping until the cold kills them.
There is no escaping the Light Thief, no way of killing it has been found and it moves faster than any living creature. Only daylight brings safety as the Light Thief is forced into hiding, sinking beneath the ground away from the light. The few Lucky survivors of an attack had enough torch batteries, other light sources or companions to distract the Light Thief until dawn.
Mark – Optophobes
Gaslamp fantasy sort-of-world. Very small creatures, supposedly, that live in the dark and cannot exist in the light, supposedly. Supposition surrounds them since they have never been seen, being in the dark. The only scientific evidence of their existence is a study that accidentally found geographical patterns in people forgetting certain things. That is, a group of people in an area would suddenly forget all their knowledge on a certain subject.
Being harmed by light, the optophobes will alway seek darkness. These creatures are exceptionally quick, being able to get into hiding whilst the gas light is coming on, or the door is being thrown open. None have ever been caught, since it is impossible to catch them without dying; since they will actually seek darkness to the point of hiding inside a human body if cornered with enough light.
In the background, these things are actually why electric light has not been invented. One was made once, and the inventor was the only person to see an optophobe since it was too slow to dodge the fast new light. The inventor died when the optophobe sought the darkness inside his mouth when he screamed at the sight of it. Ever since, optophobes have been keen to prevent anyone else repeating the feat. Anyone who talks about a new idea for electric light anywhere near anywhere dark will find the idea eaten from his mind within a night.
Josh – Chitterlings
The dark is filled with many opportunistic predators, none more feared than the Chitterling. No more than a foot high their quadrupedal bodies are powerfully built, with bristle like hair and a stubby rat like tail that drags across the ground.
Their most distinguishing feature is their lack of eyes above a large maw filled with several rows of very sharp teeth. Powerful muscles allow a chitterling to bite down and stay locked down until either it dies or a chunk of flesh is removed.
Their name comes from their way of using echolocation. They clack their teeth together and use the sound to generate an image of the surrounding area. A group of chitterlings can produce quite a cacophony of distressing noise.
Chitterlings are pack hunters, dragging any sized prey down with sheer numbers alone. On rare occasions an Alpha Chitterling appears. Standing more than 6 feet tall they use plates on their backs to produce a noise to either deafen prey or to guide their lesser “children” in an almost intelligent and strategic fashion.
Many an unwary party of adventurers have fallen to a pack of Chitterlings.
Image Credit – Sad…Fear by Maestro Pastelero – CC BY-NC-ND 2.0