Shadows fall across this world. A silent creeping of darkness that hides all we do not see, all we turn away from. We know the shadows and dark places are dangerous. There is a fear that lurks in those shadowed corners that has haunted us from times long before we knew what it was to be human. There are things there that take the shape of those creatures of nightmare. Waiting there, waiting for us to remember them.
They take shape out of memory and out of darkness. Their edges are a darker darkness that our minds and memories give a form to as we turn, convinced we have seen something. The creatures haunt the corners, the edges, the dark places. They live in shadows, and they feed on the fear that keeps them unknown and lurking there.
This fear existed back before we could understand ourselves as human. As the almost human hid behind their bright fires, they saw the flickering shadows cast by the dancing flames. They knew what lurked there. They understood the nature of the ancient enemy. So around those fires, as the apes turned human, the stories began to spread as language grew and spread. Then we could tell each other of what lurked in those shadows.
Those on the edge of the human spoke of the shadows around them. Out of those shadows grew demons and gods, lurking there to take those who strayed into the darkness. Taking those strays deep within themselves as they grew into embodiments of all that the shadows held, both the known and the unknown, the what was and the what could be.
The early people believed that some of those shadows could be given a name and worshiped. In return, those that became the gods would patrol the shadows and keep the more malevolent creatures away. Keep the demons, vampires, werewolves and others haunting the dark away from those who sought the protection of the gods.
The people’s need, their belief, made the named and worshiped gods stronger, more powerful. They became gods powerful enough to step from the shadows and to have holy places and temples dedicated to them. Places where the shadow creatures could not haunt, stalk, capture and destroy the fragile humans. The people believed they were making a world safe with their belief. That the bright gods they’d tempted from the shadows would cast away the darkness and the shadows forever.
But the creatures of the shadows were older, much older than those who now knew themselves as human. The creatures knew how to wait, how to lurk, how to let the belief in the gods slowly fade away. The humans learnt more and more of what it really meant to be human and how to live in a world beyond the reach of belief and of gods.
The humans thought they had turned their backs on the shadows. They learnt how to destroy the dark places and all that hid inside them with their lights and their understanding.
Still, in the darkest shadows where no light could ever reach, the creatures waited, knowing that their night would return.