NOTE: This is something I wrote several years ago, shortly after the Storiesville site had given up the ghost. This is a story I’ve been tinkering around with for about 12 years, and while it’s changed a lot through the years, most of the core characters and ideas have remained constant. I chose the title as a tip of the hat to a fellow writer who went by the username SorrowIsMyMask at Storiesville, and had written some interesting short pieces revolving around that concept. I hope you enjoy this short prologue, and let me know what you think in the comments.
Salem is a dark city. A cold, damp city. A dangerous city. But it wasn’t always this way. Though bleak, she used to be hopeful. Though tainted, she used to have a lover. A hero. When she cried, He heard her. When she was hurt, He soothed her. When she bled, He gave of his own veins to bring color back into her skin. But she wasn’t always a grateful lover, sometimes she took Him for granted. Sometimes she forgot the one simplest rule about her lover—
Behind the mask, He was a man.
To the children of Salem, He was a hero. To the crooks, villains and politicians, He was an enemy. But to me, He was my father.
Mother had passed on early; some silly nonsense about an infection in her stomach that my young mind could never fully wrap its mind around. And though my father was both a constable by day and a masked avenger of injustice by night, He always had time for me. I never truly understood how much He went through in those days, how much He gave, not until after my own passing and I saw how hard it hurt Him. How hard it was for Him to press on. He was a cop, yes. He was a hero, most assuredly. But beyond all else, He was a father and when that ceased to exist for Him, He suffered.
My how He would suffer.
But no matter how far you fall, one truth remains certain—Even the hookers have lovers.
So walk with me through Salem for a while, it’s cold and dark but I’ll hold your hand. I’ll be your guide. The story is an old one, a sad one. But in the end, perhaps, Life knows best how to tell it. I’ll boast nothing of myself, a fool such as I.
Let us start at Desolation Row.