In an earlier post, I address my overall rationale behind my ‘World of Daniel Mathews’ and much of this revolves a fictional town named Plainville. Now, I invoke the name of this town for the title of my memoir, and it appears again in my upcoming novel ‘The Unseen Kingdom’. You could think of Plainville as any small town, especially those with checkered pasts that are rife with urban legends and dark rumors. This is rather common in New England, but there are towns that meet this description all over the world. In short, Plainville could spiritually be your own hometown. A town whose occupants would rather not have their history and origin known to the outside world. A town whose secrets lie at the bottom of the surrounding swamps or in shallow graves. A town whose sordid past whispers to you in the summer breeze and stalks you home from school.
Geographically speaking, Plainville is located in northeastern Massachusetts along the scenic Miskatonic River. The town of Dunwich is a relatively short drive away, and Innsmouth not much further to the northeast. Any academic minded child might have their eye on one day attending the prestigious Miskatonic University. Of course, some courses are not exactly available to the public, but Miskatonic’s Department of Occult Sciences has attracted many a scholar. Though, not all attendees have the world’s best interests at heart.
The town, like many of the others along the Miskatonic River, is a ‘mill-town’. The town derived much of its revenue and employment from the mill factories, warehouses and service-oriented businesses around the town. Plainville experienced an economic boom in the late 1930s and 1940s but entered a terminal decline with the end of World War II and the mass exodus of the textile industry to cheaper overseas factories. While Plainville isn’t quite a ghost-town, these almost skeletal abandoned brick buildings stand as grave markers to a once glorious past. But then some will tell you that the town’s almost miraculous founding and subsequent stunning success had nothing to do with its industry.
Plainville is simultaneously beautiful and insidious. While many of its denizens may lead fair and happy lives, there is a great deal of darkness percolating and boiling just beneath its surface. This is very much a demon-haunted town and its children are forced to frequently do battle with them. The demons are nothing compared to the horrors that remain ‘Unseen’. New England is riddled with dimensional cracks, and this is especially true in Plainville. Incomprehensible creatures and twisted worlds run parallel to the town, and to perceive their existence is to invite insanity and a bloody death. But then, those who worship the ancient gods that live in these adjacent worlds may be even more dangerous and craven than the creatures that inhabit these worlds.
Some children will never leave Plainville, but they’ll all give it one hell of a fight. We’ll discuss the town a little later, but you’ve got enough background now to understand some of my writing and characterization. Please refer to my short-story “The Academy” to get a taste of the town’s tragic past.