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How did I find out about her? The Plague Doctor mentioned her one time. They’re all scared of her. From what I gather, Nod is her realm. They’re just lesser rulers of each portion. That’s all I really know. I don’t know her name or what her role is, but she stinks of fear and power.

***

It’s hard to pinpoint the exact time that I began to converse with the Nodders – that’s what I call the denizens of the Land of Nod. The first ones were the birds: Crow, Raven, Jackdaw, Rook, and Magpie. One of them is always near at hand. That’s because they’re the Doctor’s sensory extensions. I knew this all along.

I heard a story one time about the cursed huntsman. I don’t remember the particulars of how he acquired the curse, but it had to do with vengeance. His hatred consumed him to the point that he was forced to hunt his victims using these five hounds. Each hound represented a different sensory organ. He could smell the scent, hear the chase, feel the earth, see the victim, and finally, taste the blood. It was a horrible, wretched ordeal. Each chase left him sick and disgusted, but the hatred would slowly grow in him to the point where he would lose control and send the hounds out again.

Frankenstein

Now I find myself carrying on conversations with ghosts, skeletons, mummies, and all manner of creatures caught between worlds. Last night I cowered in a culvert while a golem told me about Frankenstein. He is the ruler of this particular area of Nod. Most people confuse the man with the monster. Frankenstein never named his monster because he detested what he had created. It’s weird to feel fear and sympathy all rolled together like that. But I felt like I could relate. I was made to be hated. Made to be reviled. Made to be a puppet that is paraded through a melancholic tragedy. I can’t decide if it’s the Ochre King in the City on the Hill who is the one to blame or if he has just allowed her to do this to me. Kind of like Job was given over for the Devil’s amusement. Either way, I can’t see how Job could absolve God of any wrongdoing. When I make it into the City, that will be the first order of business with the Ochre King.

***

Patterns. It’s all about recognizing the patterns. That’s the only way humans can say they are above the other animals. The problem is that we are so good at it that we do it even when there are no patterns. Nevertheless, I think I’ve connected enough patterns to figure out the nature of the Land of Nod. I had to visit several landscapes to do it, though.

The Plague Doctor rules the zombies. They are one type of undead. Count Orlok rules the vampires. They’re another type of undead. Dr. Frankenstein rules the golems. They’re yet another type. The Shadow Man rules the ghosts. And so on.

Nod is a land of undead. Those that fall between the worlds of life and death.

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