The World of Dead Hearts

The World of Dead Hearts

Poster Artwork by: RMR

Character Designs:

Art by Scott Kowalchuck

Dead Hearts Story Bible

Dead Hearts

The only thing worse than going back to where you were born

— going back to where you died.


Dead Hearts is an hour-long horror-drama series set in the small lakeside town of Shalebridge. The series stars Sam Corwin, an immortal private investigator, and Ainsley Stein, Sam’s client turned partner. Twenty years before the start of the series, Sam crawled out of Shalebridge Lake with no memories and a distinct inability to die. Twenty years after that, Sam refuses to return to the town until Ainsley hires them to find their missing brother, Jamie Stein, and shows Sam a notebook missing many pages but containing sketches of marking similar to the ones carved into Sam's body twenty years before. Ainsley accompanies Sam into the bizarre town of Shalebridge. 


Deep beneath Shalebridge sleeps He Waits At The Threshold. An ancient and aberrant being of immense power, he stirs in his slumber every twenty years. During this time, spirits are awakened, monsters grow restless, and the darkest desires of the humans above can become reality. Somebody always seems to be trying to utilize He Waits' power, whether it's a cult like The Waking Eye or a selfish group like The Archon Corporation. However, the power hitting Shalebridge this cycle is much stronger then it ever has been before. If not dealt with, it could spell the end of humanity.


The creatures and events that impact the town are notably mentally straining. Sanity is the first thing lost in Shalebridge. The entities shatter minds and leave gory, mangled bodies behind that test mental fortitude. It's rare a creature can be dealt with by slaying the monster. Success in this town is sealing something away or calming it down, not shooting it. If a monster can’t move when it’s being looked at, it will be made to stare in a mirror forever. Every solution is merely a stalling tactic, though.


Each season involves some big bad (a la Buffy The Vampire Slayer) trying to awaken He Waits or using his power maliciously. An individual episode involves Sam and Ainsley unraveling the latest mystery in Shalebridge and working toward defeating the big bad. However, it’s never as simple as “Us vs. Them.” Even the series’ main characters can be the villains. Chuck Keys, the kind coroner, has a psychopathic alter ego. Julia Edner, the hardheaded cop, is cursed with becoming a spider-monster. Even Sam and Ainsley have dark pasts that can put the world in danger.


Dead Hearts is a dark series, taking elements from Lovecraft, Buffy, X-Files and Twin Peaks. Despite the twisted subject matter, Dead Hearts is about hope. It shows that even in the darkest moments, a pinpoint of light can still exist amongst the shadows. Sometimes a pinpoint is all we need.



The Characters


Sam Corwin  — 


Unkillable private detective with a history in Shalebridge. Twenty years earlier they pulled themself from Shalebridge Lake. Their entire body was wracked in pain with nothing but a bloody shirt with a bullet hole in the chest, but no bullet wound on their body. Beneath their clothes, arcane and obscure marking were carved into their skin. Sam also discovered they could heal themselves of any wound. Unbeknownst to them, they had their heart removed as well. 


Sam hitchhikes to Calgary and goes to the police station, and the Police send them to the hospital, there is no record of “Sam.” Eventually, “Sam” finds a private investigator who agrees to go to Shalebridge to see if he can find out anything about “Sam’s” identity, the name of that Private Investigator, is Sam Corwin. “Sam” is somehow quite handy with computers, so in return, “Sam” begins to setup the PI office with a computer network. Sam Corwin never returns from Shalebridge, so “Sam” assumes their identity, and profession.


Sam tries to continue the search for their true identity, but after a while it becomes less relevant than paying the bills on time and getting enough sleep. 


Twenty years later, Sam is working as a private detective in the Calgary when Ainsley approaches them to find their brother. Their brother is a ghost hunter who left to investigate Shalebridge. Sam refuses, upon hearing the name of the town where they died, but changes their mind when Ainsley shows them their brother’s last correspondence. It includes a notebook containing sketches of the markings carved into Sam twenty years earlier. Hesitant, but closer than ever to finding out about themself and what happened twenty years ago, Sam follows Ainsley to Shalebridge.


Sam’s future and mysterious past are intertwined with He Waits At The Threshold and Shalebridge. Sam eventually learns a being known only as Mother has manipulated them into coming back to Shalebridge. The trail of their past will lead them to The Cult of the Waking Eye, The Archon Corporation, and the beings that haunt Shalebridge’s streets.


Sam is, in fact, an Immortal. When someone dies, they glimpse the secrets and truths of the universe; such an influx of information shuts down the brain. However, occasionally someone passes beyond the veil of death without glimpsing, or sometimes even suppressing, the information. Someone like that becomes an Immortal. They do not age and can heal from any wound. They also don't need to sleep, eat, or breathe—though abstaining from any will result in a zombified appearance. However, if their heart is destroyed, they will finally die.


When Sam first died in the early 1800's, they came back as an Immortal. However, they did not suppress the information on reality. They had near perfect information on the universe. With time they grew bored with the world until they discovered what would eventually become Shalebridge and the unnatural energy that surrounded it. They created the group Lullaby to ensure He Waits at the Threshold stays asleep. Sam also discovered a way to remove their heart and ensure their immortality. They gave their heart to a man who could hide it with the Archon Corporation. 


The Cult of the Waking Eye got too close to awakening He Waits, so Sam went to Shalebridge. The cult ended up using them as a sacrifice for the ritual. Because of Sam's immortality, the ritual backfired and killed all the cultists. Sam also lost all their memories. In reality, Sam had become disillusioned with the world during their two centuries of life. They decided the best thing was for all life to end, believing it would be better than having them endure the pain of being alive. Logic told them to awaken He Waits, but their compassion for humans prevented them from acting on it. Instead, they allowed themself to be sacrificed so they would lose their memories and left clues to lead themself to awaken He Waits and end the world.


Sam is driven by the overwhelming desire to unravel the mystery of what occurred twenty years earlier. Despite the ill feelings Shalebridge gives them, they are willing to return to investigate, starting with Ainsley’s brother who appears to possess information about them. Being unkillable, Sam acts with a fairly flippant attitude to normally serious situations. However, Sam does have an irrational fear of horses. Sam has a sardonic and dark sense of humor, but is undeniably aware that they may outlive everyone they know. Sam seems to have a naturally strong mental fortitude, allowing them to interact with horrors that would shatter most people’s minds. Even though Sam is immortal, they have a deep fear of death. They would rather run away than deal with the death of a loved one. For that reason they try not to connect with others.


Sam has incredible amounts of patience, though they will occasionally forget other people aren't immortal. When left alone they will always find a way to entertain themself, figuring eventually someone will come get them. Sam doesn't like listening to authority figures—or anyone who tells them what to do. Occasionally they will purposefully do the opposite of what people say just to show off. Despite attempts to stay distant, Sam naturally desires to help people. In fact, they'll go out of their way to help people out of their depths. 


As a private investigator, Sam is clever and intelligent. When faced with a difficult problem that can’t be solved by regular means, they will rapidly undertake a more radical solution. Bordering the line of sane and insane, Sam’s take on situations aren’t always rational, but they are usually right (Such as stripping naked and taking two shotgun rounds to the face to infiltrate a morgue.) Their healing power gets used to great effect during their time in Shalebridge. They’re not unlucky, they just lack any form of a survival instinct.



Ainsley Stein — 


A person looking desperately for their missing brother, Jamie Stein. Ainsley arrives at Sam’s office, referred by a friend. They ask them to look into their brother, a paranormal investigator who went missing a week earlier in Shalebridge. The last thing their brother sent to them was a package containing a letter and his notebook, which finally convinces Sam to help them.


Unbeknownst to them, Ainsley is in fact a golem made by Mother. Mother's goal was to lure Sam back to Shalebridge. Mother can push some cognitive control over Ainsley, she can't have Ainsley do anything of substance, but Mother can speak through Ainsley. Ainsley had to be created as life-like as possible, with real emotions and skills to help Sam. Ainsley becomes distraught upon this revelation. Their “brother” was in fact a ghost hunter who went missing back in the 60’s. They believe that they must be based off of some real person, and so they dedicates themself to learning what their “true self” is.


Because Ainsley was created by Mother, they have no real identity, but did come to Sam equipped with an abundant, and frankly suspicious amount of cash, and books with “research.”


Ainsley was created in the image of one of the catetakers of the Sisters of Serenity. Before they were sacrificed, the original Ainsley spent the most time with Mother's tree and liked to talk to it. Even in their corrupted state, Mother saw Ainsley as the greatest loss when the House of Webs killed the Sisters, and everyone who dwelt with them. In honor of their memory, Mother re-animated Ainsley. Due to Ainsley’s appearance Mother can be easily swayed by Ainsley and is unwilling to put them in harms way, lest they die again.


Because Mother had to create a realistic human, she filled Ainsley's head with TV and pop culture. This means Ainsley sees much of the world in relation to movies and television. They love action movies and hate reality shows since "real life is boring." This can create a divide between Ainsley and other people when they refuse to accept reality. Normally Ainsley is the more rational one between them and Sam, but when they get a chance to act out something they saw in a movie (like kicking down a door) they get overcome with excitement.


Ainsley is an optimist, despite the horrors of Shalebridge holds onto that ideal. They try their best to keep Sam grounded in reality, often offering simpler solutions to complications Sam has blown out of proportion. They love mysteries and solving puzzles and they bring that enthusiasm while working with Sam. At first Ainsley does not accept the supernatural elements at work in Shalebridge, including Sam’s immortality, but becomes adjusted rather quickly and helps Sam’s investigation. Ainsley has a fondness for snap peas. Ainsley is quite forgetful; they keep notes about everything, partly as a subconscious way of having documentation to bring back to Mother, but on the surface, as a way to help them “remember.” Ainsley also has a habit of saying “I’m a medical doctor” and pushing past people who are trying to prevent them from accessing anything they wish to see, it’s a reference to one of their favorite TV shows, X-Files.


Once they learn they are a golem, Ainsley becomes fixated on the fact that none of their memories are real. From that point on they becomes even more reckless. They live for the moment, and stops thinking things through. Inside, they are scared to hell of not being a real person and become distant from people. However, they see a kinship in the immortal Sam and wonders if they too will live forever.


In most cases, they are much more willing to take action then Sam is. Ainsley can deal with frightful and strange situations with ease, though a weak stomach means they don’t handle gore well. Despite being a little awkward when dealing with other people, they have a natural ability to get them to open up. Ainsley’s made up history of sliding from job to job results in them having a surprising amount of practical skills and knowledge. 


Due to being a golem, Ainsley has a “loose soul.” Using this, they can connect with people, glimpsing their pasts and seeing their thoughts. They can even look into the pasts of dead people. This allows them to research the person they once were. However, every glimpse with the dead corrupts them with visions of the past and peoples’ nightmares. Their obsession with discovering who they are and who Mother is to them means they often put their own sanity on the line.



Julia Edner — 


Deputy of the Shalebridge Police Department. She’s been acting as the de facto leader of the force ever since father, the actual chief, fell “ill.” In fact, Julia is hiding him from the world as he horrifically and slowly turns into a spider. Her family is descended from the House of Webs, a cult once devoted to the worship of spiders. Their rivalry with the Sisters of Serenity ended with the cult cursed to become monsters, spurred on by great emotional distress. Julia’s lived in Shalebridge her entire life, always hearing about the strange goings on in town. It wasn’t until her mother mutated into a spider and had to be killed did she begin to believe. 


A hard-edged woman, Julia takes the weight of the world on her shoulders. She doesn’t fully understand the forces that surround Shalebridge, yet doesn’t trust anyone else to deal with them, especially not outsiders like Sam and Ainsley. She has a habit of charging head first into problems without thinking, and has trouble dealing with anything that can’t be dealt with physically. Despite her hatred of the unorthodox Sam, she respects his tact in the more sensitive matters and steadily begins to trust him.


Julia is pragmatic and logical. She doesn’t much care if the thing she’s up against is an aberrant monster; a crook is a crook to her. She is entirely unflappable and will believe what she sees. If she is walking through the woods and sees a monster, then monsters are real without a doubt. This doesn’t mean she’s easily fooled though. She has a keen “bullshit radar” and almost always knows when someone is lying or there is more than it seems.


Julia is extremely protective of her town, willing to put herself in danger to defend the well being of its townsfolk. She is painfully aware that her family curse could mean she is also a danger to the town. Intense emotion will bring out arachnid-like traits in her, so she works hard to stay level. This includes peculiar tactics like meditation or eating pounds of shelled peanuts. When she does get stressed or angry, anything from extra eyes to spider legs coming out of her back can appear. The most common trait that presents is poisoned bodily fluids—an ability that becomes useful in the defense of her town.


Sam and Ainsley’s arrival seems to throw the entire town into chaos. Due to Julia’s mother’s deep love for Shalebridge before she fell to the arachnid curse, Julia will do anything to save the town. This weakness can be used to manipulate her. This includes working with the mysterious Archon Corporation or even Lullaby when they promise to end the horrors attacking Shalebridge.



Chuck Keyes — 


Coroner and conspiracy theorist. Applied for the local coroner’s position and moved to Shalebridge to look for Bigfoot nearly five years earlier. He wholly believes in the supernatural (mostly thinking it somehow relates to the government) yet has missed out on seeing the weirder side of Shalebridge. Unabashed comic book lover. Chuck gets promoted after the original coroner commits suicide when it is discovered he killed a girl in town.


Chuck possesses an amazing amount of curiosity, to such an extent that it will override his self-preservation. He sees the world with an enthusiastic form of pessimism. Chuck refuses to look beyond the present and can get wrapped up in how bad things are. Similarly though, Chuck doesn’t get wrapped up in the past (either negatively or positively). If Chuck is unhappy at this moment, then Chuck believes he will be unhappy forever. However, Chuck is normally fairly selfish in his depression.


Thinks Ainsley is naive for her positive outlook, but has a huge crush on her anyway. Despite the fact that Sam gets Chuck known as the guy who lost a body (Sam having snuck out of the morgue after pretending to be dead), Chuck sees Sam as his hero and a role model. Eventually, Sam begins to see Chuck as a friend as well.


Chuck sees most occurrences as some form of conspiracy, the Archon Corporation being his usual target. He thinks that by uncovering the secrets of Shalebridge he could become rich and famous. To him, he’s become far too known for his “crazy theories” to back out now, so by proving himself right he can gain the respect he so wants from the people around him. This desire to be respected can drive him to insane lengths.


The presence of He Waits At The Threshold unlocks a secondary personality within Chuck. This second Chuck is as selfish and driven as the primary Chuck, but adds in a psychopathic layer. He has both narcissistic and hedonistic tendencies, killing indiscriminately but cleverly. After the second Chuck learns about the power of Shalebridge, he seeks to use the latent power to become immortal and take over full control of the body.



Roman — 


Enigmatic owner of Mountain Side Motel, where Sam and Ainsley stay in. Appears to know about the strange going ons in Shalebridge, and yet never gives any direct information. Will regularly have talks with Sam and gives plenty of roundabout advice.


Roman is a spirit of Shalebridge. He was part of the founding cult but lost his body during an initial ritual, the same ritual that began the twenty-year cycle of He Waits At The Threshold's stirring. He also killed his family during the same ritual. Through the years he started to regret his hand in the creation of Shalebridge. A contract with Mother allowed him to regain a physical body while He Waits At The Threshold stirs, but in exchange he cannot directly affect the state of the town. He sees Sam as his chance to correct his mistake.


He is constantly trying to make up for being a bad person in his last life. Even though he wants to help Shalebridge and Sam, Roman is unable to put people in unnecessary risk. More than anything, Roman wants to be able to see himself as a hero. Unfortunately, he refuses to forgive himself for all that he’s done to the world. If given the option, Roman will try to sacrifice himself far before anybody else has to get hurt. Still, Roman thinks that human’s are responsible for their own evils; that there is no Heaven or Hell waiting beyond death and no one watching over people.





Sam Corwin and Ainsley Stein —


Sam and Ainsley start off as client and investigator, but quickly become partners. Both of them are out of their depth in Shalebridge, though. They take turns calming the other down when they get too wrapped up in an investigation. Ainsley will bring up simple solutions to problems that Sam has blown out of proportions. Occasionally Sam can be too passive, a side effect of knowing they can live forever. Ainsley acts as Sam’s motivator in these situations, normally by charging ahead until Sam has to follow. Both are inept at dealing with real, honest emotions.


Sam sees Ainsley as nothing but a useful tool to begin with. In time, Sam honestly begins enjoying Ainsley’s company. Sam starts to see connections between Ainsley and the town (along with the search for Jamie Stein not making sense), and begins to distrust Ainsley. Once it is revealed that Ainsley is a puppet of Mother, Sam forgives Ainsley much faster than Ainsley forgives themself. Sam believes there is solidarity in being “freaks.” Even though Ainsley is a golem, Sam believes Ainsley is more human than them and wants to make sure Ainsley doesn’t become like them. Sam regularly teases Ainsley about their weak stomach.


Ainsley thinks Sam is cool (mostly because they’re a real private investigator). Much like how Sam saw Ainsley as a tool, Ainsley only thinks Sam is useful while they’re looking for their brother. After Ainsley discovers they’re not a real person, they see Sam as the only person who understands them. 



Sam Corwin and Julia Edner —


When Sam arrives in Shalebridge, they pretend to be an FBI agent and intrudes on a local investigation. This immediately grants Sam Julia’s ire. She does her best to keep Sam out of every investigation from that point on, but Sam’s affinity for figuring out Shalebridge means she uses them more often than not. While Julia takes every problem as deadly serious, Sam treats even the most serious situation with a nonchalant air.


Julia despises how flippant Sam is about any potential danger to Shalebridge and the world. She sees them as a child and believes that someday they’re going to get a lot of people hurt. On the other hand, she recognizes and respects how in the end Sam does find a way to solve the problem. She doesn’t understand how Sam can embrace what they are so much while she fights against her nature every day. With time she begins to understand how Sam cares in their own way and begins to see them as a friend.


To Sam, Julia is far too uptight. Sam sees her concern for Shalebridge as self-destructive. Sam constantly teases and makes fun of her, partially to evoke a reaction and partially to see if she will lighten up. She has more information on the people of Shalebridge than Sam, though, and Sam realizes that more often than not they have to play nice to get what they need. 



Sam Corwin and Chuck Keys —


Sam and Chuck’s relationship started when Sam snuck into the morgue as a corpse and left, resulting in Chuck being known as the guy who lost a corpse. But they eventually become close friends after working on Shalebridge’s mysteries together. They have a mutual interest in the history of the town, though Chuck thinks proving the existence of mythological creatures will grant him fame and fortune.


Sam sees Chuck as their closest friend, after Ainsley. While Sam finds Chuck’s unique form of pessimism to be hilarious, it’s his boundless curiosity that actually gets Sam’s attention. They bond over their collective distrust of people in authority. Sam is one of the few people that understand Chuck’s ramblings are genuine, intelligent observations. Chuck is normally the first person Sam goes to see when they need help.


Chuck thinks Sam is amazing and cool. Unlike Ainsley, Chuck doesn’t lose this impression over time. Once he finds out that Sam is immortal, Chuck is even more enamored with them. In Chuck’s mind, Sam was some kind of government super-spy who escaped from a test facility. Because of this intense hero worship, the evil side of Chuck despises Sam, yet has trouble killing them.



Sam Corwin and Roman —


At first, Roman is just the creepy owner of the Mountain Side Motel, where no one but Sam and Ainsley stay at. Roman proves himself to be a good listener for Sam, and possesses strangely poignant observations. In time, Roman becomes somewhat of a mentor to Sam.


For Sam, Roman is an outside eye for them to talk to. Though Sam is off put at first, they begin to enjoy Roman’s company. Sam regularly will join Roman for a beer on the motel’s balcony. Because of Roman’s relaxing nature and wise remarks, he may be the only person in Shalebridge Sam gets along perfectly with.


Roman sees Sam as his chance at redemption. Since he started the twenty-year cycle, Roman looks to Sam to stop it. He treats Sam like Sam is the child he lost many years ago. Roman has to constantly remind himself that he needs to take a passive stance on helping Sam, in accordance to the deal he made with Mother.



Ainsley Stein and Julia Edner —


While Julia sees Sam as annoying, but useful, she sees Ainsley as simply annoying. Their relationship is based on the idea that neither will try to get in the other’s way. Once Ainsley discovers they’re a golem, Julia starts to soften toward them. The pity turns to an honest connection through their afflictions.


To Julia, Ainsley is a nonentity. Julia thinks Ainsley is a stuck up city person who can’t deal with small-town living. While Julia is willing to help look for Ainsley’s brother out of civic duty, she begins to believe that Ainsley should stop hanging out with Sam. When it becomes clear that Ainsley is not going to fall in line like Julia wanted, Julia ostracizes them even more. It’s only when Ainsley’s true nature comes to light that Julia begins talking to them again. From there, they find they both just want everyone to get along. While Julia still doesn’t like Sam, she begins to open up to Ainsley more and more.


Ainsley starts by wanting Julia to be their friend. Julia almost immediately makes it clear they don’t want Ainsley or Sam around the town. Ainsley still keeps on her, believing Julia can help them find their brother. Even when Julia shuts Ainsley out, Ainsley keeps bugging Julia and trying to make friends. After Ainsley discovers what they are, it is Julia who helps they get out of their emotional funk. From that point on, Ainsley understands the soft nature hiding beneath Julia’s hard shell. Ainsley treats Julia like family.



Ainsley Stein and Chuck Keys —


While Chuck has a huge crush on Ainsley, they see him as a little brother. Ainsley is the most receptive to his “crazy” theories, occasionally taking them as fact before realizing they don’t make sense. Ainsley loves Chuck’s rants and doesn’t always realize how serious he is about what he believes. Because Chuck’s dark side heightens all his emotions, the Dark Chuck is obsessed with Ainsley.


They share a curiosity of what’s happening in Shalebridge, much more so than Sam. Occasionally they will get themselves in deeper trouble then they can handle because they whip each other into an investigation frenzy.



Ainsley Stein and Roman —


Ainsley has a deep mistrust of Roman due to their own origin as Mother’s tool. Ainsley subconsciously tries to separate Sam and Roman so the latter can’t use Sam for his own purposes. Even after they discover their true nature, Ainsley still has to fight against the natural revulsion to Roman.


On the other hand, Roman starts out by trying to help Ainsley in their search for their brother. When he finds out Ainsley is a tool of Mother, he instantly starts to distrust them. He refuses to have conversations with Ainsley in the room, believing they are lying about not remembering.



Julia Edner and Chuck Keys —


Julia and Chuck had a loose working relationship before Sam and Ainsley’s arrival in town. She believes him to be incompetent and he wants her to respect him. Though mainly he annoys her, Julia does believe Chuck to be the most rational person around (It’s all relative). 


They get closer as the Shalebridge situation gets worse. When Chuck learns of Julia’s secret comic book fandom, they become “secret friends.” Julia actually only reads them because the action keeps herself calm. In some ways, Chuck’s presence can calm Julia’s arachnid side more than anyone else’s. When his dark side is revealed, Julia fights harder than anyone to bring her friend back.



Julia Edner and Roman —


Because of Roman’s ghostly nature, he doesn’t appear to many people other than Sam and Ainsley. But Julia treats him the same way she does anybody else connected with Shalebridge’s arcane elements, with a deep distrust.



Chuck Keys and Roman —


Same as Julia, Roman doesn’t regularly appear to Chuck. However, the ghost fascinates Chuck to no end, along with his disappearing motel. Dark Chuck on the other hand, wants the information Roman has as the founder of Shalebridge’s first cult.


Supporting Characters


Alison/ Addison Belfry — 


A recent high school graduate, Samantha Banks decided to stay in town and work at Trail’s End Diner. Sam and Ainsley’s arrival immediately grabs her interest. She begins researching them and trying find out who they are. Lives with her mother and sister, all of whom are witches. Samantha was stigmatized in her family for her lack of magic ability. The one ability she has is to change into a boy, going by the name Addison and pretending to be her own twin brother. He Waits could be her chance to be a full witch, finally.



Liz Lepore — 


Waitress at Trail’s Head diner and incorrigible gossip. Eternally bubbly and blissfully unaware of Shalebridge’s horrors. Liz has her well-manicured finger on the pulse of the town. Strangely sharp-witted despite her vacant nature, Sam adores her observations. 



“Guts” McCole —


Oddly benevolent owner of The Siren’s Rock. The massive Guts rules the strip club/brothel with an iron fist directed at any clients that abuse their girls. Similarly, they refuse to host any girl that is using drugs or has been forced into the life. Guts knows that some girls find themselves in the life, so they might a well do their best to keep them safe. Lives off of old family money. Claims that Shalebridge gives them the “heebie jeebies” and refuses to enter the town limits.



Rocky Bunker — 


Extremely loyal deputy. Julia’s second in charge, handsome and strong but not the brightest. Unaware of the supernatural in Shalebridge, though primarily due to not being able to comprehend the state of matters. Thinks Sam is a drifter looking for trouble and can’t comprehend why Julia tolerates them being in town.



Holly Dewolfe — 


Owner of the local bar. Pretends to be a classic ditzy blonde while working the bar, all cleavage and smiles. However, Holly is highly intelligent, realizing that she can make all the money she needs playing dumb to guys. In fact, Holly is probably close to a genius-level intellect. Once, she worked with The Archon Corporation. Now that they are back, the Corporation is looking to get Holly back into the fold.


Reverend Carl Arpaio — 


Alcoholic priest. His wife was secretly part of The Cult of the Waking Eye and died twenty years earlier when the entire cult was killed. He stole his wife’s body before the police found the Waking Eye’s corpses. Carl buried his wife in the backyard and told the town she left him, so to protect her memory from being related to the cult. He has spiraled downward since then, turning toward alcohol. His alcoholism is tolerated or ignored by the townsfolk. Though he tries to keep up the facade of a good civic leader while sober, the ghostly presence of his wife appears as He Waits stirs once again. Along with his wife, come visions of angels pushing Carl toward an unknown goal.



The Monsters


The Beast in the Woods — 


When the Shalebridge Sanatorium was active; it saw its far share of horrors. One such event was the imprisoning of a man by his family in order to inherit his fortune. The staff took their money and kept him locked in the basement. At first he screamed until his vocal cords tore. In time he was forgotten, unable to call out. Rage overtook him and the once sane man went mad. He mutilated himself. The fingers that had broken and split over trying to tear the door down were replaced with wooden splinters. The man silently cried for something to allow him to take his revenge. He Waits At The Threshold heard him and twisted his soul into a spirit of vengeance. He attacked his captors and fled into the woods. 


Now he rests at the feet of great trees when he can, skin and bone overtaken by nature. But when people pass through the wood he can hear their sins whispered to him. Only when they are dead can he rest again.



Mother — 


An enigmatic entity, Mother works primarily through others rather than affecting anything herself. She has designs on Shalebridge, somehow involving Sam. She appears to have a history with the detective and, in some way, watches over they. She created Ainsley to lure Sam to Shalebridge, though the exact limits of her power are unknown.


At some point in the past she was a spirit of nature. Her tree is the oldest one in the deepest part of the forest. The Sisters of Serenity were her caretakers until their deaths. Once her caretakers died, she became corrupted by He Waits’ presence. She began to believe she was He Waits’ wife and devoted herself to stopping anyone who wished to use his power for their own purpose. During the ritual twenty years earlier, something happened to He Waits and Mother decides to save him, she needs Sam to reverse whatever The Waking Eye did to her dear husband.



The Dreadfuls — 


A race of imp-like creatures. They live in the forest and normally eat deer and rabbits. They enjoy pranks, however most of The Dreadfuls pranks have a rather gruesome pay off. The Dreadfuls hate adults; though will routinely play with children, even sometimes stealing them away to play forever. Legend has it that The Dreadfuls themselves are the remains of children lost or abandoned in the trees.



Chained Angel — 


A humanoid creature hidden beneath South Lake Church. A malformation on his shoulder blades resemble the stubs of wings. Whether or not he’s an actual angel, merely being in his presence elicits intense and frightening visions, eventually leading to insanity.



Lady of Nails — 


A spirit covered in nails. Many years earlier, a woman was raped and tortured to death. The men drove dozens of nails through her body before killing her. Shalebridge didn’t let her stay dead. She stalks the streets to take revenge on men who have slighted women.



Bone Lord — 


Standing unnaturally tall and incredibly slender, Bone Lord's skin is thin enough to see the ivory bones beneath it. Anyone who sees him feels an overwhelming peace. If they take his hand he will lead them to his lair and strip the meat from their bones, adding them to his walls.



Mary Halford “The Hanging Woman” — 


A beautiful woman hanging from her neck. In the early years of the 1900’s her brother mentally tortured her until she committed suicide in a glade near her house outside of Shalebridge. Her body wasn't found until months later, still hanging from the tree. Anyone entering the glade will slowly become wracked with grief and regret, ending in suicide.



Sister Serpent – 


A nun who healed people with elixirs made primarily of snake venom. Although she only ever believed in the healing power of the lord, she was eventually denounced as a witch and burnt on a barge in the middle of Shalebridge Lake. This denouncement occurred shortly after she took her healing elixir to the children’s ward of the Shalebridge Sanitarium and administered it to all the children, who died shortly thereafter. 



The World


Shalebridge — 


An idyllic small town nestled between a lake and a small mountain. It’s the kind of place you can’t help but drive slowly through. Once a coal mining town, the mine shut down after a massive landslide buried part of the town. Two hours from a much larger city, Shalebridge is routinely passed over when city-folk are looking for a rural adventure. It’s almost as if the town naturally wards people away. The never-ending forest that surrounds the city is filled with cabins. Most are occupied, but others are empty or home to creatures beyond human comprehension.


Hidden beneath the benevolent facade is a sordid and twisted history. The Shalebridge Sanatorium was the site of decades of occult rituals from a number of cults. The town itself was said to have been founded by one such cult, though its name is lost to all but Roman, the spirit of the founder. They built the mansion in the forest that later became the sanatorium. Legends talk of aberrant creatures inhabiting the forest and lake, snatching those unwary or foolish. Townsfolk shrug off the missing people as having just ran off to the nearby city, looking for bright urban lights.


In actuality, the monsters of Shalebridge’s legend are very much real. Beneath the town rests an awful beast with an untranslatable name, known only as He Waits At The Threshold. In twenty-year cycles, he stirs from his slumber, throwing out all kinds of reality shifting energy. This energy acts on the fears and deepest desires of the townsfolk, creating monsters to haunt them or drawing the creatures to the town. Routinely, cults form in Shalebridge. Though they have varying doctrines, including the House of Webs who revered spiders, all believe Shalebridge to be key to their religions. Some even believe their wishes will come true by awakening He Waits at the Threshold. Thankfully, none have succeeded so far. The Cult of The Waking Eye was the most recent, twenty years earlier. They were found in the sanatorium torn to shreds.



The Shalebridge Sanatorium — 


Deep in the woods is a massive old mansion. It is the oldest building in the Shalebridge area, originally built by the town’s initial cult. Long after they vacated, it was turned into the sanatorium where it got its name. The hospital was owned by the predecessor to The Archon Corporation and was the site of many heinous experiments. When the building was abandoned again, it made host to various groups and activities until The Waking Eye utilized it. Once they were killed, no one looks to journey to the grounds again.



The Siren’s Rock — 


A strip club/brothel halfway between Shalebridge and the city. Run by Guts, it is a favorite place for men looking for relaxation from both areas. The core business is a strip club, but Guts uses the smuggler’s tunnels beneath the building to run a brothel and any other number of illicit money making enterprises. Surprisingly, The Siren’s Rock is a relatively safe space. Guts keeps a tight rein on the going ons and abhors violence against their girls.



The Wolf — 


Shalebridge’s most popular local bar, run by Holly Dewolfe. 



Mountain Side Motel — 


Owned by Roman, this is the motel Sam and Ainsley live in while they are in Shalebridge. It’s just outside of the town, but many of the townsfolk don’t seem to know of its existence. In fact, Sam and Ainsley are the only people currently staying there.



North Lake Church — 


Shalebridge’s new church. The statues are said to whisper things to the parish.



South Lake Church — 


The town’s former church. Many years earlier it partially sunk into the lakebed and now sits half-flooded across the lake. Trapped in the basement is the mute Chained Angel.



Shalebridge School — 


A building much larger than what is being utilized. Much of the old tunnels beneath the building are locked off. Among the sealed halls is a crack between worlds leading to The Impossible City, a labyrinthine structure that was home to a now dead race.



Trail's End Diner — 


A diner famous for its omelets. Liz Lepore can usually be found here, as can Sam and Ainsley during the mornings.



Groups of Interest


The Cult of the Waking Eye — 


Merely the latest Shalebridge cult, they made their base at The Shalebridge Sanatorium. Twenty years ago they attempted a ritual to completely awaken He Waits At The Threshold. Trying to sacrifice an Immortal resulted in the entire cult being gruesomely killed. There are rumors that the cult is still active in Shalebridge. The truth is much stranger then that; the entire cult exists as spirits. The ghost cult now searches for a way to regain their bodies. The Waking Eye believes the world is naturally sinful and thinks He Waits can cleanse all the undesirables from the Earth.



The Archon Corporation — 


The business that makes a business of trying to monetize the supernatural. They’re looking for a way to utilize He Waits At The Threshold’s immense power, either for some commercial or military use. The scientists will go to any lengths to break down the arcane elements of the town, even if it means putting innocent lives at risk. For the corporation, everything comes down to the money you can make out of it. Archon is only the most recent name for the group. There has always been something like them in Shalebridge. One of their predecessors converted the Shalebridge mansion into a sanatorium where they performed all kinds of twisted experiments. 


Many of Shalebridge’s most important people are somehow connected to the Archon Corporation. It appears that much of what occurs in the town can be linked to them.



Lullaby — 


A group keeping an eye on Shalebridge from the shadows. They swear to protect the world from He Waits At The Threshold—no matter what the cost. Sam's old self first started Lullaby, but once he disappeared the old guard faded away and Lullaby became a hardcore militant group. For a soldier of Lullaby, the end always justifies the means. They are willing to wipe out the entire town if it means keeping He Waits asleep.



Sisters of Serenity — 


Once, the sisters were the head caretakers for Mother's tree who lured unsuspecting people or “innocents” to their lair to be caretakers of the tree. When the House of Webs cult attempted to use Mother to birth their arachnid god, the Sister's retaliated by cursing the House of Webs with a spiderblight. Subsequently, the House attacked the Sisters and killed every one of them, including the lesser caretakers of the tree. Even though the Sisters are dead, some descendants of the philosophy exist. They believe in the preservation of all life and wish for peace throughout the world.



House of Webs — 


One of the many cults that have existed through Shalebridge's history. The House of Webs believed spiders were sacred and wanted to use Mother, being a nature spirit, to bring their arachnid god into existence. When they tried to introduce spiders into Mother's system, the Sisters of Serenity replied. They decided to turn the House of Webs into spiders themselves. Now the descendants of the cult are cursed to someday succumb to their arachnid nature. Julia Edner is one such descendant, though her family distanced themselves from the House. House members have embraced the ironic spiderblight and see themselves as perfection. They think they can mold the world into their image.  


Story Arcs


Welcome to Shalebridge/The Missing Brother — 


Ainsley Stein arrives at Sam Corwin’s door, wanting Sam’s help in finding their brother. Their investigation leads to them coming up against the horrible and dark elements of Shalebridge. Sam starts to suspect something is wrong with Ainsley. The investigation winds down and Ainsley’s secret—even to themself—is revealed.



Cult of the Waking Eye — 


Near the end of the investigation into the brother, Sam unwittingly allowed a single Waking Eye cult member to return to this world as a spirit. Now that spirit wants to upset the balance of the town to return his ghost cult as well. Having failed twenty years earlier, The Cult of the Waking Eye looks to fully awaken the beast that sleeps below the town, believing it will return them to their bodies. Sam decides to hunt down the cult to discover what exactly happened twenty years earlier and what it had to do with them. Ainsley comes to grips with being a fake person and a mouthpiece for Mother.



Chuck’s Dark Side — 


A serial killer is stalking the city’s streets. When his signature kills come to Shalebridge, it brings along government agents not interested in any supernatural nonsense. Sam and Ainsley suspect that this may be something more then just a simple man killing people. Chuck’s dark side discovers the writings of Shalebridge’s initial cult—it’s name being lost to time—and believes that He Waits At The Threshold can grant him total control over the body he shares and immorality.



The Archon Corporation — 


Previously existing as a splinter group, now the full force of The Archon Corporation comes to Shalebridge. Their experiments into the magic of the town threatens to tear it apart. The higher ups in the company start getting possessed by crazed spirits and begin trying to find He Waits At The Threshold’s body. Sam and Ainsley have to stop them before they awaken the beast and destroy the world.



Fallen Angels — 


The Reverend’s visions become sullen and violent. All signs point to the rapture beginning in Shalebridge, but is it really angels coming down to greet them?



Mother — 


The being that tricked Sam into coming back to Shalebridge and has been manipulating them since then is finally making her move to awaken her supposed “husband.” 



Sample Episodes


Pilot — 


Sam and Ainsley head to Shalebridge to find Ainsley’s brother. Just as they arrive in town, a missing girl crawls out of the lake with scars similar to the markings drawn in Stein's notebook. It appears the forces at work in the town two decades earlier are back.



Fallen — 


People in town are experiencing terrifying visions, driving some to insanity. Sam and Ainsley investigate South Lake Church, finding the Chained Angel in the basement. Something is causing it unrest and radiating its power across the lake.



Play — 


Children are going missing in Shalebridge. Creatures from the forest, The Dreadfuls, are kidnapping children at a staggering rate and disappearing with them.



Claustrophobia — 


A missing hiker sends Sam and Ainsley toward the mountains, though things take a turn for the worse when Ainsley falls in a crevice. Ainsley finds the hiker, but they're not alone in the caves.



Fidelity — 


The Archon Corporation discovers a sound coming from the bottom of the lake. A sound that turns those who hear it into horrible fish monsters.



Dollhouse — 


A young, abused girl discovers the ability to send people into an alternate dimension for punishments. Sam is one such person and Ainsley has to discover how to return Sam to this world before the Grinning Man gets them.


Pitch — 


Some entity is systematically stealing people's sight. Sam loses theirs to the being.



Nails — 


The Lady of Nails brings vengeance down upon men who have wronged women. However, someone appears to be directing her actions.



Harm — 


The spirit of The Waking Eye's cruelest doctor is back to complete his work on "perfecting" humans. 



Regress — 


A ninety-year-old man has faked his death and came back in his twenties. Unfortunately, his new body is beginning to fall apart. He pleads with Sam to help him; in exchange he can reveal information about Jamie Stein.



Hang — 


Shalebridge is experiencing a large amount of suicides and attempted suicides. All of it can be traced back to a dilapidated house in the woods and the story of Mary Halford, "The Hanging Woman."



Labyrinth — 


Sam, Ainsley, and Julia investigate reports of strange sounds at Shalebridge School. They end up getting lost in The Impossible City, a maze once filled with a now dead race. Only, the city may not be empty.  



Heartless — 


A woman arrives in town with the same healing ability as Sam. Sam wishes to know how they are connected, the woman only wishes to kill Ainsley.


The Design of Dead Hearts

Designs from Previous Projects from The World of Shalebridge


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