It’s said that Vermilion was haunted. It seemed that no matter how much technological progress was made by mankind, there would be a level of superstition readily believed. Most people didn’t believe the place was actually haunted, but nonetheless, few would argue it wasn’t spooky.

Many of the homes in Vermilion, on the outskirts, were still abandoned, filled with the personal affects of humans who used to live here. Clothes filled the drawers. Some houses were entirely undisturbed. The bodies were removed and buried or cremated, but the rest was left as it was. There was food on a plate, which then rotted, but eventually turned to dried, dusty husks, no longer even rotting, simply frozen in a decrepit state.

It was far out into the darkness where Claire’s parents old apartment was. In Vermilion, everyone lived in small apartments, except the few rich living in large penthouses. Brick had managed to track down the home of Claire’s parents. He said he did it because he had nothing better to do. In a sense, that was true.

This was out in the badlands, an area of town passed all the light and heat. Out here, it was always dark, and after the sun went down it was pitch black. Claire and Brick brought flashlights to illuminate their way.

In Vermilion, flashlights were an item most people kept nearby, even on their person. If you had any reason to explore passed, or through an unlit area, you would need them. Even for the less adventurous, lights did go out in whole complexes from time to time.

Even in the main part of town, there were patches here and there without lights. Certain alleyways were perpetually dark, even in the daytime. Such places could have potholes or debris to trip on. Light was a practical necessity. Another necessity was phones of course, but especially the maps function. The abandoned areas, and even the non-abandoned areas, were confusing and maze-like. Without knowing where you were going, you could stumble into an area flooded with toxic fumes, or become trapped in a stairwell which had doors that only opened one way.

Penrose. The abandoned, purportedly haunted ruins of a mad architect.