The concept of a "shared universe" isn't exactly new, but in recent years the idea has seen a surge in popularity. Marvel pulled off a cinematic universe and big studios have been trying to ape it ever since, with varying degress of success. Stephen King's novels are pretty much all set in the same world, with his Dark Tower series serving as the central grounding point for all the events. I decided I wanted to do something like that with the short stories I've written for this site.
In this post, I'll be looking through all my stories and seeing if I can, theoretically, link them all together in the same continuity. For a shared universe of stories, you need two things: continuity and rules. For continuity, I'll be careful to make sure there are no major contradictions and figure out where they take place in the fictional history. As for rules, I'll make sure they make sense and are easy to comprehend, so we always have some idea of what can happen and what can't.
With that out of the way, let's get to it.
- "It Opened" takes place in Ancient Mesopotamia, sometime during the early events of the Old Testament of the Bible, some time after Jerusalem was established. It regards an ancient city that is at war with Israel and tries to summon a demon to fight him. The demon is Pazuzu and he destroys the whole city. Because the villain is an Assyro-Babylonian deity, we can assume the city is located somewhere near Babylon, and that the events of the story take place sometime during The Jewish–Babylonian war, prior to the Babylonian Exile. The historical accuracy of this is questionable, so we can deduce this universe has an alternate history.
- "The Wandering Stranger" has a flashback to an unspecified time period, probably the middle ages. But the majority of the narrative takes place in modern day.
- "Pht'thya'l'y, Siren Priestess of Dagon" relays the contents a document written in 1946, and is a direct sequel to Lovecraft's "A Shadow Over Innsmouth."
- "I See Shadow People" and "Night of the Shadow Man" both have the same protagonist. Based on content, 'Shadow People' is most likely a prequel to the latter story.
- "Jacko the Very, Very Bad Clown" asserts that clowns are extra-dimensional beings with strange powers. The full lore of clowns isn't explored very much, and it's meant to feel like a children's storybook, but I think there's a lot of fun ways to play with the concepts in it.
- "Mother's Lunches" references the events of Shadow Over Innsmouth, but there really aren't any details that signify what time period it takes place. We can assume modern day.
- "That Awful Dripping Sound" is the story of an apartment complex that falls into squalor, and gets taken over by a race of disgusting mold men who shove people into gooey pods. It isn't clear if they just took the place over or if the area accidentally phased into a hostile dimension.
- "Bug Bites" also takes place in an apartment complex. Is it the same one? The previous story makes reference to all sorts of different Lovecraftian monsters. It isn't implausible to say that Bug Bites might be a prequel to Dripping Sound. There could be all kinds of crazy stuff happening in this place, and all the tenants are rendered totally oblivious by the evil presence until the corruption starts interacting them. Maybe residents were slowly mutated until they took over the entire complex.
- "Cold Storage" is the tale of two terrified bums dying of smoke inhalation in a storage unit. Definitely the modern day. Nothing significantly supernatural.
- "The Elysium Project" obviously takes place in the far future. It isn't clear if the characters in it represent the whole of humanity, or just a small cult. For all we know, it could be an isolated group in a starship, or an entire planet colonized by humans that fell to insanity. Since it's my universe, I'm gonna go with the latter because its scarier, and it still keeps my options open.
- "The Rat King" is about a bunch of buddies huntin' in the woods and finding a freakish animal. Most likely modern day.
- "Tower of Souls" is about a man having a nightmare where he's taken over the ruins of an ancient city (the same one from It Opened) and falling into a portal to hell. There's definitely some astral projection going on here. Is he astral projection into the past, or another part of the world in modern times? I'm going to say "the past" so we can assume the ruins were built over for a modern-day city. Because a portal to hell underneath a functioning city is a really cool horror concept.
- "Head Games" is about a high-tech, clandestine order of psychics performing bizarre experiments. This one is also set in modern day.
- "Finger-Lickin' Good" is about a man chomping his own arm off. Modern day technology is used throughout. This is yet another modern-day story.
For all the stories set in the modern day, we'll assume their place in the timeline is determined by release date unless there's something in them that says otherwise. Therefore, the continuity goes like this:
It Opened --> Tower of Souls (Flashback) --> The Wandering Stranger --> Pht'thya'l'y, Siren Priestess of Dagon --> I See Shadow People --> Night of the Shadow Man --> Bug Bites --> That Awful Dripping Sound --> Jacko the Very, Very Bad Clown --> She Had to Be Perfect --> Mother's Lunches --> The Wandering Stranger (Modern Day) --> Cold Storage --> The Rat King --> Tower of Souls (Modern Day) --> Head Games --> Finger Lickin' Good
- Supernatural stuff is very real. Cryptids, monsters, aliens, undead and demons all exist. Their existence is covered up by an SCP-like group that was formed some time around the industrial revolution. This way there's plausible deniability. People who believe in aliens and monsters are treated with the same seriousness as bigfoot-hunters are in our world, because there's an active effort to make them look crazy by a conspiracy.
- Abrahamic Religions are true in this universe. God, the devil, heaven and hell exist. Actual demons are fallen angels that rebelled against God and were banished to hell, and they only ever look like actual humans. Monsters like Pazuzu aren't actually demons, but have all the visual traits associated with them.
- Pazuzu and other monsters like him are malicious cosmic beings that have their own pocket dimensions. We'll call them "Nether Lords" and the collective inter-connected series of pocket dimensions every Pantheon rules over "The Nether." They trap souls and they have worlds that resemble Dante's interpretation of all, but have no connection to Hell or the devil. he strange, infernal creatures that come from this realm are called "Nether Demons." In more grounded stories, this seperation won't be mentioned at all because it's scarier. The distinction exists to explain the internal consistency of their existence in regards to existing alongside creatures from other mythologies.
- Gods and pantheons from various mythologies also exist in their own pocket dimensions. However, given how little influence they seem to have in the modern world, its likely a cataclysmic event destroyed some or all of them. I'll have to explore that later.
- Lovecraft entities also exist in this world. They aren't necessarily evil, but they're totally indifferent to humanity and, from an evolutionary standpoint, are millions of miles above it. We're like ants to them. But remember: ants can still kill you if enough swarm you. Basically, they're just creatures of the universe. We'll call them "Eldritch" to make them distinct from other types of monsters.
- Clowns are extra-dimensional cosmic entities that have inter-bred with humans. Some humans have recessive clown genes that may be awoken at some point, and they'll start getting clown powers. People can also dress up like clowns with actually being a "real" one. Clowns are beings with magical powers. Some are benign and some are hostile. In this universe, Pennywise and Ronald McDonald are two different members of the same species. Different clowns have different degrees of power, of course.
- Magic is real in this universe, and so are psychic powers. It requires years of training and study to master them, and if you have no idea what you're doing it can be a disaster.
- Several of Lovecraft's stories happened in this universe, though there may be some key differences.
I guess we'll call this "The Bleedverse." It was a lot of fun thinking about all of this and putting it together. I hope to explore and expanding this universe now that I've examined how they all connect. This was an incredibly fun project and I really enjoyed it, and I hope you enjoyed reading it too.
If you found any inconsistencies, have a question, or just want to comment on the idea of an expanded fictional universe (especially if you're thinking of making your own!) feel free to let me know in the comment down below. Until next time, have a good one.