Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Underground: The Legend of the Sewer Rat

The city of Rampart didn't have a proper sewage system until the early 1900s.  Before that, people were content to throw their garbage outside wherever they pleased, which led to unsanitary conditions in the more crowded neighborhoods like the Trenches.

Since that time the sewers have come to span hundreds of miles beneath the city.  It's said to walk through the entire system (if you could or wanted to) would take three months.  It's also said that in those sewers lurks a monster, a half-man, half-rat creature known only as the Sewer Rat.

The first sighting of the Sewer Rat came twenty years ago, when a work crew went down to repair a broken pipe.  There, one of the workers reported seeing a monstrous creature with fur like a rat but standing on two legs like a man, eating the carcass of a rat.  When the light was shown on it, the creature galloped away into the darkness.

Since then, many more sightings have been reported.  All of them describe the same creature that has the features of a rat but is bipedal like a man.  More than once the city has sent workers down to try and capture the creature, only to come up empty.  Documentary filmmakers and television crews have also searched for the Sewer Rat using the latest in nightvision cameras and infrared sensors.  They too came up with no conclusive evidence of a man-rat.

No one has even managed to get a blurry photograph like Nessie, Bigfoot, or countless UFOs as the sewers are usually too dark for photographs and the Sewer Rat is known to avoid the light.  This has led many experts to believe the original sighting was merely a hoax or the result of an overactive imagination.  Even if that is the case, the Sewer Rat continues to occupy the overactive imaginations of the people of Rampart City.

A wide variety of stories circulate around Rampart City.  Some say that he drinks the blood of rodents like a vampire.  Others suggest the creature was the result of a toxic waste spill into the sewers.  Still others say the Sewer Rat is gathering an army of his fellow rodents to one day wreak havoc on the city.  The most popular advice for warding off the Sewer Rat should you encounter him is a bright flashlight and a can of air freshener, particularly a floral scent, as the fresh scent of flowers drives him mad.

No matter your stance on the topic, the legend of the Sewer Rat is bound to continue to grow as the years go on.  But if you get to know him he's not really so bad:
Artist's conception of the Sewer Rat


(BTW,  if you really want to know, the Sewer Rat originated in a now-scrapped short story, the same one that gave birth to Dan Dreyfus.  The Rat was supposed to be a villain, but even in that story he became more of a benign character who like they say about bees or other creatures only will hurt you if you hurt him first.  And the way he talks in the stories is based on the Dinobots in the old Transformers TV show, except he doesn't say, "Me Sewer Rat..." though that's how I hear it in my head.)

V is for Vendetta:  The Last Name in Crime

5 comments:

  1. I appreciate all the background you've done on this, Patrick. I'm definitely buying this book the day it comes out. It's got just a fascinating amount of work in the story.

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  2. This might be the coolest part of this yet -- sewers like the Parisian sewers, a benign man-beast, and yet more detail on the world. All that time spent plotting this out in Panera paid off.

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  3. It seems that you have all the necessary elements here for a bestseller.

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  4. Modem city sewage systems weren't even invented until The lat 1800's anyway, so the citizens of Rampart City shouldn't feel too bad - they weren't that late to the game.

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  5. Definitely better than an alligator creature.

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