Nick Dwyer grew up as an over-privileged white person outside of Philadelphia. When dealing with his potential insanity, he didn't have many problems worth noting. I find nothing of interest in his story.
"The Presence", as he calls her, is different. Her real name is completely unknown to him, lost to the sands of time and the actions of Mastermind. That truly is what aches at his heart: so much anguish, and so much loss, and yet he will never know her name. He mourns her this year, but if he was logical he would have begun mourning her eight years ago on a very different month. If he survives to old age he will mourn The Presence every year. After all, she died last year about five days from this date.
What he has not said is that he is the cause. What might have been The Presence was killed at his command. There were reasons. You may even understand them when our story is through.
What he does know of the Presence is simple: she existed within one hundred miles of Philadelphia during the conflicts that occurred from 2002 - 2004. She lived in North Philadelphia, better known as the bad part of town. North Philadelphia was once a center of manufacturing and business, gutted when companies came across the concept of "outsourcing."
Philadelphia is a hard town at the best of times. She and her family lived as best they could on the edge of the hardest part, an inch from any number of hives of scum and villainy. I do not understand such places in this world, they move differently than they did in mine. But what can one do?
The Presence and he, as I communicated previously, came together in spirit. They could interact with each other over a connection they shared, and through that connection they could feel the others thoughts. They couldn't always understand them, but they always knew what the other was feeling, and could exchange general ideas. They often exchanged the idea of finding each other, and finally knowing each other in the reality they knew for fact was real.
More than any truth you must gather from this story, is the disconnect between what is there and what is here. The astral plane is a confusing place that could well only be the imagination of those who go there. It is ephemeral, like the wind or the future. It may well never exist at all. What is the loss of a person in such a place? Ideas made real, lost forever without ever having felt real at all.
I digress. The two wanted to see each other, and exchanged ideas and thoughts and love and caring and hope. They were very real to each other.
So when someone began hunting The Presence in her very real, physical world, Nick Dwyer knew. When the Presence began watching over her shoulder and going to and from school in new and varied routes to avoid detection, Nick Dwyer knew why. He could feel her aching fear, and she felt his concern. It was touching to her. He could help her against demons and spirits, but this was not something that an ephemeral, surreal creature like Nick Dwyer, who she knew could never exist in the physical world, could ever possibly help with.
You might wonder why Nick jumps to the chance to rescue anyone? We could spend all day desperately searching through your primitive "Hyper-links" and determining how many times he's foolishly stuck his nose into someone else's problem. This entire blog is Nick Dwyer leaping to one person's defense or another, desperately trying to save anyone he can.
It is in keeping with his flaws. He's always trying to save the person he's lost.
When the attacker finally revealed himself, Nick and The Presence both determined that he was a problem on every level. He was a human, his mind had been corrupted and co-opted by one of the ancient demons they dreamed of, and he had desires that needed sating. The Presence was always at Nick's level. she utterly crushed this monster.
Having investigated the situation myself, I know that this was not the only one that had been possessed. The monster was carted off by the police, who called it a clear case of self-defense, and praised The Presence's skillful handling of the situation. The reprieve would not last long. There was a group in Philadelphia, a collection of monsters. They were demons in human guise, who had long since been tracking down those like The Presence or Nick. They remind me of the one he calls "Ellen." One by one, they had hunted down each of the others in Philadelphia like Nick and The Presence. After her attacker was arrested, The Presence came home to find written in spray paint on her door two simple words: