Amidst the Ironwood Hills in Second Life

Ironwood Hills; Inara Pey, October 2015, on Flickr Ironwood Hills (Flickr) – click any image for full size

While it draws its inspiration from further afield than Halloween, a visit to Ironwood Hills is nevertheless in keeping with the time of the year, offering as it does a suitably dark and atmospheric place for exploration and investigation.

The work of Cyrus Knight (josman2088) and Jestyr Knight (Zeke Jestyr), the region offers a range of environments, all linked by a common post-apocalyptic theme, with plenty of photographic opportunities (with rezzing available), all of which is loosely based on Silent Hill.

Ironwood Hills; Inara Pey, October 2015, on Flickr Ironwood Hills (Flickr)

This is a forever twilight place, where the sky is leaden, the streets wreathed in shadow and subject to the encroachments of nature. It is a town that has seen better days, still held thrall to whatever has befallen it. Quite what that might be is hard to determine, but the wailing of sirens tends to suggest something destructive, as does the ruined state of some of the buildings. similarly, the distant sounds of fairground music tends to suggest most of the locals departed in a hurry.

Or perhaps some remained. Certainly, when walking the cracked, darkened streets under the few still-working lamps, it is possible to come across echoes of childish laughter, which is not entirely comforting in its tone. Turn a corner here or there, and you may even come across a youngster, perhaps playing hopscotch and strangely indifferent to your presence…

Ironwood Hills; Inara Pey, October 2015, on Flickr Ironwood Hills (Flickr)

Signs of what seems to have been a panicked exodus (or some other upheaval) can be found elsewhere as well: a police car smashed into a fire hydrant, a taxi lying in the local river the local river, the wreck of a truck on the edge of town, victim of an altercation with a tree.

Just when all this occurred is hard to assess. On the one hand, that power still flows through part of the town, allowing street lights to offer some illumination and signs to flicker weakly, offers a suggestion that the calamity is only recently passed. On the other, however, the state of the local vegetation and the way it is encroaching on roads, buildings and vehicles, suggests a fair amount of time has passed since whatever transpired here.

Beyond the town, with its church and drive-in theatre, baseball court and the rest, lay much more to explore. Cross the bridge, for example, and you’ll come to a partially flooded fairground. Perhaps the water here is the result of some natural disaster. Travel further afield, and other things might be brought to light – but I’ll leave these for you to discover.

Ironwood Hills; Inara Pey, October 2015, on Flickr Ironwood Hills (Flickr)

This is a design which makes excellent use of the space available at ground level within a region to present an environment rich in content. So much so that given the ambient lighting and the care put into the design, it is possible to miss things if limiting yourself to just a casual visit. So be sure yo take your time and that your follow all the footpaths, roads, tracks and trails you come across, or you’ll never know where they might lead or what might await discovery.

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