The Real Growlerville 1: The Forbidden Zone
(A first hand account by investigative journalist, Mr. E)
We Finally Made It to The Forbidden Zone
I wait with bated breath for the tour to begin! Stay tuned and read on. ----------------------->
After many moons and inquiries, and after agreeing not to hold them responsible for anything, the Huhu Authority finally arrange for us to directly observe the Forbidden Zone, escorted by researchers from the Oldold Institute. The professionals who go there to conduct studies refer to it as "the Zone." Our trip with them takes place in an armored personnel carrier surrounded by several hyper zeta protective fields. As we head toward the Zone through the bleak buffer area, past the scarecrows, through the corridor, we hope our protective technology is enough. In the distance, we recognize the unusual cloud formations and purple smoke that we saw in the film at the museum. It's stunning.
Sensors capable of detecting the presence of encrusted forms are evident everywhere on our vehicle and they start going off the moment we entered the Zone. Within moments, all sound stops. We try to speak, but no sounds are possible. Even naturally occurring sounds become noticeably absent. The researchers shut down the engine and instruct us with hand motions to be quiet. After a few moments of silence, things return to normal, and we are off again. The scientists explain that we had just experienced the presence of the invisible Noise Thief, an encrusted form which seeks out and consumes audio energy. It was hungry, and came over to us to graze on our noise! Imagine what would happen if one of these escaped from the Zone!
Within the Forbidden Zone, scientists are continually discovering new encrusted entities, some resembling life forms, like the Noise Thief, others resembling mineral forms, and even some with multiple realities. The encrusted forms which have evolved here are much hardier than most, for they have had to adapt to outrageous changes. Some have become microscopic, like the Tiny Timber, or the Betwixt & Between virus. Others can become huge, and go underground great distances before emerging, like the Cloud Eater, or the Upsy. Others conserve energy by disappearing for most of the time, reappearing only when conditions provide high moisture or other forms of nutrition, like the well known Swine Laurel, the Timefish, or the beautiful Stone Berry. Interactions between these diverse encrusted forms has led to the constant evolution of new, incomprehensible natural powers, some potentially very dangerous to citizens of Growlerville.
A short while later the sensors again go off as we approached a group of strange cactus-like trees, each with a single black or white flower at the top. The researchers call it the Sneeze. The black flowered tree has evolved a powerful attractive force, similar to that of a magnet, to pull from long distances the pollen from the white flowered plants. But the result is that many other things can get caught in the attractive force, like metals, even us! We give them a wide berth.
Despite the ominous sounding name, the Forbidden Zone offers a peek into the vast beauty of a stark, heavily encrusted, natural setting. Located far to the west of Growlerville, this area is strictly off limits to the recreational traveler. The Tourist Bureau recommends that you visit the Forbidden Zone exhibit at the Town Museum, where you can experience the natural beauty of the place without the extreme risks associated with a firsthand visit. They also recommend the bus tour - although it does not actually take you into the Forbidden Zone, you do get close enough to view the giant scarecrows placed at the town limits to remind citizens that they should turn back. Quite remarkable indeed!
Traveling around in the Forbidden Zone has given me a new respect for the powerful forces at play here. Like mountain tops and open seas, this area can suddenly become extremely hazardous even while it remains beautiful. The researchers try to minimize risks, but the dangers may be everywhere as well as unknown. Scientists have mapped out certain areas known to be relatively safe - meaning that most who enter also return - and these are the areas under study.
The Oldold Institute's mandate is to study the resources of the Forbidden Zone in an effort to improve the lives of the community. Although the Institute was formed in ancient times, only recently have some realistic benefits from research actually been within reach. I ask for a demonstration of these promising results and they are eager to show me when we get back.