Dear readers, tonight with us a in a paranormal detective – but not of the usual kind. Even though he lives in San Francisco, it’s not quite the one we know. Hank calls himself and his business a Private Ogre. We are here to learn of the darker underside of his world.
What can you tell us about the supernatural underbelly of San Francisco? How do the fae stay hidden from humans?
Strictly speaking, I shouldn’t answer this question. If you were kindred it wouldn’t be a problem, but humans aren’t supposed to know about the undercity. You found out about it somehow, so I guess you’re okay. All right, here’s what I’ll tell ya;
The undercity is located in a cavern below San Francisco. It’s a miserable dark, damp, cold place; filthy and humid and filled with the dregs of society. The undercity is about the same.
You’re pulling my leg.
All kidding aside, I like San Francisco and the undercity. I just hate the way humans have influenced the fae. I think it all began with the undercity. For some reason, the fae thought it would be a good idea to transport parts of their ancient cities to the cavern underneath San Francisco. I suppose there were numerous reasons for this, but ultimately it probably comes down to commerce. Goblins, for example, are extremely capitalistic. High elves also crave wealth and power. And gadgets. Everybody loves gadgets. So the fae have certain needs to interact with humans, yet must conceal their true nature for their own protection. Hence, the undercity. It allows fae and kindred (humans with fae ancestry) to remain close and yet safely concealed. Naturally, they use magic to enhance that concealment. When an elf or some other creature wants to go “topside,” he can use a number of secret access points disguised as mundane things like closets or sub-levels of parking garages.
What exactly is pixie dust? How does it affect people?
Ah, pixie dust is another of those human influences I was referring to. A hundred years ago, no fae in his right mind would even consider doing drugs, much less grinding up pixies and snorting them… Let me put it like this: Pixie dust is hardcore. HARDCORE. It’s worse than heroin. It’s highly addictive and so powerful that it will kill most humans within minutes. It kills fae creatures, too. It just takes longer. It’s forbidden for obvious reasons, but just like humans, fae creatures will do anything for a fix. I’m not saying all the undercity’s problems can be blamed on it, but a world without pixie dust would be a better place for all of us.
How did you end up with the position of the Steward? What does it entail?
The Stewardship is a hereditary position born from nature and necessity. Anytime you have sentient creatures living together you must have some sort of law; some way of keeping everyone honest and safe. With fae creatures, this is a difficult proposition. Most do magic and some are very powerful. That’s where ogres come in. It just so happens that I’m impervious to magic. Are you familiar with the way a lightning rod works as a ground, channeling energy straight into the earth? That’s me. In fact, if I touch a fae creature with my bare hands, I can suck the juice right of him so fast it’ll knock him out cold. This ability allows me to work as an agent of the law, something like a sheriff or marshal in the human world. And it doesn’t hurt that I’m a pretty big guy, even though I’m small by ogre standards.
What do you remember of your childhood?
I was an infant when my mother died. She was fighting a grizzly bear, and an old farmer witnessed the battle. It was on his ranch in southwestern Montana. He must have been terrified at the sight of these two monstrous creatures going at it in the middle of a blizzard, but he heard the sound of a wailing infant and came to my rescue. After the fight, my mother’s corpse disappeared and the farmer couldn’t prove what he had seen. He found me lying in a snowdrift. Aside from my green skin, I looked human. He took me home, thinking I had been abandoned. When the police couldn’t find my parents, the farmer and his wife adopted me.
What happened that you are the last of your kind?
Ogres have always been an isolated species. We can’t crossbreed with other fae creatures for the reasons I’ve described, and we don’t fit in with humans because of our green skin. Add to that the proliferation of humankind and other highly adaptable species, and I guess you could say that we just went extinct. I wish I knew more about it, but unfortunately, the history of my people is a mystery. What I can tell you is that, being raised by humans, I wasn’t very healthy as a child. They didn’t understand my dietary needs and as a result, I grew up small. My skin, which should be a healthy dark green color, is light enough that I’m usually mistaken for human.
It doesn’t hurt that humans tend to ignore things they don’t want to see, like a six-foot-six ogre or an elf gangster with long pointy ears and a sub-machine gun. I’ve seen elves and goblins walk down San Francisco streets without even drawing a stare.
Which was your scariest adventure? What makes an Ogre afraid?
I recently lost a very close friend. He was murdered by a no-good scumbag mobster. My friend hadn’t done anything to him. In fact, my friend hadn’t ever hurt anyone in his life. The reason he died was because he was close to me. That bomb was meant for me, but my friend paid the price.
I guess what I’m saying is that doing my job, going out there and walking that line every day, is like playing Russian Roulette with a forty-four magnum. I wouldn’t be able to do it if I had many fears. So I’m not afraid of monsters or anything silly like that. To many people, I am the monster. I’m not really afraid of dying, either. I know that when I die the world will keep turning and nobody will remember me just like they don’t remember my ancestors. But I do worry about the poor innocent victims like my friend. I’m afraid of what will happen to those people when there’s nobody left to stand up for them; nobody to come between them and the mobsters and gangs and politicians. The battle of good and evil is very real and very evident in the worlds of both fae and men. There aren’t enough people with the strength or the courage to stand up and fight for what’s right. I’m not arrogant enough to say I’m the one holding back the tide, but I don’t see anyone jumping up to take my place, either.
What does the future hold for you?
I know a woman named Siva, a dark fae with strange mystical powers. She prophesied something that has bothered me for a long time. She told me she saw a dark storm coming, and blood flowing like a river. Every time something bad happens, I tell myself: That was it. That was the prophecy; now it’s over. But every day something else happens, as if each day is trying to outdo the last in terms of violence and pure evil. I never can be sure if it’s really over, or if it has only just begun.
So what does the future hold for me? I try not to think about it, my friend.
Next week we will be hosting a cultural icon and internet meme – Nikola Tesla! Please follow the site by email (bottom-right), via Twitter or like our Facebook page to be notified when the next interview is posted.