Level 237
rating: +26+x

SURVIVAL DIFFICULTY:

Class deadzone

  • {$one}
  • {$two}
  • Potential for Emotional Damage
Former_Commonwealth_Railways_employee_houses_at_Loongana%2C_on_the_Trans-Australian_Railway%2C_2006.jpg

Some of the weatherboard housing in Campbellville.

Description

Every traveller enters Level 237 at the same point, the single platform of a station on a single-track railway. The station bears a sign, written in paint so faded that you can only read the stencilled letters by the subtle difference in tone on the sun-bleached wood – CAMPBELLVILLE.

The track stretches to infinity in a straight line. Behind the railway station spreads a small town, long abandoned. There are houses, a motel, a general store, a pub. Down one of the short roads stands a school and an above-ground pool with cracks running through its concrete exterior. Of the half-dozen streets that make up Campbellville, only the one behind the railway station is paved – or at least, it is the only one that shows any sign of once having been paved. 

Everything is empty. 

The railway station itself doesn't feel real. There is a sense of insubstantiality to it, a ghost station for a ghost town. While you wait on the almost-translucent platform, for a train you cannot be sure is coming, Campbellville beckons. A desire to go deeper echoes from far away and settles in your chest.

As you walk the handful of streets that make up the town, the buildings start to feel more substantial. The call to explore shifts to a sense of deep melancholy. This place is alone. It is lonely. And it has been alone for a very long time. 

Perhaps you will stay. 

The weatherboard houses are all identical except for the faded paint colours that are still visible in the overhang of the eaves and windowsills. Front yards have small patches of grass here and there, growing at the bases of crooked fenceposts. The vegetation still stubbornly clings to the soil it was transplanted into, despite there being no other grass anywhere you can see.

The ache of loneliness you feel will start to lessen, as you walk across the playground in front of the two-room school. The lack of violent entities makes you wonder why no one has set up a community here. 

You could do that. You could stay. 

The farther you venture into Campbellville, the more sturdy the town becomes. It no longer feels as though it is a mirage. It's as solid as you are. Perhaps even more than you are.

As the buildings become real, you begin to fade. The dust from the road might stop caking your shoes, and begin to pass straight through your feet. You might notice a sepia tinge to your skin and clothes. You may look behind you to see that the outline of your shadow, once thrown back by the scorching sun with utmost sharpness has started to waver.

It does not hurt. Nothing hurts. You are where you are supposed to be, finally, and only the tiniest of nagging thoughts might remind you to return to the ghostly confines of the railway station, to wait, to listen for the train. The driver will stop for you, if you are solid enough.

Should you not return in time, as you fade you will sense an easing of the town's desolation. It won't matter if you cannot grasp the doorhandles to explore inside the rows of houses, because you can now walk through the walls.

Soon, the very last of your nagging thoughts will shift to the uncomplicated joy of times gone by – of times most explorers are too young to have ever known. Once you sense this happiness, you are ruined.

You will not feel ruined. You will feel happy, in this place you have never known but feel in your bones you must always have known. And soon you will fade out of existence, and the town will again weep for what it has lost.

It will weep for you too.

Bases, Outposts and Communities

It is impossible to settle in Campbellville for anything longer than a brief stay. Wanderers never encounter anyone else in Campbellville – solo adventurers will spend their time alone. However, groups of explorers who arrive on the same train are not separated.

The Railway Station

This is the only relatively safe place in Campbellville. A long, weatherboard building, the inside seems to have suffered little by the passage of time.

The interior consists of two rooms, where wanderers may stay for several days. The larger main hall has padded benches lining the walls, other than the corner where there stands an empty ticket office. The interior of the station is all panelled in dark wood, polished to a shine, although instead of the scent of wax and polish, wanderers will notice a distinct smell of dust.
In the far smaller storage room there are some supplies of food and drink. These are safe to consume, though the almond water in the canisters does nothing to return any lost corporeality.
The entire railway station is tinted with a faded sepia. There are occasional flickers, points of light appearing and disappearing like the spots on old film. It is obvious the railway station is not real.

Although this is the least dangerous place in Campbellville, wanderers who stay here more than a couple of nights will notice they are beginning to fade, as the station becomes more solid.

The Campbellville Scrip

Final%20scrip.jpg


All travellers who leave Campbellville will find a scrip in their pocket from the Campbell Mining Company. This bears the words:

Campbell Mining Company
Due to the bearer upon presentation in the Campbellville store or saloon, items to the value of Fifteen Pence

If a member of an explorer group is lost in Campbellville, the value of the scrip will be increased by an equal share of that member's 15 pence.

Explorers will find this "souvenir" almost impossible to discard, and upon viewing it they will feel an intense sensation of loss.

An explorer who did manage to shred the scrip reported that what he felt upon doing so was equivalent to seeing his childhood home pulled down to build a highway.

Entrances and Exits

No explorer has been able to enter Level 237 more than once.

Entrances

  • Any train on any level of The Backrooms will eventually stop at Campbellville.
  • Falling asleep on a long train journey in The Frontrooms may result in an individual awakening as the train pulls into the Level 237 railway station.

Exits

  • A train will come, and if a wanderer is still visible enough, the driver will stop and let them aboard.
  • Explorers suffering extensive fade have reported that in rare cases, standing in front of the train as it approaches the station and thinking hard enough of their desired destination level can catapult them there.


You will begin to cry after you leave Level 237. It's okay – everyone does.


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