Welcome to Raccoon City
Prelude to Horror is a Resident Evil fanfiction taking place in Raccoon City, between July and September, 1998, from the Ecliptic Express disaster of Resident Evil 0, right up to the fall of the last hope for humanity; the Raccoon Police Precinct, in Resident Evil 2. This story aims to capture the gradual degradation of Raccoon City from a bustling mountain community in the American Midwest, into a biohazard zone overrun with the undead, through the lens of two unarmed, average civilians; one local, and one tourist.
Their stories are shaped by, and compliment the games' events, featuring a cast of original characters, supporting Resident Evil characters, and the occasional appearance from the series' protagonists themselves.
I hope you will enjoy reading this story as much as I am writing. Without further ado, on with the show.
From the Diary of Kenneth Feng, dated October 26th, 1998:
"I once lived in the American Midwest in a small, quaint little mountain community nestled in the middle of a sprawling evergreen forest. Most people from major metropolitan areas like New York would've looked at our stomping grounds as a nice place to own a vacation home, perhaps a multi-storey wood cabin perched atop some arduous cliff face at the edge of town, with a view of the inner city below and a cloudless cerulean sky above with the glorious sunrises to wake up to, crisp, fresh mountain air to breathe; a stark contrast to their otherwise smog-laden high stress lifestyles. That was what outsiders, by no small effort on the part of Mayor Michael Warren, had come to expect out of Raccoon City as; a vacation spot for the rich and adventurous.
"Tourism was the second largest industry that brought money into Raccoon City - hikers, to be more specific. Surrounded on all sides by dense forest, we were abundant in hiking trails ranging from relatively level to obstacle ridden, all beginning at the foot of the mountains. Enthusiasts tended to scale a mountain or two.
"I say tourism was our second largest industry because unless you were local, you might have heard about the Umbrella Corporation on occasion or read an article on them because they made the Forbes 100 list - again. Unlike other American cities, Raccoon was backed almost exclusively by the pharmaceutical company. Their products were on the store shelves, in our cupboards, bathrooms, and even on our plates with a share in most well-established local businesses. In hindsight, I'm aware of the absurdity of our situation to most outsiders. It's the equivalent of having the makers of Tylenol having a financial stake in almost every aspect of your life, the stuff of political cartoons. But to us, it was a reality and we knew no better for it.
"I moved here about two years ago from Osaka, Japan. That port city has been my home for as long as I can remember, though my family had immigrated there from Beijing, China shortly after I was born. I took it upon myself to make the move to Raccoon because I'd been raised with the typical Japanese ideology of the West as being this exalted place, and I wanted to see the cities and culture of a society that, technologically speaking, had a major influence in Osaka's physical makeup. And of all the places I choose to move to in the U.S., it wasn't the bustling city of New York, it wasn't Los Angeles with enough pollution to change air into some kind of alien atmosphere, nor was it the moderate climate of Seattle in the North West. No, it was the quiet, laid back mentality of Raccoon City that ended up drawing me in.
"I'll be entering tenth grade this September at Raccoon City Secondary School - or RCSS for short. Summer school isn't common amongst most American kids, but we were Uptowners; the offspring of Raccoon City's elite - big fish in an incredibly claustrophobic pond and Hell hath no fury like an Uptown parent of an underachieving teenager. My summer of 1998 was crammed with daytime classes at school, and work experience of 100 unpaid hours of service to the local police department as their office boy as a pre-requisite to securing a spot in Harvard in time for my scheduled 2001 graduation. Turns out that work experience isn't the glamorous A-Level kind of work a university candidate would expect so they could put it on their resume and impress the hell out of the interviewers.
"Overachiever? Maybe I was. But in a tight-knit community of suits, executives, expensive cars, and where social gatherings were a cleverly disguised arena of ego death matches, anything less than a middle management job or a fast-tracked program at an elite university upon graduation and one would find himself slowly losing face in his own community. And at the end of that downward spiral was Downtown Raccoon City; cubicles they called 'homes' stacked on top of each other loosely connected by aged brick and mortar with creaky rusted metal wrapped around them like tinsel that the Downtowners called fire escapes. The roads in downtown were cracked and riddled with potholes that formed puddles when it rained that kids loved jumping into barefoot. Children played hopscotch, four-square, jump-rope and street hockey outside in their stained, tattered clothing as cars zoomed by, their drivers more concerned with passing the area as quickly as possible than the safety of the kids. Mothers in mumu's and hair curlers hollered at the kids from second and third storey windows to come in for dinner simultaneously every day between the hours of 5 and 6pm. And from 11pm to 3 in the morning, their fathers would stumble home from the bar with alcohol bottles in hand, some full, most empty, yelling vulgarities in a drunken confrontation with their own personal demons.
"I oversimplify using terms like Uptown and Downtown because Raccoon City wasn't divided into two neighborhoods. For a small mountain city, we had dozens of micro-communities though the border of the divide between the two areas became a little blurry towards the middle class neighborhoods. But towards the extremes, everyone in town knew that the creme de la creme of society lived in Whitchley, and the welfare enthusiasts lived in St. Michaels.
"I'd only been working with the police department for about a few months and had already grown accustomed to the reports from Downtown. Organizing the papers, I came to the quick realization that this was where it all happened. After a week, I cared nothing for the cat in the tree story that Mrs. Lonsdale called in for, when there was a treasure trove of stories from Downtown featuring abuse, of every kind - animal, child, battery, theft, drug, suicide ... like a library of every genre shelved, ready for perusal at my fingertips.
"But of all the police reports I read, there was one that really sticks out in my mind; a report that evolved into a full blown epic so tragic that it had manifested from the pages I held in my hands into the blood-splattered walls of rooms that I literally walked through, smoke filled air that I breathed, screams of people and their flesh being torn from their bodies that I heard, and friends that I watched die. It is a story that everyone now knows, perhaps the only story that anyone knows about Raccoon City. History has us pegged as the first casualty, the patient zero that instigated the full scale war on bioterrorism today. Nobody in this town would've expected the misfortune of Raccoon City in Anywhere USA to gain such an iconic status from this one story. Nobody acknowledges that we were a tax paying people, complete with everyday problems, social class disputes, and petty social graces before we turned into ... before everything ... before ...
"Just let me tell you what happened."