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|“||In my heart and mind, I always return to Atlantic Island Park...||„|
|~ Lorraine, bookending the events of The Park|
Lorraine Maillard is the protagonist of The Park, a horror tie-in game to the Funcom MMORPG The Secret World. An impoverished single mother living among the fishing communities on Solomon Island Maine, Lorraine struggles to pay the bills and provide for her son, Callum - all while trying to live with longstanding depression stemming from the death of her boyfriend Don. The one bright spot in the family's gloomy life is Atlantic Island Park , an amusement park built on Solomon Island by eccentric millionaire Nathaniel Winter, and apparently Callum's favorite place in the world. However, when Callum loses his teddy bear over the course of one visit, he decides to sneak back into the park after closing time to retrieve it, forcing Lorraine to follow him in - and confront Atlantic Island Park's true nature head-on.
The Woodcutter's Wife
Due to the fact that most of the information is conveyed through illusions and monologues delivered by extremely unreliable narrators, much of Lorraine's past remains uncertain at best and highly suspect at worst. However, it can be assumed that Lorraine Maillard was born on Solomon Island at some point in the late 1950s or early 1960s: her father was an abusive alcoholic who regularly took out his frustrations on his wife, eventually prompting her to leave the family. By all accounts, she attempted to take her daughter with her during the flight from Solomon Island, but Lorraine somehow ended up back in her father's care; the exact reasons remain uncertain: Lorraine's mother attests that she ran away from their new home, while Lorraine herself claims that her father kidnapped her. In any case, the family patriarch spent the rest of his days drinking heavily and likely continuing his abuse with his daughter, until alcoholism finally drove him into an early grave.
With no way of contacting her mother, Lorraine was left alone in the world with nobody to support her. As she was old enough to work by that stage, she sought out employment and eventually found work as a waitress at Susie's Diner, a popular local attraction in Kingsmouth; for a while, she was able to subsist on the meager wages she earned as a waitress, though it required her to work long hours and tolerate sexual harassment from the regulars. However, it was around 1977 that Lorraine's life changed dramatically - for better and for worse.
In the 1970s, Nathaniel Winter arrived on Solomon Island. A wealthy industrialist and property developer, Winter had developed an obsession with the long-abandoned property of Archibald Henderson, a local farmer-turned-sorcerer made infamous thanks to the string of grisly murders he'd committed in the early 20th century. Against the advice of the realtors and many superstitious residents, Winter bought up most of "Old Man Henderson's" land with the express intent of building an amusement park there - though his employees and colleagues had no idea why, given that the millionaire property mogul had shown no interest in such attractions before. Nonetheless, in 1975, work began on Atlantic Island Park, with hundreds of locals finding work at the construction site, and dozens more looking forward to the employment opportunities the finished park would bring. Unfortunately, the work was soon delayed by a series of catastrophic "accidents" around the building site, many of them fatal to anyone unlucky enough to be nearby: safety harnesses failed, apparently functional equipment broke down as soon as it was switched on, and some rides simply collapsed halfway through construction. Several workers apparently committed suicide with little explanation, and others began to complain of ghostly sightings around the site, some even claiming that the rides themselves were "whispering." But despite the negative reputation the Park had already acquired and the skyrocketing cost of continuing his pet project, Nathaniel Winter soldiered on nonetheless, even as a construction process that should have only taken a few months slowly distended into a grueling four-year-span.
At some point in 1977, a construction worker by the name of Don happened to stop by Susie's Diner for a cup of coffee after his shift was over, and unexpectedly fell for Lorraine. Once her shift was over, Don offered to walk the young waitress home; along the way, the two of them began talking on a steadily more intimate level, until they finally kissed. Don and Lorraine had sex on the very night they met, and though she was never certain, Lorraine came to believe it was that "one perfect night" when her son Callum was conceived. For a time, the relationship between the two lovers flourished, and Lorraine went so far as to move in with Don. However, as the construction of Atlantic Island Park continued, the mood of the workforce nosedived as their efforts to finish the cursed project grew all the more desperate: many of them began reporting unusual mood swings while on the construction site, the effects of which were so devastating that Don took to isolating himself from Lorraine until he was certain that he was in his right mind again. In the face of escalating stress on the part of both partners, he also recommended that they leave Solomon Island altogether and raise their child as far away from the park as possible; tragically, they never had the chance to do so.
Three months into Lorraine's pregnancy, Don was killed in a fall from the half-finished Ferris Wheel, apparently the victim of a malfunctioning safety harness. Alone once more, Lorraine was forced to suffer through the remaining six months of the pregnancy, all while grieving for Don. In a bleakly ironic twist that only become more sordid as the years went by, Lorraine finally gave birth in 1978 - on the very day that Atlantic Island Park finally opened. She named her son Callum - one of the few baby names she'd had a chance to discuss with Don before he died.
Now a single mother with limited income and virtually no opportunities for advancement, Lorraine's life began slowly falling to pieces: scant months after giving birth, she was hospitalized with chronic depression, subjected to electroconvulsive therapy, and prescribed a hefty course of antidepressants before being unceremoniously discharged with next to no additional support. Unable to find work outside of her current job at the diner, Lorraine found herself barely able to pay the bills, and was forced to resort to begging family members for money, without much success: Lorraine's mother still hadn't forgiven her for "running away", and Don's family refused to support her after a DNA test of Callum proved inconclusive; as if to add insult to injury, the latter attempt also left her burdened with legal fees. Unwilling to humiliate herself any further by seeking professional support, Lorraine resolved to raise Callum on her own, a process she struggled with at the best of times. At one point, she left baby Callum alone in her car while she shopped for groceries, and when the police took notice and advised her to seek help, Lorraine seriously considered committing suicide by cop rather than exposing herself to the humiliation of needing assistance.
Lorraine's relationship with her son varied. For the most part, she was as good a mother as she could be under the circumstances, supporting him with everything her limited salary could provide and loving him with all her heart. However, she occasionally experienced moments of instability: when reading Hansel And Gretel to her son, she began to obsessively identify with Gretel - sometimes even feeling more like Callum's sister than his mother. At other times, the strain of her position occasionally drove her to drink, leaving Callum neglected around the increasingly cluttered house. Sometimes, she actively resented her son, though she rarely ever admitted it out loud even to herself. However, between antidepressants, alcohol, mounting stress, and social isolation Lorraine's sanity began to slowly erode - to the point that she got into the habit of ignoring the more unpleasant elements of her life and glamorizing the more positive aspects. Her grip on reality only loosened further once the supernatural began to intrude on her otherwise mundane existence: through the many lonely months alone in the house, Lorraine was continuously visited by the ghosts of Don and her father, the latter criticizing her attempts to teach Callum to read, the former encouraging her through the worst of her depression - always telling her that "every day will be a little better than the last." Unable to distinguish fantasy from real supernatural occurrence, Lorraine could only accept their presence, never once believing that things would ever get any better.
Though Lorraine claimed that Atlantic Island Park was her son's "favorite place in the world," the family's real attitudes toward it remain uncertain given their rather tenuous connection to reality over the course of the game. While it's possible that the two of them did attend the park, Callum likely didn't have much of an opportunity to single it out as a favorite place: by the time Callum turned two, Atlantic Island Park was already closing its doors after a long string of accidents, fatalities and other disasters; dozens of children went missing in the House of Horrors, a roller-coaster car derailed and killed a family of three, a child was found dismembered behind the cotton candy stand, and an employee in a "Chad the Chipmunk" mascot costume murdered several teenagers with an icepick. Nathaniel Winter did his best to keep the park operating even in the face of escalating media scrutiny, bribing local officials and calling in favors from colleagues in the upper echelons of the US government, but eventually the death toll grew too great for even his influence to disguise. In 1980, the park was finally shut down for good, its gates padlocked and the compound declared off limits to all; not long afterwards, Winter sent his family home to Boston and vanished into the depths of the abandoned park - never to be seen again.
The game itself begins at some point in the 1980s, long after the park has been officially shut down. However, due to her ongoing disconnect with reality, Lorraine is under the impression that Atlantic Island Park is still open and that she and her son have just enjoyed a happy day at the park - only spoiled by the fact that Callum lost his teddy bear inside the compound. Despite being told to wait in the car while his mother goes looking for the lost bear, Callum somehow breaks through the heavy turnstile gates and sneaks back inside, forcing Lorraine to follow him into the now-closed amusement park. What really happened is still unknown: it's possible that Callum ran away in the hopes of escaping his mother's increasingly unstable behavior, or that something within the park lured him inside. In any case, the delusion of a happy Atlantic Island Park at sunset falters as soon as Lorraine enters, leaving her to wander the derelict park for most of the night in search for her son.
However, it quickly becomes clear that though the park is abandoned, it isn't inactive: the rides are still working despite being without power or operators for years on end, and the area is strewn with handwritten notes from Nathaniel Winter himself. Unable to catch up with Callum, Lorraine ventures into the rides and exhibits in the hopes of finding him on one of them, beginning with the Tunnel of Tales - a ride currently performing an adaptation of Hansel And Gretel. However, aboard these early rides, Lorraine begins to experience disturbing illusory visions: most of them consist of phantom versions of the murderous Chad the Chipmunk mascot (the real one having been committed to a mental hospital by now); however, they are also joined by a tall, spindly figure in a top hat and the remains of a ringmaster's coat. This monster - known as the Bogeyman - appears to be manipulating events throughout the park, and is often encountered staring up at her from the control booths of various rides or grinning down at her from above. Between visions, Lorraine begins to reflect on her life with Callum, her mood shifting from openly loving to to quietly regretful at the "traitorous thought" she exhibited on the day her son was born.
Eventually, the notes scattered around the park reveal that Nathaniel Winter originally built Atlantic Island Park as part of an attempt to imbue himself with magical power: Solomon Island had always been a nexus of dark energies just waiting to be harnessed, and many had attempted to seize control over the centuries - most prominently Archibald Henderson, who believed he could unlock the island's power through negative emotions. By contrast, Winter decided to use positive emotions, hence the amusement park: having acquired the designs to a technomagical Anima Capacitor from a legendary architect, he concealed the resulting machinery in the rides of the amusement park, believing that the exhilaration and joy of the visitors would be able to unlock the magical power of Solomon Island - infusing him with magical powers and immortality. However, these unstable devices were the source of all the fatal accidents that had occurred throughout the park's history, along with all the murders and suicides: upon having their joy harvested by the machines, visitors found themselves feeling increasingly unnerved as their happiness slowly bled away, hence the agitation of Don and the other workers; worse still, disturbed or depressive individuals responded badly to the siphoning process, some becoming violent as their insecurities spiraled out of control.
As her journey through the park continues, Lorraine finds herself unknowingly falling victim to the siphoning process: already depressive and harboring a good deal of pent-up anger, Nathaniel Winter's machinery begins slowly draining away what little positive emotion she has left, corrupting her personality one aspect at a time. By the time she leaves the Octotron, she has already begun to doubt her own love for Callum; while approaching the Ferris Wheel, she considers herself a failure as a mother for letting anyone believe she needed help raising her son; on her way to the roller coaster, Loraine's long-buried resentment finally explodes into a vicious tirade against children of all kinds, calling them "little life-sucking monsters" bent on turning their parents into their slaves, and seriously considers abandoning Callum (or as she calls him "the little fuck") in the park.
However, when she boards the roller coaster, the Bogeyman unexpectedly joins her, insisting that the two of them need to talk about Callum: as the car slowly travels up the embankment, the monster explains that Lorraine and her son are "everything this place doesn't want," but the park is too hungry to turn them down or spare the "trail of breadcrumbs" that was arranged for her to find. According to the monster, the Callum has become the victim of "The Witch" that supposedly lives in the House of Horrors, and he cannot be saved; tearfully, Lorraine begs to be left alone - only for the Bogeyman to sneer that she always has been alone, before promptly leaving her at the top of the roller-coaster's incline.
After being plunged through a series of terrifying hallucinations by the ride, Lorraine leaves the area with her emotions once again in flux, this time swinging towards paranoia and possessive love for Callum: claiming that "they" are trying to take her son away from her, she insists that she'll find a way to save him no matter what she has to sacrifice, no matter how much pain it will cause the two of them. The trail of breadcrumbs eventually leads Lorraine into Sideshow Alley, where - between visions of Chad and newspaper clippings reporting one of the park's more famous deaths - she unexpectedly discovers a bottle of antidepressant pills that supposedly belong to her. Taking some in an apparent moment of clarity, Lorraine finds herself once again hallucinating, this time envisioning the park returning to some semblance of life and her wrists spontaneously slitting themselves, before passing out. Awakening a moment later, Lorraine continues following the trail - this time all the way to the House of Horrors.
Inside the dilapidated attraction, notes scattered throughout the building confirm that the Bogeyman is none other than Nathaniel Winter himself, having successfully imbued himself with the energy harvested from the park's visitors and transformed himself into an immortal monster. More to the point, he has also gotten into the habit of capturing trespassers and thrillseekers so he can feast on the emotions he can harvest from them.Undeterred, Lorraine continues through the House of Horrors, only to be confronted by an illusory replica of her own house, one that only grows more and more disturbing as she continues through its numerous iterations. In the end, Lorraine is forced to come to terms with her neglectful and borderline-abusive behavior, and realizes that the "Witch" that the Bogeyman mentioned is none other than self. Consumed with remorse, she is lured downstairs into the House of Horrors' basement, where she finally locates Callum - lying unconscious on the concrete slab where Nathaniel Winter killed his previous victims. However, before she can rescue him, the Bogeyman appears behind her and promptly seizes control of the helpless young mother; pressing an ice-pick into her hands, he moves Lorraine into position, and then forces her to stab Callum to death. A moment later, Winter vanishes, leaving Lorraine alone and horrified by what she has just done.
Shortly afterwards, a grief-stricken Lorraine hands herself over to the Kingsmouth police for the murder of her son. However, while left to wait in the interrogation room, she is unexpectedly approached by a detective seemingly identical to the illusory ticket taker at the park entrance; to her confusion, he appears to be carrying a jar with a large bee in it. As the detective asks her to think back to the last time she saw her son, Lorraine sorrowfully reflects that, in her heart and mind, she will always return to Atlantic Island Park.
The Seven Silences
Callum's death leaves Lorraine an empty shell of a human being, broken in spirit and with no hope left for the future. It's not known if she intended to suffer through the prison sentence she'd earn for confessing to her son's murder, or if she always meant to kill herself as soon as her trial was over; one way or another, Lorraine is condemned to a much worse fate not long after her arrest.
With Solomon Island a wellspring of supernatural activity, the area has been kept under observation by various interested parties for several years, and quite a few of these groups are also studying how the locals react to the paranormal as well. One such group is the Council of Venice, a governing body established to maintain order and harmony among the various factions of the Secret World, though their power has long since waned due to the suffocating bureaucracy that had grown within it. However, when one of their operatives discovers Lorraine's plight, he investigates further, and discovers that the grieving mother actually possesses a thimbleful of supernatural talent - likely the reason she was able to see the ghosts haunting her house. Intrigued by the untapped potential of this new gift, the Council decides to make Lorraine a test subject in a top secret experiment - one declared illegal not only by their own laws but by the laws of Gaia herself.
Shanghaiing Lorraine from Kingsmouth police station and erasing all records of her arrest, Council operatives take her to a top-secret laboratory for implantation with one of the legendary Bees of Agartha. The eldritch magitek servants of the Divine Biocomputer Gaia, the Bees periodically seek out humans to serve as hosts, imbuing them with magical powers, access to arcane knowledge and borderline-invincibility through symbiotically bonding; these Bee-infused individuals from then on serve as Gaia's defenders, seeking out threats to the safety of the Immaculate Machine - gaining the moniker "Gaia's Children" in the process. Somehow, the Council had managed to capture a Bee under unexplained circumstances, and exalted in the idea of obtaining one of Gaia's Children as an operative without having to compete with the other secret societies for their loyalty. Over the course of a long and complicated operation, Lorraine is forcibly implanted with the Bee, eventually leaving the laboratory as a full-fledged agent of the Council. however, though she has obtains the immortality and magical powers inherent to her new role, her access to the Buzzing - the Education Protocol by which the Bees inform their hosts of the world's hidden mysteries - is immediately flooded by a brutal onslaught of angry messages; the Bees know that one of their own has been implanted against its will, and they do not take kindly to illegal exploits.
At some point, Lorraine finds herself unable to bear the guilt on her conscience and the constant flow of negative messages, and commits suicide. However, she is almost immediately resurrected by the Bee unwillingly implanted in her; no matter how many times Lorraine ends her life, the Bee always brings her back from the grave. In the end, she can only carry on with her duties as a Council operative (most of which remain unknown and probably classified), unable to forgive herself for what happened to Callum and unable to end her suffering.
However, in 1998, Lorraine discovers an unexpected solution to her problems: having been an agent of the Council for almost fifteen years by now, she has gained access to a great deal of esoteric knowledge, and discovered a means of destroying the Bee. By this point, she has likely tried similar approaches many times before, only to be foiled by the Bee's incorporeal nature; in order to destroy an intangible presence, she needs an intangible weapon - seven of them, in fact. To end her immortality, Lorraine requires seven different nightmares in seven wildly-varying locations, each one with the right psychic resonance. However, her research only succeeds in unearthing the first possible location; if she is to find them all, she will have to continue searching for years on end - decades if need be. Though others might have given up at the prospect of searching for so long with so little hope, Lorraine perseveres out of sheer desperate longing.
So, leaving Venice on sabbatical, she seeks out the first location at the Tabula Rasa Hotel in London; a mystical venue in which the guests sleep in floating cubes hovering several feet above the ground in a starry void, the Hotel had already served as a haven for the legendary Theodore Wicker during his attempts to enter Hell while still alive, and the magical resonance surrounding the place are still intense enough to induce the dream state Lorraine needs. So, claiming room Primus on the 17th of December, 1998, she begins a dream journal to chart her progression through the seven nightmares; then, she electrocutes herself in the bathtub - which doesn't take. However, when the fully-recovered Lorraine finally sleeps, she dreams of falling forever, of plunging endlessly towards a vast ocean as her body ages and decays; and when she finally hits the water, she feels the ocean consume a tiny piece of the Bee. Encouraged, she continues searching for the next location when she awakes. On October 1999, Lorraine discovers that the next site lies in the Kumiho Hotel in Seoul, though the backlog of Council work prevents her from leaving for South Korea for the next two months. On the 2nd of January 2000, Lorraine finally books a room at the Kumiho and endures another nightmare - this one involving a search for a ringing telephone in an entire building full of them. That same year, Lorraine finds her third nightmare at the Dream Palace Love Hotel in Kaidan District Tokyo; befitting the Dream Palace's nature, she dreams of being naked and laughed at by hordes of faceless onlookers, forced to chase after her own clothes in a humiliating attempt to hide her true self.
The next location is not uncovered for another year, and forces Lorraine to grapple with her innermost demons by returning to Solomon Island - specifically the Overlook Motel, an abandoned property less than half a mile from Atlantic Island Park. In 2002, Lorraine experiences a nightmare of the Park, in which must do battle with the Bogeyman again, this time while accompanied by Chad the Chipmunk and army of clowns; by now, though, Lorraine can sense her Bee starting to fail, and soldiers on in spite of her fears. However, the intervals between discoveries only get longer: the next location is not discovered until May 2006, ultimately leading her right back to Solomon Island - this time to the Franklin Mansion overlooking the Moon Bog: here, she dreams of being chased by something unseen, unable to look back lest it catch up with her. In 2010, she sets out for the Hotel Wahid in Egypt, where she dreams of being crushed to death by a slowly compacting room. After awakening, she slits her wrists - and though she is eventually revived, Lorraine rejoices at the fact that the Bee is clearly taking longer to return her to life. However, as the process continues, she begins to lose her grip on time, eventually abandoning her system of dates as she descends into her next in the forests of Transylvania: here, she dreams of failure - of being hobbled and bleeding to death while struggling to save Callum, always arriving too late to save him. This time, her next suicide attempt - a hanging - almost takes.
Finally, at some point following 2012, Lorraine returns to London, books a room at Tabula Rasa - this time room Octavius - and embarks on her seventh and final dream. Shortly afterward, the Council discovers the successful suicide of Lorraine Maillard, forcing the player characters to investigate in The Secret World's 2015 Samhain mission "The Seven Silences."
Nothing To See Here
Upon arriving at Tabula Rasa, players are immediately greeted by a Council agent wearing a Plague Doctor's mask, who explains that the body has already been removed from the area, and there's precious little to see. Nonetheless, they are allowed to investigate the area - though for some reason, the agent directs them towards room Primus instead of room Octavius. Finding a page of Lorraine's dream journal in one of the rooms, they begin following her trail across the world, uncovering her story one page at a time; with every location the players visit, they are also compelled to dream in the same spot and experience the same nightmares Lorraine did - awakening each time to find a severed piece of Lorraine's Bee in their possession.
Eventually, the trail leads them all the way back to Tabula Rasa, where players investigate room Octavius for Lorraine's final dream. However, when players go to sleep, they find themselves arriving not in a nightmare, but in an almost peaceful dream of a crypt - where Lorraine's incorporeal body lies in state. Approaching the body immediately summons the masked Council Agent into the area; however, it's now clear that the agent is none other than Lorraine herself, attempting to draw attention away from her ongoing suicide attempt until she was finished destroying her bee.
|“||You. I sent you away. Nothing to see here, I remember telling you that. This was the only dream I really wanted. They offered me Gaia and I took her because I didn't have a choice. But she chips, chips away at us. Can't you feel it? Don't you know what she's taking from you? You can't feel it, can you? You don't even know. And now you're going to bring me back. I don't want to go. I don't want to be back there. This was the only way...||„|
|~ Lorraine's last words|
In a desperate attempt to stop the players from interfering, Lorraine's corporeal form attacks; however, without the Bee's powers, she is easily dispatched. Collecting the final shard of the Bee, players then reassemble it - immediately reanimating the biomechanical life-form and sending it flying back to Lorraine's incorporeal body. As the players awake soon afterwards, Lorraine's final fate remains unknown, though it's possible that the Bee was able to re-bond with her and return her to life yet again.
- In the note from Don found in the House of Horrors, it's revealed that the other possible baby name discussed by the couple was "Emma." For this reason, some have theorized that Emma Smith is actually Lorraine's daughter, having been born during her years of servitude to the Council of Venice and removed from her care - eventually ending up in Orochi captivity as a result of the apparent Filth attack on her home. However, these rumors remain unconfirmed.
- Some commentators on The Park have theorized that the game is actually a story about postpartum psychosis, apparently not noticing the distinctive supernatural evidence within the game and connections with The Secret World that suggest otherwise. As a result, Lorraine has been interpreted by some as merely an abusive mother and a murderer, rather than a emotionally complex victim of unfortunate and complicated circumstances beyond her control.