A couple of weeks ago I wrote an introduction to the place of where my zombie run story is taking place. I felt it was too short then, only a basic idea of the history of the land and this week I expanded it, showing that the place had a long and dark history that was easily forgotten.
A strange stone circle at the southernmost tip of the island warned away Iron Age settlers. By the time the Romans came, the monument’s meaning was lost to time and the local warlord when granted citizenship founded a village, a farmstead, and a small fishing port.
The village became a small naval port and when the Saxons came, another village sprang up. It never prospered, falling into decline until it was wiped out by plague in less than four decades. They had been there a long time before the Romans arrived and they’d slept on through the centuries long silence… waiting for the right time to wake. Overgrown, it became a place for deer and for boar, and for rich men to hunt them.
Later it was granted by a pious rich man to a church man and became part of a monastery’s assets. The island was ideal for fishing and for livestock. The monks had the forest cleared and turned it over to pasture for cows and sheep. It was lucrative in its time but as the order fell on hard times through economic decline, another plague took hold on the mainland and the monastery never recovered.
Then the Dissolution came and the land passed to another rich man who kept the sheep but not the cows. He planted trees for wood to sell to the crown and much of it went to the fleet that defeated the Spanish Armada. He also grew an orchard on the island. When John Leland came to the island a few years later, he noted the stone circle as one of many he’d seen on his travels.
The Civil War came and the island was the place of a fierce battle before the noble had had a chance to fortify it. Many died there for the cause of who should govern them – Crown or Parliament. It was all the same to the Sleepers – new arrivals are new arrivals after all. The man who owned the land then was on the wrong side. Dispossessed and executed for refusing loyalty to Cromwell, his orchard was torn down and the land left to nature once again.
When the government collapsed and monarchy got its reprieve, they had forgotten about the island. An empire rose; a port grew on the mainland and a battery was built at the north point of the island to protect the port
Later still, a coal power plant and gas works was built on the island out of the way of the growing tourism of the area; they built a bridge too. The works brought jobs, the port town expanded, people came back to the area and still they slept on. When the new technology arrived, the technology they made bombs with, they discovered that it could power the houses far more effectively and cleaner than the gas and the coal. They built a new power plant ten miles away and the gas works and the coal plant fell into disuse again. They slept on.
The buildings and the woodland were sold to a company who would provide entertainment in the ruins. Another phase, more people are here.
Thousands of years have passed and the time for slumber is over.
I’m not usually a fan of exposition, but I think this is the best way to explain something like 4000 years of history of my fictional island in under 600 words.