(Content warnings: animal harm, child death mention, eye injury, stalking, People Getting Sacrificed To A Demonic Eel)
THE HELL'S DEPTHS AQUARIUM & WILDLIFE REHABILITATION CENTER
In the quiet town of Luce, Idaho, stands a zoological facility full of grim secrets. The Hell’s Depths Aquarium, or the HDA, is an aquarium dedicated to the preservation and protection of countless marine animals and their ecosystems. Though this seems like an odd location for such a facility- and believe me, it is- its previous owner, a woman known as Rue, had a vision she couldn’t be strayed from. Her late daughter wished for nothing more than to help animals in need. Rue would honor her in the form of an aquarium built in the town where she both lived and passed.
Though the HDA would run normally for nearly a decade, one fateful animal rescue would change the facility and its employees forever. A daggertooth pike conger eel, Muraenesox cinereus, would be taken in after being found washed up on a lake shore, deeply injured. Unbeknownst to the HDA employees at that time, this eel was not the sole inhabitant of its own body. A demon resided within its heart, starved to see a real, live, human- not the ones in picture books, and not the scraggly souls that Hell’s residents love to torture. This desire to encounter humankind horrifically conjoined with the eel’s own obsession with food, creating something satiated only by what would sicken any sane person.
OH GOD IT WANTS TO EAT PEOPLE
"I wouldn't mind, if she wasn't such a cunt about it." -Glenn
It was soon made apparent to the aquarists exactly what this eel desired, after it snipped off and consumed one of Rue's eyes. It was made especially clear by the fact that everything else they tried to feed it- everything a daggertooth pike conger eel could possibly enjoy- was met with little interest. Though, uh… that being said… of course, what truly hammered in the point… would have to be the fact that this eel, now dubbed Cherry, directly spoke to Rue in perfect English that she is terrified, there’s voices in her head, she wants somewhere dark to hide, and she really wants to eat the blonde janitor.
The janitor’s pretty good at what they do, though. The others aren’t just going to feed them to this thing.
...Although... Just how will they feed this animal?
Of course, feeding human beings to a possessed eel is not an easy task. How could someone stomach such a concept? Ending the lives of innocent people isn't what any of the HDA staff signed up for when they began their careers at this facility.
But... What if those human sacrifices weren't innocent people?
A woman like Rue would never suggest the concept of killing kind-hearted people in cold blood. What, then, is the solution? After all, Cherry would gladly chew on any staff members if she found herself hungry enough. After contemplating the situation, the staff came up with a consensus suggested by Rue: guests who visited the aquarium regularly would secretly be given background checks. Should an individual's identity reveal them to be a wrongdoer- an abuser, a bigot, or what have you- they, upon their next visit, would be given a free ticket for a backstage animal encounter. Many details surrounding this "animal encounter" are purposely left unmentioned to the lucky winners. It wouldn't be very intelligent to bring up the fact that they're going to be fed to said animal.
One question remains, even still: how long can they continue this charade?
Whether she or anyone else accepts it or not, Rue is an old woman. She simply isn't in any condition to be a stern, busy aquarium manager any longer. As such, a harrowing decision would soon be made: ownership of the Hell's Depths Aquarium would be passed on to a new individual, and Rue would enter retirement. This came as a shock to the HDA staff- they simply couldn't imagine working there without her as a leader. After all, the HDA staff essentially consists of a bunch of children in comparison to Rue. She's a one-of-a-kind member of the crew. Regardless, the ownership of the aquarium shifted to a well-known and trusted aquarist who goes by the name Orca.
Along with the title of manager, of course, came the responsibility of feeding Cherry as well. Orca was not prepared. She could never have been prepared for this.
Stress set in among the crew. Rue was always the one who led the totally legal investigations into the aquarium's beloved guests. She knew the ins-and-outs of people; Orca, on the other hand, could never fathom having that level of empathy. Soon enough, their method of feeding Cherry would change, to the enjoyment of nobody. At specific times of the year, a random hat pull would be performed at the aquarium. One lucky guest who entered the pull would receive a free ticket for a backstage animal encounter.
Innocent people were now losing their lives at the HDA. On top of that, there was a strange sensation veiling the facility; people were made uncomfortable for reasons they couldn't explain.
OH GREAT, NOW WE'RE HAUNTED
Cherry loved Rue. Their relationship was akin to that of a mother and daughter- a funny thing, considering Cherry devoured one of Rue's eyes.
The eel simply couldn't understand what "retirement" was. She couldn't comprehend the concept of Rue still being alive yet unreachable. As a result of this, grief set in; grief that would grimly mesh with her demon's unholy aura. Anyone who entered the aquarium could sense it, as if it were a stench they couldn't put into words.
The spirits of those that Cherry consumed were suddenly being cut-off from their original postmortem destinations. They lingered, wandering through the halls of the HDA without an escape. The staff is fully aware of the existence of these spirits. Some members feel sorry for them, while others are fearful. Orca pretends that they aren't there.
The events which have unraveled at the Hell's Depths Aquarium are- for lack of a better word- unfortunate. An unfortunate sequence of events has given the facility its present state. Yet, even still, the aquarium stands, and its crew persists. Will the captive spirits residing within the HDA ever be set free? All projects occurring at the aquarium must be led by Orca; that's her job as the one and only manager. Despite knowing this, however, she seldom acts like a leader, merely hiding in her office all day and night- at least, that's what's assumed. Some of the crew is skeptical of her behavior. As of now, it is unknown to them whether or not this skepticism is warranted.
Demonic energy surrounds the once-innocent, sole aquarium of Luce. Various times throughout the year, an unlucky individual is chosen to be fed to Cherry. These people have the honor of calling the HDA their home for what may be the rest of eternity, for their souls wander the dimly blue hallways after their demise.
As of now, this is how the primary storyline of Abyss stands. Thank you for reading!