We here at Cedarcrest Sanctum enjoy the benefits of a small community. Between residents and staff, we’re a hundred strong, and we all work together. It’s home to many of us, but at its heart, Cedarcrest still has to run like a business, the same as any household. When things aren’t working, it stands out; you can’t really hide issues like that in a crowd when there isn’t one.
Our town of Glenville, West Virginia, is small — a little over 1,500 people — but unlike much of The Mountain State, the population is increasing. Glenville State College has expanded, like the Waco Center that opened a few years back providing a field house for the college and the county — so named for the significant donations made by Waco Oil & Gas founders Ike and Sue Morris (names that are hard to avoid in these parts). My grandparents enjoyed the weekly publications of The Glenville Democrat, a local newspaper that’s still here with one foot firmly planted in our digital world. And for those who remember, you no longer have to drive thirty or more miles into Weston or out to Flatwoods to get a McDonald’s cheeseburger anymore.
There are bad things, too, of course. Whispers of corruption for personal gain, crimes going unpunished, and the reputation that too much of West Virginia has become a safe haven for drug traffickers and a new source of addicts. With substance abuse also comes related crimes, some against the elderly to squeeze whatever money can be found for that next fix. With a local police force you can count on one hand and budget shortfalls toward law enforcement and investigation, I can only imagine how pointless it must feel at times. “It’s just Glenville,” all the larger and more important cities say.
What many of you have asked is why Cedarcrest isn’t doing something about it.
Here’s the truth: we can’t.
We just can’t.
What we do here requires maintaining a low profile. While I hesitate to use the word “outsider,” too many wouldn’t understand what we do here at Cedarcrest; even I questioned it when I was told what was really happening here. Vampires? Really? Keeping aging retirees alive in return for feeding their host? Never mind using special abilities or even donations to influence the community. We get to vote…like everyone else. The townsfolk can meet and talk and influence. What Cedarcrest can and is able to do is assess and combat threats that the local police (with noted exceptions) aren’t able to handle, the consequences of being here and taking responsibility for our presence.
I want those outside forces focused on me, not those around us.
So it’s as simple as that; Cedarcrest must leave Glenville to its own devices. Not because we hate it or we’re cruel but because wounds have to heal from the inside out. If I go to a council member or a constable and make them change their policies or direct resources in a particular direction, we’ll have to keep doing it, and I have no desire to run a small town like an immortal dictator. What’s next? Building a castle on the hilltop overlooking the cemetery? Brigades of peasants armed with torches and pitchforks to root out evildoers and drag them out to funeral pyres?
Okay, that last idea has merit, but we all have to follow the rules!
I understand the idea; all this power and money should be able to do more…but it can’t. It takes people willing to take back what’s theirs, campaign for the common good, and willing to listen as well as talk. It takes integrity to refuse controlled substances, ensure our friends and family refuse them as well, and eliminate the market.
I see more here than just sixty retirees. I see years of experience and strong wills, ties to the community and hopes for the future. It’s easy to point fingers and shake our heads about the way things used to be, but the phones work and you can call someone. You can send a text or post online. You can reach out and encourage others to help one another. We need to get the conversation going and make it okay for those who need help to keep their pride when they ask for it.
Decide what you want and make sure everyone knows it.
Glenville is your town, too.
Keep each other safe.