Dec
08
2019

Location Seed: The Pool of Terre Haute.

The Pool of Terre Haute

57 S 21st Street, Terre Haute, Indiana

Description: two story single-family residence, wooden frame, three bedrooms, two bathrooms, car park to the side, decent yard in back.  Unoccupied, but maintained. There is a hatch in the basement that leads to a pre-Columbian underground stone-lined room. The room has a shallow (1ft deep) pool in the exact center: there is no obvious water source, but the water is continually clear and fresh.

Properties: variable.  Drinking from the pool results in a dramatic transformation of some sort.  The effects range from the mundane (winning the lottery, going blind) to the unquestionably esoteric (de-aging, bodily transformation, instant and irrevocable death), but the effects are always permanent, and people only get one drink from the Pool.  Theurgists and magicians both report that the anima behind the Pool is essentially benevolent, but it is neither ‘nice’ nor ‘sentimental.’  At least, towards adults; the Pool is remarkably more forgiving and solicitous of children.

Yes, one would think that the Pool at 57 S 21st Street, Terre Haute, Indiana would be guarded, protected, fought over, booby-trapped, or otherwise interfered with on a regular basis.  The Pool is none of those things, probably because the Pool prefers to be left alone. The local authorities maintain the house built over the Pool, and keep an eye on who goes in and out.  Traffic is surprisingly light, though. Most people who use the Pool keep pretty quiet about it, and every attempt to corrupt and/or wreck the Pool has ended badly for the would-be desecrators.  Word’s gotten out that it’s not to be casually messed with.

But the Pool also takes pretty much anyone.  As the above suggests, it’s not a good idea for bad people to use the Pool — and even good people are not always going to get a beneficial transformation.  Sometimes — usually — the Pool gives you what it thinks you should have, not what it wants. Fortunately for most users, the Pool is very good at figuring out what you should have.  Which is good, because there’s no take-backs.

What are the Pool’s long-term goals, though?  It apparently doesn’t have any. It’s just there.  Those who have contacted the Pool’s anima report that it seems to be mostly in a state where it watches and waits, although what it’s waiting for remains unclear.  But it’s old. The Pool’s so old that it apparently remembers when the first people came to this continent.  Although it resolutely refuses to discuss anything about its own personal history, including what it did before it came to this continent, either.  Apparently it’s none of humanity’s blessed business.

5 Comments

  • acat says:

    Locations like this always raise one simple question for me …
    .
    Why haven’t the Shriners (or St. Jude’s crew or Ronald McDonald Children’s Charities) set up shop nearby?
    .
    Closest hospitals are 9+ miles from the house – which does, per Google Street View, look pretty normal – and don’t appear focused on children.
    .
    Mew

    • Rockphed says:

      Probably because while most drinks for children are mildly beneficial, they aren’t reliably cures for cancer. Also, the pool doesn’t want them to.

      • acat says:

        So … the pool thinks dying kids should have something other than a cure for cancer?
        .
        I’m not sure that washes .. but, like I said, it’s why item-seeds along this vein crack my suspension of disbelief because if it were a miracle pool, there’d be (or have been) a hospital or similar.
        .
        Mew

        • junior says:

          We don’t know what the pool thinks. It’s something that pre-dates humanity. And it apparently has its own ways of viewing people that investigators haven’t yet been able to figure out.

          The write-up makes it clear that yes, in at least some instances, the pool won’t cure a kid’s cancer. It may, in fact, decide that it would be more appropriate to inflict something else on the kid. The write-up says that the pool is more forgiving and solicitous toward children. It did not say that they automatically get something good. If a hospital attempts to surreptitiously use the water on a child patient, and the patient suddenly goes blind, then there’s going to be an interesting and potentially expensive malpractice suit.

          And if the pool has decided that it’s not in the pool’s best interests to get harvested by a hospital, then it just might. Alternately, it might wait for an adult, and turn that person into a raging maniac who just happens to hate the hospital’s upper management.

          • acat says:

            All of the potential challenges you cite are accurate, however they’re *also* the sort of thing cults and religions generally grow up to try to .. handle.
            .
            “Does little Timmy know right from wrong?”
            .
            “Does little Suzy know good from bad?”
            .
            “Only the holy children may swim in the holy pond.”
            .
            “Jeremy went berserk and tried to kill his squad; clearly he was under the influence of {insert evil entity here}”
            .
            Given the location, there was almost certainly a native american tribe with some awareness ..
            .
            I can, of course, see the pool deciding to shed all that for a safer anonymity .. once the treasure hunters started showing up.
            .
            Mew

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