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Sudden Stop
Why the hell did you kill Casey? What the hell were you thinking, man?
This article or a section of this article will contain full, or partial plot spoilers of an Alan Wake game or any other piece of media related to the franchise.
You have been warned...

The 2023 Bright Falls AWE (documented by the Federal Bureau of Control) was an Altered World Event that took place in the town of Bright Falls, Washington between September 13 and September 16 of 2023. It was the latest in a series of recurring AWEs that occurred in the area of Bright Falls. It was caused when novelist Alan Wake wrote a manuscript that allowed him to escape the Dark Place from beneath Cauldron Lake with the help of Alice Wake and FBI Agent Saga Anderson.

Event Summary[]

The Altered World Event (AWE) was caused by a Threshold located beneath Cauldron Lake, a lake near the town of Bright Falls, Washington. As a result of this Threshold, an AWE occurred in which the art created by novelist Alan Wake altered reality to match the reality of his novels "Initiation" and "Return".

Prelude[]

In 2010, novelist Alan Wake arrived to Bright Falls, Washington. His wife, Alice Wake, organized the trip for Alan to consult with Dr. Emil Hartman at Cauldron Lake Lodge, a clinic that specialized in struggling artists, in order to treat his two-year-long writer's block. The night of their arrival, the Dark Presence that lived within the Dark Place below Cauldron Lake where they were staying, in Bird Leg Cabin on Diver's Isle, was awoken. Wanting to use Alan's writing abilities to shape reality, the Dark Presence, in the form of Barbara Jagger, kidnapped Alice and imprisoned her in the Dark Place. Manipulating Alan into believing Alice drowned, Jagger compelled Alan to write a novel that would bring Alice back to life. Unknown to him, the Dark Presence wanted to be set free by using the power of Cauldron Lake that made the works of art created there shape reality. For one week, within the Dark Place, Alan wrote a horror novel entitled "Departure". Before he could finish the novel, the Bright Presence in the form of Thomas Zane intervened. It took the pages and allowed Alan to escape the Dark Place. Back in Bright Falls, Alan could not remember the previous week and found Alice to be missing.

In the following days, Alan tried to find Alice while combating possessed townspeople, animals, and objects called the Taken. He then found various pages of the manuscript that he did not remember writing. Zane scattered the pages to help Alan on his journey, and warn him of future dangers and obstacles made true by the story. Alan eventually learned the truth about what occurred with Alice and the Dark Presence. Zane had written that Alan would use the Clicker, an old light switch from his childhood, to destroy the Darkness and save Alice. Alan plunged into Cauldron Lake and descended into the Dark Place with the Clicker, and used it to destroy Barbara Jagger. Upon ending the story to "Departure", Alan realized he and Alice could not escape together and instead remained in the Dark Place so Alice could be set free. Thomas Zane then created a doppelgänger of Alan named Mr. Scratch that would take his place in the real world. After finishing "Depature", Alan became lost in his own mind. After battling his insanity, Alan began to write a sequel to "Departure", entitled "Return".

By 2012, Alan was still trapped in the Dark Place. From the events of Bright Falls, people in town began rumors that Alan murdered his wife. These tales caused Scratch to be transformed into a sadistic serial killer who targeted Alice, and thus was possessed by the Dark Presence as the "Herald of Darkness". Alice, having no memory of Bright Falls and believing Alan to be dead, planned to premiere her film "Sunrise" in Night Springs, Arizona for the NSVA Film Festival. As Night Springs had a threshold similar to Cauldron Lake, Alan was able to write an early draft of "Return" in which he managed to escape the Dark Place and enter Night Springs to stop Scratch from killing Alice. As Scratch used the Dark Place's time-loop to keep Night Springs in perpetual darkness, Alan used the sunrise in Alice's film to destroy Scratch's body, protecting Alice. Alan then returned to the Dark Place to continue working on "Return".

Event[]

On the 13th of September 2023, FBI Agent Robert Nightingale emerged from Cauldron Lake in Bright Falls, Washington. He is kidnapped and has his heart cut out by a group of men wearing deer masks.

FBI Special Agent Saga Anderson and her partner Alex Casey are dispatched to the town to investigate a series of ritualistic murders. They investigated the scene and believed he was murdered by a group calling themselves the "Cult of the Tree". In addition to Nightingale's corpse, Saga finds a mysterious manuscript page that seems to predict the future. While in the town, they encounter Sheriff Tim Breaker, who promises to assist their investigation, as well as waitress Rose Marigold, who recognizes Saga and acts like Saga was a local of the area, despite this being her first visit to the town. She also claims Saga's daughter Logan drowned several years ago, despite being alive in Virginia with her father. At the morgue, Saga then performs an autopsy on Nightingale's corpse, but it suddenly reanimates, in search of the "Clicker", and escapes the morgue after Breaker mysteriously vanishes.

As they pursue Nightingale to Cauldron Lake, Saga uses her psychic powers to investigate the scene. Casey reveals he had investigated a murder cult in New York City dedicated to bringing back the missing author Alan Wake by reenacting the murders described in his books, and that Nightingale came to Bright Falls to pursue Alan thirteen years prior. Saga encounters Nightingale, now converted into what the manuscript called a "Taken", and is forced to kill him. Saga then finds a very-shaken Alan Wake washed up on the shore of the lake and takes him into custody while also discovering evidence that an organization called the Federal Bureau of Control has a presence in Bright Falls. Saga and Casey take Alan back to the Elderwood Palace Lodge in their field office where he recounts how he escaped from a dream-like dimension called the Dark Place.

While trapped in the Dark Place, Alan continually tried to find a way to escape. After appearing in a mysterious talk show called "In Between With Mr. Door", Alan found an Angel Lamp once belonging to Thomas Zane and connected to the Clicker that, in combination with his writing ability, allowed him to manipulate the Dark Place to better navigate it. Alan began navigating a dark, twisted version of New York City, following the trail of Alex Casey's investigation of the "Cult of the Word" led by Alan's evil doppelganger Scratch, who survived his erasure from existence, which brought him through the various scenes of the murders committed by the cult. Along the way, Alan also encountered Breaker, who was searching for the talk show host, Warlin Door, believing him to be responsible for trapping him in the Dark Place. Alan also occasionally made brief contact with Saga, the two of them trading vital information when they could. After believing he had killed Tom Zane, who had gone insane from his captivity inside the Dark Place, Alan was contacted by an alternative version of himself, explaining that his repeated attempts to escape the Dark Place are causing him to experience time loops.

Back in the present, Alan explains that he wrote a new novel, "Return", that helped him escape the Dark Place. However, Scratch re-edited the manuscript into a horror story now taking effect in reality. Alan warns that Scratch is searching for the Clicker, which is the key he needs to free the malevolent Dark Presence completely, but also the key to permanently defeating it. When one of the manuscript pages mentioning the Cult of the Tree possesses the Clicker, Saga decides to follow its trail in Watery and realizes that "Return" has rewritten her past so that her daughter Logan drowned in an accident. Angered that Alan wrote her and Logan into his story, Saga recovers the Clicker, but before she can get it to Alan, agents from the FBC led by Agent Kiran Estevez arrive and apprehend him as well as the Cult leaders, revealed to be town entrepreneurs Ilmo and Jaakko Koskela.

With no other options, Saga goes to the Valhalla Nursing Home and tracks down Odin and Tor Anderson, who know more about the Clicker. As she communicates with them and rescues Tor from a Taken Cynthia Weaver, she learns that Odin and Tor are actually her grand-uncle and grandfather, respectively, and she inherited their seer abilities, allowing her to discern the changes to reality "Return" is causing. Odin and Tor also explain that the Clicker does not do anything by itself, but instead dramatically enhances the creative power of the person using it, which is why it is important to Alan and Scratch. Saga then heads back to Bright Falls to get the Clicker to Alan, but finds out that the Alan who escaped Cauldron Lake was actually Scratch. With his identity now exposed, Scratch kills Jaakko and escapes from captivity, attempting to take the Clicker from Saga. He is temporarily thwarted and banished by the FBC.

Ilmo reveals that he and Jakko formed the cult in order to scare townsfolk away from the dangers of the lake, while they perform their ritual killings on whatever Taken emerges from it, such as Nightingale. Realizing that Alan is still trapped in the Dark Place, Saga enlists the help of Casey, Odin, Tor, and Estevez to carry out a ritual to summon him to the real world. Meanwhile, Alan continues to try and find a way out of the Dark Place, eventually making his way to his old apartment. There, he discovers his wife Alice had been tormented with visions of Scratch, eventually leading to her apparent suicide. In anger, Alan kills who he believes is Scratch, but is actually a version of himself attempting to fix Scratch's ending of "Return", perpetuating the loop.

Back in the real world, the summoning ritual fails to summon Alan in the current time and instead was responsible for his initial appearance earlier in the story. Both Saga and Alan come to the realization that Alan and Scratch were always the same person, with Scratch being Alan, who is possessed by the Dark Presence at the end of every loop, and thus indirectly responsible for Alice's death. Scratch arrives at the summoning site and Saga is able to banish him from Alan's body, only for Scratch to possess Casey instead, steal the Clicker, and throw Saga into the Dark Place.

With Scratch in possession of the Clicker, Alan concludes that the only way to stop him now is to find the manuscript and write a completely new ending for "Return". He returns to his writing room and tries to work out how to write a perfect ending that saves everybody while staying consistent with the horror genre. Meanwhile, trapped in her mind place, Saga fights off the Dark Presence's attempt to overwhelm her with her own negative emotions and self-doubt. Now in the Dark Place proper, she reunites with Breaker, who remains there in his search for Door, heavily implied to be Saga's missing father. She then receives aid from an anonymous woman who directs her to the Clicker and a Bullet of Light. Saga takes the two items and escapes back to the real world by mimicking Door's actions on a manuscript page given to her by Breaker. With the Clicker, Alan is able to banish Scratch from Casey's body. Scratch returns to possessing Alan, and Saga shoots him with the Bullet of Light, seemingly killing him and Scratch. As Casey recovers from his possession, Saga tries to call Logan to confirm her safety, but the scene cuts short before any answer can be heard.

In a post-credits scene, a recording left behind by Alice reveals that she had managed to fully regain her memories of what happened to Alan after consulting with the FBC at the Oldest House. She had tricked Alan into thinking she committed suicide by choosing to return the Dark Place as part of a plan to help him eventually escape, explaining that the only way he can escape the loops is through "ascension." Alan then revives from his gunshot wound and says, "It's not a loop, it's a spiral."

In the "Final Draft" ending, Alan realizes that the Bullet of Light was meant to cleanse a part of himself the Dark Presence used to create Scratch, finally killing his doppelgänger for good while finishing the spiral and freeing Alan from the loop. Saga's call connects, confirming Logan's survival, and Alan revives soon after to the surprise of her and Casey, declaring himself the master of not just two worlds, but many.

Aftermath[]

References[]

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