Every four years, Bright Falls holds an election to vote for the town’s Mayor. For the past three terms, Hugh Austin won that title. It wasn’t because the people of Bright Falls liked him or anything like that, but because he was a better candidate than the rest running for the position. It was him or an uneducated hunter who spends more time shooting animals than with people. As Mayor he did a mediocre job, but failed to connect with the citizens of Bright Falls. In fact, he did the complete opposite. He was the reason behind their misery. His charming personality and reassuring smile made him look reliable, but it was all just a front. He was sly, dishonest, and corrupt which was why The Dark Presence took a liking to him.
One night, Hugh was driving 85 mph on the longest highway in Bright Falls which happened to cut through the forest. He was on his way to the airport in the next town over to catch a flight for Seattle. He ignored his colleague’s warnings of going at night since he didn’t buy that supernatural voodoo bullcrap. That is until his car was thrown over the guardrail with an invisible force. Hugh woke up unknowing that what caused the crash was The Dark Presence, or that it was slowly taking over his body. Unlike The Taken who are fully possessed by The Dark Presence, he wasn’t dead nor was he fully possessed. He was very much alive, only that The Dark Presence was influencing every decision he made, making him less and less human the longer it was in control. It wasn’t noticeable at first, but now people are beginning to see the change in his behavior. He went from an uncaring, conning, douchebag to a man who was indescribably worse.
Most of the time, it’s The Dark Presence looking through Hugh’s eyes, but sometimes he would fight back and after a mental struggle he would later dismiss as a migraine, sometimes he would win. For a brief second, maybe even for a minute, his eyes would soften and he would realize that what he - it was doing was wrong. The worst part of it was that he could see himself in the Dark Presence. The only thought that disappointed him was that he had seen what evil really was and no one would know that he was going to change, that he had decided becoming a better person.
Even with the Dark Presence possessing him, Hugh still didn’t believe in it. He believed that he had developed some sort of mental disorder and tried admitting himself to a mental hospital whenever he broke out of the Dark Presence’s grasp. He even did it once, but then the Dark Presence kicked in and charmed it’s way out exactly like Hugh would have.
The Dark Presence is tolerating his rebellious attitude and letting Hugh live on purpose. If it had simply killed him to possess his body, he would have been like a Taken, completely mindless and incapable of proper speech. It couldn’t have that. In order to be believable, it needed Hugh’s help to be able to convey it’s thoughts in the form of words. With the upcoming elections, it needed to be somewhat human to win the votes of the people even though votes weren’t much of a concern. It just needed to eliminate the competition, or so it thought. Since the Mayor couldn’t be seen with a bloody knife in his hand, the Dark Presence targets the candidates at night, either dealing with them itself or sending the Taken after them. After a few ‘unfortunate tragedies’, only one candidate remains and it appears he’s the most promising of them all. Now it’s a matter of winning over the people and if it can’t do that then it wouldn’t need Hugh anymore.
Hugh can fight all he wants but it’s not going to stop the Dark Presence from wearing his face and using him as a puppet to control the actions of the town. Although The Taken are beyond saving, Hugh isn’t fully possessed. All he needs is someone willing to save him.