Traveling Down the Dark Paths of Scarlet Hollow from a Queer Point-of-View: Part 2

Queer people are usually pretty careful about the spaces they inhabit. It’s by necessity — not every space is a safe space, and some can be pretty dangerous. Scarlet Hollow plays with the idea of safe spaces in its spooky second chapter, taking my outsider character to a host of different locations: a friendly library, the front door of a very unfriendly local, and a dangerous mine shaft. Once again, the human horrors were far more unsettling than the gradually unfolding monsters and possible ghosts of mining disasters’ past.

As queer folks, we also learn to identify a safe space pretty well. In an early segment of Scarlet Hollow’s second chapter, I found that safe space. I meet up with Kaneeka, whose family runs the local general store, and Stella, who witnessed the grisly events in the woods with me from the previous chapter. The three of us research what the weird creatures in the woods could possibly be and meet Oscar, a nerdy but charming librarian and single father who immediately gives me Dream Daddy vibes. I instantly use my “Hot” attribute to endear myself to him and learn about his teenage daughter, who is out causing mischief.

My future boyfriend in Scarlet Hollow. (Twitter/Abby Howard)

The Scarlet Hollow library visit is a fact-finding mission, but sitting with Kaneeka, Oscar, Stella, dog Gretchen and Oscar’s cat (remember, I can talk to animals), I find myself part of a small, makeshift community in this alien little town. We learn that Oscar’s house might be haunted and I wonder if I can eventually go ghost-hunting with the cute daddy librarian. I also learn some vital information about my family, the Scarlets, and how they’ve ruled the local mine with an iron fist and less-than-stellar working conditions.  

I go with Kaneeka and Stella to see if their friend, Reese, wants to hang out, but his mother greets us coldly and says that Reese is sick. She regards me, a newcomer, with outward hostility. It’s probably because I’m a Scarlet and she’s no doubt got some beef with my family, but it makes me uncomfortable nonetheless.

We then head to the mine to see if anyone knows about Wayne, a mysterious miner who’s gone missing (and keeps popping up with vague warnings about my life and safety). We spot Rosalina, Oscar’s daughter, heading into an abandoned part of the mine and follow her inside, where we find her hanging out with some friends. They seem to have made their own safe space in this dangerous, dilapidated mine, but we tell her she’s gotta leave and let Oscar know she’s okay.

At the end of this chapter, the conventional horror returns. I have visions of a mining disaster, I see ghosts of dead miners, and Rosalina is almost killed when the mine starts to collapse. The safe space is destroyed, quite literally. I’m able to help her out, but my cousin Tabitha returns to ream me out for causing trouble. There’s something strange about Tabitha, though, and I am wondering if she’s like me — different from the others.

In Scarlet Hollow, safe spaces are fleeting. Next week, we continue our dark walkthrough Scarlet Hollow. I sure would love to hang out with Oscar more…