Alan Wake’s American Nightmare Walkthrough

     Remembering the Nightmare…

A Note On Manuscripts


Rest Stop: Emma

Observatory: Dr.Meadows

Drive-In: Serena

Rest Stop Part II
Observatory: Part II
Drive – In: Part II
Rest Stop Part III
Observatory: Part III
Drive – In: Part III

Manuscript Pages and Locations
Rest Stop

NOTE: All Manuscript Pages Available and their locations are available…..Click on the name of a manuscript from the  "Manuscript Pages and Locationsmenu in the bottom and you will be directed to the part of the walkthrough where you find it.


A Note On Manuscripts

Through your play in Alan Wake's American Nightmare, you will find several single pages on the ground as you move through the nightmares. These are the Manuscript Pages and there a total of 53 in the game. Collecting them is optional but they will give you a great insight on in game. Those pages were all written by Alan Wake himself but he never remembers writing them. The story in his pages is what making his worst nightmares come true. The pages contain bits of story – important bits too. But, you will not be able to collect all the pages during one play-through. You will need to play the game thrice to be able to collect all the 53 pages which is mentioned in the "Re-Living the Nightmare" section of the main walkthrough. 

For ease we have given all the manuscripts below in the "Manuscript Pages and Locations" section of the guide. Also, each of the manuscript which is written there will be linked to the section of the guide where you can find the respective manscript so you can just click on a name from those pages below and you will be directed to the section where the place to get it is mentioned.



No.of Manuscript Pages – 9
…In Night Springs….
I'll confess that the opening looked weak with a "real" actor on TV but then, let's get it started anyway.
There's a torchlight on the ground a few paces ahead on the edge near the water…
Take it and move left to the board saying Bird Leg Cabin, as you near the path to the left, darkness starts manifesting itself and forms a barrier, juts boost your torchlight (default – RMB) on the manifestation to destroy the darkness. Keep going ahead and when the game asks you to pick up the gun, just move ahead to the cactus in the center of the area and take the gun on the wooden board –
Make another step ahead and you see your first taken. This time Alan is braver and does not show much fear right away (he was crying like a little girl in the first game -_- )…. Also, the darkness around the taken does not fade away by simply shining the light, you need to boost it (RMB) on them for the darkness to die (it is shown by a diminishing white circle as you boost the light on the enemy). After the darkness dies, shoot the enemy and then another comes from ahead, take care of him and move to the open path in the canyon. The narrator tells you of the writer being in the story and something like that, if you move ahead you ought to be able to see the first manuscript page [PAGE 1].

Go to the left side to the lit place in the distance and you see a Motel. As soon as the cutscene stops, you will see an oil rig explode behind you and an army of Taken come after you… As the game tells you, sometimes, it is better to run so run to the right and turn around and keep running till you come to the large metallic structure which is an Oil Pump, the second page is here near the left foot of the pump, pick it up [PAGE 2] and continue ahead to the Diner where the taken cannot pursue you. Now, you cannot go inside the diner so move left and immediately left on the wall of the diner you will see some ammo and a flare (MMB), continue further and you should be able to see a rock straight ahead with a page on it [PAGE 3]. There are more flares to the right side here behind the diner.

Now to go the front of the diner and continue right to the motel. Walk under the street lamp and the game tells that this is your first Safe Haven. You will be healed under this light and there's a few things you can do around here. First, from the haven – move right to see a large black case on the ground –
this can be opened if you collected three manuscript pages – which you should have by now. But then, move ahead from the case and to the left is an open garage, go in and talk to the woman in there.
She gives you one of your pages [PAGE 4] and then you can have a long conversation with her if you keep interacting with her. Move back out and go left and on the wall of one of the rooms here to the left is a ammo dump…open the grill and take the ammo (dumps like this can be found throughout the game and they are refilled with ammo after a few seconds). Further to the right is a radio which you can listen to. Listen to the radio and return to the safe haven.
From the safe haven, look right and straight ahead – you should see the Gas Station. Move to the gas station and go right from the pump and you will see another page on one of the broken metal fences [PAGE 5]. There's a TV here straight ahead which you can see. After that, move back to the gas pump and look straight to see a jeep. There's a flare gun and some more ammo in the jeep, take them and to the left are two large trucks (oil/gas hauling trucks). Go past the trucks into the ditch and take the next page which is on a rock extending out of the mountain [PAGE 6].
Go back to the Gas Pump and continue on the road past the truck which you took the Flare Gun from and you reach a rail track on the ground. A few paces ahead to the right you will find another page on a wood fence [ PAGE 7]. Go left on the same tracks and you see an abandoned warehouse of sorts. Go behind this place and you see a new kind of taken which splits when light is shined on it – this is the splitter; but you can shoot it without having to shine any light. To the right here on another piece of rock is the next manuscript page [PAGE 8].
Go into the warehouse which the taken just came from and you should find your first object which is a CD.
In this same warehouse you will also find a rifle and ammo and things.
The second item can be seen on your minimap and is reachable if you go right on the rail tracks to a broke down billboard. As you go behind the billboard, it collapses and three Taken come to assault you…. Boost light on them and take them out.  You will find the second item on the ground which is a Valve. 
Go back to the gas pump and to the haul trucks to the left (you went past these to take a page earlier). On the right side of the truck to the right (just near the connection of the container and the engine) is a battery and you are prompted to go talk to Emma about charging the battery. Go back to the motel now.
Talk to Emma and she gives you a recharged battery. Go back to the Oil Rig where you started from. When you get there hold F to read the manuscript. There are three things you need to do. First place the battery in the switch to the right of the oil rig and switch the lights on. Then place the valve in pipe just in front of the rig and the CD to the left of the rig in a Music Player and watch the magic take place. Quickly run back to the motel, if the path in front of you is burning turn to another path…just get back to the motel to Emma where you find more Taken. Kill them and talk to Emma who gives you the keys to the Diner.
Go Back to the Diner but restock on the ammo first with the ammo dump on the wall of the room to the right of the garage. Go to the Diner and as soon as you reach there a "poltergeist" supposedly takes control of the globe on the diner sign….Run to the sides to avoid getting hit and boost light on it to destroy the darkness around it. Go to the Diner, open it and go inside. You will find the keys to a room on the ground and a suitcase to the right on one of the table giving you a possible location. But for now, head back to the Diner and you come across more enemies. One of them comes from behind you so watch out and the bald guy will split when you put light on him. Take care of the guys here and move to the Motel. There are three rooms shown…. go to the room straight and you will find the next manuscript page inside [PAGE 9]. The room which we need to go is directly opposite to the garage where you find a dead guy, keys and a jacket with the name of the local observatory.


Manuscript Pages – 6
Open the gate ahead and move inside. You should see a fire truck to the right which has a manuscript page on it's front bumper [PAGE 10]. You would have seen the lights blow out as soon as you came near the truck. To left of the gate you just opened is the watchman's cabin, go in and switch to the shotgun if you want to and listen to the radio.
Go on the path to the left where a signpost points to the North Observatory – you can go into the area behind the signpost thru the gate to the left where you find a ammo dump – come back here if you need to refill. You'll come across three taken as you reach a bit up hill, kill them and go to where they came from. You should see a manuscript page here to the right of the vehicle which is on the right corner of this area [PAGE 11]. Take it.
Go back to the watchman's cabin and on the path which the fire truck is pointing to (not on the path which the sign boards points to the observatory). You will come to a sign board saying "Deliveries", go right and three Taken attack you. Kill them and pick up the manuscript page [PAGE 12] from in front of the door to the left. There's another large black box in front of the door to the right but you need 15…we can come back later – you can take a Carbine Rifle from this box. To the left of the road here is a stair case which leads up. Go on the stairs and you face a taken on your way up. Kill it and keep going and as soon as you reach the top, make sure you go to the left and take the manuscript page which is on the rock to the left here [PAGE 13]. To the right of the stairs is a white container box behind which is another page on a rock [PAGE 14].

Go on the steps to the right and interact with the terminal to the left of the door. Some taken come from behind you…kill them off and Dr.Meadows let's you inside. As you go in, you will see a TV to the left of the stairs – watch the next part of the Scratch Show and go up. Head up the metal stairs and onto the elevator then when you are on top go into the office to the right meet Meadows. She needs us to bring in a Special Camera which is in her truck.
Go back outside and to the dome directly opposite to the observatory and go behind it from the right. The car is the blue sedan to the right, open the trunk and take the camera and you notice some new enemies. Spiders cannot be shot but they can be destroyed if you boost light on them. Kill all the spiders here and run to the observatory…use the terminal and go in again. Go up the stairs and hop onto the platform which the doctor sends down and install the array, but as soon as she starts the telescope, the system overheats.
Go back outside and the first valve is on the pipe to the left of the door. The second is to the left of the dome behind which Meadow's car was parked. The last one is in the area where we took the second manuscript page – and empty parking lot so you need to go down, use the slope to the right of the observatory to go there and then come back. Go up to the telescope and get ready for a fight – run to the ammo box to the left of the elevator up the stairs if you want a refill but you should get down again because you may get surrounded soon. Make sure you use a flair or the flair gun and the carbine rifle on the enemies, there will be two waves of them so expect some trouble. After all that, go back to the doctor up the elevator and take the printout from the right most computer. You get the New Reality Fragment 1 page after that [PAGE 15]


Manuscript Pages – 5
Turn back and go towards the Drive-in sign to the far left of the road and take the manuscript page from below the sign [PAGE 16]. Go to the house being point by the star on your mini map and move behind the hose from the left and on the far side of the house is the next page [PAGE 17]. Go inside and talk to the girl. She wants you but well, you can't do anything here so let's continue the game instead. Go into the room to the left and pick up the keys which are on the wall to the right, take the ammo and go back out and to the location pointed by the star. In the middle of the road, the cars move in and Taken attack you. Kill them and go right to the Weapons case which cannot be opened now, walk into the safe haven and move ahead. To the left ahead are some wood steps leading up.
To the left of these are some rocks on which you find the next manuscript [PAGE 18]
If you walk into the parking area, Mr.Scratch brings in more Taken. Take them out and move to the left end of the parking area to the car with it's headlights blinking. You'll find the next page behind this car [PAGE 19]. Go right from the car into the haven and check out the TV inside the cabin. Go down the right of the cabin and keep going, there's a weapons case in the place to the left as you go but you cannot open it yet. Move ahead to the Safe Haven far ahead and kill the taken here. Go from the right to the other side of this place and you should see another safe haven ahead to the right from the warehouse. You will find the next piece of manuscript here [PAGE 20]. Go into the warehouse and to the left. You come to three switches you ought to use the left and right switches and leave the middle one as it is. 
Some taken start coming, kill them and on your way back you will see lightning surges across your path, wait for them to go away and run through. Run out of the warehouse and the path you took to come here may be closed, run into the haven ahead and move into the power equipment field to the right of the warehouse and make your way outside. Go back to the guardhouse with the girl, you will face a lot of resistance and I suggest you move slowly or run quickly and take them out. You will see a bright light from the right when you are in the parking area but ignore it and return to the guard house and switch on the lights.
Go back outside and to the parking lot and you see three darkness fountains rise up, Each fountain has three structures, one's an antenna of sorts and the other two are pipes. Boost light to destroy them and move around to the other two and destroy them. Then go into the projector room and switch the calendar to august and the time to 2 am and watch the fun.

Manuscript Pages – 7
Whooop, were back here again….. Move ahead to where the flashlight was last time and look to the left to find a manuscript page [PAGE 21]. After that move left and take the flare gun from the ground and move ahead. Go out of the canyon and you see the birds. These guys can only be killed if you boost light on them and shoot them while the light is still on. Move to the right of the oil rig and look behind the barrels to find a page [PAGE 22].
Head down to the Diner, it's closed again but you find a page on the table to the left [PAGE 23]. Go to the motel now and speak to Emma again, restock on ammo and go to where the TV was last time (near the gas station). You see a broke bus to the right with the next page stuck onto it [PAGE 24]. From the TV (look into your minimap and see the N S W E directions), move south west to the wooden fence under the billboard and you find the next page on the other side of the fence [PAGE 25].
The star icon will take you inside a cave, you'll find the battery deep inside but there are going to be tons of spiders after you soon so get ready… if you run, you will get hurt, so make sure you kill all the spiders inside the cave and when you are back out, run to the motel. Take the charged battery back up to the oil rig but on your way, stop at the small green cabin to get the next page [PAGE 26]. Back near the rig, place the valve and activate the oil, place the battery and switch on the lights and turn on the CD… the same thing happens again so get back to the motel but, there is a small army of Taken waiting to attack you there so be ready. Do not hesitate to fall back. Kill all of them and stock up on the ammo, talk to Emma and see what happens. Now, you will find another page in the room to the right of where you found the keys and the dead guy [PAGE 27]. The keys are in the same room as the last time and so is the dead guy.

Manuscript Pages – 7
Okay now, let's do this quick. Go into the watchman's shack to the left after going in, listen to the radio – when some Taken come to attack you. Kill them and go into the fence opposite to this shack (the one which has three large tanks and the ammo dump behind the sign post pointing to the observatory). The manuscript is behind the middle tank [PAGE 28]. Go left on the road to the parking area where you found a manuscript the last time – you will be attacked by more Taken on the way. When you are in the parking area, go to the right from behind the building where more than half a dozen taken attack you at once, throw a flare on the ground and kill them. Move behind the building and to the other side where you find a page on a rock [PAGE 29]
Now go to the observatory entrance and look in the van opposite to the entrance where you took the carbine from last time and you find another page [PAGE 30]. Now go to the place where you saw the weapons box for 15 manuscripts and you fight a few Taken here. There's a manuscript here [PAGE 31] in front of the weapons case on a barrel. Go to the star icon on the map and you come to the car. In front of the car you should see a broken part of the fence, go thru to get the next page [PAGE 32]. Search in the trunk of the car to find the camera.
Go around the main observatory to it's back side where you find a weapons case needing 40 manuscripts. You will find the next manuscript page on the fence here [PAGE 33].
Go back to the observatory and inside. Place the camera and go back out. You need to get to the primary coolant pipe which is near the three large tanks opposite to the watchman cabin where we found the first piece of manuscript this time. Go there and kill the taken. Switch on the lights and then come back, you do not have to fight any of them inside the observatory now so just go up and talk to Meadows. Take the print out and you get another page [PAGE 34].

Manuscript Pages – 7
Go near the guardhouse and grab the manuscript page on the sack just outside [PAGE 35]. Take the keys from inside, go back out and down, kill the taken and go to the weapon case (which comes to the right as you move ahead from the guardhouse) and open it for a Sawed-Off Shotgun and go into the haven. Look to the north (on your mini map) you should see a "Souvenirs" store in the distance. Go to the store and you find a crossbow on a tree next to it. Nearby to the left of the store is a page [PAGE 36] on the railing of the wood platform.
Go to the parking area and look below the large screen to see the next page [PAGE 37]. Go into the room with the TV and watch it. Go onto the area with the star icon (it's the same warehouse which has the three switches). On your way, Mr'Scratch shows up and brings some buddies, kill all of them while moving back and look to the left where he showed up for another weapon case with the Assault Rifle in it and continue onto the gate ahead, open it and run into the safe haven and head into the warehouse. As you enter, keep an eye on your right and you should spot the page [PAGE 38]. Go to the switches and use the middle one. Charge light the spiders and kill all of them before proceeding. Go back out and to the left thru the first electrical discharge. Then move ahead and the second discharge should be to your left a few paces ahead, go straight from the right of this discharge and look to the right and you will find the next page on a table [PAGE 39].
Go to the Projection room, you have to destroy the fountains again. As you go, you will come to the fountain which is to the right of the building. Go straight from this fountain (typically, south west on your mini map) and you will find the next page on a rock [PAGE 40], go further south west and you come to a shack and another page [PAGE 41]. Go back and into the projection room. Flip the calendar to August, time to 2 am and the poster on the right (flip it once) and then light inside (interact with the light twice).

Manuscript Pages – 5
Okay, it may just be getting a little bit tiring right now…but it still is fun (ahem…)
Move left to the canyon and you see a really big (King Hillbilly?) taken attack you. Boost light onto him to slow him down and use your best gun – which should be an assault rifle or the sawed-off shot gun. It will take just about 4-5 shots from the shotgun to bring him down, you can find a page to the left of the canyon [PAGE 42]. Then move out of the canyon…you see the Oil Rig bubbling with darkness. Before you do anything, head onto the road to the left till the fence and go right all the way till the end where you come to a small gate, you can go thru here and you find the manuscript on the other side of the fence [PAGE 43].
Go back to the Oil Rig and match the scene. Run out of the burning place and kill the Taken on your way out. Go to the motel and kill the Giant and further inside you find two birds. Kill all of them and go listen to the radio. Go behind the radio and on the stairs to the pool. Go up and find the next page on a table near the pool [PAGE 44].
Now, go to where the TV is and look behind the trailer which is near the TV to find the next page [PAGE 45]. The last page in the Rest Stop is below the Motel Sign [PAGE 46] (the large lights which say MOTEL…the page is stuck on the pillar on which the sign is).
Go back to Emma and talk to her, she tells you about the power switch which the Taken flipped. Go behind the garage to the switch and kill all the Taken. Flip the switch and go back and she gives you the keys. There's a flashbang and a flare gun ammo in the other rooms and the middle room as usual has our keys and the dead guy.

Manuscript Pages – 3
First, head into the shack and listen to the radio. then go on the road to the right to the Deliveries area and move further ahead till you see a sign saying "Main Observatory" to the right. Just beside the sign you'll see the page [PAGE 47]
Then kill the taken ahead and go take the Combat Shotgun from behind the observatory since you have 40 manuscripts. Now, go down from the right to the parking area and look to the right of the entrance to the parking and you find the next page [PAGE 48]
Now go to the power switch and kill the taken here – there's a lot. Hit the switch and refill your ammo (make sure you are on full ammo in both guns before you go to the observatory) and go back to the observatory. You will fight a small army here so be careful. After you kill all of them, head up and take the last page here [PAGE 49].

Manuscript Pages – 4
Head out of where you are and a Giant Taken attacks you with more taken. Kill all of them and move to the power switches. Flip the right switch and go out, be careful when you are near the exit of the warehouse as a lot of Taken attack at the same time, throw a flashbang or a flare between them and kill them all. Go back past the power surges and outside. Mr.Scratch talks to you and two Giants with more Taken come from the right. You can run away from them if you want to. But run on the path they came from and turn left at the come to some stairs to the right leading up to the parking area. But go past the stairs straight and you find a page on a rock [PAGE 50].
Head to the parking area and to the TV and you find a page right next to the TV [PAGE 51]. Outside, Scratch brings up the fountains again. There are four this time, just concentrate on taking out the fountains. You need to boost light on them as soon as you see them coming up and then you will need to use a battery in the middle so that you do not have to stop boosting light onto the fountains. Destroy all four fountains and instead of going into the projection room, go to the guard house. Here, opposite to the guard house is a yellow car which is flashing (you saw this car in the parking lot the last two times). Go to the right of this car on the mountain and walk on the left edge of the mountain area till you get to the next page [PAGE 52].
Exit the area past the guard house (to the left of the flashing car) thru the gate and go right till you come to the last page in the game [PAGE 53].
Go back to the projection room now. First set the calendar to show August, then take the film reel from the next room and turn the light to glow up the extinguisher. Now flip the poster and change the time to 2:36AM. Place the reel in the projector and we are finally and I mean FINALLY done.

Manuscript Pages and Locations

There are a total of 53 pages in the game, all of which are mentioned below. Click on their names to be re-directed to the section of the walkthrough where their locations are mentioned.

    My name is Alan Wake, and I'm a writer.                                 
    I did not become one overnight. Like most writers, I struggled with     
    it  a short story here, an article there. Then i got lucky and spent  
    a year as a staff writer on the Night Springs TV show.                  
    It wasn't the great American novel of my fantasies, but it taught me    
    discipline and craft, and the difference between wanting to be a         
    writer and actually writing.                                            
    Mr. Scratch is a twisted copy of me, powerful and dangerous, but I      
    know I can fight him. I don't think anybody else can. They don't        
    understand what he represents, or that all the horrible things he does  
    here are almost insignificant compared to what he will unleash on       
    Earth, given the chance.                                                
    But I have survived the Dark Place, and it has taught me things  how  
    to cope, how to stay sane when the world goes crazy. He's two steps     
    ahead of me, but I can find him. And I believe I can stop him.          
    The reality we take for granted is softer, more adaptable than we       
    think. Under correct conditions, you can reshape it, turn it into       
    almost anything you want. when it happens, almost nobody notices. It's  
    not that we forget; its's that after the change, there's nothing to     
    Only those who have been directly touched by the powers that can shift  
    reality are aware of the changes. Many are driven mad by it. Others     
    can cope. I am one  of those people, and I know to wield that power     
    to rewrite reality.                                                     
    To change reality, you nudge it into the right direction. Your version  
    of it is there, waiting; it wants to come true. All you need to do is   
    to help it achieve its potential. The devil is in the details.         
    You change the details of the scene to match those on the page. If you  
    get the details right, if you achieve that critical mass, the shift     
    will come, and the rest of your new reality overrides the existing      
    The lie, no matter how outrageous, is now the truth.                    
    Some of the Taken aren't protected by the darkness like their           
    comrades. Instead, their aversion to light is so extreme that they      
    literally split into two when they encounter strong light. It leaves    
    the two halves weaker, but of course there's strength in numbers.       
    It's a disturbing development: Dark Presence I faced two years ago      
    was powerful, but it didn't have much in the way of imagination.        
    Clearly, the same cannot be said of Mr. Scratch.                        
    The strands of webbing glistened in the beam of my flashlight, fine,    
    almost ethereal. They were fresh, and right in my path.                 
   I held my breath and waited, ears straining. Nothing. I moved on,        
   concentrating on the task at hand. Just get what I was looking for,      
   then leave, that's all, I kept telling myself.                           
   For a moment, I actually thought it might be as simple that. Then I      
   heard too many legs skittering across the ground.                        
    My own face peered back at me from the TV screen. For a moment, I       
    struggled with the sensation of deja vu  how many times had I seen    
    myself like this now?                                                   
    And then there was that easy grin that never seemed quite as quick or   
    natural on my own lips, the dark, malicious twinkle in the eyes, and I  
    knew who I was looking at.                                              
    As he pulled back and revealed the room behind him, my throat went     
    dry. There was nothing I could do but watch.                            
    At the oil derrick  the wheel had been jammed in the place and turned   
    until the oil gurgled and flowed, thick and flammable. The warning     
    lights were blinking in a fast rhythm, bright and steady, powered by    
    the battery. The Kasabian CD was playing in the boom box, all           
    distorted guitars and intense beat.                                     
    High above, some piece of orbital junk or another collided with the     
    satellite, knocking it radically off course. Trailing debris, it        
    screamed down from the skies at an impossibly steep angle, all that     
    high tech engineering reduced to nothing more than a bullet that would  
    destroy whatever it hit.                                                
    I'm trapped in the darkness. HE has started appearing to me. Mr.        
    He can travel back into the world effortlessly, and he loves to rub my  
    face in it. At first, he was just an echo in the darkness, a flicker    
    beyond the edge of my vision. Now he's started showing himself,         
    getting bolder all the time. Telling me what a great time he's having   
    in the world while I'm stuck here. And what he plans to do, especially  
    to Alice.                                                               
    All the moves I have left are dangerous and desperate. I have no        
    choice. I have to hunt him.                                             
    I know that when I arrive, the clarity of vision I have now may         
    disappear. I have made my plans. I have prepared for this. But I know   
    the transition from the Dark Place will be hard on me  and not just   
    physically. It may affect my mind, my memory.                           
    These pages should help me remember and focus. That's worked for me     
    before. Even if that fails, I think I will be able to trust my          
    I'm navigating my own story. I'm hoping I'll know where to go and what  
    to do, even if the details elude me.                                    
    I don't make friends easily  I know plenty of people, but I don't     
    let most of them close. I've known Barry wheeler ever since we were     
    little boys. We had the time of our lives. I'd get us in trouble, and   
    he'd talk us out of it.                                                 
    Things haven't changed that much now that we're grownups. He's the     
    most loyal and dependable person I've ever met  in all the things     
    that count, anyway.                                                     
    You could call him a weasel, and you wouldn't be entirely wrong; you    
    could call him a clown, and i would reluctantly agree. But he has       
    never let me down.                                                      
    Alice and Barry  my wife and my best friend  are easily the two     
    most important people in my life, and they've never really gotten       
    along with each other. I suppose both of them resent the other's        
    intrusions into what they consider their domain.                        
    After I was gone, they maintained an uneasy truce  my books stayed    
    in print, still selling, the licensing machine churned away. she was    
    my wife and controlled the intellectual property: he was my agent and   
    took care of the business.                                              
    I wish they'd found more common ground than that.                       
    Night Springs doesn't exist. It's a fictional town from the TV show I   
    used to work on. It was Anyplace, USA, a place we used as a backdrop    
    for whatever strange story we had that week.                            
    One of the stories I wrote for the show involved a man, "the champion   
    of light," fighting his evil double, "the herald of darkness". It was    
    something I'd written back in the real world  something I had a       
    link to, a framework I could build on.                                 
    I adapted it into a new story  This story.                            
    Now Night Springs is in Arizona, although not for long. It's in         
    Arizona because whatever the town that has become Night Springs is      
    really called is located near one of the thin, worn places in the       
    world  where dreams and reality flow together and life is always a    
    little strange. A perfect analogy for Night Springs.                     
    I can't return to the real world. I've tried. But I'm operating on      
    dream logic, forcing the door open a crack so I can slip through. I     
    can enter the strange little town of Night Springs.                     
    All I did was put it in Arizona for one night.                          
    In Bright Falls, I was constantly under attack by birds that were more  
    shadow than flesh and feathers, but this is an evolution: some of the   
    Taken are actually capable of turning into a flock of birds to escape   
    my attacks… and turning back into human form to make surprise         
    With all the herbs, crystals and the rest of her New Age                 
    paraphernalia, Emma Sloan had been called a hippie and a freak, and     
    worse; it was that small town mentality. She was a female mechanic,     
    and even in 2011, there were always going to be backwards shit kickers   
    who thought that was a hoot.                                            
    She didn't mind. She could deal. She could take any engine apart, even  
    the new ones with all the computers in them.                            
    Turned out that these boys were awful polite while waiting for here to  
    put them back together.                                                 
    Tor and Odin Anderson. Old Gods of Asgard. I still don't quite know     
    what to make of them. I know they used to be rock stars who modeled     
    their stage personas after Norse gods. I know they're old. I know that  
    in their day, they fought the darkness as I do. I know they're          
    demented and insane, ravaged by age and self abuse.                     
    But there's something in them, something powerful that took hold when   
    they were touched by the powers beyond, a thing that goes far beyond    
    just stage names. Something godlike.                                    
    The Anderson brothers should probably have been in a facility           
    somewhere, despite their tendency to escape form such places. It could  
    be argued that they had no business being on tour, considering their    
    condition. Their lives mostly revolved around a laundry list of         
    ailments and their endless quest for liquor.                            
    But Barry Wheeler managed them now. And whatever else they might say    
    about Barry, he knew how to make things happen… And honestly, it's    
    not like  the Andersons were the most difficult clients he ever had.    
    Getting the Andersons into the recording studio was a struggle and a    
    half, but once they actually picked up the instruments, something       
    They were two old men, and they weren't: they were doddering bags of    
    bone, and they were barely contained power.  And there was music.       
    Barry rubbed his hands together; he knew how to pick a winner. Now all  
    they needed was some direction on how to make things a little more      
    modern. Barry had never produced a thing in his life, but he knew what  
    he liked. He knew "Balance Slays the Demon" was going to be a hit.      
    I have seen the darkness twist flesh into new shapes before, but        
    encountering these giants is an extremely disturbing experience.       
    It's as if the genre has been switched on me; they're something out of  
    pulp fiction  twice as tall as normal men and stronger than           
    forklifts, their lumbering gait and slow witted demeanor brings to      
    mind some kind of a mean spirited caricature of a feebleminded        
   Emma wasn't sure exactly when the man arrived at the hotel, but from     
   what she could tell, the party started almost immediately. It was        
   infectious, spreading from one room to another. He was mercurial,        
   almost as if he was flickering through the scene, telling a joke here,   
   throwing an insult there, oozing sex and violence and excitement.        
   She had never seen someone like this before. He looked at here and       
   smiled, and she felt her heart flutter a little.                         
   She knew he was the kind of a man mothers warned their daughters         
   about, but she told herself it didn't matter.                          

    As a storyteller, my first real love was crime, and it was in that      
    gene that I finished my first novel starring the perpetually miserable  
    Alex Casey, whose entire life was a wound that never healed.            
    The book sold as fast as they hit the shelves. I wrote five more Alex    
    Casey books, and they all were bestsellers. I became rich. I became     
    famous. Success brought pressure,and I didn't handle it very well.      
    The pressure of the success got to me. My wife, Alice, was the sole     
    thing in my life that anchored me. Suddenly, it wasn't enough. I        
    couldn't write anymore.                                                 
    I distracted myself with wild parties and whatever trouble I could      
    scare up. I wallowed in the drama of my life, sure that Alice would     
    stick with me, even though she didn't sign up to be the lifeline of a   
    tortured artist. It was dumb luck she's not the type to give up.        
    I've seen the enemy, and it's me. I've faced dark horrors before,       
    things that live in the unimaginable pressures of the world beyond our   
    own. Sometimes they masquerade as humans.                               
    That's what ultimately lurks inside Mr. Scratch. He's every mean       
    spirited tabloid story about me, an evil caricature, a creature formed  
    in that vague territory of misconception, half truths and the dark      
    imagination of people who "heard a story about me". An urban legend     
    made flesh. A serial killer.                                            
    My dark half, brought to life by the power of Cauldron Lake.            
    I've carried a flashlight and gun for so long that I feel naked         
    without either. It's all too often that I need them.                    
    The darkness protects the Taken. Shadows crawl over their forms like    
    living things, protecting them from harm. Blows that would injure or    
    kill an human outright mean nothing to them as long as the darkness     
    persists. But light makes them vulnerable. Light burns the shadows      
    away. The darkness that drives them is still in them, but now they'r  
    Flashlight and gun. Sometimes, it feels they're all I have left.        
    The spiders aren't really the work of the enemy. They're a side         
    effect, a part of the Dark Place's less significant fauna that has      
    managed to slip through the opening I made when I arrived; less an      
    animal than an idea that has assumed the form of an animal.             
    It makes them no less dangerous, but at least they'r a little easier   
    to deal with: the darkness doesn't protect them like the Taken, and     
    thus they can be destroyed by either light or bullets right away.       
    The atmosphere in the projection booth at the drive-in was charged,     
    almost unreal. Despite that, the air felt cool and refreshing this      
    late at night. It had been a hot day. The summer was nearing its end,   
    but it wasn't over yet.                                                 
    The darkness rose from the depths of Cauldron Lake and took Alice. It   
    needed words. It needed me to write its way into our world. She was     
    leverage, a hostage.                                                    
    I complied, but with a twist  I put in a loophole that gave me a      
    chance to fight back. I was hunted by shadowy enemies, but I faced the  
    darkness. I fought it with light. I drove it back. I saved Alice. But   
    it came with a cost: I was trapped in the Dark Place below Cauldron     
    After my disappearance, they thought I was dead. I might as well have   
    been. I know it's been two years; I know Alice has moved on. I have     
    tried to find a way back to her, back to my life, but escaping the      
    Dark Place is almost impossible.                                        
    Time does strange things here. But dreams and radio signals can pierce  
    the veil between the worlds.                                            
    I catch glimpses and echoes of the world. Sometimes I send messages     
    out. I can only pray that they hear them.                               
    Stories come naturally to us. We can't help it. There are many          
    different worlds, many competing realities within our heads, fueled by  
    books, television, even barely remembered childhood tales. There's an    
    endless supply of fictional concepts more familiar to us than anything  
    or anyone real. We have a far greater connection to the fictional       
    characters we know and love than the random people we pass on the       
    street. Our destinies and inspirations are shaped by lies, myths and    
    There are places where our world is worn thin and another reality       
    brushes against ours. One such site is Cauldron Lake near Bright        
    Falls, Washington, but there are others.                                
    That other reality is dark, vast and malleable, always in flux. In its  
    depths dwell vast forces and alien energies. They are dangerous, but    
    in one of these places, if you know how, you can channel the power of   
    that place and use it to shape reality.                                 
    The Taken may well be the tool the darkness favors over any other. At  
    some point, they used to be human, but whatever humanity they once had  
    is long gone. Now they're just shells covered and filled by darkness.   
    The Taken Mr. Scratch throws at me are more grotesque and varied than   
    the ones I first encountered in Bright Falls, but I know how to deal    
    with them. I'd be lying if I said they don't frighten me, but I have    
    survived worse. I can't let them stop me.                               
    When Dr. Rachel Meadows got the call from Michael telling her to hurry  
    to the observatory, she didn't waste any time. It had been a nice       
    party, and she'd had a good time, but her social life would always      
    play second fiddle to the mysteries of space.                           
    Michael never showed up, of course; he'd pulled over at the wrong rest  
    stop. She never even thought about him at the time; the phenomenon in   
    the sky above her was too fascinating.                                  
    The film noir poster reminded me of Alex Casey, the detective's cool    
    exterior never cracking even with the gun pointed in his face. In the   
    back room, all of the lights had been turned off, except for the lone   
    spotlight, which illuminated the bright red fire extinguisher on the    
    This act of creation is exhilarating and frightening. Subtext and       
    symbols loom, eager to take effect. Causality and consequence become    
    domino chains that stretch into infinity. The more fundamental the      
    change, the more unpredictable the variables become; reality is too     
    complex to control completely. Ordinary questions become meaningless.   
    "Who created who?"                                                      
    "What is really real?"                                                  
    Everything is as real as everything else. You learn to let go of the    
    things you can't control and go with the flow, or go insane.            
    The man before Dr. Meadows was handsome and slick. He moved with lazy   
    confidence and didn't bother to pretend that he wasn't staring at her.  
    She didn't mind, at first.                                              
    Then the man flicked open the knife and shoved here out of the control  
    room so she wouldn't hear the signal  whatever it was. Outside, she   
    pulled here lab coat closed and thought about running. She didn't. She  
    didn't think she'd get very far, not from him.                          
    She never was entirely sure why he spared her.                          
    I'd found her film from the pile of containers is the back. I'd         
    threaded it into the projector. I swallowed hard, staring at the        
    screen hearing her voice, the sunrise I remembered so well only         
    moments away.                                                           
    And then Mr. Scratch was there, nailed by the projector's beam, caught  
    in his own trap. He shouted at me, first in confusion, then rage. And   
    then the sun came up, and things started to burn.                       

    My writer's block got worse. I didn't sleep much, anymore. My life      
    with Alice seemed like a constant fight. I was a wreck.                 
    Alice took steps: she booked a vacation in Bright Falls, a small town   
    in Washington. It was supposed to be a chance to break out of the       
    cycle I was in.                                                         
    She didn't know about the darkness in Cauldron Lake.                    
    Alice. My wife. The best thing that ever happened to me. She smiles,    
    and the darkness lifts. For her, I have tried things I otherwise never  
    would. I've never really minded if it's made me feel like a fool.       
    She's a photographer, and the world she sees through her lenses is      
    unique and beautiful. She has the vision. She sees things others don't  
    and knows how to make them visible to everybody.                        
    She did it with me, too; she teased out things I was only vaguely       
    aware of. She always saw me in the best possible light.                 
    It's been two years since I came here. Being that long without Alice    
    breaks my heart, and I know it broke hers. I know she thinks I'm        
    dead. How could I blame here for that?                                  
    It would be a crime to pretend that she owes me anything. She took all  
    the stupid, self indulgent bullshit I brought into her life and still   
    stood by me, still loved me. It's no betrayal. But I'm a better person  
    now than I used to be. I want to be that person with her.               
    The taken were always single minded. They had a certain animal          
    cunning, but the weren't very intelligent. That's one of the reason     
    why they prefer melee weapons; actual firearms are too complex for      
    them to use.                                                            
    That's why seeing the one who threw grenades at me surprised me  but   
    of course they aren't actually grenades. There's no pin to pull, no     
    fuse to set off an explosive. Just concentrated darkness.               
    The car seemed to sail through the crisp mountain air in slow motion,   
    spinning around one axis almost lazily. The moment was hypnotic.        
    Then it struck the pipeline in a shower of sparks, the impact turning   
    the windshield into a burst of safety glass. As it hit the ground, I    
    snapped out of my reverie  the car was rolling downhill, slowing      
    down as every bump killed momentum, but still coming. The fence         
    wouldn't be enough to stop it.                                          
    The Dark Place is utterly hostile to human life. It eats at your        
    mind, wants you to succumb to madness. Your own thoughts can turn       
    against you. Every shadow conceals a threat that attacks at the         
    slightest sign of weakness. You're under endless assault; every "day"   
    is a struggle for survival.                                             
    But I have learned to take care of myself. I focus on Alice, our life   
    together, my need to be with her. That takes me a long way in the Dark  
    Place… as long as I have my gun and the flashlight.                   
   I have changed, I know who I am now. I know that I can write my own      
   fate; Bright Falls taught me that. I know that indulging in my           
   weaknesses, giving in to fear and complacency will only drag me down;    
   the Dark Place taught me that.                                           
   I am no zen master. I have not attained enlightenment. But I have        
   learned to let go of the things that I don't need. I know without that   
   balance within, I become my own worst enemy. Now I strive for            
   equilibrium, and with that, I'm strong enough to get were I want.        
   It's obvious that for all his power, Mr. Scratch is an agent of           
   another, greater being. The Dark Place he came from is full of           
   terrible alien intelligences, dark presences, and none of them should    
   be let loose in our world. He serves one of them. He'll open the way     
   for them if I don't stop him.                                            
   But he'll do more: he'll take over my life. He already has my face; he   
   already uses my name. He'll become Alan Wake in every way imaginable     
   and corrupt everything… Unless I can stop him.                         
   The trap Mr. Scratch has set for me is as simple as it is impossible:    
   whenever I reach him, he sends me back to the beginning of the maze.     
   It's a loop in time; I go through it only to end up where I started.     
   There's a brutal genius to it. If I die, it's over for me; if I          
   survive, I end up where I started. Sooner or later, the odds will        
   catch up with me, and in the meantime, he gets to toy with me…         
   But that's why I have a chance. He's caught in this pattern just as      
   much as I am. I know where he'll be, and I'm prepared.                   
   I have created the weapon that can put an end to this, a blueprint to    
   a new reality. All I have to do is survive long enough to use it.        
   My arrival from the Dark Place will be painful and difficult. These      
   pages may be lost, but one way or another, I'll send the parts I         
   really need to myself. If I make it outside, I have a chance.            
   Mr. Scratch is more powerful than I am, but he can't change the rules    
   in the middle of the game. He's not a creator. I am.                     
   To change the world, you must craft a blueprint for the new reality.     
   Any work of art will do, as long as it's a genuine act of creation;      
   that's what the energies of the Dark Place respond to. The results       
   may be subtle and perplexing, or far ranging and momentous.              
   My area of expertise  the written word  gives much more precise      
   results than music or interpretive dance would, for instance.            
   But words can be extremely dangerous. What you define may become         
   reality, but so can that which you imply… Even if you don't realize    
   you're doing so.                                                         
  For Serena Valdivia, burning the midnight oil was more of an exception    
  than a rule. A procrastinator and a perfectionist, she often worked       
  when she wouldn't be disturbed.                                           
  Tonight was especially important: the film festival would open            
  tomorrow, and there was still so much to sort out. It wasn't that the     
  work hadn't been done; she just didn't feel like she had completely       
  mastered everything yet.                                                  
    There's more to fighting the Taken than just burning away the darkness  
    that protects them. When I'm fighting for my life, I find myself        
    slipping into a state of intense concentration that makes the beam of   
    my flashlight seem more powerful and focused. I used to think it was    
    just my imagination, something brought on by the adrenaline and fear    
    of death, but now I'm not so sure. I have been touched by powers that   
    I can't begin to truly comprehend, and they've left a mark. I'm         
    starting to think this might be a part of it.                           
   When the dark man's eyes suddenly locked into Serena's, she flushed      
   hot. They ignited a black fire in her.                                   
   He was talking: he wanted the power turned off. He said something        
   about the projector booth. She hooked a finger under his belt buckle.    
   He grabbed a hold of her throat and twisted until it hurt. Somewhere     
   deep inside, a part of her screamed in paralyzed horror, but the moan    
   that escaped from her throat had no panic in it.                         
   "Pay attention," he said. "Business first." His eyes glittered           
   shamelessly. Hers did too.                                               
   The clothes I wear now I shaped from dreams and memories. It's an old    
   outfit, originally from the 90s; the last time I wore it was when I      
   was still writing, and Alice and I took a vacation in the desert,        
   before our troubles began.                                               
   The night before, we'd been at a party, and I'd dressed to the nines.    
   On that lazy day, I put on these old clothes, worn and comfortable.      
   Alice made a joke about grunge. I felt a little embarrassed, but stuck    
   with them.                                                               
   We were very happy. I'm sheathed in good memories, to remind myself of   
   what is at stake.
    I held the film canister in my hands. I saw her name written across it  
    in big letters, followed by the title.                                  
    It was a time capsule, moments snatched from times gone by, from a      
    past that I hoped could also be our future. It was my salvation  our  
    salvation, our chance to be together. A tin can with a bit of magic in  
    it that she didn't even know about, something I could put to good use.  
    There were only moments left before I had to face him.