Here i'd like to attempt to describe the basics of the setting to which all my work belongs, which has been in progress for at the moment 13-14 years. In this setting i try to describe the nature of the greater spiritual cosmos and how it relates to us mere mortals. This whole unseen world, full of spirit realms, astral planes, other dimensions, heavens, hells and everything in between i collectively call the Nexus. Mortals that are able to leave the world of the mundane and experience the 'other side' i refer to as Nexians.
THE ..."MUNDANE" WORLD
In the micro scale, i have stories set in the modern world, a down to earth aspect of the setting, that involves many characters and how they interact with the very fringe of this supernatural cosmos. Most of them i imagine as having only an amateur grasp on the supernatural, but have various adventures to investigate or solve strange occurences or problems. But these guys/girls are blue collar. Imagine Fox Mulder and Dana Skully from the X-Files with no federal authority and day jobs in retail or fast food joints. Some are still in high school or college, so there will be some drama involving them getting along with thier "normal" friends without revealing thier endeavours.
These stories are mostly set in a medium sized fictional city in New Mexico. I have had a great deal of fun writing this; including as much naturalism and a little humor as is appropriate. I try to make these guys as real as possible, with flaws and mannerisms that i hope flesh them out well. My ambition is to create characters that the reader will actually care about. (I had an ex-gf that would cry when her favorite character died in a movie, thats the kind of emotional attachment i want to *attempt* to achieve.)
The reason for this is that the overall theme of these stories is mystery and horror. I have always loved horror stories and films, but i'm so disappointed in them as of late. They show their characters in danger, but you have little reason to care about the characters welfare, there is little attempt to get you emotionally invested in the character. So i want and hope the reader will become attached to these characters, and when horror elements arise, they will feel genuine concern when they are in danger.
A lot of the characters interaction with the supernatural resembles voodoo mostly, it's subtle, as if it could be taking place all the time without people noticing. Nothing flashy or extraordinary. After all, these guys are mortals and can only do so much, and only know so much. Some, not all but *some* of the elements of spiritualism and the occult described in these stories i do believe personally, to some extent or another. These characters have relatively small adventures and encounters with the supernatural, but the focus is in their interactions, character development, and the newbies acclimating to this secret aspect of the world they have suddenly been thrust into. I enjoy sneaking in elements of the greater cosmic whole in tiny bits, which these characters begin to understand, to slowly reveal the Nexus and all it's bizarre and reality-defying qualities.
THE NEXUS - THE SPIRIT WORLD
In the macro scale, things get more complicated. Multiple dimensions, time periods, other worlds, and the realms in which the gods reside. The Nexus is basically everything you aren't aware of, things you can't see or touch, things partially described by prophets and holy books. The "real" world, the physical world we experience i call the 'common reality', because as a whole we all more or less agree on what is real and what is fantasy. Only individuals on the fringe believe in vampires, little grey aliens abducting people, magic and so forth. The rest of us stick with our current scientific understanding of the universe. That is the common reality we all share and live in right now.
The structure of the Nexus comes from my interest in some of the Gnostic concepts of layers and layers of alternate realities, usually that we have to pass through one by one in the afterlife. All existing in the same 'space' simutaneously. So i take this idea and break the Nexus down into multiple layers of other realities or dimensions existing in the same space, possibly infinite in both size and number. I consider them just a not yet understood property of nature.
These layers and the interstices between them become signifigant because of the existence of sentient beings, such as animals and humans. The human brain is a complex and powerful thing, and human emotions and passions can be intense. So i consider things such as strong passionate emotions, dreams, traumatic or joyous events, faith and worship to be a sort of energy...something we can't experience in the common reality.
But in these layers of interstice and dimension, those energies reside and take shape. Just as our world is physical as we experience, in these other realms they have a physicality of their own. At this point it could be described as a spirit world. Basically the constant flow of psychic trash and treasure is dumped into this spirit world, causing a chaos that has formed a complex and bizarre structure of the spiritual, 'unreal' world.
As a rule, every dream any human has ever had, any god they have ever worshipped, any creature they have ever feared has manifested itself in the spirit world. The forementioned emotions, traumatic and joyous events create energies and entities...spirits that now reside in these other realms. This is a lot of stuff...inconcieveable. But this spirit world and the layers it is composed of are infinite, all existing in the same 'space' between different realities. These infinite layers and the strange methods of traveling through them, that is the Nexus.
When living creatures die, their consciousness is released into the spirit world, where a number of things happen. Humans or animals with weak willpower, very little intensity, and no passions are such a weak spirit that they often just dissapate into the Nexus, consumed by it's chaos like a puff of smoke blown away by the wind.
Conversely, living creatures with strong wills, passions, intensity have spirits strong enough to possibly make it to the other side of death, and if they're lucky; with their identity and consciousness intact, at least for a time. Several fates await such souls in the afterlife. They may randomly awake in a crude physical form in a bizarre dimension, lost in time, space and reality, and only by good fortune and willpower can they ever find a point of reference, a safe place, or other lost souls. Others might be ghosts, trapped near the common reality, but not close enough, creating hauntings and the like.
Individuals who had strong faith in one belief system or another; will hopefullly find themselves arriving at a heaven, hell or purgatory related to their religion. Here, these realms obey the laws of the gods and goddesses that reside there. A Norseman may find his spirit seized by a Valkryie and taken to Valhalla, Angels and the like might guide a Judeo-Christians to a Paradise, or a hell, or whatever they are fated to. Many of these mythos have entities (Valkryies are an excellent example) that actively seek out the poor soul and take them where they belong. There are innumerable ways souls can reach their destinations, most of which are not fully understood, or are unpredictable.
So in short, the Nexus is a place for experiences and events to exist in a tangible form, amidst an infinite array of environments. Even the concept of time affects the Nexus. Every period of history, its events and peoples have left an impression upon the Nexus that exist forever in one form or another. Even time periods that have not yet occured are etched in the spirit world, somewhere. Such realms of past and future would seem very distant and difficult to fully experience. But sometimes beings may find their way out of their own layer of time and space, and come into contact with each other, making for some weird stuff.
THE VEIL - BARRIER BETWEEN REAL AND UNREAL
The last part i will describe for now is the barrier between the real and unreal, often called the Veil. Because of its very nature, the unreal properties of the Nexus should never be able to exist in our real world, our common reality. But sometimes, as Ian Malcolm says in Jurassic Park, "Life finds a way..."
Hauntings and occasional supernatural encounters are the result of entities or energies slipping past the Veil somehow. Small, unstable and temporary breaches can be created by those who know how, like a portal. In that case something can be brought through intentionally, but only the most knowledgeable and strong willed practicioners of the occult could do this successfully.
On the Nexus side of this barrier, as expected there are many layers of interstice between the real world and the Nexus, so chaotic and unstable that it is *almost* impossible to pass through, as described above.
The realm closest to the real world is often called The Gap by sapient beings who reside in the Nexus. This layer of reality is so close to our common reality that observers can watch what goes on as it happens, but never touch it or become "real". The exception is the death of a living being, an event which creates its own portal. Some are trapped in the Gap, and can slighty affect the real world, creating hauntings and ghosts.
Most amusingly, the Gap ends up populated with spectators, watching us, as if we are a reality television series, or a spectator sport. They take interest in us, just as we would be fascinated by them...if only we knew of their "existance". This makes denizens of the Nexus often up to date on current affairs in our real world, which is important to humans or similar beings that live in the spirit world. People or the descendants of people that slipped through the Veil into the spirit world, over the course of thousands of years, and either chose to remain or could never find their way back.