Craig Humble was an ordinary cheese maker with a little dairy shop in Modesto, California until one fateful day...
After a particularly slow afternoon, Mr. Humble straightened the cheese displays in the window to make a space for the Wensleydale imported from England, and contemplated the downward trajectory of his business. How infuriating that people had taken so swiftly to the factory processed cheeses, the slices and, he shuddered, cheese in a can. Yet, he couldn't let his anger show. His mother had never thought it fitting. As long as his regular and faithful customers remained with him, his shop would stay open and he would serve them with a smile.
He went to the back of the shop to open the package of Wensleydale. Where was the Wenselydale? He could have sworn they were on top of the two stacked boxes next to the door. He checked the other boxes just to make certain.
He searched in the boxes of the evening delivery until something terrible caught his eye. Not just terrible, but gaudy. Inside one of the boxes, bright reds and blues of the cheese mascot Muscles the Cow waited for him. Not just one box either, but several! Muscles was the mascot for the processed cheese brand that had moved into town. Why was it here? Then he realized, only one person could have ordered it, Manny, his assistant.
It looked like he would have one more job to do tonight.
Mr. Humble knocked on the door with what he thought was a rather angry tone. Oh dear. This incident really had him worked up. Manny answered and seemed somewhat surprised to see his boss there. Manny was a young man of rotund qualities who had been forced to take his part time job at the cheese shop after he dropped out of college. He didn't care too much about the profession. Of course he didn't, otherwise he wouldn't have ordered processed cheese!
"What is this doing in my shop?" Mr. Humble asked his assistant while holding up a sample of the mistaken order.
"Erm. Well, I can see you're not happy about it, but I thought..."
"Did you? Did you really?"
The words jumped out before Mr. Humble even thought about them, and a short tirade soon followed. Short, because he was shocked by how angry he had become. By this time, the two men had slowly moved into the apartment.
"I'm sorry Mr. H. but I thought buying the hot new product would help pick up business."
Not like this. He wouldn't save his shop like this. To Mr. Humble, cheese making was an art, and what's more, cheese was nutritious and healthy. The processed cheese had the reek of the devil - and corporate greed!
So, Mr. Humble wasn't too happy when he returned to work the next day to find a declaration of war stuck to the front of his door. It was a letter from the Muscle's Cheese company offering to buy his business. He didn't even look at the price. He screwed up the paper and threw it in the trash. He'd show them which cheese was better by continuing to serve his customers and winning out in the end.
Only, no customers came that day, or the day after. He only had two customers all week. The next week Mr. Humble had gone from burning angry to desperately pondering over bills. He sold his car. Two weeks later, he sold his shop.
But it wasn't over. Oh no! He would still show the Muscle's Cheese company. He went to the factory at night, with a canister of petrol he had saved for breakdowns, but he wouldn't be needing it for that any more. So why not use it to burn down his rival's business just like they had destroyed his?
As he glugged and splashed the liquid around the offices and lounge of the factory, he felt as if in a dream. This wasn't him. He would never do something like this, but a lifetime of repressed emotion exploded out of him that night and it would never be held back again.
The fire leapt around the carpeted floors and wood paneled walls so quickly. He watched for a while, then made a dash for the exits. He couldn't go out the way he came in as the fire blocked the front entrance. He had to run through the factory floor to get to an emergency exit, but by the time he got there and opened the door, the emergency services were already arriving! His old self suddenly took hold and he cowered back inside the building. The fire spread fast. He didn't have long, but he couldn't let people see what he had done. This damn place wouldn't take his life, take his reputation too! That was his legacy.
He ran and searched for another exit on the opposite side, hoping it would be clear, but in a scramble across one of the conveyor tracks, his face crashed into the machinery when he was suddenly yanked back. He couldn't see clearly, his face was blooded and blurry but he could feel something around his leg was caught. He tried to turn his body weight. His shaking fingers scrambling to feel out where and what was caught. Smoke was already filling the room.
By the time emergency services left the scene they had recovered one body. It had belonged to Mr. Humble, but he didn't need it now. Free from the fear of death, his anger and resentment left such an impression on the world, it couldn't leave at all. It didn't want to. In fact, it felt itself being pulled towards a stronger force of evil, a mouth to hell. A town called Sunnydale.
For decades, the thing that was Mr. Humble invaded the sleeping minds of people, twisting their dreams into bizarre reality. Turning pleasant slumber into nightmares was his delight. "Don't eat cheese before you go to sleep," people came to say, "else you'll have bizarre nightmares!" So children lived in fear of late night snacks.
Such a disruption doesn't go unnoticed on the higher planes however. So a being of light sought out this Mr. Humble and sought to end his torment. Mr. Humble fed from the hell mouth though, and when confronted, he would not give up his power, because of that the higher being couldn't banish him and he couldn't destroy him, though he was loathe to try because he was a being of light and therefore of infinite mercy. So instead, the being took some of Mr. Humble's pain into himself and gave him a purpose, a quest, if you will.
Knowing of things that had yet to pass, as all higher beings know since they are free of the confines of time and space, the being bade him wait at the hellmouth for he would be needed as a guide. Mr. Humble was told that a hero would come, one with a long and terrible journey, and that this journey would continue through even the dream world. In the dream world, they would be in danger of being lost, of giving up, and of failing to protect their friends if they believed the dream world was real. If that were to happen, great disasters that still would come to pass, would continue unopposed. A god would bleed the dimensions into one another and humanity would be lost, the first evil would conquer the world and the otherworldly nightmares of Twilight would consume Earth in a great war between the dimensions until all was ended. And if all things ended, then there would be no cheese, and he could think of nothing more terrible. So he agreed.
He waited diligently on the hell mouth, and because he knew not what the hero looked like, he guided everyone's dreams with reminders that their night time reality was not the real one, in the only way he knew how.
"I wear the cheese. It does not wear me!"