build a problem
rating: +8+x

Event Description:|

Down the hallway, the sound of footsteps could be heard reverberating around the steel-plated halls. I sat in front of a dim, whirring terminal, slouched at an angle which was sure too cause back pain later in the night. I had sat there for quite some time now, staring into the blinkbar as it shifted between visible and completely hidden. It stared back at me, almost mocking me for being so unable to fill in the blanks.

I could see why it was doing that. It couldn't be more than 2 paragraphs worth of documentation I had to write, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't find the words to describe it. It felt so wrong, sitting there, knowing this was something I did daily, yet just couldn't find the words for the event I witnessed firsthand.

It was wrong.

I sat up, straightened my posture, and began to type. Slowly, letting my fingers dance across the keyboard as to not disturb the peace of the keys.

Event Description: Today, I woke up to the sound of my alarm beeping. Its patterns were simple — 3 sounds in the span of 5 seconds, pause for a few, then repeat — yet it felt so foreign to me at that moment. Everything felt so off, so imperfect, so wrong. I knew something was going to go wrong the moment my eyes opened; I contemplated staying on my bed until the feeling washed away. It tingled in my spine, sending jolts of energy up to my brain.

After lying there for what felt like an eternity, I grew the nerve to overcome superstitious pain. Magic my ass! I have work to do! My nerves hit just right for me to spring up into the air. The feeling didn't leave once I stood up, but it felt distant enough for me to ignore it. I looked out my window, and the sun was still rising. It always rises, why would it not? I always thought it would be more interesting if it was different every day, instead of plain rising, but I learned to ignore that feeling.

As I reached for the doorknob, a sense of vertigo hit my head sharply. I stumbled back and clutched at my head, throbbing red in pain. I fell back, and since my room is so cramped, I ended up falling onto my bed, where my blanket slid down with me. The sudden friction shook the walls, and one of my favorite vases fell to the ground. Strangely, it almost flew through the air, landing on the soft carpet in the middle of my room. It remained undamaged.

After a bit of a struggle to get up, I managed to find myself back on my feet. I stood up, took a rather deep breath of air, then told myself get yourself together. After that, I gently walked to the vase, picked it up, and walked it back to its shelf. Next to a trophy for third place at the Grivian Chess Tournament and a plush pink dinosaur, it dulled in comparison. No matter, I enjoyed it sitting there. It added some character to the shelf of miscellaneous objects and made a nice immersion setter. It was, perhaps, one of my favorite pieces of furniture in the room.

This time, I walked to the door with less speed and more dexterity. After reaching it, I opened it gently, as if I was scared the rush of blood would hit me once more. It didn't swing open, it just skidded by to the speed of my arm. It was nice. After walking through, I felt the rush of wind behind the door take me in.

Nice and warm, it began to make sense to me.

Four words.

Four.

That's all I really needed anyways.

I sat back, drained emotionally from the upheaval it took to write that miniscule blurb of text. Now that was unnatural. I did this kind of stuff daily, in way more than four words. More like twenty words, thirty, hell, maybe even a hundred words! Yet, these four words felt like so much more then four words to me. They say that happens, don't they? When you experience an event firsthand, it has more emotional impact then if you were given a secondhand or even firsthand account of the event. Maybe that was why I felt so weak in the arms.

And the eyes.

And the teeth.

And the stomach.

Coffee. I needed coffee. Coffee cures everything, right? I sat up from the chair, an imprint already squished into its felt covering with fluffy textile beneath it. I had only been there for what, a few hours? It looked like I was there for days. How strange.

I feigned ignorance and walked to the door. Gosh, the room such a mess. Old files scattered around the floor, I really needed to clean up in here. A piece of meat? Eh, ignore it, I need to wake up before I take care of anything in here.

The hallway was quiet. Very quiet and very still. Everyone was still in their offices, probably doing way more work than I am right now. The walk was uneventful, it was just a hallway, after all. Despite that, Something felt off. Like some unseen force was watching me.

Force of habit, always thinking somethings watching me. I'm safe here.

The break room was slightly brighter than any of the other rooms in the building. A few posters hung up on a bulletin board. The room was completely vacant, and there were a few basic amenities for the workers. A fridge for food storage, a cupboard and lockers for preserves and valuables, and of course, the coffee machine.

The coffee machine is the workforce of any self-respecting organization. Filled head to toe with large amounts of caffeine, it carried the energy of those unfortunate enough to have any kind of insomnia. That amount was quite high, so coffee was always in high demand. Who knows what project would have burned down to smoke by now if we didn't have coffee.

Scary thoughts, scary thoughts, think about coffee.

The machine blizzed to life at a button's press. Like magic, it began heating immediately, making a distinct sound of spinning. The water on the side was somewhat low, but there was enough for me, and I didn't have the energy to replace it. Those little K-cup things sat on the counter, enough for anyone to take one and have some leftover at the end of the day for the lucky guy who closes up to sneak them out. The sugar sat on the counter, whilst the creamer sat in the fridge.

I put a mug beneath the holder for your cups, as well as the captor of any fallen drops of liquid. I pressed the button with the giant mug on it, in order to get the most possible for my buck. It splashed into the mug quickly, nearly brimming the top. When the final drops fell into the cup, I scooped it up with haste, nearly spilling some of the heated contents. As I raised the mug to my mouth, I felt the heat of the liquid raise to my head. I took a single swig, and when I finished, the lights in the room brightened, and the needles in my head from my work earlier dulled. Everything felt so much more real, more physical, more natural.

I chugged the rest of the mug, no hesitation. I needed to get back to work. Turning away from the break room felt like a crime at that point, the coffee machine still heated enough for another cup, but I needed to save my own stomach from pains later. I walked back down the hallway, and strangely, I heard my steps more clearly.

Turning back into my office, I felt lighter on my feet. The room was still dirty, but I couldn't waste any of this precious spike of energy. I quickly tapped the monitor back on, and after waiting a slightly uncomfortable amount of time for the loading screen to boot up, and I tapped the document titled "EE_door.txt" and saw my progress from before. Strangely enough, it felt a lot bigger than it did when I left.

I smiled at that thought.

My fingers were already on the keys. I was ready to type.

Date of Occurence: I jolted awake to the sound of a ceramic pot crashing down onto the floor. It wasn't particularly loud, it didn't even break, but I heard it deep into my sleep. At first, I was startled by the noise, but that quickly subsided. Afterwards, curiosity came over my head over anything else. One room apartments really do lead to events like this, don't they?

The weather outside whipped and stirred. It was raining, and it was nearly three A.M. Thunder lashed outside in a great war with the sleet of rain falling onto the ground like daggers. I stood up with a start, not bothering to pull a blanket over my somewhat exposed body, and rushed to the door. I almost threw it open at that moment, through natural instinct, of course. When something goes wrong where I work, you usually end up running over to fix it as fast as possible. However, before I managed to find my way out the door, the sudden realization hit me: I had no shirt or pants, just a pair of loose shorts.

Suddenly, a flush of red came over my cheeks. I almost went outside, nearly naked, in a cramped apartment. Though it technically was very late at night, you never know what clubgoer may be coming back from their stir of drinks and partying. I rushed over to my closet, or tried to, at least. slipped on a blanket on my way over, causing my chin to hit the ground with a loud thump. Though no blood was on the ground, it still hurt quite a bit to fall that hard. A rush of blood went into my brain, and a sense of pain overcame my body.

Regardless, I'm fairly used to pain, so I sat right back up, then took a moment to calm down. This wasn't anything important, after all, just a noise which startled me which I'm going to investigate, right. Just make sure everything is okay. I sat up once more, walked to the closet, and grabbed a jacket and a slightly longer shorts. After struggling the dark to fit my head into the proper hole, I managed to dress myself above the competency of a toddler and walked back to the door. Quickly throwing on a pair of slippers — I managed to put them on with less difficulty — I swung the door open.

The rest all happened in an instant, it couldn't have been a second at most.

Three words this time. That was less than before.

Three, heh. I should be fired where I sit.

The initial jolt from the coffee faded away, and I sat back up once more. I needed to backtrack a bit. My thoughts were so jumbled and confused.

I needed a break from this. I needed air.

I sat up, still exhausted from the work I had done, and began to walk in strides to the door. Wait, hold on, this room is still extremely dirty. They say one can't work in a dirty workspace, so at that moment, I chose to clean the room. Files were all over the floor, dated papers were laying across the ground, there were chunks of, is that meat? No matter, only takes a bit of time to clean up. Wait a minute, didn't I see that meat before?

Disgusting. The entire room could be summed up into that one word. I started by picking up the files. They were askew all around the ground and made it difficult to see the carpet floor. It wasn't particularly hard, though it was quite tedious. Everything was just lying around for some reason. It didn't make sense: I always kept my workspace clean. Nevertheless, I picked up the papers as well, then put them into a neat stack on the desk.

Then came the meat. I looked at it for a moment, before repulsing at its stenches. It reeked of expiration and the unique stench of bugs. I grabbed the broom in the corner and picked the pieces up gently, then dumped it into the garbage.

Repulsive.

I stood up and looked around the now much more empty room. It was much cleaner than before, yet strangely, it felt so foreign. Outside, I heard a door open. Someone had left their cubicle to go eat, I presume. Either that or they were one of the lucky ones who checked out at noon. I looked at the clock, seeing what time it was.

It was three A.M.

The first thought that came over my head was about why it was still bright outside. Then I realized that it wasn't bright outside, it was actually incredibly dark. Thoughts like who the hell is the man who opened the door outside came after.

It was strange. My office was barren. Hold on, when did a bed end up in my office? Is that my vase? My favorite vase? It was nice and shiny and clean.

Was this my house?

Is this my house?

No one else should be awake, right? I should still be asleep. Why am I awake again? Why was my door open?

Then he walked in.

I turned around, went back to my terminal, and sat down one final time. I didn't need to dance my fingers anymore. I could type just fine.

Location: I sat down in my office. The entire site was functioning as normal. Everything flowed just fine and nothing was going wrong. I saw Baxter walking out the door, saying he was tired and needed a break. Makes sense. He had been sick all week, it's no wonder the poor man needed to leave. If anything, I was concerned that he didn't leave sooner. His condition had been pushing forward persistently, everyone was worried for him. Regardless, work moves on, and he was essential to the site, so I could see his mindset. Still, as he hobbled out, I only grew more worried.

It takes a step toward me. One letter down.

Up until recently, I hadn't sat in this specific office. I had recently been promoted to head of first response, meaning I got to be the first to know about all the techno-bips and babbles that happened in this helluva city. It was nice, sitting in this only slightly larger office, with my slightly larger plaque, and with my stack of papers to sign or read. Well, that last part wasn't so nice, but it comes with everything. I mean, come on, the head of this job has to be doing something. In any case, it was mostly after-reports of incidents. Nothing major, just a review of the events by the ones who experience it firsthand so when it's archived everything is reliable for readers. Still, getting through it all was a pain.

Outside, the storm rages on. Two letters in.

Baxter in particular gave me an odd job to do upon promotion. Keep an eye out on some intersection, detecting anomalous activity, yada yada. I checked, and it was just two pharmacies and an apartment, with a fast food chain to add some color to the pile of bricks. Regardless, Baxter had a superstition, and everyone knew to trust Baxter's superstitions. When had he ever been wrong? The crocodile on the interstate proved that. Now that was a handful to take care of.

Lightning strikes the ground, hitting a tree and causing the branch to snap. It burns. Three letters strong.

Me and Baxter had known each other for quite some time. We both often took the night shift, which meant we typically ended up rushing to the scenes of anomaly in a haze. It makes sense, right? All that anomalous activity has to happen sometimes, and what time better than at night, while everyone is asleep and unable to counteract it. The dangerous ones think like that. The less dangerous ones, well, they like the attention of the day. Maybe that's why night shift gets less activity, simply because everyone wants attention, even anomalies. It didn't matter to me too much, but it was fun to think about. I'm sure Baxter thought like that too.

As I hit that fourth key, my hand hovers over the spacebar for a moment. How do I press it?

At that moment, a machine began to whirr. What it was this time was a mystery at that moment, and I presumed it was a malfunction. Regardless, whenever it goes off, it's required to go check it out, so I looked closer. That same intersection. Strange. Well, anomalous activity is anomalous activity, even weaker activity. Probably a malfunction from the sites cameras or the like. Regardless, I dialed my first response team and reached Randy. He groaned when I told him we had to go somewhere, he was just about to clock out. I felt for him at that moment. Getting up to find some malfunctioning camera was not what I wanted to be doing at that moment.

It's just another key. I hit space. It is behind me now.

Randy took a bit longer then normal to make it over. Probably fatigue, or maybe he was groggy and just wanted to sleep. Regardless, he made it over, and he brought three other guys and a girl with him. Perhaps he simply took his time on purpose, losing dedication the later it got. I was already ready, long before they got here, in fact. I walked up to the crew and told them where we were going. Crosslink 5, simply an inspection of the four buildings to ensure that nothing major was occurring. We'd start with the pharmacy, go to the fast food chain, then the hotel, then the other pharmacy. Simple enough directions, we'd make it with time to relax and take leisure in the search.

Five keys in, and the daunting task looms over me. I had four more keys. Behind me, another figure looms as well.

We got into the van, and I sat up front with Randy. We had a short drive to get there, the rest in the back waiting for us to drive faster. They all wanted to go home, so I figured I'd make the transportation quick. We'd make it back by three, meaning we could clock out early. They loved it when that happened. As I turned the corner, I found the car right at the interstate, and the four buildings each shone with plastic gleam. Randy flashed me a smile, then got out the car and let the rest out. I sat in the car for a moment longer, taking a deep breath in to get a sense of my surroundings, before I was rudely interrupted by Randy. Of course, he wanted to get out of there as soon as possible. I obliged and hopped out the van as well.

The sixth key is hit. Almost like a punch from my knuckles. The sound of multiple feet echoes down the hall.

We first stopped at the pharmacy. It was closed, but it wasn't hard to open, and the security was a hack job, so we got in easy. One of the guys teased Randy about grabbing some pills for the road. He simply laughed. As we looked around the big building, nothing stood out, but the radar pinged. The anomalous activity grew, though from the looks of it, it wasn't anything in here. As we took one final look down the hall of the building, we figured we should trust our instinct and check a different building instead. Well, less instinct, more fatigue, but regardless, we left the pharmacy, ensuring it locked behind us with a firm click.

Key seven, it feels like such an accomplishment. Haven't I done this before? I heard the figure behind me chuckle.

The next stop we took was the burger place, less because we expected anomalous activity and more because Randy and his boys were hungry. Me and the girl stood and watched as they ordered food. They claimed that they were searching for the anomalous activity, and were simply blending in with their surroundings, but we both knew they were all just hungry. Me and her shared a look, then we had a chuckle about it. Boys. After they finished getting their food, they all left the shop, apparently forgetting about us. We followed after them, struggling to keep up as we walked to the hotel, which apparently was an apartment. No matter, basically the same thing anyways: Rent-a-room.

The eighth key finishes with a hard tap. Now all I need to do is finish my sentence. The figure leans down and breathes down my neck.

Finally, the apartment. The anomalous activity searcher whirred. This was the place. We took the stairs, and on floor four, it gave the loudest readings. Strange, this floor was still under renovations. It wouldn't be ready for another week or two. Yet, it was oddly typical. Anomalies hide, why wouldn't they. We opened the door to the floor, and then we noticed something peculiar. One of the doors was open, specifically, the one at the end of the hall. We all just rolled our eyes, and then Randy took the lead like the wannabe hero he was. He walked in strides ever so slightly longer than ours.

Finished my sentence. Complete. The figure hugs me, commemorating me for my courage. Then, we begin to become one.

He finally made it to the end of the hall, and he was able to peek in first. Then, he screamed in disgust. Knowing that could only mean bad, we rushed over. Then, we saw it. An amorphous blob, entity, something, had infused itself to a poor man. It was consuming him little by little. It was so gross. Yet, no matter what, I felt a much shakier feeling. Then, as I looked closer, the man looked more familiar. His graying hair with a blue streak, his pale skin, his frail body. Oh god, it was Baxter.

A man in the doorway. He doesn't smile, he pushes back. He's afraid of me something.

Randy then suddenly was pulled into the room, not by a tentacle, but by his own volition. He sprinted in, and as he rushed in, he closed the door behind him with a firm shut. Instantly, we knew he was gone. Then, grief rushed over me. Randy, my right hand man, he was gone. My crew, meanwhile, did not waste time like me grieving. They held the door shut while looking for a way to secure it. They called the bigger guys, they did stuff.

He's inside. He's in here. I need him. Bigger, better. It's what we I need.

As I lay there, I noticed a ping from my phone. Not from the Foundation, telling me what to do. Not from some concerned person, not some random text. No, this was from Randy. It had a file attached, but I couldn't open it here. It needed a terminal, one of the foundation ones. I didn't know why he sent me it, but I knew what I had to do. I stood up as well, wiping a stray tear from my eyes before it could streak down, swallowed down my adam's apple, and walked to my team. They needed me.

I needed me.

Satisfied. Now to rest.


"What do you mean, an attached file?"

"It's signed off as EE, only Baxter does that. Baxter was the only one who would bother with that kind of stuff anyways."

Newly appointed Site Director Marphin was speaking to someone he didn't know the name of. He recently got involved in some rather esoteric drama and now he needed to give an after action report to someone through a screen.

"And who sent it?" The voice rang shrilly, maybe female? No, probably a voice changer or the like.

"Randy."

"I see. Get a memetic specialist from your Site on board and have someone open it for you. If nothing occurs immediately, feel free to take a look. It may hold useful information."

"Understood, thank you."

"Same to you, Site Director."

Then they hung up. Marphin still didn't know who he spoke to, but he truthfully didn't care. He needed to see this. He didn't bother with whatever memetic specialist of the week was at the Site at the moment or even his Site. He needed to see this.

He sped through the halls, almost unsighted, into Baxter's office. Pristine and clean, just how Baxter left it. Except it was his office now, Marphin owned this office. Strange, he never got to get used to his other one. Regardless, he knew why he was there, so he took out his phone and a cord and plugged it into the terminal.

Passcode this, eye scan that. After some security work, Marphin got in and accessed the file. It was a text document, but not the normal one. It was the terminal for submitting files to the database. Wouldn't he normally ask someone to look at it first? It didn't look particularly good, either. It wasn't done, yet, he almost submitted. Marphin, not able to clear the previous fields, had to submit the file as it was before he could close the file.

Marphin typed in four quick sentences, following his predecessor's strange action of not asking others to look, then submitted it to the database. Afterwards, he flagged it for revisal, added a line and fixed a mistake, then took a step back.

It was in, Baxter's last report.

His shortest one at that.


Event Description: A door was opened.
Date of Occurrence: In a second.
Location: Next door.
Follow-up Actions Taken: The door was welded shut. Personnel are to be reminded that the entity within the room does not exist. The door is never to be opened. SCP classification is pending.

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