rating: +11+x

Foundation Gothic

"Mister Gregor, do you know why you're here?"

The wild-eyed man stared into space for a moment, shifting uncomfortably in his straightjacket. His eyes became fixed on a centipede, which was crawling up the wall. He winced as it slowed to a stop, and fell to the ground, a lifeless husk. His attention returned to the pretty woman sitting across from him at the table, and the serious looking man behind her, who was writing every word she said onto a clipboard.

"Because this is what you do to people like me."

Across the table, Elizabeth smiled kindly to him. Though she was uneasy, her face betrayed nothing other than sympathy for his condition. Internally, she made a note. Light accent. German?

"I assure you, Mister Gregor, we just want to ensure your safety. I-" She paused, a routine she had rehearsed one hundred times before, "…We, that is to say, know how difficult life can be for people such as yourself."

Gregor looked up, locking eyes with Elizabeth in a wolfish stare. The sole lantern lighting the room sent shadows dancing across his face. "If you care, then you should let me go. Someone is waiting for me."

Yes, almost certainly German. "I'm afraid we can't do that yet, Mister Gregor. I need to ask you a few questions first. Please, if you'll cooperate with me, we can get this over with quickly."

Gregor kept her gaze for a moment longer, then looked away. After a moment of hesitation, his disposition changed, becoming bright and cheery. "All right, I suppose I've got nothing but time on my hands at the moment."

He made a show of wiggling his arms under the straightjacket and laughed, in an apparent attempt to put the other two people at ease. Elizabeth cringed a bit at his unsettling expression, while Quincy was still as a stone. Finally, Elizabeth spoke. "Very well, Mister Gregor. Are you aware of how you developed this effect you seem to have on small creatures?"

"Not exactly. Though it's been a part of me for quite a long time."

"And, to your knowledge, small creatures are the only things you can affect?" He seemed cooperative, but Elizabeth kept her guard up. She'd seen humanoids in the past that could go from friendly to violent at the drop of a hat.

"Yes, though it hasn't always been that way." He paused for a moment, staring into the darkness again.

Behind Elizabeth, Quincy grumbled, scratching something onto his clipboard. "Here we go again, with the 'master' nonsense."

Gregor looked up, with a scowl on his face. Elizabeth turned to Quincy quickly, making a 'shush' gesture. "Mister Gregor, can you please elaborate on that?"

Gregor kept his eyes locked on Quincy, practically spitting his words. "I don't believe I will, if I'm to be dismissed as a lunatic."

"Please Mister Gregor, if you-" Elizabeth was interrupted by a slot on the door sliding open. From it, a slightly panicked voice echoed,

"Doctor Quincy Marlow, you're needed upstairs!"

Quincy scratched down one final note, with an irritated look on his face. "We'll be right up." He turned to Elizabeth, shooting a quick glare at Gregor, who had a similarly hostile look on his face. "We'll have to get back to this later, let's go."

Elizabeth rose to her feet, curtsying to Gregor. "I'm sorry, but I have to leave for the moment. Excuse me, Mister Gregor."

Quincy knocked twice on the door, and the guard outside opened it wide enough for the two to pass through. As they left, Gregor began to thrash, a look of panic on his face. "No, you can't just leave me here! I have to meet with him! He'll be here very soon!"

The chair his straightjacket was affixed to toppled over from the thrashing, leaving him helpless on the floor. "You can't-" The door slammed shut, leaving him alone.

Elizabeth and Quincy walked down the hallway to the stairwell at a brisk pace, neither one pleased with the other. Elizabeth broke the frosty silence, her facade of civility gone. "What was that about? He was being quite cooperative!"

Quincy waived his hand dismissively, "He wasn't going to tell us anything of use, he was ranting all night about some master that was going to show up any moment, every creak in the night. I was sending the message that we won't tolerate that nonsense here."

"You don't know if it's nonsense, he could be telling the truth!"

They reached the staircase, and Quincy began to march straight up without even pausing to look at Elizabeth. "What, did your 'womanly charms' tell you something that hours alone with the thing couldn't tell me?"

Elizabeth fell silent for a moment, seething. "'Womanly charms'?!"

As the pair reached the top of the stairs, Quincy did not respond, but picked up his pace. Elizabeth lifted the ends of her dress a bit, allowing her to keep up as they made their way to the center of the room, where a crowd of people stood around something. "I'll have you know that I can do more than act as a pretty, prissy little-"

She trailed off as she saw what the personnel were crowded around, and placed a hand over her mouth. Two researchers were carrying a small gurney through the room, to the medical bay. On it was a corpse, barely recognizable as something that had once been alive. Its skin was a dark black, and it looked shriveled and empty, as if it had been mummified. The mouth was frozen open, the eyes sunken in, in a now-permanent expression of terror. The only thing indicating it had been recently alive were the clean clothes, as well as a small tag hanging around its neck, which read 'MTF θ-16. THATCHER'.

Elizabeth stood back as she watched the doctors haul it in to the medical bay. Quincy had gone with the others, leaving her alone. Slowly, the rest of the doctors and researchers began to return to their work, though the atmosphere had changed. London had been home to some bizarre happenings in the past, but they hadn't discovered anything like that yet.

"Something's trying to send us a message." Elizabeth turned, to find Director Alby next to her. His face was blank as ever, but his voice wavered uneasily. "Miss Stoke, you should return home, I'll have someone escort you."

Elizabeth protested, "But the interview…" She paused, thinking for a moment. The corpse looked like it had been drained of life, like a shriveled husk. A lifeless, shriveled husk…

"Director, I think SCP-048 may be connected to this incident."

Seymour turned to her, intrigued. "You have my attention."

Elizabeth shifted, standing firm. "The recovered corpse shows signs of being drained of life in a short time, similar to the effect that SCP-048 has on insects and the like. As SCP-048 has expressed belief in a 'master', it is possible and likely that there is at least one other anomaly sharing similar effects."

Seymour paused for a moment, comparing notes on his clipboard. After what seemed like an eternity, he responded. "Impressive observation, Miss Stoke. What led you to this conclusion?"

Elizabeth glanced towards the medical bay, and saw Quincy examining the corpse with a frustrated look on his face. She returned her attention to Seymour, a triumphant look on her face. "It was womanly intuition, I suppose."

Gregor sat alone in the interview chamber, still lying helpless on his side. The lone lantern flickered violently, before going out. Something had changed in the air. The ripples it sent out were very small, but they were there, to be noticed by those who possessed the ear to hear. The feeling was eerie and disquieting, but comfortingly familiar to him.

Gregor's eyes widened, and quietly, he whispered. "I hear you. You've come for me."

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