rating: +21+x

Cradlesong: Part I

Department of Folklore Archives
"Demons: Teivel (1972)" — Published 2011

Ghosts and ghouls are nothing new to the SCP Foundation, but there's no time that exemplifies this quite like Halloween. The boundary between the spectral world and the mortal realm is at its weakest on the night of October 31st, when the nine rings of hell align and the blood moon shivers.

Much of the rural world falls victim to the specters that make it into our reality. Where the Foundation isn't, they are. Halloween, as we know it, has been an annual celebration since the 19th century, but it would never be quite the same in the town of Whynot after a vicious series of attacks in 1972. Whynot is a small, secluded town in middle-of-nowhere North Carolina.

In a cabin along the edge of the town lived an old, decrepit man. When he succumbed to a heart attack, his body was invaded by a demonic specter, Teivel. He was the youngest child of the omnipotent Mother Nature, and was sentenced to the lowest ring of the spectral realm after attempting a coup against her. It waited patiently until the night of Halloween.

Teivel scarred the members of the town that night, broadcasting his massacre throughout Whynot. He tortured and abducted women and children. To the people’s dismay, few corpses of those harmed were initially found. A frustrated soul, it wished nothing more than violence on Mother Nature's greatest achievement. At least, that's what the staff at Site-50 say.

The "Spirit of the Trees" was known for his acts in the spectral world. His siblings and his tyrannical elder siblings. But never once had any of them attempted to access the mortal realm. When he returned to the specters, defeated, but paradoxically still victorious, he brought with him a squirrel, that was a happy little child just hours before. His mother shivered from her tower.

Police investigations never turned up any results. Slowly, the corpses of the children began washing up on rivers along the town throughout the coming years. Five decades forward and the case has long gone cold beyond the Veil. But the Foundation agents who fought the horrors that night won't soon forget the events of October 31st, 1972.

When the dust settled, Teivel remained trapped in the spectral realm by a tightly sealed coffin in an obscure town, sure to go unnoticed. As a precaution, the mausoleum containing it was covertly utilized as a mini-site to keep an eye on the demon's chamber. Over the years, though, it fell into decay as the spirit within made no attempts to rise to glory. Present day, we can only look forward, clear skies as far as the eye can see. We must leave the storms behind us.


Diane Moon—Hetfield
31/10/22, 1641 EST

2022. A thick fog has settled on the small town of Whynot by four in the afternoon. Brandon swings his dad's stiff, leather hoodie around to clear a visible path. It whips him a few times and throws his carelessly-woven hair about. Sometimes, I wonder if he's ever seen a horror movie. If he has, he should know this is how the side characters die. "What are we even doing out here?" I call out to him. The sun is still out, not that we can see it through the fog, so I'd think there'd be some sort of security officer lurking around the graveyard.

He turns around, walking backward with his hoodie balled in his hand, "The most interesting part of this town is this field. The dead grass, and the abundance of tombstones despite the town's small population. There's something other-worldly about the stuff you can find here." I roll my eyes. His pretentiousness irks me. I can't believe he dragged me into his escapades.

"Diane, trust me, this'll be fun," he grins. I raise my eyebrow, "You said the same thing when we broke into that old arcade. Guess what, I got tetanus. Not to mention… y'know. Also, why bring me along, anyway?" Brandon turns back around, continuing to carelessly fling about his hoodie, "You can pick locks. You're the brains here." I turn my head around me to face Jamison, who lingers behind both Brandon and me, invested in whatever music is blasting into his ears. When he lifts his head up to me, he simply shrugs.

"If I'm brains and Jamison is clearly the jock archetype, then what are you supposed to be?" Brandon doesn't appear to pay mind to the question, whereas Jamison appears personally hurt. I'm not wrong, though. After a moment, Brandon calls out, "The final boy." "Of course," I mumble. Guess he does watch horror movies.

"If you get me killed, I'll be so pissed," I call back after a minute. Eventually, his hoodie smacks a concrete wall, and he halts. Jamison pulls an earbud out of his left ear and his dumbass smile fades to a disgruntled frown, "What's the plan here, pal? Thought we were just seeing some gravestones or whatnot." His thick Australian accent makes almost anything he says incomprehensible.

Brandon climbs onto the windowsill of the mausoleum and picks up a flowerpot. "This sure seems like a good idea. This place isn't spooky at all," I groan. A crow swoops by and lands on the ledge of the structure's roof. It lets out a loud caw and I almost fall off my feet. "Looks like nobody's been here in decades," he chuckles as he jiggles the handle of the window, the flowerpot in his other hand, but can't seem to force it open. He changes the flowerpot to his other hand and smashes it against the stained-glass window.

He crawls through the window frame. Glass crunches as he lands on the marble floor of the mausoleum. The loud echo of his movements both in and out of the structure. Immediately, I notice the structure has been overrun with nature. Brandon watches his feet as he moves throughout the building, careful not to trip on any roots. Jamison nudges past me and hops onto the windowsill, "You just gonna stand there, D? Come on."

I walk up to the windowsill as Jamison hops through, and brush the glass debris from it with my sleeve. I sit on the frame and look inward, "I think I'll linger here. Finish your shenanigans and let's go, okay?" Brandon walks up to the coffin in the center of the structure and hops onto it. "Yeah, yeah, princess. We're just having some fun, no?" I roll my eyes at him again, "I have to accompany my brother when he goes trick-or-treating. Seriously, be quick."

"I don't have some agenda," Brandon mumbles, before turning his attention to a gold plate on it, "Hey, check this out." He reads out the plate, "Teivel," he raises an eyebrow as he catches the quote at the bottom, "I'm the ghost with the most, babe."

"Is that a reference to the folklore?" Jamison asks, leaning against the tightly-sealed door of the building. "You mean the one about the guy who—" Brandon begins, before I interject, "Yeah, we've all heard it." He pops the plate off and tosses it to me, to which it's dropped to the floor. "I think we should open it," he says slyly. Terrible idea. "Absolutely not," I scoff. He turns his head to Jamison, "What do you think?" Jamison shrugs, "Sure, why not." Brandon's perpetual grin has returned and he hops off of the coffin.

"How do you even open one of these?" Brandon grunts, trying to displace the top of the coffin. A creak from down the mausoleum echoes suddenly. I jump backward, my back hugging the wall. "You scared?" Jamison chuckles. I stiffen my face, "Of course not." He smirks, but before he can get out another word, Brandon barks at him, "Hey, Jamison! Come help me open this damn thing." He turns his attention from me and walks up to the coffin. A giant tree branch leans over it and against the wall, and the top of it is moist to the touch. Brandon revolts when he makes this discovery.

The top of the coffin refuses to nudge, and Jamison begins cursing under his breath as he pushes harder. Brandon walks around the side of it and backs up with a shocked expression. "What happened here?" he shouts to us. Hesitantly, I walk over to him and spot a series of ropes and branches running from the side of the coffin into the ground. There are some locks along the maze of rope. I almost chuckle, "I guess they want whatever's in here to stay in here." "Yeah, yeah, very funny," Brandon groans, "Did anyone bring a crowbar or something?"

Jamison appears from behind the coffin and walks up to the ropes, gesturing us away. He pulls a pocket knife from his shorts and hunches over the rope. As he's pretending to be useful, he casually says, "By the way, there's is a security guard after all. He's sleeping in the corner so don't wake him. Y'know?" Brandon and I are both startled by this, albeit relieved.

When I look around the corner, the police officer is lying against the wall. His eyes bulge and a river of dried vomit wraps around his head and runs onto the floor. You'd think he'd been here for months and his skin is almost frigid when I feel it. I nearly wretch in disgust.


He steps back in frustration, "Won't open!" I scoff, "Give me that." I can't take any more of his naivety. I command, seizing his pocket knife. I inspect it and find a weak point. I pick at it with the knife until it breaks loose. I pull the ropes and locks away and toss them aside. "Ain't that something," Jamison says, visually amazed. "I'll be outside," I mutter, setting the knife atop the coffin. "And here I thought you were starting to have fun," Brandon smirks. That douche.

I peer back over the coffin. I walk away from the two and over to where the officer is. I look down at him and immediately freeze. His skin is still pale but with a green hue and even greener, leafy veins running all throughout his visible skin.

My heart stops. The man is now entangled in the roots breaking found throughout the mausoleum floor. They flow over and throughout his body. I immediately shiver and turn back to Brandon and Jamison. I'm about to turn them right around and head home when Brandon pushes the coffin's top off. It clashes with the ground, making a loud thump. You know what, it's his funeral.

I crawl back through the window frame and land awkwardly on the dead grass. I sweep aside the glass on the ground, not so quietly, I might add. I sit against the outside of the mausoleum and pull out my phone. As I scroll through my notifications, I notice smudges of blood appearing on my phone. I gasp and drop it to the floor, and then I notice a voracious cut on my hand. "Shit," I shout under my breath.

My phone begins ringing as I ponder ways to shield the bleeding. I go to tap the answer button on my phone screen, but it doesn't register due to the blood smudges. The bleeding becomes more abundant and my vision goes blurry. Wrapping my hand in my sweatshirt, I manage to stammer out a call, "We need to go!" No response echoes back. "Hello?" I shout after a moment.

I begin to walk back to the windowsill when I hear a loud thump. My heartbeat grows faster and I raise myself up to peak into the structure, "Jamison? Brandon?" Nobody. The top of the coffin rests slanted on the floor. On the other side of the room, a previously boarded-up window is agape. I raise myself to the windowsill to get a full view of the interior. Still nothing.

That's when I feel something, like a feather, brush over my neck. I yelp and fall back off of the windowsill and fall to the ground, my ankle breaking my fall. "Damnit, Brandon!" I shout angrily, but when I can mount to a stand, there's nobody in sight. I almost stumble and a stabbing pain hits my foot as I try to walk. "This isn't funny, guys. Just stop already." When there's no response, not a sound, tears welt in my eyes, "Guys?"


Craig Hetfield, Assistant Researcher, Site-50
31/10/22, 1659 EST

"Look who finally made it," Director Boat grins as I close the metal door behind me. He wraps his arm over me and hands me a can of beer, "How's it goin', pal?" I take a look around the breakroom, where staff members are relaxing next to the television, conversing, and one group at the far right of the room is playing a game of beer pong.

"It's going good, director, sir. Thanks for asking," I flash a smile back. I crack open the beer can and take a sip. "Halloween, ay? Best time of the year," Boat cheers, unlatching his arm from around my shoulder, "Sean is by the fireplace, in case you're looking for him." I raise a thumbs up as the director walks off to the beer pong group.

On the television, a game of football is playing. I drop into an empty slot on the leather couch and ruffle Sean's hair. He turns his head from the television to me, "Oh hey! Took you long enough!" I chuckle, "Sorry I had to force you to watch American television," I say in a spooky voice. He rolls his eyes and leans further into the couch, "I forgot, this is your first Halloween at Site-50. You're probably a bit jarred."

When he stops talking, I nod presumptively and he continues, "On Halloween, we shut down all the containment areas because it's too risky to do any testing. Mobile Task Forces are out all night as well, so we're just left here with nothing to do." I tilt my head, "That… actually makes sense." He lets out a brief laugh and sips from a cup of whiskey, "Hey, you're really nursing that can, Craig."

I turn myself to face the television, and Sean mounts to a stand, "I'll be right back. I got a bet going with Dr. Know-It-All, so let me know if the Dolphins win!" He slides away into the mass of researchers, and at the same time, Dr. Riley appears behind me, "Hey, Dr. Hetfield," he rejoices, "I didn't expect you to come." "Well, if it isn't the litterbug himself," I say back. He hops over the couch and sits next to me, "You look stressed, bud. You gotta loosen up, you're always so uptight." "Yeah, I suppose," I take another sip of beer.

Riley pats me on the back and walks back into the mass of staff members. I rub the back of my neck as I stand up and nudge past a security officer. It's hardly nightfall and I already feel tired. I pass a trash can and drop the half-empty can into it.

Suddenly, my pocket begins vibrating and I reach for my phone. I answer the incoming call and raise the phone to my ear. My heart practically stopped as I heard the voice from the other side, my mind barely processing anything after the first few words. As quickly as I'd picked up, I was running back down the corridor. Back towards the party. The herald of horrid news. I nearly collided with Sean. The poor fellow fumbled with his drink, staring at me with concern. "What's wrong?" he asks. My phone drops from my hand and I rush out of the room. "Craig!" Sean calls behind me.

I swerve around, still hastily walking, "You know my neighborhood?" He appears puzzled for a minute, before stammering, "Uhm, uh— yeah. Why?" Now several meters from him and almost out of hearing range, I shout to him, "Get me a standard scan of it! Quickly, please!" "What's wrong?" he shouts back. "Teivel's tomb has been disturbed!"


Department of Folklore Publication
Excerpt from "Baseline Gods: Mother Nature" — Published 1999

Back in 2000 BCE, the kingdom of Weven was a glowing beacon of the spectral realm. Mother Nature was the only baseline god charitable enough to interact so closely with humankind. Within the kingdom, at its heart, her and her children, the soon inheritors of the natural thrones, dine.

Mother Nature’s expression of pride in the future spirit of earth, Rhopa, sat next to the mother with rain pellets spilling under her plate, morphs into dismay when she sets her focus on the loneliest one. She worries for the little one, the other children come to her several times, saying they can’t find him, saying he’s disappeared again, saying he’s turned into a squirrel and hid in the Yggdrasil.

In the seat furthest from the mother, the child bows his head down to the plate, shielding himself from view. "What's wrong, my little one?" the mother furrows, her angelic display of wings of shrill water. Little wooden boats, an artistic choice, flow along her oceanic body. The child turns his head to face down the hall. He resents his mother, he always had.

"Why is there never enough food on my plate?" he finally speaks. She scoots forward in her chair, "You have just as much food as your siblings. You still have some, in fact. If you're hungry, eat." "Mother, I am soon to be the spirit of the trees, you said that. Why must the trees get as much from you as the heir to humanity? Cyrus does not deserve as much as me!" Mother Nature appears aghast, raising herself from the table, and Cyrus lowers her head with a frown. "Apologize to your sister, Teivel. Now," Mother Nature speaks coldly.

She stands toweringly over him, she lowers one of her heads to him when he doesn't respond, "Well?" Teivel swivels himself around and murmurs to Cyrus. She murmurs back and resumes eating. "Can you two please be civil? One day, both of you will take over for the current spirits of the trees and humanity. I don't need any wars between you two. Eat." Both bow their heads in respect.

Teivel grimaces at his mother before fading into transparency. He was the only shapeshifter among the spectral children. A series of roots slowly sprout where he was sitting as he walks away from the table, not to the attention of the others. In the spectral realm, Mother Nature nurtured her children well.

But with him, it was different. Though she couldn't quite identify what, he irritated her every time he was in her presence. He made all of her eyes twitch like a parabellum. He inherited the power of dendrology when his predecessor, Euchevious, suffered permanent death.

He had always fantasized about the human world, the mortal realm. Maybe one day, he'd live in it. Maybe one day, he'd inflict pain on it. He'd always heard of that word, pain. An accidental creation by his mother. Euchevious was the only spirit to have ever actually lived among men while in power, and Teivel wished to follow in his footsteps. He wished to live among men, learn about men, and find the source of what makes them tick and what makes them stop.


Robert Moon—Hetfield
31/10/22, 1722 EST

"Where is she?" my mother grunts, leaning against the doorway. I'm sitting on the lawn outside our house in my Harry Potter costume. The end of the robe dips into a rush of water that runs down the edges of the road and into the storm drains. My mother is a real stickler for punctuality, and raising her kids to be so too, it's a bit jarring that Diane would be late.

Mom suddenly gets a call and she reaches for her phone, which is sitting on the railing, muttering something under her breath. "Hello?" she says, answering the call, "Oh, hey, Craig. Yeah, everything's fine, why?" After a moment of silence, she continues, "No, Rob's just sitting on the sidewalk waiting for his sister. Yeah, she's tardy. Mhm. Yes, that'd be a great help." After a moment of the other person talking, she hangs up and sets the phone back on the railing, shaking her head.

"I think she's out with her boyfriend," I call to her from the sidewalk. "What?" she retorts, "Diane doesn't have a boyfriend." "What about the guy? Y'know the kind of tall one, scrawny, with the fluffy brown hair?" I say, puzzled. Mom almost appears taken aback, "Brandon? No, she hates him." Odd, I've seen her out with him a few times. I keep checking down the road, expecting her to turn the corner on her bike with some logical reason for being late. "Have you tried calling her?" I say. "Yes, I have. She hasn't responded."

I fiddle with my toy wand impatiently, as I continue to look around. I notice the sun begins disappearing behind the houses and I become cross, "Mom! The sun is setting, I need to go trick-or-treating." She sighs, "Ugh, backburner, buddy. Uncle Craig is going to help us find Diane. All else fails, I'll take you trick or treating." I frown and scoot my shoes through the water running beside the cement.

After several minutes of waiting, my eyebrows furrowing further and further, a car I recognize pulls down the road. By now, kids and parents roam the streets in costumes and the neighborhood is alive with vigor. A distinct ocean blue Ford Flex pulls into our driveway and out steps mom's brother, Craig, who wipes a layer of sweat from his forehead with a cloth. He appears in costume, wearing a lab coat and salopettes.

He walks over to my mom and gives her a quick hug, "I have a pal of mine looking for Diane. You sure you don't have any clue where she is?" My mom shakes her head, "She headed out earlier today, and said she'd be out with friends but didn't specify." Craig rubs his eyebrows, pondering.

After a moment, he walks over to me and pats me on the back, "How's it going, little man?" I look up at him, "We're waiting for Diane." He looks at his phone before looking back at me, "Well, that might be a while. It might just be better if your mom takes you." Though, she's quick to interject, "I have somewhere to be in half an hour.

Maybe you could take him? My wife's on a work trip until Tuesday." Craig stands there for a moment, dotting his eyes about, before finally perking up, "Y'know, I suppose I could do that. How's that sound, bud?" I shrug in agreement, and he gestures for me to pick up my pillowcase, though a portion of which has settled into the water. I slug it over my shoulder and we begin down the road, I turn to wave to my mother but she has already retreated into the house.

As we're walking up to the first house, Uncle Craig lingers behind, checking his phone, and his face appears flushed and concerned. He catches me looking at him and gestures for me to continue up to the house, I do so. I decide it's in my best interest not to ask about what's wrong, enough's gone wayward tonight.

I knock on the home's rosewood door and a kind, old woman greets me with a smile on her face. "Trick or treat!" I shout. "Well, look at you. Aren't you just the most dotted little wizard!" she chuckles and tosses a bar of candy into my soaked pillowcase. I wish her a happy Halloween and run back down the lawn to meet Craig, who's on his phone. "What do you mean she was at Canyon Cross?" he says to the other person.

"What was that about?" I ask suddenly, which startles him and causes him to stuff his phone away. "One second," he murmurs to the other end. He looks at me blankly, before gesturing for me to continue down the road. "Hey, you can just keep going, I have to take a call so I might linger behind," he says as I walk forth.

He begins slowing down as I approach the next house, and then I hear him speak to the other end, in a low, quaking voice, "Teivel? We can get Mu-13 out here. It's going to be a long fuckin' night." I glance behind me and his face is as pale as a ghost.


Diane Moon—Hetfield
31/10/22, 2010 EST

My breathing is heavy as I lie against an upturned gravestone. I curse under my breath and peek over the concrete slab. Nothing. I can't shake that vivid sight. Moments prior, standing idly in the field, I swore I had seen a face. Through the mist, a decrepit, horrific face appeared, grinning at me. No torso, just a face. Flesh dripping from its forehead and chin, pitch black eyes, oil and blood spewing from its shattered, sharp teeth, and a slimy, wrinkly complexure to its untorn skin.

The face let out a dreadful, scratchy cackle, causing me to scream and fall to the ground on my sprained ankle. I could only hear one thing behind me as I began to run, "Nature is beautiful, ain't it? You should be more…" I couldn't catch the last part. In a flurry of panic, I dashed across the field in a half-limp, half-sprint until I could take refuge behind the gravestone.

Now here, I barely had a moment to catch my breath before I realized how colossally screwed I am. I have gone insane. What am I supposed to say when I get home? No matter how hard I try to rationalize that image of the face though, lack of sleep, my new medication, possibly a fever, but then again, it still feels too real. I can't shake the coldness of its breathing on my skin or the sheer ringing in my ear from its laugh. No, no. What have I been brought into?

Suddenly, I can hear a helicopter fly over. Its blades cutting through the air shake me. I wonder what it is, it sounds as if it's flying lower than usual. A hospital helicopter, perhaps? With a shred of prayer, I call out into the sky for help. I shout, hoping someone will aid me.

I should just collect myself. It's Halloween night, so I'm just more spooked than usual. Yeah, that's it. Deep breaths, Diane. I peek over the concrete again and see a series of newfangled bootprints. They strike my interest and after a second of hesitation, I clamber to my feet, groaning as I briefly put pressure on my ankle.

I walk forth through the fog, my eyes traced on the bootprints. They continue out of the tombstones and down the hill, to which I follow them. A light in the distance, soon a bunch of lights, becomes apparent. As I continue to naively follow the prints, I realize I am nearing the road. Eventually, I hear the sound of police sirens, then the sound of people, the sound of cameras, and the sound of gasps and screams. And then I finally reach the scene. I gasp, taken aback, and look at the ground, where the bootprints have vanished.

Jamison is skewered on the fencepost surrounding the graveyard. A pool of blood surrounds him and dips onto the sidewalk. A crowd of people and officers have already gathered. I don't have enough time to turn and run, realizing how incriminating it is for me to be there, when someone takes note of me. "Hey, you!" one of the people shout. Shit.

I backpedal and break into a dash, adrenaline pounding through my veins, ignoring my injuries. I hear someone climb the fence, but by now I am already back up the hill. For a moment, I consider stopping. What if they want to help? No, I can't risk it, people aren't thinking rationally tonight. I know this town like the back of my hand.

I've long forgotten the layout of the graveyard by now, but I attempt to find the mausoleum. I run through the randomly organized gravestones until I can make out a cubic structure. A shout from behind me lets me know someone is still hot on my tail. With too little time to think, I hop through the mausoleum window and hide behind the opened coffin.

After a flashlight passes over my head and I can catch my breath, I raise myself back up. I look inside the coffin, which I finally notice is empty. "There's no way," I growl under my breath. I'm ready to scream in frustration when I hear the sound of glass breaking down the mausoleum hall; the main door is being opened. "Oh for Christ's sake," I mutter as I duck into the corner of the room. I shut my eyes tightly and imagine my mother hugging me closely. I hold my hand over my mouth as I inhale and exhale deeply.

Before I can react, the coffin beside me collapses into the ground. The floor gives way under it and it falls into the basement floor, a floor I didn’t know existed. I stay huddled in the corner as a person, followed by another two people with flashlights, who rush in to investigate, and have been chasing after me. They look into the hole before leaving the room without another word. I breathe a sigh of relief. But then I see a glowing, green smog flow out of the coffin and out of the hole.

"What the hell is down there?" I mutter once the three people have evacuated. I peer over the hole and see what looks like a sort of library. Manic drawings are scrawled across the floor and there is an open crate of guns against a shelf. I don’t have enough time to analyze the room further as the smog is rising above the hole and I am forced to leave the mausoleum.


The Account of Agent F401, Former Mu-13 Agent
Documented 02/09/98

Few of the staff members who worked on Halloween, 1972 are still with the Foundation. All that's left of that horrific night is whispers and this-that that echo in the halls of Site-50. Erected in the late 19th century, Site-50 had been on the forefront of spectral combat. And yet, even Teivel gave them a run for their money.

It's because when they first met him, they underestimated him. Most specters are humanoid, or mammalian, in material form. Not Teivel. Teivel was a shapeshifter, with no set mass. You only saw what he wanted you to see, and the Foundation only fought what he wanted them to fight. Whynot, although they didn't know it, had the strongest spectral protection money could buy; the best Mu-13 division in the country. That squad leader was deployed that night to watch his own men die.

Maybe the folklore about him is true, maybe he is the child of Mother Nature. Or maybe he’s some bitch with a vengeance. In 1972, Whynot’s nearest Mu-13 squadron was commanded by Regional Officer Jonathan Boat, now Site-50’s Director.

Disguised as a police squadron, the Mu-13 squad arrived at the foot of the neighborhood. The squad leader stepped out of the car at the front of the battalion holding a duffel bag. Armored operatives in the back of a SWAT van settled out and conjoined behind the leader. After lagging behind, the leader's second stepped out of the front car and walked up to the leader, "Boat, it's this house," he said. He pointed to a cabin left of them, not surrounded by any other houses. The leader nodded and gestured for the armored operatives to surround the cabin.

The operatives complied and one stepped up to the front door with a battering ram slung over his shoulder. He handled it and prepared to breach, finally busting the door in. In a haze, the flurry of men stormed the stronghold to find it empty. Only, in the center of the living room, was the corpse of an old man, the home's owner, long dead.

They vacated the stronghold, where Boat was conversing with his second. "Two children? We'll start with the last sighting of the second child," he said as they approached. "Nothing," they said affirmatively. Boat nodded, "We have two cases of juvenile disappearances in the town, undoubtedly correlated to whatever is happening." As if continuing the rest of the conversation through eye contact, the operative at the front eventually nodded, and the rest tailing behind him walked back to the van.


Craig Hetfield, Assistant Researcher, Site-50
31/10/22, 2034 EST

I try to shake the memory. Dad would always tell my sister and me fictional stories of ghosts, goblins, ghouls, and things that made no sense here on Earth. As his eldest sibling, I naturally followed in his footsteps, and eventually learned ol’ pops wasn’t as creative as I gave him credit for. I start to get lost in thought when a helicopter flies over. A rope ladder swings out and two men slide down, one I recognize as Sergeant Trepp, and the other one is covered head-to-toe in tactical gear. Rather than leave, the helicopter stays there and the ladder remains extended to the ground.


"Hey, Craig," Trepp says, extending his arm. I shake it and I'm about to begin rambling when he stops me short, "We’re going, now." The operative stands beside the ladder with his rifle held in both arms across his chest. "Wait, what?" Before I can get another word out, he silences me again, "Get on the damn helicopter and you’ll see what I mean." I climb atop, through the fog and strong winds. When I finally reach the top I settle into the back of the helicopter. He faces me outward, looking over Whynot. The helicopter rises higher into the air.

And then I see it. A green glow under the layer of fog, coming from the center of the town. Large roots with veins of glowing pus run from the unknown source. Malformed swamp trees stand slanted away from the center. They extend outward and appear to be growing. Trepp walks back from the cockpit where he was talking to the pilot and kneels down beside me, "Buddy, this ain’t 1972."

"Where are we headed?" I ask. And at that moment, I hear a chilling fluctuation in the wind. Almost as if it was a laugh, a cackle. The trees vibrated and rejoiced at once as the sun, from the view of the helicopter, set behind the horizon and out of view entirely. The moon rose to the sky in a scene of ambience.

He answers coldly, "Out of here, that’s where. We’re getting everyone out of here." He begins to walk back to the cockpit when he turns his head back to me for a moment, "Also, you might want to find a seat, we’re expecting some turbulence."



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