What does B stand for?
rating: +31+x

“I am not interviewing a blood addicted tugboat,” stated Elstrom. “My responsibilities lie in overview and administration, not the extraction of data from anomalies. I shouldn’t have to remind you that this falls under the purview of your section, Dr. Bradbury.”

Melissa exhaled sharply through her nose, “I am aware. But in order to fulfill those duties of mine, I just need you to participate in–”

“In what way am I necessary for this project’s fulfillment?” It was less of a question and more so stating what should’ve been obvious.

“SCP-6426 has attempted communication only once in its entire time within confinement, until today. The fact it talked to you, and the fact it wasn’t even hostile towards you, represents a huge research opportunity!”

“Even so, my presence is not listed as a requirement for this project,” a pause punctuated by the clicking of her mouse, “you requested ‘the temporary transfer of SCP-6426 to Site-43, in order to determine commonalities between the various hemovoric anomalies known to the Foundation, and devise a uniform deterrent applicable across the multiverse.’”

“Yeah, and to get a headstart on that, we need to know how vampire weaknesses work in other universes. ‘How do we figure this out–’ well I’m glad you asked! It starts with a little five letter word beginning with…”


“K, and ends with a word that rhymes with–”

“Dr. Bradbury,” Karen interrupted.

Melissa pondered for a moment, “…Karen Chadlurry. Not who I was thinking of, but hey, if you think they’ll help!”

Karen Elstrom’s gaze was like the hollow eyes of a circus ringleader watching their clowns revolt and burn everything they built to the ground — in other words, unamused. “Dr. Bradbury, this is highly unprofessional behavior. I was told you had a serious inquiry to make.”

“Then how about you start taking me seriously as well? Before today, this project had a 65% turnout rate for success. But with this opportunity, those chances have been bumped up to 74%. Just ask it questions, that’s all we need you to do. Please.”

Elstrom took a sip from her coffee, “No. I have more pertinent duties to uphold in maintaining this site. I work in my section, and you work in yours. If you’re unable to produce anything meaningful from this project, then that’s on you.”

“Fine,” Melissa got up and walked to Elstrom’s office door. “I had doubts I could actually convince you, which is why I talked to Director McInnis ahead of time to put you on the project.” Elstrom nearly choked on her coffee from that sentence, catching a smirk from Melissa before she vanished.

Karen sat alone in her office. So these are the things I get invited to now.

The interview room was metal, grey, and uncomfortably spacious. Elstrom strode over to the provided table and chair as the sound of the blast door closing groaned behind her. She took a seat, placed the list of questions on the right-center of the table, and looked up at the subject. The other room, separated by a massive glass divider, was not nearly as well lit; dressed in shadows, the figure of the tugboat seemed to loom over Elstrom in a manner that felt vaguely imposing.

Containment staff assured her she would be completely safe in here: from a glass divider blessed by a god of interrogations, to automated harpoon guns with electrum ammunition, the monster was outmatched both defensively and offensively. Coupled with the hardtack cracker dispense system, the boat was like a mouse trapped in a glass box surrounded by a concrete casing.

The lights in the other room flashed on, followed by a buzzer sounding as a waterfall of blood and viscera poured down on the derelict undead. The new illumination offered a brief glimpse at its decrepit and rusted form, before being quickly rejuvenated to a factory fresh state. As its wake-up shower ended, the naval ram piercing its motor was carefully withdrawn; as soon as it disconnected from the engine, the vehicle seemed to lunge to life, like a sudden inhalation of air. The hull rumbled and shook, a red mass bubbling to the top deck, writhing about like a tangled mess of California blackworms. Tendrils coalesced and climbed one another until they formed a bloody, crimson pillar with two cones on its tip. A sound of hacking and coughing, punctuated by the splashing of blood on the deck as it was forced out the organic speakers. There was the clearing of a throat, and a sigh of relief.

The Vampire Boat spoke, “Ahh, we meet again it seems. And for whatever reason the hands of fate deign I come face-to-face with such a lovely form once more, why, I must be truly blessed.” Its voice was masculine, but average.

Karen drew the intercom microphone closer to her face, “Hello. Before we begin, is there a preferred name you wish to be addressed by?” She’d been debriefed on SCP-6426’s original interview, how it freaked out at the mention of ‘containment.’ To prevent a similar event, they decided they would take things slow at first.

“Oh! Heheh, how forward. You struck me as the more reserved type; not that I’m complaining! Call me… whatever you like, my dear. Any nomenclature spoken by your lips would be heaven to my ears.”

“Noted. In that case, you will be referred to as ‘subject’ from now on.”


“Let us begin,” The sooner I’m done, the better. “For what reason did you refuse to attack me during your attempted escape?”

The beast gave a chuckle that felt as manufactured and plastic as a movie prop. “Like all of man, when I see food, I eat it. But when I see a work of art, why, I admire it. Besides, the way you talk, act, present yourself; you’re much more valuable alive than as a simple finger puppet.”

“What particular qualities do I have that make you reluctant to kill me?”

“A melodious voice, a beautiful figure, a shining personality. Why, in what world would I dare harm a one-of-a-kind treasure, such as yourself.”

Ugh, God! It was a first grader’s idea of flirting. Was this really the best it could do? It’s like a fratboy method acting as an English aristocrat, trying to pick up book nerd who’s moderately attractive. Arrogance and stupidity dripped off it like oil. Karen swallowed her frustration for a moment, “Have you ever encountered someone else who you were reluctant to harm?”

“Ohhh, the little people drift in and out of my mind, hardly worth considering,” the Vampire Boat tilted to its side slightly, “but please, enough of this robotic survey already.” It leaned forward, pressing two tentacles on the divider glass. “If you’re going to converse with me, then it will be you speaking,” its voice was lower, huskier. “Not a mouthpiece for whatever unsightly figures run this place, but the woman in front of me. Otherwise, I don’t quite feel like talking today, or ever really,” the Vampire Boat leaned back; it surprised Karen how a simple 40 degree vertical tilt could feel so smug. “Now, show me the real you.”

Elstrom put a hand up to her earpiece, giving the cue to the control room. They tell her to accept its demands and drop protocol; “I’m saying to build a rapport, get to know it. The more comfortable it is around you, the more we can learn from it. Just… be yourself.

The real me. If they wanted Karen to act herself here, then she would oblige, “Very well. Firstly, you will refrain from further attempts at flirtation, until such a time you demonstrate a marked improvement in that regard. Secondly, you will answer my questions in a clear, concise manner. If I, or the members of Research and Experimentation, deem your response unsatisfactory, then the question shall be repeated until the answer is deemed sufficient. Thirdly, you will refer to me solely as Dr. Elstrom; ‘Doctor’ is allowed as an epithet, within reason, but others will not be tolerated.”

A silence hung in the air like mold dripping from the ceiling. “I find… a treasure chest,” the Vampire Boat said, “and I open it up, to see it’s full of ice, ice for a pirate themed cooler.” A pause. “Well, there’s got to be a nice drink in there somewhere.”

Elstrom refused to react. “Because your answers for the previous two questions were unhelpfully vague, I will repeat them: what particular qualities do I have that make you reluctant to kill me?”

“Why, every part of you, mentally and physically, is like a lighthouse guiding me to–”

“Be specific.”

“Or what?” It scoffed, “Really, why should I be expected to follow these rules of yours?”

“If you do not cooperate, you will be blasted with UV light and stabbed with electrum for 32 hours.”

“…Ugh, fine. I don’t know… your face? Your hair?”

“What aspects of my hair and face do you like?”

“The shape I suppose. Color…”

“Any specific facial features? Eyes, nose, mouth, eyebrow ridge, cheekbones?”

“I…” it chuckled, “truely, I don’t know how to boil down my yearnings. After all, beauty can’t be reduced to variables. When you go to an art museum, and you see a gorgeous painting, how can you tell it’s beautiful?”

“Composition, artstyle, subject matter, and intent behind the piece.”

“Ah. I was never really one for the arts.”

“Have you ever encountered someone else who you were reluctant to harm?”

“Maybe, though I honestly can’t remember. I find the past to be hazy, perhaps because I choose to live in the moment, haha!”

Elstrom’s earpiece buzzed to life, “Interview ended up going a bit longer than expected. We have to proceed with testing now.

She stood up, “We will end here for today.”

As Karen walked out to leave, she didn’t notice the small red tendril waving goodbye behind the glass, “Hope to see you soon, Dr. Elstrom.”

It went better than expected. Of course, she wasn’t free yet; this project would be going on for a while, as Research and Experimentation still had to study and test all the pompous mosquitos, cursed counterfeit coins, and whatever other bloodsuckers they dragged here.

Elstrom shifted through the automated report system, reading through the item notifications. She looked at the clock; 8:03 PM, on a Friday. Okorie said she and Ibanez had plans tonight. Well, Okorie didn’t directly tell Elstrom that, she just overheard it while walking through the site. She heard a lot of things while walking through the site; pieces of small talk, project discussions, gossip.

She returned her gaze to the computer. (108) unread action reports. Karen continued working.

The squelching noise that perforated the room had been going on for 10 minutes since Elstrom showed up. Bulbous red flesh pushed itself out from between the gaps in the boat’s steel plating, twisting and squirming through its structure like worms or severely malformed chicks.

“Stop that.” Karen interrupted.

“Can a man not touch himself in peace?” The squelching continued.

Karen grimaced, she didn’t want to ask but knew she had to, “For what purpose?”

“Given the phantasmal nature of this facility, I want to make sure my own identity and history haven’t been toyed with yet. Hmm… everything appears to be fine, I’m still the same model I remember.”

“…Where do you believe yourself to be right now?”

The red meat slid back under the monster’s metal carapace with a wet sucking sound, like a whoopee cushion in reverse, “If you’re trying to gaslight me, it won’t work. I am immune.”

“It was a genuine question.”

“Then why state the obvious? ‘Hell.’ There’s your genuine answer; only way I can describe my time here in these blackened anthills. I know the stories, the horrific tales of CI bases and how they drag everything their shadows touch into their depths.” It paused, “Ahh, but how can I stay terse with a captor as lovely as you, regardless if you are trying to fool me.”

Elstrom wrote down in her notes, “Noted.” The air in the cold, uncomfortable room carried a faint metallic taste. Perhaps it was due to being surrounded by ugly steel walls, and sitting in an ugly steel chair with an ugly steel desk, in front of an ugly steel monster full of–

“So,” the Vampire Boat broke Karen from her internal complaining, “did you have any more questions, or is today just my mandated reminder that I’m stuck here forever?”

“You will not speak unless I ask you to, especially in such an obnoxious tone,” she said, with the same cadence as a boarding school teacher. “To clarify, my previous inquiry was outside of the prepared list.” She looks at her list of questions, “Why are you a boat?”

“Why are you a grub on a string, just waiting to be cast out?”

Silence, followed by rich laughter that felt like it came from someone with crusty, slicked back hair and a greasy face, “Allow me to be a bit more direct,” the Vampire Boat said. “Have you ever suffered existential dread while staring up at the starry night sky? Have you ever pondered how the choices a person makes can have far reaching consequences? Have you ever sat down in the mess hall, eating your ham slash tuna sandwich, and contemplated your own mortality?”

“Not a single one of those was a direct answer. They weren’t even answers.”

“Yes, they’re all questions, but they highlight an idea. Don’t tell me you’ve never had those moments, those realizations of hopelessness against something you can only barely comprehend.”

“I have them on occasion, yes. But then I remind myself it’s a Tuesday and move on with my life.”

“As most people do…”



“I will repeat th–”

A thick tendril thwacked against the divider glass. “You want to know why I– AAHHHHH!” Unfortunately, the force of the impact activated the automated harpoon guns, which can’t differentiate between dramatic flair or genuine escape attempt. “AHHH! FUCK! AHHHHH…” the screaming quickly descended into inhuman squeals as the abomination writhed about like a pencil-shanked bug.

Labored breathing soon replaced the echoing shrieks as the electrum projectiles were slowly withdrawn, the Vampire Boat’s hull shuddering with every facsimiled intake of air.

“I will repeat the question,” said Elstrom, “why are you a boat?”

The beast tilted forward incredulously, “You want to know why… I’m a boat? Because I chose to be. Because I looked up at what my own string was attached to and was horrified. I saw myself surrounded by dim witted morons, all happy to be fucked in the ass by forces they had no control over. It sickened me. I wasn’t gonna let Jesús take the wheel, screw Jesús, I’d steer my own fate! So I leapt from His ship, and became captain of my own.”

Elstrom scribbled on her clipboard, “Your answer is sufficient.” In truth, she didn’t think it was sufficient, but she had reached her daily limit for the Vampire Boat’s high school play monologues and wanted to move on. She looked at the next question, “What does contact with electrum feel like to you?”

“Psychic emasculation. Next question.”

“What is she been doing?”

“Helping out with that vampire party thing the research people are doing. But I heard she’s been spending an unusual amount of time with SCP-6426.”

“Which one’s–”

“The Vampire Boat.”

“Oh. Ohhhhhhhh.”


“Damn. And you know how it seemed head-over-heels for her when it tried to escape?”

“Haha, yeah. I’m not surprised, though; it’s like in a cartoon where a big evil monster breaks loose, but falls in love with a mean-bitch character cause they’re impressed by their evilness.”

“It’s like a shitter version of Beauty and th–”

The clacking of heels growing louder signified to the two co-workers it was time to shut it. They waited for Elstrom to pass, before continuing.

“Beauty and the Bitch.”

“Yea– wait, are you calling the boat hot?”

Their snickering grew fainter and fainter in Elstrom’s ears.

“As your psychological state is of interest to Site-43’s Research and Experimentation section, I have been instructed to check on your mental well-being. Hi, how are you today?” Her delivery was like that of the world’s most deadpan data entry technician.

“Oh, I’ve been just hunky-dory: poked and prodded by instruments of torture to see which ones make you scream loudest, subjected to horrifying stimulus for so long you think your mind will break, and you know just general suffering.” It moans,” I can’t even tell how long we’ve been doing this, I’ve been down here so long the nights bleed together into a spiraling slurry of neverending madness.”

“Noted.” Its whining had already gotten grating a week and a half ago, by now it was insufferable. “On that topic, I’ve also been instructed to ask regarding your testing.”

“As cold as your heart is, seeing your face does provide my torturous existence a modicum of comfort. Like a divorced salaryman meeting with his crack dealer every week. Ask away!”

“During experimentation, you were presented with a variety of symbols and objects. Did any of these items stand out to you, or make you feel a certain way?”


“During experimentation, you were presented with a variety–”

“Yes, yes, I heard you the first time. Unless you’re talking about the things they stabbed me with, I don’t recall being presented with anything.”

Karen scribbled on her paper before holding it up, showing the Christian cross and Ortothan heptagon, “Do these look familiar?”

A snail-like eyestalk slithered out from behind its starboard side and up to the glass divider. Elstrom nearly sprang from her seat, clutching her clipboard and pressing down on her earpiece instinctively. “I should remind you that you are restricted from producing any organic structures besides a siren for communication.”

“Pipe down, I just don’t wanna strain myself reading your mousey drawings. And besides, I couldn’t pull something even if I wanted; you lot are already brainwashed.” Karen dropped back in her seat. Thank God for misinformation, and the fact he’s an idiot. The eye squints, “Ah, well yes I recognize those, but how was I supposed to know those were being ‘presented’ to me? Someone would put something in my face or show a picture on the wall randomly, and then it’s right back to agony!”

“Did any of them make you feel a certain way?” Elstrom repeated.

“No,” it exhaled, “I– well… one or two, perhaps. That hexagon picture,” Heptagon. “I remember it imparting a vague feeling of… restricted access. Like it was telling me to go away, though with the same authority a child’s voice carries. Kind of like yours.”

Karen briefly wondered if having tentacles ripped out was as painful as having hair ripped out. “Did this voice remind you of anything?”

“The Voice of God, but lamer. In all honesty, it felt like a poorman’s ichthys.”

“An ichthys, is it?” Karen’s scribbling noises gave an uneasy feeling in the Vampire Boat.

“Now, now, there’s no need for–” Elstrom flipped the paper over, the beast recoiling as it screamed in pain and horror…

But then it stopped. The Vampire Boat drew itself closer to the glass, and that feeling of unease transferred over to her.

“Huh,” it said, “even something as simple as a drawing or a handshape should be enough to invoke Him. So either God’s Light doesn’t reach down here, or…,” the stern of the ship slowly deformed, as a jagged smile crept up its hull, “He’s in a different neighborhood.”

Elstrom quickly reaches for her earpiece but is suddenly blinded by a light from the beast’s eye. Its patterns seem to shift and melt together, like amoebas under a kaleidoscope, washing over her like a warm river.

“Heh. Heheheheh,” it chortled, “guess I should throw my previous conceptions of you bastards off the poopdeck! You’re similar, equally cruel, but the Initiative have a certain… resignatory look in their eyes, that you all seem to lack.”

The derelict undead stared down at the woman, who stared back in mindless trance, “Now then, my… delicious Elstrom, go and… I need you to… you… I… goooooo…”

It took around an hour before containment teams arrived to find SCP-6426 having hypnotized Dr. Elstrom as well as itself.

“The story is muddy. Supposedly a trickster forest god showed humanity favor, showed us the master's tools and how to use them.” Elstrom recited the speech by heart, as she stood in front of the latest batch of Level 3 promotees, debriefing them on Foundation Genocide #17.

Her mind wandered as she thought about what she could do later tonight. “Somehow we acquired SCP-1000's own technology, and with it, we instigated an SK-class dominance shift in which humanity became the dominant species of Earth.” Due to having to help with Bradbury’s science project, a large chunk of Karen’s responsibilities had fallen to her subordinates, much to her chagrin. This had given her an amount of free time she wasn’t used to.

I could read that book from a few years back that I never got around to finishing. …No, 80% of my job is already reading. “Supposedly every flower bloomed that day, while our enemies died in their sleep. Then we hunted the rest down.” I shouldn’t work on my night off.

“But we went further than just killing them.” Maybe I’ll watch a show. Life On Mars sounds interesting, from what I’ve heard. “With a few of the more twisted of SCP-1000's devices, we drove the survivors mad, even those hiding beyond our reach.” But if I don’t finish it today, there’s the risk I’ll keep thinking about it during work and it’ll distract me. I’ll just watch a miniseries on Netflix.

She saw O’Conner and LeBlanc in the mess hall earlier. “We slaughtered their living machines and burned their vast shining cities with SCP-1000's bioweapons that reduced everything to slurry and dust that washed or blew away in spring rain and wind.” They’ve been very chummy lately.

“Do you have any knowledge on–”


“What is–”




Karen’s pencil snapped in her hand, “Stop that, you fucking asshole!”

“No.” Another BWAAAA sounded from its foghorn.

“Urrrrgh!” Karen ruffled her hands through her hair and pulled, “do you know how much shit I deal with on a daily basis?”

“I don’t care.”

It felt like the blood vessels in her skull were about to reach boiling point. “You are insufferable. A child.” She was pacing around the room now, “Never have I met someone as disgusting and obnoxious as you.”

“Oh you truly think you’re any better?” The Vampire Boat sat upright, “You are a cantankerous, joyless woman who’s had a stick up their own ass for so long it's become ingrained in your anatomy. It feels like I’m talking to an emotionally-stunted android that just crawled its way out of the Republic of Gyre’s trash mounds.” It slammed a bundle of tentacles on the divider glass, “Ughhh… how many times have we– HOW MANY MOONS HAS IT BEEN SINCE I’VE BEEN STUCK WITH YOU!”

“It’s been four weeks.”

“Well it feels like months. Months and months of your controlling personality, restricting every little thing I do. News flash! I can’t do fucking anything in here, what do you want me to do, do less than nothing?”

“Then you should feel fortunate, because today is our last interview. This stupid vampire project is finally fucking over, and I’ll never have to hear your godawful voice again.”

“Do you remember one of the things I said to you when we first spoke? How ‘you’re much more valuable alive than as a finger puppet?’ I retract my statement, this world would be better off without you. AHH!”

The shock of the sudden scream snapped Elstrom out of her irascible mood. She watched the panicked and erratic motions of the tugboat, shifting and turning and caressing itself with its tendrils like they were a safety blanket. “No, no no I didn’t mean it, I could never mean it. Never do it. That. No, no no I’m sorry.” Its once arrogant voice grew softer and softer, “I’m sorry. I could never hurt you I’m sorry.”

Elstrom quietly approached, “What…”

It groaned, “Huhh… my head… what is this scratching? This i t c h i n g? Can’t peel it off, too thick. Too dark. Can’t see…” The coughing noises from its siren sounded almost like sobs.

Karen stood there. She was unprepared for these moments.

“What… what did you do to me…?” It growled out.


“What did you DO TO ME? My head… I hate this. I hate these feelings.”

The beast had calmed down, leaning against the far wall, “…You’re a miserable creature, Dr. Elstrom, and that’ll never change. You push others away, passively and actively. You make no attempts at fostering meaningful relationships.” Fuck you. “Nobody likes you. You’re” A bitch. “uptight, boring, rude, a” A bitch. "control freak, and” A bitch. Just say it. “completely uncompromising. You’re” Say it. “lonely, but you don’t know how to stop being lonely. Actually no, not lonely, not quite. Alone. You are fully alone. No matter who you meet, no matter where you go, you can never connect with anyone. You can never have what they all have, because you, Dr. Elstrom, are a horrible–”

“Say it!” She spat, “say it.”

A pause, “Struck a nerve, did I? Did you think I was going to say something, starting with a B, perhaps? Buh, buh buh, buh buh buh buh buh…”

Silence perforated the room. Elstrom stared unblinking, face beat red.

“I’m aware of the jokes,” it he said, “I know what they say about you. Well, us now I suppose. ‘Beauty and the Bitch.’ ‘Boat and the Beast.’ ‘Bossy, Bratty.’ ‘…Boatfucker.’ Now that last one, I take it to be a compliment, for me at least.”

Elstrom sat back down, her gaze was at her feet.

Vampire Boat exhaled, causing a whining effect in the siren, “I must admit,” she looked up, “I was the pot calling the kettle black when I said you were a miserable creature. Just look at me. I may have ascended the mortal coil, but I am undeniably a monster, both outside and in: I’ve butchered families, made chimeras from the innocent dead, pillaged and plundered and sucked everything I’ve come across dry. And I don’t feel bad about it; my heart was replaced with a diesel engine, why should I? But here’s the thing, Elstrom, I love you. As much as I wish I could control these abominable dalliances of mine, my feelings for you are true. You’re a terrible person, but I’m no better.”

Elstrom stared at him with a complete poker face, and opened her mouth, “What a pathetic, cliched Dateline TV excuse for manipulation.” She stood up, knocking her chair over, “You think hammering home the fact my coworkers hate me, that I’ll never find friendship, it’ll make me want to run into your wet sticky arms? You’re a little late. I hammered home that idea years ago, when I tried making friends and got everyone close to me killed. I’m not meant to have friends, I’ve made peace with that.”

The undead man paused for a moment, thinking. “Counterpoint: you still desire companionship. You still want to know what it feels like to be loved, and I’m the only thing in the world that loves you.”

“I am aware.” She turned to leave, “We will end here for today.”

“Hope to see you soon, Dr. Elstrom.”

“Looks like the ship’s been shipped off,” Bradbury quipped. She noticed Karen staring intensely at nothing, like something was on her mind. “Hey, you good?”

Karen snapped to attention, “I’m fine. You should direct your worries elsewhere.”

She bobbed her head, “Good, good.”

Silence between the two, before Melissa spoke up, “Hey uh, me and Harry are planning on watching a movie tonight. It’s not really a date night, since Wettle’s gonna be there too. B-but if that seems like a dealbreaker, I promise you, I will pull back his reins. He will not be annoying in the slightest.”

“I appreciate the invitation, but I will have to refuse. I have already made plans for tonight.”

“Oh. Well, if those plans get cancelled or something, you’re always welcome to pop by.”


For an alternate take, see HarryBlankHarryBlank's version! The Ship of Screams

Thanks for stopping by!

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License