It's you.
rating: +30+x

“It’s you.”

“It’s me.”

Long hair and lanky limbs shifted unnaturally in an equally unnatural room as she searched for something else to say. Her twisted nails dug into the worn mattress as the horrible screech of a metal chair dragging across the tile floor reverberated around the room.

There was a shuffle of clothes and a slight groan – although from the man or chair she wasn’t sure – as the man opposite her sat down.

She tilted her head slightly, overgrown hair shifting out of her eyes as she regarded her visitor.
“I- you know, I recognized you the moment I saw you, even though I’ve never really met you.”
There was a scoff. “Yeah, I figured.” Not a cruel laugh, but a snort that gave away his unpreparedness for the situation, letting his brain auto-pilot its way clumsily through the introduction. “I wanted to talk to you.”

She caught his eyes for a moment, searching for any kind of emotion. “I wanted to know about the letter you left.” She paused. Over the years she had thought of so many things to say to this man, yet now that he was here the words fell away as if made of paper. Her mouth was dry.

“I couldn’t think of a better way.” His eyes never once left her; his mouth pulled into a thin smile. A smile filled with regret.

She tilted her chin upwards, her hair falling down her face like a torrential cascade. Curly. Tangled. It was an invitation for him to continue. “Given all of the-” his broad, scarred arm gestured to the room around, “Precautions.”

A sharp exhale. A terse smile not unlike his own crossed her face. “Precautions,” she mused. “Is that what they’ve taken to calling it these days? These are not precautions,” she too gestured, “This is a zoo in which to trap me for nothing of my own fault.” Her stilted enunciation only made the words sound more bitter. She didn’t intend to, after all, harboring negative intent towards someone went against everything she’d been taught. But maybe subconsciously, after all these years alone, she’d been building up a lake of resentment, and the dam was about to break.

Or maybe bitterness was something you inherited.

The air itself was tangibly uncomfortable. There was an audible shift as the broad man rested his elbow on his knee, eyes rolling to focus back on the girl in front of him. He rubbed his knuckles. “I know it’s uncomfortable but-”

“Uncomfortable.” She was incredulous. “Forgive me, but it is far more than that. You are not the one caged like a beast for something you cannot control.” The way she picked her words was like someone trying to manoeuvre between conversational trip-wires – slowly, and with considerable forethought.
His gaze shifted away, instead favoring the corner of the bleak room. “I wanted to see you.” His knee bounced restlessly.

She stared at her lap, hands absentmindedly drifting to the knots in her hair as she plucked at them. “Could you not have come sooner?”

Another small scoff. “I had enough problems getting that letter to you, it’s a miracle I’m even here now.” Her eyes flashed slightly at the word, but she continued her efforts into teasing apart one particularly stubborn knot. “Listen, I want to-”

“You killed her, didn’t you?”

The knee stopped bouncing. The smile dropped.

“In the letter, you said that you… you executed her. My mother.” Her voice wavered slightly, and she wondered how she could still harbor so much sadness for a woman she’d never met, and so much contempt for the man who had killed her.

In a second his mouth had turned back up into a small grin. He sat back nonchalantly, wide shoulders relaxing against the chair as it creaked. “Yeah, that. We had a domestic.” There was a mirthless chuckle that made her hair stand on end.

She could see it in his eyes; he had barely even thought about the answer. Lies tripping off of his tongue as easily as breathing.

“I was taught,” she said, sitting up straight, “That to be untruthful was a sin.”

There was a barking laugh, guttural. “You never heard the phrase ‘Don’t trust a nun’? Shady little women they are.” He thumbed with the buttons on his shirt for a moment, fabric already stretched by the weight of his stomach. “Worshipping things that don’t give a shit about them. Although, I bet you’d guessed that already, kiddo.”

“Kind of hard to believe in a kind God when I live like this. Would an omnibenevolent God give me this curse? For men to-” She stopped herself. The researchers always attempted to make her talk about her experiences. She never wanted to.

“Yeah.” The smile was gone, and she could almost certainly see sadness glint through the man’s eyes. “I bet. I’m sorry, kid.”

She sighed. “Do not be sorry for that. Be sorry for what you did to my mother.”

The creases in his brow seemed to soften slightly. “I don’t regret what I did. I’d say I’m sorry you didn’t get to meet her but,” he shrugged against the chair “I’m not.”

She could only nod. That feeling caught up in her throat again. The loss of someone she couldn’t even remember. And the bitterness that this smarmy, overweight fool of a man was her surviving parent. Supposedly.

She tugged harder at another knot, pain spotting her scalp, but she ignored it. She had every right to be angry. Every right in the world.

But she couldn’t be.

Everything about this man hurt her. And everything about this man healed her. Her heart and brain were oxymorons of each other. One said to love, and one said to hate. She didn’t really know which to listen to.

“I think,” she said after some consideration, “That you must’ve had your reasons. I don’t expect to understand, and I don’t expect the truth, but you must have had them.”

She tried to be diplomatic. She knew what happened when she let anger consume her. It had happened before; she knew it would happen again. But not here, not now. If she wanted a future, she would have to keep it together.

He seemed to be following her train of thought. His eyes screwed up for a second scrupulously, as if trying to figure out what was ticking behind those shrouded eyes. But like himself, she was too practiced at keeping her guard up that her gaze was virtually impenetrable.

There was silence between the two, and although the awkwardness – the unfamiliarity – lingered, slowly the warmth of comfort was slipping in.

“If you want, I reckon I’d be able to pull enough strings to-”

Clef.” The speaker in the room blared with feedback for a second. “Your presence has been requested in Conference Room F. Please approach the door."

Clef’s eyes rolled. He slowly stood, chair creaking as his hands slid comfortably back into his pockets. “Guess that’s me.”

She moved to stand too, moving on instinct. The loudspeaker blared again. “SCP-166, you are to remain where you are until the room is cleared.”

And for a second, the few feet between the pair felt like a vast ocean. From beneath her hair, her hand moved outstretched before retracting. She didn’t know what to do. For the first time in months, she felt uncertainty.

Her forlorn face stared at him, and a sad smile briefly played across his widened mouth. “Don’t worry kid,” he said as he began to walk towards the door, “I’m… I’m not going to leave you alone again.” The words were clumsy, and they landed less than tactfully as the door slid open.

And with that, and a small gesture that she assumed was meant to be a wave, Clef disappeared from the room.

Her back fell heavily onto the bed as she released all the pent-up tension held in her spine. And for a brief second one word sounded on the inside of her skull.


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