Memory Dives & Deep Desires

"Come back, come back, come back…" The elderly patient frantically scratched at their head, his sharp, uncut nails digging into the soft, hairless flesh. "Please come back to me…"

Shuddering, Joanna Simmers, Rookie Detective for the SCPH, raised her hand and left the pristine hospital room, giving a signal to the nurses to restrain the skinny old man again. He buckled and began to scream before eventually being wrestled back down.

"What happened?" Joanna asked, looking through the glass to the struggling old man. She'd heard tales of much worse, but seeing even the beginnings of mental derangement was far more than she had ever experienced. If only the Ethics Committee wouldn't have thrown a fit about her interrogating criminals. 'Memories should be private,' my ass. Least I wouldn't have to be doing this…

The doctor next to her sighed. "We don't know. All that we got out of him is that he saw something, some kind of black bird. Then he kept ranting about his dead daughter. So… not much to go off of."

"Right…" She gulped, swallowing her quiet, yet ever-present fear as shrieking echoed from the other room. "Well, they didn't send me for nothing! I'll hunt him down, I promise."

"Fiona! Come on out, I need to talk to you!" Joanna wandered into the purple carnival-esque tent in the middle of Fordman Park, peeking into the starry darkness overhead.

One of the Collective's many important assets was their deal with the local clairvoyant, Fiona Ray. She wasn't exactly an employee or official SCP— mostly because she didn't want to be contractually bound with a duty to help them out with every case that may come their way— but they could come to her for help, and if she deemed it necessary, she'd peek into the future…

"No." Her voice boomed. "Leave me alone."

…but sometimes she just denied her help because she was lazy.

"Come on! This is important!"


"I'll negotiate and get you a bonus this time!"


"What do you want? New crystal ball or somethin'? Seriously, I can get you anything."

"Real clairvoyants don't use crystal balls, moron. Those are for fraudulent fortune tellers who have no real powers."

Joanna blinked, pointing to the glowing orb on the table next to her. "Then… what's that?"

"…a crystal ball." Even though she couldn't see the clairvoyant, it was clear through her voice that she was rather flustered. "B-but I only have one because of the misconception that everyone who looks into the future needs one! Makes the place seem more mysterious too. Fits my starry aesthetic."


"Look, I— fine!" The black, starry sky above crashed to the ground, revealing the grumbling Fiona, who wore a purple robe with a decorative golden hem. On her head, a shining amethyst gemstone adorned her fancy headwrap as if it were a crown. "Let's go. Sit down and put your hands on the table."

The detective grinned for a moment before sitting back, landing in Fiona's teleporting wooden chair. Fiona grabbed her hands, closing her eyes for a moment to focus her mind, a nonexistent breeze blowing her robes. She slowly peeked through the curtains of time as the stars above her dimmed, and…

"I see you and some girl cuddling… everything is alright. Uh… not much else there." Frowning, the clairvoyant opened her eyes. "Was this really important?"

"I mean, yeah. Not like I came here to see how my dating life is gonna go. Is that really it?"

"Yeah. Hm…" She stared down at her hands, clasping them together. "Powers might just be a bit messed up, sometimes when I'm distracted I see things wrong."

"What'cha distracted by?"

Fiona smirked. "I got a hot date tommorow."

In an alley not too far away from the Collective's hospital, a hunched man sheathed in a black cowl stalked through the shadows, watching a woman as she speed-walked past him.

He waited for a moment before creeping towards her, his eyes flaring with a dim green glow. The girl suddenly stopped as she reached the end of the alley, her eyes scanning the street, trying to figure out which way to turn.

The man simply tapped on her shoulder, staring her directly in the eyes as she turned, leaving them both to slip into unconsciousness.

The elderly patient had finally fallen asleep by the time Joanna got back to the hospital. Looking down at him, she watched his short, raspy breaths. I really didn't want to do this…

But I have to.

She placed her hand across his soft forehead, and the memories began to flood into her mind.

Pathway… A hiking trail? You're on a hiking trail. You used to go out to this trail every week back when your daughter was—

What was that? Could've sworn something just moved in the trees. Probably a squirrel or something.


A hand shoves you down into the dirt, and you see green, then nothing.

Where are you?

The curtains begin to part, revealing the actors on stage.

There's… there's a girl.


She runs up to you, hugging your waist.


It's her.

What happened?

You don't care.

You hug her.

You feel her laughing in your arms as you pick her up and swing her around.

Suddenly, she frowns, and she's ripped away from you in an instant.

No, no, no…

Not again…

Please, not again!

Give her back—

Joanna tore her hand away, opening her eyes in a cold sweat just in time for her to see another patient being wheeled past the room's doorway— a woman restrained to a gurney, a bleeding gash across her head.

"Give it! Please, give it back!"

Just like the man…

Standing, she followed the gurney as the nurses wheeled the girl throughout the hospital, eventually landing in a hospital room of their own.

Joanna's hand hovered over the woman's head as she buckled and shrieked more nonsense.

I didn't think I'd be doing this again so soon, but…

Lowering her hand, she pressed—

"Yeah, was found over in that alley off Kingston." One of the nurses spoke into his radio.

She froze. Kingston? That's right over here…

I have a supervillain to catch.

The streetlights above her flickered as Joanna rushed out onto the sidewalk, making her way to the alleyway the nurses had mentioned.

Where the hell are you?

Simply put, Joanna was stumped. There weren't any prior supervillains that made you dream and go crazy, so the culprit must've been someone new, but they were barely leaving any tracks. There was no way to find him…

Unless… She looked down at the chipped concrete beneath her, then kneeled. Touching her palm to the cold, rough surface, she slowly peeked into it, syncing its senses with her own.

Two pairs of footsteps… One approaches the other… They stay for a moment… Then they separate.

A body… On the ground… It convulses… Approaching pair runs…

Joanna peeked up for a moment, spotting pairs of glowing pink footsteps appear as if they were projected into her vision.

Thank you, she whispered in her mind before pulling her hand away, following the tracks. They wrapped through the city, combing through each barren alleyway and bustling street until she noticed that they began to go in a circle— she'd been through Pineview Alley twice now.

Hmm… So he's—


She spun around to see a man in a black cowl, his eyes glowing a deep, familiar green under his goggles.

Before she could react, her vision turned to black.

Joanna opened her eyes to see her old bedroom— the cozy attic of her parent's house— and feel someone snuggled around her, their warm, soft breath against her neck. She could sense herself calm down in an instant, taking in the calm atmosphere of it all…

But… why was I panicking in the first place? Wait—

"Are you okay?" A quiet voice asked. Joanna rolled over in the bed, pulling away from the snuggler to see…

"This is wrong."

"Wait, what's wrong, Joanna?" The brown-haired girl giggled, grabbing the detective's hand. "Do you want to be the big spoon? We can switch if you really want."

Fiona said I'd be cuddling someone.

Joanna tore her hand away, sweat dripping from her forehead as she jumped out of the bed. "Gwen, n- no." She stuttered. "You aren't real, you can't be."

She isn't real.

"What do you mean?" Gwen asked, tilting her head a bit and giving Joann that smile that made her feel so weak, the smile that made her feel like crawling right back into the bed to lie with her for hours, the smile that made her just feel helpless. But it was wrong. It was all wrong.

This isn't real.

This can't be real.

We broke up years ago.

The whole room flickered with a green light.

"It's you," she said.

And the masquerade fell.

Gwen faded away, replaced by a black-cloaked man who smirked as he sat up in the bed. The same one who'd ambushed her, but his goggles were removed to show his verdant eyes— like gemstones compared to the rest of his disgusting face."So you managed to shatter the illusion. Congratulations."

The hair on the back of her neck stood up as she watched intently, her mouth dry as she asked, "who are you?"

"Whoever you want me to be," he replied before looking down at himself.

Green, a hand, hallucinations… The doctor back at the hospital said that the old guy saw "some kind of black bird…"

"You're the black bird."

"The Blackbird? Hm, sure, I like that."

"Let me out of here. I'm dreaming, aren't I?"

"Why yes, you are. But you can only wake up when I say you can."

A tense silence fell over them. The Blackbird simply stared towards her, a smug grin plastered across his rather punchable face.

Suddenly, Joanna lurched forward, placing a hand across The Blackbird's forehead, and the memories began to flood into her mind.

Everyone is leaving you.

"You're a disgrace," your mom says, kicking you out of the house.

Your girlfriend closes her door in your face, telling you that she never loved you.

Your brother doesn't even answer the door.

Your sister had already left. She's all the way across the country.

Your best friend is dead, you went to his funeral a week ago.

Everyone is gone, and you can't get them back.

But you want them back.

You want to hug someone again.

Talk to someone, cry to someone, tell them everything.

But nobody is there.

But you can find someone, can't you?

There are so many people out there waiting for you.

You just have to go out and catch them—


The vision crumbles to dust.

Joanna opened her eyes to see The Blackbird standing before her, shaking as he grabbed his head. "What the hell did you do?"

"What I'm known for."

He glared up at her for a moment before rushing forwards, his eyes glowing—

Closing her eyes, Joanna channeled the senses of the concrete beneath her throughout her body and sensed his approaching footsteps. Right when he was about to strike, she blindly punched forward, feeling it bash against the side of The Blackbird's head. Bingo. Peeking, she saw The Blackbird sprawled out on the sidewalk, unconscious.

Another case closed, she thought, reaching for her radio.

He'd go away for a long time, and she'd make sure of it.

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