Not Alone

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Hey all, this is a blog I made for a class back in high school and just remembered existed. Guess I'm writing here again now, since I've been on a bit of a blog-reading kick lately and I'm feeling inspired.

Something cool I've seen a lot of people online recent has been sharing their experiences living with their own anomalous (or whatever its called) conditions or their experiences living with others dealing with them. I actually have a story of my own to share about living with an anomalous person, so I guess I'm contributing to the trend.

On top of that, just to be up front, I'm not going to give any information more specific than what state I'm in, just in case someone tries to use it to find my house.

I don’t really remember the day I was told Foreto was moving in. Well, I don’t remember a lot of things. Dad always said everything was in the ears and eyes and out the nose and mouth with me. I remember it was a Friday, and those dudes from the TV told me she’d be staying here til further notice. Said I had a “high placement in their Memetic Resistance Index.” After some googling and looking through what The Foundation’d let out since The Korea Incident, I found out it meant I was good with cognitohazards and shit. Whatever that meant.

Obviously, I wasn’t going to reject THE SCP Foundation when they came knocking at my door and told me I was getting a new, anomalous roommate who was also apparently an alien. So I didn’t kick up a fuss. In fact, I figured it'd be a cool experience living with E.T. or something.

My first red flag came when they arrived on my doorstep with bright green skin, a fox tail and cat ears. Not something you prepare to see at 9am on a Friday in rural Michigan. Needless to say, I panicked and dragged them inside.

“Alright.” I said, rubbing my face in my hands as we stood in the foyer of my house. “What the fuck.”

“What’s the matter?” They asked. They sounded dejected, like they’d just been fired from their dream job or something. “I hear humans like this sort of appearance.”

“Maybe the… fuckin’ weirdos on Deviantart, but you look, and I mean this respectfully, like a Lovecraftian Sonic OC.”


“Nevermind.” I sighed. “So, sorry that I, uh, freaked out there. Really rude of me. I’m Jake.”

“Not the first time someone’s lost their shit at me.” They frowned.

“Eh, probably. Happens to the best of us. You got a name?”

“Not that you’d be able to pronounce it. Physically, that is. Those scientists in that Foundation place called me SCP-6642, though.” They pronounced each number individually, like they weren't too sure on how to string them together in English.

“Ok, that’s… a bunch of numbers. I guess it works. Nice to meet you, SCP-6642.” I stuck out a hand.

“Nice to meet you… Jake.” They flinched a little as I stuck my hand out, but hesitantly took and shook it. “I guess I’m living with you now.”

“Can’t say I wanted a roommate, but I’m sure we’ll get on well.” I said. “Here, let me show you around. I can make us some waffles after that.” I continued, as I began to walk toward my living room.

“…what’re waffles?” They asked, as they followed after me.

So, as it would turn out, Foreto was pretty alright. Quiet, not very keen on talking, which was fine by me, and just all around a bit mopey. I elected to start calling them Foreto, since I couldn’t keep the exact numbers straight, and it rolled off the tongue. As they sat in my kitchen while I poured some batter into my waffle maker, I decided to try and make conversation.

“So… You from near Alpha Centuri?”

“Closer to what you’d called the Horsehead Nebula.”

"Dunno where that is, sorry. Not too knowledgeable on space and all that."

"…" They went back to staring at the table. I turned back to the waffle maker and suppressed the urge to sigh. This was going nowhere.

"So… You enjoying outside life so far?"

"They put me in an apartment in Detroit for a while. Moved me here because I was getting harassed every time I stepped outside."

"I see you got the patented Big City experience."

"That's normal for cities on this planet?"

"Yup. You're telling me it isn't out on Naboo or somewhere?"

"Not for most people."

"What, you get bullied in space school?"

"Yes. A lot." Their voice cracked a bit as they finished.

"I feel ya." I said, lifting the lid of the waffle-iron and plating the steaming pile of dough. "When I was in Fifth Grade, I was around eleven at the time, I had these massive braces to keep my teeth straight, since they were coming in at a weird angle. This one kid started giving me shit for it. Every day at lunch for almost a year, he'd heckle me. 'Train Tracks', 'Metal Mouth'… 'Guard-Rail Grin'. Everything in the book. But, hey," I grabbed a bottle of maple syrup and poured it over the waffle before setting it down in front of them. "Where can you go from a low point but up?"

"Lower…" They began to say, before stopping and staring at the waffle. We both stayed there for a second, completely silent as they stared, enraptured, at the waffle. Finally, they spoke up.

"This is what you eat?"

"Every day. Not that healthy, but it's nice."
They tentatively grabbed a fork, and used it to break off a little piece of the waffle. Slowly, they pierced the mapley mess and placed it in their mouth. Their face didn't change, but their eyes positively lit up. I smiled and watched as they chewed and swallowed it.

"You like it?"

They nodded.

"Guess that'll be two servings every morning from now on, then."

Over the next few weeks, Foreto and I spent most of our time getting them used to living without major supervision. They'd been living with a few people who were with the Foundation during their time in Detroit, so this was their first time being mostly self-sufficient. I showed them how to use the waffle maker and the oven and taught them how to play a few games, since we were going to be living together and it'd be weird if we didn't have something to bond over. Within a fortnight, they were handing my ass to me in Street Fighter. I may or may not have thrown my controller at the screen that night.

I'd been told to try and help them integrate into "normal" society, so I spent most of my weekends with them pouring over newspaper ads, being there for them when they asked for work in some of the smaller businesses around town and driving them to interviews. Most people just turned them down with an annoyed "No", but we got a few more aggressive responses. The guy who ran the local car dealership actually yelled at them and threatened to call the cops if we didn't get off his property. That'd been a very somber drive home.

Eventually we found some success in, of all things, knitting. Turns out Foreto had a knack for it, and handmade sweaters were pretty popular around winter time, so that provided a little bit of income for the household past my job as a janitor at the local middle school. It wasn't much, but it gave us a little spending money past the bills and necessities.

As time went on, I began to notice a few things about Foreto. They'd flinch whenever I got too close to them, they'd occasionally just be strolling around as a cat or deer and people didn't like them.

Oh god, did people not like them.

Most people started off fine. A bit irritated by them being around, but nothing too bad. A few people just outright didn't like them at first, which I guess is normal.

But as time went on, people just seemed to be more and more insistent on staying away from them and insulting them. I try to get people to knock it off, but they didn't seem too keen on listening to me. Within two months it'd gotten so bad they could hardly go outside, much less talk to people, for fear of being yelled at or called some horrid name by a teenager on a bike. This made me their only real form of social interaction other than people online, under Reddit posts and on Tumblr. I have no idea how they found out what those were, but they were always open when they were using my laptop, so I assumed they used them. It was… rough, in all honesty, but I did my best to keep them company.

Time went on, and life went on. Some folks from the Foundation swung by every few months to check on Foreto. Mostly how they were adapting to normal life, how they were doing mentally, that shit. Every time, they left relatively satisfied. They'd check me out too, do some "Memetic Retrialing" to see if my placement on that index had changed. Apparently I'd dropped a little since Foreto first moved in, but it wasn't by that much. Apparently I was still clear to live with them.

But I was curious. Why did I need a high memetic whatever score to live with them? One time, when they were leaving, I asked the guy who always tested me.

"Memetic anomaly." He shrugged. "You ever notice how nobody really likes them that much?"

"Polite way of putting it." I said.

"Yeah. That's the memetic effect. People just get annoyed by them. Just the way it is."

"That's absolutely miserable to live with." I frowned. He shrugged again.

"To be honest, I'd do something if I could. Take it away, something like that. But we can't, sadly."

That one left me with a sour taste in my mouth for a few days. I'd sat on the couch that night, staring off into space and wondering what went on inside Foreto's head every day.

"Hey, buddy." I jumped slightly as they hopped over the couch and threw their feet up on the coffee table.

"Hey." I said.

"You wanna play something?"

"Not really in the mood, sorry." I shook my head. "You want pizza?"


You know how you actually start breathing manually when someone say you are? Learning about Foreto's little… condition was a lot like that. I gradually found myself being irked by little things that I didn't even notice before. Like how they always left both lids of the toilet down after flushing. How they always picked around the tomatoes in the mince I put on spaghetti. How they always seemed so intent on talking to me about anything and everything they saw online, no matter how boring it was. Looking back on it, it's scary how I didn't even notice the change. I just started feeling that way, and never noticed the change.

At first, I stopped talking to them as much. I started making excuses to get away. I started faking meetings with other friends, going to the bathroom… If you can imagine it, I probably used it as an excuse. I started eating dinner by myself, leaving my headphones on even when I wasn't listening to anything…

God, I was awful for those two months.

I don't think Foreto noticed at first, since they didn't really say anything. But, as time went on, I think they started getting suspicious of me. I couldn't tell if they were upset or mad or anything, but I felt like they knew something was up.

It all came to a head the night before the second time the Foundation were due to visit. I still hate a part of myself for how it happened.

It was coming up on a year since Foreto had moved in with me, and we'd decided to celebrate (in other words, they wanted to celebrate and I didn't want to cause a scene.), so we'd gone out to get a cake. This was the first time they'd been to the store in months, so they were really excited, for some reason. They couldn't sit still in the car as I drove over, they were practically bouncing off the walls when we got out, and they just would not stop talking.

After a long week of kids throwing up in the auditorium, cleaning up after the world's most messy pizza party and nearly sending myself to the emergency room after spraying myself in the eye with window cleaner, this was not what I needed.

I picked out a cake for us. Nothing too special, just a decently sized chocolate cake.
They elected to buy three two liter bottles of Coke and a Cadbury's Dairy Milk bar the length of my arm.

And so we got back into the car, and they immediately got back to talking.

"Hey, buddy, did you know that female praying mantises bite off the male's head during mating and continue to mate, only to eat the rest of the body after?"

"That is fucking foul."

"Yeah, but it's so interesting. Animals on this planet are so strange. Like how your dolphins use those 'pufferfish' like drugs."

"Ok, that's cool, bu-"

"Or how you have, like, four separate species who ram one another with horns to fight for a mate-"

"Okay, I get it! Animals are weird, can you just SHUT UP FOR FIVE SECONDS?" I yelled. They stared at me, somewhere between fear and shock.

"Jesus, I can't fucking do this anymore. I know you're just trying to get on with me and all, but you're just so fucking annoying."

They continued to stare at me, trembling.

"And I've tried, I really have. I taught you how to use a laptop, so you could try make friends in places that weren't here. I showed you how to play games, so you'd get out of my hair for longer. But I just can't fucking do this anymore. I just can't." I said, as I pulled back into my driveway.

Foreto just stared at me for a moment, tears silently forming in their eyes, before they rolled down their window and hopped out of the car in the form of a cat.

I gripped the wheels tightly, and exhaled sharply. I looked over to the passenger seat and stared at the cake as it sat there, silently losing any appeal it had to me. I'd lost my appetite.

I groaned and brought my hands to my face, and quietly made my way inside. I slept on the couch, and waited for the next day.

Foreto'd locked themself in their room. No matter how hard I tried, they wouldn't unlock the door. They wouldn't even speak to me.

I ate my waffles alone that morning.

The Foundation's biannual check-up crew came by in the afternoon to find me sitting and staring at the TV, wondering why I'd done it.

I told them everything. They weren't angry. At least, if they were, they did a good job of hiding it. I didn't care if they were, I was sorry and I just wished I could go back and slap myself in the car the night before.

The guy from before, he said his name was Dmitri, sat down beside me while the rest of the team went upstairs to try and get Foreto out of their room.

"So… what happened?"

"Just kinda… lost my shit in the car last night. I don't know why, I just… got pissed off."

"Probably the meme. Not entirely your fault."

"Doesn't stop me feeling like a dick about it."

"Fair, fair." He patted me on the back. "I'm sure they'll understand, when we get them out of that room."

We sat in silence for a few minutes. A lot of talking from upstairs, accompanied by knocking. The sound of a door opening, and more talking.

"Ah, they're probably telling them about the support group."

"The which?"

"You'd be surprised with just how many people are affected by negative memetic effects attached to them. I have a good friend who everyone thinks is a walrus every Thursday. Don't ask me how it works, it just happens. So, in order to prevent the rapid decline of these people's mental health in the current day, we're establishing support groups for people suffering from these effects across the globe. The nearest one's in Traverse City, so we figured 6642 would be interested in it, given their unfortunate situation."

I stared at the floor. "So they might be moving out?"

"Maybe. It's a bit of a ways to Traverse, but I'm sure a biweekly up-and-down trip won't be too inconvenient if they do stay?"

"No, not at all."

"Good, good."

An prolonged silence between us. More talking from upstairs, and footsteps.

"You two getting on well, aside from your little… incident?"

"Yeah. They're loving life, just not at the moment."

"You two good friends?"

"We live together, what do you think?"

"Fair. Sorry, stupid question."

"You're fine."

Another minute later, and the Foundation crew were back downstairs, along with Foreto. They were a mess. Their human hair looked like they'd slept in a tumbledryer and they looked like they'd physically cried a river.

"Hey, Foreto," The nickname got me some odd looks for the crew. "I know you probably don't want to hear it and all, but I'm sorry about last night. I just… lost my cool, and I really shouldn't have, and I completely understand if you want to go to Traverse City with these guys-"

They hugged me, which shut me up quickly.

I hadn't been hugged in a long time. The last time I'd been embraced by someone else was when I visited my mother in New York the Christmas before Foreto'd moved in. I was pretty taken back, but I didn't try pull away. I melted into it, and we stayed there for a second, just holding one another.

They pulled away, and smiled weakly at me. "I know." they whispered, as one of the crew pulled out a stack of paperwork. "I forgive you."

I spent the next half hour signing paperwork, talking to Dmitri and asking Foreto how they felt about public transport. By the end of the day, they were slotted into a biweekly councelling session, and headed to and from Traverse City by bus. They wouldn't speak to anyone, they'd just ride to and from, back to me.

We ate the cake that evening. Spent the entire night sat in front of the TV playing Guilty Gear, and drank those bottles of Coke.

It's been about eight months since then. Foreto's getting on great. They met a lot of people who're willing to look past their anom-whatever annoyingness and see them for who they really are. Hell, they're even staying up in Traverse for two nights next week because they managed to get a date with one of the folks over there. Says her name's Jane and she's really sweet. I'm happy for them, I hope it goes well.

So, here I am, writing this while they're sat in the living room, watching TV while I wait for the steak to cook.

I didn't expect or want an anomalous roommate.

But, now that I do, I wouldn't have it any other way.

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