Ra'ash The Cosmic Hound
rating: +11+x

Agent Hawthorne awoke to the sounds of chaos and death.

He had heard them before. Afghanistan. Iraq. Places and moments he had desperately tried to purge from his memory, yet always crept their way back into his mind. He remembered the deafening chatter of an assault rifle, the anguish of men sent to early deaths because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Agent Hawthorne had seen more than any man should ever see.

He was about to see more.

"Containment Breach in progress," bellowed a speaker fixed to a wall. It was the fifth broadcast of the afternoon - he couldn't exactly recall when they began, but it had been at least twenty minutes now. Hawthorne shook himself out of his nostalgia, grabbed the rifle off his rack, and burst down the door to find a seemingly endless trail of blood coating the walls. Gunfire screamed from around each corner, security forces desperately trying to contain what had just murdered dozens of their former friends and coworkers.

Contain what? He thought to himself.

"Echo-4, come in, over." A familiar voice rang through his radio. Central Command.

"Receiving." Hawthorne's voice was gruff; stained by the cost of endless conflict.

"SCP-6901 is three hundred feet from your location. Link up with Bravo-9 and Bravo-10 for recontainment."

Three hundred feet? He glanced down an adjacent hallway, catching a security officer's boot as it turned the corner.

"Possible visual on Bravo-10, over. No sign of Bravo-9." He took a moment to catch his breath.

"Copy that. Proceed as ordered."

He did so with particular apprehension, awaiting the same fate that had fallen upon countless other officers each time he found himself in a new hallway. Finally, something changed - a young man, no older than 30, sat with his arms clutching a rifle as he shook uncontrollably against a wall.

"We need to get the fuck out of here!" Hawthorne could hear the terror in his voice. His fingers fell to his radio once more.

"Command, positive ID on Bravo-10." He removed his finger. "Where's 9, kid?"

"All over the goddamn place."

As if on cue, Hawthorne pivoted his head, finding blood and body parts staining the walls. Bravo-9 was nothing anymore; a callsign and a collection of physical evidence from a man who once had a family. A wife. Children.

Hawthorne grabbed the kid's hand and lifted him to his feet, an action that seemed to snap him back to reality somewhat. He cleared the chamber of his rifle and removed a fresh magazine from his backpack, jamming it into the belly of his M4 with particular aggression. After several heavy breaths, Bravo-10 cleared his throat and did his best to speak clearly.

"It was going down there." He gestured towards the end of the hallway. "I think we can get it if we lure it."

"I don't even know what it is, man." Hawthorne was telling the truth.

"Neither do I." The kid stepped forward. "Now let's go. Before this gets worse."

He had to give him some credit - the fear was gone, replaced only with vengeance. Hawthorne dusted some dirt off the barrel of his rifle and followed Bravo-10 as he began his march towards the screaming. They didn't need to wait long.

The two men kicked open the door to a weapons cache, allowing the bodies to distract them for a few seconds. Standing a few feet in front of them was a black, faceless creature, idly ripping limbs from the corpse of a security officer and chewing them contently. It didn't seem to notice them, but Hawthorne was mentally preparing himself for when it did. It sniffed the air for a moment, its snout covered in glistening crimson before returning to its meal.

"Jesus fucking Christ," Hawthorne mouthed. The kid made hand gestures - military signals. Hawthorne got the gist. He gently raised his rifle to face the creature before delicately caressing the trigger with his index finger, waiting for the inevitable. Bravo-10 followed suit, shifting his weight to accommodate a combat stance. The noise was too much. It finally turned to face them, motionless and staring with a cosmic malice. The panic was enough to make Bravo-10 contract nearly every muscle in his body, his finger snapping the trigger back as he recoiled.

Hawthorne recalled misunderstanding guns. Movies didn't serve them justice - they were incomprehensibly, almost impossibly loud. The cracks of the M4 were enough to deafen him, yet he held composure long enough to open fire and strike several rounds into the chest of the alien. It strained its vocal chords in an other-worldly scream, raising its arms in an attempt to deflect the onslaught of searing lead.

"Keep it suppressed!" Hawthorne ordered. The kid took a moment to reload, the creature still recovering from 60 rounds implanted directly into its chest. Hawthorne seized the moment and quickly relocated to its left side, reloading and continuing to fire in one continuous motion.

It wasn't enough.

An arm protruded from the black mass, grasping Bravo-10 by his throat and instantly breaking through the suppression. It dangled him above the ground for a moment, gazing upon him like was a toy, before nearly-instantly extending its arm and sending him crashing through a thin concrete wall. The force was enough to break every bone in his body instantaneously, and Hawthorne felt a twinge of anger as his eyes drifted to the sputtering, convulsing man as he lay on the floor. A second arm extended towards him as he dove to the ground, firing upwards at SCP-6901 without once lifting his finger from the trigger. The appendage grazed his head, but his hands did not fail him.

His arms began to give out from the recoil as reality began to fade into shades of monochrome gray. Agent Hawthorne recalled watching the creature collapse to the ground before finally lying still, his eyes drifting towards the body of Bravo-10 as he faded into unconsciousness. Alarms continued to blare in the background as the familiar clattering of boots on a marble floor became louder and more intense.

"Where is it?"

Hawthorne awoke to a grizzled, chubby man gazing upon him from above. Every fiber of his being ached in agony.

"Where is what?"

"SCP-6901. Where is it?"

Snapshots of the confrontation flooded his mind. The gunfire. The creature. Bravo-10.

"Bravo-10 is KIA."

"What?" The man's nametag read O'Connor. Hawthorne recalled reading that on a report filed long ago.

"The kid's dead. It killed him."

O'Connor didn't issue a response. Instead, he looked over to an adjacent operating table, a man in a military uniform and face-mask lying upon it.

"Yeah, we know." His tone implied understanding. "And I'm sorry. Truly. But our priority right now is recontaining-"

"Just give me a fucking minute." He unsteadily rose to a sitting position, hands clutching the side of the table. A deafening, piercing ringing screamed at him internally.

"Look, we don't have time. If we're lucky, this thing hasn't left the facility. We need you to tell us where you encountered it."

"Weapons cache. Level 2." He groaned, barely able to finish his sentence before spattering blood on the sheets.

"We just checked there. Only found Bravo-10."

"Then I can't help you."

"Yes, you can." He shook his head somberly. "You're the only SEC guy left alive here. That means you're our firepower. If you can get a clean shot on it, you take it."

"I had a clean shot. It shook the bullets off like they were ping pong balls."

"I think you're underestimating what we're capable of." He bent over and retrieved a weapon before handing it to Hawthorne.

"You can't be serious."

"Try me."

Hawthorne finally lifted himself off the table, coming to his feet with one of his hands still grasping the side of the table. Blood coated his uniform. He wasn't sure if it was his.

"This isn't going to be easy. But if we don't stop this now, I'm not entirely sure we'll make it out of this. They're talking about Protocol-13. We have maybe an hour before it becomes more than talking."

"Protocol-13?" He inquired.

"Bombs. Lots of them." Hawthorne continued while tinkering with his radio. "They'll flatten this place. I've seen them do it before."

"The site?"

O'Connor shook his head. "The country."

Jesus Christ.

Hawthorne's eyes drifted across the medical bay. Some were unlucky enough to still be alive, screaming inhumanly as they desperately tried to grab limbs that no longer existed. Others sat lifeless on the floor, nurses quickly covering their expressionless faces with black body bags.

Something inside of Hawthorne screamed out at him. A calling. A drive.

"I'll do my best, sir."

"You'll need to." O'Connor made a gesture, sending all of the researchers out of the room in a flurry. "Wheels up in 20. Let's go."

The helicopter ride was uneventful. Uneventful, at least, in the sense that both Hawthorne and O'Connor had seen it all before. Houses were little more than foundations and wooden pillars, family living rooms and kitchens exposed to the air like they had always been that way. Police sirens flashed through the clouds, but the cars were left alone - Hawthorne saw no movement on the ground. It had already made its way through the city, and the destruction was like a path of breadcrumbs leading him to the being responsible for taking Bravo-10's life. He cared about little else.

"Positive ID on target," O'Connor notified him, pointing towards a large black mass with his finger. It was rampaging through what looked like a police station, flinging bodies out of windows and through the roof like they were action figures. O'Connor could almost hear their bones shattering as they returned to Earth and collided with the pavement.

"Feel free to shoot, you know, whenever."

Hawthorne didn't need any more motivation. His hands clutched the side of the minigun, coating the area in a flurry of bullets and ricochet noises. A few rounds struck the creature, but it simply retreated inside the structure for protection.

"It's inside the building." Hawthorne uttered.

"I'm taking us in closer. How many rounds you got left?"

Hawthorne glanced down at several boxes lying next to his feet. "Two thousand."


The chopper descended until it was level with a window, SCP-6901 barreling through rooms in desperate search of cover as it heard the minigun wind up again. Walls collapsed under the force of hundreds of bullets impacting them almost simultaneously - one revealed a now vulnerable black creature, roaring at the chopper in vain.

"Take it down, Hawthorne."

He depressed the trigger. Like a gust of wind, the bullets sent SCP-6901 careening into the wall, crashing down several stories until it slammed into the ground with an alien thud. It shook itself free of the pain and returned to its feet, leaping and clutching the side of the helicopter as its weight began to send it to the dirt. Hawthorne found himself sucked out of it a moment before impact, wind carrying him for about a hundred feet before he too returned to the surface. The pain was enough to shock him into a confused, delirious stupor.

"Mayday, mayday, this is Chopper 19-" O'Connor frantically said over his radio as the creature began to tear its way into the cockpit. Blood trickled from his nose. Everything felt broken.

"We need immediate assistance. Repeat, immediate assistance. Protocol-13 authorized."

The creature was inches away now, ripping the last piece of metal from the hinges. Hawthorne clumsily found his footing and clutched his rifle, raising it towards SCP-6901 with his arms shaking sporadically.

A thought crossed his mind.

A good a day as any to die, I suppose.

Seconds later, O'Connor found his face touched with sunlight, only for it to be eclipsed by the face of the Cosmic Hound. It lifted him from the pilots seat with its tendrils, maw opening to reveal thousands of seemingly endless teeth. Jet engines shrieked from above the clouds as the horizon began to fade into a beautiful orange.

As a scorching, blinding wave enveloped the wreckage of the helicopter and the creature, Hawthorne collapsed to the ground for the last time and controlled his breathing in acceptance. Before he could process anything, the world shattered into an impenetrable veil of blackness.

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