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Excerpt of SCP-073 file: Subject has professed to having a photographic memory, remembering word-for-word all text in an eight-hundred-page dictionary that was flicked through in a minute and a half.

Ten thousand, six hundred and fifty-three years, three weeks, seven days, four hours and three minutes ago, Cain had killed his brother.

Cain didn't have the luxury of forgetting why he did it or how Able's blood had dripped off the stone onto his corpse and how he could hear his mother's distant wailing and how the mountains had crumbled and the sky had cracked as Adam el Asem mourned the death of his son- He had seen to all of that.


Cain had already left when it happened, his curse having killed the land around him and forcing him from everything he had known. As if it wasn't enough to mourn his brother and the loss of his home, it had to appear, in all its terrible flaming glory. But it only spoke one word before vanishing back to its post.


He was confused at the time, as he made his way to the land of Nod. Was this meant to be a curse? If so, it was for naught. He would not forget this ever, until the Lord saw fit to end it.


And remember he did. The memory of his brother's murder never went away. He could build endless eons of horrible and wonderful experiences, but no matter what, the blood dripping on the stone was always the first thing he saw when he closed his eyes.

He left Nod for a time, as he desperately searched for a way to end it. He spoke with the Daevites, pleaded to the Erikesh mystics, even went so far as to seek out remnants of the Yeren, who cursed and spat at the son of Adam.

Once he had journeyed to the far west, past the Daevite empire, past the Night Children's forests to a distant land where they worshiped Lilit Bat Asherah, the First Woman, as a goddess. They were two of a kind, both having lost the favour of the Omnipotent. Perhaps she could help him.

She mocked him. Scorned him. They were both banished by Him, but only one of them suffered eternally for it.

"Do you know why that is?" she had asked him, reclining amid silken pillows while attendants brought her offerings from the faithful. "What I did, I did for a cause greater than myself. No one should have to live under any ones rules but the ones they choose."

"You, on the other hand? You murdered your brother in a jealous rage. There was no honor at stake. You did not do this desperately in a matter of life and death, purely your own selfish interest. You are cursed and shall remain so."

Cain wanted to attack her, kill her. She could not raise a hand in her own defense, lest the curse reflect back upon her. But he knew that she would just sit there laughing as he tore her apart, going to the grave knowing that she was right.


No one could help him. No one could save him from that ever-pervasive memory of a stone wet with blood.


He went further. Drunk enough nepenthe to erase whole legions. Tried to drive the Spear of Those Forgotten into his skull. He even found the Dark Brother of the Serpent, and leaped willingly into oblivion's maw.

Nothing worked. The nepenthe passed after unimaginable agony with no loss, the Spear of Those Forgotten bounced off his skull with nary a mark, and the Serpent spat him out after seven years, seven months, and seven days with nothing gone to show for it.

He spent seven years in darkness, buried in a hundred rotting corpses. There was no air, and Cain would suffocate eternally. He could remember every second of it, the eternal loop of waking up, the second of hope when he thought he might be free, and then the crushing despair and realization, just before the familiar feeling in his throat returned.

The curse wouldn't let him die- no, that would be far too easy for a murderer.


The cruelest part of it all was that no where in the seven years of eternally suffocating, did he ever forget how that stone had felt in his hand when it was slick with his brother's blood.

Only then did he realize what the guardian had truly meant.


He stopped trying after that. Why bother? It would only bring him more pain.


He couldn't outrun his brother's memory.


That stone, wet with blood-


"Cain, you there?"

Leora watched as Cain jolted back to reality, moving his queen up six places to topple one of her pawns. "Check."

Leora pretended to pout as she dissolved the captured piece back into light. It was nice, being able to practice with her abilities like this. Sure, there was a surly faced security guard in the corner ready to net her at a moment's notice, but playing with Cain was always fun.

Even if he did win all the time.

"Thought I had you there," she said as she moved her king back two spaces.

"You'd have to do better than this," Cain said. He moved his rook up two spaces, cornering her king again. "Check. I suppose I was just lost in thought."

"Oh, what about?"

For one brief moment, Cain's ever-pleasant demeanor slipped off his face and he became something else. Something that was very tired and very old and did many things it regretted.

And then as quickly as it had appeared, it was gone again.

"Nothing in particular."

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