SCP-6005
rating: +256+x

Dr Gabriel: State your name, rank and assignment.

Agent Hawley: Fuck off.

Dr Gabriel: State your name, rank and assignment.

Agent Hawley: What's the point of this? You're going to demote me to a D-class or send me down to Arizona. Either way, I'll be dead in a month.

Dr Gabriel: State your name, rank an-

Agent Hawley: This is what I don't get. Who are you going to put on this thing now? Bunkman? The fucking idiot isn't fit for duty. Or Carter, maybe? I guess the most corrupt agent in Oregon is exactly what you're looking for.

Dr Gabriel: That's not your concern any more. You had your chance, and you blew it.

Agent Hawley: How? What did I do that contradicts Foundation policy?

Dr Gabriel: We'll get to that. For now, state your -

Agent Hawley: Fine. My name is Douglas Hawley, Level 3 agent, assigned to SCP-6005, born in Gulf Shores, Alabama, social security number 215 -

Dr Gabriel: That's enough. Do you know why you're here today?

Agent Hawley sighs, and leans back in his chair.

Agent Hawley: Honestly, I haven't a fucking clue.


SCP-6005


BY ORDER OF THE O5 COUNCIL

The following file is Level 4/6005 classified.

Unauthorised access is strictly forbidden.

Item #: SCP-6005 Level 4/6005
Object Class: Keter Classified

dogmountain.jpg

Dog Mountain, Columbia River Gorge, Washington, the last known sighting of Cassandra "Cassie" Higgins.


Item #: SCP-6005

Object Class: Keter

Special Containment Procedures: The SCP-6005 containment project is currently being investigated by Agent Douglas Hawley John Bunkman, based in Site-64. The current leads being explored are detailed below are in a conceptual realignment process, expected to be completed by 12-12-25.

Individuals afflicted by SCP-6005-1 are to be detained at Site-64 and questioned. Their families are to be told they are suffering a debilitating mental health condition and have been taken out-of-state for treatment. Subjects are to be held for no longer than one month before being amnesticised and released Subjects are to be detained as long as is necessary for research purposes.

Suspected SCP-6005 events are to be suppressed in the local media. A plausible cover story for the event is to be disseminated to the victim's family, and amnestics are to be applied where necessary. Counselling and support for the families is to be arranged with liasons within local medical services.

All records pertaining to Site-1015 are to be transferred to Agent Hawley's care; storage is currently in Evidence Room 5C in E Wing of Site-64.

cascadiamap.png

Satellite image of the Cascadia bioregion.

Description: SCP-6005 refers to the disappearances of 1,943 people in heavily wooded areas of the Cascadia bioregion between 1985 and the present day. No trace of any of these individuals has ever been found.

SCP-6005 has affected a diverse range of individuals, all living in or around the bioregion. No correlation can be found between the victims' gender, age, race, income, political views or any other societal factor. The only definite commonality is an unusually high rate of mental health issues among victims. Consequently, no SCP-6005 event has ever been predicted.

SCP-6005's anomalous designation results from the extremely high number of disappearances which seemed to occur in exactly the same way: an individual will make a trip, alone, into the nearest woodland. This trip will be unplanned, without any note or other explanation, and the victim will not take any supplies with them. No footage of an SCP-6005 event has ever been recovered. Although non-anomalous explanations have been considered, none has ever been deemed plausible.

SCP-6005 was first noticed in 1992, when an early Foundation analysis AI detected the unusually high rate of disappearances. After proper suppression and amnesticisation among the victims' families and local media to prevent public detection of the anomaly, SCP-6005 was assigned to Site-64 for containment. However, no researcher or agent has made any headway in further research or containment.

Gabriel: Seems like quite the mystery.

Hawley: Words can be deceptive. What nobody ever gets is that our clinical tone, our objective neutrality, is its own kind of bias.

Gabriel: I don't quite follow.

Hawley: The agents assigned to this thing were all blithering incompetents, is what I mean. Nobody wanted the detail. It wasn't glamorous, there were no obvious leads - hell, a lot of people didn't even think it was an anomaly at first.

So it got dumped on misbehaving Level 2s and fat old frauds close to retirement. Nothing unusual there; Site-64's a prestigious joint. The Director and his cronies wanted to impress the O5s with flashy expeditions into the Three Portlands or ungodly anart pieces they'd raided from Seattle. Nobody cared about a few missing kids that an experimental AI was bleating on about. I don't know how it even stayed on file all those years.

Gabriel: You paint a very bleak picture of our organisation.

Agent Hawley: Doc, cut the crap. What are they going to do to me? I suppose it doesn't much matter, but I'd like to know how I'm going to die.

Gabriel: I really can't -

Hawley: OK. Fine. I can sit here with my arms crossed all day. Can't take me away until the interview's over, can you?

Gabriel sighs, and places his pen down on the table.

Gabriel: I can't tell you because I don't know. It's beyond my clearance. I'm just here to get the record straight.

Hawley stares at Gabriel, and smiles momentarily.

Hawley: Fancy that.

Hawley takes out a cigarette and lights it, still staring at Gabriel.

Hawley: Alright, doc, I'll play your game. I figure I've got nothing to lose. The game is over and the curtains are drawn. What is it you want to know?

Gabriel: First of all? I want to know why you were placed on this detail. And how you felt about it.

Hawley: Truth be told, doc, I got the assignment because I was dumb enough to have a bright idea.

Addendum #1: On 23-12-18, Director Adler appointed Agent Hawley to the SCP-6005 detail, after Hawley approached him with a new investigation suggestion: to use dream analysis on a diverse range of mental health patients in the Pacific Northwest region to identify any common elements. Hawley pointed to the useful results from dream analyses during the study of SCP-3007 to argue that it was a potentially neglected area of study.

Director Adler gave Hawley a taskforce of two agents and three researchers to work out of Site-64 for a period of two months, with the possibility of extension contigent on positive results.

After one month, Hawley and his taskforce had found a strong correlation between the dreams of 5 individuals from a pool of 150. These dreams were all repetitive (albeit with some variation), and all concerned the subject of forests, trees and the natural world. The following table gives examples of a dream experienced by each subject:

Date of Dream Subject Subject Description Description of Dream
06-01-19 6005-23 33-year-old female from Portland, Oregon. History of peripheral involvement with anartist communities. Subject reported standing at the edge of a deep forest, which "smelt of pine." A huge mountain could be seen on the other side of the forest; the subject became scared of the mountain and ran in the opposite direction, but found herself deeper in the forest than she had been before. Subject reported feeling relieved at this, as the tree cover meant she could not see the mountain.
12-01-19 6005-142 44-year-old male from Latah County, Idaho. No prior anomalous involvement. Subject owns a Remington hunting rifle. Subject reported chasing a deer through a sparse woodland, which gradually became thicker as he went on. Subject raised his rifle to shoot the deer; the rifle became entangled in branches, however, and the deer got away.
18-01-19 6005-203 78-year-old female from Skamania County, Washington. No prior anomalous involvement. Subject reported picking wild berries in a rainforest, before the berries began expanding rapidly. Subject placed her hands over her head, and found herself in an empty clearing at night. Subject reported feeling a rapid paranoia.
19-01-19 6005-02 24-year-old male from Seattle, Washington. Prominent local anarchist believed to have been a member of the anartist collective Are We Cool Yet? Subject dreamt they were a beetle living on a tree branch. The branch suddenly twisted around a gun being raised by a middle-aged man. Subject crawled to the barrel of the gun and stared into it for an extended period.
21-01-19 6005-09 19-year-old male from Haida Gwaii, British Columbia. No prior anomalous involvement, although a nephew of prominent anartist and First Nations activist Nora Ivanov. Subject reported staring through tree cover at the sun; this was causing him significant pain, but he refused to stop. After several minutes, the trees began to cover the sun, relieving the pain and anxiety felt.

The following audio log records an interview between Agent Hawley and 6005-09.

Date: 22-01-19

Interviewer: Agent Douglas Hawley

Second Agent Present: Agent John Caspar

<Begin Log>

Agent Hawley: -and we're on. OK, stating for the record that this is an interview between Agent Douglas Hawley and Tom Ivanov, designated 6005-09 for official purposes.

6005-09: Do you, uh, have t-

Agent Hawley: Sorry, just a moment, kid. As a Level 3, I designate myself supervising officer, secondary officer is Agent Caspar, who is somewhere in Seattle now so no use to anyone, date is the 22nd January, yadda yadda yadda, you know the rest.

The sound of the recording device being placed on the table.

Agent Hawley: Alright, kid, this won't take long. I want you to tell me about these dreams.

6005-09: Well, uh…

Agent Hawley: Just answer the questions. I don't have all day.

6005-09: …OK, well, I started getting them a few months ago. September, I think - college had just started up again. I wasn't having a very good time, so -

Agent Hawley: Yeah, yeah, your life's real sad. What about the dreams themselves?

6005-09: Well, I'm in a forest. I'm always in a forest - it changes a lot. And I'm looking at the sun.

Agent Hawley: You shouldn't do that.

6005-09: Look, man, it's a dream, it's not meant to be real -

Agent Hawley: OK, OK, calm down. What did it, uh, feel like?

6005-09: Scary. I couldn't stop. I had to keep staring. When I was little, there was this kid called Walter, he made me do that once. Told me to stare up into the sun.

Agent Hawley: And the trees?

6005-09: They came slowly. I was stuck there, just staring at it, for a good ten minutes, something like that. I couldn't move, couldn't think. Then the leaves started covering it.

Agent Hawley: They were still attached to the trees?

6005-09: Yeah. It was good then. Got real dark.

Agent Hawley: Hm. Was it the sun itself that scared you, or the light?

6005-09: I don't - the light, I think. I felt like people could see me.

Agent Hawley: And the forest was comforting?

6005-09: Yeah. It was safe. There was nobody there, you see. Just trees, and the smell of moss, and wet earth. I saw a deer, far in the distance. I saw vines. They got dimmer and dimmer and then there was no light at all.

The sound of shuffling can be heard.

6005-09: Look, I really need to go, I have a thing.

Agent Hawley: You told Agent Jones that you were free all day.

6005-09: Yeah, but - look, I need to go, OK?

Agent Hawley: What are your feelings about the woods in general? You often go hiking?

6005-09: What? No, not much. I used to, with my aunt Nora, but -

Agent Hawley: Nora Ivanov? Yes, we have her on file. She's in Alaska now, right?

6005-09: You have a file on my aunt?

Agent Hawley: Just answer the question.

6005-09: …No, she's not. She disappeared.

Agent Hawley: Interesting. The last we heard she crossed the border with a group of Ser- with a group of activists. She went to hide out in Nome.

6005-09: No, she was going to, but then she went missing a week before. Why do you have a file on her?

Agent Hawley: Very interesting.

The sound of a pen writing quickly can be heard.

Agent Hawley: OK, look - we're going to have to keep you here for a while.

6005-09: What? Why? I've got to get to - I've got to get out of here.

Agent Hawley: It's a medical thing. You're displaying symptoms of a bug that's been going around. I am sorry, kid. We'll let your family know, you won't get in any trouble.

6005-09: No. I want to get out. I want to go to the woods.

There is a long pause.

Agent Hawley: Do you, now?

Agent Hawley turns off the recording.


Hawley I keep thinking about that interview. I didn't get it then.

Gabriel: Didn't get what?

Hawley I just wanted to know how they were connected. I wasn't sure if it had anything to do with the disappearances, or if it was anomalous at all. I wasn't listening to what he was telling me.

Hawley stubs out his cigarette.

Hawley He tried to get out that night. Kept talking about the trees. We had to restrain him again, and I - well, I saw him just once more. You'll get to that in a moment. But the months dragged on, we couldn't justify the cell space for some kid with funny sleeping habits, so…

Gabriel: So you let him go. You shouldn't have done that. It's against protocol.

Hawley: Geez, is that all you think about? It was Adler's call, not mine. He wanted results, but not if it meant losing valuable cell space. It was less than a week before the missing person's file came in. By then, I was expecting it.

That was when the scale of the thing hit him. Six out of 150 had those dreams, and all of them had disappeared in a month. If that was expanded to the entire region…

Gabriel: Thousands of people, at least.

Hawley Yeah. And we weren't even sure about whether it was just mental health patients. How do you even define mental illness? Really, properly, not just in a way that's useful for treatment? Thousands upon thousands of people could just wander into the forests and never be seen again.

Gabriel: That would be horrifying.

Hawley: Inconvenient.

Gabriel: Good God, man, don't you have a heart? We're meant to be the ones helping people.

Hawley laughs.

Hawley We are? How old are you, doc? You look like you're in your fifties, now. Maybe your sixties. You must have been with us a while. You still think that's why the Foundation is here? To help people?

Hawley leans back in his chair, shaking his head.

Hawley: We live in a world of dragons. They hide in the mountains or in paper boxes, but they're there. I wanted to know all of it, see the other half of the puzzle, understand why things are the way they are. Why the dragons were hidden but the rot spread everywhere else.

Gabriel: That's why you joined the Foundation?

Hawley Probably not. I don't remember any more.

Gabriel leans back, rubbing his temples. Hawley lights a second cigarette.

Anyway. People were disappearing into the woods. This kid desperately wanted to go there, too; said it's where he was happy and safe. We got some more information in the months after that - people kept dreaming about forests and slipped away, wanting to be alone.

Gabriel: Did you think it was deliberate? An anart project gone wrong?

Hawley Nah, this wasn't showy enough. We were the only people who'd noticed. It was random, untargetted. Anyone could be afflicted, made to be frightened or traumatised. I had no idea what to do, except…

Gabriel: Except?

Hawley smiles slowly, and takes a drag on his cigarette.

Hawley I'd heard about something like this before. Years ago. A shared dream that brought down Site 1015.

Gabriel: Site - Site 1015? That was decommissioned years ago.

Hawley Yeah, well before my time. But a guy I knew, Christof, he'd transferred over when it went bust. I asked him about it, and he told me about something they couldn't crack. They kept on bringing in people who'd shake the cage walls and scream about a garden.

Gabriel: A garden?

Hawley Yeah. They didn't know what was causing it. But he didn't say what had happened, and he got himself killed soon after. It stuck with me, though - when they all started dreaming of the forest, I wondered if it was connected.

Gabriel: So what did you do?

Hawley I looked in the files for 1015. Nothing. The entire records were wiped clean.

Gabriel: Wh-what? You mean they were redacted?

Hawley No, expunged. Nothing there at all. Entries, but no files.

There is silence for several seconds.

Gabriel: Nobody at Site 64 would do that. It goes against every protocol.

Hawley So? You're what, fifty? Sixty? You must remember what this place used to be like. Even by the time I joined, it was still the same. Someone fucks up, spills an anomaly out into the world, and the records get canned. It's how the game gets played.

Gabriel: Oh, come on. Something that large? We'd have noticed by now.

Hawley Maybe it wasn't large. Maybe it was small. A few kids have bad dreams - what did it matter? Nobody would notice, and if they did, nobody would suspect a long-retired director. I wasn't really interested in that. It was a lead, that was what mattered.

Gabriel: Christ, man, do you care about anyone other than yourself?

Hawley Easy, doc. I get up in the morning and smell the coffee and shuffle into work. We all do. It's what the world is. Grey office blocks and cleaning chemicals.

Anyway. I went back to the kid. This was before we let him out again. I went back and thought I'd try to poke a sleeping bear.

Addendum #2: Following the initial successes of the operation, Agent Hawley began an investigation into a possible link with Site 1015, a decomissioned site in southern Washington. Ageny Hawley recalled "rumours" floating around Site 64 some years ago, which stated that Site 1015 had dealt with a similar situation. However, on further investigation, he found that Site 1015's records had been expunged, without any explanation removed to a secure facility in Ohio as part of routine maintenance.

Recalling that the rumours mentioned a garden, Hawley interviewed 6005-09 a second time, in the hope of pursuing this line of enquiry further.

Date: 12-04-19

Interviewer: Agent Douglas Hawley

Second Agent Present: Agent John Caspar

<Begin Log>

Agent Hawley: Hey, Tom. How are you?

6005-09: I want to go home.

Agent Hawley: I don't believe you. Sorry, kid, but we're not letting you slink off to the woods just yet.

6005-09: I don't care. You can't keep me here.

Agent Hawley: We can and we will. But if you answer my questions, we'll see about letting you out. We need the cell space anyway.

6005-09: …OK, fine. What is it?

Agent Hawley: Do you ever remember dreaming about a garden?

There is a silence for several seconds.

6005-09: No. I don't. It's a forest. It's always been a forest, I've - I've told you this before.

Agent Hawley: Are you sure, Tom?

Agent Caspar: Easy, Doug.

6005-09: I said I don't know.

The sound of shuffling papers can be heard.

Agent Hawley: Fine. Enjoy your stay, kid.

The sound of a chair being moved can be heard.

6005-09: Wait, I - wait.

The sounds stop.

Agent Caspar: Something on your mind?

6005-09: I didn't see a garden - but there was something. A few things. Stuff that wasn't meant to be there. Stuff that was - wrong.

Agent Hawley: Wrong? Wrong how?

6005-09: It - it wasn't meant to be there. An urn, a rake, a flowerbed. I saw them - just sitting there, I saw them, covered in that filth, I -

Agent Hawley: Filth?

There is a pause of several seconds.

6005-09: It was wrong. Can you see that? It was polluting the forest. It wasn't natural. It was a human thing, and they don't belong in the forest. They belong out there, under the sun. You know? You get that?

Agent Hawley: …No, I don't.

The sound of a chair being moved can be heard again.

Agent Hawley: So where do you think they came from?

6005-09: …Outside. Somewhere, I - I don't know. They're not part of the forest, right? They're things that were brought in outside. I don't know anything else, I swear, can you let me go now?

Agent Hawley: We still might -

Agent Caspar: Yeah, Tom. We can let you go. Thank you.

<End Log>

Following this interview, Hawley re-interviewed the other four individuals examined earlier, enquiring after any motifs or objects relating to gardens, gardening or man-made landscapes in their dreams. All four experienced extreme distress at this line of questioning, but all were able to give examples of these motifs:

Subject Description of Dream Elements
6005-23 Subject claimed that, in her recurring dream, the mountain often transformed into a rotunda, typical of 19th century English landscape gardens. In these cases, the subject described hearing the sound of breaking marble after the tree cover had obscured its view.
6005-142 Subject reported breaking off from hunting the deer to shoot at numerous carp jumping in and out of the forest floor. Subject reported hearing running water. Subject hit all carp, before collapsing into "a kind of calm darkness".
6005-203 Subject reported a dream similar to her previous example, except that instead of a clearing, she was in a vandalised flowerbed. Subject's distress was particularly acute when describing this and had to be removed from the interview room.
6005-02 Subject reported being fired from the rifle mentioned in the previous dream. Subject found themself inside a large lake, with the corpses of several carp floating around them. Subject reported feeling extreme distress but did not drown.

This prompted Agent Hawley to investigate the former Site 1015 itself, in order to ascertain if any surviving materials could be utilised in the investigation. On 19-04-19, Agents Hawley and Caspar undertook an exploration of the area.

>Begin Log<

The two agents are standing in a clearing in a forested area. A large, ruined concrete building can be seen several hundred meteres ahead.

Command: OK, we're recording. State your names for the record, please.

Agent Hawley: Got it. This is Agent Douglas Hawley, assisted by Agent John Caspar, currently located on the perimeter of the former Site 1015. The building's clear as day ahead of us, as the cameras should be showing. Er, anything else?

Command: Documentation number for the expedition authorisation.

Agent Hawley: Goddamnit, there are so many these days… hold this, John…

Hawley passes his flashlight to Caspar, and rummages in his rucksack.

Agent Hawley: Here we are… 4666266. That OK, or do you want my blood type too?

Command: Don't get snippy with me. You should have done this back at base. And you forgot proper protocol on your last interview.

Agent Caspar: He's right, Doug.

Agent Hawley: Goddamit… come on, let's get this done.

The two agents approach the main building. It is clearly abandoned and somewhat dilapidated; most of the windows are shattered or broken. Debris and plant life is scattered around the exterior of the building.

Agent Caspar: Nervous?

Agent Hawley: Nah. You?

Agent Caspar: Nah.

The two approach the central doorway, and push. The external locks seem to have completely broken; the door swings open, revealing a broken lobby room. A large, smashed skylight has scattered glass across a round wooden desk; plants, including a small tree, have grown up through stripped concrete tiles. Several doors lead off towards corridors.

Agent Caspar: What happened here? Aren't former sites supposed to be demolished? Or put under basic protection, or something?

Agent Hawley: Good question.

Command: Some former sites without any anomalous matter remaining just get abandoned. It saves money, there are cover stories set up, it really doesn't matter that there's one more concrete block somewhere in the woods.

Agent Hawley: No graffiti here, though. Nobody's been here at all.

Command: It's quite a way from any population centres.

Agent Hawley: Mm. Yeah.

Agent Caspar: We're sure there was nothing anomalous left over?

Command: Yes.

Agent Hawley: Apparently.

Command: Yes. Finish up with your conspiratorial nonsense and get out of there, Doug, there's a game I want to get to.

Agent Hawley: Fine.

Hawley takes point, opening a side door.

Agent Caspar: You sure this is the right way?

Agent Hawley: First door on the left, second on the right to the stairs, fifth floor down. Should all be there. Flashlight on, John.

The two turn their flashlights on, and follow the path Hawley specified. The building, though delapidated, still appears to be structurally sound; most of the fittings have been stripped, however, revealing a lot of the concrete fittings.

After going down the corridor and down the stairs, the pair open a door, into a small, underground open-office building. There is no light source. All the fixtures have been removed.

Agent Caspar: Well, this looks promising.

Agent Hawley: Shut up. Look around. There might still be something.

The two agents look around the room; nothing can be seen within it except for a red door at the far end. Some fallen yellow and black tape is curled up at its foot. Hawley approaches it.

Agent Hawley: Well, well, well.

Agent Caspar: What is it?

Agent Hawley: Someone didn't want anyone going in here.

Hawley reaches for the doorhandle.

Agent Caspar: Wait a minute -

Hawley opens the door. A large, empty storage room can be seen on the other side.

Agent Hawley: Damnit.

Command: Ready to give up?

Agent Hawley: Nope.

Hawley enters the room, and shines his flashlight across the surfaces. In one corner, the ceiling has fallen in; something is visible beneath the wreckage. Hawley heads across and shines his flashlight on it; it is a cardboard box, with papers visibly coming out of top.

Agent Hawley: Jackpot.

Agent Caspar: How'd they miss that?

Caspar starts to shine his spotlight around the room.

Agent Hawley: Good question. Very good question. This ceiling must have fallen in later, right? Very convenient placement if so… unless things were already falling apart when they left.

Hawley begins to drag the box out from the wreckage. Caspar continues to shine his flashlight, and then stops.

Agent Caspar: Doug?

Agent Hawley: Yeah?

Agent Caspar: Was that urn always there?

Hawley turns sharply around and looks at where Caspar is pointing. A garden urn, approximately one metre high, is sitting in the opposite corner of the room.

Agent Hawley: No, it wasn't. Command, are you getting this?

Command: Yes. Stay calm, remember your training. You're not currently prepared for this. I'm getting Rapid Response on the line now, informing them of a possible Unreality incident at your location.

Agent Hawley: Thanks. We'll get the box and go.

Agent Caspar: Roger that.

Hawley and Caspar head towards the box, and drag it out from the wreckage. Caspar picks it up; Hawley shines his light where the urn was. A small metal carving of a cherub is now visible.

Agent Caspar: Fuck.

Agent Hawley: It's OK. It might not be dangerous.

Agent Caspar: When has it ever not been dangerous?

Agent Hawley: Fair point.

Hawley and Caspar exit the room, and hurry over to the door. Hawley turns back before he does so, and shines a light at the red door.

A humanoid figure is standing in front of it; it has the size and proportions of a woman in her late teens, but is composed entirely of wood, with leaves in place of hair. Its face is obscured by the leaves.

Agent Hawley: Hello?

The figure raises its head. Its face is a static carving. It raises a hand towards Hawley. Its voice is distorted, and was only rendered comprehensible after enhancement.

Figure: This was a ruined place, once.

The figure takes a step forward.

Figure: Are you… an angel?

A torrent of water pours down from the ceiling, with numerous twigs and branches carried in it. It hits the figure, who disintegrates into wood chippings, and starts to head for the agents.

Agent Caspar: Fuck.

Hawley and Caspar run up the stairs, and onto the corridor. The water does not appear to follow them, but the sound of rapidly moving waves can be heard. The concrete sections of the wall are now composed of wood, but they come across no barriers to their entry. The agents cross the lobby, but find a huge tree blocking the doors.

Agent Caspar: Fuck.

Agent Hawley: Shut up. Command, alternate exits?

Command: First right coming in, fourth left; should be a fire escape.

Agent Hawley: Got it.

Hawley and Caspar move into the corridor. A large water fountain is visible; flowers are growing from it.

Agent Caspar: You know what I think?

Agent Hawley: No. Keep running.

Agent Caspar: That urn. Did it appear, or did we just not notice -

Agent Hawley: I said, keep running!

The agents take the fourth left; a fire escape is visible. The sound of singing can be heard; the song is not distinguishable.

The agents open the door, and find themselves outside. They run another hundred metres, into the surrounding woodland, before stopping.

Agent Caspar: Fuck.

Agent Hawley: Stop saying that. Command, we seem to be safe? I think?

Command: Roger that. Recovery on the way now. Did you get the information?

Agent Hawley: Caspar didn't drop the box.

Agent Caspar: I forgot I was still holding it…

Agent Hawley: By which, of course, he means that he did an exemplary job under pressure.

Command: OK. Extraction imminent.

<End Log>

Following this encounter, Site 1015 was secured by a taskforce from Site 64; however, no further anomalous activity has been detected. Agent Hawley began to sort through the recovered documents; although they are disorganised, with many dealing in miscellany, one pertinent document has been recovered thus far:

Document 6005-01: Diary entry from Subject 6005-435

I wake up, I walk around my room. There is a window, high in the wall, that lets me stare at the moon. It's not meant to be an unkind room, but they just don't care enough.

They're exhausted. They look through me, not because they're unkind, but because they don't have the energy left. They ooze through the concrete they make for themselves, the concrete that protects something they can't even see any more.

So last night, I visited the garden again.

I know they told us not to. I know what they told us to do, but I couldn't help myself. The flowerbeds were overturned, but the dirt was still there, scattered over the grass. I put it back where it was. I suppose the others didn't notice.

It looked like early fall. I saw a nightingale that Nora had made. It sang to me, and I sang back. The sky was clouded, but that autumn cloud that promises rain. The same cloud you see over dull city blocks, but here it was better, it was a garden cloud. A cloud made for gardens. How could someone else have done that?

I climbed the hill and looked down. The hill was getting jagged - almost like a mountain. The rotunda was sinking into it, so I put that right too. I felt its marble on my fingers. I looked inside, and there was a silver tomb, carved by taking rock from the earth and taking the silver from the rock. But we would always reshape the rock, put it back afterwards, put silver roots in.

Are there gardens in New York? Is an alleyway a garden? Is a patch of weed in Baltimore not just as much of a green expanse as Babur's tomb? Underneath the sirens, it steals sunlight between skyscrapers.

I looked down onto the crisscrossing paths, where the gravel had been scattered, where my friends had placed each rock so lovingly. I know we aren't meant to, but I put that back, too. I put it all back, piece by piece, the fountains and four-part gardens and octagonal tombs and the distant Cascades beyond them. They tinge blue in the half-light.

In a moment, it seems natural again. It's how it should be, how it always should have been, all Portland smothered by the grass, the people lying and eating lotus and sketching out the sky in red and white, all the way to Seattle, to Vancouver, to Haida Gwaii and the Tlingit shore, campfires smoking on a distant valley as the Cascades rise and rise.

Then I looked down again and it wasn't right. It was all concrete stuff. I knew it wasn't but an angel told me it was, an archangel who was sent to Mary, and the only green left is the distant trees.

There's no going back. I used to dream, once, but now the waking world seems like a dream. I can understand, intellectually, what they did to me, but I can't go back. This place is just ruins, a prison, grey walls leading back to what they're guarding at the heart of it.

Power. It always comes back to power.


Hawley: I read it and things shifted sideways. She wrote so well.

Gabriel: You shouldn't get attached to them.

Hawley: What is wrong with you? You talk about kindness -

Gabriel: You never had to watch what happens when they get loose, Hawley. I used to work at Site 19. I saw hundreds of D-Class get their throat snapped because we wanted to learn.

Hawley: Then you're just as lost as she was. Don't you think it's beautiful?

Gabriel: Explain.

Hawley: A whole world, a harmonious world, a… a kind of collaboration. Everyone, pieces of them, coming together all as one, but with its parts maintained. It's what everyone's always wanted, isn't it?

Gabriel: Not me. I know the difference between natural and unnatural.

Hawley: But what does that even mean? Sometimes I go hiking, you know. Out in the west. I look up at the Cascades, and, well, their name really means something. If you squint just right, they seem to blend into one another, all of them. One mountain colliding with another, ripping the earth, plunging upwards into dizzying heights. One huge cascade, creating more and more of itself as it pushes out and through.

Gabriel: Very poetic. But that doesn't change what an anomaly is.

Hawley: Jesus, doc, you really swallowed Foundation propaganda wholesale, huh?

Gabriel: It's not propaganda. It's truth. You know what could happen if some psychic network ran roughshod over the whole Pacific Northwest? Your little garden of Cascadia could smash into everything we've ever built there. Anomalies are aberrations. They're scars on the fabric of time, unnatural growths on reality. That girl and her friends would pierce the Veil, wreck cities -

Hawley: You don't know that. You're just guessing. I don't know, doc. It doesn't feel like life would be like that. You can't dictate what is and isn't natural.

Gabriel: Neither can you.

The two stare at each other for several seconds.

Gabriel: Ambition is a dangerous thing, Agent Hawley. I've seen it make men go rotten.

Hawley: It made them better, doc. How could it do anything else? How do you know what is right and proper? We're here because of mutations over millenia - why couldn't this be the next one? Why do we get to define little lines around what should and shouldn't be contained? We could make things better. We have the power to do it.

Gabriel looks at his watch. Hawley sighs, and leans back in his chair.

Gabriel: What happened next?

Hawley: Ah, doc. That's the problem, see. That's when a hole opened up beneath me.

Addendum #3: In the following weeks, Hawley's investigation focused on sorting through the recovered documents. Among these, two documents were deemed particularly important for the investigation, and are reproduced below.

Document #1: Audio log of an interview between Dr Castro and 6005-435, 1984.

<Begin Log>

Dr Castro: Hello, 6005-435.

6005-435: My name is Cassie.

Dr Castro: Your designation is 6005-435. Let's begin.

6005-435: …Okay.

The sound of writing in a notepad is heard for several seconds.

6005-435: Could we -

Dr Castro: Sorry, just a moment.

The sound of writing continues for several seconds, before abruptly stopping.

Dr Castro: Well, then. What did you see last night?

6005-435: …The forest.

Dr Castro: That's all?

6005-435: Yes.

Dr Castro: I think you're lying.

6005-435: I'm telling the truth.

Dr Castro: Do you remember what [REDACTED] told you, Cassie? About the other place?

6005-435: Yes.

Dr Castro: What did he tell you?

6005-435: That - that it's unnatural. That is was placed in our heads to hurt us. That it's - that it's wrong.

Dr Castro: Come come, Cassie, that's not quite it, is it? He told you why it was given to you.

There is silence for several seconds before Dr Castro sighs.

Dr Castro: I thought we had gone through this, 6005-435.

6005-435: That's not my name.

Dr Castro: It's your designation. The garden is unnatural because it is an act of violence by humanity onto nature, remember? It chews up the natural soil and can only be created by burning the trees. Don't you remember what he showed you? About the trees?

6005-435: But - but it doesn't feel that way -

Dr Castro: Of course it doesn't. It never does. Cassie, this is important. You can't hurt the dreams like that, OK? You can't hurt the forest in that way. Think about what you're doing to it.

6005-435: Y-yes. I'm sorry.

Dr Castro: Good. Apologising is the first step to forgiveness.

A chair can be heard moving.

Dr Castro: I hope to see progress during our next session, Cassie. [REDACTED] would be so disappointed.

6005-435: Is - is he here?

Dr Castro: Not today, I'm afraid. But he'll be back soon.

6005-435: …OK.

<End Log>

Document #2: Original SCP-6005 file, dated to 1984.


BY ORDER OF THE O5 COUNCIL

The following file is Level 5/6005 classified.

Unauthorised access is strictly forbidden.

Item #: SCP-6005 Level 5/6005
Object Class: Keter Classified

Dark_Forest.jpg

Site of the Project Vulpine containment event for specimen 6005-435, dated 06-09-1984


Item #: SCP-6005

Object Class: Keter Euclid

Special Containment Procedures: SCP-6005 is currently being contained through Project Vulpine, which should ensure perpetual self-containment. However, SCP-6005-B instances are to be periodically captured and removed to Site 1015 to ensure the successful conversion into SCP-6005-C instances.

Description: SCP-6005 is a telepathic field, which currently contains over 10,000 members. SCP-6005 appears to be formed naturally without external interference and is spread across the Pacific Northwest and Idaho.

SCP-6005 sufferers (hereafter SCP-6005-B instances) have created a shared environment accessibly only through dreams, hereafter SCP-6005-A. Prior to the successful implementation of Project Vulpine, SCP-6005-A took the form of an elaborate garden, incorporating multiple styles into itself, and apparently covering much of the Pacific Northwest within the dream-world.

The combined telepathic force of SCP-6005 has produced a significant effect on baseline reality. Reports of environmental changes and large-scale community co-ordination facilitated by SCP-6005 had been reported. As such, SCP-6005 represents a significant threat to baseline reality.


Hawley: It was evening when we found it. The sun was setting. The box was stuffed full of shit and we had to sort through every last paper very carefully, just in case some of the site's anomalousness had leaked in. I sat there with Caspar across from me and the sky filled with red and my heart sank into my gut.

Gabriel: Why?

Hawley: Why? Doc, don't you get what it meant? We did this. Whatever was going on, we did it.

Gabriel: I'm sure they had their reasons. Containment is a tricky business.

Hawley: Tricky - what the fuck are you on about? One minute they create a garden, the next minute they're suffering advanced trauma and want to disappear into the woods. That's not containment, that's - that's genocide, doc.

Gabriel: It's not. No. That's not what we - what the Foundation would do. It's containment.

Hawley: This was designed. The disappearances were designed, then buried so deep that the Foundation forgot.

I took this to Adler. I showed him what we'd found. He didn't like it one bit. It was all fun and games when there was an opportunity for solving a glamorous mystery, but the look on his face told me everything. "This is nothing," he said. "I'm taking you off the case." Gave it to Caspar - the poor, weak shit - until he could find someone "more suitable." His voice was oil.

Gabriel: You should have done what he said.

Hawley: Why? Doc, come on. You're a person. You're not a robot. Do you think those D-classes had to have their necks snapped? Do you think that data-gathering wasn't all part of the containment programme?

Gabriel: I wasn't - I was somewhere else before 19. I've seen the sacrifices that have to be made. They're worth it.

Hawley: Were they? What were they being sacrified for? Normalcy? What does that even mean anymore? Why do we get to decide where the real ends and the unreal begins? How do you begin to define that?

Because that's what the Foundation is, doc. That's what Cassie meant. It's all about power, power to define what is and is not right, power to erect walls and lines and a moral code that means nothing, leads nowhere. The Foundation exists for one reason and one reason only: to protect itself and further itself. And nobody even remembers why, or what it's for.

Gabriel: Are you trying to seal your fate, Hawley? This is treason.

Hawley: You still think that? After hearing about this? After hearing about the thousands who just - went?

Gabriel: Yes. Always.

Hawley sits up and stares at Gabriel.

Hawley: Which - which site did you say you were at before 19, doc?

Gabriel stares at Hawley for several seconds, and then begins to smile slowly.

Gabriel: I believe there was an addendum to that document.


Addendum 6005-1: Description of Project Vulpine

Project Vulpine is a large-scale psychological reorientation project organised by [REDACTED]. [REDACTED] noticed the successful use of dream analysis in containment of SCP-4321 and proposed the use of large-scale dream manipulation to alter how SCP-6005 was perceived and used by SCP-6005-B.

The fundamental building-block of SCP-6005 was SCP-6005-A, and the feeling of mutual contentment and positive life experience that resulted from its construction and use. Consequently, Project Vulpine's primary goal is to create negative associations for SCP-6005-A among SCP-6005-B, and create an alternate conceptual sphere wherein SCP-6005 could become self-containing.

This was achieved by implanting, via medication and psychological training, the idea that the "garden" is a human imposition actively causing suffering and harm to nature, as opposed to living in harmony with it, and that any activities of creation or interaction with the garden cause active harm and pain to the garden's flora and fauna.

The central "garden" motif is then to be replaced with the "forest" motif. This motif encourages the growth and encroachment of a forest into the dreamscape, with emphasis on the "law of the jungle" aspects of forest life, designed to create an artificial positioning of the forest as devoid of cooperation. SCP-6005-B instances will be taught that isolation, darkness, heavy forest cover and the avoidance of other instances is vital for continued survival and ethical living.

A concerning side-effect of this is a number of trauma symptoms occurring among SCP-6005-C instances, with symptoms of depression and PTSD increasingly common. A minority of Ethics Committee members were concerned by this trend, but withdrew their objections after the potential threat of SCP-6005 and the failure of other containment measures was pointed out to them.

Once implanted, this idea was able to memetically reproduce itself across SCP-6005. As of 20-09-84, SCP-6005 can be considered fully self-containing. SCP-6005 is now considered to be effectively neutralised as a threat, with its members unlikely to pose any significant threat to normalcy.


Addendum 6005-2: Sample interview with 6005-B instance during the conversion process.

[REDACTED]: Hello, Cassie.

6005-435: Hello, sir.

[REDACTED]: How are you feeling today? Are you doing well?

6005-435: Yes, sir.

[REDACTED]: They told me you weren't eating so well. I hope that's changed.

6005-435: A bit, sir.

[REDACTED]: Good. Good.

The sound of a chair moving can be heard.

[REDACTED]: Now, listen, Cassie, because this is important. I hear there have been a few incidents recently.

There is no response.

[REDACTED]: Have you been visiting the garden again?

6005-435: …No, sir.

[REDACTED]: I think you're lying to me, Cassie.

There is another pause.

[REDACTED]: It's OK. You can tell me anything. That's why I'm here. You're safe here. You don't need to -

6005-435: Don't talk to me like I'm a child. I'm 17.

[REDACTED]: Cassie!

There is a slight shuffling sound.

[REDACTED]: You need to trust us, Cassie. We just want to help. That's why we're here. To help people.

6005-435: It's just…

[REDACTED]: Yes?

6005-435: I don't understand how it can be unnatural. We made a place that was light, that was free. It was beautiful. We didn't tear anything up, we didn't - we were happy. I'd never heard a nightingale before.

[REDACTED]: Nightingales are in forests too.

There is a smashing sound.

6005-435: I don't want to go to the forest! I want it to be like it was! I want to walk down the paths and stretch my arms, I want - why? Why do we have to - to -

6005-435 begins to sob.

[REDACTED]: Oh, Cassie. I'm so disappointed in you. We've been over this before.

6005-435: I know, I just - I don't -

[REDACTED]: I'm awfully surprised at you, really. You're an intelligent girl. You must have forgotten again. Don't you know how much they scream? It's not your place to tell them where to grow, where to live. It's their own. They grow as they would like to grow.

6005-435: I - I know, but I can't feel it, I just can't.

[REDACTED]: You really have forgotten. Shall I remind you?

6005-435: N-no, please, sir, not again -

[REDACTED]: You have to understand, Cassie.

6005-435: I do, I do, really…

[REDACTED]: I think you're lying.

There is the sound of a bag being shuffled.

[REDACTED]: You'll have to listen to it again, Cassie. To their pain. I know it's not fun, but you need to know what you're doing to them. They can't fight back. They're only trees.

6005-435: Please…

[REDACTED]: What was it you asked me, last time I was here? That the others were saying?

6005-435: …Are you an angel?

[REDACTED]: <laughing> Well, it's not actually true, of course. I just share a name with one. An archangel. The one who came and told Mary what she had to do, what was true. And now I'm here to tell you what's true, Cassie.

6005-435: I'm sorry.

[REDACTED]: It's OK. We're just here to help. We're always here to help.

<End Log>


Hawley: "And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth."

Gabriel: I'm not a megalomaniac, Hawley. I'm just a doctor. I just did what I had to.

Hawley: Yeah. Proper and better containment, am I right?

Gabriel: The ethics committee had no problem with my actions.

Hawley snorts loudly.

Hawley: You still had a choice, Gabriel. You still could have done things differently.

Gabriel: And did you? How are you any different from me? You've been a Foundation agent for years, now. You're as complicit as me.

Hawley: We all are, every day. But when you've been sheltered, been lucky, been able to avoid the dark places of the world- when you're like that, and you come up against power, you have a choice. You can do what you do, what Caspar and Adler did, and just keep your head down and pretend like nothing's wrong, like it's fine that the skies are dark and the buildings grey. Or you can do what I have done.

Gabriel: Oh? And what have you done?

Hawley smiles slowly.

Hawley: There was one thing that always bothered me. We never did get a good description of the garden. It was always talked about, but we never found out what it looked like. I wonder where the nicest place to lie down was, to lie down and look at the clouds.

Gabriel: That's what bothered you? You failed! You never found out why they were disappearing!

Hawley: Oh, that part was easy, in the end.

Gabriel: It was?

Hawley: Do you know what Cascadia is, doctor? As a bioregion?

Gabriel: I'm not particularly interested in environmentalism.

Hawley: The concept is simple: an environmental region wherein communities, the lived systems of people, make more sense when they're tied to particular environmental zones. It's an interesting idea; a more harmonious way of living. This whole region, with its mountains and woodlands, run by interconnected communities that draw upon the world around them.

Gabriel: Fascinating. And what does that have to do with anything?

Hawley: What it means, you fatuous fuck, is that you had no idea what you were doing.

Gabriel: There's no need for that sort of language. I was simply fulfilling my function as a Foundation doctor.

Hawley: Yeah, the function they had to hide and bury because they couldn't take the shame. You forgot that a telepathic network is a network. A system. Something inherently interconnected and bound together. You didn't turn the psychic energy inwards, you just hid it somewhere more convenient.

Gabriel: I don't follow.

Hawley: No, I don't suppose you do. You don't understand what people are, do you? Sitting in your little office, pushing numbers together, getting your nice suit pressed. Do you understand what power has done to you? Or were you always like this?

Gabriel: Well. If you're not going to cooperate, then I think we're done here. I imagine they'll send you to Arizona for something like this.

Hawley: Something like what? Like I said, I don't have a clue why I'm here.

Gabriel: You said it yourself. We have power; you do not. And we want you gone.

Hawley: Hmm. Well, that's one way to look at it. Just one small question, though, doc.

Hawley stands up.

Hawley: Where do you think you are?

Gabriel looks around him. He and Hawley are in a dense forest, sitting at a carved wooden table. It is late afternoon, and the day is cloudy.

Gabriel: Wh- what the fuck?

Hawley: Psychic energy doesn't just turn inwards. It never goes away. It seethes, it burns, it finds new pathways. You told it to become a forest, so it found one. From the Yukon to the Cape.

Gabriel: How did we get here?

Hawley: I drugged you and took you here. And then the trees did the rest. Amazing what people don't notice under the influence of telepathy. Why, I once missed a whacking great urn in the corner of a room.

Gabriel: I don't understand, I don't - what the fuck is going on?

Hawley laughs bitterly.

Hawley: Language, doctor. I told them about you. I told them what you did. They're all here, doctor. All your old friends. Just like you told them.

A figure emerges from the trees. She has the size and proportions of a woman in her late teens, but is composed entirely of wood. Her face is a static carving, the same as the figure in Site 1015, the same one Cassie Higgins wore when she saw no more choices left.

Gabriel: Who - what is this? Is this a joke?

Hawley: No, doctor. No jokes here. They know exactly what you did. What they lost. They all came here and lost themselves, because there was no other choice remaining.

A wooden hand emerges from a nearby tree, and grips Gabriel on his shoulder.

Gabriel: Get - get it off! God damn you, Hawley, get it off!

Hawley: Why? It's just exercising its power. Whatever scraps it could reclaim. The dragons are roaring again.

More hands emerge from the tree, and from the earth, each one gripping one of Gabriel's limbs. He struggles, but with no success. Hawley laughs again and takes out a cigarette. The figures watches, silently.

Gabriel: You can't do this! It's not natural! I did what had to be done, I did -

The hands begin to drag Gabriel towards the tree. Cracks begin to open in the bark.

Gabriel: You - stop them, Hawley! Stop them now! It's not right! You can't tell me what's natural and what isn't!

Hawley turns, and puts his face very close to Gabriel's.

Hawley: Neither can you.

Gabriel screams, and continues to struggle. The hands drag him towards the tree. Hawley drops the cigarette on the floor, and walks away, whistling gently. The figure only listens.

Later that day, it rains. The cigarette turns to mush. The tobacco spills onto the earth, indistinguishable from it, sodden with it.

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