The Superior Incident: Debriefing

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Foreword: During the events of Incident SCP-097-D (colloquially termed the "Black Autumn" by members of Site-87's staff), the population of Sloth's Pit, Wisconsin was relocated to two nearby municipalities; approximately half of the town was relocated to Duluth, Minnesota, while the other half was sent to Superior, Wisconsin.

During this time, a family of four— Richard Coldwater (38), Marian Coldwater (16), Carrie Coldwater (14), and Maxwell Coldwater (5) disappeared from their temporary housing, which was found to be full of straw, similar to the scarecrows which instigated the evacuation from Sloth's Pit. Mobile Task Force Sigma-10 Agents Alison Carol, Abraham Holmes, and Micheal Robinson were tasked with locating the Coldwater family.

Interviewee: Alison Carol
Interviewer: Randolph Carter
Time of Interview: 10:00 PM 31/10/17

Carter: Can I get you a drink, agent? There might still be some punch from the party left.

Carol: Is it alcoholic? 'Cause I really need a drink right now.

Carter: They got rid of the alcoholic punch after Partridge started shotgunning it.

Carol: How do you… nevermind. Yeah, sure, as long as it's not that pineapple crap.

Carter: Let's start from the top— sorry, a bit hard to sit down.

Carol: You maybe want to take your costume off? I'm having trouble hearing you with the mask on.

Carter: It's stuck on. In any case, let's start at the beginning.

Carol: Well, after the town got evacuated, we were assigned to watch over the population. We kept them confined to a single apartment building for the sake of security— we had to give them armed escorts if they wanted to go out, and even then, they needed a pass at least twelve hours in advance.

Carter: How did you think the population felt?

Interviewee: Abraham Holmes
Interviewer: Randolph Carter
Time of Interview: 12:00 AM 1/11/2017

Holmes: The adults were pretty worried—a lot of them had lost loved ones. A few kids lost a parent. At the same time, not having to go to school for at least two weeks is a pretty exciting prospect for kids, so there's that.

Carter: Now, agent Holmes—

Holmes: Randy, please. Just call me Abe.

Carter: It'd break protocol. Sorry. Agent Holmes, you know the Coldwater family?

Holmes: I was born and raised in Sloth's Pit. My kid went to school with their youngest, Max.

Carter: And you knew both Richard and Penelope Coldwater?

Holmes: Yeah. I told Richard what had happened to her myself. He asked if I could get Penny's… well, she had a necklace on, when she turned up in that scarecrow. Look, what does this have to do with what happened?

Interviewee: Micheal Robinson
Interviewer: Randolph Carter
Time of Interview: 11:00 PM, 31/10/2018

Robinson: Do I think that Holmes was compromised by his relationship to the POIs? Absolutely.

Carter: Elaborate, please.

Robinson: Well, for one thing, the ignored obvious warning signs. When they didn't show up for the muster for the return trip, he went to check on them alone. That was a security risk, and… well, I'll get to that.

He found the Coldwater's apartment empty—there were signs that the children's beds had been disturbed. There was blood, on the floor of the kitchen. And hay.

Carter: Hay?

Robinson: Like, 'hay is for horses'. Straw. It had soaked up some of the blood. There was no sign of the father or any of the children. We didn't know where they were—the cameras were affected by 097 in such a way that they didn't register human life, so they could have been anywhere in the complex.

Carol: Okay. Yeah, the blood Well, once we got the forensic agents in, our agent in the Superior PD—I can't remember his name at the moment, sorry.

Carter: Agent Morales.

Carol: Right. Agent Morales brought over one of the bloodhounds. Discreetly. We managed to find something with the scent of one of the kids—I think it was a stuffed Pikachu that Maxwell—

Carter: That detail isn't particularly relevant.

Carol: Well, we managed to find the scent. We geared up, and prepared for the worst.

Agent Carol sighs.

Carter: Have some more punch.

Holmes: I'm not even sure we needed the bloodhound. It was easy to find the straw on the carpeting—the blood didn't stand out as much, but we followed it.

Carter: And where did that take you?

Holmes: Well… okay, these apartments are a little weird. I think that the building used to be an old mansion in Superior? Basically, they knocked down all of the walls and put in about thirty apartments on each floor. The top floor's the penthouse, obviously. And it has a clock tower.

Carter: And the clock tower is where the bloodhound led you?

Holmes: That is correct.

Robinson: With all due respect, Carter, you look ridiculous in that.

Carter: I'm aware. But it's stuck.

Robinson: Can you at least turn off the voice modulator? It's distracting, having to talk to James Earl Jones.

Carter: I've managed to turn off the breathing, but beyond that, I think I might have to get maintenance to get me out. You were saying?

Robinson: The hound led us up the stairs to the penthouse, but… there was something wrong. It kept stopping, sniffing at Holmes's bag. Holmes lives off-site, and has a dog that he brought along to Superior. At first, I figured 'oh, it's just the dog treats he has in there'.

Carter: Did you see the dog treats?

Robinson: Yeah. He got them from his quarters specifically so he could treat the bloodhound. That was my excuse, at first. And then it kept doing it.

I used to work for the Redwood Natural Parks. People went off-trail there all the time, and we used hounds a lot. The bloodhounds we used there, once they got the scent, they stuck to it, until they lost it completely. Something was up.

Robinson is heard eating something.

Robinson: Uh, thanks for the cookies, by the way. Haven't had anything to eat all day.

Carter: Avoid the ghosts—the black 'boo' is licorice-flavored.

Carol: Yeah, I did notice that the bloodhound was sticking pretty closely to Holmes's bag. But that didn't really concern me, after… after what happened.

Carter: Elaborate, please?

Carol: We got into the penthouse—the Foundation owned the whole building, and the penthouse wasn't used. It was intended as a suite for the Director and senior staff if the city ever got evacuated, but everyone insisted on staying behind.

Carter: You never used it? Really?

Carol: …all right, we raided its liquor cabinet. Once.

Carter: Noted. What did you find in the penthouse?

Carol: Hay. Hay, everywhere, on the floor. And a lot of blood. It smelled like a barn in there. We heard movement within, but the lights didn't work. So, we activated our flashlights and left the hound at the door.

Holmes took point on this. He set his bag down—

Carter: Why did he do that?

Holmes: I had forgotten my light.

Carter: Forgotten your light?

Holmes: We have these helmet-mounted lights, and I'd taken mine off—it doesn't fit in the storage cubby I use if it's mounted on there.

Carter: Hmm.

Holmes: I got it on, and I heard a thump on the ground, and a clattering of metal. So, I turn my light on, and over in the corner of the room, I see a flash of steel.

Carter: Steel?

Holmes: Just being poetic. It was metal, a knife. I couldn't tell at first, because it was covered in blood.

Carter: And where was this knife?

Holmes: In the corner of the room, like I said.

Carter: Was it sitting on top of or below the hay?

Holmes: On top of it.

Carter: I imagine that you were suspicious at this point.

Robinson: Yeah. He pointed out the knife, and I notice it's on top of the hay. The entire floor's covered in it, and a single bloody knife just happens to be on top? Something was up.

I figured an altercation here wouldn't be a good idea—there was a chance the POI was still here, and his kids might have been hiding in the dark. Didn't want to scare them.

Carter: Were there any light sources that you could see?

Robinson: The clock tower, the faces of it are glass. It gave enough light that we could see a patch in the center of the room—a patch with three scarecrows in it.

Carol: My heart skipped a beat when I saw these things.

Carter: Why is that?

Carol: Robert—Robert Tofflemire, my partner—and I had found some of the first scarecrows on patrol. It was right after Squad 9 vanished, and, well, we were pretty shaken. They weren't uniformly made—some of them had pumpkin heads, others were straw, cloth, and one was just a giant hat covering what was underneath.

Bailey and Hastings found out they were filled with bodies, yeah?

Carter: I believe so.

Carol: A few minutes before that call came in, Tofflemire recognized something on the one we were guarding—it was out at the movie theater, it had popped up in the middle of the popcorn machine. He realized that the clothes on the one in there looked like the suit the theater manager wore to big events, and the horror film fest was going to start up that night.

He removed the hay from the scarecrow's head, and… well, I don't imagine I need to tell you what we found.

Carter: The three scarecrows, how large were they?

Carol: One was roughly the size of an adult. One was shorter, maybe preteen. The last one was… God, I…

Carter: Take your time, agent.

Holmes: I approached the scarecrows first. Took point. Whatever.

Carter: What did you do then?

Holmes: I… well, I removed the straw from the first one's face. I… I saw Mary, the oldest daughter. Her neck had been slit. There was blood on the hay around her chest, and—fucking hell, she used to babysit my kid!

Carter: Calm down.

Holmes: I-I knew what was under the other two, but I still had to check. One had- had Carrie in it. She was stabbed through her ear. And… little Max was in the last one. Jesus Christ.

You know what the worst part about that was?

Carter: What?

Holmes: Max had—he had lacerations all over him, but he… he must've been so small, and nothing—nothing could get hit right. He was still alive. Oh god, is he—

Carter: I was told he was stable. He has an aunt in town who will take him in.

Holmes: I should've seen it.

Robinson: I approached the scarecrows. Holmes… well, he was distraught. Understandable, really, he- he knew the family well.

At this point, I noticed the pool of blood between the three scarecrows. It… well, it had pooled, and the splatter pattern meant that it came from a great height. I looked up, and… well, there was Richard Coldwater, hanging from the ceiling, with his wrists opened.

Anything about that seem incongruous to you?

Carter: I'd prefer if you'd state it, Agent.

Robinson: A bloody knife just happens to be on the floor, and this man is hanging from a beam that's at least twenty feet up. The rope was anchored to a hook near the fireplace. I cut him down, and… well, it was obvious he was dead. For at least twelve hours. What blood hadn't come out of his wrists had pooled around the ankles.

It was pretty obvious that this was murder. Poorly-done, too— I've never seen a worse staged suicide. It's almost like he wanted to get caught.

Carter: He, agent?

Carol: Holmes killed Richard Coldwater.

Carter: Why do you think he did this?

Carol: Well, an inspection of the bodies pretty much told us why he did it, but not when. The two girls of the Coldwater family, they had been… stabbed to death. There were ligature marks around the wrists and ankles, indicating they'd been tied up, and friction burns around the mouth— they'd been gagged with cloth.

These same features were found on the youngest, which… thank god he's going to pull through, Jesus. Poor kid.

It took me a little while to realize he was breathing. I gave him to Agent Morales, and he managed to get him to the hospital.

It was fairly clear that Coldwater had murdered his daughters, and nearly killed his son. Holmes must have found out and… well. You know the rest.

Carter: You mentioned 'warning signs', earlier, and didn't elaborate on that.

Robinson: Around the… what was it, the 26th? Yeah, around then, people stopped seeing the daughters around the apartments. When questioned, Coldwater claimed that they were grounded, or at the apartment, or missing their mother. I had my suspicions.

Maxwell stuck around until the night before, I imagine. Holmes… he must've gotten suspicious, too. Followed him to the penthouse, and when he… when he saw what he was doing…

I don't know why he slashed the wrists and hung him, though. That bugs me. Maybe he was angry.

Carter: I think that's about all.

Robinson: The worst part is, I don't blame him.

Carter: There's one last thing you should know, agent.

Holmes: Yeah. I… after I saw what he was doing to Max, I- I snapped. Held him to the ground, choked him. I tried to make it look like he had hung himself, but… I got so mad. I opened his wrists to make sure he was dead. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck…

But… I figured, I was just putting him out of his misery.

Carter: How do you mean?

Holmes: Well, he… he got whammied, right? 097, it got to him? Like it got to the town? I mean, who knows what would've happened if I'd let it back in, right?

Carter: That'll be all, agent.

Holmes: He was—he did have something affecting him, right? A compulsion or something? Can't they test brain chemicals for that?

«Interview Terminated»

Carol: That's not possible.

Carter: There was no evidence that Richard Coldwater was anomalously affected in any manner. All of his results came back negative—no neurological alteration, no chemical compulsion, no memetic interference. He did it of his own free will.

Carol: What the fuck?

Carter: One thing you learn in this profession, Agent Carol. Sometimes, the worst things in the world aren't anomalous.

Carter stands and opens the door.

Carter: You're free to go.

Carol: I imagine this'll be used in as evidence during Holmes's trial?

Carter: That's correct.

Carol: He's not a bad agent. He just… made a mistake.

Carter: That's not up to you to decide.

Carol exits the room. Carter follows.

«Interview Terminated»

Afterword: Agent Abraham Holmes was found guilty of second-degree murder, tampering with evidence, abuse of a corpse, and several counts of violating Foundation procedure. He is currently awaiting sentencing.

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