There is comfort in not seeing. There is bliss in not knowing.

rating: +76+x

It wasn't new, mind you, but it hurt just the same. A small child sat at the base of a tree, surrounded by hundreds of laughing, pointing children. The child's face was buried in its hands, its body bunched up with the knees held close to the chest. The small child rocked forward and back against the tree.

The tree itself was oily black, with thousands of branches reaching far up into a bone white sky. The tips of the branches pierced the pale white veil and small drops of blood leaked down to the base of the tree. The roots of the tree drank up the blood as soon as it touched the ground.

Still, the children laughed.

Then there was a sudden change. In the distance someone new was approaching. Someone else to judge him. Someone else to laugh. The child looked up at the approaching pair of eyes, hidden themselves behind a mask.

The children, the tree, and the bloodied pale sky all fell away. They were both in a cold white containment chamber, the creature that used to be a child rocked in the corner, sobbing to itself and shaking. It was all bones and skin, with little muscle under the pale flesh that covered its body.

The man who had just entered was shackled. The chains that bound him continued back into a hole in the door itself. Suddenly a red light beeped on the side of the neck shackle, and all of the chains fell to the ground. The chains were pulled back into the door, and SCP-049 looked down at SCP-096.

Its soft cries reverberated off the walls around the doctor. All loneliness and pain. The doctor walked over to the monster and laid a hand on the top of its head. It stopped crying and its breathing slowed.

The doctor looked perplexed, as if he'd expected another reaction. The doctor recovered quickly, and looked down at the creature while stroking the top of its head.

“Child you do not have to fear me, I am here to help you, please… let me see.”

With his free hand, the doctor moved its hands from its face, and then moved his hand to its forehead. The thing let out a mournful cry as the doctor looked into its eyes.

"I cannot save you,”

Fresh tears began to stream down the creature’s pale cheeks.

“But I can help you.”

With this the Doctor pulled a bag from his robes and produced a syringe.

“You’ll feel a slight pinch but it’s nothing to fear, trust me.”

The sounds of shouting and metallic locks turning echoed from the containment cell door. He allowed the creature's head to go limp as he gripped its arm and positioned the syringe right on top of the Median Basilic Vein. With a slight application of pressure, the syringe slipped into the vein to deliver the medicine.

Suddenly they were both beneath the tree.

The laughing children were gone. Hanging from the oily black tree's branches were hundreds… maybe thousands of mirror shards. Each one had a reflection of his own eyes, all staring at a single crying child. SCP-049 walked forward on ground covered in ankle deep water. The slow drip of red into the water left clouds of pink behind, swirling as he stepped forward.

The child's crying grew louder and more intense. The doctor reflected on his own life. Curing the great pestilence was his grand purpose, but here was someone suffering. Was he not a doctor? Was this not his higher calling?

As he drew closer to the child, he noticed it was covered in shallow cuts, with blood leaking out all across its body. He reached into his bag for something to staunch the flow, when the child's head suddenly snapped up to look directly at him.

The child's eyes were red and swollen, as if he'd been crying for hours. The child slowly stood up, its sobbing still the only sound outside of the dripping blood from the tree branches. Then, as if a dam had broken it sprinted at the doctor with its arms outstretched.

For a moment the doctor was taken aback, and then the child ran into him at full force. It rocked him in place. The child embraced him and sobbed into his robes. The doctor shook his head and tried his best to comfort him.

In the white room, the plague doctor sat down with the creature until the security forces dragged him away.

For just a little while, it rested.

For just a little while, it was content.

For just a little while, it was loved.

Somehow it cried even harder.

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