They Had Names
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rating: +30+x

Our people were slaughtered in an instant. Each of our stories begins differently. One was eating with their child, one was dancing with their lover, one was coming home after a long day's work. I was watching a play with my older brother, who was in town for the first time in months. All of our stories end the same: there was a green flash, and then we were the only ones left.

The others were more than gone. They'd been erased. Unmade. Even their names had been swept away by the green flash. My brother and I, we used to talk every day on the phone. But as I sat in that theater with whatever people were left, I found that I had no name to cry out. I still remember going through the alphabet, shouting whatever names I could remember into the panicked room. Alphonse, Astrid, Ætrox, Aaron, Amkir… I stopped at Meshta. It hurt too much to keep going, and none of them rang a bell anyways.

I didn't know what to do after that. With myself. With the apartment. The next few days were a blur. I remember eating a lot, drinking even more. The table was covered in little shreds of paper that used to be part of the phone book. Most of the names in it were blank. One day, I decided to give one of the remaining numbers a call. Whoever picked up sounded like they'd been crying. They were the first survivor I found.

As us survivors began to find each other, we knew that we had to find our people. The days were short and our families were gone, so we started our search in the Court of Winter. And in that home, that season-long shelter for the ruined, I couldn't find my brother. We didn't see any of our family members. We did see ourselves though, the last jagged shards of a shattered civilization, too small and useless to be worth noticing. Of course we saw ourselves. The uninvited can only enter the Court of Oblivion if they belong there, only if they're fit to witness the ghosts of fallen castles and phantasmal fog superimposed on the world of the living.

For a while, the Court of Winter was almost pleasant. To our butchers, we were invisible. Intangible. I spent many days walking through man's sunlit streets, inexistent to the humans I once had to hide from. But the creatures that were in the Court with us were… withering. Aching, long-forgotten things, indescribable at the edges. They were all vaporizing, in their slow, strange way. One time, I saw a thing that looked like a cockroach, a mouse, and a favorite song mashed together. It was scrambling around on its knees, scooping its facial features up with its hands as they gently floated to the ground. Each time it brought its cupped hands back to its face, the twinkle of an eye or the sarcasm of a smile would slip between its fingers. If we didn't leave, it would only be a matter of time before we joined the fog.

It wasn't long after this realization that we found the battlefield. Word spread so fast that we were all gathered there before nightfall. From outside the court, it looked perfectly ordinary. There were no trenches, no soil upturned by artillery shells, no spent bullets. Instead, we found whatever was left of our families' names strewn across the ground. They were mangled, chopped up and spread out in a show of cruelty. Of domination. I found part of my brother's name there. I could feel that the "k" belonged to him. Maybe his name was Amkir. Maybe it was Amkir and I couldn't even recognize it.

Legend said that Mab, the queen who'd armed our butchers, once had a longer name. Allegedly, most of it was shred to pieces. I had never believed it. The idea that names had such physicality, that they could be hacked at and cauterized like an arm or a leg seemed absurd. The battlefield changed that. And, shin deep in linguistic gore, we learned the names of the people we were warring against: The SCP Foundation. And we became vengeful.

As winter turned to spring, we realized that we were no longer welcome in the Court of What Is Not. The castles had become distant. The fog— suffocating. As the seeds of our fury grew and grew, it was time for them to sprout. Only then did our wandering lead us to The Court of Becoming.

We flourished. In the soil of those birthing woods we were molded anew. Once, we were the leftover scraps of a race nine times decimated. We had been nothing. Through our vengefulness, we became something. But when our essence is to lay waste, to obliterate, to raze, what could we become?

We became the weapons that were never used against us.

We became engines of the destruction we sought.

We became bombs.

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