This Broken Sky
rating: +27+x

“Just send me a text when it’s done!” Hye called to Dr. Roberts as she closed the large metal door. She could hear the automatic locks sealing her off from the outside world when the metal plates set into place. The locking system was excessive and annoying at times, but Hye knew that it was a necessity.

She traveled down the confined halls of Site 100 until she stood before the one-way mirror that looked over the containment chamber. There it stood, stationary atop one of several hexagonal pillars found in its enclosure. The Deer was looking directly at Hye Parkang through the glass. The researcher couldn’t tell if it stared with wonder, confusion, or some emotion beyond human comprehension. Hye moved on; she would see plenty more of the Deer in the following days; it was not worth looking at it more than she had to.

She walked over to room TA-209 and peeked inside. She could see many of her colleagues practicing their lines for Procedure 410-Cassini. Most people would smile at the crazy display before her, but Hye did not smile. This play was not a laughing matter. If they screwed up, they’d be as good as dead.

Hye arrived at the lounge room to make herself a cup of coffee and take her anxiety medication. It gave her life in a time when she desperately needed it. Containing SCP-2845 wasn’t physically exhaustive, but it sure was mentally taxing.

The researcher had just begun pouring water into the coffee machine when her phone buzzed. Hye sighed, did Roberts want to come back inside already?

Hye burst into the Center of Communications room already out of breath, having raced across half the facility. Five of her colleagues were already present in the chamber, and none acknowledged her arrival despite her abrupt entrance. They all had their eyes trained on the large monitor hooked up to the western wall. She was about to yell at them, demanding an explanation. The words quickly escaped her as her eyes focused on the monitor.

It was a live feed of a massive pileup in Times Square. A fire was raging from a car when it exploded, and a building adjacent to it caught ablaze. This carnage wasn’t what filled Hye with a sense of dread; it was the people she saw. They were melting right before her eyes. They were screaming in pain and terror as their skin slowly sank into a shape that no longer resembled anything human.

Muscle tissue peeled off until you could make out the distinct white coloration of the bones. The bone visible did not appear to be broken, despite mass dislocation. She saw a skull float seamlessly atop a mountain of flesh and a half-consumed rib cage with tendrils wrapped around it at various intervals that were slowly receding into the general mass. She looked on in horror as she saw the lower jaw of a man melt off of his face and fall onto his clothes. One of his eyes slid down to what should have been his throat. The eye appeared to look about as if fully operational despite being dislocated to such a degree. And in spite of most of the people being horrifically disfigured at a point, the people continued to crawl along the asphalt.

“A-are they-” She watched in horror as a little boy was being dragged into the frame. He kicked and screamed as the melted remains of the victims dragged him outside of a little restaurant and into the light. He cried for his father as he struggled against the flesh. He desperately grabbed onto the door frame until he lost his grip and fell forwards into the mass. His screaming faded into a gurgling noise as he appeared to be choking due to his vocal cords melting into his esophagus. His body melted and mixed into the mass of bodies. Soon she couldn’t even make out the boy amongst the mountain of flesh. He was a part of it now.

An emergency broadcast message cut the footage short. The Foundation’s logo and slogan was plastered in white at the top. It was then followed by a passage detailing orders, but Hye didn’t say to find out what it was saying.

Hye backed out of the room, and her legs trembled slightly. She felt like she was going to vomit. Hye was used to horrific sights; she had seen Procedure 460-Omphalos performed firsthand, after all. But what she had just witnessed filled her was a new sense of dread and disgust.

Hye’s thoughts were cut off by the buzzing of her phone once again. She reached into her pocket with trembling hands and glanced at the screen. Now who was calling her?

Daniel Roberts

She felt goosebumps once again crawl over her body. She had completely forgotten about him. She was the only person who knew he was outside. Her mind flashed back to the boy on the screen, causing her to grimace.

“Dan!? Daniel! I-I-I’m so sorry!” She turned on her heels, running back down the hall. “I am so sorry! I-I Have no idea what’s happening! I saw- I watched- I….”

“Hye? Is that you? Where have you been? You have to come out here for a second.”

“Oh my god! Something’s going- Ah! I’m so sorry! Oh my god! I’m coming to get you right now! Hold on!”

Hye ran passed the glass of the Deer’s chamber without so much as a glance in its direction. Unaware of any changes to its position or activities. “T-there must have been a breach or something!”

“A breach? Hold on a second; you need to calm down. Everything’s just perfect right now. Come see for yourself. It’s such a nice day out today.”

Hye arrived at an elevator and slammed her hand on the down button. She was panting profusely from having just ran full speed through the halls of the site. “No, Dan, i-it’s New York! The- the whole city! It is burning; it’s boiling! D-di-didn’t…” Hye was not gasping for air now, her heart racing faster than a bullet train. “It’s- something… I don’t … oh god. What are we-?” Tears started to run down her cheek; she knelt over, beginning to feel light-headed. Hye wanted to scream, but she couldn’t. She could barely speak now.

“Hey hey hey now. Calm down, Hye. You’re alright, you’re alright. I’m here for you. You need to calm down. Just relax. Let's do some breathing exercises. Just breath in… and breath out… breath in… breath out. Come on, do it with me now. Breath in… breath out.”

She listened to the calm, warm words of her companion. She started to take in large breaths of air with audible gasps. It was now dawning on her how out of breath she was. Hye had filled her lungs with CO2 from how badly she was handling her breathing during her full-on sprint up and down the facility just moments ago on top of her racing heart. Slowly, she felt herself calming down if only a little.

The down arrow blinked to life above, and a pleasant ding was heard. Hye looked up to see the metallic doors parted ways for her. She felt a twang of relief wash over her body as she stepped inside. “T-thank you, Daniel. I think I am starting to feel better now.” She exhaled as she leaned against one of the walls. “You always know how to help me, thank you.”

“There you go. You shouldn’t overwork yourself like that. You took your medication today, right?”

Hye pressed the button that led to the ground floor. “No. No, I didn’t. There was no time.”

“Come and open the door for us. You’ll feel much better out here. Getting fresh air always helps calm the nerves.”

Hye had her phone pressed against her right ear when the alarm rang out. She yelped and instinctively moved her phone away from her ear. Her call was terminated automatically, and her screen was now on the lock menu with a warning in the middle of the screen. She put a hand to her left ear as she opened the message. The Foundation logo with the words XK-Δ-Class Scenario in white font at the top of the screen. Below it was a message in similar white font.

To all Foundation personnel, you are to shelter in place until further notice. We are experiencing an XK class End-of-the-World scenario. We don’t fully understand what is happening at the moment, but rest assured we will be relaying updates as soon as we can. What we do understand however is that making contact with the outside world will result in immediate death. You are to stay inside and shelter in place. Do not under any circumstances go outside.

Be on standby for further instructions.

-The Administrator

All the work she had done to stabilize her breathing became inconsequential as she read the message.

Her phone was ringing. For the past hour, the device had only brought her nothing but bad news, and she knew nothing good could come from it, and yet she answered the phone again, despite herself.

“Hye. Hye, where are you? You said you’d open the door for me. What’s going on?”

Tears began to well up in her eyes, but her voice did not waver. “Daniel! I can’t, we-um. We have to shelter in place immediately! It’s an XK! Some kind of XK event is happening!”

“Oh no. That sounds horrible. Please come and open the door, Hye. I don’t want to be alone without you.”

“No, no. Dan, I-I can’t. We’ve been told to shelter in place. It’s dangerous out there. I’m so so sorry.”

“What? Are you ok Hye? What are you talking about? The sun is so warm and nice right now. This can’t be an XK.”

“No, Dan! I saw it. It was all on the cameras! I-it was horrible. Children were melting. Melting, god damn it! “ Hye’s voice cracked, tears began running down her face.

“What do you mean? You aren’t making sense; we’re outstanding.”

“Ok, let's talk about this later, just please let me inside. I want to be with you again. I can’t handle being separated from you like this.”

Hye saw the massive doorway just down the hall with its automatic locks sealed into place. It was more of a prison vault door, keeping the most dangerous and valuable locked inside. Hye shook her head and hung up the phone.

She quickened her pace, making her way to the door in seconds. Her friend was right. She had to let him in right away. She couldn’t just leave him out there to die and melt. Maybe she had time to save him.

“Y-yeah. New York is like, hundreds of miles away. Hehe. There’s no way it could have reached us by now.” Hye gritted her teeth and looked fearfully into the terminal on the side of the wall. She was talking to herself again. Hye ignored it and quickly began inputting her credentials.

“What the hell are you doing!?" Hye jolted with a start at the commanding voice that boomed from behind her.

Hye spun around from the terminal to see an MTF agent, Rem Dawnly. She was fully dressed in her uniform, and you couldn't see an inch of skin on her except for her helmet, which she had pressed underneath her elbow. Rem scowled at Hye with her deep violet eyes, which Hye could clearly make out despite being over 10 meters away.

"We were told to shelter in place! What do you think you are doing?!" Rem began quickly advancing towards Hye. "Step away from the door, now!"

Rem started making her way across the room to confront her colleague more severally when the vault door opened up. Hye had already finished unlocking the door before Rem had demanded her to stop. The automated system slowly swung the door inwards.

The sunlight engulfed the left side of the room with fresh air and the familiar rays of sunlight. Rem gasped as she was caught right in the sun's gaze. As soon as the rays embraced Rem, she let out a horrific scream. She attempted to shield her uncovered face from the beams, but it did nothing.

Rem pressed her hands against her face to try and nullify the pain. But as soon as she did so, her gloved hands slipped right under her skin. Now overcome by a new sense of panic, she tried to pull her hands away from her face, but it was no use; her hands had melted into her head, appearing as if she had always been structured like this. She tried to walk away, but her legs gave way, falling to the floor. Hye watched in horror as the MTF agent melted into her clothes. The room filled with the pungent stench of iron; blood pooled on the floor amongst the guts and puss.

The mass that was her colleague twitched and writhed onto the floor. Hissing sounds could be heard as her body seemed to boil. Bubbles of air floated to the top and popped. Meanwhile, the screaming soon trailed off and instead seemed to melt into groans and moans.

Hye Parkang screamed and triggered an emergency alarm on the terminal. With the alarm initiated the door slammed shut, leaving the only light visible to be the fluorescent lights that hang above. Even now being isolated from the outside world, Rem continued to melt. Hye could no longer find her face, it had sunk below the flesh. And yet, it spoke.

“There you are. I was so worried about you. Come over here and into the light. It is such a wonderful day out today. There's not a cloud in the sky.”

Rem's eyes had resurfaced, resting at ground level. Her deep violet eyes were unmistakable. It stared up at Hye and blinked.

Hye felt her heart drop. This thing that stood in Rem's place did not sound like Rem, it didn't even her speech patterns.

“Come on dear, we no longer need to hide our true selves. We can finally be together and be a family.”

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