It was simple, we thought. Take a few chromosomes, slice them up, put them over there, and hey, perfect human being. I’m still not sure what went wrong. Maybe a miscalculation? A misprocedure? Or maybe something beyond our control. Who knows?
We (a few of my psychologist colleagues and I) were intrigued by human emotion. Anger, despair, euphoria. Was it possible to lock the mind into one emotion? To lock it into a euphoric state so that no sadness or anger would cloud its thought? Theoretically, yes.
I won’t describe the procedures of our experiments to you. Both because I wouldn’t want you to repeat them but also I fear I will go mad if I have to recount them. The terrible things we did. We were ambitious, youthful, nothing could stop us, and no one could tell us we were wrong. All I will tell is that we got ahold of a few stem cells, nurtured them into fetuses, and tampered ever so slightly with the genetics. The experiment was called “The Angel Man Project” and the goal was to create a being which felt only happiness. But something went wrong. Terribly wrong.
Half of the test subjects died unexpectedly, without warning and without cause. The remaining half were mostly born hideously distorted. Three were born well. Perfect, we thought. A human with mental capability beyond any other due to its locked euphoric state.
They were perfectly normal up to eighteen months. That’s when the first symptoms appeared. Lack of balance, trouble sleeping and eating, low responsiveness. We all panicked on the inside, of course, but on the outside we remained calm and continued the project. We should have ended there. We should have taken those damned subjects and euthanized them and burned them and closed the lab. But we continued.
Things only got worse. The subject’s movements became increasingly sporadic and they still could not utter words, although they could laugh and did so often. Much too often. Not happy laughter, but quiet, almost nervous laughing, nearly constant. No matter how much pain was inflicted on the subject it merely stared at you and laughed, as if it were mocking you, calling your attempts to harm it futile.
We expected the subjects to have extra learning capabilities. Quite the opposite occurred. Their mental development was severely delayed. They couldn’t pay attention to something for more than a few minutes before lapsing into a laughing fit. But we continued, hoping that these symptoms would clear up as the children got older. We gave a name to the symptoms. “Happy Puppet Syndrome”, because the mindless movements of the children made it seem like they were puppets on strings.
Five years into the project we realized there was no hope. We could no longer stand the incessant laughing of these children; as if they knew something we did not, as if some kind of joke passed between them. To look at a child and to see it twitch sporadically and laugh excessively is a haunting thing. Two of my colleagues had already quit because they could not stand it. I never heard from them afterwards. They are most likely dead.
The children had not talked for five years. Only laughed their damned laugh. We went in to give them breakfast and they stared at us with their huge eyes, twitching, giggling, and saying nothing. We lay the meal in front of them and left. The meal was laced with toxins that would silently and painlessly kill the subjects. It was a painful thing to do, but it had to be done. However, it would not be that easy.
As a friend of mine set a tray of food down in front of one of the boys, the laughing stopped. The boy looked up at my friend, his eyes suddenly dark, dead serious, the laughing gone.
They continued to stare at him and twitch for a while. My friend was in shock and would not move. My colleagues and I stood with pen and notepad ready to take notes. Suddenly, my friend fell to his knees, grasping his head and yelling furiously. He appeared to be in tremendous pain. My colleagues and I were so surprised by this we could do nothing but sit and watch. My friend collapsed to the floor, yelling curses. He jerked violently a few times, and then went limp.
I held back the urge to be sick, more successfully than a few of my colleagues. Something about this was not normal. A dark presence seemed to tower over us. We immediately sealed the entrance. The boy stopped, looked at the door, and laughed. He fell to the floor, twitching and rolling about laughing insanely. The two others did the same. After a few minutes the fit ceased, and they stood up, still twitching, still giggling.
The lights went out. I heard crashes, glass shattering, screams. The most terrifying thing of all were the haunting whispers, coupled with the quiet laughing. When the lights went back on, the subjects were gone. Two of my colleagues lay unconscious beside me, their bodies twisted at odd angles, blood trickling from their drooping mouths. At first they appeared to be dead. They showed no vital signs. But as I leaned in, I could hear them laughing, ever so slightly. I went over to examine my friend. No pulse, no breathing, but he continued to laugh quietly.
Although the subjects had gone, I still felt as if something were watching me, something that was just at the edge of my vision but that I would never be able to see.
Me and one remaining colleague closed everything down immediately. Before leaving we destroyed our research and locked and barricaded the lab. I lost communication with my colleagues. I presume they are dead.
I still feel like I am watched. I still hear the laughing, the whispering, in my dreams and sometimes when I am awake. When I do, I run. I get up and I leave wherever I am. I’m not able to stay in the same place for more than a few days because of this.
It spread. Other children were seen with similar symptoms. I have no idea how it spread, it shouldn’t be something that spreads. Somebody somewhere made something up about disjunction of the 15th chromosome, and that kept the people happy and in the dark, for now. The disease was coined “Angelman Syndrome”. So far the spawn are not dangerous. But I know the originals still lurk somewhere.
I know they are coming for me. I know they will find me. I accept this. It is what I get for attempting to tamper with nature. I leave this letter here as a warning. They are coming for you, too. They are coming for all of us. If ever you hear whispering, laughing, at the edge of your hearing, run. If ever you feel as if something stands right at the edge of your sight, but you cannot look at it, run.
Also, I warn you this. One: do not tamper with what is not yours. Two: Even Angels can be Demons in disguise. And three: Do not come for me. I am as good as dead.
The following manuscript was found in an abandoned and hidden laboratory discovered deep in an Alaskan forest. The laboratory consisted of an observation room and a containment room. The containment room was barricaded and locked, and the entire lab seemed to have caught fire at one point. Traces of blood were found after the containment room was breached, and a window was shattered. The exact nature of this lab is yet undiscovered.