"Only one is coming out," I said into the microphone, looking through the glossy, bullet-proof one-way mirror at the small, white-walled room. In there Subject Seven and Subject Eight sitting in the steel chairs, across from one another. On the metal table in between them, there was a revolver, with a single bullet. They just stared. Seven at Eight, and Eight at the gun. The door was locked so they couldn't get out.
They still were just staring, staring and twitching. "Someone needs to get the ball rolling," I spoke to my colleagues, with my hand covering the microphone. We discussed what we needed to do. I knew we couldn't just let them out, we still needed data on human reaction between the test subjects and regular people.
Deciding what needed to be done, I started to speak, "If one of you doesn't die in the next five minutes, the chamber-" BANG! I watched as the bullet hit the mirror, and the small crack formed. He reloaded and took another shot, but you could barely hear the acute clicking of the gun going off without any ammo.
"OK, you asked for it, assholes!" My hand slammed the 'Gas' button, "Dammit!" My voice booming in the small lab, my hand over the mic again, "This happens too much!" While I shouted the chamber was quickly filled with the gas. Afterward, we had the janitorial staff remove the bodies to be cremated.
I pressed the intercom, "Next!" My voice still sounded angry. Calling in the next subjects, I checked what pair we were on. "Pair Ten" I read off the paper. "Aww shit, last subjects," those simple words sent us all into dismay. We had not gained enough information to hand to the government. We needed more data. When the last ones came in, we did the process. Sure enough, Subject Ten shot Nine, but only after being threatened with being gassed.
We talked, and decided,"Look everyone! We need two volunteers!" No hands went up, and in our small lab room, the silence was deafening.
Until one hand went up. Our oldest member, two days from retirement. There was one gasp, but the others knew why he volunteered to die. He hated Indigo Falls. "I will!" I shouted, knowing I might get promoted if I killed the old man.
As I walked into the room, I simply looked at my shoes, and watching my small name tag bounce against my upper chest. I knew I was going to kill someone. I couldn't die now, I was newly wed. Tomorrow, when they ask where the old man is, I'll tell them that he had an 'Accident' with the gun. Maybe I'll tell them suicide. I snapped out of my train of thought, and looked around.
I saw that we had made it to the table. The revolver was lying on its side, in all its murderous glory. "Sit down," the loud speaker echoed in my ears, it bugged me that someone was speaking into my microphone. I didn't even know why. I sat down, but I felt the anger growing inside of me. I realized that, while I thought that it wasn't natural, the feeling that I was going to kill someone. My body felt like... it was preparing for the trauma.
The loud speaker boomed, "You may begin." Those three words made me want to puke. I just looked at the old man, his age sickening me to my very core. He should've died long ago. I picked up the gun and wailed,"Die you bastard!" and shot him. I watched as the bullet tore through his head, and the blood flowed like wine.
"You may exit." The loud speaker said still yelling. I heard the latch slide back. I walked out like nothing had happened. I went home, and had my wife wash the blood off my lab coat. We slept. I woke up, did my routines, and went back to work.
Written by CrazyWords
It had been six days since the young man had gone into the building, and Josephine was beginning to get worried. For as long as she could remember, she had spent her days sitting, gazing out of her shop window, watching the comings-and-goings of the world that lay outside, separated from her by a flimsy shop window. As an eighty-two year old running a shop that was teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, she didn't have much better to do.
She noticed whenever someone new came into the town, and she'd certainly noticed the young man. He was about twenty-eight, six feet tall, with short, black hair and a chiselled face that was remarkably pleasant to look at. Six days ago, he'd gotten off the bus at the town's one bus stop and gone into the shop calling itself “Just Jim's Café”. He hadn't come out since. Josephine didn't generally worry about such trivial things; these “disappearances” were actually pretty common in the town and had been happening for years, but recently they'd been happening more and more, and Josephine was beginning to wonder why.
She hadn't left her shop for four years. Her neighbour, Sid Morgan, had been bringing her food for a very long time, in exchange for a significant chunk of her already dwindling bank account. However, the feeling of the wind rushing across her face as she stepped out of the door was incredible. Slowly, Josephine began to stumble across the road, cursing how slow her legs seemed to have become. She felt odd – although no-one was about, she felt as though she was being watched. Eventually, she reached the shop. It was tacky, falling apart, effectively in disrepair. She was hesitant to go in – at her age, one grew very cautious over things like this. Still, the curiosity ate at her like a virus, willing her to go in. Carefully, she pushed open the door, walking inside.
It was dimly lit, probably due to the grime that seemed to cover the entirety of the place blocking out the sun. The place was empty, excepting a man loitering at the counter, who seemed to be deliberately avoiding talking to her. “He... Hello?” she asked nervously. He gave a grunt of recognition, although he still seemed to be avoiding any kind of confrontation with her. She walked towards him, regretting what she was doing even more with every step. “I'm looking for a young man, he's about six feet tall, dark hair, you wouldn't have happened to have seen him, would you?” The man stopped what he was doing and looked up at her.
“Can't say I have,” he responded in a gruff voice.
“Are you sure?” Josephine asked, “It's just that I'm sure I saw him come in here a few days ago.”
“Quite sure,” the man responded. He had suddenly become nervous, and seemed to want to change the subject. “Would you like to order something?”
“I guess I'll have a coffee,” Josephine said and sat at a table near the window. As the coffee machine dispensed a thick, black substance she could only assume was coffee into a cup, the entire building seemed to groan. Still, the steaming liquid that was then brought to her table smelled pretty good, so she drank up.
She sat drinking for about three minutes, before she began to feel strange. Her head was pounding, and she felt as though she was about to throw up. “Ex...Excuse me?” she croaked, “Do... Do you have an aspirin?” The man didn't respond. Her vision began to blur, and she fell to her knees. As her head hit the floor, she caught a faint glimpse of a small army of uniformed SWAT officers charging into the building. She overheard one of them shouting something into a walkie talkie.
“Yeah, she's out; take her to the pen.”
Josephine didn't remember much from then on. After all, lobotomies don't generally permit much rational thought. She did remember one thing though, before she died, and that was the fear. Josephine thought she'd seen quite a bit in her lifetime, but nothing could've prepared her for what she saw in the pen. At first glance, if you were far enough away, you might've thought it was just a tall, muscular human, but when you got closer, you could see it had clearly become something far different. Its skin was covered with huge, tumorous growths, that almost seemed to pulsate. Its face hung off from its skull, half of it clinging on by just a single, fleshy thread. If Josephine had possessed the capacity for logical thought, she probably would have screamed – not because of the gruesome sight in front of her, but because of the remarkable semblance it bore to a young man aged around twenty-eight, with short, black hair, and a remarkably chiselled face; the same young man who she could have sworn she had seen going into “Just Jim's Café” about a week ago. Of course, she wouldn't have screamed for long. Those who have been torn limb from limb aren't well known for their conversational skills.
Written by Underscorre
The last words out of Tim's mouth had no immediate impact upon the minds of the board meeting. Despite this, those words would serve as the conduit of despair for the town in question for the next several years.
An ordinary suit named Alan replied, "Indigo Falls? What would we have to gain by building there?"
Tim said, "Well, it's a shit logging town in the middle of nowhere. Nobody will suspect a thing if we build there."
"Exactly. It's shit. We would have little to no contact with the outside world, no way to stay under the radar of local gossipers, and a limited number of subjects to pull from before people started getting suspicious."
Another man named Jack countered, "We can make the town grow if we need it to. Sounds good to me; I think we should go with it."
Alan said, "Are you people out of your fucking minds? We're just going to accept whatever this asshole says as fact?"
A lady named Josephine blurted, "I don't see you coming up with any ideas, Alan."
The room was silent for a while. Each of the twelve there was lost in thought, planning their next words when the man at the head of the table spoke. "Well, if it's ok with you all I'd like to move to a vote on the location of Indigo Falls, Maine. All those in favor raise your hand." Eleven of the attendees raised their hand. Alan said, "Even you, Sid?"
The man at the head of the table replied, "Yes, even me. All opposed?"
Alan alone raised his hand.
"Well it's decided then. Tim, what's the number for Indigo Falls' mayoral office?" said Sid.
Sid dialed the number into his phone. He said, "This is the CIA, get me the mayor of Indigo Falls."
Written by Furret2000
The tall, brown-haired woman glared at the scruffy looking man ambling towards her. She lifted her purse onto the table before her. Her red dress flickered in the artificial lighting.
“Diana.” The man acknowledged her.
“Jim. Take a seat.”
“I'm sorry, but I can't sit for too long. Work to do.”
Diana looked around the dingy diner for any sign of life. Nothing.
“Yes, I see the place is flooded with people.” She remarked sarcastically. “This will only take a minute.”
Jim pulled out a dirty tissue and blew his abnormally large nose for what seemed like minutes. Finally, he hobbled over to the cold wooden chair opposite the stunning woman. She leaned in closer, all the while intimidating Jim in his own territory.
“I have... concerns,” she almost whispered, flicking her hair back.
Jim looked utterly confused. He sat with his eyes scanning the salt and pepper pots resting on the table. He was looking anywhere but in her eyes.
“Ab-b-bout who?” He stuttered.
“Oh, you don't know her, but there's a high chance you will meet her.”
“I'm sorry Diana. What is this about?”
“It's about the future of this town.” She rummaged around in her purse, all the while staring into Jim's eyes. She gracefully pulled out a dollar bill. “Get me a latte.”
Jim gulped and gently took the money from her hand, then clambered over behind the counter.
“So, what sort of assistance do you need?”
“I don't need assistance, honey.” Diana replied. “I need protection.”
“I'm h-honoured, but I don't think I could protect you.”
“I do.” She searched in her purse a second time and revealed a small hand mirror and some lipstick. “You think you do a good job here Jim? All but two of the subjects you've supplied have ended up in The Pen,” she hissed, applying her lipstick.
“I'm sorry Ma'am.” Jim apologized, nearly scalding his hand on the metal coffee machine.
He wandered back to the table, and Diana snatched the coffee cup from his grasp. She took one sip and slammed the cup back down again, splashing it over Jim's hands. He leaped back and wiped them with his sleeves.
“You call this coffee? You should get that machine checked. Bet it's like a sewer in there. Oh, and speaking of sewers, there is one particular woman interested in them.”
“I'm sorry?” The confused look appeared on Jim's face again.
“New resident. Moved into Violet Road last week. Daniel is monitoring her at the moment. Seems to be very interested in a certain storm drain outside her house.” Diana leaned in and pointed her long finger at Jim. “If she even has an inkling of what's below that street, then I will fry your brain and put you in The Pen with all your other little friends.”
Confusion changed to fear.
“Ok.” he hesitated.
“I'm sure she'll innocently stray over here for a coffee soon, and when she does, you will put her to sleep. You won't need to drug her drink. Just give her a latte and she'll conk right out...” Diana winked at him and laughed insultingly.
Jim stared into her beautiful yet cold and dead eyes. Diana smiled, and rose from her seat. She grabbed her purse and slithered out of the diner into the sunset, leaving a trail of fear behind. A Cadillac pulled up, and she stepped in. Just like that, the car shot down the street and she was out of Jim's sight at last. He knew where she was returning to. Her lair. The sprawling mansion perched on top of the cliff overlooking Indigo Falls. The structure looked like it could slip off at any moment.
As the rouge Cadillac ascended towards the grand structure, Diana looked over the town. Her kingdom was there, serving her every want and need. The iron gates clinked open, and the car sped through, finally pulling up outside the mansion. Diana left the vehicle without saying a word to her driver.
That evening, she frantically searched through notes and files. Anything she could find that had only one purpose. To reveal information. Paranoia set in as the hours progressed. She could have sworn there were more to be destroyed. She picked up the telephone and called the only other person in the whole town who would know where they were.
“Quentin. The 'Willow-Tree' file. Do you have a copy?”
“Of course we do. We have copies from every incident, experiment and subject since '42. Why?”
Diana slammed the phone down with worry, sinking back into her leather chair. She gazed into space, her mind racing. A muffled shouting coming from the wooden door behind rudely disturbed her trance.
“Let me out!”
“Now, now, we don't want to go back underground, do we?” The noise abruptly ceased. “Good. Now settle down.”
Written by Elliot Cowling
“Can we go now, mum?” Alexia asked her mother, hoping she was somewhere among the darkness.
“Almost, honey. Today’s the day though, I know it,” a weak voice whispered back to her from the black abyss. Her mother seemed to be about four feet away from her, judging by how close the whisper was.
Alexia figured that her mother was located just under the trapdoor, possibly with her hand at the ready on the handle. She breathed in the musty, damp air; thoughts of outside once again flooding her mind for about the eighty-third time that day. She was more than ready to be free.
Alexia grabbed her notebook from its hiding place below some kind of beam she had found in the room one week ago. Her stomach grumbled. It had been a couple of days since she had last eaten any food, but she put her hunger aside and pulled on the paper until it broke free from underneath the beam.
She felt underneath the rigid plank for the pen she had carefully placed below it seven days before, and her fingers closed around the cold plastic. She tucked it into her jean’s pocket, turned to face the opposite direction, and closed the notebook tucking it into the back of her jeans, and concealing it with her shirt.
Her mother and her had been hiding in that little space for more than enough time now. Everyone would’ve been evacuated long ago. Alexia was done hiding.
She pulled her long brown hair into a ponytail, feeling just how greasy it was after seven days without a shower. She made a mental note to never go a week without showering again, and attempted to wipe the grime off her face as best as she could.
Without warning, the trapdoor flew open and the entire space was filled with blinding radiance. Alexia’s arm flew to her face, shielding her eyes. After a few minutes, the pain disappeared and she was able to see again. Her mother was sitting underneath the trapdoor, her dress covered in dirt and sweat. She looked terrible.
In the initial rush to evacuate Indigo Falls, Alexia and her mother had found the tiny room and jumped in without a second thought, with enough food to last them a few days and water to last a week. Now, however, Indigo Falls was a barren wasteland; no people, animals or anything even moved within the small town’s streets.
Alexia turned around to observe the basement surrounding them. She looked to the beam which had been the hiding place for her notebook and pen, and almost threw-up.
It was, in actual fact, a rotting corpse laying face down with its hands by its sides. It looked as though the face had been badly beaten in, perhaps the cause of death. A few maggots crawled out of the dead man’s ears, and there were flies buzzing near the rotting meat of his legs.
She bolted out the trapdoor and into the blinding sun, refusing to acknowledge that she had just spent an entire week sharing that basement with a dead body.
“Stop!” Alexia heard a faint whisper come from the opening of the trapdoor. It was her mother’s sickly voice.
“What? Why?” Alexia croaked back as she turned to the trapdoor, looking down to her mother. She was so thin and gangly, it almost made Alexia cry. She desperately wanted to turn away from her mother’s thin form; she had never wanted to see her like this.
Nevertheless, her curiosity about her mother’s request drove her to continue staring.
“I didn’t... open it,” spluttered her mother, slowly removing her hands from her face, worry clearly evident in her widened eyes. Without thinking, she reached down and hauled her mother from the cellar. She was strong for a seventeen year old, and also terrified.
“No time,” said Alexia, “Let’s go.”
She dragged her mother along behind her as they wove their way through the empty streets of Indigo Falls. She ran past “Just Jim’s Café”, and immediately gagged remembering the disgusting coffee they had been served there the day before the evacuation. Alexia spoke up.
“We have to find out what’s going on here. This place isn’t what it used to be. We know that now. I mean, with that weird evacuation message and everything? I don’t know what to think anymore. The point is, we have to find out what the hell is going on here, without getting caught. Will you be ok, mum?” Alexia asked, turning back to look at her mother. She cringed and continued running.
“Yes, sweetie. I just... I’m not used to running just yet. But I know... we have to go fast. Talk about something else. Who opened... that trapdoor?” replied her mother, her voice a thin and fragile murmur.
“I have no idea. But I don’t really want to find out,” Alexia replied as she sprinted down a sharp corner.
A piece of paper trapped in one of the house’s fences caught Alexia’s eye. It was the evacuation message they had received just before the town went to chaos. It had been ripped in two, so only half the message was visible.
“Urgent Evacuation Notice: The CDC here in Indigo Falls has discovered a deadly and toxic unstoppable new virus. This is not a drill. We urge you to leave Indigo Falls as soon as possible, take minimal belongings, and leave your children behind. If your children leave Indigo Falls, they will...”
Alexia shuddered, remembering when that message had arrived in their mailbox, and had been all over the news. “For any enquiries, please ring 207-559-8127” was still replaying in her mind. She began to wonder why she hadn’t seen any children around. They turned another corner.
Suddenly, a big door loomed in front of them. It wasn’t largely evident at first glance, but upon further examination it was definitely there.
It was transparent, located in the middle of the entrance street into Indigo Falls. Only faint, barely recognizable lines making out a rectangular shape assured Alexia that the door did, in fact, exist.
“What... is that a door?” puffed Alexia’s mother, and Alexia nodded her head.
“Well, I mean, at least I think it is,” Alexia answered. “Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m ninety-nine percent sure that there never used to be a door on the entrance road to our town.”
“Never,” breathed Alexia’s mother as she stepped closer to it. Now that the door was more evident, the lines framing it seemed to throb rhythmically, as if engineered to pulse its black light in time to some kind of inaudible beat.
Alexia’s mother placed her hand on the door and began to push. It opened with ease. Blaring white light flooded out from the open space, and suddenly the small town was filled with voices.
A man in a white coat wearing a surgical mask over his mouth and nose was suddenly standing in front of them with a shotgun. Alexia heard a loud noise, and then she looked down to see her belly oozing a crimson substance. She remained conscious for just enough time to see her mother get shot as well, then there was nothing but blackness.
EXPERIMENT #4: Town Evacuation Module
Aim: To test particular subjects’ fight or flight responses to outside stimulus/stimuli.
Conclusion: Failure (subjects expired)
Additional Notes: When the re-trial is commenced the door must be concealed better, or in a less conspicuous manner. Both subjects ‘Alexia’ and ‘Lucinda’ have perished. Only so many can be spared without people noticing.
Diana crushed the letter in her soft hands, and stood from her chair. She stalked into the lab where people were hurrying about their business. Upon her entrance everyone stopped and stared.
“Where is the scientist who shot the subjects?!” she roared. A man near the back of the room warily raised his hand. “You know that when a subject discovers us, they are to be placed in the pen!” Diana began to walk towards the man.
“I’m very sorry, miss. It will not happen again,” he said.
“Hmm,” Diana stared, contemplating the man’s offer. “I think we’ve found our next body for the cellar,” she decided. She turned gracefully on her heel and left, fuming on the inside, and listening to the screams of the scientist as he was carried out the door.
Written by Natalo
The Garden Party
Black Sedans filled with dignitaries, officers and scientists slowly crawled up the tall peak like a funeral procession. The dust sprayed off the track and drifted down to the buildings below. The sun had set, the moon had rose, the mansion was lit up like a christmas tree and the sound of a record player blaring Louis Armstrong filled the air. Roses had been neatly tucked in bushes spread throughout the grounds just for this occasion. It seemed hours before all the guests were sipping rouge coloured wine in the grand gardens. The mingling was broken when the piercing squeak of a microphone startled the sharp dressed guests.
“Evening everybody. For those of who you don't me, my name is Quentin Edwards. I work very closely with Diana Dawson in keeping the Indigo Falls facility up and running. Unfortunately Miss Dawson will not be present this evening due to other engagements that have presented themselves so suddenly.” The crowd scanned him up and down. “Ah yes. To my left is Daniel Carpenter, head of our Investigations Unit and one of Diana's 'Elite few' ha-ha.” The crowd burst into pompous laughter. Wine splashed onto the gravel. Choking and spluttering could be heard amongst the guests. It was as if they had never heard a pun before in their lives. “Miss Dawson was incredibly eager to hold the experiment here in the grounds of her delightful property. Let's begin.”
With an echoing bang the wooden doors barged open. The crowd of people leaned in with intrigue almost instinctively. Emerging from the darkness of the mansion there came another crowd of people, only they looked how the guests would look after their tenth drink of Chardonnay. They stumbled down the stone steps like zombies. Men in lab-coats emerged from the shadows, rushing over to aid them, so it seems. No, no. They were pushing them. Shoving them. Ordering them. As if they could understand. They were dressed as guests and waiters. One was even dressed as security. The guests went back to their mingling. Pretending to be interested in other peoples business when in actual fact they were too busy thinking “what if the subjects knock my glass of wine out of my hand?”
The zombified lab rats were stumbling and pacing and invading personal space. Some were picking up glasses and then dropping them to the ground. Others were picking at their own clothing and occasionally other people's. Pulling buttons. Grabbing sleeves. They wandered around like lost sheep. The looks on the guests faces were of disgust and amusement. It was a freak show. Cackling, chuckling, giggling, gasping and applauding made the atmosphere seem disturbingly pleasant.
“Watch out Quentin. There's a straggler,” the security guard whispered.
A woman in a long blue dress seperate from the guests was spotted heading towards the front gate. Two guards rushed and tried to escort her but the woman was surprisingly strong. She seemed to have some sort of fight left in her regardless of whether she knew it or not. She began kicking and moaning while trying to free herself from the guards. Quentin turned to the guard with a look of boredom.
“Get the cattle prod.”
The guard went off to sort out the scuffle in the distance. About a minute later a bright blue flash lit up the place and the woman stopped dead still. She was completely braindead, staring into the darkness groaning. The guards looked at each other with concern. After what seemed minutes the woman's eyes began to well up. Tears streamed down her cheeks.
“Please! Please let me go!”
The guard stood back in shock. The other put his hand to his ear.
“Sir, you better get here.”
Quentin rolled his eyes and took the glass of wine he was offered from the scientist who he longed to encounter. He, too, placed his hand on his right ear.
“What's the problem? Has one of the subjects turned hostile?”
“No sir. One of them's not a subject.”
Quentin paused after his first sip of alcohol. An unusual occurence. He soldiered through the crowds of guests, wiping the sweat off his forehead. When he reached the woman in the blue dress he stopped dead in his tracks. Quentin pulled a scrunched list out of his pocket and tried to straighten it out.
“Waiter, chequered shirt, black dress, tank top, one with the wound in her left temple...” Quentin looked up with concern. “This lady is not part of the experiment. Take her inside.”
“No please! Don't do thi--”
A black bag was forced over the woman's head. Her muffled screams did not put off the guards from doing their job. Quentin smiled as she dug her nails into the arms of the strong men. Her black high heels dug into the soil as she was dragged off towards the mansion. Guests were pointing and laughing and looking in wonder at what the guards were escorting. The doors to the mansion swung open and the distressed blue shroud before them headed out of their sight.
Experiment #14: Electroshock Treatment Subjects
Aim: To test the responses of EST subjects in large groups of people and social situations.
Conclusion: The subjects reacted in a variety of ways such as investigating smaller objects and items of clothing and pulling their own hair. Subject #3 repeatedly urinated himself when approached by personnel.
Subject #5 had not undergone EST prior to the experiment. Due to an error (unknown who made it), a subject from the 'Sleep Tests Sector' had become incredibly drowsy from a sleep drug given to her. In her drowsy state she was mistaken for an EST subject who had "gone on the loose somehow" and was moved in with the others, resulting in her being collected for the experiment. She came around completely 24 minutes in and was escorted from the premises.
Additional Notes: The next EST Subject experiment will take place in 'The Basement' so we can test their responses in a confined space.
Next time we will avoid a mix-up such as her.
Written by Elliot Cowling
Dr. Podolosky liked to think he had all the answers. He knew the way of the world, and despite what his co-workers said; he knew what the greatest threat to America, nay, all of humanity, was. He knew they scoffed and snickered behind his back, but it didn’t matter. He was certain that the red beast had not fallen apart with the dissolution of Soviet Russia in 1991 under the ‘leadership’ of that Ruskie Gorbachev, but was instead feigning disbanding so that it may catch the United States off-guard.
Dr. Podolosky would not let this happen. He would expose the Red threat again and scour it from the face of the earth like the poisonous ideology it was. He imagined awards and accolades for his heroic accomplishment. He would stand on the podium before all his peers and colleagues, who had belittled him, and exiled him to a forgotten sub-basement of the Indigo Falls facility, and say three simple words, “Stuff it jerkwads.” Podolosky was not the most humble or forgiving of people, but he believed his most recent technological breakthrough more than made up for it.
Dr. Podolosky would use the breakthrough to expose the Communist threat so that it could be scorched from the earth. He smiled as the man strode confidently into his office, and sat in a chair across from him (without any prompting or permission given). They looked at each other for a few moments before the young man began to speak.
“I had a hell of a time finding you, if you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m here in response to the ad in the paper.”
“Ah yes, volunteer wanted for a simple procedure. One hundred dollars for a few minutes of your time,” The aged scientist recited.
“That’s the one. What will I be testing anyway?”
A smile formed across Dr. Podolosky’s lips, he always enjoyed this part. He loved seeing their wonderment and awe at the majesty of his invention. “Teleportation.”
“That’s some "Star Trek"-y sci-fi sounding shit.”
His grin melted away. He spoke calmly although he was seething underneath over the man’s glib response, “It’s quite complicated actually, the most challenging part was finding a workaround in regards to Einstein’s Special Relativity Theory and utilizing Quantum Entanglement Theory to-”
The volunteer waved the words away and interrupted, “That’s interesting and all, but I’m kinda…. Just here for the money.”
“Of course, the magic of capitalism! The reason we’re still standing and Communism is a doomed theory.”
“O…K…? Are there any dangers I should know before I agree to this?”
“There were some minor complications in the first few trial runs, but now the procedure has been done so many times I could do it blindfolded. It is perfectly safe. You can put your faith in my more-than-capable hands.” Dr. Podolosky didn’t want to lose this volunteer by explaining how the first trial run teleported a volunteer across the room as a pink mist of liquefied and lysed cells.
After that first disastrous attempt, it had taken a dozen more runs before they managed to teleport someone across the room intact. Mostly. It turned out the breaking down and re-assembling process was more complex than he had originally thought. The first ‘intact’ subject had been teleported five feet, but in the process had had his limbs re-configured and re-arranged throughout his body like a demented Mr. Potato Head. He tried to scream, but it was difficult with a hand sprouting through his mouth.
This seemed to reassure the volunteer. “Okay then, Let’s do this! Send me to Maui.”
“How about Moscow instead?”
“That sounds cold, and frankly shitty.”
“You’re right, Moscow is a terrible place filled with terrible people… Unfortunately, I already input the coordinates before you got here, and it is locked in now. So, are you ready to go? “How are you going to teleport me? Where’s the machine? Do I have to step into a Brundle-pod or something like that?”
Dr. Podolosky smiled and answered, “You’re sitting in it.” Before the man could react, he flipped the switch and activated the Tesla coil that powered the chair. Electricity arced around the stunned man and enveloped him in a prismatic beam. In an instant he was gone and the doctor was alone in the room.
He sighed to himself and wondered aloud in the few moments before he would recall the volunteer if this would be his last teleportation experiment. He had to place the ad himself and pay everything out of pocket. The facility had docked his funding and without the means to procure new subjects, the experiment would be declared a failure. He refused to let that happen.
Dr. Podolosky’s last hope was that this final foray would turn up something useful. All it took was teleporting one person into a clandestine communist meeting to prove the importance of his research. Just one chance occurrence to surprise Ivan in the middle of his borscht during one of their secret summits he knew they undertook on a monthly basis. One last chance to prove himself right two decades after the fall of Communism and prove to the other researchers that he was a valued asset. He blew out another sigh, five minutes had passed and it was time to recall the volunteer. “Moment of truth.” He recalibrated the computer at the desk and reset the coordinates for the room. He crossed his fingers and flipped the switch.
The volunteer rematerialized in the room seemingly with no physical issues. He wasn’t a gelatinous mass of bones, blood, and sinew; he wasn’t inside out, and his head wasn’t turned around. These were all good signs. He leaned in and began to ask him how the voyage went and what he had seen when the volunteer began shrieking.
Dammit, it happened again.
Like the other subjects before him, he screamed nonsense. He cried about a massive unblinking eye in the dark, of grotesque sucking appendages that probed the abyss as if seeking something out, of a voice that blasted all other thoughts out of his mind and spoke about horrible things. He ululated madly about how it was coming for them all. Dr. Podolosky reached into the desk and pulled out a bottle of ether and soaked the cloth.
There was nothing he could do for the man now. He pressed the ether-soaked rag to his face and waited for his struggling to stop. The man would have to be lobotomized. They could never manage to calm themselves after that point. It was like their brains had been scrambled. Even then, he would keep ranting to himself. (Just in a more sedate, acceptable manner.)
Why did that keep happening? He knew he was sending them right into the heart of the Moscow Kremlin. Did they have some sort of counter-teleportation field that triggered hallucinations to prevent them from stealing secrets? That must have been it! This was the fifth time it had happened, so it could not be mere coincidence. Maybe this would be enough to prove to the others that those Commie Pinkos were still a threat and that research like his needed funding.
Dr. Podolosky liked to think he had all the right answers. It was a shame he was asking the wrong questions. He shouldn’t have been trying to reason out what the long-defunct communists were doing, but instead asking himself where he was sending those people and what it was exactly that they were seeing.
Written by EmpyrealInvective
The Undertaker's Cottage
No one lives in the Undertaker's cottage.
No one has ever lived in the Undertaker's cottage.
The cottage itself stoops low and crooked, surveying all and yet seeing none of the cemetery it was built to stand by. Many share, in forced whispers, that the cottage was built to divert attention from the cemetery. Others theorize a more malicious motive; something inconceivable that plagues that cottage like a reoccurring nightmare. The cottage's gardens consist of twisted oaks and weeping willows; neither flower nor leaf in sight, no wildlife to be heard. The house looks old and inviting, yet it has tinted windows. Nothing can be seen from the outside. But everything can be seen from within that veil of shadows; the cottage's interior.
No local has ever been inside; they dare not cross the property's border.
The varied rumours, spread throughout Indigo Falls, are more than enough discouragement.
They know the cemetery on Grove Road is not a cemetery.
The cemetery is large and littered with countless tombstones. They lean cracked and crooked, with little care for both their design and arrangement. Like the teeth of an angler fish, the tombstones stand in abundance. There are no empty graves; each grave holds exactly one body. New graves are made covertly in the night, hidden in the mist. And yet there are no funerals in Indigo Falls. The dead aren't buried in Indigo Falls.
People move into the Undertaker's cottage.
But no one has ever lived in it.
And the sad truth is, no one ever will.
If you lived on Grove Road, you'd see them. At first, they're normal. Sometimes it's a family, new to Indigo Falls. Sometimes it's a new Undertaker, from towns beyond. The family will never be seen again. The Undertaker wasn't hired to tend the grounds of the cemetery. You'll watch them enter the cottage; but they'll never come out the same. It's something about that cottage. Something about what happens inside. It drives them insane; fills their minds with screams. Their vision becomes clouded; seeing only those sinister shadows, present only in the Undertaker's cottage.
That cottage changes them. At first it was only rumours; sightings of human figures accompanied by inhuman shapes, trudging through the mist of the cemetery. As time went on, so did the rumours. People began reporting things like, "... a slouched creature with stretched limbs... accompanied by two men..." (Samuel Heide, 1979) and "... a group of people but... they weren't people... they had no legs or arms... They had long, tentacle-like limbs... A group of normal looking people were present. I think they had guns." (Shirley Esberkan, 1965). Reports were varied but, like the rumours, they all share one thing in common. The figures are always accompanied by, "...normal people, like you and me..." (Blake Hammez, 1945) and, after the sighting, the same strange figures are never seen again. The authorities chose not to act on any of the reports. It was their job to keep everyone ignorant. It was their job to hide the truth in rumours.
If you were any normal person, just a visitor from the outside, you'd never realise that the tombstones in the cemetery are blank. You'd never know that beneath those tombstones are cement chambers with heavy lids, just big enough to fit a body.
The locals know; and they give that misty cemetery a wide berth.
The locals know better than to move into the Undertaker's cottage.
But those new to the town will know none of it.
If you, a normal person, were to walk past said cottage and through the cemetery you may just hear the muffled screams and maniacal laughs of the insane men and women, contained after the success of Experiment #0879-L, in which, immortality was finally achieved.
With all the new subjects coming to live in the Undertaker's cottage, maybe one day they'll finally perfect the process.
And maybe then, people will finally live in the Undertaker's cottage.
And not eternally beneath the ground.
Written by Oaura
Weeks had passed since Dr. Podolosky’s last teleportation procedure. Despite his findings, his co-workers still refused to see the truth. To make matters worse, ever since the incident, he had been completely ostracized from the others. He sat in exile at his office in the sub-basement, apart from the others like he was some sort of social pariah. It was such a tiny incident; he was surprised they had made such a stink about it.
They had been out for their monthly lunch meeting, which human resources claimed promoted ‘team-building’ and ‘synergy’, but the concept of it seemed like indoctrination to Dr. Podolosky. The high-and-mighty Quentin Edwards had insisted on having it at “Just Jim’s Café”. Apparently he liked the atmosphere and the coffee, but the old scientist thought he had a macabre desire to see one of the places where they collected test subjects.
The lunch itself had gone off without a hitch. Most of his colleagues talked and joked, but Podolosky did not participate in the conversations. It was when the bill came that the incident occurred. Everyone had begun passing the bill around, trying to calculate what they all owed when Quentin Edwards made the damnable suggestion.
He suggested that they all go Dutch on it and split everything amongst each other.
In combination with the hour-long discussion of synergy (communist propaganda) and community collaboration, this has set Dr. Podolosky over the edge. He would not let them continue with their ideological indoctrination. Apparently giving an impassioned speech (with some invectives thrown in) about the dangers of Communism in the middle of a crowded café was something that the owner of “Just Jim’s Café” would not allow. That, in conjunction with the overturned table, shattered dish-ware, and rather liberal use of the term “Commie Pinko” had led to Dr. Podolosky being ostracized.
He had spent the last few days in solitude in his office. He knew that HR would be coming down on Friday (as that was ideal time to fire someone.) He had only one day to put his daring plan into effect and turn alter people’s opinion of him. He would use his teleportation device to go to Moscow and expose the Red threat once and for all. If he could reveal their sinister indoctrination plan to the others, he would be welcomed back into the fold as a hero.
He leaned back in the chair he had used to teleport countless others to Moscow. He gripped the revolver tight in his hand. It brought him no reassurance. He knew that what he was doing was dangerous, but he had no other choice. It was tantamount that his research be allowed to continue. He was that one last beacon in a world that was threatened by the red dragon of communism. He knew what had to be done.
Dr. Podolosky cast one last glance towards the framed picture of Joseph McCarthy he had on a nearby shelf. He was a hero of sorts to him although he was unaware that had he been a more prominent scientist in the 1950’s, he would have likely been forced to resign under McCarthy’s Lavender Scare agenda. Blissfully unaware of this fact, he was able to draw the strength he needed to start the process.
He rested the control panel across his lap and began calibrating it. He needed to be exact with the coordinates. He would be in-and-out within minutes. The revolver was a necessary precaution should he encounter anyone in Moscow during his infiltration. Podolosky took a few deeps breaths to center himself before he flipped the switch and activated the Tesla coil that powered the machine.
He was gone in a flash, but he wasn’t sent to Moscow. When the sudden shifting sensation had passed, Dr. Podolosky found himself before a massive black expanse. It seemed to stretch on for miles, but there was something faint in front of him, a faint reflection of the old scientist in his white lab coat. It took a few seconds for him to try to puzzle out this phenomenon.
The eye blinked and the clear nictitating membrane slid over the eye like a massive tidal wave. He realized that he had been looking into the pupil and not the void of space. No mater what direction he looked, he could not see beyond the iris. It must have been miles wide and was such a bright blue that it hurt his eyes to look directly at. The eye was massive, and it was focused on him. He would have brandished his revolver, but he was frozen under the thing’s gave. It spoke. The voice blasted all rational thought out of his head.
Dr. Podolosky screamed, he screamed until his throat was sore and his voice came out in hoarse rasps. Once he quieted down and the eye regarded him for a few seconds, it spoke again.
“The last one slipped from my grasp, but you will not. I have questions and I want answers. Where did you come from and how did you get here?”
The stunned man babbled incoherently at the massive eye in front of him. Had all those people in his experiments come to this place and encountered this creature? His stomach turned at the thought of the ranting and raving man currently in confinement and the slushy pink remains of his first few subjects. He managed three words through his stammering, “What are you?”
The behemoth responded with one single horrifying word, “Hungry.”
Podolosky knew what had to be done. He couldn’t risk the entity getting its hands on the teleportation device and finding a way to Earth from whatever pocket space it was imprisoned in. He managed to force his hand to move despite his terror. It felt like it was made of lead and he was moving through a viscous sludge. He summoned the last bit of courage he had and spoke to the Lovecraftian horror whose single eye blotted out the horizon:
“You have questions, I have answers. Here’s my answer!”
Before the being could respond, Dr. Podolosky pressed the barrel of the revolver to the control panel and squeezed the trigger. The being roared at the loss of its conduit into the new dimension and the man felt his eardrums rupture at the din that assaulted his ears. His inner ear felt wet and he knew that it was cochlear fluid draining from his ruptured tympanic membrane. He was deaf.
It didn’t matter. There was only one solution left for his predicament. It was the only answer he had for the colossus that hungered. Dr. Podolosky raised the revolver to his head and pulled the trigger.
Written by EmpyrealInvective
“Ahh, welcome, welcome! So nice to finally meet you!” The man looked up from his work and smiled at Jennifer as she nervously clutched her assignment details, “I’m Dr. Yukoff, and- no, before you ask, it’s just a family name. I’m not affiliated in any way with those commies as some people would have you believe.” He extended his hand graciously and Jennifer shook it, tentatively looking him in the eye, looking for any signs of dishonesty. After the orientation she had just gone through Jennifer found it difficult to trust any of the researchers, least of all a friendly one. He had to be hiding something.
“Jennifer,” she simply whispered, forcing a smile to her lips.
Yukoff nodded excitedly, “Not one for talking, eh? That’s fine; you can listen to me ramble. Come on; let’s go for a walk. I’ll show you where you’ll be working.” He waved her over to a sliding door and pressed a side panel, revealing a long hallway behind the door.
The hallway led past various offices, some visible through glass windows lining the sides. Jennifer peered into these areas, curious to see what horrors lay inside. This wasn’t the job she thought she had signed up for: human experimentation, manipulation, torture, murder, none of these topics really appealed to her. They certainly didn’t mention any of that in the advertisement, she had thought earlier on her orientation tour. After learning of what really went on beneath the town of Indigo Falls, she feared it was far too late to back out. She had been assigned to work on the Citizen Neural Dampening Project with Doctor Yukoff, a task she was unsure the nature of, but feared nonetheless. With everything else that went on in this facility, that couldn’t be a good thing.
Yukoff was oblivious to Jennifer’s apprehension and strolled down the hallway, occasionally waving to passing researchers. He turned to Jennifer, “So! You’ve been assigned here because you don’t like hurting other people. And you know what? I can respect that. A lot of the projects that go on here…” He stopped and scanned the hallway; no one but the two of them were present, “They’re completely senseless. Sadistic. Twisted. Disgusting. The people running them are just as horrid. But not here! We work to help people; not use them. I’m glad you’re here, Jennifer, it’s been awhile since I had a lab assistant. Come, my office is right through here.” He opened a door at the end of the hallway and motioned for Jennifer to step inside. She was still on edge, but felt her paranoia ease just a bit.
Yukoff’s office was less than spectacular. The atmosphere was stuffy and cramped; a strange odor hung in the air, making Jennifer’s nose scrunch uncomfortably. The office itself consisted of a few diagrams strung up on the walls and small desk with a computer resting on it. Scattered notes and papers littered the area. A fortified metal door sat at the opposite end of the room.
“I apologize for the smell,” Yukoff said as he shut the door behind them, “It’s something you get used to. And don’t worry; we’ll get you a work area as soon as possible. Now, you’re probably wondering what the whole ‘Neural Dampening Project’ is about. Did Diana explain any of it during your orientation?” Yukoff took a seat at his desk, gathering some of his papers together.
Jennifer looked for a place to sit, and finding none, leaned awkwardly against the wall, “No. She just went over the basic functions of the facility: its goals, major projects, emergency exits, stuff like that. Made me sign a bunch of papers. Said it was better that I didn’t know every single bit of research that went on here. Oh, and she showed me ‘The Pen’,” she looked at Yukoff anxiously, “We don’t, ah, we don’t work around there, right?”
“What? Oh, no. No, no, no! That’s where the lesser scientists hide their failures. We don’t make mistakes like that. There’s unfortunately nothing we can do to stop such tragic wastes of life. We can however, help the citizens better cope with their day to day lives, and live in blissful ignorance.” He saw a wave of relief pass over her face, “So! I volunteered and was subsequently put in charge of making sure the general populace never found out about such activities. Surely, if you’re neighbors started disappearing one by one, you’d be a bit concerned, correct?”
“So the facility needed a way to control the population. Many techniques were proposed, ranging from drugging the water supply, cloning, or even making synthetic people as replacements. But then, I had a breakthrough! A simple, harmless, ethical, cost efficient way of keeping the populace of Indigo Falls carefree! I wish I could do more than that, but I’m quite proud of what this department has accomplished so far.”
Jennifer waited a few moments for the big reveal, but Yukoff was silent, watching her happily, goading her to respond, “So what did you decide on?”
Yukoff got up from his chair and went over to the diagrams on the wall, “Spores! We use fungal spores to increase their susceptibility and follow up with careful subliminal messages to decrease their awareness. I always make sure the messages contain positive thinking ideas so that the citizens can go about their weeks happily. You see, we’re right below the Indigo Falls chapel. Every Sunday, the whole town shows up for Mass and we simply release the spores and broadcast some feel good messages. Quite ingenious if I do say so myself. Fungi with Yukoff! Not the worst project to be assigned to, right?”
Jennifer stared at the diagrams incredulously, trying to make sense of what Yukoff had just said. She was relieved that she wouldn’t be taking part in hurting the citizens, but was unsure of how ethical brainwashing them actually was, “How… how did you come across this solution? What fungus does this?”
“Ah yes! Ophiocordyceps Cynthiadae! You see, while I was trying to devise a solution to the awareness problem, my lab assistant, Cynthia, was working with a new species of fungus, one we thought could solve the issue. It's a mutant strain of the fungus that infects insects, eventually eating them from the inside out; this one works with people. Unfortunately, she was exposed directly and it infected her.” He shook his head. “I had no choice but to quarantine her before the pathogen spread to the rest of the facility.”
Jennifer stared in disgust as Yukoff motioned to the diagrams. “I dropped my research and stayed in constant contact with Cynthia, trying to keep her healthy and track the infection. As you can see by this picture, as soon as it entered her bloodstream, it started growing in her ovaries, eventually spreading to her digestive and nervous systems. It nearly destroyed those and replaced them with fungal production. The interesting thing is-” he pointed to a picture of a pair of lungs, where Jennifer could see multiple growths splattered across them. “That this is when the fungus mutated into the less harmful strain we expose the citizens to. There are two separate species living inside of her- my best guess is that they form a symbiotic relationship, with the second strain drawing in potential hosts and the first infecting them and producing more of both species. Admittedly, I have no idea why this fungus works as well as it does, but it’s not our job to find out. We simply need to keep the townsfolk docile.”
“Oh God, you expose the citizens to this every week and you don’t even know how it works?!”
“Yes, but it’s completely harmless! I ran many tests before recommending the Cynthiadae fungus for the Neural Dampening Project. I would never want harm to befall anyone. I understand your concerns- hey, I have an idea. Do you want to see her?”
“Fair enough. She isn’t much better than those things in the Pen. Poor thing. I never wanted to use her body as a testing ground. Took a few days for her to pass away; such a needlessly painful way to go. At least that damn fungus can’t harm her anymore. I thought it fit to name it after her; some sort of legacy we all strive for, you know?”
Jennifer hunched her shoulders and leaned towards Yukoff, “She is… dead, right? She’s not alive…?”
“Oh no! I’m sure that as soon as the fungus gained control of her nervous system, she ceased to live. Actually, speaking of which, that’s where things get even more interesting. You see, the fungus seems to be using her nervous system- her motor neurons specifically- to further its reproductive goals. I’ve seen it move Cynthia’s body across the lab and tear at the glass separating her from us. Once it even tried scratching a message into the glass, but I delivered an electrical shock to prevent it from doing so. Incredibly irritating. It seems to spread to her vocal cords as well; I’ve heard it moaning and crying for help, begging to be released. So we know it possesses a parrot-like ability, able to mimic the host to deceive others. Strangely, once it asked for me to kill it. I suspect such an event would release the entirety of its spores, something we do not want to occur. Regardless, now I just deliver electric shocks whenever it starts acting up. I’m certain it can’t feel pain- it’s a fungus after all- but it seems to stunt nervous system activity for a good while.”
“That’s… certainly strange.” Jennifer still felt uneasy about the whole ordeal.
“Quite. Lately it’s been, eh, ‘withholding’ its spores from us. It simply ceases respiratory functions, the source of the dampening spores, whenever the citizens are present. I’ve had to administer shocks and the occasional flame to coax the spores from its lungs. I swear, the damn fungus is fighting me. If it was sentient, I’d be upset, but it’s more than likely a simple defense mechanism. That’s where you come in, Jennifer.”
Jennifer hoped the sweat on her face wasn’t obvious; she had been dreading interacting with the creature, not wanting to suffer the same fate as Cynthia, “I don’t follow. What- what do you want me to do?”
“Well, ever since the fungus began resisting my research efforts, I wanted to dispose of it and start anew with a fresh subject. But I can’t get the damn thing to grow! I’ve tried infecting dogs, cats, pigs, chimps; nothing works! The Cynthiadae refuses to grow and reproduce. I’ve tried using dead human tissue. Nothing. I tried using living dead tissue from the lab next to us, but that failed as well. As a last ditch effort, I requested subjects from the Pen to be used as hosts, but the Cynthiadae rejects them. I believe it requires healthy, living, human tissue. That’s actually where you’ll come in, Jennifer”
Jennifer slowly started moving towards the door, her worst fears recognized. She forced another smile at Yukoff as she fumbled for the handle. “I really don’t think I’m cut out for such a project, Doctor. I hope you understand…” She grabbed and twisted at the door, only to find it locked.
Yukoff looked at her plainly, his voice devoid of emotion, “I’m sorry Jennifer, I hope you understand that I really need someone-” He walked towards her calmly.
Jennifer was banging on the door in a desperate attempt at freedom, “No! Get away from me you freak! I’m not letting you turn me into another lab culture! Stay away!”
Yukoff stopped, “What? Oh, no! No, no, no! You misunderstand! Jennifer, I’d never willingly subject someone to such torture! Calm down! Please!” He held out a bundle of papers, “I simply needed someone to do paperwork for a few weeks until I can devise a solution. I’m not like the rest of the researchers here- I don’t use humans for my experiments! How barbaric!”
Jennifer stopped banging at the door and turned to face Yukoff. She put her hands on her knees and panted heavily, “Sorry… I shouldn’t… have jumped to conclusions.”
“Oh, I apologize! With the rest of the work that goes on here, a lesser researcher may have done just that. I apologize for causing unnecessary stress! I’d never want to harm any living human-” a buzzer went off, catching Yukoff mid sentence, “Ah! Excuse me for just a moment.” He ran to the other end of the room, near the fortified door and pressed a series of buttons. The lights dimmed for a second and a distant shrieking filled the room behind the door. The warning sound subsided, and a sobbing noise could be heard faintly.
“Apologies,” Yukoff went on, “Damn fungus was moving around again. I gave it a greater than average shock. Should keep it immobilized for a few hours while we figure out how to best put you to work. You still wish to work, correct? I wouldn’t want to force you-”
“No, I... as long as I stay away from that… thing, I think I can work.”
“Oh, marvelous! You don’t need to interact with the Cynthiadae fungus if you don’t wish to. I’d never wish to harm another coworker or citizen mentally or physically. Remember, we’re here because we don’t like hurting people. We keep people safe from the rest of the psychopaths stationed here. Welcome to the team, Jennifer.”
Written by Whitix
The experiment was in hypersensitivity. Humans could already sense the density of objects about them (to some degree), and were particularly sensitive to the presence of other humans. The idea was that if one could heighten that part of a human's perception, they would be the perfect infiltrator and scout—able to tell where the enemy was, how many there were, how far away they were, sense mines in the ground. Hell, they might even be able to tell if a bullet was flying towards them.
The idea had excited Danny, who had been going through a failing streak. The concept was more of a pet project really, and sounded almost easy. But since when had anything in this place ever been easy? The experiments failed. The subjects would sense things that weren't there, or they lost their sense of touch completely. For some subjects, this perception was raised to ridiculous heights, leaving them a screaming and twitching mess. It seemed as though the project would have to be put on the shelf. Then, a new angle was brought to light.
Children. Children were already more hypersensitive compared to adults. Their bodies were still growing and developing—hell, they were practically empathic, too. If one could just make sure that the child's sensitive perception was retained as they developed, then perhaps… This angle had deeply excited those working on the project, and they immediately began digging into it.
It seemed, though, that this angle was just as much a screw-up as the first. More often than not, the subjects lost their entire sense of touch, and occasionally one or two other senses along with it—smell and taste being the most common, but there were a few children that went either blind, deaf, or both. Other subjects often expired. Again, it seemed as though this project would have to be a no-go. And then came Subject B0032.
The boy was amazing. From day one he had displayed an almost innate capability, generally characterized by a twitch of the head. Though, due to his heightened sensitivity, the subject was especially aversive to touch. It was a side effect, but a minor one, and one that they were trying to get him work past.
The subject had earned the nickname "Lucky" due to much of the staff constantly referring to him as so. The subject might've had another name, but that didn't matter at all. He was just Subject B0032, an island of success in an ocean of failures. Danny could not have been prouder. The boy was his prodigy, his success, his shining achievement.
Of course, he is still an adolescent, Danny reminded himself as he walked through the halls, dwelling on all this. It's been nine years of success so far, but I cannot afford to get cocky.
"Still an adolescent" was what Danny said whenever Lucky failed a test that Danny was sure he would have failed anyway. It was a simple statement of fact, just to point out that the boy was still developing and he just needed more time to hone his abilities. Danny had used to say "he is just a kid," but only once.
"Just a kid," O'Sal had echoed mockingly. "Deciding to develop empathy, are we?"
This had angered, startled, and almost frightened Danny, and ever since then he had changed the simple sentence into a more impersonal statement of fact. Yes, the boy was one of a kind, the only one of his species, and not a child to be coddled. Danny knew this well, thank you.
Danny was looking forward to today's test. They were going to see exactly how focused Lucky's abilities were when introduced to a stimulating environment. If the boy passed this one then Danny would turn in this project as a definite success.
Suddenly, the alarm echoed down the halls. Danny froze. Everyone in the corner of the facility froze.
"Subject… B0032- attempting escape," announced a pained voice over the intercom.
Danny checked his watch. Shit! He bolted down the hall.
After bumping shoulders with a few of his co-workers and colleagues in his haste, Danny burst into the security control room.
"You're late," O'Sal snapped.
"No, he's changed the timetable," Danny retorted, though the force within his tone was less present. His eyes flickered over the screens, featuring feed streamed from almost every security camera in this corner of the facility, as he grabbed a microphone. "This is Doctor Daniel Dawson," he said, speaking through the intercom. "Do not execute Subject B0032! Orders are to capture the subject alive! Repeat, capture Subject B0032 alive!"
Danny set aside the microphone. "Where is he?"
"Section B3," said O'Sal. "Sit down, your hovering is not helping."
Jaw jutting slightly, Danny dropped into his chair, eyes fixed on the camera feeds. "There!" he said sharply, pointing at camera 78-B3. A fair headed figure bolted down the hallway, head lowered and face hidden from the camera. "Where's security?"
"Shove your sarcasm somewhere else, O'Sal," Danny retorted. "Which security team is within close proximity of the subject?"
O'Sal scoffed, but he snapped his fingers at Smith, head of security. "Answer the man's question."
"Team Eight is one-hundred meters behind," said Smith. "Team Sixteen is one-fifty meters ahead. Camera 58-B3."
Danny unconsciously chewed his thumb as he looked at the afore mention camera feed. His eyes snapped back on the subject. He was going to be sandwiched. Danny narrowed his eyes, noticing the subject twitch slightly. Suddenly, the subject turned right and disappeared through a door.
"Where is he?" Danny demanded sharply.
"20-Stairwell E," Smith replied. "Security team is coming down from level 28."
Danny's eyes flicked from camera to camera as the subject descended the steps.
"What are his vital signs?" said O'Sal, the condescending irritation fading from his voice as he became invested in his work.
Danny glanced at the tablet on the table in front of him. "Adrenal glands working over time, heart rate beyond one-sixty."
The subject left the stairwell at level sixteen. Suddenly, he stopped. He twitched. A security guard shot a taser at his back.
The feed was a little grainy, and the act was almost too fast for Danny to register it. But he saw it as if in stop-motion HD. The subject dove to the side, the taser needles missing him, spun around, and launched himself at the guard's legs, bringing him down.
Danny smiled, nodding. "Yeah," he said with a laugh. "Good job."
There was a brief struggle between the guard and the subject. Despite the guard being larger and older than his opponent, the subject succeeded in striking him in the groin, then in the face. The subject was soon racing down the halls of floor sixteen.
"Where is Team Nine?" Danny demanded.
"8-Stairwell B," Smith muttered. "Team Eleven is on floor sixteen, fifty meters ahead."
Danny nodded, chewing his thumb. "Alright… Alright…"
The subject stopped abruptly, turning and bolting back down the opposite end of the hall. However, security Team Nine came bursting from the stairwell B entrance, only five meters away from the subject. The subject reeled backwards and reversed his course again.
Suddenly, the radio sitting between O'Sal and Danny buzzed. "Fox Control Room, this is sniper one. I am in position."
Danny seized the radio, O'Sal's fingers gripping empty air where the plastic casing had been. "Good, sniper one. Await instructions." Danny kept his eyes fixed on the camera feeds, pretending to ignore O'Sal's look.
"Give the order this time, Dawson," the aforementioned scientist said darkly.
"I will, I will," Danny said bitingly, turning a glare on the other scientist. "I can take risks, O'Sal. Don't think otherwise."
"Even with your project," O'Sal stated, with unhidden skepticism.
"Yes!" Danny snapped. He sat up suddenly. "He's out!"
The subject pushed a door open. Instantly, he covered his eyes, stumbling back a few steps. Years without witnessing true sunlight could do that to a person.
The radio buzzed. "Fox Control Room, target is in sight. Awaiting instructions."
"Hold your fire," Danny ordered, glancing at his tablet. "Adrenal glands still pumping, heart rate at one-seventy," he muttered, more to himself than O'Sal.
The subject shook himself, walking forward. He looked over the parapet and down at the sixteen story drop below. Then he twitched, and continued his running. Team Eleven burst onto the balcony by means of the farthest door, and the subject attempted to leave the vicinity through the guard room, but for once in his escape the desired door was locked to him.
Danny noted the rising heart rate as the subject turned back to where he had come from only to reel back. Team Nine was just entering the balcony, leaving all ways of escape lost to the subject.
"Fox Control Room, still awaiting instruction."
"Give the order," O'Sal hissed.
"Wait." Danny leaned his face into the screens.
The subject spun around repetitively, looking between the two security teams as they descended on him. The security teams did not attack the subject immediately, they just cornered him, sandwiching him between the two teams.
"Subject B0032, surrender now!" ordered one of the security heads.
The radio in Danny's hand buzzed. "Control?"
The subject didn't show any signs of surrendering. He glared at the man who had spoken. "Eat me!"
One of the security personnel stepped forward behind the subject and placed a hand on his shoulder. The response by the subject was immediate. The subject seized the security guard by the arm and flung him against the parapet. The guard went toppling over the rail and disappeared over the edge.
"Son of a bitch," Smith groaned.
"Well, shit," O'Sal muttered, rubbing his forehead, but Danny ignored him. All his attention was fixed upon the security feeds, on his project.
The subject stared at the parapet, apparently frozen in place. His heartrate rose significantly, the lines upon the tablet in Danny's hand erratically constant. "Control, I need an order."
"Danny," O'Sal said warningly.
"Take him down!" shouted an obscure security guard.
"Now or never, Control!"
"Now!" Danny shouted into the radio.
There was no HD stop-motion picture this time. Danny hardly registered what happened between his shouting the order and the aftermath. The aftermath was gloriously clear, however. The scene seemed like chaos, but one thing was clear: the subject remained alive and on his feet.
"Holy shit…!" Smith shouted.
Danny only realized now that he had stood up when he had given the order as he leaned over Smith's shoulder. "Did he do it? Did he really do it?"
O'Sal muttered disbelieving swears under his breath as he too leaned over Smith's shoulder. The head of security also swore under his breath as he rewound the footage. He replayed it in slow-mo.
Danny almost laughed out loud.
"He did," O'Sal said, words short with continued disbelief. Smith replayed it again. "Lucky son of a… He dodged the damn bullet."
Others may have felt like cheering and exchanging congratulations. Danny just allowed a wide smile to appear on his face and sighed with absolute contentment.
The subject was back in his room, in a drugged stupor. Danny watched him through the window, tapping a finger on his smiling lips. He turned when he heard approaching footsteps.
"Hello, O'Sal," Danny said brightly. "Can you believe it? Geez, this whole thing…" He sighed happily, shaking his head. "It's been quite the scientific journey. I already wrote up the report and I'm ready to turn the project in!"
"Yes," O'Sal said slowly. "I'm afraid I can't let you do that."
Danny stiffened. He was feeling multiple things at once, all of which he was able to express in a short laugh. "What?"
"I said I can't let you turn in the project as a success," O'Sal said, a harsh bite in his voice. "Only one successful subject throughout the entirety of the project? The higher ups are not that impressed."
"But-but, it's still something," Danny replied agitatedly. "Don't you remember all the failures? We thought we wouldn't finish this project, and look at us now…!
"One lucky success doesn't constitute…" O'Sal cut off, restating quickly. "Dawson, it's nothing."
"But it's not!" Danny retorted hotly. "Dammit, it's not! Have you not seen what he can do over the past nine years we've been working on this?"
"They want an army of successful hypersensitive adult subjects, Dawson," snapped O'Sal. "Not your one 'lucky' juvenile, who, if you hadn't noticed, just tried to escape today."
Danny let out a growl of anger, banging his fist on the window. The subject shifted sluggishly in response to the noise. Danny breathed heavily, trying to calm himself. "It was all part of the test, remember?" he muttered.
"An unnecessarily risky test," O'Sal countered. "And we nearly lost because the damn subject decided to start it two minutes early!" He paused grimly. "I'm taking over the project, Dawson."
"What?" Danny turned on his colleague, rage nearly overcoming his mind.
"You're cocky and arrogant, and for the past nine years you've been doing nothing but proving what has already been proven: a human can be hypersensitive! But you aren't expanding on the project! You aren't seeing if it's possible for an adult to gain this ability!"
"It isn't!" Danny shouted. "That's why we moved on to children and he-" Danny pointed a forceful finger at the window. "-was the only one who survived!"
"Then why haven't you been trying to find out exactly what set him apart from the others?" O'Sal retorted. He stepped back, taking a deep breath. "Danny," he said, voice forcibly calm. "I'm taking over the project, and I am actually going expand on it. Meanwhile you are going to have a talk with the higher ups."
Danny turned away, a sick mixture of anger and hopelessness stewing within his chest. O'Sal sighed, putting a hand on Danny's shoulder. "Sorry, Dawson."
"No you're not," Danny growled.
"No I'm not," O'Sal admitted. He clicked his tongue in a mockingly sympathetic manner. "This is science, Dawson. Luck can only last so long here."
Written by HardyGal
The New Employee
Derek heard a faint cough behind the large metal door he stood in front of. He noticed the large "17," which had appeared to be written in permanent marker on a lined piece of paper taped to the wall with duck tape. He had no idea what he was getting into. He was the newest employee of Site 222133, better known as Indigo Falls. He looked at the packet he was handed when he got off the train.
“New employees must report to Room 17 on Level 22 for briefing on facility.”
Derek pressed the button and the door flew open, reveling two bearded men sitting around a table with cards in their hands. The first of the two men stood up, he had an abnormally tall build and skinny figure. This one was considerably uglier than the other one, and he felt that he recognized his face.
“Aw hell… Eddy, can you get the projector out of the closet?” he said.
“Aye,” the stocky man replied.
“Well, it looks like you’re the new guy, welcome to Indigo Falls. My name’s Abe.” Derek now recognized the face as the 16th president of the United States: Abraham Lincoln.
“I know, I get that reaction a lot, but don’t worry. I’m not the actual honest to goodness honest Abe. I’m just a clone. The guy who just went in the closet was the real Black Beard though, don’t ask, it’s been a long week. If you’ll take a seat over here, you’ll see everything you’ll need to know.” He went over to the newly set up projector and pressed the play button. Before black beard went back into the closet, he looked at Derek. His eyebrows pointed upwards and his mouth stood agape. Derek recognized this expression as a look of concern.
Derek heard the slight hum of the machine as it began to light up. Soon the cliché count down appeared on the screen as a skinless, smiling man in a suit appeared on the screen. He jumped at the sight of this monstrosity as Abe chuckled. The footage was grainy but still looked fairly recent; it was probably made some time around the 80's or 90s'. The skinless man began to speak.
“Hello, new employee, and welcome to the future! My name is Mister-” there was an uncomfortably long and loud beep emanating from the speakers and a black bar appeared over the man’s mouth. “-and I’m the director of this facility.” Derek was surprised by how easily this thing seemed to speak. He assumed that speaking would be hard without any lips, but the man sounded eloquent, verbose enough to be a politician, but was clad in a full military outfit. He had an accent that Derek couldn’t put his finger on.
“This, as you may already know, is Indigo Falls- A.K.A. Site 222133. This is our fifth facility constructed in Project Spectrum, but let’s not go TOO far into those other facilities, because you’re here to learn the history of this one!” The screen cut away to stock footage of Cold War era soldiers.
“This facility was constructed under less than desirable conditions, turns out those Reds thought it would be funny about giving us false about them getting together a big fleet of unspeakable horrors, abominations of science, and even honest to God aliens. This being the tense age that it was, Uncle Sam thought it was better to be safe than sorry, so we built our own damn facility… little did we know the shit that we’d churn out of this place. You'd think that information would be classified wouldn't you? You're probably saying to yourself, 'That story doesn't make any sense whatsoever! How could the government be that idiotic? Aren't they smart enough to realize it was fake intel?' Well you're probably right. Am I just making this up as I go along? What would I have to gain by lying to you, and what would I have to gain by telling you I might be lying to you? Well there's certainly an answer to that question, and the answer is-” The footage cut back the shot of the man, but now he was merely a skeleton.
“Due to some recent classified and incomprehensible events, levels 33C through 50D have been designated as ‘the Pen’. These levels are now where we send the things that we have no longer have use for or we just can’t contain safely in any other regions. Be careful not to step out of line, or you’ll end up there yourself. We don’t want any of these precious secrets leaking to the Kremlin, now do we? You may be asking yourself, ‘but doesn’t this facility have mind wiping tech- wait, that’s classified? Cut the footage, cut the goddamn foota-” the footage went black for a few seconds and Derek looked at Abe.
Abe merely shrugged as the footage came back with the man on the screen now with skin, fully naked and caked in yellow and purple paint.
“Our facility is proudly the head in research of the supernatural, robotics, extraterrestrials, robotics, time travel, cloning, multiverse theory,” Black beard grabbed a remote from the table and fast forwarded it for five minutes while the man still seemed to be talking. He eventually pressed play and the video played normally again.
“-ssination, and even mutations. Most of which happen to be outlawed in most countries, including this one. But that’s one of the perks of being a top-secret facility in the middle of nowhere: you get to do whatever the hell you want.
“The town above this facility serves as cover, and occasionally a pool of people we can use in experiments. However, I wouldn’t recommend talking to any of the townspeople we bring in, let’s just say they’re not exactly the brightest or even sanest bunch you’ll meet, but hey, you know what they say about omelets.”
Two huge, muscular men wearing purple jumpsuits walked into the room, well that’s what he had thought until he realized that it was just one man with two heads. Their faces were covered in cancerous growths, and the second head was drooling all over itself. There was a puncture wound right between the eyes of the slobbering head. Abe stopped the film and responded to the creature.
“Not now, Buster, come back later,” said Abe. The hulking man walked over to Derek and bent down. He was mere inches away from Derek’s face. The creature took in a deep breath and exhaled. His breathed smelled like Super Glue.
“Buster, I’ll call you in when we’re ready.” The creature swiftly turned his head in the other direction, covering Derek in his saliva, and walked out. Abe handed him a towel and began the film again.
“Now, I know you scientist types like to get down to business, so here’s the deal. We’ve bit off more than we can get here. So we’ve decided that while we choke on this idiomatic chunk of meat, we might as well go out with a bang. That’s why we’ve hired you gentleman. You’ve got free reign to do whatever the hell you want, but that comes at a price. Here's a few guidelines to follow while you're in this facility. I'm gonna call them "rules," but they're not exactly the rules of the facility. As you may already know, there are no rules, but that doesn't mean you can't have a little courtesy for your fellow man... or whatever things you find around the facility. Rule number one: no running in the halls. Rule number two: do not go into the pen unless you’ve filled out a clearance form. Rule number three: no portals to hell. Bringing us any closer to the apocalypse than we already most certainly are is frowned upon in this establishment. Rule number four: don’t ask questions. Rule number six: there is no rule number five. Not anymore. Never again. Never. Again. Rule number seven: have fun! This completes your training seminar. Now get the hell out of here and go win us some wars!” Abe stopped the film.
“Okay, Buster, you can take him now," he said. Buster picked up Derek, putting him under his arm and sprinted towards the door. Derek let out a yelp, but the sound was muffled under the noise that the creature was making as he made a made a mad dash for the end of the corridor. The creature was approaching a small metal door, but showed no signs of slowing down or stopping. Buster's strides became faster and faster, almost ripping the metal floor apart as he ran. Derek tried to get out, tried to break free, but the creature's grip was too strong. The drooling head looked at Derek and gave him a saddened look, a look that a child would give if they dropped their ice cream cone. As he was about the reach the end of the corridor, Derek gave up hope. He tensed up, closed his eyes, and prayed for the first time since he was nine years old. A loud nose echoed through the metal corridor, a noise he had never heard before.
Before Derek could finish the last line of "Our Father" he realized he has stopped moving. Buster set him down in a white room and walked towards the wall behind him. He placed his hand on it and the entire wall vanished into thin air. Buster walked outside the room and he waved goodbye as the drooling head began to smile. The wall appeared again. The light in the left corner went off first, the the right corner, then both lights behind him, then finally the light in the middle of the room. He heard something moving around the room, place things down hastily and run out. Whatever it was must have been small because it was able to move so fast. The lights came back on and Derek now stood in a lab. Two machines stood in the center of the room, waiting for Derek. "Good evening, Dr. Smith, would you like to begin?"
Derek let out a sigh of relief. He was alive. Now came the fun part. Now Derek could work. The second android handed Derek a lab coat.
"What is your specialty, Doctor?"
"What would you like to work on today, Doctor?"
"I'm thinking something along the lines of a new, fast spreading plague.""Please make a list of materials that you will need." Derek quickly wrote down a list of viruses, enzymes, and other such materials that would be needed for the experiment. The robots left and Derek was now alone. He smiled and sat back in his chair. He thought that things were good, and he'd finally be able to devote his life to what he loved, science. But Derek stopped smiling once he realized that there were no way for him to get out of the room.
Written by The Damn Batman
Dr. Thorn was having a bad day. His funding had been slashed, his project encountered another setback, and his results were far below the level expected. On top of all that, the facility’s higher ups were considering him as a possible promotion candidate, adding to his stress and pushing him to produce above average results. The stress compacted and took its toll, driving him to near madness and making him quite irritable. The last thing he wanted was to interact with another human being, especially one as ambitious and annoying as his new lab assistant.
“Hello? Dr. Thorn?” Thorn begrudgingly turned to the man behind him, “Hello! My name is Andrei! Andrei Yukoff! Some people call me Dr. Yukoff, but since we’re friends I-”
“Good morning, Dr. Yukoff. So glad you could finally make it.” Thorn made no attempt to hide the contempt in his voice. He saw Yukoff’s spirit dampen a bit, bringing a small grin to his face.
“Ah, yes. I’ve put my assistant, Jennifer, in control of the Dampening Project while I assist you with the Organic Processor. So! What’s been the problem?”
“Hang on,” Thorn looked through his paperwork, “It says here that you actually volunteered to assist me with the Processor. Is that correct?”
Yukoff nodded excitedly, “Oh yes!”
Thorn shook his head, “Why? Everyone knows this is the ass end of the facility. Why would you possibly want to work on the Processor in addition to the Neural Dampening Project?”
Yukoff fidgeted and looked down, “Oh… Well, I don’t know. I enjoy helping people, and you seemed like you could use an extra hand. I know you’ve been looking for ways to increase processing efficiency and since they just cut your funding… I assumed you’d appreciate the assistance. And since this doesn’t seem like a project that directly harms others…”
Thorn grimaced. Goody two-shoes Yukoff. Always going on about the safety and rights of others. What a joke; there was a reason none of the other researchers took him seriously. He was always looking for a solution to a problem that didn’t exist, or creating a problem just to solve it. There was nothing good-willed about his offer of assistance; he wanted something out of this deal. Thorn wouldn’t let that happen; he figured he’d get as much use out of Yukoff as he could and then throw him back out on his ass.
“Alright, alright, fine. I don’t care why you’re here, Doctor. But as long as you are, we mind as well get to work. I assume you’ve read the basics about the Processor?”
Yukoff smiled, “Oh yes! You created the Processor to deal with the backlog of organic material present throughout the facility. Burning all of that excess flesh and human viscera wasn’t quite cutting it, so you designed the Processor to take that material and put it to better use!”
“No shit! I didn’t ask for the history lesson, Yukoff! I-” He caught himself, “Nevermind. Come with me, I’ll explain what the files don’t tell you.”
He led Yukoff to an elevator located at the end of his office. They rode down a few floors in awkward silence. Yukoff attempted to converse a few times but couldn’t break through Thorn’s wall of scorn. Eventually, they came to one of the lowest levels of the facility, a cramped, single room consisting of a fortified metal door next to a control panel. A glass window was perched above the control panel, overlooking the Processor. Yukoff and Thorn walked inside and peered through the glass window.
In front of them was little more than a pit of flesh, consisting of naked human corpses and mutated beasts that could no longer be described as human. Incomplete bodies were a common sight in the pit; limbs were strewn about the mess of gore. Even behind the sealed door, the stench was incredible. Yukoff covered his mouth and nearly vomited. Above the pit of organic material were a series of doors, lining the tunnel upwards that were used for dumping the bodies. Some of them led directly to the Pen, others were positioned at the end of some levels, a convenient spot for disposing of refuse.
Thorn smiled at Yukoff’s discomfort, “Quite a sight, isn’t it? All the failed test subjects and deceased abominations make their way here, to be processed and repurposed.” He motioned towards the control panel in front of him, “This controls the Processor; you’ll be getting familiar with the procedure for running the Processor in the coming days, as I’ll be working on increasing the Processor’s efficiency.” He pointed to the reinforced door to their right, “That door leads directly down into the Processor’s materials area, the pit you see in front of you.”
“Oh God, we don’t actually go down there, do we?”
Thorn’s grin widened, “But of course! Should the Processor ever become jammed or malfunction, one of us needs to go in there manually and resolve the issue. You’ll be doing that as well. You did wish to assist me, correct?”
“Of course, it’s just…” Yukoff glared into the pit, scanning the pile. He turned back to Thorn and laughed nervously, “Sorry! I just wasn’t expecting the Processor to be like this.”
“Oh? And what were you expecting the place where all of the excess organic material is dumped to look like?”
“I’m not sure I-” Yukoff stopped, his gaze still fixated on the pit, “No one’s… alive in there, right? I swear I saw something twitch.”
“It’s possible. I’ve seen the other researchers dump live subjects in here before, but that’s fairly rare. They’re usually shipped off to the Pen first. Not that it matters. Nothing survives the processing, er, process.”
“That mound of flesh isn’t sentient, is it? I feel like it’s watching me. This thing isn’t going to come to emerge and destroy the facility, right?”
“Are you quite serious? Of course not. Everything in there is raw organic material.”
“Sorry. Must be the fumes.”
“Must be. Now, let me show how to run this thing.”
Thorn instructed Yukoff in the basics of running the Processor: how to disable the safety, how to rev the turbines, how to release the hatch, etc. After a few minutes of work (And, due to Yukoff’s blunders, quite a few minutes of work, much to Thorn’s frustration), Yukoff managed to activate the Processor. A warning siren reverberated all throughout the room and the pit itself as the metal door to the right sealed itself shut. Yukoff could hear the whirring of turbines below them as the hatch holding the organic material was released. The mess of flesh hung briefly in the air for a moment, and then succumbed to gravity, falling into the turbines below. Yukoff was thankful he couldn’t directly see the organic material being eviscerated below them, but the sounds were enough to make him nauseous. Between the splattering of flesh between the turbine’s blades and the grinder that the flesh then fell into, Yukoff swore he heard a cry for help. He dismissed it uneasily. Eventually, the hatch closed and the siren that had been active throughout the entirety of the Processor’s finally subsided. Bits of resistant flesh still clung to the walls and the hatch of the Processor, unwilling to be processed.
“How many times a week do we have to run that?” Yukoff asked Thorn, who seemed largely unfazed by the ordeal.
“We? Oh, no, no, no, Dr. Yukoff. This is your job for the next few weeks. I’ll be working on increasing the output level of the processed material. I usually run it about three or four times a week, depending on the level of material present.”
Yukoff’s curiosity overpowered his unease, “What is this material used for anyways?”
“About a quarter of it is reused in this facility’s experiments. The cloning sectors and the genetic research labs are always looking to get their hands on our processed material. Some is used to directly modify or feed the creatures in the Pen. But most of it however, is ground up further, repackaged, and sold to the surrounding food businesses in the area. We make a great deal of profit selling the relatively cheap meat to the local fast food chains and supermarkets. I don’t think they quite know or care what the meat really contains. Statistics show that on average, business goes up by thirty one percent for those that carry Indigo Falls brand meat.”
Yukoff stared at Thorn blankly for a few seconds, “Well, I’m glad I’m a vegetarian. Has anyone done the whole, ‘It’s people! Indigo Falls meat is people!’ shtick yet?”
Thorn was unamused, “Yes. It grows quite old.”
“Hey… would it be possible for me to acquire a few samples of the processed material? My assistant and I are trying to grow this fungus and it-”
Thorn knew it. Yukoff’s assistance had all been a ploy to steal some of his output material. He wouldn’t let that happen, “I’m sorry, Doctor, but all material requests must be taken up directly with the heads of the facility, and frankly, I don’t see them approving such a request from a lowly researcher such as yourself.” He expected Yukoff to protest or pry further, but he simply nodded. Perhaps Thorn had broken him already; that would be something to tell the rest of the guys at lunch.
The next few days were fairly uneventful, as far as the facility’s experiments went. Jennifer worked on the Neural Dampening Project while Yukoff stayed to run the Organic Processor. Thorn poured over his notes and ideas, trying to find some way to increase meat production output without the use of more inputs. It was impossible he decided, and he made his case to the heads of the facility, citing how the Processor already operated at peak efficiency, and that nothing more could be accomplished on his measly budget. His requests for additional funding were denied, and he was ordered to make do with what he currently had. They told him that with the young and bright Andrei Yukoff working on the Processor, the two of them should have no problem devising a solution.
That set Thorn over the edge. It was true that Yukoff had proposed a number of possible solutions to increase the Processor’s efficiency. Thorn had promptly ignored them, knowing them to be inferior or impossible. Secretly, he feared for his reputation. If it got out that Yukoff solved the Processor issue, then he might get the promotion.
This paranoia mixed with Thorn’s general hatred of Yukoff and caused him to make his final decision: he would fire Yukoff from the Processor Project. It had to be done, Thorn couldn’t risk Yukoff stealing all the glory or his position. Thorn could blame Yukoff for the inability to devise a solution and he would be seen as the one who tried to make the project work. He walked to the elevator in his office and smirked on the way down to the Processor level. Maybe deeming Yukoff a failure would finally crush his spirit. That would make Thorn’s day.
When Thorn reached the Processor level, he found the reinforced door to the Processor open, with Yukoff climbing back into the room, smiling and humming a soft song to himself. It would be so easy, Thorn thought, The door’s wide open. I could push him in and run the Processor. No one would know what happened to poor Doctor Yukoff. He mulled the idea over in his head briefly, but decided against it. Consider it a severance package, Yukoff.
Yukoff spied Thorn and waved to him, halting his song, “Dr. Thorn! Dr. Thorn! I believe I’ve done it! I’ve increased the turbine speed and fine-tuned the grinder to produce better quality processed material! It took all night, but I think it should be worth it! I’m about to run the Processor for the first time! Come watch, I think you’ll be most impressed!”
Thorn hadn’t expected this. He decided walked over silently, deciding that if Yukoff’s improvements worked, that he would take credit for them. Yukoff looked at him ecstatically, waiting for him to speak. When Thorn did not, Yukoff ran the Processor anyways. The warning siren blared and the door to their right closed and sealed. The pit of flesh before them dipped a little, but did not fall into the whirling turbines and churning grinder beneath.
Yukoff looked at Thorn uneasily, “Heh, um, there seems to be a problem. I’ll see if I can-”
“You broke the damn Processor, didn’t you?” Thorn pressed a series of switches and shut the processor off. The siren and turbines ceased while the door unsealed.
“Oh no! No, no, no! I’m sure that I can just-”
“You can just get the fuck out of here! You’re fired Yukoff! I’ll be writing a full report on this! You know how Diana deals with failure. And with such a fantastic failure as this- breaking the facility’s goddamn Organic Processor! You are so fucked, kid. Better make sure your assistant can handle the Dampening Project, because you are never going to work in this facility again! I’d leave the state, hell, I’d leave the country! They’re gonna throw you in the Pen, buddy. And once you die in there, I’ll be the one processing your fucking corpse!”
“No, no, no! I can fix it! The hatch is just jammed! Look, you can see it!” He pointed to one of the hatch’s hinges, something appeared caught in it. “Just let me go remove that and-”
“Leave, Yukoff! Get the fuck out of here! I’ll do it myself! I don’t trust your incompetence!”
Yukoff started to argue, but hung his head and nodded, starting for the elevator. Thorn pried open the metal door and descended into the pit, muttering to himself.
“Fucking imbecile. Educated my ass. Only reason he was put in charge of the fucking Dampening Project is because his project lead expired. Poor Cynthia, I wouldn’t doubt it if that dumbass had something to do with her death. Helping people my ass. He saw her as an obstacle. Fucking prick.”
Thorn jumped into the mound of flesh and started making his way to the jammed hinge, uncaring of the stench or the corpses beneath him. He was too focused on his rage; to think that his project had been ruined by Yukoff, the thought burned at him. He carelessly stepped across the bodies, nearly slipping on mutated beast as its skin was more liquidy than it appeared. When he reached the hinge, he was confused to find that it was working fine, unobstructed.
“Of course it’s working fine. Why did I believe that retard? Of course he broke the damn thing.”
Thorn heard Yukoff’s distant voice, “Oh hey! The safety was switched on the whole time. Let’s change that!” The warning siren blared once again, and the metal door leading to the control room began to seal. Thorn panicked and started running for the ladder. In his haste, he tripped and fell upon the multitude of corpses and became partially buried as the hatch dipped. The whirring of the turbines and the scraping of the grinder could be heard below him.
Thorn managed to free pull himself out and struggled to climb his way out, “Hey! Yukoff, you fucking idiot! Turn the damn thing off! I’m still in here! Yukoff! Turn the damn thing-” The ground beneath Thorn gave, and he experienced a brief moment of weightlessness with the rest of the corpses inside the Processor. The flesh around him began to fall, this time along with himself, and Thorn tumbled down into the turbines, cursing Yukoff’s name and family lineage.
Yukoff continued humming a soft song to himself. Between the cries of machinery, he thought he had heard a cry for help. He dismissed it happily, wondering what he would be writing on his report. It’s a good thing someone interested in helping people would be running the Processor from now on. And thank God he was a vegetarian.
Written by Whitix
“Face it Max, we’re lost.”
“Shut up Hannah. We’re not lost. Look! There’s a small town over the ridge.”
Hannah opened her hiking pack and peered over their maps. She shook her head, “Either we’re forty miles off the trail- which is highly unlikely, even considering that you’re the leader- or that town doesn’t exist.”
“Doesn’t exist? Are you not seeing what I’m seeing? I can make out the sign from here…” Max squinted and focused on the sign along the main road, “Welcome to Indigo Falls… Population… uh, something. Indigo Falls… huh. I don’t see any waterfalls around here; you’d think they’d name it Indigo Valley. Must have been a mistake or something.”
“I’m not doubting it exists physically. You’d just think it would show up on the map.”
“Bah! It’s probably a new development. Our maps are what, a couple of years old?” Come on, it’ll only be a twenty minute trek; we can use a phone or something when we get there.”
“So we can call a friend and admit we’re lost?”
“We’re not lost!”
After about an hour of hiking, Hannah and Max made their way down the mountain and approached the silent town of Indigo Falls. By the time they had reached the main road leading into the town, the sun had drifted across the sky and was about to set. There was an abundance of wildlife in the surrounding area; birds and chirped and small critters happily frolicked about, giving rise to a cheerful atmosphere.
Despite this, something nagged at Hannah. There was no “sound” of civilization, no movement within the town itself. As they approached, she expected to see people walking to and fro, or cars stuttering around. She saw neither, and heard nothing but the sounds of nature around her. She shared these concerns with Max, but he dismissed them, not wanting to admit something was wrong. Combined with the fact that Indigo Falls didn’t show up on any of their hiking maps, she knew something was amiss.
She kept that concern to herself as Max and her strolled down the main road, looking for any signs of life. They found little. The small town was barren, devoid of any human interaction. Stores and homes were in minor states of disrepair, their windows cracked and their paint chipped. Plants, fungi, and the local fauna had reclaimed much of their lost ground, covering the streets and buildings. Cars and other vehicles were absent from the streets, giving Hannah further worry.
“Jesus,” Hannah mumbled as they passed a small corner café, “This place must have been abandoned years ago.”
Max brushed her off, “We don’t know that. Maybe it’s a new retirement village or something. A nice little place in the remote wilderness off the beaten path; looks like it never quite finished construction.”
“No, this place wouldn’t be so developed if it were new. Look at the store signs: Just Jim’s Café, Josephine’s Antiques. Why would they set those up if they weren’t finished with construction?”
“I don’t know Hannah. I just… don’t like the alternative,” They passed a dry stain splattered against a decaying wall, “Is that blood? Fuck, you don’t think…?”
Hannah stayed silent. There were obvious signs of a struggle present: barricaded doors and windows, strange chips in the walls, broken glass, and the occasional smear of blood on the pavement. She was more worried about what they didn’t see: any human corpses. If the town had truly come under attack, or been affected by some kind of plague, then surely there would be bodies present. This left two possibilities in her mind. Either the town had been abandoned, or someone had cleaned up the mess. Those led to two further questions: why would this place have been left abandoned (And never mentioned in the media) or who would have cleaned up the mess (And then abandoned the place anyways)?
They had absentmindedly stumbled through the center of town, and now stood at the bottom of a large hill. On top of it sat an incredible mansion, seemingly untouched by whatever had affected the town below. Hannah and Max agreed that it was the most likely place they’d find a working phone, and possibly any clue of what had happened to Indigo Falls. They climbed to the front of the mansion and passed through the open gates, taking note of the dying roses in front of the house. The duo crept up to the door, cautiously looking for any indicators of danger. Finding none, they knocked, not anticipating a reply. After about a minute, they tried the door, surprisingly finding it unlocked.
The interior of the mansion betrayed the exterior’s cleanliness. Furniture was tossed about, the wooden floors were scratched up, and the fireplace looked as if it was in the middle of a mass cremation. Filing cabinets and papers were piled next to it, most charred or completely reduced to ashes. Hannah and Max warily stepped inside, searching for any working connections to the outside world. Any computers they found were either smashed to bits or unpowered. The only phone they could scrounge up had its line cut and was effectively useless.
“Well, shit!” Max cried in frustration, “We’ve searched the whole goddamn place and there’s nothing here! And it’s almost dark!” He wandered over to the pile of papers, “And what the hell is this about anyways?” He grabbed a handful of legible documents and started leafing through them, “Experiment 26-B! Response to artificial muscular cancer! Experiment 12-A! Willingness to kill in presence of an authority figure! Experiment 10-D! Cloning using human growth vectors! What the fuck are these about? Notice: concerning the recent deaths of test subjects...” He looked over at Hannah worryingly, “Look at these; you don’t think they’re real right? This has to be some kind of joke- a test! This can’t be real- this can’t-”
Hannah glanced over the documents and memos. There was nothing in them to suggest illegitimacy and combined with the abandonment of the town... “Max, we should get the hell out of here.”
“There must be something we’re missing! Maybe if we searched the other homes… But this has to be the place where we’d...” Max started towards the door and then stopped, noticing movement outside the window. He motioned to Hannah and slid up to the front window and slowly peeked outside. A disfigured humanoid shape lumbered towards them, its limbs flailing madly. Max could see the skin sag and hang off of the creature’s body. Something was off about its limbs; they were too elongated, and a liquid flew off them in the midst of the flailing. The creature’s head twitched excitedly, digging into its shoulder and nearly ripping the skin from its face as it twitched. Before Max could get a better look, the creature seemed to acknowledge his presence and began running towards the mansion. Hannah watched the scene unfold and grabbed Max, pulling him away from the window.
“There has to be a back door. We are leaving. I don’t give a shit what happened here; I know what that thing is but-” They stopped running as they heard a window shatter somewhere in the rear of the house, and looked at each other, horrified. A voice called from followed after the broken glass, “Lefth uth…! Lefth uth in da cemetarysh! Lefth uth when the reth lefth! Condemned!”
Hannah mouthed something, but Max shook his head, looking for the nearest door. He threw it open and dove down the stairs with Hannah in tow, fortunate to have found an escape route.
“Fuck, fuck, fuck,” he stuttered, “A way out, a way out; come on!” The movement from upstairs shuffled closer to their position, dragging itself across the hardwood floors. Max and Hannah furiously searched the cellar for a possible hiding place, finding little more in the darkness than more stacks of papers. While the voices upstairs shouted in near gibberish and neared the open door, Max caught his jacket on a handle, and desperately pulled, revealing an open metal door. He screamed for Hannah and the pair fled inside, pushing the door shut. There was a large bar on the side, used for barricading the door; Max slid it down and locked the door in place.
“Holy fuck…” he panted, before looking up.
Hannah had already began to examine the surroundings around them. They were in a dimly lit hallway with a trail of papers leading to the door they had escaped from. Doors branched off down the hall, which culminated in an elevator at the very end. Signs and arrows gave directions to conference rooms, security stations, laboratories, and containment areas. The air was stale and heavy, likely unfiltered and ancient. Hannah looked at Max speechless.
“Okay, so I admit we’re a bit lost…” He cracked a weak smile and moved over to her, “Well, this probably has something to do with the rest of the town…” He stared in awe at his surroundings and began walking towards the elevator.
“No fucking kidding…” She saw that he had moved forward and ran to catch up, “Hey! Where are you going?”
“The sign says this’ll take us to security. That seems like the safest place to be, right? Might shed some light on where we are.”
“You trust the powerless elevator to get you down safely?”
“Powerless?” He pressed a button and waited a few seconds. A ding was heard and the doors slid open, “I bet this place has reserve power or something.” He stepped inside and began scanning the directory. Hannah glared at him, “What? Are you coming or not?”
“Why the fuck do you want to go deeper into this place?”
“Because the alternative is worse. We can sit here and starve, confront those… things outside, or try to find a way out. I vote we find a way out.”
Hannah shook her head and begrudgingly stepped inside the elevator, “God, I hate it when you’re right.”
Max continued scanning the directory and settled on the security level. He pressed a button and the doors slid shut. The room was cramped and dark, the lights unpowered to conserve energy. The elevator slowly descended into the depths of the facility and after an uncomfortable period of silence and uncertainty, the doors opened, revealing a hallway almost identical to the last. Doors were hanging open, some ripped off their hinges, others bashed into the walls. Blood splatters and chunks of flesh littered the halls, some more recent than others.
“Fuck, this place is in worse shape than the town above,” Max mumbled as he stepped out of the elevator. Hannah grabbed him and he turned to stare at her, “What is it now?”
“You see nothing wrong with going in there? Max, what is wrong with you?”
He pulled himself free, “I don’t know! I need to find out what happened here. I can’t explain it. Ah, screw it!” He stomped down the hallway and nearly slipped in a mess of flesh, “I’m going in there whether you’re with me or not!”
He found the door to the main security station and ducked inside, hearing Hannah’s hurried footsteps behind him. A row of monitors ran across the wall, unpowered and long dead. Max fumbled for a lightswitch and upon finding one, flicked it on, illuminating the darkened room. The room was devoid of any living presence; a few chairs were turned over but the room was mostly barren. Max glanced over at Hannah and began playing with the keyboards, trying to find a way to power on the monitors.
“Hannah, can you do me a favor?” He pointed at a pile of VHS tapes in the corner, “Can you look through those and see if there’s anything in there we can use?”
She walked over and picked through the tapes, reading their covers, “These look like orientation tapes. You want me to try and find a VCR so we can watch them?”
He shook his head, not turning away from the monitors, “No, we need something recent. Something that will tell us what happened here.”
“But these might give us insight on to what went on here. They could tell us-”
She stopped mid sentence as a few monitors flickered to life. All of them showed the same message: “Error. No camera feed.” Despite this, Max yelled in triumph and began picking through the archived files. He pulled up the latest file and played it on the screens.
A scene played in front of them while they watched in silence of a tall, brown haired woman pacing around a conference room, shouting into a phone angrily, “You heard me correctly. Purge the town. We’ve been ordered to close up shop and I am not leaving any loose ends. We’ll burn the rest of the archives and relocate the remaining scientists. No, I don’t care how you do it. Gas them, shoot them, drown them- just get it done in the next two hours before-” She stopped talking as the door to the conference room opened and two men stepped inside. One was grinning and danced around the room excitedly while the other locked the door, “I’ll call you back,” She said slowly and hung up the phone. She turned to the two men sternly, “Yukoff, O’ Sal. You know your orders. Go join the rest of the scientists on level seven and wait until the Overhead Purge has been completed.”
“Ah! We would like to propose a different course of action!” The dancing man exclaimed, “You see, some colleagues and I agreed that the citizens of Indigo Falls don’t quite deserve to be purged. Surely we can all agree on that?” The other man nodded silently.
The woman shook her head frustratedly, “Sure, but what those people deserve is inconsequential right now. Look, I have work to do. If you two aren’t out of here in the next ten seconds, I’ll call security and-” She was cut off as the dancing man screamed and grabbed her by the throat, slamming her into the conference table. The other man watched silently, a small grin forming on his face.
“Don’t you get it Diana?” The man screamed as she clawed at his hands, “The people who need to be purged are the bastards on level seven! The rest of the town, well, I hope the fight or flight research has paid off!”
“And the facility’s research doesn't need to be burned,” the other man cut in, “It’s too valuable to lose. We’re preserving it.”
“Exactly! And you’ll be the one helping us! We just need the authorization code to unlock the Pen.”
“Fuck… you… traitorous bastards!” Diana managed to choke out.
The man released her throat and walked to the other side of the room and began pacing. Diana fell to her knees and gasped heavily. “I didn’t think it would be that simple,” The pacing man uttered, “You’ve ruined so many lives Diana; I don’t feel bad about what we’re going to do next.”
The other man pulled a syringe out of his coat and calmly walked over to Diana before injecting it into her neck. She fell to the ground in a writhing and convulsing mess, making low, guttural noises, “This is what you funded that idiot Dawson for. A hypersensitivity drug; not quite perfected. I hope you appreciate the benefits of his research.” Diana looked up at him in her catatonic state and said nothing. O’ Sal looked over at Yukoff and nodded, “She should be much more susceptible to whatever you’ve got planned, Andrei.”
Yukoff grinned and produced a scalpel from his pocket. He crouched over Diana and held it in front of her twitching face, “So! I just need a simple nine digit number, Diana. Nine digits! You can manage that, right? Otherwise I’ll have to drag this across your body, and nobody wants it to come to that.”
She stared at him defiantly, “You’ll kill everyone in here if you release those beasts. Including yourselves, you fucking inbreds.”
“Not so! I’m sure you’re aware of Dr. Podolosky’s work in teleportation, correct? We’ve got a nice little one way trip to Moscow planned. With the research we’ve recovered and the subsequent destruction of this facility, it should be a nice little retirement destination. But I grow tired of talking.” Yukoff shrugged and plunged the blade into Diana’s eye and began dragging it downwards.
Max turned away from the screen and covered his ears amidst Diana’s screaming. Hannah cringed at the display in front of her and turned away as well. After a two minute interval of screaming and metal upon skin with brief lapses of panting and groaning, the pair heard Diana choke out a nine digit number. They turned back to the screen to see Diana curled into a ball, laying in a puddle of blood and viscera while O’ Sal picked up the phone and punched in a number. Yukoff wiped his blade clean and leaned against the wall.
“Alan, are you there?” O’ Sal spoke quickly into the phone, “Try seven, nine, three, two, one, one, four, eight, zero.” There was a brief moment of silence and then O’ Sal grinned and gave Yukoff a thumbs up. Diana whimpered on the floor as O’ Sal finished his conversation, “Alright, we’ll meet you in Podolosky’s office. I believe Jennifer and the others are already there; as long as you stay clear of level seven, you should have no trouble reaching it.” He hung up the phone and started towards the door.
“Not even a ‘good luck’ or something?” Yukoff asked.
“Luck is for imbeciles who can’t forge their own future. I’ll meet you with the rest.” he nodded at Yukoff and walked out the door.
Yukoff leaned over Diana and dropped his scalpel next to her, “Heyo! Can you even hear me? Not that it matters. You’ll soon share the same fate as the rest of sadists here. Consumed by their own failures, both literally and metaphorically! Quite poetic, don’t ya think?” With that, he spat on Diana and left the room.
“Max, we should really-” Hannah stopped as Max held up his hand, eyes fixed on the screen.
Diana picked herself up shakily and walked shambled over to the camera, her face a mutilated and bloodied wreck. She held Yukoff’s scalpel in one hand and held it shakily up to her neck. Her face shook and writhed in pain, but she managed a final message to the camera, “Max, if you’re hearing this… You’re probably too young to understand. Your mother loved you very much. I’m so sorry…” She drew the blade across her throat; a red line followed and grew in size quickly. Her eyes were showed with a brief expression of pain and shock, but were soon replaced with a calming acceptance as she slid to the ground.
Max turned off the monitor and looked at Hannah silently, his head hung and his mind elsewhere.
“Max! That wasn’t- how did- what just- I, I’m sorry.”
He stood up and shook his head, “Don’t be. I knew there was a reason she was never home much. I knew there had to be answers out here. I should have told you what I was planning.”
“You knew she was in charge of... whatever this place is?”
“No. I knew very little. When we stumbled upon this town, I had a feeling it might explain some things. I just didn’t expect, well any of this. Come on, we should, we should find a way out of here.” He turned around and walked towards the door.
He didn’t make it. A bullet through the brain tends to stop most people.
Hannah lowered her pistol and calmly pulled out a radio, “Calling base, this is agent Yukovich reporting in. Do you read me?”
The radio crackled to life and a heavily accented Russian voice was heard on the other end, “Affirmative, agent Yukovich! Is the American facility intact?”
“Correct. The facility is intact and empty. Recommend data extraction team to the coordinates I am sending you now. I will meet you on the surface.”
“We are receiving coordinates. What became of the facility lead’s son?”
“He had to be put down.”
“Understood. Team will arrive in ETA one hour. You are sure the facility is clear of hostiles?”
“Nothing we can’t handle. It has been abandoned for fifteen years; nothing could have survived long.”
“Understood. Will meet you there. Over and out.”
Hannah tucked the radio away and carefully stepped over Max’s body. She reached for the door, her thoughts on irony of the situation. Agent Yukoff had never returned with the data he promised, but he was shown to be alive in the final hours of the facility. They would need to discover what had become of him and the data. They would need to study whatever this “Pen” was, and what exactly was stored in it. Some sort of bioweapon or super soldier? Hannah wasn’t sure, but knew she would find out soon enough.
How ironic it will be that the facility designed to fight the Communist menace would be the greatest boon the party had ever received! Hannah thought to herself as she opened the door. It was a shame that Max had to die, I was growing accustomed to him. But he was little more than a means to an end. At least Indigo Falls will do some real good for the rest of the world now.
Hannah walked into the hallways happily, thinking of the praise and fame she would receive on her return to Russia. She nearly started skipping to the elevator when she felt a weak hand on her shoulder. She whirled around in surprise, expecting to see Max somehow miraculously alive.
Instead, she stared at the brightly colored humanoid shape behind her. It resembled a young woman, but it was overtaken by some sort of fungal infection. Small, green mushrooms and growths dotted the woman’s skin and almost seemed to glow. Her mouth hung open, stretching farther than it should have, and was filled with a variety of stems that poured out of her gaping maw. One of her eyes had fallen out, replaced with a family of mushrooms in its place. The other extended out a bit farther on another stem, the nerve still attached. Her hair had long since fallen away and was replaced with what looked to be roots that fell to the sides of her head. Growths and tumors dotted her body along with burn marks. Small green flecks exited her nostrils and mouth.
Hannah stood in shock and as the thing in front of her spoke. Its mouth did not move, instead, a sound reverberated out of its hollow skull, “You… are… with… Yukoff?” Hannah said nothing, but slowly backed away. The thing dug its fingers into her shoulder with surprising strength and blew more specks into Hannah’s face. Hannah drew her pistol once more and shot the beast three times and watched it crumple to the ground. A cloud of green specks exited its body and drifted towards Hannah. They surrounded her and entered her body as she inhaled and ran for the elevator. She panted and mashed the buttons and ascended to the surface.
What happened next is not clear, as the Russian team sent to Indigo Falls did not meet with their contact. Agent Hannah Yukovich was never seen or heard from again and the data extraction team soon met their ends in the depths of the facility. It was reported that Russian team screamed of "inhuman beasts and monsters" patrolling the lower recesses of the Indigo Falls research facility. Contact was lost with the team around four hours after arrival, and the Russian government decided it was best to forget about the cursed facility as the American government had tried to do years earlier. The research performed in the facility, the secrets to teleportation, mind control, increased awareness and genetic modifications was forever lost to the world. But that was probably for the best, as even the facility was always burdened with failure upon failure.
As the researchers and facility leaders learned, along with the final scavengers sent to unlock the facility’s secrets, nothing in Indigo Falls had ever gone according to plan.
Written by Whitix