February 11th, 1915
My name is the Robert Strass. I am the new manager of the Ashville coal mine, owned and operated by the Maryland Mineral Production. My predecessor was foolish enough to inspect one of the more unstable parts of the mine, and was crushed by falling debris after a faulty demolition not too far away. The idiot was not prepared, whereas I however, have extensive knowledge and experience in this field. My duties for the next ten years will be to watch over all that goes on in the mine and if need be fire and hire miners. I am also responsible for making sure that equipment is working properly and replace it if the problem would kill too many workers, or cost the company long term. I am keeping this log so that I can examine activity and purchases over the course of my time here and make better decisions further down the road.
February 23rd, 1915
There was a recent disturbance in pit number 17. One of the miner’s reported to have seen a small, yellow animal in pit 16, and followed the creature into pit 17, his yells disturbed the miners there. The man who claimed to have seen the beast was Fredrick Cormac, and he has not shown any other signs of madness, and has done extremely efficient work for the company. Thus, I decided it was in everyone’s best interests to keep him with us, however if this happens again there will be consequences.
April 14th, 1915
Pit 7 collapsed for seemingly no reason. Cormac started raving about it being “their” fault, and how we should close down the mine because we are “going down too deep.” I had him fired on the spot.
May 7th, 1915
The men are complaining about headaches, and nightmares. They think the company store is selling them poisoned food.
May 24th, 1915
Edward Slake didn’t show up for work today. He has been removed from the registry.
May 25th, 1915
Slake came to the mine, and told me he had been terribly sick yesterday, and wished for his job back. I did not give it to him, having no room in this operation for slackers. At first he was angry, then he just sort of meandered away, a sad, but almost grateful look on his face. I have to be careful who I fire next, Slake and Cormac were both fairly popular among the miners, and the last thing I want is a riot.
July 3rd, 1915
Several of the miners claim to have seen creatures similar to the ones described by Cormac. I told them to return to work.
August 8th, 1915
One of the men stumbled towards me, looking sickly, he vomited on my shoes just as he tried to say something. “KO-” was as far as he got before keeling over.
September 27th, 1915
An older gentleman, Donald I think his name was, said he heard laughter in Pit 4 yesterday. I told him to visit the city, and have his ears checked.
October 31st, 1915
Pit 4 collapsed after a faulty demolition. Some of the men are blaming it on “the creatures” and one of them, he was so disturbed that he left of his own accord. Paranoid townsfolk the lot of them, they would believe any superstition their grandfather passed on to them.
November 5th, 1915
I heard it, the giggling.
I have been in the mines too long, just like the miners.
November 12th, 1915
REMEMBER TO REMOVE THIS PASSAGE
Yesterday I saw Fredrick walking down the street, I barely remembered who he was. He looked so different, his face all wrinkled, a bottle clutched in his left hand, a longer, greyer beard. He sagged, looking twice as old as last time I had seen him, and only gave me a piteous glance. His face… it was so somber, so broken. I couldn’t get it out of my head, I had to write it down.
November 30th, 1915
More giggling, more of the men quitting. It doesn’t matter, the power of suggestion is far reaching, and they are easily replaceable.
December 2nd, 1915
I offered a job to Cormac. He laughed at me. Said I was dammed. Said it was something me and the company were doomed. What an idiot, no wonder his wife left him.
December 25th, 1915
REMEMBER TO SCRATCH OUT
All the men are out drinking, enjoying their day off. Damn holidays. It’s so cold down here. It’s cold, dry, and silent. I've been down here so long, I started imagining things. Shadows flickering across the wall, more laughter, that insistent laughter, and the pitter patter of feet. Tiny feet, too shrunken to be that of a child’s. Then I heard screaming, and more laughter, this time crueler, and far too shrill to be any human’s.
I need to stop writing down these useless passages.
December 26th, 1915
Donald hasn't returned to work. He is fired.
December 27th, 1915
Donald’s wife came here this morning looking for him. Apparently he’s gone missing.
January 9th, 1916
Some of the machinery is breaking down. I inspected it myself and found no logical reasons for the sudden decay. I suspect that Cormac or Slake is responsible.
Purchase 1# in the month of January = (Passage scratched out)
Purchase 2# in the month of January = 45$
Purchase 3# in the month of January = (Passage scratched out)
Purchase 4# in the month of January = (Passage scratched out)
Purchase 5# in the month of January = (Passage scratched out)
February 13th, 1916
We found Donald’s corpse. It was behind a wall of rock. The men have taken this as a bad omen. “How could he get back there?” they say. I have no answer. One of the police men said he saw some strange animal while he was searching for clues. But the most disturbing thing about it, is not the fact that the corpse had been hidden behind a wall of rocks that no human could have created, or that the policemen are seeing things as well. It’s the message carved into his forehead.
February 27th, 1916
More machinery has broken down. I intend to speak with Cormac.
Purchase 1# in the month of February = 75$ 14 cents.
Purchase 1# in the month of February = (Passage scratched out)
Purchase 3# in the month of February = 25$ 9 cents.
Purchase 4# in the month of February = (Passage scratched out)
February 28th, 1916
Cormac is dead. Died two months ago when he didn’t get out of the snow. Slake hasn’t been in town in three months.
March 17th, 1916
Someone is stealing the miner’s boots.
Purchase 1# in the month of March = 35$
April 11th, 1916
May 2nd, 19'(scratched out) (scratched out)16
THIS POST IS UNNEEDED, REMEMBER TO TEAR IT OUT.
I had one of the nightmares. Little creatures, ears pointy like devil spawn, they tied me down and removed my limbs one by one. They laughed at every scream, they ate toes and fingers before removing the greater limbs. I woke up with scars across my skin, I must have been scratching myself in the night.
May 3rd, 1916
I had another nightmare. The creatures were peeling off my skin and dining on it. I re-opened all my wounds, and had to cover myself in bandages due to profuse bleeding. It seems many of the miners have experienced similar dreams. I have to see a doctor.
May 4th, 19'(Scratched out)16
The doctor in town prescribed me some drugs. They should stop me from clawing at myself in the night.
May 5th, 1916
REMEMBER TO TEAR IT OUT.
The drugs didn’t work. I had a dream where they bashed and stabbed me with pickaxes. The nightmare won’t end.
May 8th, 1916'
TEAR IT OUT
I’m losing my mind.
June 15th, 1916'
Today everyone in pit 13 and pit 12, were bombarded by some strange noise. Laughing they said. Giggling, just like in (scratched out) dream. The sound was so awful that many of them began tearing at their ears, one bashed his own head in with a rock. Many of their uniforms are now covered in blood, and everyone who experienced it, as well as several others have quit.
Well there’s more of their kind. They’ll regret this. I dealt with my dreams, handcuffed myself to the headboard so that I couldn’t scratch at myself anymore. Got used to the scars, I accepted the pain, that’s what they should have done.
June 16th, 1916
TEAR IT OUT
FOOLS! WE NEED THEM NOT! PEOPLE ARE OF NO VALUE!! There’s more where that came from. They think that they can’t be replaced? THEY THINK THEY CAN SCARE ME? Fate favors the BOLD, any man can swing a pick and mine some KOal.
July 22nd, 19'-Sixteen? Is it?
Their eyes. The miners say their eyes are back as coal, without even the hint of that far too ignored blessing, the iris. I could live in a world with no irises. Could you? Who am I talking to? I almost spoke to one of Them. I saw it staring at me when I entered the mine yesterday, hiding behind one of the carts. Its little claws gripping the metal, it had six or seven fingers. Its skin was scaly, grey with a yellowish tint, and its ears poked up like those of a cat. It smiled at me, it had so many rows of tiny, needle teeth. And then it ran off, disappearing before I had mustered the courage to speak. But those eyes, they haunt my dreams. They are huge, and deep, like marbles. Like black mirrors, which will only ever reflect a terrified expression.
It all makes sense now. I’m not mad. I feel a burden lifted, yet I can feel as well it being merely replaced by an anvil of a different shape.
July 29th, 1916.
The miners were in pit 6 when (scratched out), now there are barely any (scratched out).
It’s them, they did this, and now (scratched out). How am I going to explain this?
August 3rd, 1916.
Thweeu isDshut me down they sHuT the mine down, those fool s they don’t know what there doing. They haveng been taking notE likeMe, they haven BEEN PAYING attention.
November 14th, 1918.
I’m all alone. The town is practically abandoned, a ghost town now, without the mine this town dried up like a puddle in a desert. They all stare at me, the remaining residents, if I didn’t take to carrying around my father’s hunting rifle, I would have been offed long ago. They blame me you see, for something that wasn’t my fault. All I did was my job. I would have been locked away if I had started raving about little men, with little claws, and mirror eyes. I feel guilt, I’m not a monster. Not like THEM. Those little bastards are the ones who-
I found this journal last night, in the basement of my last home, one long abandoned by now. Reading through it, I felt compelled to wrap things up so to speak. I realized that in my madness I had torn out, one crucial piece of the puzzle, and should anyone ever find this trinket, they should know everything.
It was July 19th, 1916. The day had started off well, but I should have known, from the dream I had. It had been a nightmare, where the mine collapsed in on the miners. All of them. And they were all screaming, because they were trapped inside with those things, those demons. I dropped to my knees, and started trying to dig them out with my bare hands. My hands were bleeding as the screams raised in pitch, and the cackling became louder and louder.
I should have taken the dream as an omen. I should have given the miners a day off. But I didn’t.
I was in pit nine when pit five, four, three, and two all caved in. I heard the explosion of too much dynamite going off.
Nearly all of them the miners had been in those pits.
I heard them, when I arrived at that wall of rock, I heard them screaming, I heard the sound of limbs being torn apart.
Every day I think about it. About those deep black eyes, and that high pitched laughter. About the nightmares they gave me, and the miners. I don't know why they did it, I don't think I or anyone will ever know. Maybe we insulted them by invading their home, and they weren't the sadistic bastards I took them for. I know that apes smile when their angry, maybe the same goes for these tiny monsters. Maybe they were like the kobolds of the Old World, the ones that my grandfather told me about, miner hating goblins that spread poisonous gas. Or maybe Satan sent them to destroy this town, maybe they crawled up from the belly of the earth to spread hell like wildfire.
I don't know. I've never been a religious man, but those things could make you believe in anything. All I know, is that they aren't going anywhere. They're too quick, and live far too deep beneath our feet for humans to ever find them. Maybe we should stay clinging to the crust of this cosmic stone, because if we keep drilling down, down, down into the earth, then one day, THEY will come back, and all our inventions, our weapons, our rules and our laws, will crumble.
Like stone beneath picks, like rock standing against dynamite.