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Far, far into the future, in an undefined year, prisons didn't exist. Well, not really. Instead of pushing you into a cell for five years, they'd knock you into a coma, place you into a casket, put a tracking beacon on the casket, and shoot you off to who-knows-where. After your sentence, they'd just see where your tracking beacon is and send a ship or two off to the destination at which you arrived. Sometimes, your casket was hit by an asteroid or some junk, but hey, that's the punishment for killing a person. At least it prevented people from complaining about their jobs as executioners.
Now, to knock you into a coma, they gave you a pill. That pill didn't just knock you into a coma, it put you into a dream. One that lasted the entire duration of your sentence. So, you didn't just wake up five minutes (in your time) later to discover that you're back on planet Earth. That wouldn't be any fun, would it? You'd need to serve the sentence.
In the dream, you initiallly find yourself locked in a room. You couldn't kill yourself and your bodily functions did not work properly; in other words, you didn't need to urinate or...well, you know. That being said, you didn't have to eat. You could interact with the room in any way you wanted to. But you couldn't get out. There was no door. There was no window to look outside. Whoops, there isn't an outside.
It wasn't rare that people went mad from the sheer boredom. The Government was fine with that, but the people kept on complaining about human rights, prisoners are people too, blah blah blah. So, a few years later, the Government made a small change in the pill...the room.
The new change was a stick.
"Version 1.5, you can now draw!" said a propaganda poster, who was stating that prison wasn't so bad after all.
Prison wasn't bad. All you needed to do was wait around for five years or so. Then, after that, everything would black out and you'd wake up in a rehabilitation facility.
But there was one case the Government covered up. David Mattias Thorwell, sentenced to one year of space-rehab (the informal name was sleep-prison, a phrase which, like many others, was covered up). He met this fate as a result of petty larceny.
The pill was perfect. Except for one thing. And Thorwell's case was unique.
Thorwell was shot in the direction of the Saturn asteroid ring. His pill worked fine, his casket worked fine. Except when his term was due, and the Hunters were sent, they found him in a cluster of asteroids. They suspected that his casket was going to be banged up a bit. That wasn't the problem, though. The Hunters, pilots who were sent to retrieve prisoners, didn't care about their passengers one single bit. They cared about their ships.
Of course they waited.
They waited for a total of 84 hours before another asteroid came along and scattered the cluster. The ship, the Spider-On-Web, immediately retrieved Thorwell, and headed back home.
Nothing seemed to be out of order. Life support systems on the casket were fine. There were a few claw-like scratches on the exterior one-way mirror cover that were probably caused by asteroid impacts, but other than that, nothing else. Scratches on the interior would mean another thing, though. Thorwell was still asleep. This was all according to plan, because to wake the prisoners up, they had to inject them with a drug. It consisted of a lot of caffine. Basically. The pills, though, still went via term, and that meant that Thorwell blacked out for a total of 84 hours. That was the only problem, but Thorwell was still alive, and that meant all-go for the crew of Spider-On-Web.
Once they successfully made landfall back on Earth, officials hurriedly opened Thorwell's casket. This had never happened before.
Everything was in order. Except that when Thorwell woke up, his eyes were a blood red. No, they hadn't exploded due to pressure; their colour was literally red. He jumped out, and ripped through two soldiers before he was put down. "Twenty mags or so," went the post-mortem report of the two soldiers.
After the incident, the officials turned their attention back towards the casket. It seemed in perfect condition, apart from the scratches. They were about to clean the casket up for another prisoner when one of the pilots of the Spider-On-Web noticed something. The metal inside the casket had another message: Scratched into one of the walls of the casket were the words, "Not anymore". This was probably a joke from one of the previous 'inmates', so there was nothing to be worried about. Yet.
Cleaning up a casket took work. It wasn't just cleaning up the literal casket, it was cleaning up the world of the casket. The prisoner couldn't just be knocked out purely based on the pill, it needed the help of the casket itself. The pill provided the kick to knock the prisoner out, and the casket made the 'world'. A small chip was all it took. Because of resource issues, the Government issued the clean-ups; workers who had special equipment that literally went into the room and cleaned up the mess, if there was any, in there. Why couldn't they just replace the chip? Resources.
When the workers went into the room that day, they weren't the only residents. There was something there, some..."thing," described by one of the worker-survivors.
What happened was covered up by the Government, but it's all here.
When the workers went into the room, it was a mess. There were scratches, or phrases, all over the place. All repeating the same word: I'm alone, I'm alone, I'm alone. The clean up took a long time, but in the real world, it took but a minute.
After the clean-up was completed, the two workers turned around to return to the real world via a portal (that took them here, also). They weren't alone.
A creature stood, blocking their way. It was tall and, well, you could say lanky. Its body was pure black, no fur, just darkness. Its arms were long and nearly touched the ground...if you saw it, you could have sworn the arms were going to touch the ground, but they didn't. The claws that grew out of the arms did indeed touch the ground, though. It had a small, oval-like head, with four purple eyes stacked on top of each other, like a spider. It stood there, watching them. Then, after about five seconds of silence, the creature, using its long arms, grabbed one of the workers, and stared into his eyes.
The other worker, too scared to help his comrade, yelled out and made a burst for the portal. When he made it back to the real world, he found his friend struggling to rip open the head of a soldier. The worker grabbed a rifle amidst the mess he came back to, and fired upon the creature his friend had become.
Obviously, he survived, and his 'friend' was killed by the sudden burst of bullets that hit his skull, ripping it from his body to the ground. Post-mortem report states that "Twelve deaths, four injuries" were the result of the clean-up.
To this day, the casket and the gore remains there. If you went there now, the scratches would still be there, and so would the message. Soon after the Scar Day (it's now an holiday, commemorating the abandonment of the space-rehabs), the Government issued a no-fly zone near Saturn. Prisoners are now just knocked out and put into beds, and when the day comes, they'd be injected. Death sentences are now back. But, still, the door to the room that the clean-up occurred in was never opened again. They did eventually demolish the space-rehab building, and they reported that, in the darkness of the rubble, on a display of a terminal that survived the blast of the C4, were four purple eyes.
In the far, far future, lies a creature in the dark. It isn't physical, but it can 'be'.
And it's not alone.
Written by 41488p