BOOKS OF FLESH
"No, no that's impossible"
The man stared at the house on the hill with wide shocked eyes, gasping for air, sucking it in like a dying fish on the beach. Soon he would have enough oxygen and begin to use it to ramble nervously; yet another defensive reaction. Despite the fact that he was clenching his fist together extraordinary tight, the little girl holding his hands did not cry out and betray any signs of pain. She simply looked out, apparently oblivious to the crushing force on her tiny bones, and asked in an innocent voice, "Why?"
"I've read 184s file, I've read it! This is impossible. It's all random, its all chance, mad little rooms popping up. nothing's controlled. it's all very simple! This should not of appeared. This is a replica of my childhood home Sigurrós!"
Indeed it was. Inside the massive labyrinth, underneath a looming ceiling, on top of a hill of bricks where grass inexplicable grew, lay Doctor Breshear's home. He had opened a door, the girl leading, and crazily saw inside the building, a smaller building, a perfect copy of where he lived as a young boy. It was a tiny three bedroom with flaking blue paint, and a hanging door, and it was exactly as he remembered it, down to every little detail. Even the landscape was the same. There were trees growing. "no, no, no," he said feverishly.
"It's like they say Doctor, a infinite amount of monkeys with an infinite amount of typewriters…. Eventually a duplicate of every structure in the world will be created in here. This is the longest The Architect's ever been in one place."
"Ok, i accept that, it makes sense, but if I'm in a maze of that size, what are the chances of me stumbling onto my house. You mentioned infinity, right! That's about correct, one in infinity. Its impossible. This should not be happening!"
The girl said nothing. She continued to guide him on the path to the front. Doctor Breshear's legs became even weaker when he noticed light flicking inside and if it wasn't for the reassuring pressure of the girl's hand, he would of fallen down completely when the voices started. It seems like a trade off, in return for the stability in his legs, the weakness went to his face. It twisted and curled, the color of a copse, (in fact it didn't start out that way, there was a gradual change, it went down a scale of sorts; first looking like a dead body done up in makeup, left out for a wake; there was a little color, a slight tint in the cheeks and lip and then as all the blood faded it appeared as a cadaver with the cosmetics rudely scrubbed away, the coffin door shut, the finality of death apparent in its tight skull face) the mouth drooled and bit at itself, the eyes bulged madly. A man inside was yelling at a young boy. The young boy was him, 33 years ago.
"In the first studies of 184, they noticed after a while, it went insane. it wouldn't make things out of the right material. wooden microwaves, doors that led to nowhere, stairs that went sideways, glass books. Glass books, Thomas, glass books. If you can believe glass books, why can't you believe in books of flesh? And eventually books of flesh that didn't have words on them, but spoke the lines in voices of their own."
"no, no, no"
"Statues of meat. Moving ones. With thoughts. Anything-"
"naaaaaaah. Something missing. Reality bender. Mind reader. something… gah…. gt…its…mefaaaa…shhhhh" He clutched his head and stuttered.
At the same time, the coarse looking brute grabbed the child by the hair. He was typical muscle bound idiot, a wife beater shirt with stains and all, and the beer he carried in one hand was there all right, laying on the counter near the scene of the abuse. "You're a dirty boy, huh? You like that type of stuff? ok then how about i show-
A white light burst beneath Thomas' left eye and he charged madly at the man, screaming incoherently. The scene did not change, no one reacted, the man continued on with his torment. Apparently, however, he was not ready to face the truth of what happed on that day, for right before he reached the two close together, a door opened on the ground, and he plummeted in a spidery network of tunnels, wailing in terror.
The strange group trekked forward down the tunnel, if there was indeed something as simple as a forward or backwards direction in the messed up world(apparently they didn't think so, because they were all tied together by a thick rope and held hands, as if the lack of logically progression and sane points of reference could separate them at any moment) They were lead by a stern powerful looking man, with a thick beard and sand colored skin, holding a wickedly sharp katana with a curved knife at his belt. Near his side was a obese lady with a greasy fringe haircut and stubble, chewing on a cigarette like a cow, and then behind her was a tall man wearing a top hat with a submarine gun tucked into his pants and a young boy with ragged cloths and a flute in his hands. A withered old man with a crown purely devoid of any hair and a long tangled facial hair hobbled along near the edge, and Doctor Breshear, Doctor Furkis, and Prof Vudloom walked in the middle. Bringing up the rear was a stiff man with clockwork for a head that walked with straight legs, and an albino copse with a shock of white hair that had gears tearing through its skin at odds spots; a small metallic object ripped through the skin of its forehead over and over again in a circle bloodlessly. These were the only two infected with the various diseases that inhabited the land of darkness that were allowed to walk freely, the other sick ones with the gang were chained up. Each member of the group except for The Hunter had one of the infected on a leash, forced to crawl on hands and knees in front of them. The Machine Zombies moved slowly, listlessly, occasionally snapping at the air. They all had gears, but unlike the one in behind, the gears were configured quite differently. It was the positioning that matter, the ones of the ground had gears mostly on their back and legs. Breshear, Vudloom, and Furkis each had one, holding on to their leashes tightly. The old man held on, a whip in the other hand. The man in the top hat's looked especially vicious, and had gears connecting together to form a muzzle over its mouth. The boy seemed afraid of his, and keep jumping away and looking embarrassed if it so much as turned its head his way. The bullish chick had a tiny emaciated girl in a cage, and held the cage in one hand. It jumped and bit at the bars, and snarled, and clawed at its pink dress and bow. It was the only one that had a pure strain, the others were mixed. It did not have any metal tearing through its cold flesh, and thus it was more hungry for the hot kind, completely uncontrollable. They stuck to the side of the tunnel, at the edge of the rushing dirty water that roared down the enclosed space. At one side of the stone wall, a gargoyle face suddenly ejected sewage out of its mouth, splattering the elderly man.
"Just my fucking luck!" he howled
Thomas looked at him curiously, with a slight sardonic smile, "Does this place even have plumbing?"
"No can you fucking believe it?! Thats how fucked up this place is, no plumbing, no fucking toilets, we shit on the ground, and yet it has a random sewage system that shoots out at people. Crazy, right! Where the fuck does the poo come from anyways if there no-
"Silence" The Hunter spoke, himself saying it as in a quiet voice, as if he was attempting to demonstrate on how they should talk from now on. It was not that however, he wasn't making a point, the deadly soft tone was simply his style. He was a murder and a sociopath, and the voice became him well. "Do you hear that?"
There was a low roar deep within, far beneath were they were walking. It was ancient and primeval, and each turned fearfully to another. "The Beast" whispered Betsy, and licked her mustache nervously. "The Beast or a beast?" asked Prof Vudloom.
She turned to her and said quietly, "there are reasons 6, 8, and 2 are our cultures unlucky numbers."
The sound continued to grow in power and strength. Soon it seemed that the darkness was part of it as well, and was rushing up to meet them. Thomas began to scream.
"you see if this was a normal nightmare, you'd wake up in your bed, twisted in some sweaty sheets. probably fallen out. But ah, since everyone in the Foundation's been having this dream, you'll waking up here, with wires connected to your head" said the technician Jason Puth snidely, a smirk on his skinny face.
"Where am i exactly."
"Lab 312. We took you out of your home last night. Hope you don't mind. I also hope you don't mind that now you're going to get a CAT scan. Normally the first thing people like to do in the morning it drink some coffee or read the paper or take a whiz, but i guess it's extensive brain scanning today. come on"
"did any on you guys see yourself in the vision" Thomas asked his lunch table group. All of them looked up, since before the question they were fully engrossed in the time-honored tradition of poking their food with disdain. (The Foundation's cafeteria used a SCP to create hyper nutritional sludge, which while extremely healthy was very unappetizing. It seemed a rule of the universe, cafeteria food had to be gross slime. It could be burnt, cheap crusty gross slime, or very wholesome goop, as long as it was still slime, in the end.)
"you know sometimes i wish they wouldn't have the technology. because then at least they wouldn't have an excuse why this food looks like shit. they couldn't get all self-righteous with us. "why are you complaining brian, this is the most nutritional bowl of gravy meat jello in the universe. Eat it and you'll become big and strong. If becoming big and strong was my number one concern i would of broken into SCP-XXX's cage a long time ago."
Prof Vudloom stared at Thomas. "It's just that this is an uncomfortable subject to discuss. It was very….disturbing"
Doctor Aklaize nodded, and said sensitively, blushing sightly, "i was hoping they were going to make us sign a confidentiality form, just so we wouldn't have to talk about it"
Thomas looked around at his gang of friends, slightly irritated, "guys come on. This is really the best way to deal with i-
"No," said Doctor Plud, " I saw it in front of me. I saw it from the outside, a gigantic, monstrous shadow, black towers, gates, almost fortress like, in front of me while I was in some sort of forest."
"I only say the top, surrounded by a storm cloud."
Proffesor Vudloom, "I was on the top. In the middle was some kind of funnel. Hooded figures were dropping boxes and objects in the hole and as they fell, around the middle they were sucked into different valves. Each object was randomly pulled to a different new tube, I'm guessing to be dispensed into other parts of the building. I woke up" she blinked and said dispassionately " i woke up when i was pushed in"
Doctor Aklaize blubbered out suddenly" I was inside! running! something behind me was chasing me!"
Thomas thought for a moment and then said slowly, thinking over his comment, " But none of you actually really did anything. or interacted."
Doctor Plud, "Exactly. there was a degree of removal. of separation."
"and what was this place called. any of you got a name or location? i mean any solid information besides portents and uneasy feelings?"
Proffesor Vudloom seemed surprised. "I thought that was obvious Tom. we thought everyone knew"
Thomas looked back and forth. "Well what then?" he said anxiously.
"It was written on the side. carved or burned in."
"i swear i still saw a flicker of flame on the edges of the words."
"What? What was it called!"
Almost simultaneously, "The Complex."