Memories from the Deep
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The dust burned. It penetrated his mouth and nose. There was nothing left of his eyes but puddles of mud, and the tears he could cry as his lungs flooded were an ashen gray. He coughed, and from his throat and ears emerged a grease indistinguishable from the mud in which his legs were already sinking.

There was nothing but black fire all around him, the dust swirling and forming flaming outlines, without the slightest trace of light, but burning against his skin like boiling wax. Every breath of "air" was a step towards the fire of a bonfire in the entrails of the world, and now also in his own entrails.

Then he began to bleed. The dust entered his body, and claimed the thousand and one nooks of his veins and arteries, filling muscles and joints, which creaked. And, even though his heart was now only pumping tar, even though there was not a breath of clean air left in his lungs, even though from his guts emerged nothing but the same dark red mud that already overflowed his entire being, he knew immediately that the small wounds that appeared all over his body indicated only the exit of the damned dust… and that what was running through his skin was, in fact, blood.

It being barely distinguishable from the mud that now covered his waist and most of his chest was an insignificant detail.

Everything alive in him screamed that he needed air.

And from his blood, the dust went into his spine, and into his meninges, and into his brain, and into his mind, and into his soul. He should not have been able to think from that moment on, but he could still feel while his skin was ash, breathe while his lungs were dross, move while his muscles were thin husks of splintered glass filled with dry lumps of dust.

He could think, and he thought of the burning agony that was running through his being as the dark dust worked its way into his soul and ravaged it.

He thought about how he needed to breathe.

He thought briefly of his colleagues, trapped deep in the pit. He thought briefly of his relatives, love replaced by the gray bitterness that you would see in concrete, respect substituted by the rough layer of slate covering dead mountains, a hundred thousand years of now exhausted and windswept fires displacing the small daily pleasures that family life provided. He thought briefly, and then suffered a little more as his once clean spinal fluid turned to black clay paste.

And that was when his body ceased to belong to him, when his mind ceased to be his, and when "he" ceased to be a "he".

When it was all over, Reach awoke knowing that he was one more victim of the pit at the bottom of Area-08. He remembered it for a few minutes, and during those minutes he rammed against the walls of his room, desperate to get rid of that intrusive presence, that stain, that fine sand that looked like tar and the Foundation, in its ignorance, called "an anomaly".

After those minutes, Reach returned to his daily life, because he had to. After those minutes, his brain forgot every death rattle, every moment of anguish, every instant in which he recalled escaping the horror only to plunge again… alone, lost, sinking, again and again and again and again, struggling to escape the nameless horror of a death where one only existed as long as the black blood of the world would allow.

After those minutes, Reach breathed again, because forgetting was so easy…

And it was better to forget, because under the feet of the hundreds of researchers and guards, thousands of souls emerged every day from the black surface of the Wound, all desperate, all hopeless, and all crying out for three things:




Internal Notice 08-99301

To: All Area-08 personnel.
From: Area-08 Management Office.
Subject: New guidelines for SCP-ES-███.

Decks 5 to 0 of Biological Containment and Research Area-08 have received the special designation SCP-ES-███, and have been permanently closed.

Only Class C or D personnel with permanent clearance will be allowed access to the appropriate SCP-ES-███ deck, and only within pre-established schedules set by Area-08 Management. No staff member will be permitted access to more than one SCP-ES-███ deck.

If you experience dreams or hallucinations that include:

  • Mud or sand,
  • fire,
  • shadows, darkness or blindness,
  • pain,

or a combination of the above, personnel will be granted a priority visit with Dr. Reach (Area-08 Chief Archivist) for appropriate amnestic treatment, as well as a mandatory referral to their Sector Infirmary for a preferential psychiatric evaluation.

— Area-08 Management Office.

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