At Any Price

January 30, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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Fame. Who doesn’t want it? Maybe some people prefer to stay out of the limelight, but not me. I crave being famous, seek it, fantasize about it endlessly. I can’t stop thinking about it and all the power and worth it would bring to my boring, terrible life. The world would know me all over. Fans would wait in line just for a chance to see me or take my picture. I would be in the newspapers, online, twitter, all media. Almost everyone in the world would at least have heard my name.

The problem was, I had no talent which could make me famous. I can’t sing, dance, write, play sports, and I’m by no means beautiful or a genius. And I didn’t even want to be famous for those things. To me, even those talents seemed too ordinary. There are thousands of people with those abilities. No, I wanted something even more. Unfortunately, there just isn’t much demand for a plain, ordinary, 20-something woman without a single thing special about her. Brown hair, pale skin, totally ordinary face. My life was so completely miserable that I never smiled, something my co-workers felt the need to remind me of constantly. Gee, thanks for pointing that out. I had no idea I never smiled. Perhaps if they could step into my shoes they would stop smiling, too. I am just like almost every other woman my age, except even the plainest of the plain had at least one thing they were good at. Not me. Ms. Average. So boring and unremarkable. How could I ever even dream of being anyone special? It was ludicrous. And yet I couldn’t stop. All day, every day I thought about having a better life. It was my first thought in the morning and my last thought at night. How could I have been given such a desire, and then, have no way of making it a reality? It was cruelly unfair.

I became obsessed. Soon the thoughts took over almost every moment of my day. It began to drive me crazy, just a little at first, then more and more as my obsession took hold. I knew I was losing it. What to do? What would you do in my place? I went to a psychiatrist, he just wanted to talk about having low self-esteem and being happy with what I had. How dare he? Did he not hear what was consuming my days and nights? Did he not understand? Be happy with what I had. That advice was so ridiculous it was infuriating. Oh, the rage building inside me. You can’t begin to imagine. Such a desire and no way to bring it to fruition. And medication? Worthless. All it did was make my brain foggy and sleepy. How can I even begin to describe this obsession? Imagine having to think about oxygen, water, or food every minute of your life. This wasn’t just a desire. It was a need. I had to be famous or I would have to end my life. I couldn’t go on this way. Something had to be done.

My mind began spiraling off into unhealthy directions. Who or what could help me with my insane need? What could I possibly do? Try to become a witch and cast a spell on the whole world and make them see me as something I really wasn’t? Ludicrous. Dumb to even consider it. And yet…thinking about the occult made me have another thought. A terrible thought. Could I? Could I follow through with my horrific, evil plan? The more obsessed I became, the more real the idea became. What did I really want? What could I give up in order to fulfill my deepest need?

It was sick. A small part of me knew that, but I couldn’t get my mind off my plan. I knew what had to be done. I would do it and reap the consequences later. Determined, I went to the store and purchased a ouija board. It was the best way I could think of to accomplish what I had to do. Alone in my small, cheap apartment I turned out the lights and set up a ring of candles. Lighting them one by one, I felt a sense of relief I hadn’t felt in years. Finally, I was taking action. Damn the repercussions. This was the only way, and it wasn’t my fault I had been driven to it. I sat in the center of the candles with the ouija board. I’d never used one before, having heard that it was dangerous and that one could never tell what evil forces you might be inviting into your life. But that was what I was counting on. Evil forces to help me carry out my plan.

I asked out loud, “Is there anyone or anything here with me now?”

The planchette began to move slowly. I knew that I wasn’t moving it. This task was too important to fool around. Slowly, the planchette spelled, I A M .

“Who are you?” I asked. Moving a little faster now, it touched the letters, T H E O N E Y O U W A N T.

“Can you help me?” I needed to know for sure. The planchette spun to “yes.”

My palms were sweaty but I was more than ready to see this through. “Do you know what I want?” It answered F A M E. I started to freak out a bit. This was for real. But I knew I could do this, I just had to be specific. I needed to get exactly what I was seeking or all of this was worthless.

I took a deep breath and announced, “You have to guarantee that I will be one of the most famous women ever. People will boast about seeing me. Men will be grateful for the chance to even gaze upon upon my face for a few moments. I will be known around the world for many years to come and my fame will be unparalleled. I don’t care if I have to move through time to get it. Put me in the past. Push me towards the future. Make this happen at any time at all. I don’t care where I am. Make me special and famous.”

Fame…beauty…desire…worth. I would finally be someone special. I would stand out in this messy, grubby little world as better than, someone to be talked about and admired. Better than all those sad, old, ugly women with their pathetic lives that came and went without notice. I would be recognized and adored, just as I always wanted. I would be remembered. It was worth any price. Any.

“Can you do that for me? Tomorrow? Can I wake up tomorrow with all of these things?”

The planchette moved and stopped on “yes.”

I felt a breath of hope and joy move through me like never before. This was it. I could have what I needed. All my longing, my need to be famous for years and years, was about to be fulfilled. Stunned with happiness, I asked one final question.

“What is the price?’ Because there is always a price for such things.

Y O U R S O U L

My heart froze, but I’d known it was coming. I’m sure I wasn’t the first person to sell their soul to the devil to get what they needed. No matter, I told myself. It would all be worth it. I would follow through on this terrifying plan. All that mattered was that my greatest desire be granted.

I whispered, “Agreed.”

And so it was done. I had made a pact with the devil. There would be no turning back, no begging to undo this, no hope of changing the course to come. And I didn’t want to. When I woke tomorrow, my wonderful and special life would start. All the pain would be over and the rewards would begin.

I laid down in the middle of the candles, afraid to sleep in my room lest I wake and find this was all a dream. Of course, I could wake up tomorrow in a mansion or on a private jet traveling to a destination beyond my wildest dreams. It could be anywhere. I sank into a deep, peaceful sleep with a curious smile on my face. A smile. It felt so good. How long had it been since I had smiled?

When I woke up, I could still feel the strange little smile on my face. It took a moment for my eyes to adjust to my surroundings. The faint outline of a handsome young man gazing upon my face in wonder became clear. I couldn’t believe it. Yes! This was the start of my sweet fame. Oh, how I’d longed for this moment and finally it was here. Another face came into view. This was a woman looking at me with a dazed expression. Probably jealous, I told myself smugly. Who wouldn’t be? She looked like the ordinary person I had once been.

I started to hear sounds around me, quietly at first, then rushing to fill my head. I could hear hushed conversations and footsteps echoing throughout what sounded like a great hall. Was I queen living in a castle? I needed to know. I tried to look around the room, but found that I couldn’t. I tried to move my head to see, but it was stuck in place. What was happening? This wasn’t right. I couldn’t even blink. Something was wrong! How could I be famous if I couldn’t even move?

I tried to open my mouth to speak, but it was as if it was sealed shut. I couldn’t move anything. My mind panicked and I tried to breathe deeply, but my lungs were not responding. It was as if my whole body was encased in cement. Nothing was working and I couldn’t feel a thing. All I could do was think.

Another group came into view. This group contained what looked like a family, with small children. “She’s amazing,” the mother said. “Yes”, the father responded. ” II never thought I’d ever get to see her in real life.” They turned to each other and shared a smile. What was happening? I’m amazing but I can’t move? I gave up my immortal soul for this? Years and years of…what?

Another person walked in front of me, an old man with kind eyes who gazed at me thoughtfully. “You know,” he mused to the docent, “I’ve looked at the Mona Lisa a hundred times but I still can’t figure out what the strange smile on her face means. I’ve always wondered what she was thinking about when this picture was created.”

The horror crushed me as I thought of my future. Forever trapped on a canvas. Famous and admired, just like I begged. My last thought, before I descended into true madness, was – never make a deal with the devil. He’ll give you everything you want…and then some.

Credit To – Lucy C.

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Homeward

January 28, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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He stumbled. He knew the way, or at least he was reasonably sure he did, but he had a hard time staying on track.

He fell. He decided to just stay there for a minute, and catch his breath. When he got up, a moan escaped his lips; he didn’t hurt, exactly, but he was frustrated. He looked up at the afternoon sun, and he didn’t remember it getting so late. Where did the time go?

He just shrugged and walked it off. Home. That was his thought process; I have to get home.

He’d been drunk before, of course. There were times where he couldn’t remember events from the night of revelry, but he’d never had a substantial blackout before. For the life of him, he couldn’t remember what had happened between doing shots at the bar and stumbling around now, at least sixteen hours later. Was he asleep? Where were his friends?

Why did he have only one shoe?

He thought about asking the woman sitting in the park bench. Asking her what? He forgot.

He was so confused, but he was sure that he couldn’t be drunk anymore.

“My god,” he thought, “am I sick?”

The lady on the park bench was pretty. He moved in her direction. She looked past him.

He loomed over her, and she continued to ignore him.

“Hey,” he tried to say, but his words came out a gasp. Tongue tied, he stood there, trying to ask a simple question without appearing to be a fool or simpleton. He just needed to use her phone, if she had one. He grew nervous and agitated; it was like he was stuck in a dream, and he couldn’t get the words out, but he knew exactly what he wanted to ask.

All she did was dismissively grunt in his general direction.

He knew when to take a hint, so he kept walking towards home.

He wasn’t tired, but weary and hungry. There was a shadowy spot underneath an old oak; he liked how the moss hung to give shade. He sat down, leaning against the trunk. He looked back towards the hotel, but he couldn’t see it. Where were his friends? What had happened to the bachelor party? He didn’t remember walking so far, but things had been a mess since waking up.

His eyes wandered the streets around him, and he thought it odd how there was absolutely no vehicle traffic. Cars had stopped in some places, and the roads were completely clear in others. Vaguely, he registered the sounds of alarms and horns blaring in the distance. He saw a lot of folks walking, not seemingly in a hurry, and completely unconcerned about the heat of the day.

He drifted off, tired of thinking, tired of trying to remember and piece it all together.

Awareness floated back to him on the beams of a full moon. He was walking again. Just as confused as earlier, at least he was no longer hungry. He found it odd that he was now barefoot, but he didn’t dwell on it.

He had to get home.

He smiled a little as he remembered being this drunk once before. He was being led back to the hotel from a night on River Street by his less-inebriated friends. He became obsessed with the fact that his wife was missing. “Where did she go? IS SHE OKAY?” he yelled, and he lit out to find her at a full-trot. A keystone cops moment followed, wherein he ran circles around the old weathered brick building that housed a nightclub, chased by four of his closest and dearest. When he finally stopped running (he found her safe and sound hugging a lamp post) the almost-sober of the group ushered the concerned parties to the suite before police could be involved.

Lost in thought, he tripped over something on the shoulder of the interstate.

Wait. The interstate?

Headlights in the distance illuminated his path. He looked down at what nearly made him fall. He couldn’t tell for sure what it was, but it was slippery and smelled delicious.

“A food truck accident?” he thought.

He shambled on towards the headlights, intending to wave them down for a ride. He reached out to them, waving his hands.

The car swerved towards him, and didn’t slow down.

Confusion turned to anger when a side-mirror grazed his arm. He spun around, and landed in the ditch. The car kept going, red taillights in the distance weaving around other vehicles in the dark.

Anger added itself to the perpetual confusion and frustration. He tried to get up, but found his left arm uncooperative. He roared in frustration, and slowly got back to his feet.

He looked down, and in the moonlight, his arm hung, twisted and obviously broken.

“Wow. I must really be blitzed,” he thought hazily.

There was no pain.

He walked on.

Slowly, the miles melted away as surely as his thoughts. Blackouts became more common. Words became disjointed images in his mind, and soon the only two things that he knew were hunger and the need to go home.

Time became a blur, discomfort became a constant companion, and anger colored everything with a hazy white film. Days became nights, and strangers walked beside him. He didn’t speak. After it became obvious that they would ignore him, he began to return the favor.

He finally recognized the exit ramp for home.

He left the pack of weary travelers that had both welcomed and spurned him, and he refused to rest until he could do so in his own bed.

His wife and children would be worried sick, and the Missus would probably be angry that he hadn’t called. She never really wanted him to go off to Savannah with the boys for the bachelor party, anyway.

These thoughts seeped in and leaked out just as quickly, and it was hard to concentrate. He vaguely remembered being angry that she hadn’t come looking for him, but these complex ideas, too, just became images.

Home. Hunger. Eat when I get there. Rest when I get home. One foot in front of the other, fall down. Get up. Keep going. Home.

Hunger.

Her.

Love?

Longing for her.

Longing for home.

Blackout.

He couldn’t get inside. The front door wouldn’t open. He knocked with his good arm. he beat at the door with both arms

“I’m home, let me in,” he thought he said. a growl escaped his dried, cracked lips

He heard crying from inside. Something was wrong! Hunger flared, anger peaked. He knocked louder, and he yelled for her to let him inside. his arms flailed against the door, and his growls became a constant moan

Finally, the door opened, and there she was.

He saw a flash of light, but never heard the thunder that echoed into the pines and elms surrounding their secluded country house.

“There will be others. Close the door and let’s get the barricade back in place before they get here.”

“We need to bury him, mama! He’s been missing since this thing started, but now he’s home, and we need to take care of Dad!”

“That’s not your daddy any more, baby. He died weeks ago.”

Under the cover of darkness, as quietly as they could, they laid him to rest next to other family members. Each of them in that shallow makeshift cemetery had been driven by longing and hunger; each of them had been looking for a missing piece of themselves that could only be found back home.

Credit To – Nick O’Caliban

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Late Night Television

January 27, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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It’s Friday evening. Your parents are away for the weekend, and they left you in charge of looking after your little brother while they’re gone. At age seventeen, you’re more than capable of making sure a nine-year-old doesn’t get himself killed. Even though it’s a quarter until midnight, neither of you have hit the hay yet. At the moment, you’re in your room catching up on some homework and he’s downstairs watching television in the living room.

Your bedroom is directly above the living room, so you can always hear the TV through your thin floors. Every action movie, every reality show, every infomercial comes in loud and clear to you. It used to annoy the hell out of you, but you’ve grown accustomed to working with the sound in the background. It hardly ever gets so clamorous as to be distracting. If it does, you just descend your house’s only set of steps and ask whoever’s down there to lower the volume. Or, if you’re feeling lazy, you just holler your request at the floor. They can usually hear you.

Although you’re focused on your work, you’re quite aware of what your brother’s watching. You think it’s a vintage crime drama or something. At the moment you can hear one character, presumably a mob boss or something like that, bragging about how his gang is going to thrash their rivals in an upcoming brawl.

“We’re gonna pound them 'til they look like a newspaper: Black, white, and red all over!” Your brother roars with laughter at that one. Only a kid with his level of maturity could somehow milk a chuckle out of that overplayed pun.

“Ya got that right, Lupo!” one of his underlings exclaims.

Another character says, with a timid voice, “I ain’t sure if we should go through with this. Don’t really seem right to me.” More laughter from your brother.

“You got a problem with the plan?” the head mobster asks. You can tell he’s ticked.

At this point, you’re beginning to lose concentration on your work. You’re curious as to what this show or movie is about.

The other answers tentatively, “No, I just think we oughta—” His words are cut short by what sounds like a scuffle. There’s a shout, and then a succession of whams like someone is being bludgeoned with a baseball bat. Your brother giggles again. You have no idea what’s supposed to be funny.

The reluctant character—whoever’s being roughed up— keeps begging for mercy, but the one hurting him does not relent. The strikes just keep coming. The victim lets out one final plea, but falls silent after you hear something snap, like a broken bone. A sickening crunch immediately follows, accompanied by yet another bay of laughter. After clearing his throat, the leader speaks again. “Anybody else have any objections?” he asks.

No one does. In the silence, you can hear your brother snickering.

The boss speaks up again. “Well, glad that’s out of the way.” He sighs. “Aw, jeez, now I’m all bloody.” That line gets your brother in stitches. He must not get what’s happening, if he thinks that’s funny, you think.

“Gimme me a towel and a bucket of water, Frankie,” the honcho orders. “Then we can toss this piece ‘a crap out on the street. Even the rats gotta eat, am I right?” Your brother bursts out laughing like he’d just heard the funniest joke in history.

This time, your brother's hysterics continue for a little less than a minute, growing noisier by the second. This is getting weird.

You feel a little sick to your stomach. Your older sibling instincts kick in, and you realize your brother shouldn’t be watching some freaky murder flick so late. He shouldn’t be watching it at all, really. It’ll give him nightmares. Heck, if the thing is as brutal as it sounds, it’d probably keep you awake at night, too. Yelling at him to come up and go to bed yields no response. Stubborn kid. You try again. No reply. Perhaps he fell asleep on the couch. You decide to go downstairs and carry him up to his bed.

You push away from your desk and leave your room. The noise from the television stops abruptly as you walk down the hall towards the staircase. Downstairs, it’s dark. The TV’s not on. Your brother’s not on the couch in front of it. You call out his name. No one answers. He’s not in any of the rooms on the ground floor.

Suddenly alarmed, you sprint upstairs to his room and peek in. You find him snoring soundly next to his nightlight. He must’ve gone to sleep a while ago, since there’s no way he could have snuck past you from downstairs undetected. In any case, you’re relieved that he’s all right, and glad he wasn’t poisoning his mind with some horrific late-night televised drivel. Positively relieved, until you realize that there’s no way he could have been watching the television only a few moments ago.

An icy chill runs down your spine. You hear laughter behind you; it’s that same laughter from downstairs that you'd assumed belonged to your brother. Now it is much, much closer.

Credit To – Insaniac

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Encounter

January 23, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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**CONFIDENTIAL DOCUMENTS**
THE CONTENTS AND INFORMATION WITHIN THIS REPORT ARE CONFIDENTIAL AND FOR EYES ONLY OF THE INTENDED RECEIVER AND PROTECTED BY THE CORPORATION PROTECTION ACT OF 2069* ANY UNAUTHORIZED VIEWING AND/OR REPLICATION OF THESE DOCUMENTS ARE PUNISHABLE BY INDEFINITE DETAINMENT OR DEATH

REPORT SUMMARY: THE INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION OF THE INCIDENT OF LEONIDAS 7 MINING SITE AND ITS STATUS CONCLUDED AS OF SEPTEMBER 2, 2080/EC
REPORT OF INVESTIGATION CONDUCTED BY: H. DECKARD ID# B-263-53
CLIENT: STARFLIGHT OFF-WORLD MINING INC.
RECEIVER: E.DILLINGER-CEO STARFLIGHT MINING INC.
CASE RESULT: INCONCLUSIVE/OPEN
RECOMMENDATION(S): CONSTANT ONGOING PRIVATE SECURITY SWEEPS AND/OR MILITARY INTERVENTION BEFORE RESUMING OPERATIONS ON LEONIDAS 7, OR ENTIRE SITE ABANDONMENT

Mr. Dillinger,
I would firstly like to thank you for choosing Hennig Off-World Investigations, and working as head investigator on your unique case has been my top priority. We at Henning Off-World Investigations take pride in our work and our record speaks for itself. Confidentiality is our specialty and with a case as amazing and unique as yours, we have taken every precaution to protect your name and your business. We are happy to have you as a client, and hope to do business with you in the future.
My investigation began on December 27th 2079 on the Earth Calendar, and I concluded my report on April 6, 2080/EC.
The whereabouts and status of STARFLIGHT MINING INC. employee Nelson Sykes are unknown, but presumed dead. Various mining equipment from “Site B” are missing from the planetoid entirely and the location to before mentioned equipment are unknown.
It is certain after my investigation that the mining equipment was not stolen by competitive organizations or persons within the off-world mining business or of employee’s current or past, but instead removed by intelligent life forms unknown to man. It is also my belief that STARFLIGHT MINING INC. employee Nelson Sykes has also been ‘taken’ and may or may not be alive. It would seem that he was in the process of leaving Leonidas 7 in extreme haste for reasons unknown at this time.
My report includes travel documents (sent separately), radiation level reports, life support & 02 levels, habitat atmospheric content, and all video evidence from station video feeds recorded during the incident has been recovered and is waiting for you at our main office on Earth for your acceptance. We will not disclose physical evidence to anyone else (as requested in our contract) unless demanded by court order. Your signature and identification will be needed upon release.
Best Regards,
H. DECKARD ID# B-263-53

Deckard ID# B-263-53 Arrival of Leonidas 7 January 2, 2080/EC
PLANETOID IMPRESSIONS

I arrive on Leonidas 7 uneventfully and begin my assessment of the planetoid itself, beginning with orbital scanning. No bombardment of any kind was found by visual or by satellite imagery (thermal or radioactive); however a trace of immense isolated radiation was found approximately 50 yards northeast of the habitat. The radioactive footprint left a visual trace that was concluded after testing to have started out as 10ftx10ft initially, then upon my arrival, diminishing to 2ftx2ft. It is unknown what exactly caused this phenomenon to occur, and what has made the radiation diminish so quickly. What is also strange is that the radiation was present upwards of 50ft in height and had not spread itself beyond its footprint on the ground.
No other areas outside of the habitat on the planetoid have any abnormal levels of radiation.

MINING STATION HABITAT INVESTIGATION

After approximately 2 hours of reviewing the hull of the superstructure, it is in my opinion that the exterior of the habitat is sound and completely undamaged and holding oxygen and pressurization as designed.
Entering the airlock was normal and functional, proceeded to enter habitat. First impressions of the habitat were complete disarray. Equipment broken in pieces on the flooring, tables and chairs turned over. No signs of STARFLIGHT MINING INC. employee Nelson Sykes anywhere to be found.
Sensors sweep determined that an intense yet quickly diminishing level of radiation was inside the main area (nowhere else), cause of radiation unknown.
Oxygen was at normal levels, air recycling equipment working normally. A small level of chlorine gas was traced to the Living Quarters and the Operations Room, what caused this to happen is undetermined as no equipment sent to Leonidas 7 contained chlorine and there was nothing found that would emit the gas.
Computer equipment seemed to be fully functional and operable, I then sent out digital communication channels requesting for Nelson Sykes only to be greeted with static.
After further investigating the habitat, I discovered a digital journal that Nelson Sykes had kept during his employment on LEONIDAS 7, as well as camera footage he recorded and left behind.
Nelson Sykes’ clothing and personal items were all found in the habitat, most of it packed for transit. His exterior suit was found in the airlock and his backup emergency suit in his living quarters.
Unless STARFLIGHT MINING INC. employee Nelson Sykes had a third exterior suit suitable for the vacuum of space, he would have been unable to leave the habitat, but after repeated searches (visual, thermal and through nano) it is evident that he was not in the habitat while I was there and not there when I departed. He did not venture out on the planetoid either, as the rover was in its place and fully charged, and there were no footprints leaving the habitat. As impossible as it seems, he left no physical evidence of leaving the planetoid, but he is not there and I have no idea where he could possibly be.
I proceeded to the Hydroponics superstructure and found that all vegetation was removed and the locations to the plants are unknown. The ground was damp, as expected with rainfall within the superstructure. A strange message was written on the wall, “THEY LIVE”.
After concluding that the habitat was empty, I proceeded to the outside to inspect the mining sites.
I exited the airlock and proceeded to the rover dock and found the rover plugged in and fully charged, and in my opinion, had not been used recently.

INVESTIGATION OF SITE “A”
Arrived at Mining Site “A” and discovered that mining equipment was intact, and seemingly operational but not in operation. I thoroughly explored the caves and crevices on this site and saw nothing noteworthy. Further reconnaissance determined Nelson Sykes was neither at this location nor do I believe he was at this site anytime recently.

INVESTIGATION OF SITE “B”
Arrived at Mining Site “B”, nothing here but track prints of equipment; all of the excavators, collectors, separator’s, storage containers, generators, solar paneling, all of it completely gone. There are no track prints of the equipment leaving the area; my conclusion is that the equipment has been somehow lifted out of the area. Resources mined from the site have also been taken. All of it has seemingly vanished.
Investigated the tunnels made here, and found absolutely nothing inside, just rock.
Nelson Sykes was not found at Site “B” and not believed to have been at the location recently.

INVESTIGATION OF SITE “C”
Arrived at Mining Site “C”, and discovered that mining equipment was intact, and seemingly operational but not in operation. I thoroughly explored the caves and crevices on this site and saw nothing noteworthy. Further reconnaissance determined Nelson Sykes was neither at this location nor do I believe he was at this site anytime recently.

INVESTIGATION OF EMERGENCY RECOVERY VEHICLE
Arrived at the launch site pad and return vehicle and concluded that all systems were in full operation and ready to be jettisoned. The instruments were active and the craft was able to launch within minutes. Life support systems were active as well, and according to the logs, were activated 101 hours before my arrival on the planetoid. Nothing noteworthy was inside.

TRANSCRIPT OF DIGIJOURNAL
The following is the transcript of the digital journal entries of STARFLIGHT MINING INC. employee Nelson Sykes that was recovered in the Operations Room of the habitat of LEONIDAS 7
Entry Begins-

Entry Date February 20th 2079: Hello, this is Nelson Sykes. I got a transfer from work, looks like I am heading out into deep space, the final frontier. I will be the sole engineer operator out in the fucking far reaches of explored space on a planetoid, overseeing gold mining operations. It is pretty kick-back, I will be babysitting ‘bots.
They have already started mining there and I am replacing the guy that has been there from the beginning. I didn’t ask why I was replacing him; it’s none of my business. All I know is that I am getting a 25% pay increase and a shitload of overtime. The last job I had like that was 3 months on the outskirts of Serenity Valley on Hera. That was good money and I can really use it, and if all goes well I can come back in 6 months after getting there, and have enough for a down payment on a habitat somewhere nice. Looks like things are starting to look up for me. About time too, the ex-wife took everything except my bones. Bitch.

Entry Date February 27th 2079: I blast off for Leonidas 7 in a few days. I knew it was far but I have never even heard of this place. Nobody around here has, it looks like StarFlight Mining has its secrets. Who cares, as long as the deposits to my account clear. I worked off-world remotely a couple of times already and it has been a good payday for me. I miss my friends and family but it doesn’t affect me like some guys. I just count down the days and keep in mind that the longer I stay, the more money I make. It can get boring at times. Luckily for me, I love to read. I have to make sure to get lots of books downloaded before I head out. I go in for my physical/mental examination tomorrow. If it’s all good, I head out to the station and off I go.

Entry Date March 1st 2079: I am here in the hangar, waiting. They are finalizing the launch for me. I will be in hibernation for 5 months, which is a long fucking time to be asleep for. The longest I have done is 3, and it seems like just a nap but this is longer than anyone else I know of. Kinda nervous, but hey, if the last guy can do it, so can I.
Entry Date July 4th 2079: Just got in the habitat. My head aches, my muscles don’t work so hot either. I have to reawaken them for the next couple of days and take it easy, and then I start work. Got here safe and sound, that is the important thing. Happy 4th of July. Wish I had some of those antique fireworks, but I don’t have a place to activate them. Oh well.

Entry Date July 8th 2079: Headache gone, starting to feel like the old me again. Electrolysis and resistance rehab has done its job. I start work here later tomorrow and guess what? I got a little care package I found too, its 5 cases of beer! If anyone reading this is in HR, take note! Take care of your people and they will thank you for it!

Entry Date July 9th 2079: I think the last guy got cabin fever and that is why he’s gone. The place is a bit of a mess and I’ll have to pick up a bit but it’s not bad. The thing that pisses me off is vandalism. He wrote on the wall in the Hydroponics structure “THEY LIVE” in HUGE lettering. It must have taken him a long time to do it. Of course “They live”, they are plants and you are an asshole.
I booted up the systems for Sites “A”, “B”, & “C” and everything seems to check out fine. I have also started up the extractors and collectors and gold mining has once again resumes operations on Leonidas 7.

Entry Date July 10th 2079: I finished up work today after 12 hours of babysitting the bots and everything seems alright. The gold veins in sites “A” & “C” will be depleted before I leave here, but Site “B” has lots of gold left (according to scans) and should bring the company an obscene amount of money. There is enough gold here to buy yourself an entire system, I have never seen so much gold!
Feels good to have finished my first day and glad to see everything is working well. Now to put on some music, open up a beer, and clean up around here.

Entry Date July 12th 2079: I got this place cleaned up really well. I have pulled some carrots and onions out of hydroponics and replanted. Eating packaged processed GMO food they give you when you work off world sucks. It tastes horrible, even though they say it has all of the nutrients you need. I still like grown veggies, it’s nice to have a huge silo here for the hydroponics. It is a lot like the old antique hanger in Florida for the Saturn 5 rocket, when Earth’s space program was just starting. They used these massive rockets to get into space (suicidal if you ask me), but anyways, the hanger for those massive rockets was so tall that it actually rained inside. And because of that, it paved the way for off world hydroponics to aid life support systems for habitats.
The hydroponics here is a massive garden and even some trees planted in planters. The plants inside take in the carbon dioxide from me, and produce oxygen and food; so it’s a good trade, and these carrots and onions look tasty.

Entry Date July 16th 2079: The auto shutoff for the drill bot at Site “B” isn’t working for some reason, so I had to shut the thing down remotely and had to head out in the rover to see what was the cause and it was a simple fix. With all of the debris from the drill flying around some of it will get into spots you never imagined. Somehow some pebbles had not only gotten passed the cover for the external manual control switches, but they lodged themselves into the cooling fans and were causing the drives to get hot and cause some glitches in the drill. I took them apart, cleaned them out back at the habitat and put them back in place and after rebooting the configuration settings, everything seems just fine. I don’t think the last guy was staying up to date on maintenance and cleaning at the sites, he sure as Hell wasn’t keeping the habitat tidy. I just don’t get how someone out here in this situation could get lazy. You have to do your job to keep busy and sane, plus you are getting a paycheck for it. I don’t understand some people.

Entry Date July 17th 2079: Sent progress reports back to the company, although they won’t be there for another week. Yeah, I am THAT far out into space. It does suck being out here so far because you do feel disconnected to the system, your home habitat, friends and family, going out and having fun. But it also has its advantages, like attorneys not being able to reach you, or ex-wives. So I try look at the positive things. I still have the hologram message she made for me on my birthday 2 years ago. It’s strange how life throws you curve-balls. Back then she was happy and said how much she loved me and went out of her way to make me feel special, but little did I know that she would start screwing around on me behind my back months later. At the time everything seemed peachy. At that time, we were seemingly happy being together. I kept the message because it reminded me of a happy time between us, everything else I threw out. Oh well……time for a beer.

Entry Date July 18th 2079: Ever had the feeling that someone was watching you? As if you are walking down a hall or something and just have some feeling that someone was there watching you? I woke up earlier than usual and immediately felt some sort of presence in my bedroom. I got up, took a piss, and that feeling didn’t go away. I don’t believe in ghosts or paranormal shit, but I was a bit shook up over this. It’s hard to explain without sounding like a nut job. Anyways, I immediately got into my routine. I put on some music and coffee and started early on the system and before I knew it, I was getting hungry. I went out to the hydroponics and pulled some REAL carrots, some REAL broccoli, and some REAL onions and grilled those up with some olive oil and lemon juice with a piece of freeze dried chicken breast. After I was done, I planted what I pulled and washed up the dishes.
I got back at the hub and saw the excavator was unresponsive to automation, so I switched it to manual and sat there in the habitat and drilled remotely for the next 7 hours. The only breaks I took were to pee and refill my water and grab a snack or two. I don’t know what the fuck is going on with Site “B”, but I will head out there AGAIN and see what the problem is. At least today the company got their gold and I earned my pay.
Today is done. Time for some TV shows from last year and a cold beer.

Entry Date July 19th 2079: I overslept! I heard the alarm go off and I jumped out of bed and hauled ass to the hub. I immediately switched on every bot on every site without doing the prechecks. I know that is a no-no, but since they keep logs when they go online, I was in a hurry. I just got here, and I don’t want to come off as a fuck up. Lunchtime got here before I knew it; I checked my digimail and my attorney sent me a message saying that my ex-wife wants more alimony, based on my current income. Somehow she found out about my new gig here on Leonidas 7. What really bothers me is that I am light years from ANYONE. I am on the outskirts of the outskirts of space, I mean, I am out in unexplored space, and she knows where I am. I took this job to get away, to be alone. Oh well, let’s head over to Site “B” and see what is going on with the excavator! Hooray!
Just got back from Site “B” and the excavator appears to be fully operational. I don’t know why it was acting up and I had to operate it remotely, but it is fine. Strange.

Entry Date July 20th 2079: Went to bed a bit late last night. I went to bed at my usual time, sat in bed reading, and about to call it a night and all of a sudden I heard a loud bang from somewhere. I jumped up and put on my emergency suit and thought the habitat got hit by a meteor and oxygen was leaking out. I got my emergency suit on in minutes, but the whole time I thought it was strange that no alarms were going off.
I collected myself and went into the Operations Room and checked the system and everything was at normal levels. Nothing unusual was reported or recorded, which was strange since I was startled by something loud and shook the habitat. After double checking the system and finding nothing out of the ordinary, I assumed that something big fell inside the habitat, so I checked everywhere and everything is right where it was when I went to bed. I figured it could have been seismic and the sensors were not active, but I checked those and they were online and nothing was reported. I just can’t explain it. If the system is telling me nothing is abnormal, then it must have been me drifting off to sleep and dreamed something that made me jump and suddenly wake up. It was fucking freaky though. I just got my emergency suit off and I am going to bed and try and get some sleep before I have to get up for work tomorrow.

Entry Date July 21st 2079: Today is a big day. I sent off another report and we are 15% above excavating estimates. Even though I was dragging ass from a lack of sleep, I was able to pull this off. I am pretty proud of myself. This is the impression I wanted to make with Starflight. I am putting in a 12 hour day, working all sites, and I am really pleased with how things are. I feel as if this is the break I have wanted for so long. I can pay off my ex, and stash some credits. Hard work pays off.

Entry Date July 22nd 2079: I went to bed late. I worked 14 fucking hours and I couldn’t get to my bed fast enough. I thought I heard another bang, but I was too tired to give a shit. The alarms didn’t go off, so I just kept my eyes closed. After waking up and getting the coffee brewing, I had to switch hoses around from the water filtration system, and check the filter, which was decent. I will have to replace it in a few days I think. The hydroponics is producing a lot of water. When it rains in there, most of it goes into the vegetation bays, but some of it hits the floor and runs into the drainage system which goes into the filtration system and then into the tank for personal use. I have a few containers filled already and I decided to have a long hot shower tonight. I think I deserve it.

Entry Date July 23rd 2079: The washing machine here is a decade old and is about to take a shit on me. At this rate, it will be dead in a couple of weeks. I had to reduce my laundry load by 50% and it barely got that done. I slowed it down a bit today; I worked only 8 hours and spent the rest of the day tidying up around the habitat. I cleaned up and got a lot of housework done. I don’t know why, it’s not like I am expecting any company, but it feels good to have a tidy habitat to stay in. I heard a blip on the radar over the music, I checked the system and there was nothing. There are more glitches in this habitat than anything; I guess all off world systems have their quirks, right?

Entry Date July 24th 2079: I usually go to bed with something going on, like the television, or some music playing, I can’t stand silence. I have the same routine: I either watch some videos or I put on some music and read until I fall asleep. As I drifted off to sleep, I thought I heard the voice of my ex from the hologram saying, “I love you so much”. Today is going to be a long day.

Entry Date July 25th 2079: Electronics this morning are acting strange. I thought I saw an excavator stop, back up and drive forward again for no reason. The stereo system played the same song 5 times in a row for no reason whatsoever, but I liked the song so who cares! I got a lot done today!

Entry Date July 26th 2079: I swear something is going on around here, I heard the hologram message of my ex last night in the habitat. This time, it was not my imagination. I finished up work, went to bed and started to read and I heard her voice. I got up and stood there listening and I heard, “I love you so much” from somewhere in the habitat. I heard it clear as can be; it sent chills all over my body. I looked into my drawer and the device that housed the message was there, but the charge was dead. It couldn’t have played it. I walked around the habitat in the middle of the night, looking around all alone, knowing I was stupid for doing so, but a guy has to have peace of mind, right? I heard it twice, but I couldn’t find the source of it. I am not going crazy, I heard her.

Entry Date July 27th 2079: I finally got some sleep after what happened last night. I heard her voice from my projection device somewhere in the habitat. It is not communicating with the sound system of the habitat, because its battery charge was completely drained and the computer never communicated with it in the first place and it does not show up on networked devices, and I was not imagining it. I heard her. I was not sleep deprived, I was not drunk, and I have not been here long enough to suffer effects of isolationism or hallucination. I simply cannot explain this and the more I think about it, the more upset I get. I need to focus on work and hope nothing weird happens today.

Entry Date July 28th 2079: Nothing out of the ordinary happened yesterday or today. I put in some overtime, cooked some good dinner and watched some video. I am staying away from the beer. I usually like a cold one at the end of the day, but if something else happens here I don’t want to be even slightly under the influence.

Entry Date July 29th 2079: I woke up after some restful sleep. Nothing happened at all last night. I didn’t go to sleep with any music playing or any videos playing, just a book and I never heard a sound. But what was strange about that was that the silence was deafening, if that makes any sense at all. I usually work most of the day without anything making any noises so I could focus and its ok, but last night it was almost TOO quiet. I put in lots of time, but not a crazy day. I worked 10 hours today. The highlight was switching storage containers on sites “A” & “B” so that the collectors have a place to unload the gold, as the others were full. I am heading off to bed but before I do, I am going to flash the holographic projector my ex gave me so that it is forever deleted and gone for good, time to REALLY say goodbye.

Entry Date July 30th 2079: Another quiet night last night, and I am starting to relax a bit. Not a bit, but a lot, actually. I am still convinced that I heard her voice twice here somewhere and I just cannot explain that. I have not informed Starflight of ANY of this, if they got a message from me that I heard my ex out here in the habitat, they would fire me asap, but I tell you something, if any of those executives were here that night and heard what I heard, their ass would be in the emergency recovery vehicle and blasting off into space sending S.O.S. messages on all frequencies until they ran out of life support.
Time to make some dinner and relax a bit. I won’t be going to bed tonight with anything on. I am not sure when I will go back to that state, but I don’t plan on it. Not for a while, I am still a bit freaked out.

Entry Date July 31st 2079: I think talking to this digijournal is kinda therapeutic in a way, because it kinda feels as if I am talking to SOMEBODY, instead of not saying a word all day, with the occasional “Fuck, what now”, which is exactly what I said just now. I got up and made some coffee and went to the hub and started activation on the equipment and everything was going well and I took a lunch a bit ago. I left to heat up some food and watch some video and when I came back to the hub, I saw that the drill, excavator, and collector from Site “B” are not in the tunnel. When I take a break, I leave them working on automation and if something out of the ordinary occurs, an alarm is triggered and I come and check it out, when I am done for the day, I have the drill, excavator and collector pull out of the tunnels in the event of a cave-in. Nothing pisses off a company like the loss of equipment and excavation costs. So, I get back from lunch, and the drill and excavator are parked where I usually leave them for the night, and they should be in there working. I tried reaching to them from the hub and they are unresponsive or shut down. I have had equipment failure before, but never have I seen two pieces of heavy equipment leave work and self-park. I actually started laughing because my first thought was that ‘those guys were done for the day, fuck this we’re done, and we’ve had enough’.
In any case, I need to head out to Site “B” and see what the fuck is going on out there. Hopefully it’s something I can fix, but I think this is some sort of software problem and I won’t be able to fix it.

Entry Date July 31st 2079: I just got back from Site “B” and I am beyond freaked out, and very lucky to be alive. I hope this translates ok, because of my whispering. I wish I had a weapon here, anything. I took the rover out to Site “B” and took a look at the excavator. I removed the instrument panel and saw that the switching was engaged but there was no power. So, I shut everything off and switched everything back on for a system reboot and got absolutely nothing. I was really surprised by that, I never heard of that happening before. So, I figured I would check out the drill. I took off the instrument panel and it was the same as the excavator, nothing.
Oh my God…..this is just so unreal……..I turned around and …….. I saw her. Face to face, she was standing right behind me……my ex was standing there, smiling, unmoving. As if the hologram image was in a paused state, but her eyes were focused on mine, and her smile was fake. It wasn’t her ‘genuine, I like you’ smile, it was like a, ‘I hate you but I am being polite’ smile.
I always kept that holographic video because she was so genuine and real in it, but even though she was there in front of me, her smile was ……a lie. I fell back against the drill and I saw her lips mouth the words “I love you so much”, and right then the drill was up and running. I got up and ran to the rover and hopped on. I looked behind me and saw she was gone and the drill was chasing after me. I couldn’t believe it. I was not paying attention to where I was going and I was heading for one of the ore mounds, which are about a hundred feet wide and just as tall, a small mountain of ore drilled out from Site “B” and dumped there.
I turned a bit and saw the drill did too, following the rover. And I thought that maybe the drill was chasing the rover, and I jumped out and almost damaged my suit in the process. I got up and saw the rover go on without me for about 50 feet and stop, but the drill changed direction and came right for me. It wasn’t chasing the rover, it was fucking coming after me and I ran as fast as I could. There was nowhere to go, and I was up against the ore mound wall, I tried to climb it but I slid down and the drill was right there and………and it…..just shut off inches from my body. I got the fuck out from in front of it, and headed to the rover. I got in the rover and it was unresponsive. I tried everything and nothing was working. It was too far to walk back to the habitat, and for about an hour, I tried getting that rover back online. The drill never reactivated, which was a good thing I guess, and I never saw my ex again which is even better. I gave up. I sat in the rover, fighting back tears and suddenly the instrument gauges lit up and the rover was online. I heard my oxygen alarm starting to go off, and it was a long drive back to the habitat and I was not sure if I was going to make it. I pushed that rover as fast as it could go and tried to calm my breathing down. Once I got close to the habitat I saw something outside of it, about 50 yards, a huge black structure of some kind, looked like a monolith. It was probably several feet wide and at least fifty feet tall. I didn’t have the air to stop and check it out, and I didn’t want to either. I was running out of air and scared with the idea of finding something inside the habitat waiting for me.
I parked the rover just outside the airlock and had to hold my breath as pressurization commenced in the channel because I was literally out of air and the alarm in the suit was blaring in my ears. Once the door to the internal hub opened I was taking off my helmet when I was starting to pass out, but I got my helmet off and fell on the ground breathing much needed air. As I lay there, I was looking around the hub and didn’t see anything or anyone there.
I grabbed a sledge hammer near the entrance. I usually leave tools by the entrance so I don’t forget them when I need to go outside and work. Anyways, I grabbed this hammer and went to the bedroom and I am now sitting on the floor against the wall trying to be quiet, because I hear something outside the door.
I am scared.

Entry Date August 2nd 2079: It seems like whomever or…..whatever was in the habitat has gone. I have not heard anything outside the bedroom for twenty hours and the air doesn’t seems so…still. It feels normal. I’m going to peek out and see. I need to get some water and food; I haven’t left my bedroom since I got back in from the outside and I am starving. I haven’t slept much either, probably fifteen minutes at a time ever few hours. I’ll be right back.

Entry Date August 2nd 2079: It looks clear from what I saw. I grabbed a bottle of water that was near the hub and an apple. After I eat, I’m going to get brave and see what’s going on. The place looks like shit, stuff all over the place.

Entry Date August 2nd 2079: Looks like it’s just me in here. I went throughout the habitat and I found chairs on top of tables, dishes out in the hydroponics silo, and other various things out in places that make no sense. I grabbed some more food and sat down and ate, and while I was sitting there eating and looking around the place I found myself imagining what exactly was happening outside my bedroom door.
Once I entered the habitat from the outside, I got my helmet off and grabbed the hammer and heard something at the door. I backed up away from it and went over to the hub and I saw all of the instruments on the computer system lit up crazily. The noise at the door went away, and I looked up and saw outside the window was my ex, standing there smiling at me, and behind her was that black structure or ship off in the distance.
I turned and ran into my bedroom, shut off the lights, and sat down in the corner with my back against the wall. And I sat there waiting for whatever the fuck it was to open that door and when it did, I was going to run at it, and swing that hammer as hard as I could at it, but the door never opened.
The place started to smell like swimming pool equipment, like the chemicals the cleaning crews use and there is nothing at all like that here that would produce that odor.
Probably 20 minutes went by and I heard the same loud bang I heard the other night. I heard things being tossed around then it would get quiet again for a while, then some more shuffling and stuff. At one point whatever it was banged on the bedroom door really loudly, and then it was quiet for a moment, then I heard her again, just outside my bedroom door, “I love you so much”. Then again, but the tempo was much slower, and seemingly darker, “IIII llloooovveee yyyooouuuu sooo mmmuuuccch”.
It took everything in me not to scream out in terror. I have never been so afraid in my life.
I wished I had a PPW; a Personal Projectile Weapon would have helped but the government does not allow civilians to own a projectile weapon, only corporate security teams, police, and military can have one. Maybe it’s a good thing I didn’t have one, because if I missed I could have shot a hole in the walls and leaked out my oxygen and I really would have been fucked.
I looked out of the window and the monolith and my ex are gone. I am exhausted and need sleep. The computer systems seem normal; I am going to send out a mayday and try and get a bit of rest. It’s hard to think right now.

Entry Date August 4th 2079: I sent out a mayday, but I am not sure it went out. There are some cameras here, I am going to set one up and set it for twenty four seven recording in case whatever it was shows up again and there will be some proof.
I picked up the mess around here. Fuck going back to work; I want to get out of here. I have had a headache all day and nothing seems to help.

Entry Date August 5th 2079: Communications array seems a bit off. I tried getting the equipment online and some turned on, others didn’t and I decided to go out and look and I noticed that whatever it is, that black building or craft is back. I drove the rover over to it and checked it out up close. I got out of the rover and approached it and the closer I got, I felt a sort of low vibration-like feeling and once I got up close, I could see it was highly smooth and polished, sort of like granite but a bit blurry as if it was sort of vibrating or had an aura around it? I know that doesn’t make any sense. I touched it and it felt smooth. I didn’t see any doorways or windows or anything attached to it. I didn’t see any seams in the structure whatsoever. It looked like it was a single piece of…..something.
I started to feel warm being near it, and I started sweating, and then started feeling heated and hot, so I left and went back to the habitat. I decided to pass up on visiting the excavation sites, and get back in the habitat in case something or someone was in there waiting for me.
As I was getting back into the rover, I looked up towards the top of the habitat to see the communications array, and I saw some faint collective flickering lights next to it.

Entry Date August 6th 2079: The monolith thing is still here and I am here at the hub watching it through the glass. I am not sure what I am going to do with this recording, but it’s pretty important. I might leave it here on the console, I’m not sure…………I hear some………I hear something…oh shit

Entry Date August 6th 2079: It’s her, again. She is in the hydroponics silo saying that she loves me so much and the other things that she had said in the message. I hid by the doorway and peeked around it to look inside and I didn’t see her, but then I looked upwards and saw her floating up in the air about twenty feet above the crops, over by the poplar tree. Chills went up my spine as her image rotated towards the door and she started descending towards it, saying “Oh honey, I can’t wait for us to be together again”. She got about ten feet away from me and I jumped out and slammed the hatch closed and secured it. I heard and felt a loud bang, followed with another, and then I faintly heard her say, “I miss you”, followed by the sounds of her laughing.

Entry Date August 7th 2079: The monolith is gone; it left not long after my last recording. The communications array seems fine now and so I sent out a proper S.O.S. explaining that I had a real life threatening emergency and that I needed to be evacuated, and to bring a shit ton of security. With any luck, they will get here before anything else happens but I am so far out and five months is the earliest that they would be able to get here.
I got some messages from home, I got one from my attorney saying that my ex was involved in an accident a couple of weeks ago and has passed away. I have some very mixed feelings on this. I am sad that the person I loved and shared so many experiences with is gone, but happy that the person she ended up becoming is gone forever from my life. And after the recent shit happening here, is this her ghost that is out here or something? What the fuck is that black thing outside that keeps showing up?

Entry Date August 8th 2079: I keep getting headaches and I can’t seem to get rid of them. I was in the shower this morning and I noticed I am losing some hair. I pulled a small clump out when I was washing my hair. I had breakfast afterwards and the food kinda tasted weird.
I walk around everywhere with this hammer, I rarely let it out of my sight and it is never further than a few feet from me, and I sleep with it.

Entry Date August 9th 2079: I keep checking the monitors and looking outside of the window for the monolith. I am sure it will show up again with my ex. I am thinking about getting the Emergency Recovery Craft ready to blast off of this fucking rock and hopefully get closer to rescue. It may be my only option at this point. I need a plan.
I coughed up some blood.

Entry Date August 10th 2079: The monolith has returned. I wish I had a camera for the exterior; all I have is this solitary one for indoor use. It’s recording though and its memory is stored on an external memory device.
The banging has started. I hear the airlock door outside engaging. I wish I was anywhere but here.

Entry Date August 11th 2079: Whatever was here has left. There was some banging in the airlock along with some sort of whispering throughout the habitat for a few minutes and that was it, but that thing outside is still here. I hid in the shower for a few hours with the hammer, curled up in the corner…… like a mouse hiding from a snake.
Sitting there in the shower, I had an idea. I was thinking that I could remote control the drill from Site “B” and bring it over here and have it ram that thing outside, so I sat there and waited until I figured ‘it’ was gone and went over to the hub. I tried contacting the drill but I am not getting ANY feedback from anything over at Site “B”. It is as if all of the equipment is just gone.
I tried hailing the other equipment from sites “A” and “C”, and those are offline and unresponsive for some reason, but they are there. The equipment from Site “B” is not even showing up on the hub.
I don’t know what to do about this.”

Entry Date August 12th 2079: Dear God…I saw it. I don’t know what this is, I know I haven’t had much sleep but I did NOT imagine this. I was at the hub and I looked outside from the window at the black whatever it is, and next to it I saw some sort of light cloud. I guess the best way to describe it, is to close your eyes and press your fingers against them and when you see all of those brilliant and almost fine pixelated dots, that is sort of what it looked like except it was a solid figure, about six feet tall, and three feet wide if I had to guess.
Shit……shit shit shit shit shit its heading over to the airlock…… GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE FUCK YOU FU –

Entry Date August 12th 2079: My heart is racing, wow that was intense. Okay…so this creature, alien, entity, whatever the fuck you want to call it came into the habitat. I was yelling at it and I backed up into a corner with the hammer. This thing ignored me and went directly to the hydroponics silo, as if it knew right where it was going.
I reluctantly followed it, and I saw it going up and down the rows, pausing for a second or two, then it kept going. Once it go to the end of the last row, it floated above the rows about twenty feet and centered itself in the middle of the silo and all of a sudden, ALL of the plants, and trees lifted up out of the planters and went up several feet into the air and just vanished. It was as if you were looking at something and blinked and it was gone.
All of it was gone, and so was the thing from another world.

Entry Date August 13th 2079: The monolith is gone, and so is the thing along with the vegetation from the hydroponics silo. I don’t have anything producing oxygen anymore and the only food I have are the GMO-MRE’s and the beer Starflight left me as a welcome aboard gift.

Entry Date August 14th 2079: No sign of anything today. I keep looking at the hub for signatures and out of the window, and either that monolith is going to show up again or the thing will. I won’t be taking anymore showers because I need to conserve water, and I am trying not to get excited either, I don’t want to consume any more oxygen than I have to. I engaged the air recycling system, which should help for a few more days. This place is a real life nightmare.
This place still stinks of chemicals from that thing.

Entry Date August 17th 2079: It’s so quiet here. I know all I can do is sit tight and wait for rescue and hope the monolith doesn’t appear before then. I am coughing a lot more, some of it blood and I am losing weight. My clothes feel looser on me than before. I am hoping it’s just from stress.
It’s hard for me to not cry.

Entry Date August 18th 2079: I should have received some sort of message from corporate about my situation, but I have heard nothing. I am feeling worse and worse every day. I can’t take it anymore. I…I just can’t handle this .

Entry Date August 20th 2079: I woke myself up coughing and I stumbled out of bed and got some water. I went to the hub and saw out of the window that the monolith was there. I just started crying and I went into the bedroom to get my hammer, all the while hearing banging on the airlock door followed by its opening.
I didn’t try to hide or run; I just went into the bedroom and grabbed the hammer. In that moment I was hit with so much anger, I took the hammer and marched out into the hub and I saw the thing there, not moving.
Now that I was up close, I could see in detail of its suit or skin. There were colors moving everywhere, not very bright, but shiny and glossy. There were square-like tiles or scales falling over each other it was really weird looking and I know it’s hard to describe but the camera was recording so get the footage and have a look for yourself. I can’t say for sure if it was organic or not but it did have that feeling.
It just stayed there making some little noises. It didn’t come after me or anything. I said “Hello” to it and after several seconds, the colors went from shiny and glossy to flat colors and the tiles stopped falling over each other and then I heard the voice of my ex wife saying “Hey babe”. After it said that, it went back to shiny/glossy again and the squares started moving again. My eyes started to water. It smelled like chlorine.
I took a step towards it, and it moved back a pace. I reached out with my hand and it sort of shifted its position. I took another step and it didn’t move, so I slowly walked over to it and when I got within arm’s reach, it went to flat colors again and the tiles stopped and the thing changed its shape to like the letter “P” or the number “7” and the noises from it stopped. I wasn’t sure what this meant, but it didn’t do anything, and with my heart racing I slowly reached out and touched it with my index finger.
My finger went inside it just slightly, and it felt like it was being licked by a hundred cats. It really was a strange sensation. I slowly pulled my hand back and saw that my finger was gone at the end, where it went inside the thing. There was no blood shooting out or any pain, it was just gone!
I started screaming and freaking out and I started hearing my ex “I LOVE YOU SO MUCH I LOVE YOU SO MUCH I LOVE YOU SO MUCH I LOVE YOU SO MUCH” so loudly that I had to cover my ears. And suddenly it had vanished and I was alone again.

Entry Date August 23rd 2079: I tried to hang myself today. I went into the bedroom and grabbed my belt and headed for the shower. I put the belt around my neck and buckled it on the shower head. I sat down and let it start to choke me and the only thing I felt were tears going down my face. I was just starting to black out when the buckle broke and I fell on my ass.
All I could do was sit there and cry.

Entry Date August 25th 2079: I started packing up my things today. I sent another S.O.S. along with my estimated coordinates. I am out of here. I am going to get the emergency recovery vehicle prepped and ready to go. The air is getting thin.

Entry Date August 26th 2079: I just downed a beer and went out to put a bag in the compartment of the emergency recovery vehicle, it’s all ready to go. All I need to do is hop in and blast off. I am going to leave this digijournal on the hub instrument console and say goodbye to Leonidas 7. I have archived the footage of what transpired between me and the thing, and I will leave the camera recording after I leave. It will eventually run out of memory but hopefully it will capture more footage of the alien.
My name is Nelson Sykes signing off and………………and………oh God no…………the monolith is back
-END OF LINE-

ANALYSIS OF VIDEO FOOTAGE
The footage went directly from the habitat-to my hands-to our lab-to our archives, and has not been compromised. Something unknown is clearly in the footage and the interaction with Nelson Sykes has with the entity is (by forensics investigation) genuine and not fabrication.
I viewed the video footage recorded of the incidents as described in Starflight Mining Employee Nelson Sykes’ digijournal at lengths and they are as accurate and terrifying as he describes.
The last video camera recording shows Nelson Sykes speaking into the digijournal microphone, followed by him stopping the digijournal recording and placing it onto the instrument console in the hub. Shortly after that are loud banging sounds with Nelson Sykes focusing in the direction of the airlock and Nelson Sykes leaving the room and returning with a large sledgehammer.
At this point there is a lot of yelling by Nelson Sykes, and the alien enters the frame from the right and slowly approaches Nelson Sykes. As you will see in the footage, Nelson takes a step back, and the alien advances towards him. Nelson takes a full swing at the alien and as he does so, the alien changes its shape into what resembles a number seven, and its colors alter. Just as the hammer makes contact, tile-like squares begin moving in a downward direction on the alien as well as Nelson Sykes and they both instantly vanish from view.
The determination of Nelson Sykes’ existence at this point is determined by speculation entirely from what happens at the 5:03 mark, and ultimately unknown.

The camera continues to record for 7.3 hours afterwards, and the voice of Nelson Sykes’ ex wife can clearly be heard saying “I love you so much” just seconds before the camera stops recording.

This concludes my report on the incident of Leonidas 7 owned & operated by STARFLIGHT MINING INC
Please feel free to contact me anytime at the office or by transmission, and thank you once again for your business, it has been a pleasure working for you.
Best regards,
H. DECKARD ID# B-263-55
Hennig Off-World Investigations – Our Silence Speaks Volumes

Credit To – Jay Thompson

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Writer’s Blank

January 21, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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[Autosaved 16/3/10 10:45 PM]

I’m now speaking…I’m now seeing words appear on the screen…There are still words on the screen, which bodes well for me. Okay it’s been a full two minutes and the words are still there. I think this is working. I am going to leave the room now and return in five minutes and hopefully the words are still there.

[Autosaved 16/3/10 10:50 PM]

Sweet Jesus, it works! It works! Oh thank God!
Right, so I’m going to just explain everything. There is something really weird and frustrating going on right now, at this very instant that I’m speaking. I mean, writing. No, actually I do mean speaking. You see in reality I’m speaking aloud what you are reading; a computer program is dictating all this. My hand has not grasped a pen or pencil and put it to paper for you to be able to read this. And that relates to the very desperate quandary at hand.
Here’s the weird thing – I can’t write. I literally cannot write a single word and I am absolutely serious. Every time I write something on a blank surface with the aid of a writing tool, it disappears. My mind is overburdened with all these desperate, harried thoughts and yet I can’t express them. This is like the opposite of writer’s block – I’m not troubled that writing won’t appear on my blank pages, I’m troubled that my writing disappears from my filled pages.
I first noticed this two days ago. It was in the afternoon. I seem to remember writing a shopping list, and so I go to the supermarket – I had to pick up some, um, milk and a newspaper – and when I get there I pull the list out and it’s blank. I mean, logically I guess you could suppose I thought I’d written the list and just hastily left without checking twice. But that is so unlike me, that seems so odd to take a blank piece of paper with me. Utterly blank.
I’m beginning to see it’s serious. Just earlier I had this amazing idea for a short story, but when I started to write it disappeared, as soon as I finished a sentence it just disappeared. Now my sheet of paper is blank, like I never touched it. But I specifically remember writing on it, I swear to God…
Am I losing my mind?

[Autosaved 17/3/10 2:50 PM]

Things are a little more desperate now than simply being unable to think up a good story! It wasn’t a dream. I’m not crazy. This thing is still happening. I still can’t write. But today it’s worse, I can’t type now either. Just earlier I was going to look this issue up on the net, and I was thinking ‘do I search for a forum on writing problems or medical problems?’ I went with writing problems – probably less vague than medical. I’d only just typed my query in the search bar when the text disappeared again. Then I found I couldn’t type anything, like my keyboard had locked up or something. So my computer’s now officially useless. That was…around eleven o’ clock. The time’s really flown. I should probably just see a doctor about this. I’m going to just go and make an appointment.

[Autosaved 17/3/10 4:33 PM]

Um…I don’t really know what just happened. I mean I don’t know whether that was my doing or his doing. The…a post man just stopped by, immediately after I made a doctor’s appointment. It seems he had a package for me, but he needed for me to sign something so I could receive it. Without even thinking I tried to sign my name, but my writing, of course, disappeared as soon as the ink hit the paper. He asked me what was taking so long. I said the ink’s run out of the pen, so he took another pen out. That one wouldn’t let me sign either. He started to get impatient. Then I was stammering and my hand was shaking, and I told him I would, I would sign it. He was starting to give me a weird look and he asked for some I.D. I took out my driver’s license and it was just blank. All the information’s gone, the photo’s gone. It’s just a blank, useless square of plastic. The post man just told me off, he must have thought I was playing a prank or something, but then he saw how my hands were shaking and I couldn’t get any words out, and he looked confused and then just left me. He probably thought I was brain damaged. I would feel so humiliated but I have bigger things to worry about.
I was pacing around the house just now and I thought something was really off. And I realised that I’m missing from all my photographs. I don’t have many photos of anything, but of the ones I do have, I’m in a lot of them. It’s actually quite amazing, the images in the photos are perfectly seamless, it’s just that I’m not in them. It looks like I was never in the photos to begin with. One of my favourite photos, one that used to be of me and Phoebe, even that’s been altered. Now she’s just standing there, looking really happy. On her own.
I don’t know if I want to go to the doctor’s now. I’m wondering if I do, whether I’ll be taken seriously. I’m starting to feel almost like…frightened, to be honest.
Um…I just…I don’t know…
Huuuur huuur huuur gngngngnh…
…Oh, it’s tried to transcribe the sounds of me crying. The load of… DELETE PREVIOUS PARAGRAPH. No, DELETE…Oh, never mind you piece of shit. Well, at least it’s transcribing anything, I guess. Don’t know what I’m going to do with it though. I was going to send this in an email to a friend, but I can’t send emails at the moment. I don’t know how to get this program to transcribe the at symbol, the a contained in a near full circle. When I say at it comes up as the word, not the symbol.
At. AT. AT SYMBOL. Piece of shit.

[Autosaved 18/3/10 9:04 AM]

This working still? Words coming. Not disappearing. Yes? Good!
Uh, I don’t feel so good. I feel shaky, weak, and I look a bit pale. I don’t think I’m getting sick, I just…I suppose I didn’t sleep very well last night. I had a nightmare that I took my brain out and used it as an eraser to rub out my name. Needless to say, I woke up with quite a headache. This whole affair is doing my head in.

[Autosaved 18/3/10 9:27 AM]

Oh shit, no! No! Please work, God dammit it. Don’t do this to me. Oh God, the words…they’re…coming…why is it doing that now? Oh fuck, a virus scan. The virus scan is making the computer run incredibly slowly, and the words are taking ages to appear on screen. But they’re coming, they are coming. I thought…God, I thought I was really screwed there for a moment, I really thought…
Stop it you stupid…What the hell is this?…Why won’t it?…Oh no, what…You’ve got to be joking…What the heck is going on here?
It seems that my computer’s gone and done a real job on me. I don’t have administrative authority to cancel this RAM arresting virus scan just for one bloody minute. And now it seems my computer account is inexplicably gone. There’s just one account called ‘guest’ which I seem to be using right now. And all my folders and files are gone, excepting of course the word document I’m having dictated right now. I don’t feel safe even closing it for fear that it will disappear as well. I was going to just go have breakfast but now I don’t feel comfortable even leaving the office in case the words disappear while I’m gone. This is really ridiculous. I think I need to use the toilet.
Okay, I’ve got my phone here so I’m just going to call a friend of mine, Simon. I think I’ll invite him over and show him what’s going on here.
I’m sorry but this number is not currently connected with our service. If you wish to register for an account, press 1. If you currently have an account with us, but need to reactivate it, press 2.
To reactivate your account, please enter your ten digit activation number followed by the hash key to proceed.
What the hell is this? Where the fuck did I…?
I’m sorry I didn’t catch that. Please restate your query slowly and clearly.

[Autosaved 18/3/10 9:51 AM]

Welcome. You’ve reached the MobiJet service headquarters. To access information about your account, press 1. To adjust your current service plan, press 2. To inquire about a service offer, press 3. If none of these options relate to your query, press 4 to be put through to the MobiJet headquarters, where someone will be right with you.
Hergmahm gmfnghgman anmfghgr
Hello? Hi. The reception is a little bad, I can only just hear you.
Jihtam arrrert. Sergmsrhmsrgh. Kanuh ii biir da.
No, it’s fine. I can hear you.
Grrrg.
I’ve been an account holder for the last ten years or so, and for some unexplained reason my account has just suddenly been deactivated today.
Griga tur mrrrrm orr llelm
No, no, I’m up to date with all the payments as far as I know. I haven’t modified anything or cancelled anything.
Hersur normssur
Err…hang on a moment. How do I access that information?
Huuumsh iid ther ii orna ker iinae gord da. Eeev olm liel insh riic a.
A recent invoice? How recent?
Gagmbser sudndnf. Grmhg msnrhh.
Okay. Yeah, I probably have one lying around somewhere. I just don’t know how long it’s going to take me to find it. It might take a little while, so I’ll call you back when I find it.
Gmsrhgns mgr. Org adanksas mmm si iih hom.
Okay, thanks. Bye.
Oh what the heck is all this? It’s accidently been dictating my phone call, and couldn’t even get that right. How do I get rid of all this, then? Um…Back two paragraphs. Back two lines. Stupid dictating program! Delete previous line. No, DELETE PREVIOUS LINE – Oh you piece of shit I’m suffering practically like a mental breakdown here and you can’t even obey my PATIENTLY SPOKEN, CLEARLY EXPRESSED COMMANDS.
Hhhhhhhhh. Hhhhhhhhh. Hhhhhhhhh. Hhhhhhhhh.
Oh what? Hhhhhhhhh. Hhhhhhhhh.
Oh see that now? Hahahaha. Yes, see. It’s Hhhhhhhhh. It’s transcribing my breathing, because I’m hyper Hhhhhhhhh. Ventilating now. From the Hhhhhhhhh. S-stress of having to Hhhhhhhhh. P-put up with this INCOMPETANT PROGRAM Hhhhhhhhh.

[Autosaved 18/3/10 10:19 AM]

I don’t believe it – they can’t find a record of my account with them, and according to them apparently I don’t live here anymore. Well of course I bloody-well live here. God dammit. So I’m just rifling through a filing cabinet of mine for SHIT IT’S LOCKED WHEN DID I LOCK IT, the key where’s the key, the key…Oh hang on, here we go. Open damn you, open. Okay, I’m searching for my most recent phone account invoice which should have my membership number on it so I can just maybe prove to those dumb fucks that yes, I do exist Thank You Very Much and for their information – Jesus, it’s blank. IT’S ALL BLANK.
No! I’ve got something here it’s – IT JUST WENT BLANK! I SWEAR TO GOD THE PRINT JUST DISAPPEARED IN MY HANDS…
WAIT! I’VE FOUND SOMETH- oh, that’s…that’s not mine. What’s that doing in here? I thought I’d returned it to him. Well that can wait. Come on, come on, there’s got to be something in here, anything about me that’s not blank. It’s goes blank as I look at them, as soon as I touch them.
Lord among us, the paper, so much blank paper! This cabinet alone contains the remains of an entire tree I think. Oh look here’s – no, this has expired. And now it’s vanished. THE WORDS JUST VANISHED. Hahahaha. How efficient! I’ll never have to worry about breaches of confidentiality ever again!
GOD DAMN YOU, JUST LET ME HAVE ONE SHEET, JUST ONE – Oh wow, this one dates right back. Yikes, 1994 – and they keep going. Blank. Next one.
I really feel like I’m mutilating my history as I’m doing this. Blank. Actually I feel like I’ve just walked into a museum or renowned gallery something and am now – blank – pissing on – blank – the irreplaceable artworks – blank. Now that pile is all blank. Bye bye 1994-1998. Can’t believe I was hoarding your paper souvenirs anyway. Well, if they were only bills I can’t say I miss them. Does it go further back? It does. It’s a comprehensive time capsule in here. Come on, one invoice, just one invoi- okay, now we seem to be circa 1990 and still travelling back…Just give me a moment here…

[Autosaved 18/3/10 10:45 AM]

Right well, I think I can safely say I’ve dashed my chances of finding a recent phone invoice. Actually, I think all my invoices are now blank….In fact, I think ALL THE PAPERS are now blank. Because of my stupid curiosit –
No, wait a second. There’s one more, the lucky last then. And wow, this is the oldest yet, in fact this goes right back to –
Oh! Oh! Watch now as the print magically disappears, and…voila, it’s gone. And that brings our paper score up to –
Oh hang on. Hell, that watermark…I think this was my birth certif

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Where Monsters Come From

January 17, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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Horror stories are all about monsters. Things out to get you. Eat a few people, make a bloody mess, and have you scared for your life.

But…no one ever wants to consider where monsters come from. Or why we are so eager to read about them…

I have a story to tell, though, believe me when I tell you it is unpleasant to say the least.

Three years, six months and fifteen days. Exactly how long it has been since I made the unholy mistake of questioning where these stories come from. It was my eighteenth birthday you see, and, like all people at that age, I believed I was smart enough to know what I was doing.

I was wrong…so wrong.

I found through the darker channels of the internet, various ways one was suppose to be able to commune with spirits. Some of these are easy to find and preached as new age spirituality. I went just a little bit deeper.

There exists a few ways in which one may be exposed to some of the primal origins of the universe. I will not tell you how to find them, much less how to do them. Trust me when I tell you, it is best that way.

I had set the event up. It was not so much a ritual as it was a lot of painting very odd and very uncomfortable symbols. With a few candles placed around me for light, I put in my headphones and listend to a song I had been instructed to. The song itself was not so bad. A lot of percussion and wind instruments. Nothing terribly unusual about it. I sat still for as long as I could, eye closed, meditating, hoping to encounter…somethin¬g. I don’t know. An out of body experience? A voice? A face in the candle light?

None of it happened.

I sat for as long as I could before my back started to ache. I stood, annoyed at having wasted so much time. Opening my eyes, I saw the candles were just barely alive anymore, struggling to fight back against the darkness. As I turned to flick on the lights, they whispered their last breath and died.

It did not immediately occur to me how long I had been sitting there that the candles could burn out, because as they did, something else entirely different happened.

In the darkness I saw what looked like specs of dust. Small gray and white particles of fluff hanging in the air. Pausing, I reached out to touch them, only to see they were much like stars, hanging too far from reach to touch.

I looked down, the totality of the darkness erasing my body from vision, but I was distinctly aware that my feet were no longer touching anything solid. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. My lungs filled with what felt like a hot and cold smoke, but I did not cough. The sensation was electrifying.

I exhaled quickly, and the feeling vanished. Opening my eyes, I was witness to something I cannot begin to describe with accuracy.

The dust…began to collect and swirl. Slowly, as if moving on a time lapse, this dust coellesed into a swirling mass of…galaxies. Miniature galaxies begun to take shape in the abyss.

I began to comprehend what was going on as the music faded and became a deep throbbing vibration. Almost like someone tugging at a massive chord that was strung through my spine.

I blinked, and in an instant felt a pull from my chest. Before I could open my eyes I felt myself moved, and a deep sense of unease over take me.

Not terror, no. I was not scared just yet. I was thrilled, honestly. I was…uneasy. Like when you feel something is out of place but cannot tell what.

Then I was met with it.

A thing that is so utterly insane in its creation, it defies any logical description. A solid gaseous mass of gnawing teeth and eyes.

Countless eyes holding endless eternities of birth and death. Destruction unbridled and horrors unknown to man unfolded in these planet sized optic things. All of them, focused on me, so tiny in comparison. Abject horror…there are no words for what I saw.

The milky eyes, unseeing and yet witnessing all held within them terrors of every nightmare. I lifted my hands to protect myself, in some feeble attempt to shield them. My hands began to fray at the fingers, a searing heat ripping through the flesh until nothing but tendrils of fibrous membrane remained.

I was forced to watch through some unseen light as my hands and arms began to unwind, like a spool of thread pulled apart. The agony was maddening. There was nothing else in those blessedly quick moments. Just the pain and the horror as I saw my form become nothing, drifting off into the darkness.

Closing my eyes did not save me. It was as if my eyelids had become immaterial and were no longer serving a purpose.

It took seconds for it to reach my head, by which point my screams had died out.

The next instant, I was looking at my own face. But it wasn’t me. I was me. This “fake me” with its back towards the endless monstrosity met my eyes with a hushed glance. It’s eyes were backwards…the pupils were white, and the whites were black, with no color to be seen. The skin looked cracked like dry earth, and under it seemed to pulse a faint purple glow. The thing looked like a charred up mockery. Then, with deliberate slowness, reached out and touched my chest.

Then it was gone.

The endless beast with maws that could swallow galaxies whole chomped with grotesque impatience. My attention could not be taken away from it. The dust from earlier began to swirl here now too, slowly drifting into his eyes, taking me with it.

I could not pull away. I was pulled into the infinite reality that this thing was. There was no concept of time. It was just one strange pain after another. Being pulled apart by nothingness, burnt alive by icy fire, slowly crumbling to dust and confronting that “other me” time and time again.

Then it finally happened. It was the rebirth of myself. I was gone by this point, driven into the darkest corner of my mind to escape the physical torment. But, instantly, without a fight, I was pulled out, by some ungodly power.
Forced to watch as the horrid teeth spewed forth what could only be called monsters. They were ancient…giant, and wi¬thout description.

That vibration returned, like a giant chord had been struck, and suddenly I was shaking too fast to see what was going on.
Everything blurred and faded to darkness.

I blinked and inhaled sharply as my senses returned to my. The music had stopped. I was sitting now, surrounded by a few candles, almost new in height.

My chest felt like it was hit with a hammer, my body burned like it was pumping acid in my veins and my head…no pain killers in the world would solve the pain that seemed to push forth from my brain out.

The darkness was still then. As if it was a loving blanket. I’ve never been afraid of it since then.

Since I saw it though, I swear I did. The origin of all nightmares, blind and mad, deep in the center of the universe.

He waits, you know. For anyone brave enough to spend a flickering second with him. Anyone fool hardy enough to go searching out his Chaos.

Even you can witness the birth of True, primordial evil.

Azathoth is still there, bringing forth untold blights into the universe. All it takes to invite them in is thinking about them.

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