“Foxchaser, do you have eyes on?”
“Affirmative Sky Kennel. Transmitting coordinates to you as we speak.”
“Coordinates received. Aerial scans show some signs of recent reality manipulation, be advised.”
“Understood Sky Kennel. Proceeding with caution.”
Captain James Lee took a hand off his radio and motioned his team to come closer. The members of Site 118's Containment Team Beta 6, “Foxchaser” leaned in, with the quiet reassurance of experience hanging about their demeanors.
“Hume scans say that the location shows signs of recent anomalous activity, so we’re going to have to do this carefully.” James smoothed out a roughly drawn map on a flat rock, showing a drawing of a small farmhouse.
“We know there are two infiltration points that we can use. The front door is the main entry point, we’ll call that Point Alpha. On the side of the house is a set of doors leading down to the storm cellar, which probably leads up into the building. This will be point Beta.”
“Melissa, Hung, and Thomas, you will proceed through Point Alpha. Sweep carefully, and watch all potential points. Hume detectors hot.” The three people he pointed out nodded quickly.
“Jackson and Pierre, you’re with me. We’re going in from below. Any questions?”
Melissa cleared her throat. "Weapons hot?"
James grimaced, scratching his chin. "No, not yet. We're not cleared to do so yet. Stick with the operating procedures for now." Looking at his squadmate, the captain could see her disapproval, but she merely nodded, tight-lipped.
James lifted the cellar door ever so gently, praying that it wouldn’t make any noise. His luck held, and the door quietly opened.
The smells of a musty and abandoned storm cellar wafted pungently through the air as James nodded to his team and started to slowly make his way into the sublevels, rifle at his shoulder. Long-abandoned dusty keepsakes and mementos of a family long gone crowded the small space, and James did his best to avoid disturbing any of it in order to keep quiet.
Slowly, methodically, the team checked every corner of the old storm cellar. Under tables, around old furniture, sifting through the dust on the ground, all to find any signs of the escaped anomaly.
Captain Lee was less concerned with finding physical signs of disturbance than he was with more anomalous ones. If the skip was really trying to hide its physical tracks, there was nothing he could do to find it. So, he focused his time on the handheld Hume detector in his hand, seeing if it picked up any signs of anomalous manipulation. Carefully, cautiously, he swept the room, praying that he would get the jump on the anomaly if it was there.
James motioned to his teammates, who shook their heads. Nodding, he motioned towards the top of the stairs, carefully put his Hume detector away, and brought his rifle into a ready position. Jackson did the same, leaving Pierre the main detector as they quietly moved into formation.
About to head upstairs, James took point and prepared to enter the main house when he heard a blood curdling scream.
The captain rushed up the house, taking the stairs two at a time, and heading to the top part of the house where he heard the scream. His team followed closely behind, watching the group’s sides and sweeping their flanks for any signs of movement.
James stopped when he reached the top of the stairs, holding a fist up. Jackson and Pierre stopped behind him. Lee made a series of hand gestures, before dropping to a crouch. His squadmates did the same, and the group formed a triangle, rifles out, watching all points as they quietly moved down the hallway of the farmhouse.
The house was small; the second floor little more than a pair of rooms at opposite ends of a narrow hallway. One of the doors was askew, and the group made their way to that end of the hallway first.
Captain James quietly opened the door, rifle ready. What he wasn’t ready for was what was inside.
The room inside defied all logic. Not merely in an exaggerated figurative sense, but the size of the room was easily larger than most of the rest of the house. Moreover, where the rest of the house was a dust-covered abandoned shell, the room inside was a gigantic bedroom.
It was one James had seen before, two years ago, but not at this size, and certainly not in this location. The pattern on the wallpaper was soft yellow ducks on a light green, and the carpet was covered in the scattered toys of a typical young boy, exactly in the places that he had remembered them being before.
The light came in eerily through the windows, and Lee heard the sound of a steady pitter patter of rain on the window, even though it had been sunny and clear when they first entered the house. He noticed the time on the clock by the bed.
Just the way it had been before.
Hung and Thomas's bodies were sprawled on the ground, twisted in unnatural angles and so still that James knew they were dead on sight. Melissa had been smashed into a wall and was lying in a pool of rapidly spreading blood.
The captain closed his eyes, knowing that if the anomaly wanted to kill him, it would have done so as soon as he entered the room. He avoided looking at the bodies of his squadmates, and instead tried to look for where the escapee could be.
“They tried to hurt me.”
A very small voice coughed when it finished, and Lee heard the sound of sniffling. He looked around for the sound of the voice, but he saw nothing.
Then, he remembered where he had found it last time. James took his helmet off slowly and set his rifle down. He got on his hands and knees, motioning for his teammates outside to not move, and he crawled towards the giant children’s bed. Pulling out his flashlight, he shined it underneath.
In the light was a young child, dirty, disheveled, and still wearing a raggedy Foundation-issue jumpsuit. He blinked in the sudden bright light, and shivered, covering his grime-coated face, streaked through with tears.
“Mister….Mister….Lee.” The child sniffled.
“Hey there kiddo. How are you?” Captain Lee tried to look as reassuring as he could.
The child rubbed his eyes with his hands, sniffling again. The streaks of dirty tears rolling down his face smudged and only succeeded in making the child look even more sad.
“I-I’m scared. There’s lots of mean people around and I don’t want to go back to the big room.”
“Shh, shh, it’s okay buddy. I’m not going to take you back to the big room, I promise. We’re taking you home now.” Captain Lee quietly spoke, extending a hand for the little boy.
The child shied away, a sudden reaction that made Lee’s heart leap into his throat and freeze for a moment. The boy hesitantly looked at the hand and then back to the captain’s eyes.
The child slowly took James’s hand, and he pulled the boy out gently, slowly, making sure to not startle the poor boy as he did. He lifted him into his arms carefully, and held him as the boy clung to him like a bear cub to its mother.
The door was 30 feet away. Not too far. Just a minute until he could reach it.
“I’m glad we’re not going back, Mister Lee.”
“I know you are buddy. We’re going to bring you back to your home. Remember what home looks like?”
“Yeah.” The boy sniffled again. "It was big and loud and fun, and it had all my toys. I never get any toys at the big room." The child wrinkled his nose, leaning against the steady, reassuring weight of the captain’s arms.
10 feet. The captain slowed his breathing, and closed his eyes for a moment, steadying himself. Only 10 more feet until he was clear of the anomaly.
“What do you miss most about home?”
The child thought for a moment, and became so quiet for a moment that the captain’s heart started doing calisthenics again.
“I miss my dog, Frog.”
“Frog? What kinda name is that for a dog?” James laughed.
“I named him Frog ‘cuz I was really little when I did it and I didn’t know any better. I miss Frog a lot, how’d he always jump around and be really happy to see me.”
They were clear of the anomaly and back inside the house. James breathed out slowly.
“I’m sure Frog will be really happy to see you again.”
“He will. I miss Frog a lot.” The child smiled, thinking of happier memories as he wrapped himself around Lee’s body more.
“I bet you do, kiddo.” Lee closed his eyes, and his hand went to his belt.
“Thanks for taking me home.”
Captain James Lee shuddered as he patted the child’s back with one hand, drew his sidearm with the other, placed it against the boy’s head, and pulled the trigger.
Neutralization Report: SCP-5389
During an escape attempt by SCP-5389, the anomaly killed two Foundation field agents of Containment Team Beta-6, Privates Hung Nguyen and Thomas Blake, and crippled a third, Sergeant Melissa Jeffries. As per standard operating procedures, Captain James Lee was forced to neutralize SCP-5389. Lee has been awarded a Meritorious Commendation for his actions in preventing the escape of a hostile anomaly as well as his quick thinking, which allowed him to prevent further loss of life.
Additionally, Captain Lee has requested and been granted a round of Class B amnestics for personal use.