"Another good dream," Perseus mused as he approached Lilibeth on the porch. He was a fairly young man, but still leaned into a cane as he walked. Tugging at his hat and shoving a hand in the pocket of his tattered overcoat, he sat on the stoop and surveyed the city around him.
"What is this place?" he asked. Lilibeth smiled. She looked younger than the last time he had seen her; perhaps she was lost in her memories.
"This is my house," she said thoughtfully, "My husband's inside with Emily."
"You never told me you had a daughter."
"You never asked."
Perseus looked off into the distance, past the speeding cars and hurrying pedestrians and over the horizon of high-rise buildings. He thought for a moment, biting his lower lip and rubbing his temples with calloused hands.
"Can you tell me anything else about the cottage, Lilibeth?"
"We were talking about it last time we met."
Creases formed on the woman's forehead as her expression turned to one of confusion.
"Did we go skiing there once?"
"No, no. You really don't remember? Must be one of those nostalgic dreams."
For a moment, neither of them spoke.
"Sometimes, I have these dreams about tunnels and gears," Lilibeth admitted, her voice hushed and contemplative. Perseus' eyes widened. He had seen the tunnels. Evidently, so had she.
"No, Lilibeth, listen, You are dreaming right now. This is the dream."
"Wait, really? Oh, crap, the cottage. 2508," Lilibeth exclaimed. She remembered everything.
"Don't get too excited; you'll wake yourself up."
"Dreaming. I'm having a lucid dream. So I guess that makes you my subconscious?"
"No. I've tried to explain it to you before, but it's not important right now. Just tell me, this cottage… is there a pump in the attic?"
"A plant in the basement?"
"And it glows sometimes?"
"In morse code, yes."
Perseus looked down at his feet and breathed a sigh of what Lilibeth assumed was relief. Then, with a sense of urgency, his eyes met with hers.
"Lilibeth, I don't have time to explain but I need you to find the bottom of those tunnels. You have to get to the bottom, and you have to find a librarian named Carina."
The cars on the road began picking up speed. People were running now.
"I don't understand. If I even believe you, then how did you get here if I'm just dreaming?"
"I'm well versed in the anomalous, Lilibeth. Where there's a will there's a Way."
Copper plating and metal pipes broke through the concrete. Cars spun out of control.
Lilibeth was no longer in the city. Everything was calm once more. It was early morning, and Lilibeth sat up in her bed to bask in the sunlight coming through the window. She looked around her bedroom, at the old dusty wood walls, and her lab-coat draped over her wardrobe. To her left was a window that peered out over the field and the hole that led to the tunnels. Next to it was her cobbled-together elevator, laying in the grass. Everything was as she left it. It was a morning just like hundreds of others at SCP-2508.
And yet, something was nagging her; that dream. She was accustomed to bizarre ones, but she wasn't sure what to make of this. Could, perchance, that man be as real as the blue-jay that now perched itself at her windowsill? Or the two squirrels that ran just outside the house, only to disappear amidst the tall grass of the field?
No. Of course not. Just another strange dream. She pushed the thought aside.
The possibility refused to leave her alone. She knew the idea was absurd. The fact was, a man in her dreams who is almost certainly a creation of her subconscious should not to be trusted. But, on the other hand, this cottage itself was absurd in nature. Lilibeth was just used to it by now, and as such the feeling had diminished somewhat over the years.
After filling up the pump in the attic, Lilibeth scoured the study for hours on end looking for any mention of this "Carina" woman Perseus had told her about. It was an arduous task that took the majority of the morning. There was so much to go through.
She found nothing, but hard pressed for answers, she wasn't ready to stop there.
Down she went in her elevator, into the depths of the dark tunnels once more. When she finally hit the grate flooring, she stepped out, surveyed the area, and paused. She did want to know if the structure had a bottom to it. It could be a venture all on its own, unrelated to the instructions given by Perseus, who most likely did not exist. If Lilibeth could cut open a section of flooring, and if she could procure enough rope, she could- in theory- lower the elevator further below the grate. She circled the elevator as she thought. Down the hallway, at the first T-junction, she could see two squirrels chasing each other. They ran off in the general direction of the gears, playing and chattering.
The idea wasn't without its drawbacks, though. The first dig had been dangerous enough. Lilibeth wanted some answers, and for the first time since she had arrived here she had found some sense of direction to look for them, but she didn't want them enough to die for them. If there were any signs of trouble, she would be hoofing it back to the surface. That much she promised herself, and in that moment, struck herself a deal.
The darkness beckoned.