August 19, 2035
rating: +20+x

"You'll never catch me!"

Lebanon leaped from her spot on the roof, screaming as she did. Behind her, Hamilton and Xavier scrambled to keep up. She fell downward, arms outstretched. Her scream turned to delight as she plummeted. Vague yelling echoed behind her.

She crashed into the pile of soft material below, landing on a large mattress. For a few moments everything shook, and the world was obscured by white.

Memory Foam. She had heard the phrase before, but couldn't remember where. It came back to her now.

After a few seconds, Lebanon flipped herself over, staring up. Two distant faces peered down at her. She waved at them, and there was more yelling. The faces vanished as she pulled herself off the mattress and into the rest of the pile. There was clothing everywhere, as well as blankets and other discarded accessories.

"What's your problem?" This was Hamilton, emerging with Xavier from a nearby door. "You could have hurt yourself!"

Lebanon stuck her tongue out. "Nuh uh. I'm fine, see?"

She could see Xavier rubbing his eyes. Oh no, I've made him cry again. She reached out and grabbed his hand.

"I'm sorry X. I was having fun, I didn't want to scare you." She squeezed his hand.

"I-Its ok. I shou-should trust you more." He gave her a small smile and wiped the last of the tears from his eyes. Although they looked nothing alike, Lebanon had decided that Xavier was her little brother, and treated him as such. She had no idea how old he actually was, but it felt right to her.

"I still think you should stop being such a dumbass," Hamilton said. "The boss is gonna blame one of us if something happens to you."

"Will I now?" The three children whipped around. Blue Ash was a physically imposing man, and the setting sun wrapped around him like a solar veil. He turned to look at Hamilton. "Language, young man." Hamilton mumbled some short apology.

"Blue, were you looking for us?"

A smile. "Indeed I was, Xavier. It's almost time for the gathering." Blue Ash gestured up the road, towards the center of town. Taking care to avoid the crumbling asphalt, the four of them navigated back to the village square. The road was littered with abandoned cars and trucks; Lebanon climbed on to a rusted car, following the rest of the group by jumping from vehicle to vehicle. Although Blue Ash gave her sidelong glances, he never said anything, so she continued.

"Hey Blue," she finally asked, "Why do we have to go?"

Blue Ash rubbed his chin. "Well, it's important to be a part of the community. These are the people working hard to take care of you; wouldn't it be rude to ignore them?"

Lebanon frowned. She was starting to feel guilty. "I guess… But why do we have the gathering at all?"

Hamilton responded this time. "It's kinda cool actually. I read about it in a book."

"Read about what?"

Hamilton's mouth opened and closed, and Lebanon could hear the words he was saying, but they fled from her mind almost immediately. A sharp buzz echoed in and around her ears, and the world suddenly lurched in front of her. She vaguely realized she was falling.

Blue Ash caught her. His face was contorted into concern, but Lebanon could swear she saw no surprise in his eyes.

"Are you alright?" He gently lowered her onto the ground, making sure to hold on until she was up on both feet.

"Hmmm, I'm okay I guess." Her response was muted. "I don't know why I did that."

He ruffled her dirty hair. "Don't worry. It happens to the best of us."


Up ahead, a large group of people were clumped together near a brick building. The sides of the building were painted red, and had large window-like doors that were propped open. Inside, a large red, white and silver object stood silent. Gamble had spent almost a year fixing it up, claiming it could do all sorts of things. Whenever he went into detail Lebanon found herself overcome with discomfort, and wasn't able to understand what he was saying, even though everyone else listened with obvious delight.

Blue Ash and the children approached a woman at a table, serving food. Seeing them approach, she set four plates aside.

"Hey bossman. Want some meat today? I've got the vegetarian option too."

"I'll take the vegetarian, but those hot dogs look delicious. I'm sure the kids will love them."

The server handed plates with hot dogs and chips to the three children. They gave quick thanks and ran off, presumably to sit under the large oak tree nearby.

Blue Ash took a bite of carrot. "Thank you Madison. If I didn't know any better, I would say this was plucked out of the ground just today. And no preservatives? You know how to spoil us." He waggled his eyebrows at her.

"That's because it is, smart-ass." She grabbed the carrot and took a large bite. "You want to go back to scavenging, be my guest." She handed the carrot back.

Blue Ash left the table with a wave. Ahead, on a park bench, Toledo was holding a piece of corn-on-the-cob. His hands were shaking, and his shirt was already damp with sweat. He stared at the vegetable with a single minded intensity. Silently, Blue Ash grabbed the corn out of his hands, and swapped it with a large carrot from his own plate. Toledo nodded his appreciation, but his hands never stopped shaking. His eyes continued to track the corn as Blue Ash walked away, as if he were witnessing an act of morbid curiosity.

Under the oak tree, the children sat in silence. A plaque was nestled among the tall grass. Lebanon couldn't read the name it was made out to. She could see the letters, and the name as a whole, but when she put them together in her head, she felt a sharp buzz before the name was suddenly snatched from her memory. Behind her, Hamilton said something crass, and Xavier tugged at her sleeve to ask for clarification. The adults were settling down, using scattered chairs and the ground for seating. The sun was gone by now, and the stars were beginning to come out.

The moon hung high in the sky. There was chattering, and several people began to point towards the celestial body. Lebanon didn't get what they were so excited about. She felt rather nervous, and hugged herself as her body began to shake. There was a movement to her side, and a hand rested on her shoulder. Seeing Xavier, Lebanon pulled him close. Blue Ash watched her the entire time.

"It's starting." He gestured upward. "Remember, it's safe to view, so enjoy yourselves."

Lebanon looked up with the crowd, and for a moment she could see the moon in all its splendor. Then suddenly there was a loud buzzing noise, and the moon tore itself apart into many different pieces. She could hear the exclamations of those around her, but the sky was starless and dark. The shaking got worse, and her head felt like it would split open. Her sight was the first to go, and as she drifted into unconsciousness, she could hear Xavier gasp in delight.

"Hey."

….

"Hey Lebanon."

She opened her eyes. The sky was still dark, but she could see the moon, illuminating Blue Ash as he stood above her. It took a second before she responded, "I…?" She couldn't finish.

He crouched down. "You fainted. Do you remember what happened?"

She tried, but she could only recall the buzzing. She shook her head in shame, feeling tears begin to well up.

"Hey, hey, its alright. Don't worry." There was no belittlement in his voice. "Everyone was worried about you. Even Hamilton." He sat down beside her.

"Why? I… I can't even remember what happened," she said. There were flashes, images of something bright, but they refused to stay. "Why does this happen to me?"

Blue Ash tried to give her a reassuring smile, but even through her teary eyes she could see it was strained. "I think, sometime long ago, there was a mistake. Something that shouldn't have happened. And yet it did, and now we have to live with it. It's not our fault, and it's certainly not yours." He held out his hand.

"Do you promise?" She grabbed his hand. She never noticed how rough and calloused it was until now.

"I promise. Now let's get you back home."


Much later, after everyone had fallen asleep, Blue Ash found himself sitting in his library. Simple candles illuminated the massive quantities of books and papers that surrounded him. On a close-by table there sat a card and a well worn piece of paper.

Blue Ash picked up the card. He knew the man in the photo was him, although he had trouble believing it. Next to the picture was the name he had chosen: Blue Ash. Around the name were other words that had long ago lost any meaning.

Flipping the card over, he saw the symbol that meant nothing to him. He could still understand the words printed beside, in a thick bold color.

SECURE
CONTAIN
PROTECT

"I'm trying." He whispered this to himself. "Oh God I'm trying."

He put the card down and picked up the paper. Although able to recite the words from memory alone, he still always double checked to make sure he hadn't forgotten anything. There had been too much of that already.

Item #: SCP-5429

Object Class: Keter

Special Containment Procedures: None. SCP-5429 is unable to be contained.

All currently cognizant Foundation staff are to compile as much practical and historical data as possible, and attempt to save it both psychically and digitally.

Description: SCP-5429 is an non-sentient metaphysical construct capable, and currently in the process of, destroying the individual human ability to conceptualize and recall both general and specific concepts. All concepts affected by SCP-5429 are random, and varies by each individual, although it is believed that certain concepts have been erased from the entirety of human thought.

The majority of SCP-5429 affected subjects will report blanket memory loss, which is believed to facilitate the spread of SCP-5429 and the removal of random concepts. Any information destroyed by SCP-5429 is considered irretrievable.

There is currently no recorded limit for the amount of concepts SCP-5429 can affect within an individual.

Blue Ash picked up a pen, and began to add to the bottom of the page.

SCP-5429 Test Log:

  • 01/12/2028- Attempt to successfully reintroduce the concept of "Eclipse" to individuals who have lost such concept. FAILURE
  • 12/20/2029- Attempt to successfully reintroduce the concept of "Eclipse" to individuals who have lost such concept. FAILURE
  • 12/09/2030- Attempt to successfully reintroduce the concept of "Eclipse" to individuals who have lost such concept. FAILURE
  • 11/14/2031- Attempt to successfully reintroduce the concept of "Eclipse" to individuals who have lost such concept. FAILURE
  • 03/30/2033- FAILURE
  • 09/28/2034- FAILURE
  • FAILURE
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