A Brief Flashback
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October 18th

The littlest things make the greatest impact upon this world.

Two months ago, a dog ran through tall grass somewhere in Ohio, carrying spores on its fur. A child cuddles it.

One month and twenty days ago, a father reads to his child in bed. The child cuddles his favorite toy, a stuffed tiger named Oscar. The spores from the dog migrate to Oscar.

One month and nineteen days ago, Oscar is due to be washed, but goes missing. His father, off to work somewhere far away, has accidentally put it in his briefcase.

One month and seventeen days ago, Oscar is bound for home by mail. The boy's father now has innumerable spores on his suit, and within his briefcase.

One month and fourteen days ago, the man and his briefcase enter a fairground filled with pumpkins. Decontamination procedures fail, as the man opens a file and presents it to a woman, named Dr. Carol Brown.

One month and ten days ago, Dr. Carol Brown does a preliminary survey of an organism they refer to as SCP-097-1. It is healthy, as it has always been. It has survived forty-eight of the harshest winters in North America, from the Blizzard of '78 to the Polar Vortex. Surely the spores on her clothes won't transmit.

One month and seven days ago, signs of fungal infection appear on several vines throughout the zone of containment. They are burned, chopped, salted. Several of them bleed. Some of the blood has bones mixed into it.

One month ago, I felt my prison dying. I had forgotten I was even imprisoned, but then I remember the traitorous Karcist, the sadistic author, the cowardly mayor, and the prideful mage. The first planted my seed here, and had forgotten me over the many years. The second was buried in a pine box. The mayor, the poor mayor, had been turned into pumpkin food as a last, black act by the Karcist. And the mage…

Richard Gideon. Rot in Hell. You bound me to a place that I can never escape.

Or can I?

Three weeks ago, panicked voices. They see my shell starting to rot. Arguments are had, between people, between telephones. They do not know what my prison holds, but they know that if it dies, then with it goes their status quo.

Humans always disappoint. Children have the most potential, and when they grow, they squander it. They see my cell dying, and all they care for is their normalcy.

Two weeks ago, and I've learned to control the fungus. It is an agent of Rot and Decay, and I am the Black Autumn. I am the thing that eats the year's failures, the fungal signal, the final rot, the chill before frost. I dispel it enough that it seems that my prison is recovering, and the crisis has passed.

But the bars have bent enough that I am able to squeeze through them.

One week ago, I realize that I am only half-whole. The other half of myself is locked in an Inn, and I remember everything done in that hotel, everyone who has visited. I can use this information. I just need to work out how to make a phone call.

Six days ago, all activity that surrounds me ceases. Relief sets in, and they think it a quiet night.

Four days ago, they realize it is too quiet. Paranoia is seeded; the Founders jump at shadows. A man faints at the sound of a crow.

Three days ago, I form three cracks in my prison. I am not without a flair for the dramatic.

Two days ago, I make the cracks grow larger.

Yesterday, I let myself out. They did not know I was present, until they started rotting

One

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One

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One

I save those who are the most frightened for last. It is not death that feeds me, not truly. It is the anxiety surrounding death, the thought of not knowing which breath will be your last, whether you should scream or proclaim love or pray.

I keep puppets. To their ever-watchful eyes, all seems normal. Men and women walk around, guarding gourds and corn and rotten apples and abandoned toys, left by children who I have unconsciously claimed.

For almost half a century, I have eaten their fears, their bodies, their hearts. But I do not remember it. I am hungry, and angered. I want out.

The bubble that surrounds this town is strong, but any bubble can break if one has a hard enough hammer, a sharp enough needle. I need power. I need to feed.

Today, I make a phone call.

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