Do You Remember Funerals?
rating: +78+x

A hundred-or-so years ago Dr. Emily Young sat in her office in the back of Site-2718, and quietly deleted files while the world screamed outside. It's only fitting that the last one to leave would be the first to return.

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No one had entered Site-2718 in almost a century. A thin layer of dust coated everything from loose papers to the 21st century antiques they used to call "computers". Everything was supposed to be erased, burnt, or deleted to cover up what happened, but the lab cleared out in a panic. Well, except for Dr. Young.

"Hey, you still there?"

Emily shook her head and moved into the main lab area. "Yeah. Sorry Joyce. It's just been awhile. Lots of memories."

"Well you can take a trip down memory lane later," Eric replied, "You and I have a flight in about two hours. Just please show us where Tony is."

Emily nodded and walked toward the door in the back. A red bulb flashed nearby that lit up a sign reading "SCP-3448 Testing In Progress". Another part of the clean up that Emily neglected. Although, in all fairness, the machine was still on. The dedicated generator still hummed.

Emily opened the door to the testing room to let Joyce and Eric inside, except they refused to move. They both stood there, staring at the remains of Tony Michaels, still lying in the middle of the main cavity. She walked over to the Residual Signal Imaging Console, which was just a PC monitor hardwired into the massive hulk of a machine that was SCP-3448. Blowing on the keyboard created a small cloud of dust, which wafted through the florescent light. It took a few moments before Emily felt comfortable sitting in her old swivel chair again.

"So… he's dead?" Eric finally asked.

"Not quite. Technically he's only half-dead. Give me a moment to boot this thing up. It should still work," Emily replied.

In the mean time, Joyce edged closer and closer to her brother's corpse. He smelled of rotten flesh, even though there was only bones in a faded Foundation uniform left. Joyce began to regret even coming down here. She might've tainted her last memory of Tony.

"Ok, ok! I got it working! Joyce, get over here and say hello to your brother!" Emily called from in front of the console. Joyce walked over and looked at the monitor.

"You have something you want me to say to him?"

Eric looked at Joyce. "You should dictate. You're better with words than me anyways."

"Umm… how about something simple. Just, uh, 'Hey Tony. It's Joyce and Eric. And before you ask, dad's doing fine.'"

Emily typed something into the apparatus, and then they waited. A few minutes passed. And then a few more. And then the screen flickered to life.

"That's— that's Tony." Eric had to say it out loud for it to register for him. No one really knew what to do. It's like being reacquainted with an old friend, but there's a one way mirror between you.

"Well… um, Emily we really need to go. Our flight's in an hour, I don't know if we're going to make it," Eric said as me moved toward the door.

"Oh, you go ahead. Joyce and I are staying here."

"Come again?"

"We're going to get Tony back," Joyce replied. Eric looked at her for a moment, and then over at Emily. He nodded.

"Tell me when he's awake, ok?"

"You'll be the first to know. Take care of dad for me."

"You got it sis."

And with that Eric turned to leave the building. Joyce and Emily stood in silence for a few minutes, just letting the atmosphere and the plan moving forward sink in.

"Alright, lets get this place up and running."

"You want to show me how to work this thing?"

"I'll do it at the end. Even though the monitor's always giving us a real-time view of any interpreted images, we only make new reports at midnight."

"Alright then. Let's see if I still remember how neuroscience works."

Emily flipped a switch to turn on the remaining fluorescent lights. "Oh, its nice to be back in a lab."

SCP-3448 Day 40,053 Imaging Results

<7:30 — 7:45> A man speaks to an enlarged teddy bear in a mirror.

<10:45 — 11:28> The man walks through a garden overrun with daisies.

<12:38 — 13:43> The same man is searching through the daisies for some object.

<16:53 — 17:00> The man is kneeling in the daisies smiling at the ground. After six minutes he looks up and speaks. The exact words spoken could not be deduced from the lip movements, due to the angle of the shot. The man begins to laugh softly.

<17:00 — 17:15> Static

<18:15 — 19:45> Rain falls from a cloudless sky. Half a rainbow can be seen.


Joyce and Emily slept in the lab, since it was easier than getting a hotel or apartment. Joyce scavenged for any left over reports or unburnt research papers. A desk drawer here, a USB there. Anything that could give a clue about bringing her brother back.

Emily, on the other hand, returned to the monitor room. When you haven't seen someone for a hundred years, there's a lot to catch up on. It's hard to really talk through the machine. All Emily could do is try to etch messages directly into Tony's conscious, and all Tony could do was… well they never really figured out exactly how Tony controlled the residual signals. Or if he controlled them at all.

Emily started up the conversation the only way she knew how.

How've you been?

<9:31 — 9:31> A man sits in a room with dirt walls next to a counter made of tile. In the back of the room a large teddy bear is propped up against the wall. The man shrugs, and then motions toward the screen.

That's pretty straightforward for being in the garden of the dead for a hundred years. I've been doing fine myself. Was kind of rough at first. Shot myself in the head but it's all good now.

<9:32 — 9:33> The man from previous image laughs, and then calls out to the teddy bear behind him. The teddy bear does not respond.

You laugh, but the doctors had to do a real number on me. Anyways, I know you have limited feedback in there. You just want me to run down what you've missed?

<9:33 — 9:33> The man nods, and then grabs something off of the counter and leaves the room.

"Hey, Emily, I'm going to head out and get food for the fridge. How long do you think we'll be here?" Joyce called from the next room over.

"You know how research is, I don't have a clue."

"So, am I buying sleeping pads or are we renting a room?"

"If you're renting a room you're renting solo."

"Sleeping pad it is."

And then Joyce left the warehouse. But she didn't really need to get the food, or the sleeping pad. At least not right then. She just didn't want to be right across the room from her brother. It felt like when her dad was about to die, but in reverse. It felt too surreal, too uncanny, too impossible. Strange, all this time working at the Foundation and some things still got to her.

Joyce drove down to the grocery store and dropped food into a cart absentmindedly. Those headphones kept her in a personalized little thought bubble, where she thought about what she'd say to Tony. Joyce had to say something.

I wonder if he'd still recognize me.

It'd been so long, and people do change. Joyce felt sort of like her headphones. They were her headphones, the same ones she'd been wearing for the past century. But after all the repairs, upgrades, and component swaps, it probably didn't have any of the same parts it had when she first bought them. But it was still the same pair of headphones, right? They were the ones she carried around everywhere. Never threw them out, or bought another pair really.

I'm still the same Joyce, right?

She didn't even enter the monitor room when she got back to the warehouse.

SCP-3448 Day 40,054 Imaging Results

<9:31 — 9:31> A man sits in a room with dirt walls next to a counter made of tile. In the back of the room a large teddy bear is propped up against the wall. The man shrugs and then motions toward the screen.

<9:32 — 9:33> The man from previous image laughs, and then calls out to the teddy bear behind him. The teddy bear does not respond.

<9:33 — 9:33> The man nods, and then grabs something off of the counter and leaves the room.

<9:53 — 10:34> The man wanders through the field of flowers. A red handle protrudes from his pocket. Occasionally he squats and examines a daisy. Periodically, he nods his head.

<10:54 — 14:33> Brown tinted static.

<15:53 — 15:55> A skeleton spinning rapidly in an empty void.

<16:05 — 16:12> The man jumps away from a daisy, and then starts to shout what are assumed to be profanities. A red handle is seen protruding from the dirt.

<19:12 — 19:30> A large teddy bear walks among the daisies. At 19:29 it stops and leans down to pick something up.


It had been nine days since Joyce arrived, and four days since they called in Emily to head up some project. Joyce hadn't heard a word from her since, but that's only to be expected. She was curious what could be so important that they'd call Emily in of all people. Joyce had spent the time writing out her thoughts, looking over old imaging reports, anything to keep her out of the monitor room. The door was open just enough for the light of the screens and LEDs to shine through, which kept Joyce up at night. She considered closing it a few times, but decided against it for reasons she couldn't articulate.

She split her time evenly between scouring the SCP database for anything that could help bring Tony back, and writing out what she would say to him when she finally walked into that room again. She'd gone through a lot of paper trying to get her thoughts in order. She was almost certainly overthinking this but, then again who wouldn't be?

It was quiet without Emily around, which does wonders for the mind. Lets you hear yourself think, which is both a curse and a blessing at the same time. Joyce tried to drown out her own thoughts with her headphones, but after a few minutes the music would fade into white noise and her thoughts would keep bouncing around her head again. At that point she'd crumple up whatever page she'd been working on, and move back to the monitor to see if the paper titled "Residual Imaging Interpretation: Metaphors of the Mind" had anything useful. It went on about how confronted with entirely foreign stimuli, the mind will attempt to shape them into something it can understand. Normally something terrifying.

What are you scared of in the first place?

It was a good question. Joyce knew the answer, but it's good to ask.

Why don't you just introduce yourself to him again? Doesn't matter who he remembers, you're you now. What he remembers from a hundred years ago means jack shit for tomorrow.

It was a good point. Too good a point. Joyce put her headphones on, and went back to looking through the database.

Don't try to ignore yourself. You know you're right.

She opened up another file.

Coward. You just going to ignore him? You've already spoken to him once, and it won't be much different.

That was when she was on autopilot. She was still in shock.

Bull shit.

She was scrolling through the file, but not reading the words.

A hundred years might change your personality, your body, your mind, but it won't change the fact that he's your brother. Talk to him. He fucking misses you.

She sighed. She was right. She hates being right. She put on When The Sun Sets and walked into the monitor room.

SCP-3448 Day 40,062 Imaging Results

<10:35 — 11:45> A man strolls through a garden, looking intensely at a gardening hoe with a red handle.

<12:45 — 13:03> A garden hoe with a red handle laying on top of a small pile of bones. After twelve minutes, the man appears in frame, appearing to look for something. After sixteen minutes, he finds the gardening hoe, and begins to bury the bones in the dirt.

<14:13 — 14:16> The man nods while he continues to dig.

<14:16 — 14:18> A warm red color.

<14:18 — 14:20> The man smiles.

<14:20 — 14:21> The shape of a heart.

<17:21 — 17:51> The man walks away from where he finished burying the bones.

<19:11 — 21:11> A young woman asleep in a bed.


Joyce almost didn't notice when Emily came back, since it was so quiet. She didn't talk about what she worked on. She walked into the monitor room and tried to communicate with Tony for hours. She wouldn't talk about what Tony said to her either.

When night came, Joyce could hear Emily slowly bang her head against the pillow. At one point she heard a heard a grunt, followed by a thud, followed by a cry of pain. Joyce rushed over to see what happened. Emily held her head in her hands, covering up a new bruise. The pillow was far away.

Joyce sat next to Emily. "Do you feel dizzy?"

"No."

"Is your vision blurry?"

"No. Joyce—"

"Do you feel like throwing up?"

"No. I'm fine."

"Are you su—"

"I said I'm fine!" Emily continued to apply pressure to the side of her head.

"I'll get you some ice."

"Thanks."

Joyce went to the top section of the refrigerator that they had bought, which doubled as a freezer. She grabbed some ice cubes from a tray, and then opened one of the closets to pull out one of the robes they used to have subjects wear during testing. She tore off a strip of fabric and wrapped it around Emily's head, with keeping the ice cubes over the bruise. They sat in silence after Joyce finished.

"I missed my chance," Emily said.

"Your chance?"

"I had three fucking weeks and I didn't do it."

"Do what?"

"Fucking goddamn idiot. Fuck! Fuck!"

"Emily, calm down!"

"It was a knife, Joyce. Just a knife that actually worked. A thing that could kill you." Emily was crying now.

"Wait, that's impo—"

"I spent three weeks being a 'good samaritan'. They told me they thought I changed and they were wrong but I still didn't do it!"

"Emily, slow down!"

"I just… I should've done it before they took it away. Just right through the heart."

"It's ok. It's all going to be ok."

"No. No it's not. And now I'm just going to keep waking up day after day after day and I want to die don't you get it I want to die to die just kill me already fucking kill me Joyce. Kill me! Kill already you fucker do it!"

Joyce hugged Emily tightly. She was scared. They were both scared. And tired.

"I want… I want to die. I want to do it. I… I didn't do it. Why didn't I do it Joyce?"

"I don't know. I don't know."

"I want to die."

"I don't want you to die."

Emily paused.

"That makes one of us."

SCP-3448 Day 40,079 Imaging Results

<4:20 — 5:20> A man is inside a room with dirt walls, sitting next to a person-sized teddy bear. He is staring blankly at the opposite wall.

<6:13 — 6:15> A tree branch where all of the leaves are replaced with hands. The hands appeared to be clenched as fists, and are attempting to punch the branch. A number of them have bloody knuckles

<7:30 — 7:45> The man examines a gardening hoe. After 14 minutes, he throws it at the dirt wall.

<8:15 — 13:45> Static.

<14:00 — 14:30> The man paces back and forth in the room, occasionally picking up the gardening hoe and gesturing with it.

<19:00 — 20:14> The man is sitting with his head in his hands. The teddy bear has fallen on its side.

<23:57 — 23:59> A young woman lying awake in bed.


Somewhere in Calgary, a man named Jared Helburg received a call from an unknown caller. Very few people knew how to get to his work phone, and Foundation protocol mandates that all secure lines utilize a false caller ID for additional security. Jared slowly picked up the phone.

"Hello?"

"Is this Dr. Helburg?" said a female voice.

"It is."

"I need your help. I've been going through these old logs and lab notes and your name kept showing up."

"Excuse me, who are you?"

"You wouldn't know me."

"Then what are—"

"But I'm with your old boss, Dr. Young."

Jared paused. It had been a long time since he heard that name. Now he knew why the number didn't have a caller ID.

"What are you doing? Actually, no can I just talk to Emily?" Wait, didn't she shoot herself? Or maybe that was someone else… god it was so long ago. Hard to keep track of who did what back then.

"She's lying on the ground just murmuring to herself. I'm trying to figure out how to bring Tony back. I don't know how this damn machine works and the only qualified person asked me to kill her last night. I need help."

Jared put down the phone. He didn't hang up. He just needed a moment to think. It wasn't like thinking was going to change his decision, he just needed to convince himself it was the right decision. After a few minutes, he picked up the phone again.

"My flight leaves tomorrow. I hope you have somewhere for me to sleep."

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