☦Allan is punished by Grammie. SCP-517.☦
The Last Era: 12, August, 2119 AD
Salina, Kansas, USA
A monster ran the town of Salina, and mostly monsters dwelled there. The odd human happened along now and then, but only the loony ones stuck around. The leader of the town was an enigmatic figure known as “Grammie”. No one had ever actually seen her, except for maybe Grammie’s enforcers, who kept the peace.
She had drawings of herself in stained, brown ink over the buildings. She looked more or less like a grammie.
The enforcers were hands. Black, shadowy hands with elbows that stretched off around corners and into nowhere. Some of them ran shops. Allen swore he saw some planting crops at one point, there was even an enforcer-run sock puppet show (which featured humans as the prominent characters, oddly enough). They never spoke to him, but they seemed to understand what he was saying. If he offered to trade an MP3 player for four sardine cans, they would understand that his offer was unreasonable, and slap him softly on the side of his head.
“Crap! This MP3 has 3TBs and call answering!” He said once, and a falling strip of paper retorted that Grammie knew best.
Allen worked up the courage to make his way back down the K-18 after the episode with the Walking Sticks. He didn't want to, but as he sulked home the realization that he would not have alcohol or a laptop equipped with noise cancelling earphones began to dawn on him. What would he do at night when the crows came? Plug his ears and shout lalala?
So he arrived mid-afternoon at the edge of town, wiping sweat from his brow as he surveyed the area. It was kind of dead, which was to be expected as most humans were. Some were just spooked by the hands (although most would not admit that sort of thing for fear of shame).
He could see the Smart Mart was completely deserted save for the Enforcers skittering about. There were too many to count, the foundations of the building were cornered three feet high in shadowy elbows.
“Grammie,” Allen shouted, cupping his hands in a circle around his mouth. “I need a computer and booze! What’dya want for it? I got magazines and a bunch of chicken bones.”
He waited and spied the streams of enforcers sliding in and out of the shadows until one of them stopped and turned to him. It flowed in his direction from its quarter mile distance in two seconds, stopping inches from Allen’s head. It wagged a finger at him.
“Oh why not? Offer not good enough? Here! I’ll sell you the vest off my chest!” He said, beginning to unstring the buttons.
The hand formed a fist and shook left and right.
“Then what!? What’dya want from me Gram?”
The hand shook left and right again. No sell.
“Why not!” Allen pleaded, hands upturned. “I got good goods here for yours. Ain't no reason you shouldn't be sellin’ to me.
Suddenly five other hands joined the party, all grouped together a few feet away from Allen’s conversant. They formed wriggly, serpent-like shapes and began wobbling toward the conversant hand. The conversant formed a claw-like mouth and began bashing the other hands down until they lay in a black shadowy pool on the ground. After a second they rose back to eye level and glared as well as hands could glare at him.
“The twiggy people? What’s the big deal? They're a nuisance. They're not even aware like us humans are." He paused, taking a deep breath. "Listen, what do I have to do so I can trade with you again? I ain't got all day.”
The hands went limp for a moment, and then turned northeast. After about five seconds another hand carrying a tiny strip of paper appeared. They grabbed Allen’s hands and puppeteered him to read it.
“Hey hey, guys, easy! I can move on my own! Now what’s this say?”
Two hands clapped together silently as he scanned the words.
A hand shaped like head nodded slowly. It had to be done if they were to barter.
The hands grabbed him by the feet, flipping him onto his back. They dragged him kicking and screaming down the parking lot and he crashed through the doors of the vacant old department store. Luckily this all happened within a few moments, and he would only notice the trail of blood from his scraped back and the ensuing pain when he was several blows into his whoopin'.
Allen, his face blue with brusing, vest separated completely at the back, and his back fused with the congealed blood on his shirt stumbled out of the Smart Mart. He would not be able to sit down for a day or two.
“Never again!" Allen coughed, spitting blood on the pavement. "Never again do I do business in this town you ass! Hear me? Cunt! Hear me you fu-”
A hand slapped him hard in the face. He drew blood digging teeth into his tongue.
If he wanted to trade in this town he needed to be good, and that meant no cursing. He also needed the alcohol for his rash, and to forget this day ever happened. He needed the hard stuff.
How Grammie knew he was cursing or killing more or less friendly monsters, he could only guess at. She just seemed to know. Sometimes he wondered what she did to really bad people. It probably had a lot to do with why the town was always so deserted.
“What do you want me to do?” Said Allen, softly.
Five seconds later a hand floated slowly toward him holding a strip of paper. Allen grabbed it gently from the things grip, trying not to wince as his finger brushed up against the awkward squeezing feeling of the shadow finger.
He held the paper up and squinted at the ridiculously tiny, cursive script.
“‘Help your neighbors’. What? That’s vague. Grammie. Please clarify.” He massaged his temple and looked to the again moving conversant hand. It pointed off toward the direction of the sun setting.
“That’s opposite the direction of my house! You want me to go that way? Can I do it tomorrow?" His eyes were wide in exasperation. "Please? You know, being outside, well you don’t know, but being outside at night is suicide. I’m not exaggerating, Grammie. I could be stung by an ender and shrunk into nonexistence! I could get ablated by a shadowman!”
The hand went limp as if exhausted. Another hand with another strip arrived just then.
Say your prayers. Grammie knows best.
“Are you serious! Are you f… Freaking serious?”
The hand gave him a thumbs up. She was. He rubbed his face and slowly started toward downtown. An enforcer snuck its way back into his head while it was still throbbing. Grammie sat behind his eyes to make sure he wasn't making an ass of himself when he rescued his future friend.
| Hub |