☦Allan meets the Foundation.☦
The Last Era: 13, August, 2119 AD
Sylvan Grove, Kansas, USA
Gersha remembered running from someone, or something, when she was very, very little. She remembered the thing from the stairwell suddenly appearing and saving her. It carried her down into the basement and it cared for her for twenty years. It brought books, toys, and food when she was hungry. It never let any harm come to her, but it never let her leave.
A utility closet held the bones of two well-dressed, old ladies.
She remembered the calls of the first intruder, and her eagerly calling back to him. Then, she watched her protector skitter upwards. Only five flights of stairs but the thing felt the man’s feet as he walked down in the darkness, cradling his soles in the mimicry of step after step. Feeling him, gaining an understanding, and finally giving him a good look in the eye.
In time, when she heard the doors to the stairwell open, all she could do was cry.
She had seen the Occult Wars only through the television and when the Shadow Men manifested, she spent four years in the dark.
She looked Grammie in the eyes during the Mass Broadcast and, luckily, she did nothing to incite her anger.
When she was 16, the breach in the southwest was spilling out well into the wastelands of Texas, and the northbound refugees had been swallowed by the Living City.
As she blew out the candles on her 20th birthday, the Witch of the North was wringing Kansas between her fingers. In the same year, the Practitioner of Oregon was sending his unliving cure eastward to meet the Coalition’s nukes in the Rocky Mountains.
Her jailer brought her a bottle of wine when she turned 21. This was when the last of the SCP Foundation’s and MCF’s ancient, but reassuring broadcasts had stopped. When the Public Safety Foundation began airing in its place she wasn’t sure she could believe anything. A giant tank patrolling Mexico! A family of dragons in Antarctica! A city of clocks in Europe… and Africa was a toaster. She had to hear first hand from Allen about the crows and the new Kansas.
“This ain’t Kansas anymore, Gersha.” He said, tapping his baseball bat along the spires on the highway to Sylvan Grove.
Allen returned to Grammie’s shop, Gersha in tow, the morning after the stairwell beast was killed. He got his liquor and his laptop but Grammie wouldn’t get out of his head. He knew he couldn’t press the issue and the added security didn’t… it was nice to have. Besides, he figured, it’s not like he was a monster himself.
Down the road Gersha saw smoke fuming and two shapes, one large and one small. A car had broken down. A nice car.
“Oh, what ever could that be?” Gersha said excitedly, an awkward mimicry of a certain character from an old film. She turned in a hop toward Allen and made a failed attempt to twirl her matted hair.
Allen looked back at the woman, perplexed. “Nothin’ good. Good to assume things ain’t. And… jeez, get that smile off yer face. It’s like you ain’t never seen a person smile before.”
“Oh, but smiling is my favorite!” She said, her yellowed teeth stretched to each ear.
One surveyed the two in his binoculars. “Things are looking up! There’s the one, and not just one, but two! Hes got someone with him!”
“Great. Shame about the car, though.” Nine said, trying to adjust his earpiece with a hindpaw. “I’ll radio Seven in. He should arrive with the chopper.”
“Hey, he hasn’t seen another lady apart from Five, has he? Sure he can pilot that helicopter with all those butterflies in his stomach?”
Nine looked back at him blankly. “Five minutes. He was in Wichitaw talking to their Mayor. The bear. General public relations.”
One looked back to him and squinted. “Which bear, now? I can’t be bitched to remember ten thousand different skips.”
Nine sighed. “The Mayor is designated as SCP-1048, and then there’s the replicating grizzly regular bears, and then theres the Mayor’s teddy bears made out of regular bears and other teddy bears.”
One nodded his head, seeing now that the young man and his friend had stopped walking. He absently felt for his weapon. “How’s that going for him? Bear reformed now?”
Nine shook his head. “Just like the old documentation. It hasn’t changed since its been free. The town is overrun. Bears feed off of the bears, new bear appears, the bears eat that bear… So they’re self sustaining. We shouldn’t have to worry too much about expansion, even if their Mayor is… unstable.”
“What a time to be alive.”
“I see you seein’ me, joker. We can do this all day.” Allen grabbed his elbow and raised his fist at the faraway figure. Grammie wasn’t familiar with that gesture.
“Maybe he’s a friend!” Gersha ran forward, waving at One. One waved back and smiled.
“Gersha you don’t know that thing’s human! Go on and get back here!” Allen yelled but she was well out of earshot. He broke off into a jog toward her.
Just as he was closing in, he heard a sinking and rising, inhuman wail from behind the cornstalks on the north side of the road. His heart sunk in his chest.
Not now. Not now. Go away.
He turned away from the Walking Sticks emerging from the cornstalks, pointing their too-long arms in his direction. He saw Gersha ahead, shaking hands with a rather homely looking man wearing a lab coat and a wide-brimmed hat. Gersha turned and curtsied to something that looked a lot like one of the Bad Dogs he had so much fun killing, but it was covered in golden fur. It was cute.
The PSF broadcast, the one with the rabbit and the hamster, rang in his head.
IF IT’S CUTE, IT’S A KILLER.
“You two back off or I’m gonna bash yer’… yer’ freakin’ heads in!” He shouted, eyes swelling. One just turned and grinned, placing a hand in his pocket.
“You know, he’s volatile, One.” Nine said as Gersha rubbed his belly. “We may not need him alive if we have a female. We already have 17 sexually viable males at Yellowstone, not including members of staff.”
One smiled and drew his revolver, steadying the barrel just slightly over Allen’s head. Allen froze.
“You wanna talk, boy?”
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