☦The slow fall of the Foundation.☦
August 14th, 2051 - September 9th, 2077
The castle was old and decrepit but still stood, a testament to the stubbornness of humanity’s rules impressed upon the world. It had been so easy then to establish their symbol of absolute control upon everything they felt the need to conquer. It was not so easy to maintain.
Still, the castle proudly stood. It was unaffected by water and rain. It took no damage from vines supported by it or the animals sheltered by it. None of those could remove the old stones, dislodge the buttresses or collapse the foundation.
An insignificant fragment of stone is chipped from a wall.
The patient flipped through the pages of a well-loved storybook with the same intentness as when it was new. It paid no heed to when the good doctor walked in, though the wings on its skin stopped their fluttering for just a moment in acknowledgement. Dr. Blake coughed, unused to the musky scent of a neglected room.
The doctor fiddled with his badge, arthritic fingers rubbing over his Site Director title, then his name. “Hello, SCP-1252.” He spoke with a timbre that denied the wrinkles on his face. “I’ll make this quick. We’ve decided that resources here would be better spent elsewhere. Therefo-”
The doctor’s momentary silence was the only sign he may have been taken aback. “Excuse me?”
“Yes. Please.” The humanoid’s throat was raspy with lack of use. What remained of its tongue licked at its lips, wetting them with half-congealed spittle. “You can’t… really…” It took a breath of its mask. “…keep me anymore, right? That’s okay.” It tried to give its most reassuring smile. “I don’t mind.” SCP-1252 attempted to reach out and console the man who had lied to and trapped it here. The wires barely allowed it to unbend its elbow.
“…Can you at least afford a bullet?”
Dr. Blake reached over to turn the life support off.
What was but one brick, fallen out of its massive walls?
The cameras couldn’t see everywhere, though they tried. Many had been coated in vines but no one could afford the resources to replace or repair them. What few remained could only survey a small area, leaving the children free to do as they desired once they learned to avoid the artificial eyes.
A boy neared his 50th birthday but had long forgotten to age. His faded blue pajamas seemed transparent under the sunlight as he climbed through his home. Normally he would only be awake once the moon had tucked the sun to bed, but today he had come to check out the first visitor in a decade.
At the edge of the overgrown garden, a girl cradled a nearly lifeless ragdoll in her arms. Her head was cocked to the side in curiosity, though no expression could be seen past her sun bleached giraffe mask. She had come to be invited into a secret club of children who had discovered that the physical world was just an option. As the local welcome crew came to greet her, she extended her prize.
The boy took her ragdoll, pressing it to his ear. The rough fabric could be seen from under his translucent fingers as he listened to a soul of what was once a woman, begging to feel again. He handed it back to his new friend, lips moving without sound. Do you know tag?
The rain is relentless this season, breathing life into withered vines to begin their work again. The animals seek shelter, burrowing away the castle’s foundations. Perhaps it had been wrong to think of such a relic as everlasting.
But still, inevitability seemed too far away to accept.
The room was given a gentle paint of cartoony animals in pastel colors, though even that has faded with time.Worn out children’s toys lay strewn over the floor, forgotten only to be rediscovered and played with as new again. A half-finished lion made of legos lay on its side as a reminder of what was lost. In a corner, a boy with red hair and a blush of freckles took his afternoon nap. His hands clung tightly to the holey blanket, allowing a thin sheet of worn fabric to defend against all the frightening unknowns of the world. He was neither roused by the sound of a door opening and closing nor awakened from the soft footsteps.
There was supposed to be a single guard on duty. They could not afford to have a guard for the guard, not anymore. It was the long-awaited opportunity to strike a personal wound. The attackers could afford their bullets, where the protectors could not.
To come running at the sound of a single gunshot was to be too late. The boy who endured the suffering of strangers had been finally allowed to no longer feel anymore.
A stiff breeze prompted a few shaky stones to lose their grip. What used to be impenetrable now warmly invited all animals to shelter and home, unable to keep out even the least agile amongst them. The castle had become a giant rat’s nest and all the predators wanted their share.
The Administrator surveyed the empty table before them.
There used to be a time, about a generation ago, that each chair was filled with the best specimens humanity could provide. The brightest minds and the strongest of wills met together regularly to maintain absolute order onto a world that steadily became more disorderly. They were the steady hand that disciplined the rowdy teen. They were the gatekeepers between that which ran against the grain of society and the curious humanity that sought to cross them.
There were few signs of things having gone amiss. At first, the increased collection of anomalies was brushed off as the result of a rapidly growing organization and the greater resources to hunt more leads. A few less useful sites were converted in anticipation for new growth. It was a simple matter of diverting minor funds at the time. If those bright minds of that day had been smart enough to predict the need for more extreme change at the time, perhaps all of this could’ve been avoided.
That was wishful thinking. It was inevitable. The Administrator knew that. The Administrator knew that even before the Overseers began to empty their chairs.
The first was a freak containment breach. It turns out that when the Engineering team had to construct hundreds of chambers a month, triple checking turned to double checking and double checking to a single glance over. Not even the kindest of man could keep up with the pace of new stories to fabricate, fresh containment procedures to devise, still-bleeding tragedies to hide.
The next two were suicide. Even the strongest of wills broke under sustained pressure. The remainder were picked off over the years. A few simply disappeared. O5-2 hadn’t been seen since 590 was executed by the CI. Jack never could handle the loss of family. O5-4 left only the icon of a stylized rat king on her desk, a testament to how ingenuity was nothing more than functional insanity.
Friendship and spirit did nothing to prevent this. Their ideals, aspirations, and the hearts that birthed them could not produce the strength they needed. Respect and duty had long fell to the wayside, far from the binding contracts that they were thought to be.
In the end, nothing they really believed in could’ve saved them.
The castle’s remaining walls moaned like the joints of an old man.
Inevitability was on its way.
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