rating: +16+x

She never saw it coming. No one did.

It plunged the fingers of one bony hand between her shoulder blades and felt her flesh melt and bubble around them. She sizzled like steak in the cold autumn air. Her eyes rolled up into her head and her mouth opened, hands flailing around spastically as she groped in vain for a way to free herself.

The woman sitting next to her was the first to notice. Her scream pierced the darkness of the night and she fell backwards, staining her white angel costume with dark mud. One look into its rotten, milky-black eyes sent her scuttling backwards away from her friend. Beer cans and liquor bottles clattered as the rest of the college students made what would be a vain attempt at escaping the horror that was pulling out their friend’s organs like packing peanuts. The creature rolled her head backwards and stared as her eyes went dark. It slid two fingers, dripping with corrosive oil, into her mouth and around her gums. When the flesh melted and poured down her throat, it wrenched an incisor free of her jaw and inspected its prize. It could take the other teeth later. There was hunting to be done.

One partygoer lost his Dracula cape in his struggle to get away from their fire. His pants were stained with dirt and blood and urine, he had no idea where he was, and he was definitely drunk. His pudgy frame meant that he wasn’t equipped for running from danger. When he looked back he could see their campfire in the distance, the firelight still illuminating that horrible, rotted face. It began to sink downwards along with what remained of his friend in a slow and dramatic fashion as though it were caught in quicksand. Down and down and down they went until nothing was left, and the fire snuffed out.

He turned around and ran. The more distance he put between himself and that crazy hobo, the better. It had already proven that it was stealthy enough to sneak up behind them and catch them unawares, so he would have to run as fast as his stubby, aching legs would carry him.

He didn’t get far.

His foot caught on a tree branch and sent him tumbling face first into what seemed at first like a puddle of muddy water. The second he tasted the puddle he knew it wasn’t water. It tasted foul, and reminded him vaguely of that time he held a penny in his mouth for thirty second on a dare. It tasted like copper and vomit and rotten eggs, and felt like his face had been smeared with acidic syrup. He tried to scream as his eyes ran down his face like a popped yolk cooked sunny side up, but something was in the way.

Fingers like iron gripped his tongue. He gurgled as they slid upwards, down his throat, and the face of the “hobo”, the old man, was visible in the slurry. The fingers tasted worse, like drinking oil and week-old mayonnaise. The whole hand entered his mouth, the tongue dissolving around it like sugar in tea, and the dying college student was pushed upwards as the old man emerged. He licked the mixture of oil and eye jelly from the face before him and let his hand slide out the back of the kid’s head. The skull cracked around his arm as it made contact. Liquid brain matter slid down his body and onto the floor, and the head soon became a sludgy ruin. The old man let the skull fracture like an overheated windowpane, splintering as the body slid gradually off his arm. He could come back for this one too. The night was young and full of treats to collect.

The old man hadn’t hunted like this in years. It focused its gaze on a young boy and the woman holding him. She was huddled around his small form like a suit of armor, not that it would do either of them much good. Her arms were wrapped behind his back, and she was whispering something into his ear. The woman saw when the old man rose out of his pool and her eyes became dinner plates. She stumbled away from the creature, tugging on the boy’s sleeve to try and get him to follow her. It was about to be too late for them both.

The predator reached out for the boy, ready to twist its fingers around his bones and sinew and turn them into ropey sludge. When its hands brushed against the Hollister hoodie, they stopped. The old man had never, not once, not in all its time hunting, been denied this way. It pushed forward again, but the body would not give. It made a sound that might have been confused with a grunt of frustration and lowered its face to the boy’s, mouth open wide and horrible flailing tongue swirling in fearsome patterns.

The little boy’s eyes snapped open. The beam of light that erupted from his sockets would have blinded the old man if it was human. It tried to back away from the thing that wasn’t a little boy, to retreat to its hunting ground, but felt a vice grip on its arm. Stubby little fingers held like iron while the prey stood up.

It didn’t look like a little boy anymore.

White hot eyes blazed from a face chiseled out of marble. His chiseled body, one that would have put Adonis himself to shame, stood erect at just over six feet tall. The fingers, once short and hefty, had become wide, strong things that made the old man’s skin blister and crack. The old man began to descend into its haven, but before the pool of blackened ooze reached its knees, another strong hand with fingers the size of yardsticks wrapped around its waist.

The thing that was no longer prey lifted the thing that was no longer a predator in the air. The old man saw its reflection in the metallic sheen of the creature’s body as it ascended upwards. A few errant bubbles popped on top of the pool below it, then died down before becoming earth once more. The former predator was not touching a flat surface for the first time in a long time. No walls, no floors or ceilings, no trees. Its legs flailed uselessly in the air as it was held aloft, powerful hands clenching its waist and jaw.

The bright statue opened its impossibly wide mouth and the old man saw them. Row upon row upon row of pristine white teeth. Corrosive fluid dripped into the maw of the creature and hardened and flaked off, the teeth still clean and unmarred. As the old man stared deep into the endless chasm, three words came from the shining being.

“Are you scared?”

The old man responded by opening its foul mouth. Bile dripped from its lips and gums onto this thing, whatever it was, but the vile fluid bubbled and evaporated as soon as it hit the skin. The brackish ooze rolled off in rivulets, then steady droplets, then barely even that. Soon it stopped altogether, and the old man was still suspended in the air.

“I know what scared looks like.” The words filled the woods, and the old man tried and failed to recoil from their force. “I’m the best at scaring people. No one is better than I am. Especially not you. You are old, and you smell.” The light dimmed as the creature closed the jaws it called eyelids, and when they opened again, they revealed eye sockets full of hundreds more teeth.

The old man let out a pained shriek that sounded almost fearful. After a few more minutes of flailing, it went limp in the arms of its captor. Holding his prize in the air above him the statue man turned to the young woman and spoke in a loud, commanding tone.


She had no words. She promptly fainted.

Researcher Lowe handed the woman a styrofoam cup of coffee laced with Class-A amnestics as the first November dawn broke over the horizon. It had been a long night. she said the teenager the usual lines it was dark you didn't know what you saw the light was playing tricks on you that sort of thing. The girl swallowed the lies as she nodded with confusion. Jo remembered that look. It was easier to believe you didn't see what you just saw.

“You took a big risk here today, Ms. Lowe.” Dr. Louef regarded her with suspicion as he approached her. She smiled at the terrified woman and left her with her coffee and the fading memories of the predator she evaded.

“Yeah, I did,” Lowe admitted as she stopped in front of him, her hands in her pockets. “I think it paid off though, and even better than I expected. I’ve never seen 106 this docile. Did you see 2006 hold the old man over his head like a tusken raider? I don’t think we’ve ever had a recapture go this smoothly. He was only gone for a couple of hours and I don’t think he ever made it out of these woods.”

“The Foundation is rightfully wary of using anomalies to capture or contain other anomalies,” Dr. Louef went on. “It has caused no small amount of trouble for us in the past.”

“I know, doctor,” Lowe began. “But this isn’t Omega, and SCP-2006 isn’t Abel. He’s not going to fly off the handle and kill everyone. In fact, I think he’s proven that is the furthest thought from his mind. We can ask him if you like.” SCP-2006 was nearby, watching as the nearest MTF loaded the old man onto the truck.

She saw it out of the corner of her eye, and for a moment, she forgot that this uncanny beast was the same overeager Robot Monster fan she’d come to regard with friendliness. She waved to it. SCP-2006 turned its teeth-filled eyes towards her, and for the first time during her tenure with it, she didn’t have to fake her fear.

“Was I scary, Miss Jo?” SCP-2006’s usual jovial tone coming out of the bright, shining Adonis with a mouth where each of his eyes should have been sent a genuine shiver down her spine.

“Oh yes,” she said truthfully. “No one is as scary as you, 2006.”

“Is he going to turn back to Ro-Man anytime soon, Researcher Lowe?” Dr. Louef glanced at her out of the corner of his eye, his gaze still fixated on the eldritch horror in front of him.

“Why? Would you like me to?”

“Oh no, 2006,” Jo lied. “He’s afraid you’ll put on a more intimidating costume. There isn’t a man alive who doesn’t fear Ro-Man.”

“Really?” 2006 asked, and she nodded. In the space between blinks, it was back to its preferred gorilla suit and space helmet getup. “COWER BEFORE ME!”

“Please spare me, o great Ro-Man!” Researcher Lowe shrieked as she threw her hands over her head in a practiced, overdramatized fashion. Dr. Louef did not move. “Doctor, I know you’re trying to be brave, but it’s okay to admit you’re afraid of Ro-Man. Everyone is.”

“Yeah, doc,” 2006 said. “Aren’t you scared I’m going to eat your soul?”

Dr. Louef remembered himself and dropped to his knees in the most pitiful cower he could manage. “Oh please spare me, mighty Ro-Man! I’ll give you anything!”

“Relax, doc, it’s just me. I didn’t like that costume much anyway. Ro-Man is so much scarier.”

“Oh, SCP-2006,” Lowe said with feigned relief. “You changed out of that silly costume that wasn’t scary in the slightest. I’m so relieved. It made you look so ridiculous. Not good at all for the master of scaring.”

“That guy was pretty scared of it.” 2006 pointed a gorilla paw at SCP-106, who was being loaded into a containment van by an MTF and their solar weapons.

“What does he know about being scary?” Lowe asked, her lip curled up in a derisive snarl. “I bet he’s never seen a horror movie before. I bet he doesn’t even know who Roger Corman is.”

“Hah! What a fake scary guy! His rubber suit is really good though.”

“Did you not like him, SCP-2006?” Dr. Louef was standing, and the tension in his facial muscles had relaxed a bit.

“Of course not,” replied SCP-2006. “I mean, I guess some people thought he was scary, but he broke the biggest rule of scaring there is.”

“What is that, SCP-2006?” Dr. Louef had, Lowe noticed, returned rather quickly to his usual objective demeanor.

“He killed them, duh,” said 2006 with what little sarcasm it knew. “People have to be alive to scare them. You can’t scare dead people, doc.”

“Wait until Director Owings hears how scary you were,” Lowe said excitedly.

“Will he be scared knowing I was outside of containment?”

“Eh, maybe a little,” Lowe said with a defeated shrug. “But you know what would really terrify him? What would make him roll around in his bed at night before he wakes up in a cold sweat? If you went back into your containment cell.”

“Why is that?”

“What could possibly more terrifying than knowing the master of scaring is mere meters away at all times? At any moment, Director Owings could walk by your containment cell and look in on you, and you would be there in the shadows, waiting for the right moment.”

“And then I’d jump out at him and yell, BOO!” SCP-2006 threw its gorilla arms over its head and clattered the jaw of the skull in its astronaut helmet.

“I’m going to die of fright!” Dr. Louef screamed. He threw his arms in the air and locked his elbows, giving as much sincerity to his jazz hands as he could.

“And next year, I’ll show you a tradition we have. It’s called trick-r-treating. You go around to all the offices at Site 118, put on your best scary face, and say ‘Trick or Treat!’. Then if you’re scary enough, you get candy.”

“That sounds like the most fun I could ever have,” said SCP-2006 in the most sincere tone Jo Lowe had ever heard it use.

“I thought you’d say that,” she said with a grin. "I hope you're already planning for next year's fright fest. I can't wait to see what you come up with."

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