Wrong Eve
rating: +23+x

The gunshot cracks through the sound of thrumming bass. The nerves of everyone in the apartment turn to ice, every action frozen like a universal pause button was pressed. Chetan's hand stops adjusting the volume dial on the speakers. Megan nearly drops the bowl of miscellaneous junk food, fingers just barely keeping a grip. Isabel holds the disc for the cheesefest that is Jason X inches above the DVD drive tray. Your conversation with me cuts short. John stays upstairs.

When everyone's nerves catch back up, you're the first one to whip your phone out of your pocket. Jumping up from the couch and pacing about the living room, you dial 911 in seconds. Buzz. Buzz. Buzz. The dial tone cuts off. Checking your connection, you see that you have no wifi and zero reception. Restarting the phone changes nothing.

You're about to swear from frustration when I clasp my hand over your mouth.

"Shut up," I whisper to you.

The sound of footsteps echo from the apartment building hallway. They are loud, heavy steps, the type someone would make if they wore boots of lead. It's jerky, irregular. It quickens then falters. Starts and. Stops. Sometimes doubling. Back on itself then repeating.

In thirty seconds the footsteps arrive at the opposite end of the hallway, accompanied by the quiet whine of the elevator doors opening. The doors close.

It's hard to imagine how we could return to normal after those events, but we do. We don't know why but we find ourselves all on that couch, chowing down on candy corn and chips, like the events before just slinked out of our collective thoughts. The bass turns off, the movie plays, you're laughing at how stupid the movie is, John stays upstairs. Everybody laughs even though there is only one frame of the movie, the words

STOP. IT ENTERED.

on an iris black background.

The gunshot cracks through the sound of slasher horror.

"The fuck is happening?" you say.

I try to tell you to be quiet but it's too late. The irregular footsteps slam down the hallway and. WHAM against the front door. Regular footsteps, flowing like rivers, enter from stage left, running near the door to the beat of their radio chatter. More guns fire and the irregular footsteps multiply. Everybody's attention turns from the movie to the front door (the text on the blackness shifts into

LET REGULAR IN.

while nobody watches).

You glance at me with that look. That look of being too curious for our own good. I sigh. You pull your crummy papier-mâché skeleton mask off your face and creep away from the living room, towards the front door. I step in front of you before you get there, dollar store Dracula costume momentarily blocking your view, and I put my eye over the peephole.

The gunshot cracks through the door and the back of my head pops like a water balloon.

"Fuck, we have another civilian casualty!" shouts a regular footstep owner. Assault rifles shriek.

You stand in disbelief at what happened. You can't accept that I was the one struck by the bullet that tore through the door, and you mentally blank out when noticing my blood and skull chunks coating your pants. Chetan's swearing, Megan and Isabel are hiding behind the kitchen counter, John stays upstairs. Instead of focusing on them or the body at your feet you look to the hole in the door. Through it you see liquid colors: armor blacks mixing with gunfire whites, blending with gunmetal grays and bullet grays and bullet hole reds spraying out in all directions.

"MUST LET REGULAR IN. YOU." the television says.

Before you can think about making a decision your hand has already reached the doorknob. You aren't the one to open it. The door bursts from its hinges and you are launched backwards, abruptly swerving in mid-air to avoid hitting the kitchen counter then crashing into the sofa.

A twisted figure steps from the hallway inside.

"WRONG LET IN. BACK."

Its body is like images of a hundred human skeletal structures, turned translucent and placed one on top of the other, each image changing to another before your mind can process the demented collage it witnesses. Its head is a sphere of erratically dancing jack-o'-lantern faces painted in impossible colors, staring into you at all angles. It. Steps jerkily and. Is sprinting at you but. Impossibly slowly.

You smell rotten flesh. I could've warned you about this.

"BACK."

You take a closer look. It isn't running impossibly slowly. The room is impossibly expanding. The living room is adding yards to its length, stretching the TV and couch and sprouting support pillars from the floor as it goes. You scramble down the couch's length and jump into the kitchen, scraping bits of myself off against the floorboards (how disrespectful of you).

Chetan grabs a stool and smashes the kitchen window apart. Glass shards shoot out into a void of darkness where the lights of Toronto should belong, bending into the shapes of pumpkins and cartoon witches. They hit a back "wall" of the dark and send ripples shaped like movie monsters through it. Chetan, Isabel, and Megan are transfixed by it. You scream at them to stop looking, pointing to the twisted figure. They scream at it as well.

It closes the. Gap. And wraps its arms around Chetan's neck multiplying in number to force through his neck vertebrae and CRUNCH his head against the windowsill and launch chunks of cranium out into the void Isabel charges with a kitchen knife her face caves in and in and in Megan runs for her life down the living room but you there is no exit the window wasn't one the apartment has none you John stays upstairs you

"YOU.YOU.YOU.YOU."

The knife isn't in her hands. It's. In. Yours. And you lodge it into its neck—

It dies. You and I feel like burdens have been lifted from our minds, from our world, letting existence flow free of irregularity (it was your fault it became that way in the first place).

The front door opens. Out of the swirling vortex of armor blacks and gunmetal grays steps agents wearing bloodied armor. One pulls off her helmet, taking long, deep breaths, while the other drags the corpse of his friend in, who had been rendered irregular by it. The living room shrinks to its normal size, its support pillars melding into a single impossible shape that's needles to your eyes when you look at it.

There are words the agents say:

SCP.

Number.

Type.

But their voices are flowing too smoothly, spilling from your head every time you try to understand what their radio chatter and blabbering means.

"Who are you?" Megan's disoriented, wavering back and forth in sync with how the walls seem to be drifting like waves. Her voice is slurred.

"Can you hear their voices?" asks the agent who removed her helmet.

"My girlfriend's head caved in. Who are you?"

"Can't," replies the one who inspects the holes on his dead friend. "Can you?"

"Negative."

"Who are you?"

"Shit, it must be bending this place far too much. We'll need to move quick."

And then the living room ceiling caves in. Megan's body crumples beneath the combined weight of dozens of tombstones, corpses, and party store skeleton models. The television cracks before it can get a last word out. Blood trickles.

I point out that this is your fault, too.

Black sludge spills from the holes in the ceiling, forming waterfalls between the tombstones that have a dozen purple and orange limbs claw out of them and thrust for your face. The room twists and flashes with the color of television static and you and the agents step backwards in a stride longer than humanly possible. The male agent fires at the sludge and more of the ceiling breaks off, plaster gnashing like teeth. John stays upstairs. It's annoying that they couldn't have done anything about that ceiling (is this all you care about?).

In a most useless manner, your only reaction is to run away even though the teeth and the room are dragging you in, skeleton models arranging into a red carpet leading to consumption. Bullets graze your ear. Your scream would be funny if it wasn't for the fact this may kill me too.

The agents are shouting at each other, though their voices still ripple like your surroundings do.

"YOYOUOYOUOYOUYYUYUYOU. YOU."

A hand grabs your back and you are

nothing

of

sky

a

into

far

thrown

and you hit the floor with a crunch, every bone breaking then unbreaking. I wish that could've killed you, but instead you are alive enough to look at the teeth while your iris grows into a broomstick-shaped plasma cannon. The arm sludge and ceiling incinerates in a single THWOOM of your gun. The male agent fumbles at a pouch on his armor, pulling out a grenade. He clicks a button on it. He throws. John writhes upstairs. It bounces along the floor and blinds you with an intense red flash.

The world feels fine again.

"Anchor won't last long so I'll say this quickly," the woman says. "Your friend is a—

Type.

"Err, he's a—

Type.

Invisible hands are pushing against the insides of your head, your brain feeling like it will burst at any moment.

"Fuck, this won't last as long as I hoped. Bottom line is that something's gotten ahold of your friend and is fucking things up. Can you tell us where they are?"

"…Who?" you ask.

"The one who had to go upstairs," I whisper into your ear.

"John?"

"If that's his name then yes, where the hell are they?"

I prod your leg, trying to jog your crummy memory.

Don't you remember?

John went upstairs because he had a panic attack.






John didn't go upstairs.

The apartment only has one floor.

"He's upstairs," you say.

Waves of pressure slam against your body and the grenade's light goes out. Cheap decorations of skeletons and ghosts slide along the walls and amass into a second doorframe next to that of the front door, plaster splitting apart while a chunk of wall swings out on hinges of meat. Behind it is a stairwell.

You slowly step towards the door.

"Stop," I whisper to you.

You aren't stopping.

"STOP!" I'm shouting into your ear now. You wince but you keep going.

Don't you get it?

This is where both of us are going to die. If you go up there, my remnants still neatly stuck to you, we will never escape. When I began to exist on the couch next to you I thought you were the smart one. The one who'd get out. But no. You got its attention. You got your friends killed.

You didn't even go to help John when horror festivities got to their nerves.

STOP.

I'm holding onto your leg, I'm pleading, you aren't listening, you aren't listening. Screaming and kicking my corpse off will change nothing. Neither will the bullet the woman shoots through what's left of my head, only spraying more of myself onto you. Kicking my head in is unnecessary and gratuitous.

You are a monster, you know that?

It's all you've ever been. It's going to get everyone in this city killed.

Luckily, I have experience with people like you. Chetan, Megan, and Isabel all had to put with you. We had to put up with you. You and the two agents are running into the stairwell, shouting, while We come together, out from the piles of tombstones and from the viscera on the floor and the kitchen counter, stretching our arms and breathing in the air. The male agent shuts the door but We stretch over and tear it from its hinges, making the frame bleed and scream.

The stairwell twists beneath your feet. Each step jumps between miles apart and distances with negative numbers in them, though you cross it all. At the top of the stairs is a room like the living room but with all the furniture sinking into the floor and the lights releasing the color black. It peels off the wall and approaches. You wish you had a gun then you have a gun, and all three of your fire. Its pumpkin gut brains dash along the wall.

We watch this happen. We scramble up there on legs of meat. The male agent is the first to call the alert, so we tear a chunk of flesh from his chest and bash him through another doorway into a dark closet space. You run for the door straight ahead and trip over a partially submerged lamp. The female agents primes a grenade.

Our bundle of limbs and nervous tissue grabs her, tugs, and she is

torn

from

head

to

toe

across

the

room

only leaving streaks of scarlet along the floor

and you feel like you mind is lunging itself from wall to wall in defiance of what it sees. We push you into that floor and it dyes your costume RED while Our breath corrodes it into sickly orange. I lean down, licking your face and reaching Our hands into your mouth, clawing past barricades of flesh to push into your

The deceased agent's grenade goes off. You remember the list of people invited to the party:

  1. You
  2. Chetan
  3. Megan
  4. John
  5. Isabel
  6. Not I

I am not here. We They melt into a rotten miasma, the stench creeping while their bodies extricate from each other's spinal tangles and musculature cages into a mud of gore. You scramble out, vomiting the last of your junk food, and you stumble through the room as it stretches into a hallway of vines and blood, towards the black door at its end. You reach the door, twisting its bone-white handle and throwing it open.

John stays at the room's rear.

Vortices of purple swirl at his head.

"TAKENTAKENTAKENTAKENHELP." says the television wired into his mouth.

And death surrounds him.

It is the spirit of the season. It is an amalgam of every costume and jack-o'-lantern face and candy, swirling in a barely human form shaped like a hole in the wall behind John. It is the size of an ocean and is deeper than the darkest well. It doesn't belong to this world. John tries to claw his head off even though every hand of his splinters into nothing. It bites harder into John's brain.

You don't stand a chance. The room drops into an abyss, floorboards becoming spikes that impale you a thousand times over. You bleed out of your body and keep reaching for John, skewering everything onto plastic-wrapped candy bayonets. John dips his hand into but you are ripped away in a burst of iridescent shadow. Existence is migraine-inducing and you are in the midst of a broken kaleidoscope of apartments and the dead. When the walls come into focus they are no longer walls, they are windows to the Toronto skyline. It smashes the glass panes with mindless ferocity but they don't give. John is swung into them, brain tissue dangling on marionette strings, and cracks form.

This is what I warned you about. It's looking through your own eyes at the world beyond the apartment building. You delivered us to It and it'll break out, you failure. You've delivered everyone to it. You complete and utter wretch of a—

Far away a red light flashes.

It was the last anchor he had on him.

Blood in the formation of an eight-fold fractal worms its way around him, expanding in complexity as he pokes the holes on his chest, douses them in scarlet, then draws additions onto the floor with his fingers. He shouldn't know this rite. If the Foundation realized that he did know, he'd have a hypodermic needle in his skin and amnestics in his veins, likely in seconds. He wouldn't blame them.

The last of the blood falls into place. He turns his radio on.

"This is Agent Legrand of MTF Upsilon-20, 'Hogtown Garrison.' Command, if you are reading this, fucking brace yourselves."

He switches off the radio, collapses along the closet wall, and goes limp.

Any second now it'll set off.

Any

second

now.

Unreality creeps back in and the ritual clicks into place. It and everything else freezes, like a universal pause button was hit.

The apartment around us explodes.

We're slammed through hell and back and back again and shot into a hundred glimmering afterlives above and ejected through the razor-thin gaps between worlds into the pitch black OUTSIDE.

This

is

where

we

decay

But you don't. John imprints enough of himself into your soul that your body, against all logic, survives the metaphysical maelstrom the OUTSIDE subjects to those who enter it. It vanishes. Everyone else becomes conceptual ash. You become Concept.

And you try to remember how you became the detritus of the cosmos.

And you reach into your head with newly grown limbs of stygian blue.

And you find that first moment

reaching into it

The gunshot cracks through the sound of thrumming—

it decays before you can even see what it looked like

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