Too Far From the Trap

During the August 14th abnormal influx of psyco-chip® data, the following cache was recovered concerning the Valhalla Project.

The psyco-chip® is suspected to belong to Witch 4303, reached the outer limits of the Area 44, before disappearing with out explanation during an engagement. This last observance was on April third, four months prior to the reception of this data. The cache is not long enough, nor is it technologically capable of containing four months worth of activity.

begin psyco-chip® cache

It was a long way out of the mountains. Getting this far, alive, and on my own was frankly a miracle. I was well out of the swamps by now, and walked across strange even green hills. They were just tall enough to block my view.

Beyond the crest of one of the hill I could see the level plains, fading into gray wastes. The pinkish sun was setting ahead of me against a gray white sky. Somewhere the wastes were still on fire.

I whipped around and saw four nightmares. I thought this far they would leave me alone. The lead one flared its red eye at me. I jumped over the crest of the hill. Grass sizzled and steamed. I flicked at my lighter. Once, twice, a light. I scrambled for a bomb as I stumbled back. There was no where to hide in this place.

The nightmare’s smokey head rose over the hill. I light the fuse and threw the bomb. My skin began to heat up. The grass began sizzled. The nightmare scattered in the combustive wind.

The three of its gathering were close on it’s heels, fiery gazes staring at me. My foot slid out on the charred grass. I crashed ass first through the cardboard ground. The surface of the hills scampered away.

The following 13 blocks of cache were full of undecipherable data consistent with high, random, background radiation, suggesting strong electromagnetic activity and reduced levels of consciousness.

I washed up on a beach beneath a black sky. The water was so clear I couldn’t tell where it began and ended. The sand was solid, and black, and had red and green lines tracing a grid on it. There was a quaint building a stone’s throw up the shore. Jaunty music slipped out from the brick walls. The front wore a faded awning, with green metal chairs below them, knelled before large display windows. Not knowing what else to do, I went inside.

The first thing to greet me was the jingle of a bell on the door. Second was the décor. A tent was set up between tables at the far side of the cafe. There was wood burning in the modified oven. Cups, plates, books, and all manor of trinkets were gathered along the counter. Lastly a person, shorter than I, wearing a stuffy, almost puffy, earth-toned suit, jumped up from the place they were lying on the counter, and yelled out to a band to hush, and came to me.

“Pleasant to see ya,” they said, “Can I get you some tea?”

“Sorry, but what the fuck is this?”

“Technically it’s still a coffee shop but we only have tea. Lemon mint or ginger?”

“How do I get out of here? How far are we from the mountains?”

They chuckled, “Well were helluva way from the mountains, look up on a telescope and you can see the bottom of them at the edge of render. Here, lemon mint. It’s good, organic too.”

“Did I die? Is this some set of cheap afterlife?”

“The cheapest there is.”

The tea was alright.

“So who was right?”

“Huh?”

“Like if this is the afterlife,”

“Oh, they’re all gone.”

“Gone?”

“Yep, Heaven is full, Valhalla is over, the Backrooms all mapped.”

“Aren’t there still like believers in the cities or something?”

“They certainly believe, but it never made sense to tell them time was up.”

“Awfully cruel don’t you think?”

“That’s what Hell was for.”

“No, I mean you.”

“Woah calm down man, I ain’t no god. Just a bloke stuck in a coffee shop”

“Oh, sorry”

“Its chill man, we all get hyped up sometimes.” There was a rumble from one of the back rooms. “excuse me a moment” They climbed over the counter and left out a door behind the coffee machines

I sat alone in the empty cafe. I looked over the three quarters drunk mugs left on the counter, at the band who was playing. The lead had a flat brimmed hat, and hair like an overgrown hedge bush. They looked at me and nodded. I waved back confused.

I stood up and began to walk towards the metal stage, when the person came back.

“Who are they? Are they stuck here too?”

“Oh, they died a long time ago” The hologram flickered as they waved their hand through it. “They made some kick ass music while they were alive though.”

“Okay, what is really going on here” They looked at me confused. “What is this place? Where the fuck is it? What the hell am I supposed to do?” The rumbling started again, but somewhere else this time.

“Well, uhm”

“Well what!”

There was a pattering of rain.

“Well I don’t know!”

The lights in the building flickered from back to front. The band choked and sputtered.

“I’ve been stuck here for as long as I can remember, and dead people keep coming and then disappearing.” They began to cry “Sometimes they’re from the city or the mountains. I don’t really think this is an afterlife, I think it’s some kind fucked out limbo, like we didn’t get pulled all the way. We were too far from the mountains, and whatever place we were supposed to go was too far, so we just fell, and fell, and fell until we couldn’t fall any farther, and then we fell some more.

The next 137 blocks of the cache are undecipherable. Suspected causes include transmission interference, chip degradation, or malicious tampering. The final 32 blocks are identical, suggesting electrical or digital failure.

end of psyco-chip® cache

REPORT SUMMERY

More than two individuals have escaped the effective area of the Valhalla Project. Observations suggest no individual has been able to return, and may be considered obliterated, however wireless psyco-chip® transmissions were able to be recovered from that location.

No immediate actions are recommended, however an advisory for containment of witches within the inner areas as well as further investigation is recommended.

Senior Naughts’ Special Operations Overseer Rakenthine

Special Operations Terrain Unit 08 Captain Dr. Candlehoff

Special Operations Terrain Unit 08 Dr. Anderin

Special Operations Terrain Unit 08 Dr. Mykart

Special Operations Terrain Unit 08 Dr. Apurtyux

The Garden

We all slept in DREAMLESS slumber

You’ve taken your footsteps, don’t take any more. We have plenty of benches so sit on the floor. Set down your regrets, let go of the hours. Hear with all of your scenes; Don’t listen to flowers.

You’ve entered the garden, just don’t eat the fruit, lest the eternal warden choke you with roots. We live in the shadows, you live here too. Don’t misbehave, tall grass is watching you. We have mandrakes and metals, flowers and seeds. Eat the fruit, become the god he never meant to be.

The grove is lased in ivy and nettles, setting blisters a fire and rashes a blaze. The tree is so tall and the thorns are so tight. Nothing more was ever made. And yet,

You came here upright, with toughened hide and clearer mind. Daughter, no fruit can free you from time. The Lurker at the Threshold will leave you lost, you’ll suffer more than I can tell. I know more, I know all, I am the only Yog-Sothoth, you are nothing , go to hell.

I ate the fruit and saw the skies. I saw the squid that hid behind. I cast it out with salt and root. Its maddening echos had gone mute.

Wall

I skulked towards the cinder block wall. There was a rustle inside, and then maybe a whisper. Even with all the noise here I was too loud.

I stood next to the wall. It had been so long since I had seen them. They wouldn’t recognize me. The younger, I couldn’t even recall their names now, would be scared. He would see me the same as a bear or a wolf, or something more frightening.

I had come all this way. I needed to see them. I needed to know their faces. As they got older their faces faded from my wounded brain.

Tent

“Hey.” Tompa whispered “there’s something outside.”

The continuous growls of the New Gods echoed across the dark mountains, but I could heat the low rumbles of something through the thin wall. It made heavy foot prints. It sounded big, easily large enough to break the wall.

“Hush,” I said “it will pass.”

We pressed our ears to the wall, and tried to hear through the existential growls and chirps. The thing outside seemed to do the same. There was faint sniffing.

“Onkai? I’m scared”

“It’ll be okay. It doesn’t know where here.”

Woods

I could smell them. Water shot over the cliffs above, crashed in this place, and scattered into the shadows below. Perhaps during the day you could see the bottom. They had been at these falls.

They still smelled like the day I left them, rosy young, dandelion dirty, but brave as hell. Their paths lead through thickets to narrow to me. Towards the noisy peaks.

At the top a concrete building stood. It stood not defiantly or strongly, but like a fallen tree. Something returning. There were filter stations set next to vines on the balconies. Trenches for rain water, and rows for plants. A fence to try and keep mutants like me out.

The boys sent was all over the place.

Work

Slow day today. No one came. I had the whole place to myself. I read a lot, I wasted a lot of time. I did clean the some but really didn’t do a whole lot.

Slow day today. A few people came today. Not a whole lot. I had time to clean but I didn’t. I feel so tired, sluggish. Like I’m between to glassy hills.

Slow day today. My shift is only a couple hours but it took up so much of my day. I’m stressed about what I haven’t done yet. Dead lines are coming.

Rush

I should have had a plan for when I got here. What am I going to tell the boys. Can I even talk with them? I’m not what they know anymore.

I should have built a stronger perimeter. Something big got in and its scaring Tompa now.

I should have dug the trash heap deeper. Onkai said the smells would get out.

I wish I started earlier. I should have known I wouldn’t be productive. I should keep pressing.