“No,” Major Jennings ordered, “Don’t go near that.”
I stopped, not being one to question, but I ached to know why. The box was covered in vines, surrounded by trees, as if it hadn’t been touched in a long time. If I were going to work at this Aberrant Storage Site (or ASS, as military personnel were inevitably going to dub it), shouldn’t I know what was going on?
I swallowed a bit of fear. “Who’s in charge of this, then?”
“No one,” Jennings answered. “There are reports from 1962 that say some men captured a thing – creature, artifact, it’s not clear – and started doing it’s bidding. Soldiers disappeared, guns were found in strange places, and inscrutable symbols were carved into the sides of the barracks.”
“So?” I asked.
“Eventually, the group of men in charge of the object started bleeding themselves and collecting it in a barrack bathtub. The Base Commander at the time was appalled and put them in prison, but they kept bleeding then used the blood to write strange words all over their cell walls. Orders meant nothing to them, food or friends didn’t either. He ended up having them executed out by the hangar, then burned the corpses off site. They sealed whatever it was in this lead-lined box, and standing orders have been to shoot anyone who gets too close.”
I hadn’t expected something like this. “So, how close do you think the brainwashed soldiers came to fulfilling the thing’s goal?”
Jennings shrugged. “Unclear. It’s even possible they succeeded.” He pulled something out of his pocket. “Werther’s Original?”
This was written for Crimson’s Creative Challenge #73. I saw this picture and just couldn’t resist.