Untitled SCP-5700 Tale
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The wood creaked quietly as Graham leaned against the wall of the cabin, unsuccessfully trying to lull himself to sleep. Eric slept uneasily in the corner of the room with a bloodied, makeshift bandage around his arm. Immediately outside the front door, Harry sat tiredly but attentively, Glock in hand as he watched and felt the surrounding woods for signs of pursuit. It was midnight, and he the small candle in his lap did little to fend off the biting cold.

He turned his head as the door to the cabin quietly squeaked open and Graham slipped out.

"Can't sleep?"

Graham shook his head, plopped down beside him, and let out a deep sigh. "I just can't… I never thought that… "

Harry nodded.

"This is what it felt like all those years ago, isn't it?" Graham muttered. "The confusion, anxiety, dread. I kn-know I did the right thing, but…"

Harry shrugged. "I remember Eric and Sean were the most unstable after we had made the decision, you'll just have to take time to process things like they did." He looked over at Graham and patted him on the shoulder. "No one said it would be easy, but Eric and I have managed to stay out of the Foundation's reach so far.

Graham let out a shaky breath. "I have intel though, even Level 3 Clearance on a project or two, RAISA won't let someone like me just slip away that easily. My credentials are probably revoked by now anyway, and they'll've definitely upgraded our neutralization priority, and–" He stopped for a tense moment and let out a shaky sigh. "God, there's just that pit in my stomach, feels like I'm about to throw up."

Harry closed his eyes and creased his brow. "Sam, can you feel that tiny little groundhog sleeping in its burrow down at the bottom of the hill?"

"What?"

"Two hundred meters to your right. Sound asleep, just barely producing enough energy for me to feel. Do you know what that means?"

"Spring's coming early this year?"

Harry smirked. "It means that I'll be able to tell if anyone's coming for us. I know you've read my file, you know how many times Eric and I have managed to give your guys the slip."

Graham began relax a little. "If you say so. It still feels like I have to throw up, though.

"That'll go away soon enough, but if you really feel the urge, please aim away from me." Harry smiled. "So says I," he replied, a twinge of humor lingering in his voice. Graham smiled and even managed a chuckle.

The two of them sat together in the silence for a while. Harry looked up through the snow-laiden branches. It was cold but cloudless, and the brilliant band of the Milky Way stretched out across the heavens, just as vibrant as the night his story had first begun.

As the two found themselves finally drifting off, a loud bang and a flash of light from over the nearby ridge wrenched them out of their sleep. Harry and Graham bolted to attention and clamored back inside the cabin. Eric was already awake and had begun packing what little they had.

"What the hell, did they find us already? It's only been two days!" Graham exclaimed panickedly. Graham drew the blinds on the window facing the ridge and extinguished the candle on the table with a huff. As he knelt to help Eric pack, the man paused and shook his head, gesturing to Harry. Harry stood before the door with his eyes closed in a deep focus. Tapping in, he reached out and felt the woods around them.

"There's only two, one is still on the ridge, not moving; the other is approaching, due northeast… a hundred, no, eighty-five meters away and closing. Their pace seems… almost casual." Harry reported. He paused for a moment before gathering himself and drawing his gun, keeping it close to his side.

Graham immediately stood up in protest. "Harry, you're not going out there alone, we have no idea who or what that could be, and we can't run with Eric's arm in this state." Eric didn't speak, as usual, but nodded in agreement. "Let them come to us, we'll close them in, then deal with them."

Eric stepped back from the door but still held the gun tightly. "Fine. Sam, help me move the table against the door. Eric, get the blinds. We might have to take out a knee cap or two if this guy tries to let himself in.

They sat with baited breath, save for Harry who focused on the form moving closer and closer to the cabin. "Thirty meters… twenty-five meters… twenty meters," he whispered. Graham and Eric huddled behind him with their ears covered, dimly lit by the lone candle. They could now hear the figure's footfalls crunching on the frozen leaves outside. As Harry felt the figure reach the door, he rose from a crouch and aimed the gun. He felt it raise it's hand and…

…knock on the door.

"Sam, are you in there? I just want to talk," said a woman's voice. "Can you please open the door?"

Eric and Graham looked at each other perplexedly, but Harry did not waver. A knock came again. "Sam, come on, I'm not here to hurt you or anything, I just want to have a chat. Is Harry with you?"

The knob turned and the hinge creaked as the door cracked open and pushed against the table. Graham noticed a flash of blue lipstick through the crack. "Seriously, dude, I'm not even with the Fou–"

The woman's sentence was cut off with an ear-splitting bang as Harry fired a round through the door, followed a moment later by a wet thud on the ground outside. Harry nearly dropped the gun in recoil and grabbed his ringing ears. The other two sat wide-eyed. Graham scrambled to his feet and Harry shook off the ringing, gesturing for Graham to pause. "He– no, she– isn't moving, neither is the thing on the ridge."

Graham leaned towards the door and lifted the candle to the crack, letting its diminutive light seep through. A body lay still on the ground, the remains of its head hard to make out. Graham and Harry looked at each other for a moment before nodding, moving the table, and stepping outside to examine the corpse.

She was Asian, dressed in somewhat formal, now-bloodied attire. Graham drew breath sharply as his gaze moved to her face, half of which was now missing. Harry stood up straight and grimaced. "She seem like the Foundation-type to you, Sam?"

Graham shook his head. "No, and I seriously doubt they'd send someone out here after us dressed like this. I have no idea who she's with, to be honest."

Harry nodded. "Either way, we should start going. If there are any Foundation guys around, they sure as hell heard that gunshot. Whatever's on the ridge still hasn't moved, and I don't think it's a living thing, its energy is… different somehow."

Harry and Graham went back inside to help Eric, who had already resumed packing. As they had finished securing the last of their belongings, Graham perked up. "What's that sound?" he asked as he turned to Harry whose face had gone white, his gaze locked on something outside the door. Graham turned just in time to see the woman sit up and manually realign her jaw as the missing half of her face began to reappear. The sound of flesh pulling and rearranging finished as she wiped some blood off of her face and opened her eyes.

"Well, that's one way to say hello," she said, sounding more inconvenienced than upset.

"What the fuck," Graham exclaimed.

The woman rolled her eyes. "Come on, Sam don't act like you've never seen a regenerative anomaly before. I know the Jailers are holding at least three at Site-17, after all."

"Jailers?" Graham paused confusedly before realization struck. "Oh, are you shitting me?"

Harry eyed the woman uneasily as his hand inched closer to the gun. "Care to explain, Sam?"

The woman suddenly turned to Harry, face lit up in amazement. "Yount! So you did find Sam, after all. Oh?" Her attention turned to the interior of the cabin, where Eric sat, his form flickering as he unsuccessfully tried to hide himself.

"Oooooh, no way, Eric's still alive too?" The woman began to stand, the blood vessels in her neck finally retreating beneath a freshly-formed layer of skin. "The files said y–"

Harry raised his gun and fired another round this time aiming for her heart, which ejected a small shower of crimson on impact, making her stumble. She held the wound with clutched fingers, teeth gridded in pain, and looked at Harry. She drew her hand away from her chest and let a melted bullet fall from the wound.

"Excuse you," she exclaimed exasperatedly.

"Out-fucking-standing." Graham muttered. "Of all things, the damn Serpent's Hand is the first to show up."

"The Serpent's what?" Harry

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