Pandora
rating: 0+x
SCP-5000-1.jpg

She opened the box, and inside was…


SCP-5000-2-A-FINAL.jpg

Joshua pressed the fabric against his teeth; against his tongue. Every morning he’d boil the rag in hot water, dry it, and soak it in the fat of his breakfast. He’d chew on that cloth all day long, every minute of the day. The act was maddening; always chewing, never swallowing, but it kept him from a deeper madness.

Joshua packed up his camp and made his way down the silent highway; a nettle-grove of empty cars and twisted rebar. He gave each vehicle a quick glance as he passed, but he never slowed, and he never hoped. He knew better. Besides, he wasn’t here for prizes. He was using the highway for it's intended purpose; a quick route from here to there.

To the light in the window.

He’d seen it two days ago from across the city: a single glowing plane on the 24th floor of a high-rise, nestled deep in the forest of skyscrapers. His vision narrowed on it even now, dark as it was in the daylight. It was like a familiar face across a distant room. It called to him. It could mean… it might mean…

“Please!”

Joshua flinched and turned. He'd been staring at the window, and had forgotten his surroundings. He'd been spotted. They were coming for him now.

A figure came barreling out from between two trucks, tall and skeletal, running at him with hands outstretched.

“Please!” it screamed. "I need it! Please! I'm so-”

The gunshot rang out. It echoed across the whole, empty city. Birds would have taken wing, flying up from the nearby trees… but of course, neither had existed in a long, long time. Here and now, the thing took three more trembling steps, one hand still outstretched. Then, it collapsed.

Joshua didn't lower his gun. He knew there’d be consequences for the sound. He checked his blind spots. Sure enough, there were a half dozen more, watching him with their sunken eyes. Most stayed crouched, but one had come to stand in the center in the road. The way it looked at him… it was almost taunting Joshua for a repeat performance. Begging, maybe. It was impossible to tell; there was barely any face left to read. Joshua held his breath and waited for the coin-flip decision. Would they rush him, or…

No, they slunk away, one by one crawling over car hoods and through concrete rubble. The standing one stayed the longest, shrunken black eyes locked with Joshua until the last moment before slinking away.

Joshua exhaled. He walked forward and stood over his kill. One shot, through the neck. Clean. Lucky. They never had very much neck, just a thin chicken bone propping up the head. This one was no different, all hollow cheeks and browning teeth. Joshua worked the tip of his machete against the things ribs; the gangrenous, bone-flattened flesh was a thin as rice paper. No meat.

Useless.


It was late in the day before Joshua reached the high rise. Silently, he climbed the many flights of stairs, satchel held tight under his arm. It was light. Too light. He chewed roughly on the fabric in his mouth, dull and flavorless. It made his stomach churn, but he had to. He couldn’t end up like them. Nothing else was more important. He chewed so hard his gums began to bleed.

Room 2405.

The door wasn't locked; it wasn't even fully closed. As Joshua stepped inside, the apartment seemed like every other home he’d ever trespassed upon, all bare shelves and broken cabinets, full of grime and absence. Family photos and personal trinkets laid broken on the floor. No one had cared when things got bad.

A young man sat on the couch. He wore a filthy t-shirt and jeans, his black hair long and unkempt. His skin was sickly, but rounded, sitting over a bed of real fat, muscle and sinew.

He looked up as Joshua entered. They stared at each other in one long, empty moment before the young man turned back to a tiny, flickering screen on the coffee table.

Joshua approached the arm of the sofa, pulling the cloth out of his mouth, staring at the smartphone with a mix of surprise and awe. The cracked screen was alive with flowing light and motion. Joshua couldn't recall the last time he'd seen a lit screen, but then again, he hadn't really been looking.

“What are you watching?” Joshua asked.

“Demon Slayer.” the young man replied. His voice was dry and cracking, but still filled with youthful energy. “It's a kind of Japanese cartoon. It's really good. I was actually going to visit Japan, y’know, before this all happened. I had this whole show saved on my phone for the plane ride so… I figured I might as well finish it.”

Another moment passed.

“Looks cool.” Joshua finally said, then glancing around the room. “Do you have any-”

“Food?” the young man finished. “No. I ran out yesterday."

“Shame.” Joshua said. “You know they’ll see the light, right?”

“Huh?” the young man asked, looking away from the screen. The credits had begun to roll. A foreign, melancholy song played on the tiny speaker. “Ah… you mean the starving ones. Yeah, I figured they might. I don’t really care much anymore. I'm too tired. I'm tired of scavenging and being hungry all the damn time. I don't care if they find me… but hey, looks like you found me instead!”

He smiled. His teeth were yellow. His gums were pale pink. “Isn’t that lucky? It’s been a long time since I had anyone to talk to. So, tell me friend, what is your theory? Why don’t they die?”

Joshua didn’t reply.

“Everyone had a theory, you know, back in the early days; back when there was food. The internet was alive with speculation! How could it not be? This is like something out of a horror film! I mean, sure, they’re not quite zombies; they still think, and talk, and- well, they’re still human… I think. They're just starving people who don’t seem to die. Still pretty damn scary, huh?”

Joshua didn't reply.

“So! What do you think?” the man asked, head falling to one side. “Super virus? Alien mind control? Some kind of government experiment?”

After another long, painfully quiet moment, the man finally asked what should have been his first question. “Why are you here?”

Slowly, and without a hint of malice, Joshua raised his machete.

“Ah, of course.” the young man said, looking back at the coffee table, folding his hands in his lap.

“You’re hungry.”


a-rectangular-siculo-arabic-ivory-casket-sicily-1314th-c-1.jpg

SCP-5000.


Special Containment Procedures: Containment of SCP-5000 is no longer possible. An LK-Class “Agni Unbound” restructuring event has already occurred.

Description: SCP-5000 is a small chest composed of ivory, bronze, and stained wood. This chest was recovered from an archaeological dig-site beneath the ruins of Ancient Constantinople, sealed in a 6m2 cube of solid caementicium, or roman concrete. When touched, SCP-5000 instills an intense sensation of dread.

On January 1st, 2020, D-6106 was instructed to open SCP-5000, as to ascertain its contents.


Inside SCP-5000 was something everyone deserves.


A single handwritten note was also present inside SCP-5000, which read "SORRY! PLEASE TRY AGAIN!"


SCP-5000-1.jpg

She opened the box, and inside was…


SCP-5000-2-B-FINAL.jpg

Mary winced as she drove the needle into her arm, watching dark red liquid surge up through the barrel. For any self-respecting doctor, performing your own blood test was out of the question. Yet here Mary was, taking her own bone marrow sample. It was an already agonizing procedure, now made unacceptably dangerous. She didn’t have any choice. There was no one else left.

Mary set the sample into the centrifuge. She taped down a wad of cotton over the puncture, and rolled down her sleeve as she left the lab. Inside the airlock, she painstaking checked every seal and seam on her hazmat suit. The rubber-fabric friction on her skin made each of her 200 needle-marks screamed out in protest.

Somehow, the worst part of her day was yet to come.


“Mary. Mary, don’t- don’t walk away- DON’T WALK AWAY FROM ME MARY. I AM THE SITE DIRECTOR. I AM YOUR SUPERIOR. YOU WILL OPEN THIS DOOR MARY. OPEN. THIS. DOOR.”

Mary dropped a ration pack into the air-tight dropbox; a standard feature of every door in the Medical Isolation wing. She'd dispense, then disperse, ignoring the voices coming from each room.

“Dr. Madigan? Is that you? I can’t… I can’t hear so well now… I think my ear is-”

“Mary! Mary listen. Just open the door, alright? It's me! It's Samantha! We're friends- we worked together! I need to get to the lab. We can solve this! We can! Just- Mary? MARY! MARY PLEASE!”

“CLICK CLICK CLICK CLICK TAKE YOUR DAMN SHOES OFF ALWAYS CLICK CLICK CLICK-”

Mary made the rounds, making delivered from their ever dwindling supply. Every day there'd be less food, less medicine… but in cruel counterbalance, less patients. They'd been in lock down for three weeks now, and every day another room went silent in Site-19.

“Submarines… Submarines in the ceiling, dipping in and out… why am I sweating so much? It’s so cold in here…”

“My family, Mary! They’re out there! I know they’re alive, Mary. Just let me get to them. Just open the door, I promise I won't-”

“It won’t stay down Mary. The food won’t stay down. It comes up, and up, and up, AND EVERY CORNER IS FULL OF-”


“Mary?”

The softness of it caught her. She stopped, hands clutching at her lab coat. It was a voice she didn’t recognize, but then again, in a facility this large…

“It’s Mary, right? I heard some of the others shouting. Listen, it's okay. I understand. You’re trying to save lives. You’re doing the right thing.”

Mary didn’t reply… but she didn’t walk on, either.

“Mary” said the gentle voice. “I don’t think I’ve got much longer. I can’t feel… well, anything. I’m a doctor too, you know. I know the symptoms. My nerves are dying. It could be that I get to have that slow, sinking-into-a-warm-bath sort of death. I hope.”

“But Mary… I don’t want to die alone.”

Mary sucked air through her teeth. Hugging her own shoulders, she begun to walk away.

“I’m not asking you to open the door!” the voice shouted, loud enough to hear, but still so achingly kind. “I know you can’t, but could you… can you just open the viewing panel? Even if there's a glass plate in the way, I just want… I need to see another person's face before I die. Nothing else is more important…"

The voice trailed off. Mary swallowed. The sickly chorus babbled on from the many long, white, empty hallways. Though it took her a moment of resolve, Mary released the bolted latch at the center of the door. Carefully, she slid the panel up, exposing the sliver of plexiglass.

But it wasn’t there.

From the gouges in the metal, and the streaks of blood, the man inside must have pried it free, painstakingly, with his own broken nails and teeth and-

An arm shot out of the opening. The skin was jet-black necrotic, peeling, and sickly thin… but not as thin as the slot itself. Whatever flesh and muscle didn’t fit tore against the jagged metal, leaving bare, rotting muscle and naked bone.

“YOU DID THIS” the voice cried, clawing out with it’s mangled limb. “YOU DID THIS TO US YOU FUCKING B-”

Mary was already running.


"It's not their fault" Mary said, working away frantically, swapping microscope slides like a bored teenager changing television channels. "They're sick, and desperate, and they don't know any more about this than I do."

Mary had set up her lab in the sub-basement. Specifically, she had moved every piece of equipment she'd needed from the medical lab, by hand, down five flights of stairs. She didn't do this for sanitary reasons, and it wasn't to get away from the constant wails of her colleagues-now-patients.

She moved down here to be closer to him. He was her only anchor now.

"I tried to explain it to them!" she said, gesturing wildly at nothing. "They should understand; they're doctors! Oh, no, no. Of course not." she corrected herself, working frantically as she spoke. "They're sick. They won't understand. They're sick. It's in their brains, of course. Of course they don't understand… only you understand."

"You've always known, haven't you?" Mary said, looking back over her shoulder. "Out of all of us, you were the only one who really saw it. You saw- no, that's not true. We all knew, deep down."

Mary's voice and hands began to slow. "We just chose not to see it, but It's always been there. The box let us see. The box… the box showed us the truth…"

Mary stopped. She turned from her work. With one hand outstretched, she walked towards the containment vault, pressing her fingers up against the cold, vault-like door. It had a viewing window too, like all the rest. Slowly, almost lovingly, Mary opened the latch and peered inside.

Staring back at her was a man in a dark hood, his face obscured by a long, silvery-white mask.

"I'm so sorry we didn't believe you…"

Mary reached for the latch, and at last she saw her own arm as it was: a patchwork of boils and blisters, rashes and festering decay. Her hazmat suit was full of holes. The rooms of Site-19 had been silent for weeks now; she'd been handing out bags of rot, and playing with empty petri dishes.

She was sick.

She'd always been sick.

She opened the door, and waited to be cured.


a-rectangular-siculo-arabic-ivory-casket-sicily-1314th-c-1.jpg

SCP-5000.


Special Containment Procedures: Containment of SCP-5000 is no longer possible. An GH-Class "Colorless Plague" end-of-humanity event has already entered Stage 3, and is considered irreversible.

Description: SCP-5000 is a small chest composed of ivory, bronze, and stained wood. This chest was recovered from an archaeological dig-site beneath the ruins of Ancient Constantinople, sealed in a 6m2 cube of solid caementicium, or roman concrete. When touched, SCP-5000 instills an intense sensation of dread.

On January 1st, 2020, D-6106 was instructed to open SCP-5000, as to ascertain its contents.


Inside SCP-5000 was something no one deserves.


A single handwritten note was also present inside SCP-5000, which read "SORRY! PLEASE TRY AGAIN!"



SCP-5000-1.jpg

She opened the box, and inside was…


SCP-5000-2-C-FINAL.jpg

“Otto?”

“Yeah Gil?”

“What do you think is in the box?”

Gilbert and Otto lay prone in the trenches of the Saxony front line. Though the rain only began six days ago, It had been six months since they’d seen sunlight. The two soldiers lay on a bed of wet muck, aching muscles, and soon-to-be gangrene. It was hard to care, given they weren't likely to live much longer anyway.

Still, Otto periodically wiped the grime off the patch on his sleeve. It was a point of pride. True, these two would never earn any more stripes. No one was giving gorgets or epaulettes to the canon fodder. Still, that little sigil said “GOI”, and damn it, that meant something.

“That’s insubordination.” Otto replied, chin kissing the mud as he spoke. “That’s asking ‘why’ and asking ‘why’ is grounds for a fucking bullet, Gil.”

“Yeah but-” Gilbert began, but Otto cut him off with a glance. He wore an unmistakable expression. Otto chose his next words much more carefully.

“I know why, sir.” he began again. “I know we can’t let them keep it-”

“And why is that, private?” Otto said, turning back to the horizon.

“Because if we don’t, they’ll kill us all. Because everyone wants it, so it must be important. It’s too valuable for them to have. It’s rightfully ours, and they stole it.” Gilbert said.

“All true” Otto said. “But you’ve forgotten the most important reason.”

Gilbert wanted to ask “what”, but back in Basic he'd learned that certain words were considered talk-back.

“We’re doing this because we’re under orders.” Otto said. “They say jump, we say how high. They say run, we say into which bullet. And if they say the fate of the world depends on getting that box, and that my mama and sweet little sister are going to be ash-piles if we don’t? Then you and I are going to grab our guns and do our god damned part. Understood?”

“Understood.” Gilbert said, speaking without hesitation. He’d learned when to do that too.


“I heard” Otto said, breaking two hours of silence. “The Foundation has clones.”

Gilbert had almost fallen asleep, laying atop his own arms. He perked up. “Clones?”

“Yeah.” Otto nodded. “Flesh golems. They’ve been using them against the Russians. I heard they have a facility somewhere across the pond that can make them ten-thousand at a time.”

“No way.” Otto said with a small smile. Gilbert was finally bored enough for chit-chat. Otto played it cool, trying to reel him in for more casual discussion. “Ten thousand?”

“Yep, and I believe it too.” Otto stared down the barrel of his gun, pointed at a dark, empty horizon. “These bastards have been playing God since day one; so why not? All their ‘containment’ bullshit has always been a smokescreen, and now we’re finally seeing the fruits of their perversions. We’ve got razor-butterflies cutting our throats in Brussels. We’ve got dumpty-dumpty looking freaks eating half of the British Isles. Hell, I’ve heard there’s brainwashed Type Greens tearing up the Eastern Seaboard, ripping it apart like a kid with construction paper!”

“I heard” Gilbert said, happily following along. “They’ve got a statue that-”

“You’re not hearing me.” Otto said, cutting him off again. There was nothing friendly in his voice anymore. “You and I are going over that hill soon, Gil. I can feel it. I’m trying to tell you that, hypothetically, I might have heard a few reports I wasn't supposed to, back when I worked the radios in Bourgogn; back before we lost Coms.”

Gilbert didn’t say a damn word. He glanced up briefly, watching the strange, static-caked clouds roll by. Six months since they’d seen sunlight. Six months since that sickly purple smog rolled over the world, snuffing out every bit of electricity and silencing every signal. No one could get so much as a damn telegraph to work anymore. No one but the Foundation.

“It’s not just the occult shit, Gil.” Otto continued, a softness slipping into his tone. It was something Gil hadn’t ever heard from his Lieutenant, but it was all too familiar. He was afraid.

“They broke the Geneva Protocol on day one. No reason why not. All the freaky-deaky shit in the world doesn't even compare to the shit we humans have dreamed up. They just had to flip a switch and…"

“And… what?” Otto asked. He didn’t care about talk-back anymore. His stomach was a solid knot.

“We don’t even know if they used nukes, or bio-weapons, or toxic chemicals or what but… the last I'd heard, they calling it a 'response'. They said it was an act of defense, a 'victory'."

Otto rubbed the bridge of his nose. "Three billion people, at least. The States, Canada, Mexico, and most of South America."

Otto starred, blankly. There was a block of ice beneath his ribs. His fingers trembled against the grip of his gun.

Gilbert let the moment pass, looking back down his rifle sights at nothing. “We've gotta get that box, Gil. It doesn’t matter what’s inside; all that matters is that they killed 3 billion people for it. It's obvious; no one should have it but us. If someone else swipes it from those SCP bastards before we do, some government or other occult defense group, well, then they’re our enemy too.”

Gil nodded. He steadied. Deep down, he knew it too. Looking out across the horizon, the trace-outline of a building came into focus. A bunker, packed with untold, horrid invention. He knew a bullet would be more kind, compared to what guarded that site. He didn’t care. He was resolute again. The feeling came washing over him, exactly as it had eight months ago. It was the feeling everyone on Earth had experienced; a shared and simultaneous truth.

There was a box. Someone had opened it. No matter where it went, everyone knew. Whatever was inside… nothing else was more important.


“Hey!” came a voice from behind them, speaking in a loud whisper.

Gil and Otto spun around. Behind them, a young woman came crawling on her belly, dressed in the same dark, plated armor. “You two, I’ve got-”

“Codes.” Otto said. He’d spun his rifle around as well, and it was pointed directly at the woman’s head.

“Victor Zulu One-One-Five-Seven-Nine.” she said, rattling it off quickly, not seeming to care about the barrel between her eyes. “I’ve got orders. We think we’ve spotted an opening on the western flank. It’s just a pile of sand and some woman with a black spot on her face. Command is sending in a platoon, and you’re in it.”

Without question, the two men crawled out of the trench. Two hours later, there was nothing left of them to bury.


a-rectangular-siculo-arabic-ivory-casket-sicily-1314th-c-1.jpg

SCP-5000.


Special Containment Procedures: Containment of SCP-5000 is now the primary mission of the SCP Foundation.

Safeguarding, and maintaining possession of SCP-5000 will overwrite all previous edicts, priorities, or assignments. Proposals from all staff members on how to weaponize existing assets, anomalous or otherwise, are encouraged by the O5 council.

We all know what must be done.

Description: SCP-5000 is a small chest composed of ivory, bronze, and stained wood. This chest was recovered from an archaeological dig-site beneath the ruins of Ancient Constantinople, sealed in a 6m2 cube of solid caementicium, or roman concrete. When touched, SCP-5000 instills an intense sensation of dread.

On January 1st, 2020, D-6106 was instructed to open SCP-5000, as to ascertain its contents.

block contents

Inside SCP-5000 was something only we deserve.


A single handwritten note was also present inside SCP-5000, which read "SORRY! PLEASE TRY AGAIN!"



SCP-5000-1.jpg

She opened the box, and inside was…


SCP-5000-2-D-FINAL.jpg

















a-rectangular-siculo-arabic-ivory-casket-sicily-1314th-c-1.jpg

SCP-5000.


Special Containment Procedures: SCP-5000 is currently held in the Site-19 acquisitions vault. SCP-5000 will be re-located once testing is complete, and proper containment protocols are established.

Description: SCP-5000 is a small chest composed of ivory, bronze, and stained wood. This chest was recovered from an archaeological dig-site beneath the ruins of Ancient Constantinople, sealed in a 6m2 cube of solid caementicium, or roman concrete. When touched, SCP-5000 instills an intense sensation of dread.

On January 1st, 2020, D-6106 was instructed to open SCP-5000, as to ascertain its contents.

Inside SCP-5000 was |


















Far away, and perhaps by chance a man stepped out of a cave. Before long, he crawled inside a containment cell and bit down on the barrel of a gun. Nothing else was more important.

And though neither he, or anyone else in the world would ever see it, there was a single, hand-written note at the bottom of SCP-5000. It said "SORRY! PLEASE TRY AGAIN!"


SCP-5000-1.jpg

“D-6106?”

She blinked. Suddenly, D-6106 remembered where she was, and what she was doing.

“D-6106? Hello? You froze up on us for a second. What’s going on?”

The voice came from a box on the wall. The young woman knew it belonged to a man in a white lab coat, several rooms away, watching her on a closed-circuit video feed. She was alone in this room; a dimly lit concrete cube deep beneath god-knows-where.

She was reaching towards a small, ivory chest. There was a smudge beneath where her fingers hovered. Had she touched it? She couldn’t remember touching it…

“Yeah- uh, sorry” she said, dropping her hand, looking around until she found the camera. “I just… It was like-”

“A sense of looming dread?” the voice asked. “Like the last thing in the world you should do is open that box? We told you that might happen. Just ignore it.”

D-6106 turned back to look at the chest. Dread? Oh yes, she felt that; a heart-freezing, stomach churning level of dread. Yet underneath that feeling there was a kernel of hard, tangible truth…. she just couldn't seem to pin it down. It was like knowing you’ve forgotten something important; like leaving the stove on at home, or forgetting a deadline for a school project.

Deep down, D-6106 knew this feeling had a source. A reason. Like a dream after waking, the shape of it was rapidly slipping away, leaving her with only the after-echoes of adrenaline and fear. What was it? What had she seen? What had she-

“Reset the test.” said the voice, quieter, as if spoken to someone else. Then, it gained volume again. “D-6106, open SCP-5000.”

She put those thoughts aside, knowing full well what would happen if she didn’t comply. There was only one thing to do.


She opened the box, and inside was…


SCP-5000-2.jpg

“Huh.” she said, picking up a small slip of paper and reading it. “Good for me, I guess?”


a-rectangular-siculo-arabic-ivory-casket-sicily-1314th-c-1.jpg

SCP-5000.


Special Containment Procedures: SCP-5000 is currently held in the Site-19 acquisitions vault. SCP-5000 will be re-located and re-contained once testing is complete.

Description: SCP-5000 is a small chest composed of ivory, bronze, and stained wood. This chest was recovered from an archaeological dig-site beneath the ruins of Ancient Constantinople, sealed in a 6m2 cube of solid caementicium, or roman concrete. When touched, SCP-5000 instills an intense sensation of dread.

On January 1st, 2020, D-6106 was instructed to open SCP-5000, as to ascertain its contents. The only object present inside SCP-5000 was a handwritten note stating “You Win.”

No anomalous activity has been detected following this event. Closing, and re-opening SCP-5000 has produced no new information, or resumption of previously observed effects. As per protocol, SCP-5000 will be de-classified on October 17th, 2021.


They returned her to her cell. Six months later, having survived many far more harrowing encounters, D-6106 was amnestisized and returned to the world as Mona Willis.

Mona worked as a desk clerk for several months before returning to school, and becoming a certified accountant. Her coworkers and superiors discovered quickly that, for whatever reason, Mona had learned to handle stress like a hardened soldier. Fittingly, she rose up the ranks in no time.

There, in her office, she met a wonderful man. He was quiet, kind, and knew nothing of violence; the antithesis of her late, and long forgotten husband. They had two healthy, happy children, who soon enough had children of her own. In what felt like a blink, Mona had become an old woman; a grandmother, content and cared for in her golden years.

Though some nights, she had terrible dreams.


She would find herself atop a turbulent, inky black ocean, floating on the Earth itself in miniature. The little blue-green ball was barely larger than her own body, and she was in a constant panic, trying desperately to keep them both afloat.

In the distance, ivory spires peppered the horizon, like the needle-teeth of some great nameless horror. They seemed to stretch up past the atmosphere, their jagged peaks holding up a single, colossal blood-red moon.

It dominated the world above her, stretching to the utmost edges of the night sky. It’s surface was a crimson hellscape, boiling and cracking, second by second forming new vast continents to be sheared apart in molten blossoms.

A never-ending cataclysm.

Hard as she tried, she couldn’t close her eyes. She was forced to behold it all: the moon above, the towers beyond, or beneath, an ocean filled with new horrors every night.

Sometimes she saw the faces of those she loved, thin and howling, reaching out to her from the depths below. Sometimes there would be great beasts; otherworldly leviathans locked in an endless conflict that spilled foul, pungent blood into the waters around her. Sometimes the sea was full of leeches and freakish, quick-swimming creatures with thin, piercing metal scales, biting and cutting at her whenever she submerged.

Sometimes there was nothing. No waves, no light, no sound. Just endless, still black water. Somehow, those nights were the worst of all.

No matter how hard she struggled and paddled, the ocean would always swallow her up. The Earth she cradled would slip from her grasp, vanishing away into the darkness. Then, she would be weightless, breathless, and calm. For the briefest moment she would feel herself verging on something terrible and honest.

But then she’d be in a room, solid and dry. A concrete room, containing a small, ornate box.

She’d open the box, and inside was…


Then, she'd be awake.

After few minutes steadying her heartbeat and catching her breath, Mona would hobble to the bathroom to splash cold water on her face. Like the dreams, this was routine, and honestly didn't trouble her much.

Terrifying as they might be, Mona reasoned the dreams were likely just symbolic; a subconscious fear of an obvious, looming truth. After all, she was in her late 80’s now, and the doctors seemed to have new pills for her every check-up. She didn't care what was inside the box. Soon she'd be confronting a much greater mystery; maybe the greatest of them all.

So why fret? She had lived a good, long life. Mona paid her dreams no (waking) mind, and spent her final days in quiet comfort, surrounded by her family and friends.

After all, nothing else was more important.


Comments section:


If you are writing any book about the end of the world, what you are really writing about is what's worth saving about it.

- Justin Cronin


Image source: All three images of the casket are used with permission, and provided by Rob Michiels Auctions.

https://www.rm-auctions.com/en/winter-auction-2018/13395-a-rectangular-siculo-arabic-ivory-casket-sicily-13-14th-c

3.0 Unported CC BY 3.0 use of these images for use in this article, and for hosting on the SCP Foundation Website were given by Jeanne Raes via email. An email log has been provided to ProcyonLotorProcyonLotor, and been confirmed.

This is my take on the apocalypse, combining the Four Horsemen mythos, the Pandora's Box mythos, and a bit of Foundation lore sprinkled in. The obvious mystery is what's in the box? To those of you out there who just read that in the "Seven" Brat Pitt movie voice, bless you.

The second layer of mystery is the question posed throughout the article. What is most important when the world is ending? Like so many other 5000 entries, I leave the answer up to you.

This was a very late entry; the last two months have been incredibly busy for me, leaving very little time for writing. As such, I didn't have time to run this past the many excellent authors on this site I usually work with. To you, I'm sorry, and I can't wait to collaborate and critique again in the future.

To everyone else, I hope you enjoyed the read.

Backups:

5001
5004
5005
5055
5100


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