Saturday, 21 December 2013

The End

This is my last post.

The facility is dark. Eviscerated bodies lie face down in the deepening water, their insides gradually rising. In places, the water is no more than ankle deep. Elsewhere, I'd have to swim. I couldn't find where the water was coming from. It's saltwater.

I splashed my way to the map room. Bizarrely, the map is working. There's no power, and some of the components are submerged. Nevertheless, it flickers into life every so often. The Red is just touching the facility. The Yellow seems to be everywhere. I don't think many places will survive. The people at the Antarctic research station, maybe.

The lift I came up in was open, but the water in the corridor was waist deep, so I didn't bother going to look at it. The other lift is still closed. When I checked it, water was seeping through the crack between the doors.

The whole facility creaks and rocks like an ancient ship. I guess it won't be long before it collapses in on itself. Being crushed to death is a better way to go than the alternative.

I haven't dared look in a mirror. My skin, what's left of it, hangs from my stinging flesh in folds. Occasionally, I spit out a tooth. There are foxes in my room. From the wardrobe, I can hear them splashing and yelping. I wonder if they'd be there if I looked out. I can barely see to type these words. I'd have thought the air would be getting thin, but I can feel a sea breeze blowing onto me.

I passed out.

There's something out there.

It shines like the sun.

Friday, 20 December 2013


I'm in hiding.

Last night, I heard a huge crash. I'd been waiting for it. I knew that whatever had been coming up the lift shaft had made it onto our floor. I grabbed the bottle I'd left by the bed and squirted bleach all over the door, walls, and floor of my room. Then I jammed myself into the wardrobe, where I'd left a bag of supplies. My only hope is that the things from below hunt by smell, and that the bleach confuses them. I didn't know what else to do.

I waited there, shivering in the wardrobe, my mind conjuring up terrible images. I heard thumps and bangs, but no screams. It died down for hours; my guess is that the creatures still go dormant in the day. They haven't come back yet. If they don't return by tomorrow, I'm going to try and go out and see what's happened. Maybe they'll have done some damage that might help me escape. Though that seems almost impossible now.

My sickness has passed, replaced by a dull, gnawing pain that fills my whole body. I drift off into vivid fantasies that last hours at a time. Hiding here, all I can see of my body are the backs of my hands. They look like old mince. I think I'm done for.

Thursday, 19 December 2013


Whatever is coming up through the lift shaft is getting closer. I stood by the doors for a few minutes, listening. I was spooked, and ran around the corridors looking for a way out. There isn't one. Nothing works; not the lift, not the doors. There aren't any stairs. I'm going to die here.

I went back to the lab. I thought I might be able to convince the others to help me. They all look as bad as I feel. A few of them have open sores. One man has a growth on his nose. None of them were interested in escaping. I don't think they believe they'll be rescued. I think they've given up. At least they got the map working.

It worked intermittently, flashing up data that made me want to cry. The Red Zone is almost touching the facility. The outer edge of the Yellow brushes against Moscow. The Green is covering New York and London. I hope we're caught in a bubble, that the map isn't showing the truth. But I don't believe it. I think the world as I knew it is gone, and the only mercy is that I won't live to see it. Maybe humanity will survive. Maybe not.

My hair has fallen out. The sores on my scalp are weeping.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013


I made another pointless circuit of the corridors. There's nowhere to go and no way out. I went to the toilet to throw up, and I thought I saw a snake disappearing down the pipe when I lifted the lid. I didn't, of course. There aren't any snakes here. It doesn't stop me catching glimpses of them.

I went back to my old lab. The scientists there were working to fix the map. They're like the band playing as the Titanic sank. At least music has intrinsic value.

I helped them twist in a few bulbs and replace a circuit board in the control panel. The map is a mixture of comprehensible parts and some black boxes they were told not to tamper with. I know why, and I said they shouldn't open them now, as it wouldn't help make the map work. We concentrated on the parts we could fix, and on routing as much power through the map as we could. They let me flip the switch.

The map went bang. Before it did, it lit up. It showed that The Sick Land had expanded enormously. The facility was now in the Yellow, and the Green stretched halfway into the nearest city. They shook their heads and started changing the burned-out components. They told me it couldn't have been working properly. I'm not so sure. The Yellow seems about right.

There was a fox in my room when I got back. I saw the white tip of its tail disappear as I opened the door. I couldn't find it, though. I spent an hour throwing up blood.

When I changed to go to bed, I noticed the skin above my left leg was starting to slough away.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013


I couldn't find a way out.

I checked every door, and even took the front panel off of the lift. Nothing worked. There are no stairs I can access from the parts of the facility that aren't sealed off. I might be able to get through one of the sealed doors with some heavy-duty equipment, but it would take hours, and I'm so tired.

My bones ache. I haven't been able to keep food down for days. All I can do is sip water. I want nothing more than to lie down and go to sleep, but I can't. I just stare at the ceiling all night. I feel like I'm falling apart. Today, as I walked through the corridors, I felt like something was following me. It was always just out of sight, but I could hear it breathing as if it were right behind me. I spun, and realised it was my own breath. I sound like I've climbed a mountain.

I went back to the secure lift, the one I came up in. It's not working now, and I know how lucky I was to be able to use it. I can hear thumping and scraping through the doors. I can't tell how far away it is or what's causing it. I'm not even sure I'm really hearing it. I think it's the creatures. I think they're coming for me.

I need to find a way out, but I feel like I'm running out of time. Staring at this screen is making my head spin.

I've just come back from the bathroom. I vomited. There was blood in it.

Monday, 16 December 2013


The power went out entirely, emergency lights and all. I was vomiting at the time, and had to find my way from the bathroom back to my room to get my torch. As I walked in the dark, my stomach clenching and sweat dripping from my face, I kept hearing things skittering around me. Small, malevolent things. The walk seemed to take days; when I switched on my torch, there was nothing there.

I went to find some of the other scientists. They were huddled together in one of the corridors, gathering all the tools they could find and planning a trip to fix the generator. I felt terrible, but I wanted to see what sort of state it was in. I went with them.

The main generator doesn't look like it'll ever work again. As far as I could tell it was entirely dead. The backup generator is more primitive; we topped up the diesel and cleaned it out. It started. It coughed and spluttered, but it started. The emergency lights came back on and everyone cheered. Except me.

The lifts won't work on emergency power. Lots of the doors will stay sealed. I tried to raise the issue of whether we could get the lifts working, but the others didn't care. They think we just need to wait and someone will come to get us. I'm under no such delusion. Though I'm shaking, exhausted, and nauseated, I'm going to do whatever I can to get out.

Sunday, 15 December 2013


Last night I dreamt.

I was standing on an empty plain under a starless night sky. A huge moon filled one side of the horizon; it wasn't the moon, though, as I could look closely and see the people, and cars, and buildings on its surface. The ground beneath my feet was sandstone, or at least, how I think sandstone would look.

Behind me, on the opposite side from the moon, was something gigantic and dead. Though the rest of the plain was brightly lit, and my eyes were keen, I couldn't make out any details of the vast corpse. I was afraid of it, so I turned back. The space in front of me now held a smaller corpse, back lit by the strange moon.

It was Bob. A fox stood on his body and stared at me calmly. Bob was dead. But then, he'd been dead for months now. I don't know why it surprised me so much. The fox growled, but I knew it wasn't growling at me. I turned.

The dark, dead shape began to twist and writhe. I blinked, and my perspective changed. The thing in front of me was no bigger than a man. I still couldn't see the body in any detail, but I could see the snake coiled on top. It slithered over to me and wrapped itself around my leg. The fox padded toward me.

As one, the animals sank their teeth into me. I knew it was coming. I stared at the moon as pain blossomed. They pulled me down.

I woke up shaking. I feel too weak to get out of bed. Maybe tomorrow.

Saturday, 14 December 2013


Rather than spend today wandering around looking for a flight of stairs that may or may not exist, I visited every scientist I could find. None of them, not a single one, knew of any stairs. I'm starting to think I'll be trapped down here until the lift is working again. Maybe I ought to find something explosive and blast it open. It seemed to work for the other lift.

Most of the scientists I spoke to were desperately trying to get their equipment to work. The lack of power isn't the main problem; most of the strange-looking stuff draws its power from alternative sources. The problem is that nothing works anymore. Or at least, it works sometimes, but those intervals seem random.

I watched one scientist tinkering with a device that looked like a piano with a brass satellite dish on either end. He hit some keys on the front and the dishes began to rotate. He gave a little cheer, but they stopped almost immediately. Frustrated, he grabbed a screwdriver and opened a side panel. I could see right into the device. Thousands of metal ball bearings rolled out onto the floor, leaving the device an empty wooden shell. The man fell to his knees, his face empty.

I'm going to get a team together and see if we can get the generator working. If it's a lost cause, I'll have to think of some other way to escape. It's painfully clear that the facility is breaking down.

Friday, 13 December 2013


I wandered around today, trying to find some way to get out of here.

The power is intermittent. The lift to the floor above isn't working, or at least, it was never working when I tried it. Every time the power came back, I'd jog over to the lift to check, but I could never get it to work. Maybe it needs a sustained period of power to reset its systems. Or maybe it just doesn't work anymore.

Some of the doors are sealed shut, too. I'd have thought the default position would be for them to open in the event of a disaster, but apparently not. Some of them unseal when the power is on, but not all of them. I got caught behind one for two hours when the power cut out. I have to be more careful.

There must be stairs somewhere, but they aren't marked on the maps, and no one I've asked has known how to find them. Exploring is risky, but I can't see a way to get up in the lift unless I can get it to work.

I'm worried that the lift doesn't work for the same reason the power isn't working properly: the mal is no longer being held back, and the technology here is breaking down. If I'm right, I'll have to find those stairs. They must be here somewhere. I hope.

Thursday, 12 December 2013


The power came back.

The main lights were flickering all morning; by mid-afternoon, they were back to normal. The control panel on the lift was lit up, and I pressed the button. The lift came down, the doors opened, and I went up.

The corridor at the top was empty, but I didn't see any other evidence that anything had happened. I walked through a few corridors, and eventually I found some people.

A group of scientists were in one of the conference rooms. I walked in, and nobody took any notice of me. They were discussing the power failure, and what to do in future to ensure that the backup generator and the main generator never went out at the same time. I coughed to get their attention, and asked if anyone had heard from their superiors about the rest of the facility. They took it as a joke and laughed at the very idea that they'd know about what was happening elsewhere. Then they went back to talking about the generators. I slipped out and went to my old room. It was unoccupied, so I took it back.

What happened below hasn't affected the people up here yet, but it can only be a matter of time before they realise something's wrong. I need to get out of here before anything else happens.

The power's gone again. Getting out of here won't be easy.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013


They're all gone. Everybody's gone.

I climbed the recessed ladder up the lift shaft. I climbed in complete darkness; sometimes the ladder would be slick with fluid. After what seemed like hours, a dim glow appeared above me, and I climbed toward it. I pulled myself out of the lift shaft and into the corridor.

The corridor was lit only by the flickering emergency lights. The doors to the lift shaft were jammed half-open, and dark liquid puddled around them. I couldn't see anybody. There was blood and debris everywhere, but no bodies.

I explored. The whole floor was deserted, the scientists gone and the holding cells empty. Parts of the floor were dark, or lit only intermittently. The bodies might have been in one of those dark areas; there was no way I was going to check, though. They felt wrong. Twice while I was exploring, the main lights flickered on with a burst of sound from the equipment nearby. Both times, the lights went straight back out again.

The last thing I checked was the lift to the level above. If that lift were destroyed, maybe the whole facility had been taken down. I turned the corner and saw the lift. The doors were intact and closed. The control panel was dark. I walked up to it and hit a few buttons. Nothing happened.

I found a utility cupboard and hid. When the power comes back, I'll go up in the lift and see what happens.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013


The noise died down last night. The tunnels were silent by morning, so I crept out of my hiding place. I'd spent days wandering through this maze before, but getting out was easier than getting in; I just followed the stench of decay. I walked for hours. I found bloodstains and gore, but no bodies or equipment.

I got to the lift in the end. I must have been going in circles before. The area surrounding the lift stank of smoke. The lift doors were on the ground in front of the lift, mangled and blackened. The lift itself had buckled. I leaned in and looked up; the ceiling panels had been ripped out, and the shaft was visible above me. I couldn't see how high it went.

I got into the lift, my heart racing when the floor shifted under my weight. I pulled myself up into the shaft. The cables that moved the lift were severed; I could see the ends dangling limply above me. I shone the light of my spare torch around. A recessed ladder was built into one wall. I shone the light up the ladder. The first bloodstain was only ten feet above me. It looked almost like a hand print.

I lowered myself back down and went to find a hiding place. I'll climb the ladder tomorrow, when there's less risk of one of those things appearing above me or below me. I'm not going to speculate about what I might find up there.

Monday, 9 December 2013


I've stayed hidden in the alcove. It's too dangerous to go out. I can hear gunfire, and screaming, and the rasping howls of the creatures.

The mayhem started shortly after I made it back into hiding. I heard the creatures screaming and running. After about half an hour, it went silent. I thought maybe it was over, maybe the creatures had all killed themselves. It wasn't that. A huge explosion echoed through the tunnels, making my ears ring.

The gunfire and the human screams started after that. I curled up in my hiding place. I kept expecting to hear boots, to see the barrel of a rifle come around the corner. I didn't know what would happen then. They could just as easily kill me as save me. But no one came, so I never found out.

The noise has been dying down, as if the battle, or whatever it is, is moving away from me. I guess I'll soon know what's happened, one way or another. I'll stay here tonight, at least. Tomorrow, if it's quiet, I'll go out and see what I can find.

I haven't heard any more from the thing in the lake. I hope I never hear or see it again.

Sunday, 8 December 2013


I hope what I write here makes sense. It's almost impossible to concentrate after what happened.

I forced myself to go back to the underground lake. I had to see what was out on that spit of rock. I passed the ashes of the fire. The bowl was gone. I walked along the spit, shining my torch on the slippery surface. I was terrified of plunging into the dark water. When I was close to the end of the spit, I could see what was there.

It was a wrinkled bag of flesh about twice the size of a basketball. I knew what it was; it had the remnants of a face. The bowl the creatures had used was underneath, collecting the blood that dripped continuously from the thin slits I knew were eyes. My stomach turned. A voice echoed through my head, one I recognised from my dreams of the tundra. The old woman's voice. She told me to kill her. I had nothing with me. I closed my eyes and used my foot.

The water began to bubble and the spit began to shake. I realised what was happening and ran. I didn't make it. The huge thing in the lake smashed into the spit and the rock exploded, sending me spinning into the dark, freezing water. My chest clenched. I swam blind in the direction I thought would lead me out of the lake. It did. I climbed out and ran to my alcove. The huge thing bellowed behind me, and as I hid myself away, I heard the skittering sounds of the creatures running, dragged out of their slumber.

I won't sleep tonight.

Saturday, 7 December 2013


I found a cave surrounding an underground lake. A narrow spit of rock jagged out over the lake and disappeared into the gloom. I wanted to investigate further, but it was getting close to the time the creatures normally appeared, and I felt exposed in the vast space. I found an alcove where I could hide and still be able to see the cave if I leaned out.

I'd dozed off, but was woken by the sound of chanting. It was the same sound I'd heard before, but now it was close. I leaned my head out of the alcove. Dozens of creatures stood around a fire near the lake, chanting in their horrible, rasping voices. One of them was walking slowly down the spit of rock, back toward the others. It was carrying something. It put it down next to the fire: it was a bowl containing a small amount of dark liquid. The creatures came to the bowl, one after another, and bowed to it, before taking a small sip. The chanting grew louder as each creature went to the bowl. When the final creature drank, the lake began to bubble. It felt like the whole cave was vibrating.

Something huge rose from the water, and my heart shot up to my throat before sinking down to hit my feet. I ran. I ran blindly, without thinking, directly away from the cave. I was lucky. I didn't run into any of the creatures. When I'd calmed down, I found a place to hide.

Nothing that big should be alive.

Friday, 6 December 2013


I can hear chanting. It sounds far off, and I've started walking toward the sound. In these black, endless tunnels, it's impossible to tell whether what I hear is miles away or around the next corner. All I can do is walk, and brood on the sickening certainty that has buried itself in my head: the creatures down here make the facility's equipment.

I've been telling myself it's insane, that there are other explanations, but nothing I try works. I think the things down here make all of the equipment for the facility. I think that's why nobody above understands how anything works, and why no two devices look even remotely similar. They haven't discovered some secret technological method to control the mal. They haven't discovered how to make technology work in The Sick Land. They've discovered nothing but another quirk they don't understand. Who knows if any of the results they have are accurate? The machines look like they work, but maybe they don't do what the researchers think they do. It's utterly clear to me now that the only true research happening here happens on the level above; they obviously have no ideas on how to hold back The Sick Land. They just want to make sure that humans are changed enough to survive when it comes. The rest of the facility is a sham. It's probably only there to provide research subjects.

As I type this, I'm looking at my laptop and wondering if it was built down here. I think it was. I think if I opened it up, random parts would pour out, and I'd see that nothing in there was connected up. I'm not going to do that. This is all I have.

Thursday, 5 December 2013


I continued through the tunnels and caves. I found a machine. It looked exactly like something they'd use upstairs for one of their more esoteric experiments. It was utterly dead, of course; it looked like it had been put together by the creatures. I opened up one of the panels and looked inside. Cogs, spools of wire, and other disconnected parts were stuffed into the casing. It was as if a child had tried to copy an adult without any understanding of what was happening. It was getting close to the time the creatures normally appeared, so I tucked myself into a small tunnel and hid.

The creatures came soon after. Five of them, each carrying a bucket of hot coals. Something about the way they moved disturbed me. They were like spiders that suddenly scuttle toward you. The creatures began to howl, and the sound made me shudder. They moved jerkily around the machine, in a way that made it look almost like a dance. I saw them grow more and more frenzied, until they fell on one another, ripping with claws and teeth. When only one of the creatures remained, it scattered the blood and entrails of the others over the machine, burning the offal with the hot coals and creating stinking smoke. The creature began to babble in a hideous, grating voice, the sound growing louder and louder until it hurt my ears.

The machine lit up. I can't believe it, but that's what happened. The machine, the box full of disconnected parts, lit up and began to hum. The creature fiddled with it, and it responded as if it were a working device. Eventually, more creatures arrived and removed the machine and the bodies.

I can't help but feel that this makes a terrible kind of sense.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013


I was disturbed last night by sounds coming from behind me. I'd hidden in a narrow tunnel that looked like it tapered off. I crawled back to look when I heard the sounds, and found that it led to a large open space. The tunnel opened near the top of a dome-shaped cave.

The cave was lit by a few piles of glowing coals. I looked down and saw there were creatures in the cave; I couldn't make them out in any great detail, but I could see they were carrying machines and parts. Some of them even seemed to be working on the machines, combing through piles of components until they found what they wanted, then banging it haphazardly into a device.

There's a connection between the facility and the creatures down here. I wonder if the facility is protecting them. Maybe this is where the experimental subjects go if they survive their treatment. Maybe the terrible shapes I think I can make out in the gloom are the future of the human race. Whatever they are, they all seem to be involved with the machines. Perhaps they need something to keep them occupied, to stop them going insane from being trapped in these caves.

I saw Smith go down in the lift. She could have experienced a rapid change, and they wanted her away from everyone else. Or she could have been pushed out and ripped apart by the creatures. I don't have enough information. All I can do is keep exploring.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013


I left my hiding place too soon. I didn't know exactly when sunrise would be, or even if that's what controls the lives of the things that live down here. I'll have to be more careful in future: I almost ran into one of the creatures.

It was standing by a metal bin in which something was burning. That was what saved me. I smelled the smoke and saw the glow before I was close enough to see the creature. I crept over to look, ready to run at the first sign of movement in my direction.

I saw the creature in silhouette. It was roughly humanoid, though the head was misshapen and too big, and the limbs looked out of proportion. It was standing next to a pile of mechanical parts, bending over to examine them, putting some back and throwing others on the fire. I watched it for a while, unable even to guess what it was doing. In the end, I forced myself to leave and found a hiding place. I waited there for an hour. I didn't hear the creature come past, but when I went back, the fire was extinguished and the creature was gone. There were no more parts on the floor, but there were still some in the ashes of the fire.

I walked deeper into the tunnels.

Monday, 2 December 2013


There are things down here. I can hear them walking, their feet skittering over the rocky floor. I can't tell how many there are, or what they look like; it's too dark, and I can't let them see my torch. It sounds like there are only a few of them, or maybe the cave is just so big that they're spread out. I don't know. They seem to be somewhere else during the day - though that term means nothing down here, except to my watch - and they move around the tunnels at night.

There are lots of small spaces for me to hide while those things are out there. That's not a problem. The problem is that I have no idea where I'm going, or where those things go during the day. I walk through the tunnel in constant fear that my weak beam of light will shine onto something horrible and wake it.

I don't know how long I'll be able to last down here. I feel like the tunnel is pressing down on me, and the terrible sounds of things moving around me as I hide at night are destroying my nerves. I'd go back, but there's nowhere for me to go back to; I don't want to think about what must have happened to those guards outside the lift. I'll keep going.

Sunday, 1 December 2013


After a dreamless sleep, I woke up next to the lift. The guards were gone, and I had an access card with a crimson smear across one side. My fingernails were caked with blood.

I knew I had no time, so I swiped the card through the slot and got into the lift. I felt my stomach shoot up as the lift accelerated, and it descended for longer than I would have thought possible. The doors opened, and what I saw made no sense.

There was no building. I stepped out and looked back. The lift was embedded in a craggy rock face. The only light came from the instrument panel on the lift. I brought out my torch, wound it, and shone the light around the area. I was in a tunnel carved into the rock. There was a pile of equipment and parts by the lift. I recognised some of the components from machines I'd seen on the floors above. I had no idea what it was doing there. I needed to get away from the lift, as it was the first place they'd look for me. I headed into the tunnel.

There was no light anywhere, and I wondered how the tunnel was used. It branched multiple times; the cave system was enormous. I walked and walked, until I was lost and exhausted. I found a small alcove off the main tunnel where I could hide.

I'm too tired to think about what this means.