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The Marble God

Chapter Text

The Foundation operates to protect the worldwide population from extraterrestrial, extradimensional, and otherwise supernatural phenomena via Special Containment Procedures (SCPs). In following this directive, The Foundation works to Secure anomalies to prevent interaction with civilians or other agencies, Contain anomalies to suppress spread of knowledge and influence, and Protect humanity from the effects of said anomalies.  

Object Classes:

Safe – Anomalies that are easily and safely contained; this classification does not discount the anomaly as a threat if not properly handled

Euclid – Anomalies where containment is not always reliable or requires additional resources; this classification may be given due to unpredictability or lack of information about understanding of SCP and is often given to anomalies with sentient consciousness

Keter – Anomalies where containment is exceptionally difficult due to expense or complexity 


 

Deep below the earth, through many layers of dirt and rock and reinforced concrete, there existed a small and spartanly furnished room. This room was connected to a sprawling underground complex and contained three main pieces of furniture starting with a small wooden desk which was at present covered in a messy scattering of papers decorated with dangerous scribbles of beautiful faces and even more dangerous notes written in a nonsensical language of the writer’s own invention. Beside this desk was a simple dresser containing three sets of identical uniforms indicating the authorization of level 2 access to restricted information by a Class C Grounded Field Agent. These titles meant very little to the owner of the uniforms as he had more direct knowledge of the facility’s goings on than most staff above his clearance level and had more history working with anomalies than most field agents twice his age, but then agents didn’t seem to live particularly long lives in their jobs for one reason or another. The final fixture in this room was the bed on which the room’s resident laid sleeping, every now and then twitching as though the act of sleeping caused him substantial discomfort, which it did, not that he felt any better while awake. Such discomforts inevitably came with having seen far far too much, especially in such a condensed time period and without pause.

This man’s given name was Grantaire and only Grantaire. Whether or not it was his family’s name (it was not) or even a real name at all (it was), he did not and would, in fact, never know. No, Grantaire had been gifted his name when he was placed beneath the scanner of a machine of alien origin filed under the name of SCP-1283 which subsequently professed him to be “Grantaire – human infant” in its most apathetic of tones. The group of researchers who had snuck the baby away from his bed all found this exceedingly interesting. Unfortunately for them, then-coordinator Javert did not find this interesting in the least and they were all harshly reprimanded for removing the ‘human infant’ from his nursery. Grantaire would never know this story because by the time he had reached the age of three, all the researchers who knew the origin of his name had been moved to other sectors or perished under exceptionally gruesome circumstances, save now-Facility Director Javert, who was far too busy with his own seriousness to offer Grantaire more than a simple nod. As far as Grantaire was concerned, he was Grantaire, and that was that.

It may be noted at this point that Grantaire existed outside the constraints of what one would consider a ‘normal’ life. In fact, he was so completely removed from the realm of ‘normal’ that he would consider the typical mundanities of everyday life exceptionally strange. He had spent all of his twenty-four years under the care of The Foundation, ignoring the nine months he spent frozen in time in a cave. Or perhaps it was more accurate to say that he spent his twenty-four years under the care of this particular facility, because up until the age of eighteen—when he was accepted as a field agent—he existed outside of knowledge of The Foundation as a whole, which was no small feat.

On this particular day, Grantaire woke very suddenly as the piercing call of an alarm flooded his room via overhead speaker. Even after years of the same alarm, the sound sent his soul lurching from his body, causing his shoulders to jolt with fright and often throwing him from his bed. He was lucky enough to only smack his forehead against the wall on this occasion. Once having recovered from the sudden noise, he swore to himself and clasped his hands over his ears until the drowning subsided, at which point he fell back in his bed, his gaze falling in a long arch from his ceiling to his desk which again sent his heart to lurching. He jumped up at once to collect his scattered papers.

He had been up late into the night drawing and, given that he had been slightly too drunk to care, had thoughtlessly left his work lay out. To keep his own document of the goings on of the facility was strictly prohibited. All the same, he could not help himself when the subjects were of such particular interest as those anomalies he looked after.

He gathered the incriminating papers and stored them with his liquor stash below a floor panel he had long ago loosened, letting his eyes linger a moment on the sharp, impossible features of the face that had fallen to the top of the pile—the beautiful and terrible face of SCP-939. He spent a few moments lost as he traced over his lines with tired eyes; he would be seeing it in person soon enough. When a knock came at the door, he jolted.

“R, you have two minutes before I break your door down,” called an amused voice from the hall.

“I’ll be out in precisely three,” Grantaire called back, hurriedly readying for the day. He was out the door exactly on the mark of three minutes.

Jehan, who stood waiting for him in the soft lighting of the hall, was not impressed with the accuracy of his timing. Alternatively and for no particular reason, Grantaire was very impressed with Jehan. Perhaps it was because he was always very impressed with Jehan in some broad ambiguous sense. Regardless, instead of gasping in awe at Grantaire’s temporal awareness, Jehan put to him a light accusation. “It’s rather unlike you to sleep in.”

“I think it is very like me to sleep in,” Grantaire countered, “not that I would call an additional minute or so ‘sleeping in.’ That seems a rather dramatic exaggeration on the passage of time during which I was in a state of sleep.”

“Hm,” Jehan regarded him suspiciously.

“Don’t ‘hm’ me,” Grantaire huffed, starting down the hall. “I’ve done nothing to warrant it. You are paranoid and unduly suspicious.”

“And you’re jumpy.”

“I have never jumped in all my life; these feet have not once left the ground concurrently.”

“That in itself is very suspicious, what do you have to gain by not jumping?”

“I’m protecting the soles of my feet from simultaneous attack by air.”

“And you’re more comfortable with your vulnerability to land based attack?” Jehan wondered.

“My specialty is geology,” Grantaire clarified. “I’m more comfortable with all of that which dwells in and attacks from the ground.”

“I suppose I can see your logic, but there is something inherently suspicious about a man who never jumps. And just so you know, I will not stand for there to be secrets between us,” he smiled in jest.

“Jehan, there are two eternal constants in my life: I never jump, and I hold no secrets.”

“Says the man who exists as a living secret,” Jehan scoffed. If one were to look at Grantaire’s employee file, they would see that he had grown up under oppressively normal circumstances in The Middle of Nowhere, Wales, which was not true in the least. He had never in fact so much as met a Welsh person despite the Welsh accent he had been trained into as a child. A high security addendum was attached to this file elaboration that Grantaire had actually been removed from his home in Wales as an infant as part of a project to raise a generation of Foundation workers, which was also untrue but slightly closer to reality.

In actuality, Grantaire had been the child of a working prisoner in the facility who had ended up pregnant. At the time, no one had been sure if this pregnancy was the product of the normal means of conception or was some exceptional phenomenon. When Grantaire had turned out to be entirely normal, the mother and child were to be quietly made to disappear. This task was carried to completion for the mother; the child was…strategically misplaced and over the years had been passed around as a pet project. Unfortunately for Grantaire, nobody seemed to be at all satisfied with the result.

Grantaire grinned as they exited the hall into the cafeteria where they were enveloped in a sea of faculty uniforms. Grantaire took a table alone as he always did when Jehan came with him to breakfast, a precaution to hide anything suspicious that was likely to come about in conversation, as such subjects seemed inevitable with regard to Jehan.

“Éponine claimed another victim last night,” Jehan noted, reading the nightly incident report off of Grantaire’s tablet as the agent took a bite of his eggs.

“That’s four in the last two weeks,” Grantaire sighed. “They need to find another way to feed her.” Éponine had a tendency to drain the blood of those around her, especially when she was unhappy, which she always was.

“They need to put someone else in charge of keeping her.” Jehan looked up. “Who’s looking after her right now?”

“Claquesous, I think. He hates her, and she’s feeding on that.” Grantaire waved a dismissive hand. There had never not been hatred between Éponine and whoever happened to be caring for her at the time. She was a devious little cloud of anger, literally and figuratively, and therefore found it difficult to make friends. Grantaire had stumbled drunkenly into the range of her influence once when he still had the authorization code to her containment area. He then decided to dump the container full of frogs he had been transporting directly into her tank. She seemed to accept this as some form of offering, and since then they had been on good terms, or at least she had neglected to inflict headaches upon him. That was the closest connection Grantiare could make between Éponine and friendship.

“Can’t you ask to have her moved to your care?” Jehan needled. “She was found under a rock, I should think that falls under your jurisdiction..”

“Sure, if you squint,” Grantaire snorted. “I’ll bring it up with Feuilly, but I doubt the chain of command is willing to do me any favors in the foreseeable future.”

“You always have your charm.”

“At this point, I’m not sure my charm will be enough to tip the scales against the weight of my many indiscretions.” He had long since grown beyond the point of receiving the benefit of the doubt. He was lucky to have been moved to work the facility under C-Class jurisdiction rather than as a disposable D-Class agent as was the case with most unstable field agents who didn’t outright disappear.

“You never know,” Jehan hummed. “Anyway, speaking of Feuilly, there was an incident in the main hall, so I imagine he has his hands full today trying to coordinate everyone.”

“What sort of incident?”

“Classified. All it says is that the hall will be closed off until further notice, but I heard they were using D-level personnel for clean up, so I imagine it wasn’t pleasant.”

“Oh, then I’m sure I’ll find out soon enough.”

“Don’t say that,” Jehan scolded.

“Why not? It’s only a matter of time before they move me down to D-level. I’m already exposed to more keter-class anomalies than anyone else I know. I’m telling you, they want to get rid of me. They put Montparnasse in charge of directing security around me last week, for fuck’s sake. That’s basically a death sentence.” A suspicious number of agents had befallen tragedy under the watch of Montparnasse’s prisoner security detail.

“Do you plan to do anything about that?”

“Nah, let them try to kill me. What do I have to lose?”

“Your life.”

“What life?” Grantaire huffed. “All I ever do is work.”

“You love your job.”

“Sometimes. But I’ve also seen too much and never known anything else.” He often found himself envious when others talked of their personal lives or what had once been their personal lives. Most individuals had devoted their life to fully service the Foundation, but none other than Grantaire had always been there. They had once had families and interactions outside of a controlled setting. Grantaire wasn’t allowed the time for a personal life.

“What would you rather do?” Jehan asked.

“Drink until I drown.”

“I disapprove.”

“I thought you might. Anything else on the report?”

Jehan set the tablet back on the table. “SCP-0092 remains at large.”

“How long has it been now?”

“Four days.”

“It must be hungry.” SCP-0092 had been under the care of this facility for longer than most anomalies, but often it escaped. Grantaire was not entirely sure what it was, having never read its file, but he knew it had the capability of shielding itself from human perception. Unfortunately for it, the labs held its only food source.

“Maybe it’s found an alternate food source,” Jehan suggested.

“It’s not going to find anything outside the labs here.”

“Which labs in particular?”

“Jehan.” Grantaire steeled himself for a fight. “You can’t go around leaving it bread crumbs.”

“Why not?” His friend’s voice had ticked up more than a few notches in volume.

“Keep your voice down,” Grantaire hushed. “You know I shouldn’t even be having this conversation with you.”

“It’s hungry, and it never does any harm,” Jehan said in a whisper, “so why shouldn’t I?” He made the same argument every time SCP-0092 escaped.

“Because breaking into a lab would one thousand percent get you killed.”

“Not if I had a key with the appropriate authorization.”

“And that would get both of us killed.”

“I’ll be careful.”

“Ask someone else, I’m not going to hand you a loaded gun. Or better yet, don’t ask anyone, and keep your head attached to your body.”

“Fine,” he huffed, sounding not at all ‘fine.’

“I mean it, stay out of the labs.”

“I make no promises,” Jehan confessed. “You’re going to be late.”

After a heavy pause, Grantaire said his goodbye and strode down the hall to the workshops where he looked about until he found SCP-935, also known as Bahorel, resting on a tool rack toward the back of the room. By appearance, Bahorel was a battery powered drill, though it’s design matched no known manufacture. It had been found a cave with a number of ordinary tools by a Foundation exploratory team. Coincidentally,  the drill had been named by the same alien device that had named Grantaire. It had professed the object placed beneath it: “Bahorel –“ and then caught fire with an inhuman wail of agony after which it ceased to function.

The drill lifted itself from the shelf as soon as Grantaire neared. “How are you today, Bahorel?” Grantaire grinned, plucking the tool from the air. It gave a happy buzz in his hand. Bahorel had quickly become a favorite of Grantaire’s as it had been the first Euclid anomaly under his care. Every day from the age of twelve, he was tasked with cleaning the strange dust that manifested on Bahorel’s drill bit.

“Glad to hear it, I’ve just spent my breakfast arguing with a very good friend of mine. I think he’s a bit unhappy with me,” Grantaire sighed as he removed Bahorel’s drill bit and began to clean. The dust Bahorel gathered was a chalky white and had a pleasantly sweet smell. If left unattended, small red insects would congregate around the drill to feed upon the substance. Bahorel seemed to find this very stressful and had been known to cause facility wide power fluctuations, protesting his poor living conditions. In contrast, it seemed to find the process of cleaning to be quite lovely, especially when it was cared for by Grantaire who had a habit of enlightening the object or entity or whatever Bahorel was, to the little unclassified things he could share of his life as he worked. “Maybe he’s right to be,” Grantaire continued, “I just… I don’t want to see his brains spattered against the wall. Is that so much to ask? There’s only so much I can take.”

Bahorel buzzed sympathetically.

“I’d elaborate, but surveillance and all that.” He waved to the camera pointed at Bahorel’s shelf. “Actually, I should go visit the surveillance team, I heard that they had to replace everyone after one of the anomalies figured out how to influence their director through its audio surveillance. I hear it was a bloody mess, they had to pull in a whole new team. I haven’t met them yet, but it never hurts to know who’s watching you, you know.”

Bahorel’s subsequent buzz was indecipherable.

Grantaire gave a frustrated huff. “I wish they would let me bring out the charts,” he said, longing for Bahorel’s communication charts that were locked away somewhere in a cupboard. In communicating with the drill it was either the charts or Morse code, which took more time than Grantaire could spare. “But somehow I don’t think they would let me touch them at present. Ah well, what else is new? Oh, I heard a rumor that one of our talking sheep is pregnant!” He continued to chat until his task was completed and he was on his way to the coordination office to receive his first flexible task of the day.  

“Hey Feuilly,” he said after a quick knock at the door. “What have you got for me?”

Feuilly looked up from his computer console looking thoroughly harassed. He’d been promoted to the head of section coordination within a year of the previous coordinator losing her mind. Whether she had been exposed to something or this was the natural progression of being the section coordinator remained unclear, but the last five section coordinators had fallen to the same general fate. Coordinators often ended up at the end of a lot of ill-intent, spending all day directing and redirecting people and taking reports from angry guards, inadvertently causing deaths here and there. Honestly, Grantaire would rather have Feuilly back on his field team, but that ship had sailed nearly three years ago.

“Oh,” Feuilly blinked at him, “they need help with clean-up in the main hall.”

Grantaire nodded gravely. “Am I the only Class-C worker being directed there?”

“One of the only ones,” the coordinator winced, “but you were only put on request a few minutes ago, and I think they should be almost done.”

“Any idea what I should watch out for?”

“I have not been informed, but…” He paused to read something on his consol. “Combeferre says extra dimensional fluids.”

“Oh fun. I hope it’s something toxic, I look great in a hazmat suit. Tell Ferre I said thanks for the warning. See you at lunch.”

“Got it.” Feuilly gave him an ironic smile: their lunch schedules overlapped, but they were rarely able to eat together, one of them inevitably getting caught up in something else and missing his meal. “After you’re done, you’re assigned to look after Courfeyrac.”

“Ah, thanks.”


As it happened, the team was nearly done when Grantaire arrived. Whatever fluid had been leaked had caused a flourish of uncontrollable plant growth through the hall. The majority of the plants had already been torn away, and repairs had begun on damaged flooring. He and the other agents were assigned to drag the plant growth across the building to the incinerator. This would have been an easy task had it not been for the very large and aggressive beetles that came barreling out from under the leaves when they were moved, eating through the protective covering they were issued and biting the individuals within. Luckily, they did not seem to be venomous. As such, Grantaire and some of the others were assigned to beetle crushing duty while the rest hauled away the materials.

By the time he was finished and in front of Courfeyrac’s door, Grantaire was exhausted and not at all mentally prepared to open said door. Looking after Courf was something he simultaneously enjoyed and dreaded. SCP-798, formerly known as Courfeyrac, had once been a researcher, but after coming into contact with the cursed spoon, SCP-9875, his mind had come unstuck from time as his body aged from infant to old man over the course of twenty-four hours. Because his mind operated out of sequence, he was monitored at all times by high level personnel in order to listen for prophetic information.

“He’s been shot in the throat!” Courfeyrac cheered once Grantaire entered the room, running forward and lifting his arms. He appeared to be approximately five years old. Before his incident, he had been twenty-three. He had been a behavior specialist and had consulted on many of Grantaire’s cases. They had been friends. They were still friends.

Grantaire scooped him up with a grin that was only slightly forced. “I hope that’s not directed toward me.”

“You can’t just steal a man’s soup!” Courfeyrac babbled cheerfully. “I want apple trees growing in my stomach.”

Grantaire gave a startled laugh.  It was seldom that Courfeyrac would throw back parts from a conversation he recognized. This particular conversation had taken place after Grantaire had watched him eat an apple core, seeds and all like some kind of animal.  

“Okay, kiddo, let’s do some drawings.” Courfeyrac’s drawings were always scribbly messes of nonsense, a product of his disjointed mind to create something in the present, but at least there they had some charm and were somewhat of a distraction. The difficulty in taking care of Courfeyrac was watching him face the constant ebb and flow of pain he was subjected to due to the rapid aging.

By the time Grantaire was relieved of his duty, Courfeyrac had reached age thirteen and was going through an agonizing growth spurt.

“Combeferre knows best,” Courfeyrac said through gritted teeth as Grantaire stood to leave.

“Combeferre got himself sucked into a computer,” Grantaire disagreed, “but I guess that would have been after your time.” Even so, Combeferre had saved from multiple system failures in his time as a non-human, so perhaps he wasn't entirely off base.

“It’s been ages since I’ve seen the sun,” Courfeyrac replied.

“Me too,” Grantaire sighed.

Grantaire’s next task was lunch. He couldn’t remember a time when he had ever been hungry for lunch.

"Hey, R, could you bring Joly his food?" Feuilly asked as he entered the coordination office. “I have some things to finish up, and they left his lunchbox.”

"Sure." Grantaire grabbed the bag and skipped off to Joly’s office which was on the other side of the building in dimensional research.  

"Hey, guys, how's it going?" Grantaire asked the man sitting at a lab bench.

"R!" Joly hopped up at once.

“You forgot your lunchbox,” he said, setting the bag on the table.

“We were in a rush,” Joly said. “Bossuet wanted to see one of the rifts open up . It wasn’t my dimension, but it was close enough .” Though Joly was still speaking, the intonation had shifted to something slightly deeper. His voice shifted again, this time more feminine. “ Your dimension is so dull, I don’t know why you want to see it again.

Joly had once dabbled a bit too heavily into the art of dimensional science, and instead of summoning forth the opening to a new plane of existence, he had opened his mind and trapped a couple of now disembodied creatures who went by the names of Bossuet and Musichetta. As far as Grantaire knew, they all shared motor control of Joly’s body and functioned together as essentially one person.

I don’t know ,” Bossuet mused, “ I think it’ll make me appreciate being here all the more .”

Such a sap ,” Musichetta laughed. “ Anyway, how’s it going, R?

“Oh, about as well as it usually is, for better or worse.”

" You weren’t involved in that mess in the main hall, where you?

“I helped clean up a bit, why?”

“Everyone’s been a mess this morning.” Joly shook his head.

Are the aftereffects reaching to this sector? "

“No, why? Is something up?”

Something doesn’t feel right. ” "It’s probably Éponine,” Grantaire shrugged. “She had a bad night. I should go down and check on her, actually."

" Good. Whatever it is, it’s making Joly’s head ache ,” she huffed with Joly’s body.

Joly’s expression immediately shifted from annoyed to apologetic. “It’s not that bad.”

“It’s no problem,” Grantaire assured him. “I haven’t given her a visit in a while. Enjoy your lunch.”

When he rounded the corner to Éponine’s block, he spotted Jehan pressed to her window.

“How’s she doing, Jehan?”

“She’s not happy,” Jehan sighed.

“Any idea what’s got her upset?” Grantaire peered into the small room. Inside there was a tiny pond of water surrounded by a ring of rocks and wildflowers in which Éponine liked to hide as a diffuse mist.

“They brought Marius by this morning.”

“Well that’s enough to upset anyone.” Marius was an innocent looking goldfish whose presence implanted upon others a profound sadness. “Who brought him through? I thought they had a special route for him.”

“They had to close off his normal route because of that breech, but it was Montparnasse who brought him through, so I think it was done with the intention of upsetting her.”

“Why were they moving him?”

“I think they were taking him to the testing center,” Jehan said absently. “I wish we could let her out.”

“She’d go on a killing spree,” Grantaire reminded him.

“Not if I put her in a little jar.”

The image of sweet Jehan wandering around with a jar full of black glittering malicious intent was enough to make him grin. “No, I suppose not.”

“Unlock the doors for me?”

“Even if I didn’t think that was a terrible idea, I’m afraid I don’t have the authority.”

“I’ll have to resort to other strategies then.” Jehan pushed away from the wall, starting down the hall.

“Where are you off to?” Grantaire called after him.

“I’m going to go find some bugs to leave as an offering.”

That was about as likely to work as anything else. “I’d check around the bleeding trees in sector 12, I think at least one of them attracts bugs.”

“Will do.”

When Grantaire returned to Feuilly, the coordinator frowned at him. “Aren’t you supposed to be feeding SCP-939?”

“Shit!” Grantaire ran from the room. If the containment team was on a tight schedule they would skip on feeding that particular anomaly. The anomaly was fed every three days, and no one would be willing to go through containment procedures before another passing of that interval. The subsequent risk would be to Grantaire alone as the mode of meal delivery.

With this in mind, Grantaire sprinted across the building, stumbling into the room as soon as the door slipped wide enough.

“There he is,” Montparnasse snorted from his reclined position in front of SCP-939’s surveillance monitors. “You’ve got five minutes to get in there. We have to be across the building in fifteen.”

Grantaire rushed past him. He needed at least half an hour to do his job properly, but arguing the point would only waste time. “Any activity I should know about?” he asked as he threw on his carefully reinforced hazmat suit.     

“If there were, I would have told you.”

He most certainly would not have, but Grantaire ignored him in favor of gathering up the bucket and towel waiting for him beside the first set of containment doors. With a single nod to the researcher at the operating control panel the doors slid open, allowing Grantaire to enter a segmented hall of two more doors before he finally reached a nearly empty twelve by twelve by twelve-meter room.

The room was constructed of reinforced concrete a meter and a half thick and contained only two objects. One was a small wooden stool which was used by Grantaire to aid the feeding process, the other was the object of containment itself: a marble statue, humanoid in form, which would not have looked out of place in an art museum if not for its impossible beauty.

The anomaly stood in the exact position Grantaire had left it last: facing the door, standing in the dead center of the room, hands clenched in fists at its sides, bare feet spread, and shoulders squared as though making a stand against some greater power. The form of the figure was male, but it was common practice to refer to anomalies as ‘it’ unless it expressed a desire to be referred to otherwise. It was clothed in what appeared to be a toga, the fabric of that flared out against invisible wind that also pulled back the mess of tight curls from its haunting face. Its expression was grave; its features were sharp around its eyes, which were blank and empty of any presence yet still held a determined and unfathomable intensity. It held the authority of some ancient god formed of marble skin smooth as glass: bone white, solid stone, and from its exposed back erupted a set of delicately carved wings, resting low and ready for flight.

Grantaire took in a shaky breath as his heart leapt into his throat. It was a familiar feeling; the anomaly made everyone nervous, more nervous than many of the other Keter objects, regardless of the level of perceived threat. It had a truly terrifying aura about it. Though this phenomenon was seemingly novel to the anomaly, it was not without base. SCP-939’s first weeks of containment were filled with multiple breaches, leading to the deaths of twelve facility personnel. As far as the researchers could tell, SCP-939 preferred to stand at the center of a room and if the room were too large it would begin tunneling downward and breech through the floor, if too small it would breech through the walls. Thus, the sizing of its contained area was very particular.

These twelve deaths were on top of the 363 persons it had killed upon suddenly appearing in the middle of a village in France and the 21 members of the first and second field teams that had attempted to contain the anomaly. Still, death by this SCP was not nearly as terrible as some Grantaire had seen and was easily avoided. Grantaire had been a part of the third field team which had successfully brought the SCP to the facility, and he had seen the bodies. He had seen the anomaly clasp a man by the hand before plunging its other into the man’s abdomen and up through his ribs to tear the beating heart from his chest and shower itself in the blood before tossing the body aside and moving on to the next victim. It killed without pause and seemingly without aim, but Grantaire had no need to fear for the moment. The creature only reacted to humans whose skin was uncovered…in theory. There were two notable exceptions: the two former workers who had tried to feed the SCP were killed, necks broken, suits unbreeched. But they had both been killed only weeks into their task, and Grantaire had been doing this every three days for nearly three years.

Despite the obvious danger that came with standing in the presence of SCP-939, Grantaire somehow enjoyed feeding it. He was careful to keep that particular attachment to himself. He had been given the position of feeding because at the time he was considered highly expendable, and through his terror he had been awestruck by the entity as he was every time he entered the contained room.

“Stop staring at it and do your job,” Montparnasse hissed into his ear over his headset.

Grantaire blinked himself back into the moment, startled that he had allowed himself to be so caught up when he was usually so careful not to be. He realized he had been staring without having stepped over the last threshold. When he moved his body over the line and the door slid shut behind him, he felt tension tug over all of his being. The mood of the room felt tangibly different than it normally did, though as far as he could see there was nothing out of the ordinary. Shaking himself, he set the bucket at his side, finding that his feet had guided him across the room in front of the statue. He carefully removed the bucket’s lid, not letting a single drop of blood waste away on the floor and leaned down to dip his feeding cloth into the red liquid. Where the blood went once the statue was coated was unknown. No one had been able to even determine what exactly the statue was made of; it appeared to be marble, but then, marble didn’t move. They could only assume that the blood was somehow being absorbed and used as sustenance. The three-day feeding interval more a precaution than a requirement, but if left for longer than nine days the SCP was likely to break its containment in search of victims.

As Grantaire was about to set cloth to stone, he thought he saw a twitch. Grantaire blinked up at the statue in shock. It was usually so still while he was in the room. That is not to say it never moved, because it did, and each movement was deeply unsettling, but it was uncommonly rare.

“Was that a movement?” Grantaire asked, speaking half to the statue, half to the microphone in his suit.

“You’re paranoid,” Montparnasse replied.

“Am I?” Grantaire squinted at the perfect marble face, which stared past him at the door.

“We didn’t see anything.”

Grantaire hummed noncommittally and resumed his job, carefully mopping blood over the SCP’s body, wringing the cloth out over the marble then gently brushing the blood across all of its surface. He started with the chest, as he always did, and worked around to the wings. Though slightly time-consuming, physically coating the statue in human blood was the one feeding method that had been found to work, aside from trapping living victims inside the contained area. The researchers had tried leaving it live animals and dead bodies, but it showed no interest; they had tried leaving it bowls of blood, which were left untouched; they had even tried having a trap door to dump blood over the statue, but by the end of the week it had breached containment.

Grantaire found the task enthralling, but Montparnasse was getting impatient by the time he got around to the face, which he always left for last. “You have six minutes,” the director warned.

Grantaire rolled his eyes. “What are you gonna do? Leave me in here?” He moved the cloth somewhat recklessly in his irritation, nudging the statue’s cheek with a little more force than necessary. It twitched in response—no more than a small wince, but the movement sent ice into Grantaire’s heart. He stopped dead. The anomaly had never reacted to his touch, any other time it had ever moved had been as though he was not there. He stared into its pupil-less eyes and for once felt that it was staring back. “That was definitely a movement,” he said quietly. “I have a weird feeling about this, should I keep going?”

“Babet says it’s fine, keep going.”

“Okay.” Grantaire delicately continued brushing blood over his face starting with the right cheek, feeling the eyes drilling into him all the while. “I think it’s staring at me.”

“Keep going, you’re almost done,” Babet said calmly into his ear. Dread pooled in his stomach, something wasn’t right. Grantaire stepped back from the statue once he finished and turned to retrieve the stool which rested back beside the door. He always finished the session by pouring the remaining blood over the statue’s head. He grappled with the overwhelming urge not to turn his back on the anomaly: he had a job to do.

The agent was halfway across the room when he heard footsteps behind him, too light to carry a stone body, echoing with the drip of blood against the floor. He didn’t dare move. And then there was a hand sliding up his back, moving along his spine until it slipped through a tear in the seam of his suit which most certainly should not have been there. Grantaire’s blood ran cold. A tear like that would not just appear. It would take intention to tear his suit, sabotage. Slowly, Grantaire moved a hand behind his back and met the wrist of the anomalies arm, drawing it away from himself as he turned to face the statue. Someone was saying something in his ear, but he couldn’t hear it over the buzzing panic that had consumed him.

The SCP was staring at him, expression unreadable—or perhaps Grantaire was too terrified to properly assess it. The agent tore his gaze away from the beautiful face to look down at the hand that had touched him and slowly released it, backing step by step toward the wall behind him. He nearly fell as his heel met the stool first. In a moment of insanity, instead of creeping out the door beside him, he reached down, retrieved the stool, and moved back toward the statue, which was watching him with something akin to interest. He set the stool at the creature’s feet and stepped past it to grab the bucket, gaining more confidence with every footfall. With the bucket in hand, he stepped onto the stool. The anomaly tilted its head to watch, but Grantaire reached out with a gentle touch to turn down its face before beginning to drizzle the blood over its head.

He had completed his task.

Satisfied, Grantaire stepped down from the stool and moved to take a step back once more toward the exit, but in one swift movement, the anomaly had taken ahold of his hand. The bucket dropped from Grantaire’s other hand as SCP-939 gripped the reinforced material of his suit and tore it away like tissue paper. The panic, which had subsided to a dull roar, returned with the raging force of a tsunami. The SCP let the material fall aside and clasped Grantaire’s hand, palm to palm as it had with all of its other victims, cold stone fingers to his warm flesh.

Grantaire stared into the SCP’s blank expression, and his horror again subsided. After a few impossible seconds, blood, which he could only assume was his own, dripped down his arm from their joined hands. He didn’t feel any pain. The statue then moved Grantaire’s fingers from a place of clasping and instead let their hands rest palm to palm. After a few stuttered heartbeats, Grantaire withdrew his hand and stepped back.

SCP-939 followed the movement with his head but otherwise did not move in pursuit. Grantaire continued to walk backward until his back hit the wall and he inched toward the door, which opened under his touch. He was swarmed with emergency response personnel when he was through the last containment doors. He ignored them, looking to the viewing screen at the corner of the room where the SCP was staring directly into the camera back at him.