Art and words of Josh Burns.

The Unknown Ones

In the Autumn of 1972 a group of physicists, biologist, mathematicians and artists came together to do the impossible. They had plans to manifest matter by sheer will alone. After three years the men and women participating in the project declared it an utter failure. They abandoned their research and all parties went back to their respective disciplines, with strict directives never to disclose the nature of the secret project they had been a part of. The facility, a century old theater house, was abandoned and Anomalous Research Department of the U.S. government sealed the facility until use of it was needed. The property sat on the books as a government facility for over twenty-five years until, during the Bush administration, an internal auditor discovered the abandoned theater. The building was put up for auction and purchased by a property developer with plans to convert the theater to condos.

The building was in disrepair and construction crews were called in to start the renovations. The condo plans called for an underground parking garage so the contractor had his crew focus on clearing out the basement first. The concrete floor of the basement was cracked and rough from years of neglect. In the effort to clear out the rooms of the former prop construction area , a construction worker named Nick Wolfe discovered a part of the basement floor that had collapsed down into a strage underground corridor. With helmet light shining, Wolfe entered the dark subterranean hollow. It wasn’t a single cavern but a series of interconnected tunnels all converging on a single location. all paths lead to the center. Wolfe had over fifteen years working construction but he had never seen anything like this. It wasn’t subway lines or sewers. The walls of the corridors were smooth but revealed a slight cellular texture under Wolfe’s helmet lamp. Compelled by the strange subterranean structure he continued down one of the corridors, now at least a block away from the theater. The lamp light’s reach was about fifteen feet and the illumination seemed to fade as the corridor widened to the main chamber. Faced with only darkness and the smooth honeycombed floor, Wolfe moved forward cautiously. The room was devoid of sound, even his steps left no echo. The anomalous place seemed vast and claustrophobic at the same time. He reached what appeared to be the center of the chamber. The floor arched upward creating a platform at the center. Wolfe’s lamp light caught the edge of a geometric object resting in the middle of the platform. He moved towards the shape to investigate. With each step forward the object appeared to change. He strained to comprehend the object, it was like staring at an optical illusion. With each of his movements the object appeared to shift and take on a new configuration. Removing his right glove he reached out to get a better understanding of the perplexing thing. His fingertip followed the edges of the object, its surface reflecting his hand in its many facets. The object resonated like a crystal wine glass as his finger slid along the many edges. Entranced by the object, Wolfe leaned in closer. He watched his bare hand move along the surface, and his reflected hand move one the inner surface. His hand seemed to bend with the odd angles of the object until he couldn’t tell if he was touching the surface or reaching directly into it. This realization snapped Wolfe out of his trance. He inhaled deeply as though he had just been held under water, and pulled his hand away from the object. As his hand drew back from the object his contorted reflection receded in the opposite direction and then beyond the threshold of the object itself. Wolfe turned his gaze beyond the object and found an abomination. His lamp revealed a misshapen thing, with near transparent flesh and no recognizable facial features, except for a gaping mouth lacking a tongue or teeth. The creature seemed to shift like the strange object, as though it was not always fully there. The thing motioned like it was smelling the air and it shuffled slowly forward. One of the deformed thing’s three hands was clutched close to the body, like a broken wing, and the other two waved the air as though the creature was blind. Wolfe’s heart raced as he slowly stepped backwards away from the shambling creature. When he figured he had created enough of a gap, he turned towards the direction he had come. His light swept in a circular motion revealing dozens of the abominations, each more horrific than the last. Adrenaline surged though his veins and he bolted towards the way he had entered, the creatures pawed, and grabbed with their bony hands. He made it through the mass and to the corridor, not before losing his safety vest and his gloves. Free of the things he Sprinted towards the exit. Running frantically in the direction he had entered he saw the corridor widen and he sighed with relief. A misstep made him glance down at the floor. He had slipped on his vest. Impossibly he was back in the main chamber. Panning the room with his light he saw the creatures, they appeared to be fully aware of his presence, staring at him with eyeless faces. The creatures moved slowly towards him, shifting in and out of view.

Nick Wolf was the first of eight missing workers before the Anomalous Research Department reclaimed the site. The ARD attempted to reassemble the group that had worked at the facility in the seventies. However, all but three of the original group were dead. The three that were still alive had each been admitted to various institutions for the mentally unwell. Plagued by nightmares of a box with an inconceivable shape that gorges on fear and bleeds evil, and the unknown ones, poor reflections of man, the guardians of the box.

The site remained in quarantine until 2009 when the last of the original group passed away. At which point all signs of the box, the unknown ones and the chamber inexplicably disappeared. All files on the original project, the subsequent disappearances and the post quarantine investigation was filed under the “Pandora Site”


8 responses

  1. Drewreimer

    Aw, man, I love this kind of stuff. Very creepy. Right on the very cusp of being supernatural while still rooted in science. The abomination reminds me of something I might see in Silent Hill. One of my favorite posts for sure.

    March 20, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    • I’m not really big on ghosts, but I think this is a nice way to tell a creepy ghost-like story while using science as the backbone.

      March 26, 2012 at 11:45 pm

  2. zac

    awesome work dude, awe inspiring. you should write books.

    March 20, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    • Thanks, I’ve been trying to support the art with a bit more background lately. It would be awesome to flesh out one of these into even a short story. It’s sort of my plan to do one picture a week for a year and then pick a couple from the fifty-two and really focus on all aspects of the story and the world it takes place in.

      March 26, 2012 at 11:41 pm

      • zac

        cool plan. look forward to it.

        March 28, 2012 at 1:52 am

  3. zac

    you seen del toros “don’t be afraid of the dark”?

    April 7, 2012 at 11:36 pm

    • I haven’t seen it but it looks cool

      April 16, 2012 at 9:26 pm

  4. Pingback: Soldier of Will: The Man from Below « Flammable Things

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