The boat ride to the platform wasn't really so bad. The submarine was a bit claustrophobic, to be sure, and there were a few moments a bit reminiscent of The Hunt for Red October. Well, minus Sean Connery singing in Russian. When we got off, the pea-soup fog did seem a bit strange. What was stranger, though, is how when you got closer to the platform, it just disappeared. Seriously. There was this big dome of clear air around the oil rig, which pretty much confirmed that the fog was unnatural.
Speaking of which, the place was weird as hell. I mean, just standing there, I could tell that this place had been warped and was just the slightest bit out of sync with the rest of the real world. [NAME DELETED] told us that was what happened when you used too many rifting powers; it's like the walls between the worlds begin to weaken, and things you might not want to hear going "bump" in the night start leaking through. It didn't get any better at the rig itself. Just for starters, the entire place looked as if it had been ripped to shreds by an explosion that would make the good folks on Mythbusters proud, or would have if that show still existed in 2044. Not to mention the corpses all over the place: mostly scientists, doctors, and soldiers in various states of decay. The oldest were just skeletons, but all of the…umm…"fresher" ones had their eyes removed, probably after their death by the looks of it.
Some of the devices and structures there had been completely destroyed, which is where it got weirder. Somebody had replaced the computers, rooms, bridges and such with…I don't know, fleshy sculptures of them? Anyway, however the imitations had been made, they were wholly organic. Check closely, though, and you'd realize something really disturbing: they were made of human flesh. Yeah, somebody had somehow had both the power and the mindset to mold human corpses into structures. The entire platform was booby trapped, too, and not of the "leave a bucket of water above your door to bug your big sister" variety. There were organisms, also made of human flesh from the looks of it, that seemed like traps: tentacles that threw bone spikes, bulbous sacks of what I'd guess to be some sort of suffocating poison from the smell, and giant mouths like bear traps.
All this stuff was, of course, very interesting, and [NAME DELETED] got the bright idea that I should use my powers to figure out what had happened here. Whoops.
When I touched that place, I felt his mind. The Eyeless Man, it was his creation, his will that warped this place to what it is now. And to tell the truth, I had started to confuse my mind with his, to forget which memories were mine. It scared me, but I'm fine now. Really, I'm fine. As long as there's no water or needles. Or doctors. Doctors never do any good, you know. They just hurt people, they just cut them up. Doctors deserve needles, that's all they should ever get. They should be stuck full of needles and dumped in the ocean so the weight of glass and metal from those little vicious turkey basters pulls them down with the tide to where the water rubs salt in their wounds and drowns them and crushes them to nothing more than nothing for what they did to us.
I mean, what they did to me. No. No, I mean to him, what they did to him.
They hurt us all, yes, but they hurt him most. Poking us with things. Cold things, hot things. Needles in the eyes. He didn't take his own eyes out, you know. That would be insane, and he's not at all insane. It was the doctors, with their needles. Told you they were evil. Proved it, didn't I? Didn't I?
Just like every one of those doctor types, the ones we remember weren't human, but they showed it. On the outside, I mean. Smooth grey heads you could just pop off and bat around like beach balls and play, play, play all day on the ocean shore where nothing ever goes wrong until the scream. When you feel the needles in his eyes. When you watch him go blind and see the walls of the world for the first time, when he brings all his pain and fear to bear and rip them open.
And once we've done that, the rest is a joke. The metal walls might as well be paper, and the doctors? I guess they'll have to get a degree in thanatology now, but they might have trouble reading the textbooks, because he made them feel what it is to have their eyes scooped out with a rusty spatula and dissected in the service of Science.
From the platform, he left through a hole he tore in the world to find a new home, and stopped in Escher's castle. He likes that place; its sorry excuse for geometry reflects the wreckage he's made of his mind. I remember how reality folds into his perception there, how one might as well be the other, how he made the place his home and protected it, burned more and more of his sanity to protect it from all invaders. But he couldn't stay there, not for long. Because, like it or not, the platform was our birthplace, our Home, where we emerged, bloody and screaming, into hard reality.
So he tore the walls between the worlds once again, and we find new people at the platform. Scouts, maybe, or the same aliens. But they changed the place. They changed our home, even tried to destroy it with a bomb. And we don't like that, do we? No. I do not, not at all, at all. They die quickly, easily. After all, they are not doctors, they don't deserve the needles and the water, the water that flows through your veins and betrays you, the water that swallows you when the testing is done and you're no longer useful. But for desecrating our Home, I punish them. I destroy their eyes and twist their mangled bodies into a new landscape for this place.
It must be perfect. It must reflect in every minuscule detail how this place should be, how it was before we were awakened, before they turned our mind into nothing more than a weapon. But there's no material, so I command every dirty mangled corpse, experiment or soldier or doctor, to crawl together, to form a perfect model of the old times, so that nothing has ever changed, nobody lost eyes, so nothing will ever change. And for a moment, he succeeded. He saw every element had been replicated in perfect fleshy detail: computer monitors of skin, bridges of bone, useless simulacra that would not do, would not replicate the true nature of Home no matter what he did, how much of his shredded mind he sacrificed in its name, how many times he exhausted himself to the brink of death.
So, we said, it would be a trap. If we can't return our Home to the way it should always be, let it be the death of all who desecrate its corpse. Let it be my child, let it learn, like the doctors taught me, to kill. Let them come. And yes...I feel them coming. Let them pay for all they did and ever planned to do.
And now one touches me. I remember him from before. Another experiment. Trapped in my mind now, feeling what I feel again, becoming closer to me. But now, our Home calls us, and we defend it. We kill.
The Eyeless Man kills. Not me. I don't kill. Not even doctors. No killing, no needles. That's not allowed. That's bad.
But if we met again? His mind might return to mine, and if that happens?
I'm not sure I'll stay me.