Tufto's Snowbox

Jormungandr is a serpent that moves through time and feeds off it. It is constantly crossing and recrossing its steps, and the sum total of the universe gradually contracts.

A Foundation researcher realises what is happening, and resolves to stop it. But the only way to do so is to control its path, so that it eventually bites its own tale and is paralysed. And to control its path, the entirety of history would have to be changed.

The Researcher does so, and alters the past. What follows are six narratives from six different realities, each leeching off the one past, each generation gradually realising the truth: that everyone died so that humanity could live.

Thus, the structure is:

1) Original Article
2) Cold War Spy Report, in which a character is transported to a dead world visited in:
3) Space Opera, in which a character is reading:
4) Renaissance Play, in which a character's narration of history leads to:
5) Letter from 15th Century Spain, in which a character confessses to a heresy based on:
6) Post-Post-Apocalyptic future Earth, in which a character finds a letter of the Researcher:
7) Revised Article


NOTE: These tabs will be replaced by iterations later, when I look into how to do that :p.

It is February, and the snowdrops are in bloom. You can see them outside the station, waving slightly in the breeze. Their heads sway, to and fro, lifting themselves to stare at the sun and falling to droop at the ground.

We say they are in bloom because this is the height of their existence. To be in bloom, to be in a golden age, to be at a peak of life implies that times will come or have been that were not like this, times of painful growth or bitter decay. The snowdrops will die; others may come again next year but the forms you see today will die.

You are standing in the train station. A steam train is coming in. It is 1907, and you are an agent of the SCP Foundation. This is the only life you can remember. The correct SCP-001 instance is Wrong's Proposal "The Consensus"; you survived the Fifth Occult War but with no clear recollection, like so many. A great many things have not happened yet that will happen. The Foundation is still in its infancy, despite the confusion and proliferation of innumerable official stories and rumours and obfuscations designed to hide this fact.

You are an Englishman. You wear clothes typical for the era, and look like a man of business. Your name is John Cutter, and you are 34. These are facts, immutable facts, enshrined in a single narrative of existence. Like most of your countrymen, you belong to the Church of England, and thus you believe the narrative is that of God's creation, Christ's sacrifice, and the wait for an eventual judgement day. But others, both in England and across the world, disagree; and thus to many, the world seems to be a multiplicity, with no fixed meaning. It is a place where a cacophony with no clear harmony ringing true, where some melody might exist but in a form unknown to the musicians.

Essentially, this is reality, where there is no singular purpose and each person is untethered in a freewheeling, nonsensical world. At least, that is what you thought. Now you are not so sure.

There is a train pulling away from the station. It is black, the steam pouring from its chimneys like greying hair. It rushes around you, and as it clears, you find yourself staring at the station cafe. Somebody is sitting at a table in front of it, reading a paper, with a steaming cup of tea. A girl- young- maybe in her early 20s.

You feel as if you know this girl. You do not understand why she is here. She looks up, sees you, and smiles slightly- as if she knows you, but without any real surprise.

You know that things are going wrong in the world. You are an agent of the Foundation, and you've been smelling something in the air all day.

You approach her table, and sit opposite her. Her smile is back, at once more amused and more cruel. She puts down the paper. She stares at you. Her eyes have no irises and no whites. They are entirely black.

"Yes, they are", she says. You do not understand what she means. "Well, of course you don't. You can't read this, after all; only the reader can do that. Do you like my eyes? It's a rather cheap description that is so ambiguous in its meaning; does it mean evil, or mystery, or both?"

You do not understand the words she is saying. Because of course you don't; you're not reading this in what is supposed to be an SCP document, you're sitting at a table in 1907 England and talking to this woman you do not know, but who seems familiar to you. You look at her newspaper. It is wrong. There is no "King Edward VII". Who is that? You do not know who that is. You remember that she enjoys writing stories.

"Do I know you?" you ask.

She smiles. "No", she says. "You have never met me in your life, John Cutter. Because this is not your life any more. You're not my brother, you're whatever I want you to be."

Beyond the station, beyond your line of vision, there is a world, with trees and grass and empires, Scarlet Kings and Black Queens, dusty bricks and stone idols. It is getting smaller. It is contracting, its substance altering, its form being transmuted from one thing to the other. And a girl with black eyes sits and waves her hand, conducting a timeless orchestra.

The table disappears. Your not-a-sister disappears. You fall through the dark, into the interview log.