Scene Title ɹnɐʇouᴉɯ
Synopsis ˙uǝʌɐǝɥ ɟo ǝʇɐƃ ǝɥʇ sᴉ sᴉɥʇ puɐ 'poפ ɟo ǝsnoɥ ǝɥʇ ʇnq ɹǝɥʇo ǝuou sᴉ sᴉɥʇ ¡ǝɔɐld sᴉɥʇ sᴉ lnɟpɐǝɹp ʍoH 'pᴉɐs puɐ 'pᴉɐɹɟɐ sɐʍ ǝɥ pu∀
Date June 11, 2021

So much of this is strange, is frustrating, is feeling helpless. Fading in and out of consciousness, the din of voices rising and falling into his own internal monologue, the sensation of rising into the sky and being able to feel the aircraft's rotors vibrating in his chest…

He shakes his head. This isn't exactly an environment that fosters level-headedness. Gates was fairly sure he was close to death, that cold and numb sensation of being nowhere and everywhere at once. He lingers in that threshold while people tell him to "stay awake" as if it were something he had control over. So he lays there, strapped to a backboard on the floor of the helicopter. He tries to make sense of himself, of his injuries, of the muffled voices around him drowned out by the whine of helicopter rotors, of his internal voice asking him how he's doing. Four people leaning over him, two on two at either side. His head swims. It's like touching an electric fence at the edge of a pasture. Like falling down an escalator heading up.

"How are you doing." Is more of a statement than a question. "You're okay, right? You're going to make it through this. You've been through so much worse.

"It could be worse," he says, laying on his back and staring up at the ceiling.

Yeah, Gates replies, eyes unfocused and darkening on the edges. Everybody aboard the aircraft looks too exhausted, afraid, heart-broken or dying to see his hands move. He keeps his sad sigh quiet as he adds, Worse. He doesn't need to remind himself of when that was. How lonely it was.

He lays on his back, turning enough to look out at the sunset out the windows dipping down over the rooftops. There's long shadows in his room, no one by his bedside right now. It's just he and the sun, watching one-another as if from across time. "You're missing time," he says tiredly. "After the explosion, but before you made it to the roof. Feels like someone rearranged the furniture."

It brings Gates back to what he's been avoiding; what about the swimming sensation and unconsciousness makes him so afraid to face. If I'm missing time, is the House in order? He listens to the hum of the helicopter blades. Are you still there? he finally asks.

Pulling his eyes away from the sunset he nods. "Yeah. I'm still here. And I don't know how the House is."

It's a little hard to tell, when you're on the inside.

Geographic Region Redacted

An electric buzz emits from a box on a concrete wall and all the lights mounted in the ceiling flicker.

The box stops buzzing, the lights go back to normal and the moths circling around them return.

A scuffed metal door with a faded coat of red paint clicks with the disengagement of an automatic lock. It opens a moment after, and a man in a dark suit slowly enters from a lightless corridor.

Agent Gates stares vacantly ahead, a rectangular badge of black metal clipped to the lapel of his suit reflects an oil-sheen of chromatic colors under the fluorescent lighting.

Gates closes the door behind himself, then pauses and looks at his shoulder. There’s a drop of moisture soaking into the fabric, and Gates looks up at the ceiling where a rivulet of water follows a hairline crack in the concrete, collecting into a droplet. He stands there, transfixed as the droplet grows larger, wobbles, and eventually falls and lands in precisely the same spot on his shoulder.

Only then does Gates step away from the door.

The 0bservation Room

An unlit room is suddenly flooded with light with the touch of a single switch. The ten by ten concrete-walled room comes into sharp focus as rows of ceiling-mounted fluorescent lights come on row-by-row until barely a shadow is cast in the room. All that furnishes the space is a single gray fabric-covered armchair with a low back, Swedish in design, and a large console-style CRT television with a mantle clock sitting atop it on a lace doily. The clock has no hands on it, save for the second hand, which tracks around at a normal pace.

Agent Gates steps away from the shut door, with its water-streaked metal surface contrasting sharply with the sterile quality of the space. His footsteps echo across the concrete floor until he comes up beside the chair. Agent Gates looks from the chair to the television and back again, then slowly walks in a clockwise circle around the chair with his hand on the back. When he completes the revolution, he discovers that there was an end table beside the chair the whole time with a red rotary phone sitting atop it along with a boxy TV remote and a glass of scotch on a cocktail napkin. Gates smiles, then settles down comfortably in the chair.

Picking up the remote, which only has one button, Gates turns on the television to static. He then sets the remote down, picks up his drink and takes a sip from it, then glances sidelong at the napkin. Under his glass, framed in by the ring of condensation on the paper, is a phone number scrawled in smudged ballpoint: (516) 261-2342. Gates sets down his drink beside the napkin, then picks up the phone and dials the number one turn of the rotary dial at a time.

The line ring, and gates turns his attention to the static on the television. "Gates here," he says into the receiver when someone on the other line picks up.

There is no response.

Gates swallows tensely, looking at the receiver. A droplet of blood well up from one tiny hole and rolls down the

Geographic Region Redacted

Gates falls backwards out of the door to his office and instead of falling down to the floor tumbles up to the ceiling, landing in ankle deep water pooling on the ceiling overhead. He rises from his knees and opens his eyes. He looks at the wall to the right of him, the wall to the left. He crosses the corridor with a sloshing of the water at his ankles, looking down at the door marked CONTAINMENT as the black paint on its surface cracks and splits, revealing the more crisp red beneath. Unable to ignore the way it feels like the hair on his arms all stand on end.

The inverted gravity here is only slightly disorienting. Water drops up from the floor, but it feels like its raining from above and that the ceiling is down. Alcoves that are normally filled with black paintings on the ground are filled with colorful paintings of silhouettes both light and dark. Past them another door, one that opens easily into a starkly lit Brutalist office space with floor-mounted fluorescent lights and desks stuck to the ceiling.

He closes the door—bloated with layered, flaking coats of black paint—though red is bleeding through here too. Gates floats through the cavernous space of the office floor for what seems like an hour, ignoring the doors and their placards (Gates, Hall, Castle, Tower, Bright, and humorously Placard). Ignoring the spirals of black mold creeping across the bare concrete walls. And then, unlike a memory but like a sound in a sacred place of silence it echoes through the hallway toward him.

Every part of him screams to run, to find somewhere safe, to pretend monsters aren't real. He gasps, because here, in the middle of the hallway, exactly where it's not supposed to be, is a door marked Turntable. A door that isn't here anymore but for all the evidence that it is. The song calls to him in a sick way, a way that makes him sick as he remembers. When he shudders in revulsion, begins to cry in silent terror, he notices that the door marked Turntable is ajar.

The whorls of mold on the walls s q u i r m begin to SPELL (but in the aquifer it seems there’s nothing here to eat but dreams) No, no, NO. Gates releases the breath he's been holding and bobbles as his feet strike the floor. He spins the Office to put the door marked Turntable behind him. He runs in a blind panic, missing pieces and places, sweat so cold and breathing nothing but fear. Feet skip, sneakers trace arcs in the dust yet untouched. In this sector. In this memory of a place, of places, of what it feels like to remember a place (of scintillating black abyss in which the shadows writhe and twist) Don’t look, don’t look at how the words grow, f l o w e r into the sheetrock, the broken horsehair plaster, chunk by chunk, picking and never knowing why, exposing the narrow wooden slats beneath, to hide the secret, behind the poster on the wall of

[it arrives like an animal growl, like the collapse of your childhood home, like never say no to me again]

oh no

Gates tries to slow himself down, to stem the tide of confusing and discordant emotions and memories bleeding through the walls like blood through a shirt—

[it feels like ripples distorting the face above as you begin to inhale water, like this is what you made me do]

oh god

—the scent of his fear like ribbons of tangible, opalescent color in the air leading directly to the heart of him—

[it tastes like biting down and braking a tooth, like retreating, like forgetting, like forgiving against your will]

that part of the Office was outsourced

—the tracks in the dust on the floor that he should be able to fly over effortlessly, control, spin the structure on a whim.

ELLIOT [it screams, like how your ear rings for days because you cried when you burnt something you loved]


The way Gates screams in his dreams, the way he screams upon waking. The way he wishes he could tell the truth.

[claws find purchase, part the damp plaster of the hallway, cut away doors and their placards (Locket, Marker, Oar)]

what the fuck is this?

He slides through a trick of perspective between doors at a junction of five identical hallways (and claw away at cavern walls a labyrinth of endless halls) where the flicker of the lights determines the only safe direction. He takes stairs, carpeted and residential, not supposed to be in a place like this but as familiar as the scrape of his fingertips along the flecked green wallpaper peeling away from the wall, the creak of the wood floorboards from the beat of his heart. He slams through the door from basement to residence, it leads into a living room. The music plays louder, as if to mock him1, from the corner of this nothing, this broken loci. Ignoring it, he strides through the field of broken bodies and goes for the front door of the house. He scrambles, panics, slams his shoulder against the door and falls upwards into the sky of—

ELLIIIIOOOOOOT [throat tearing roar, rage, fury, desperation, terror, the setting down of a taper candle, an unfinished meal, plastic sheet suddenly here, there?, underneath feet, crinkle, soft, wet shift, external instead of internal, forgetting the bowl, forgetting the w h y foregtttttting forgetttt forg for (each stretching on and twisting back to meet itself, an endless track) clears the throat but there's so much blood, unexpected, righteous violence, never sparing the rod, never spoiling the child, eyebrows quirking to ask where did this come from, and did you give this to me? this blood? as though being able to form words with this dying mouth could ever make right the question the cloud the black the black the black black black black black] HOW DO YOU KNOW MY SON

what the fuck is going on

He falls through the sky and collides with a hardwood floor, scrabbles, sprints, sees the rolling door of the UNDISCLOSED LOCATION and—

The Here and Now
The Prime Timeline

—gasps for breath, looks around, tries to calm the pounding of his heart, the pressure on his chest. There is no helicopter around him, only the walls of a hospital. Gates' heart trembles in his chest. Was he ever in a helicopter?

“What the fuck,” Wright asks in a croak, fingernails clawed into her palms. She throws the shower curtain aside, looks to the lock on the door, crosses the room to feel the bolt of the lock with her own hands as though her eyes can no longer be trusted. “What the FUCK.”

"Hello?" Gates asks to the empty room, uncertain as to why he suddenly thought about Wright Tracy.

She isn't even here.

“It learned something,” Wright says in dawning horror. “It learned something.”

"Oh shit."

Geographic Region Redacted

[the minotaur claws the walls, stalks the hallways, thoughtlessly expands the words of mold, screams]

how do you know my son

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