The Man at the Hotel – Season 4 Episode 9

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The Storage Papers is a fiction horror podcast.

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Profanity, references to drugs and prostitution
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Jeremy reviews the full footage of the tape from Season 1 Episode 2 with Detective Anderson, which was sent to him by Doctor Patel. It reveals that after the Grinner left the hotel, Ron Hammond appeared, but never told anyone. Anderson tells Jeremy to record a meeting with Ron and they’ll confront him together.

Transcript

WRITTEN BY JEREMY ENFINGER

After our last episode, I’ve been contemplating a lot of claims found in those medical documents. I don’t mean to push everything else aside that we learned, but the possibility of knowing who my parents are, the idea that Hydra had some kind of file on me, and the fact that they labeled me as a Maker… it’s all just a little too unbelievable if I’m being completely honest.

You’re all going to laugh at me for telling you this, but do you recall in my journal entries last season how I’d been experiencing things in my dreams, and then seeing them manifest in real life the next day?  Well, last weekend, I thought to myself, “If I’m really a Maker, I should be able to manifest things from nothing.”

So I tried.  I did everything from concentrating really hard in a quiet room to meditating, and I even tried convincing myself that “the Force” was a real thing.  I got nothing!  Well, I take it back; I got an extreme eye roll from my wife, who I’m confident is not listening to this podcast and wouldn’t believe in any of this stuff even if I told her.  I’m not sure if she took my little experiment as just being ridiculous in general or if it actually caused more concern.

So for the time being, I’m still looking through the documents Doctor Patel passed onto me.  I became intrigued when I came across a small plastic bag with some notepad scribblings and a flash drive within it. A good friend of mine who listens to the podcast basically called me crazy for opening a flash drive of unknown origin with unknown contents on my personal computer, citing many good reasons I should probably be avoiding that, so I decided I needed a plan in case I found the need to review anything risky.

I had Detective Anderson introduce me to a computer forensics expert he met through work and had a discussion about what precautionary steps could be taken if I ever needed to download some files or look at a flash drive again.  My goals were to prevent any malware or spyware from being downloaded onto my computer, and to eliminate the possibility of someone tracking my location.  So I bought a used laptop with a dead battery off Craigslist.  It’s four or five years old and only works when the power cable is connected.

Now, I don’t power that laptop on when I’m at home at all.  That’s a hard and fast rule.  When I do power it on, I make sure to go somewhere with free WiFi, and I am going to try not to visit the same place twice, so I asked for help making a list of all of the locations in the L.A., Orange, San Diego, and Riverside Counties where I could easily drop in and connect.  You know, it’s amazing how many places actually do have free WiFi available.

Anyways, I went to one of these locations, powered on the laptop, and plugged in the flash drive.  There were two folders on it.  One of the folders had a readme.txt file and the other had a video file.  

The readme file contained a typed message to me from Doctor Patel, who apparently may have been aware of her impending death.  It reads:


Jeremy,

I have come to fear the worst and I’m afraid I will be unable to deliver this to you in person.  While I realize you have very little reason to trust me, you should know that everything I’ve done on behalf of SCIC for Hydra was to advance the field.  Sometimes we must be willing to accept some necessary evils in the pursuit of our goals to further our scientific understanding of the universe for the betterment of our species.  

It has been a pure pleasure to listen to your podcast while you attempt to solve your little puzzles along the way.  It seems you have gained a following, along with some inside help from people who are risking quite a lot, including myself now.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned about Ron Hammond, it’s that you should be cautious with how much trust you place in the man.  He can be a great asset, so long as your goals are aligned.  

I believe you’ve seen a portion of the video I placed on this flash drive.  The fact that you covered this video so early in your podcast is what initially put you on my radar, but it’s clear that you have only scratched the surface of the significance of that event.  If I’m able to later, I will try to send you more information, but for now, this is all the sharing I have time for.

You have everything you need.  All the best!

Adhira Patel


Hmmm… A lot to unpack in this note.  She’s right, you know.  I don’t trust her.  But she’s also managed to perfectly describe my feelings about my level of trust in Ron as well.  And is it possible that she really believes everything she’s doing is because she’s trying to help?  Some of what she’s saying is a bit cryptic.  It’s as if she knew she was nearing the end, but at the same time, she had hope that she would still be around to share more information with me.  I guess her luck ran out.  I better take a peek at that video.

I recognized the same starting point of the video with the stamp dated March 11, 2015 and the video starts around 8:02 p.m. and 40 seconds, as it did when I previously viewed it.  I checked my notes, and the previous video I viewed way back when I started the podcast was 4 minutes  and 2 seconds long.  As previously noted, the video was shot in IR mode and the first couple of minutes didn’t show anything.  

At 2 minutes and 56 seconds, a person who I now know to be the Grinner manifests near the right side of the pole and can be seen walking left to right toward one of the hotel windows and peeked in.  

Chills traveled up my spine and down toward my extremities as the hairs on my arms stood at attention in a state of heightened awareness.  I had forgotten how strangely he moved, and it reminded me of being chased in that church, only at a much faster pace then.  That unnatural movement of his, almost gliding with his arms dangling by his sides, and that peculiar appearance.    

I watched as he looked in the hotel room window, then he did the strange motions with his head.  Looking at it this time, it reminds me of how an owl moves.  The neck elevating and receding, going up and down in diagonal directions, different angles with each glance and changing every time. It was definitely not humanly possible.  Perhaps an owl was the closest thing I could relate to what he does next, something I knew was coming, yet intensified the chills I was still experiencing.  The head turns completely around to face the camera as if he knows he’s being watched.  The walking backwards, the staring at the camera, and that weird head-tilt he does… it’s just as creepy as the first time I watched it.  But even moreso, I think the reason it creeps me out so much is because it doesn’t seem like a recording.  It’s almost like he knows you’re watching this.

He stood there for a seriously long time, and I think the original video I saw ended in static with him still standing there, but according to the play head, this video was only about two thirds complete. The Grinner remained motionless for nearly an additional minute.  He was so still, I thought perhaps I paused the video by mistake, but the counter on the video player and the timestamp were both still rolling.  Then, while keeping his head still, his body turned around to face the same direction his head was.  And while still locking eyes with the camera, he casually walks below the frame.

The video was still playing though, and I scanned every corner of the field of view looking for something new.  I half-expected this to be one of those jump-scare videos with the grinner’s face appearing up close to the camera, accompanied by a speaker-distorting scream at maximum volume.  That would imply that Doctor Patel had a sense of humor though, and that’s definitely not something I’ve seen (or expected) from her.

What I saw next was even more confusing.  There were headlights on the ground in the parking lot screen-left, just a little further away from the camera from where the Grinner made his creepy appearance.  They were dim at first, and got brighter, then remained still as if a car, just outside of frame, had come to a quick stop.  The headlights remained on as a man appeared in the frame and began walking in the direction of the hotel room, too far away from the IR light source to see any real details except that he was wearing long pants and a long-sleeved jacket.

As the man approaches the hotel room that the Grinner just left, he gives the door a couple of knocks and waits for a few seconds before I see his right hand reach inside the left side of his jacket, where it remained as he knocked again with his left hand.  I’m assuming the man was armed.  The man starts to look around, as if to check to see if anyone is watching.  Next to the door, the light still isn’t good enough to identify him.  He then goes and looks inside the window for a moment, cautiously peeking around the edge of the glass.  Unfortunately, he’s now facing away from the camera.  Next, he takes his hand out of his pocket and cups both hands around his face and leans against the window to get a better view.

Another second or two goes by, and then the man drops both hands down by his side and takes a step backwards.  I’m guessing he’s seen some details from the crime scene because he raises both hands to his head and brushes his fingers through his hair.  He stands for a moment with his hands still on the top of his head, and then he pulls something out of his pocket and begins wiping down the window, as if he’s trying to get rid of his fingerprints.

The man steps away from the window again and pauses as if he’s taking all of the details in again.  Then he turns away quickly and begins walking quickly back toward his car, just far enough from the light in the window for me to really get a good look at his face.  But as he approaches his car, he is looking in both directions, seemingly checking to make sure there aren’t any witnesses.  When he gets to the edge of the video frame, he glances left over his shoulder, right in the direction of the camera, and the headlights he left on help to provide enough detail to see his face.  A face I know all too well.  The face of Ron Hammond.   

Fuck this guy!  You know, I really wish Ron would level with me.  From Day One his whole involvement in this thing has been a rollercoaster of emotions for me.  One day, he’s on your side and the next, he’s doing something shady.  And the withholding of information is driving me insane!  I feel like I’ve been chasing my tail while this guy just watches!  Fuck him!  I need to make a phone call.


SOUND: The phone is ringing.

ANDERSON: This is Anderson

JEREMY: Hey, it’s Jeremy. I just saw something that you need to see for yourself.


In my heightened emotional state, I hadn’t considered that perhaps Anderson was just as shady as Ron, only better at hiding it.  I paused for a moment to consider the thought, and dismissed it after realizing that Anderson typically shared the same feelings I did when we learned of new details like this.


ANDERSON: Hello?

JEREMY: Yeah, sorry. This needs to be something you see in person.  Can I drop by your office?

ANDERSON: Sure, but it will have to wait until after one P.M.  

JEREMY: No problem.  I’ll be there at 1.


Something inside me still questioned whether or not running right over to Anderson with this was wise.  Considering what I learned at El Campo Cemetery, I suppose it doesn’t really make much difference whether he learns about Ron being there or not.  Still, I’m starting to develop a lack of trust in people, but maybe I’m just being paranoid.  Oh and to the listeners, I’m sorry I haven’t filled you in on El Campo yet.  There’s just one more thing I need to check on before I do.  Thanks for being patient!

I arrived at Detective Anderson’s office at 12:45 p.m. and was informed he was still in a meeting, but also told I could wait in his office.  I was also asked if I wanted a cup of coffee or a water, which I declined.  They were being more friendly than usual to me.  Perhaps I was here often enough that they’ve gotten to know me.

I wouldn’t exactly call Anderson’s desk an “office.”  It’s basically a desk on one side of the room, in a row of 10 desks, mirrored by another 10 on the other side of the room.  There are no walls or doors, or even cubicle dividers.  In fact, the whole room didn’t offer much privacy at all.  I sat in a chair between adjacent desks, and I could see a name plaque on the desk behind me that said, “Collins.” Anderson’s partner.

More than half of the desks were empty, and I counted two other civilians in the room, both in handcuffs.  The man in handcuffs was about three desks down on the same side of the room.  He sat across from a detective with his head down and appeared to be crying.  

I surveyed the room a few times, wondering which direction Anderson was going to come from.  The woman in handcuffs was directly across the room from me.  She was handcuffed to a ring on the chair handle.  She was early 20’s, blonde, and thin.  My first thought was she was a prostitute, though I really don’t have a reason why that came to mind.  Perhaps because that’s what you always see on procedural cop shows on TV and that was about the extent of my experience with seeing people in handcuffs.  

I must have been staring as I sorted all of this out in my head because I hadn’t realized she was staring back at me with sunken eyes and mascara that had run down her cheeks.  I forced a weak smile, and before I could look away, she smiled back, revealing brown-stained teeth that contrasted with everything else about her appearance.  

Methamphetamine.  San Diego was long considered the “meth capital of the United States” and up until the late 1990’s, more than half of the meth in the country that was seized was captured coming up from Mexico. I’m not sure where the new “capital” is, but meth still has a presence here.  

I decided to turn my gaze toward Anderson’s chair across the desk from mine to avoid any more unintentional staring.  I found spinning the flash drive between my fingers as I recalled details about the video I was about to share.  I was started when I felt a firm pat on my shoulder from Anderson as he rounded the desk toward his chair.  


ANDERSON: So what brings you to my neck of the woods?


I looked over at the woman with the meth-mouth, who had perked up in her chair and had been watching and listening to our introduction.  


JEREMY: Is there somewhere we could go with access to a computer and a  little privacy?

ANDERSON: Follow me.


Anderson picked up a laptop from his desk and as I got up to follow him, the room began spinning.  I reached out and clumsily grabbed the back of the chair I had been sitting in to steady myself.  My vision had almost gone dark, but was coming back into view when I felt Anderson’s hand grab my upper arm.


ANDERSON: You okay there?

JEREMY:  Yeah, I just got dizzy for a second.

ANDERSON:  You probably got up too fast or skipped a meal.  You want some coffee?


Why does everyone keep offering me coffee here?


JEREMY:  No, I’m good now.  I think I’m just burning the candle at both ends lately, ya know?

ANDERSON: You’re sure?

JEREMY: Yep… after you!


I followed him to a room used for questioning.  We sat down across from one another as he opened up the laptop.  I pulled out the flash drive and told him to watch the video.  He fumbled around for a moment before double-clicking on the video file.  As it began to play, he asked if I wanted to go to his side of the table to watch the video with him.  I declined.  A few seconds in, he looked over his laptop screen at me.


ANDERSON: Okay, I’ve seen this before.

JEREMY: True, but you haven’t seen this much of the video.  Just keep watching.


Anderson’s eyes returned to the monitor.


ANDERSON: Damn, that guy gives me the creeps.


He continued watching until he saw the Grinner walk off screen.


ANDERSON: Okay, so it shows him leaving the camera view. I don’t recall seeing that the last time I watched this.

JEREMY: Keep watching.

SOUND: Fingernails tap on the table.

ANDERSON: Okay, these look like headlights on a car, and it’s possible they were in a hurry given how much the lights bounce. (pause) Tell me we’re going to see who this guy is who’s knocking on the door.

JEREMY: Keep watching.

ANDERSON: Okay, so he’s obviously armed and sees the crime scene here.  I just can’t make out his face.  And… he’s cleaned up his fingerprints from the window.

JEREMY: Almost there.

ANDERSON: Is that?  Is that Ron?!


I wanted to sit directly across from Anderson to get a better view of his face to gauge his response.  His reaction of surprise seemed genuine.  Anderson was a no-nonsense kind of guy, and I’m confident I would be able to tell if he was only acting surprised.


JEREMY: It looks like him to me.

ANDERSON: I don’t know what to say.  Where did you get this video?

JEREMY: I got it in the mail… from Dr. Patel, along with a bunch of other stuff I’m reviewing right now.

ANDERSON: …and now she’s dead.

JEREMY: And now she’s dead.

ANDERSON: We need to speak with Ron.


I could tell Anderson was uneasy about this new-found involvement in the homicide case from the hotel.  Ron had been aware of the case and all of its developments, and said nothing to Anderson about being at the crime scene, or even being aware of it.  

Anderson must have been pretty put off because he dialed Ron’s phone right away.  Apparently Ron didn’t pick up because Anderson’s voice message was straight and to-the-point.  


ANDERSON: Ron, it’s Mark.  Call me as soon as you get this.


Almost immediately after Anderson hung up his phone, my own rang.  


SOUND: A phone is ringing.


I got confused and Anderson looked at me as if we were sharing the same feeling, as if perhaps Ron was calling me instead of calling him back.  I glanced at my phone.


JEREMY: It’s Brianne.  I’m going to take this.


Anderson nodded as he looked back down at his laptop and began to replay the video.


JEREMY: Hey, Brianne.

BRIANNE: Hey, I just dropped by your house.  Where are you right now?

JEREMY: I’m actually sitting here with Detective Anderson.  Why?


Anderson peered over his laptop at me and shook his head, “no,” implying I should avoid giving Brianne any details about seeing Ron on the video.  I gave him a quick nod to say I understood, and his eyes returned to his laptop.


BRIANNE: Oh, did you find something new?

JEREMY: Well, just getting his opinion about a hunch I have.  Nothing new to share just yet.  What’s up?

BRIANNE: Well, I’ve been digging into the medical documents more and cross-referencing some of the names and information in there with the papers.  Guess what I found!

JEREMY: What is it?  Do you really want me to guess?

BRIANNE: No, but did you watch the news yesterday?  

JEREMY: Uh, no.  Why?

BRIANNE: Well, there was a local story about a 42 year-old man who was an English teacher at–

SOUND: Anderson’s phone rings.


Anderson looks at the caller ID, which must have been a number he didn’t recognize and answered while looking at me.  I admit I stopped paying attention to Brianne as I waited to find out if it was Ron on the other end of the line.  When Anderson said I was with him and he wanted to meet ASAP, I had to let Brianne go.


JEREMY: Um, Brianne?  Can I get back to you?  Something has come up and I kind of need to go right now.

BRIANNE: Seriously?  It must be important.

JEREMY: It is.  Sorry, I really want to learn what you found out.  You can wait at my place if you want.  You know where the key is.

BRIANNE: No, that’s okay.  Just call me when you can talk.

JEREMY: Will do!  Thanks!

ANDERSON: Everything okay?

JEREMY: Yeah, she was about to tell me something about yesterday’s news.  Literally, not metaphorically.  Are we on?

ANDERSON:  Sure are!  Ron’s going to meet us in 30 minutes at a diner in City Heights.  You don’t happen to have your recorder with you, do you?

JEREMY: Well, um.  I’ve been recording this whole time.  Sorry.

ANDERSON: I should have known.  You really do need to get better about asking for peoples’ permission before recording them.  But in the interest of our discussion with Ron, maybe don’t let him know.

JEREMY:  No problem. (pause) So, uh… Do I have your permission to–

ANDERSON: Yes, yes, of course! Let’s go.

Maker 22 – Season 4 Episode 8

Maker 22 Episode Art

Listen

The Storage Papers is a fiction horror podcast.

Discretion is advised.

See Content Warnings
Murder, gore, blood, graphic description of death, child experimentation, general horror.
Need to skip this episode? Click here to see the plot.
Through experiments conducted on Malcolm when he was younger that involved prolonged exposure to the Pyramidon, we learn that a Maker possesses the ability to conjure objects from nothing, regardless of their conscious state – which is a key difference between a Maker and a Shepherd.

Transcript

WRITTEN BY JEREMY ENFINGER

SOUND: Brianne is typing again.

BRIANNE:  Jeremy, you’re listed here as a Maker, too.

SOUND: A mouse is double-clicked.

BRIANNE: Your whole life is here, Jeremy.  Your childhood, your birth certificate…your parents’ names!


I can’t seem to take my mind off of this new information.  It’s kept me up at night lately.  I swear, making this podcast has done some serious damage to my sleep patterns… and my relationships.  Or at least it’s putting a strain on them.

When I told my wife that I may have actually learned who my parents are through the research I’m putting into the show, she didn’t seem very impressed.  I don’t remember the exact words she used, but it was one of those single word answers.  The ones like “fine” or “okay” without so much as a glance in my direction.  If you aren’t married or if you’ve never had a life partner for any amount of time, let me clue you in on a little secret.  When you hear these responses, things are definitely not “fine” and you should choose your next words with caution.

We had a long discussion that night after the kids were asleep.  I was so excited to share the news about my parents, the possibilities of actually finding them and getting to know them, imagining that our children might actually have grandparents they could  get to know.  She isn’t close to her parents, so the kids haven’t really known what it’s like to have grandparents, just like me.  Most extended family has always been kind of a disappointment, and I guess I hadn’t realized how alone the world felt until I learned my parents’ names.

What ultimately came out of the discussion was the realization that the whole time I’ve been making this podcast, I’ve really been kind of neglecting my family.  Sure, I’m working my day job and meeting my obligations to provide for them, but after dinner each night, my nose is right back in the papers.  She let me know that the kids had been having problems at school and they were likely seeking attention.  And though I’ve been in my home this whole time, I haven’t really been “present.” In addition, she had concerns about my overall health, saying I looked pale and was losing weight.  Normally that would be welcome, but she said it wasn’t “in a good way.”

Another helpful tip from many years of marriage and a few counseling sessions under my belt: when your partner opens up to you and shares their feelings, even if it makes you angry, take some time to reflect on what they’re saying instead of reacting in the moment.  That’s a problem I have been working on.  The anger came from the assumption that she really didn’t care about what I had learned, and the possibility that my parents are out there. That assumption is the key.  Instead, I took some time to consider my reported lack of presence, and I almost always come to the conclusion that she’s right; that I’m the asshole.  Or at least, I’m contributing to the problem and I can understand why she feels that way.  But more importantly, she’s telling me these things because she values our relationship and wants restoration.  Essentially, I’ve been severing my connection with her and the kids, and the knife is these papers.

Anyways, I’m sorry to take you down this road on the podcast, but someone recently told me I wasn’t injecting enough of my personality into the show.  So there it is… for better or for worse.  I will say, I do have a new therapist I’ve been seeing since the last one I had refused to see me.  Apparently they were all bent out of shape about the nonsense Patel pulled to surprise me at my scheduled session.  It’s just another love/hate aspect of the papers that keeps me conflicted in the pursuit of truth by digging into them.  I promised I would spend more time with the family, even if that meant less time with the papers, and we agreed to a certain level of moderation as long as I could still show up to be husband and father every day.

By the way, I did follow through with that meeting at El Campo Cemetery last Saturday, but I can’t say anything about that just yet.  I promise, I’ll fill you in as soon as I can.

Now, back to the papers:

After learning that both Malcolm and I were labeled as “Makers”, I wanted to learn everything I could about what that means.  My first instincts were to go to the documents that Dr. Patel left me, and a particular folder stood out to me labeled, “M-22.” I’m assuming that folders labeled “S” relate to Shepherds and now folders labeled “M” refer to Makers.

I opened the folder and learned I was right.  The very first document had a cover page with a very brief title saying, “Subject M-22, formerly known as (redacted), Malcolm Foye.”  Malcolm!  Wait, why is the name, Malcolm Foye listed but some other random identifier redacted?  Damn, now that I’m thinking about it, I’ve seen references to “M-22” in other documents in the papers… at least, the papers that I inherited from the auction, which used to be Ron’s.  Those have been Malcolm this whole time, and I’ve just been breezing by them because I didn’t think they were relevant.

As I flipped to the first document behind the cover page, I immediately noted it had the now-familiar seven fingered hand stamp on it, but with a superimposed capital “M.”  I hadn’t seen this before.  The document seemed to establish the reason for the switch in labels from “Shepherd” to “Maker,” and it reads:


Proposal for classification change of (redacted) to M-22

5 February, 1998

With the M-class being relatively new, the subject began exhibiting new abilities over the previous several weeks following a series of Pyramidion Proximity Experiments. Unfortunately, the experiments were limited due to the random nature of the Pyramidion’s appearance and disappearance, and the amount of travel time required to move the subjects to its location this time.

While other subjects experienced marked enhancement of Shepherd abilities as a result of the limited Proximity Experiments, (redacted) went into the experiments with superior Shepherd characteristics, even when compared to other subjects after the experiments.  

Preceding the exposures, he was essentially able to manifest fictitious entities from his dreams into reality (see Appendices A-F).  He was also very skilled in his remote viewing capabilities when subjected to field study analysis (see Appendices G-K).  

As a result of additional exposure, previously unseen abilities began to develop in the subject that are similar in nature to known Makers.  

Examples:

Within twenty-four hours post-exposure, the subject had been in his living quarters reading his literature homework assignment, a chapter in the book, “Lord of the Flies.”  He self-reported to his professor the following morning that he was simply able to “produce” a conch shell by thinking about it while he was awake.  After the professor reported his claim, unscheduled testing ensued.

Within seventy-two hours post-exposure, he was manifesting inanimate objects at-will, during waking hours.  Under testing observation with multiple witnesses and video recording, objects were suggested to him for manifestation.  During a single sixty minute session, the subject was able to produce replicas of objects that were in the room with him that included a pencil, a chair, and a desk.  

Testing was concluded when the subject, himself, suggested he attempt something more challenging.  He then produced a pencil sharpener.  Upon its manifestation, the subject freely tested the pencil sharpener’s functionality by picking up the original pencil that was already in the room (not the one he manifested) and inserted it into the sharpener.  It was completely functional.  

Notes:

Several relevant observations were made following several hours of video review of this session:

  1. Each object manifested was somewhat flawed upon manifestation:  It is unclear if the subject was aware of these flaws, but among the noted features were:
    • The conch shell seemed to be made of a porcelain-like material, rather than the calciferous structure of a real shell.
    • The pencil he made, after analysis, had small divots in the wood of an unexplained nature not present in the original pencil.
    • The chair had one leg slightly shorter than the others, which wasn’t initially noted, but was when someone sat in it.
    • The pencil sharpener did not have a power cord or known source of electricity.  This was highly irregular because we witnessed the subject operating it successfully, which was not able to be replicated by our team once the subject was dismissed.  It would appear that the subject may have intentionally or unintentionally aided in the operation when he attempted it.
  2. The subject’s mood and demeanor changed dramatically between sessions.  Upon presentation of the conch shell and undergoing a series of questions by our team, the subject appeared to be excited and eager to share results with the team.  After the seventy-two hour session, the subject seemed more hesitant to respond to questions honestly.  His mood shifted to defensive and somewhat cocky.  He began to question the necessity of continuously being kept within the grounds of our facility, and started asking questions about why he wasn’t being allowed to explore beyond. He was provided a sedative when he became agitated. 
  3. The video recording malfunctioned during moments of manifestation.  A visual artifact, most likely some kind of static, appeared on the VHS tape during playback making it difficult to visualize.  We can only hypothesize that the manifestation of these objects created some kind of temporary electromagnetic field or distortion as the recordings post-manifestation did not contain the artifact.  

Conclusion:

Further research is going to be required to determine the extent of the subject’s capabilities and the direction our research may take us.  It’s too early to make any evidence-based conclusions outside the observation that additional abilities are present within the subject compared to the previously noted limitation of Shepherd abilities.  Comparison to other Maker test records should be made to determine similarities and to identify any differences.

Recommendations:

Regular testing at forty-eight hour intervals:  At this time, abilities seem to be increasing over time since the Pyramidion exposure tests.  It is unclear if this increase is due to latent effects of proximity or potentially due to the subject’s progressive learning capability to use these new abilities over time.  

Two teams: while these new abilities exist and should be further tested and monitored from the standpoint of Maker classification, we have not yet tested Shepherd abilities to determine any potential change post-exposure.  Each set of abilities would be more efficiently and effectively documented and analyzed by each team focusing on their own specialty areas.  In the interest of time, and due to the rising mood and demeanor challenges of the subject, I recommend testing parameters be discussed prior to each session and testing coincide, instead of doubling the duration of testing sessions for each team.  To accomplish this goal, more collaboration is needed, which will require a significant degree of transparency between departments within Hydra and less compartmentalization.

Additional testing parameters:  This is just a hypothesis, but the likely presence of magnetic distortion that could be the cause for the artifacts on the VHS tape recordings indicates the need to measure it.  I propose a similar setup to the electromagnetic measurements taken during Pyramidion exposure sessions, and if the subject is willing, brainwave pattern analysis.  Both should occur in real-time and be compared to levels present when the Pyramidion is present.  

Precautionary measures:  As we know, several negative short-term and some long-term effects of Pyramidion exposure have been noted in some people.  I would advise increased safety precautions during Maker-testing be implemented to be modeled after Pyramidion testing precautions.  If the subject is producing high levels of electromagnetic radiation during the manifestation process (as the video artifacts might suggest), and (assumed to be) inconsistent with other previously-classified Makers, prolonged exposure must be limited.

In addition, I recommend post-testing therapy sessions for the subject in light of the changes in demeanor following the manifestation of objects.  More information is needed on which drugs and chemicals may suppress these abilities, if any, and in the meantime we would be wise to avoid situations that would result in conflict with the subject, or create any tendencies toward aggression.  We need to consider the fact that some differences exist between this subject and known makers, and extreme caution should be placed to avoid making any assumptions about similarities and differences before further testing can take place. 

Personnel with training and experience in conflict resolution should be present during all testing sessions, and we should remain conservative and take the subject’s willingness to endure testing sessions into consideration for the time being to prevent unnecessary negative outcomes and/or uncontrolled manifestation events.


Well, that was interesting.  To me, this appears like at this time, they had already identified a few people with Maker abilities and they aren’t quite sure yet if Malcolm was actually developing these abilities or if he was turning into something different following exposure to this Pyramidion.

The next document appears to have the same symbol… you guessed it!  The seven fingered hand, still with the capital “M” superimposed.  But it also has a symbol shared by many of the other papers, and one that I’ve shared content from previously.  There’s a pentagram symbol right next to the seven fingered hand.  The pentagram has some smaller symbols within it.  It contains what are likely other pagan symbols, and if I had to guess, it likely represents various occult symbols.  It’s interesting because I think I saw a similar symbol when I was looking into the Order of the Divine Acolytes quite a while ago.

This document looks like it was someone’s notes, strictly observation, from one of these testing sessions.  It reads:


Clinical Observation Notes for Malcolm Foye and Assessment

22 February 1998

I was brought in today as an inter-departmental consultant to observe and analyze testing for M-22.  I have only been briefed on the initial proposal for Maker status and intentionally excluded from two sets of testing results between the initial assessment and today’s session.  I’m not yet certain why they would be seeking consultation from an occult specialist, but I’m forced to assume my lack of access is typical as “need-to-know.”

I have been asked to observe and document from behind a two-way mirror approximately twenty-five meters from the subject as a safety precaution, but I am also monitoring three video feeds which are displaying various points of view including a close-up of the subjects face, a pulled-back view showing the subject’s entire body while sitting at a table with the clinical psychologist in full view, and a video feed from within the room I am in at the twenty-five meter distance.  I also have a fourth monitor displaying the subject’s brainwave patterns.

The first several minutes were seemingly uneventful, and I should note that I do not have an audio feed, so I am not certain what kind of conversation is being conducted.  The subject seems to be at ease, often smiling and seems to be willingly participating in the conversation.  One other thing of note is that he occasionally seems to be glancing toward his left.  On that side of the room, there is another mirror, and I can only assume he is aware he is being observed by another individual or team, which seems like a fair assumption if I were in his shoes.  

Approximately seven minutes into the session, it appears as if the subject is being guided through a meditation exercise.  His eyes are closed and he is sitting with upright, yet relaxed posture.  The psychologist is speaking and the subject is taking deeper breaths in succession.  My eyes were drawn to monitor four as the brainwave patterns began to reduce in amplitude and frequency.  Sharp peaks became short rolling waves as the subject proceeded with the exercise.  

A period of two or three minutes passed without change until I saw a very large spike in the brainwave pattern.  Sharp peaks grew higher in amplitude and frequency.  It was similar to what an earthquake looked like on a Richter scale.  When I turned my glance from the brainwave pattern to the up-close facial video feed, there was a slight static artifact which made me think perhaps the camera was farther away than in the initial proposal document, only zoomed in to minimize the artifact effect.  But that wasn’t what caught my attention.

The subject’s eyes were open, but rolled backwards into his head, revealing only their whites.  It could have been an effect caused by the distortion, but I also observed what appeared to be swirling colors and the emission of a faint glow emanating from his eye sockets and nostrils.  The effect grew slightly when his mouth parted.  

I could read the psychologist’s lips when he asked the subject, “Are you okay, Malcolm?”

At that point, the subject placed his palms flat on the table to steady himself as his body began to exhibit tremors.  This indicated to me that he was fully aware of his body’s disposition and this was not seizure-like behavior, but controlled.  Once glance back at the brainwave patterns, and I could see the peaks disappearing beyond the scale of the equipment.  

The table in front of the subject began to shake, as did the two-way mirror I was observing through.  A low rumble echoed in the room as a smile developed on the subject’s face.  The lights flickered for a moment before completely turning off and the monitors went dark.  Within a second or two, emergency flood lights came on, along with the video feeds.  The monitor with the brainwave pattern remained blank, but the video feeds were back up with diminished visibility due to the lower ambient light in the room, but a greater noticeable light emanating from the subject.  

As the light gradually faded from the subject as he slid down in his chair, he seemed to be experiencing an element of fatigue.  I could more clearly make out what was going on by observing directly instead of through the video monitors.  

At that time, some movement in the corner of the room behind the psychologist caught my eye.  In the dim light, it appeared as if a shadow was growing.  First, it started out just a few feet above the ground and was spherical in shape.  As it grew, it began to morph into something tall with a humanoid shape.  The psychologist somehow became aware of this presence and turned around to face it.  He appeared intrigued and amazed at first, and I wondered if he was able to see something different from his vantage point.

The shadow being walked toward the psychologist, who remained staring at its face.  It towered over the man.  I’d estimate it to be eight to nine feet tall given the ceilings were ten feet.  Then with the speed similar to a scorpion’s sting, the psychologist was thrust from a sitting position in front of the shadow to being slammed head-first into the ceiling above where he sat.  There he remained, pinned to the ceiling for what seemed like an eternity, though it was likely less than ten seconds, as if gravity didn’t exist.  His neck was severely displaced from the impact as his head was flattened.  One of his eyes was dangling by the optic nerve, freed from its socket as blood streamed out of his mouth and nostrils and began pooling on the chair he had just been in, and eventually flowed onto the floor.

In an instant, the lights came back on and gravity got to work as the psychologist’s body fell from the ceiling, landing on the upright chair, and clearly causing more lower spine damage as a result of the fall.  Blood splashed in every direction.  Some landed on the face of the subject, who sat still like a statue throughout most of the encounter.  Then I watched as a gap in the blood on his face grew and revealed an unnatural, exceedingly wide grin.  In that moment, my eyes locked with his, and I can’t explain how, but I knew he was aware of my presence some twenty-five meters away behind a mirror.

I blinked and his grin had all but disappeared as a door into his room flew open and three orderlies ran over to him to place him in restraints while he sat in his chair.  A large syringe was injected into his neck before he went unconscious and was carried out of the room by the orderlies; One for each arm and one at his feet.

This concludes my observations of the event.  As I previously noted, I have been asked here as a consultant from the Occult Studies Department to observe and provide an assessment, or at least offer my opinion, based on my professional expertise.  I am assuming, without much direction given, that I am to comment on the shadow being I witnessed as I have had little exposure to the psychological testing of the Maker group.  I find this ironic because in my rare interactions with the Department of Psychical Research, my line of work had been mocked quite publicly as it was never given any consideration as a serious area of scientific research.  I could say the same about their department.

Either way, at first glance the manifestation of this entity appears to be demonic in nature, but to prove that, I would need to know the identity of the demon and confront it when it shows itself again.  I can think of a couple of demons with this known appearance, and one of them would be considered an eminent threat of positively ID’d.  However, its behavior is not necessarily consistent with any known demonic entities.  

If I were to conjure a guess, it appeared to be doing the will of the subject rather than manipulating the subject to do its own will.  The only known service that demonic entities perform is to the greater evil or to higher-level demons.  I suppose it’s possible, and that’s if this was a real demon, that the goals of the subject could have aligned with the demon’s, but I know of no example of such a partnership.  No, based on my observations, this entity was brought forth by the subject.

How could the subject have manifested this shadow being?  If the subject was strictly a Shepherd, this manifestation would have occurred in a dream state.  I would need to consult the brainwave patterns to make sure this wasn’t the case, but I’m nearly certain it wasn’t based on my physical observations of the subject.  This means the being was manifested while the subject was awake, which would imply the subject meets the Maker criteria despite having documented Shepherd abilities.

To possess both Shepherd and Maker abilities is anomalous.  It’s possible there are individuals who have been documented by the Psychical Research Department who have previously, but I, personally, have never seen it.

Because I fear this may be new territory to the likes of what Hydra has seen before, we must consider several possible scenarios, some outside of our current knowledge.  First, the subject could possess both Shepherd and Maker abilities. Second, there could be new abilities presented as a result of the close proximity of this mysterious Pyramidion and its unknown origin.  Perhaps this object somehow amplifies or distorts abilities already present.  

I fear others in the Occult Studies Department might incorrectly conclude this entity as demonic if shown the footage.  But I could not suggest what exactly this entity might be, if not demonic.  Was it brought here from some parallel dimension?  Is it possible that demons don’t behave the same way in other dimensions?  I would recommend an expert in string theory be questioned about this.  

Of course, it’s always possible that the subject simply imagined this being and manifested it from absolutely nothing.  If this is the case, the objects he would be capable of manifesting would only be limited to his imagination, which could place us all in extreme danger.  We must consider that the murder of the clinical psychologist I witnessed could have been performed by either the subject himself, using the shadow entity to disguise his own actions.  Or, and I’m not sure if this is better or worse, the shadow entity itself murdered the psychologist.  If that possibility is to be considered, what other abilities might this entity possess?  And does it exist and act now with its own free will?  If that is the case, what are its motives?  As you can see, the circle of questions leads down a very dangerous path.  Unfortunately, in order to answer these questions, one must form hypotheses that are deadly, not to mention, incredibly unethical to put to the test.  I fear we may no longer be able to control the outcomes of these experiments, and it is without reservation that I must recommend they cease immediately and the subject be terminated.

I do not make this recommendation lightly, but we must also find out if it was the subject’s imagination that inspired the creation of this being, or if his thoughts were influenced prior to this event.  I wonder, due to the similarity in characteristics of this being with demonic entities (especially known ones), was he provided with some literature or education in occult studies or demonology that preceded this event?  This must be learned, but not at the expense of allowing the subject to regain consciousness again.  

Holy shit!  In a lot of ways, I can’t believe this is the same Malcolm that I’ve met and spoken to… and carved a symbol into with a dull knife.  I was already cautious of him, but what the hell am I supposed to think after all this?

It occurred to me that this kind of makes sense to an extent.  At least the part that talks about this shadow being not necessarily being a demonic entity.  We faced the Grinner in a church, thinking that would somehow weaken him or prevent him from having any authority there.  He dismembered a werewolf-slash-priest and morphed into a creature I could have never imagined in my worst nightmares.  What if he wasn’t a demon at all?  That would mean that Malcolm created him and knows exactly what he’s capable of doing.  He knows what limitations and weaknesses the Grinner had.  And what’s to say he couldn’t just create him again?  Or maybe something worse?

Even still more perplexing to me is why my name is in the medical documents labeled as a Maker.  Am I capable of similar things?  What kinds of things happened in my childhood that I can’t remember?  I need to go through more of Patel’s documents.

The Pyramidion – Season 4 Episode 7

An old photo depicts a mirrored, pyramid-shaped object in a desert with mountains in the background. In the foreground, a sign labeled "UNITED STATES ARMY" is obscured by a red stamp that says "CLASSIFIED."

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The Storage Papers is a fiction horror podcast.

Discretion is advised.

See Content Warnings
Possible suicide under suspicious circumstances, references to experiments conducted on children, general horror.
Need to skip this episode? Click here to see the plot.
Jeremy receives documents from Doctor Patel. They reference interactions from the nineteen twenties with an object called a “Pyramidion.” This object is the same item Brianne saw in the episode, A House on the Corner, that is shaped like a pyramid and appears to be completely mirrored. Those spending time in proximity to a Pyramidion tend to experience changes and interact with people from the past, even coming away with long-lost objects.
Brianne calls Jeremy and tries using something from Doctor Patel’s letter on the medical files. It unlocks the rest of the files. She discovers that she and her brother are in the files labeled as Shepherds, while Jeremy and Malcolm are in them listed as Makers.
Jeremy receives a text message that says “El Campo – Saturday, nine PM.”

Transcript

WRITTEN BY JEREMY ENFINGER

SOUND: A phone is ringing.

JEREMY: Hello?

DETECTIVE ANDERSON: Oh thank God you’re okay!  I was about to come looking for you. Ron has been calling you, too.  Turn on Channel Eight News!

JEREMY: Okay, I’m watching. It’s about a woman jumping from a highrise. 

DETECTIVE ANDERSON: Jeremy, I’m at the scene now.  The woman…it’s Dr. Patel.

JEREMY: What?!

DETECTIVE ANDERSON: Just wanted to let you know since Ron is looking for her and I can’t seem to get in touch with him.  Would you make sure he knows the next time you speak with him? 

JEREMY: Sure, yeah, I can do that.

DETECTIVE ANDERSON: Everything okay?

JEREMY (VOICE OVER): No. Everything was not okay. 

JEREMY: Yeah…I’m just surprised, is all.


I was surprised alright–surprised that I may be the very last person she communicated with before she died.  Although I highly doubt she committed suicide.  Something’s not right.  I should tell Anderson about the email.  The package.  I’m not sure why I didn’t.  I’m hoping the email address she used wasn’t traceable.  I guess I’m going to need to say something sooner or later.  Just not today.  If I say I waited a couple of days to claim the package, that will give me a chance to review its contents before they connect the email to me.  Then I can say it wasn’t worth mentioning until I confirmed there was an actual package.  I just hope I can look at everything and tell them about it before they realize she emailed me.

God, listen to me!  I’m withholding information from Anderson, but I just don’t know who to trust right now.  My thoughts are always racing.  I just need to calm down and start looking through the box to see what she sent me.

The box looked like it was about the size that reams of copy paper come in, but instead of a lid on the top, it had flaps.  It was extremely heavy.  I pulled out my keys and cut into the tape holding the box flaps open.  It was full of documents filed vertically, taking up the entire width of the box, and there was a small, hand-written note on the top of the stack lying flat.  It reads:


Jeremy,

I realize by now you have little to no reason to trust me, but I have been following your podcast and can’t help but to feel an element of remorse for some of the activities I’ve taken part in on behalf of Hydra, as well as my employer, SCIC.  Things have been so compartmentalized, and I’ve always had my suspicions about what we were doing, but I haven’t really had any confirmation until you started coming forward with some of the contents you’re reviewing that belonged to Ronald Hammond.  

I wish I had more time to explain here, but I fear I have drawn some unwanted attention to myself recently.  While I would be happy to find a way to have a long conversation with you, the risk is far too extreme at the moment, and I figure the contents of this box will supplement your collection and help you to trust me just a little.

Please know that I have been in contact with Malcolm Foye.  We have been working together to find his grandfather, Joseph, who knows where the object is…or at least where it will show up next, and when.

The handwriting gets sloppier here and it seems like she may have been rushed.

I wish I could write more…running out of time now.  The files are in order, so start at the beginning.  You and the others have been through so much!  Will talk soon!

A.P.

LERNAIA (followed by a six-digit number)


“Me and the others?”  “Lernaia?” What the hell does that mean?  I’m using my better judgment and choosing not to read the six-digit number in case my suspicion might be correct about its usage.  She also said, “Will talk soon!”  Even if she was in a hurry, it doesn’t sound like she realized her life was in jeopardy.

I know she’s dead now, but the fact that she admitted she was working with Malcolm–and was likely aware of Brianne being abducted and held against her will by him… that doesn’t exactly inspire a lot of trust.  I sent a text to Brianne to see if Lernaia and those six digits mean anything to her, without providing any context yet. And in the meantime, I’ve got some new documents to dig through.

I think I might know what “object” they’re looking for…and I’m pretty sure Brianne has seen it.  I chose to follow Patel’s instructions and start at the beginning.  I pulled the first file out, which seemed really old and had a few documents contained within.  You’ll be pleased to hear there aren’t any redactions in any of the documents I’ve seen thus far.  The first document is from nineteen twenty-two and the paper is aged.  It appears to be a letter from local law enforcement regarding an object found in the L.A. Basin, though it doesn’t specify exactly where.  It reads:


War Department

Care of the United States Army

Sir,

On November twenty-second, nineteen twenty-two, I was assigned to investigate an object of unknown origin or composition, which was found near a newly discovered oil field in the Los Angeles Basin.  A representative from the drilling team named Walter Doyle claims that the object mysteriously appeared, which was not present the previous day.  Mister Doyle stated he left the field at approximately eighteen-thirty hours on Tuesday, the twenty-first and upon his return around oh five-thirty hours on the twenty-second, the object was around fifty meters from his work site.  Mister Doyle stated the object’s appearance resembled some kind of bomb or projectile and he feared for his safety and for that of his work crew.  I provided specific instructions to maintain at least a one hundred meter distance from the object until it could be thoroughly investigated.

I arrived some time after thirteen hundred hours on the twenty-second to inspect the object and was unable to identify it or determine whether it poses a risk to the vicinity.  I took the liberty of taking some measurements and have maintained a secure perimeter around the object, posting a twenty-four hour watch with our officers rotating duty every eight hours.  

The object is metallic in nature and stands around three meters in height.  It is silver and clearly reflective, with a triangular shape.  I would estimate its base to be around one-half meter and it comes to a very sharp point at the apex, giving it an elongated pyramid-shape. There are no visible signs of construction such as seams or rivets, and it appears to be a single, solid piece of metal.  I could not gather precise measurements for reasons I will explain momentarily and I was not able to complete a close-up inspection of the object as I could only get about ten feet away from it.  

I did not believe it to be an explosive device, so my plan was to dig around its base in order to determine how deep it may have descended into the dirt, if indeed it fell from the sky.  I noticed after about thirty minutes within its presence, I began to feel disoriented and nauseated.  I removed myself from the immediate area and the effects seemed to go away, but when I returned, they only intensified and I began vomiting and experiencing a general weakness in my body.  Another officer on the scene claimed to have the same sensations, though he maintained much further distance from the object, but had been present significantly longer.

One other detail of note that could be subjective, but worthy of mentioning is the perception of things going on around the object seemed to be different for myself and other officers.  It is difficult to explain, but one of my officers noted as I approached the object, it appeared from his vantage point that my movements would slow down and continued to slow down the closer I went to it.  What felt like minutes to me, he claimed, elapsed several hours while he maintained his post at his one hundred meter distance.  He claimed to have been calling out to me, but I did not hear him, nor did I respond.  He had only mentioned it when he asked who would be relieving him for his shift and I was under the impression he had several hours remaining.  When I took my pocket watch out to check the time, he noted my watch was nearly three hours slow compared to his own.  The watch was still functioning and did not need to be wound, and I am certain it was on time at the beginning of my day.  It’s something I can’t quite explain, and am excluding from my initial report.

Because I believe this object to be potentially harmful and of foreign origin, and nothing I have ever seen the likes of, I am formally requesting a military evaluation of the object with all of the resources at the Army’s disposal to determine next steps.  Additional concerns include the proximity to one of the oil fields.  If there is any chance that the object is ordinance of some kind, we wish to avoid any fire damage that may be caused by the ignition of oil in the area. 

With that, we will maintain a patrol around the object at a safe distance around the clock and will await further instructions from you.

Sincerely,

Earnest Thompson

Los Angeles Police Department


This thing sounds exactly like what Brianne had an encounter with in that basement last season.  Very interesting!  Wait a second… hold on just a moment.  

SOUND: Jeremy is typing on a keyboard.

Holy crap! Okay, so if you might recall, I asked for some help with our website seemingly glitching out at the end of last season.  Well, that led down a rabbit hole of puzzles to solve that a small group of our listeners worked on in The Storage Papers’ Discord server.  I’ll spare you the details, but with a little help from 4thTrumpet on Twitter, once all of the puzzles were solved, there were three files that we were given access to.  At least two of them, and likely the third, were Hydra documents.

The first was a field report signed by Doctor Patel, talking about RH (I’m assuming that’s Ron Hammond) finding some kind of locator after someone’s death, which somehow confirmed his loyalty.  There’s mention of the locator being the only instrument capable of finding the object, but the name of the object was redacted in that document.

The second document that was discovered, also a single page, looks like an abstract for a research paper where testing of an object was being conducted titled, “Physical Effects of Temporal Distortion by Proximity.”  It mentioned placing an object, with the name of the object redacted, different distances away from unsuspecting children and taking measurements of magnetism and visible light, as well as brain wave patterns of the kids. Fucking sickos! 

The first two documents had the seven-fingered hand logo on it, but the last document was a map with Coronado Island right in the middle of it.  Two red “X’s” were on the map.  One of them was at the Naval Station on the island.  The other, when plotted in Google Earth, was a residential address.  I’m betting that’s the house that Brianne was in back in Season Three, in the episode, A House on the Corner.  The object she saw–that pyramid–sounds exactly like what’s being described here.  Her experiences with it were vivid, and I recall her saying it just appeared out of nowhere in that basement.  If you’re interested, I’ll post copies of those documents in the show notes on our website.

There’s more from Doctor Patel.  The very next document looks like a field report relating to the pyramid structure from December ninth, nineteen twenty-two.  It reads:


Initial Field Report from Los Angeles County

Army Corps of Engineers

Doctor Henry Barnham Reporting:

Due to the nature of conditions reported prior to the Army Corps of Engineers’ arrival, extreme caution was exercised in assessments taken.  I arrived with my team just two days ago on December 7th and first began physical observation, including photography to confirm the approximate size and shape of this Pyramidion reported by the LAPD was accurate. 

Several observational testing methods were employed to gather data.  We had initially noted several unique characteristics immediately when our instruments were powered on:

There were fluctuations in electromagnetic energy near the object that appeared erratic, and no pattern could be established during our brief observation.  Bursts of radio frequency, electromagnetic radiation, and x-radiation in low amounts were observed.  When our sensors were stationary, the signal was not consistent  in all of the observed electromagnetic spectrums, however, when our sensors were moved closer to the Pyramidion, some changes were seen.

In regards to magnetism, the closer we moved to the object, the higher the magnetic field being detected.  Several readings were taken at varying distances from the Pyramidion, which seemed to correlate with the Inverse Square Law of physics.  In essence, every time we halved our sensor distance to the Pyramidion, the magnetic field grew four times as strong.  Our sensors began to malfunction once we reached a ten meter distance, and could therefore no longer record data.  With the data we had gathered at further distances, we could estimate that the magnetic field seeming to originate from the Pyramidion would be at least one hundred times that of the earth’s gravitational pull, if not more.  Inconsistent with known laws of physics, however, was that the magnetism being detected by our sensors was not observed with ferrous metals being placed within the strongest regions of the field less than ten meters from the source. 

An experimental version of the Geiger Counter was used to detect x-radiation at various distances from the Pyramidion.  Most data collected indicated adherence to the Inverse Square Law as well, considering the Pyramidion as the potential source of radiation.  In contrast, there were noted spikes of energy ranging from sub-second intervals to five or six second intervals, which did not appear to be in a recognizable pattern.  Each spike was accompanied by a decrease in radiation intensity that was not found to be proportional with the preceding spikes.  

We also measured radio waves near the object, which maintained a consistent frequency throughout all of testing.  We were able to measure signal strength at ten meters from the Pyramidion, at one hundred meters, and at one thousand meters in a northerly direction.  As radio waves should also obey the Inverse Square Law of physics and be reduced at further distances, we saw no change in frequency strength at the distances measured.  A decision was made to gather readings of the same distance to the South, the East and the West with identical results.  The only proposed hypothesis, which we were unable to test further, was that the source of the radio waves was larger than the object itself.  Unfortunately, with the data collected and no distinguishable differences in signal strength, we were not able to determine whether the radio waves were originating from the Pyramidion, or if it may have been some kind of geological phenomenon specific to the region.  Data collected later indicated the presence of the Pyramidion may have influenced the radio waves, however it could not be confirmed as the origin, though no data was collected suggesting an alternate origin.

The team decided to make camp overnight with plans to conduct further testing in the morning.  We discussed the potential safety concerns and what precautions we would take the following morning before retiring for the night at approximately twenty-three hundred hours.  Upon waking the next morning at oh five hundred hours, I was notified by one of my team members that the Pyramidion was no longer there.  

I conducted an investigation by interrogating each member of the team individually and in isolation, and all accounts are similar in that the Pyramidion was present before going to sleep, and no one saw it prior to oh five hundred this morning.  We estimated the potential weight to be at least a half-ton based on its dimensions seen above ground, and depending on the metallic composition.  This would require heavy machinery to move and no horse or automobile tracks, or evidence of cranes or lifts were visible in the dirt surrounding the area.  None of the team experienced any noise or sleep disturbances throughout the night, and we cannot explain how it may have left the area.

We spent the morning taking additional readings to compare to data collected the previous day.  

There was no evidence of radiation, which would indicate the Pyramidion is not radioactive and suggest it was the source of the x-radiation.

The aforementioned radio waves were no longer present as well.  This does not lend any evidence that the Pyramidion was the source of the radio waves, however it doesn’t exclude it.  There is a possibility that it somehow amplified a radio signal from an external source, but without further testing in its presence, no further data collection is possible.

In regards to the high levels of magnetism observed yesterday, there remains substantial traces of magnetism in the Pyramidion’s absence.  I have instructed our team to collect core samples of the earth at varying depths for testing, but regardless of those results, I cannot explain how the ground would be able to retain this level of electromagnetism after removal of the source, if indeed that’s what caused it to begin with.  

We have no hypothesis regarding how the radiation was being generated as the Pyramidion does not appear to have moving parts or a power source of any kind.  It makes no noise, however, the physical effects described in the LAPD report were observed in some of my team who were close to it, even with protective gear.  We cannot make any conclusions based on the collected data except that it did not possess the qualities of anything occurring in nature, and the symmetry and observed properties imply it was intentionally constructed with a greater knowledge of physics than our top scientists in the United States.  Of course, those scientists will be contacted for peer review of data and consultation for next steps and if we encounter the Pyramidion again, to develop a protocol based on a potential limited timeframe for observation.


There was another note from Doctor Henry Barnham attached to this one dated three days later.  Unlike the previous one, this one is in handwriting–not typed–and it has some very peculiar implications.


To whom it may concern,

In the last three days since my interaction with the Pyramidion, I have experienced remarkable things.  Along with only one other member of my twelve-man team, we seem to have developed some symptoms not shared by the whole team.  At first, I considered them to be hallucinations, but I later found out that I was observing real events.

The same night the Pyramidion disappeared, I had dreamt of it.  I was standing in front of it, watching my reflection, which was as clear, if not clearer, than any mirror I’ve ever seen.  My hands were making motions and my mouth was moving in the reflection, but I was standing still.  The image then changed from my reflection to seeing lost loved ones, and they interacted with me.  My sister, who passed away when I was in the War, appeared.  Her hand reached toward me in the reflection, and then through the reflection to grasp my wrist.  Her other hand extended through the mirror and when she opened it, a ring was in her palm.  It was our mother’s wedding ring.  I hadn’t seen the ring since my mother passed, and I remember arguing with my sister about who would get the ring since I was courting at the time and she was not.  My sister kept it until she died, and when I returned from the War, I couldn’t find it.  I took the ring from her hand and she retreated back into the Pyramidion. The next morning, I was making my bed when I heard something drop onto the floor.  It was the ring!

The next night, I dreamt I was suspended from the ceiling in my office at the Army Corps of Engineers.  I watched in silence as my superior entered my office, knelt down on one knee, and searched through the file cabinet behind my desk that was low to the floor.  He retrieved a set of data collected from the site where the Pyramidion was located, and then hurried to close the drawer and stand up to leave the room.  When he stood and swung round toward the door, he lost his balance and his ribs caught the corner of my desk, putting a small tear in the linen of his shirt and knocking over a picture of my wife.

The following day, which was yesterday, I returned from lunch to pass him in the hallway outside of my office.  His face was beet-red and he had a file folder under his arm.  As he passed, I stopped him to greet him, and as he turned, I could see the tear in his shirt.  I chose not to pursue any questioning at that time, deciding to look for further confirmation of what I suspected: that my dream was a premonition of this day.  I quickly returned to my office and noticed the picture of my wife face-down on my desk.  It was not like that when I went to lunch.  When I searched my file cabinet, the file with the data was gone.  Thankfully, I had the wherewithal to ask my secretary to make copies of it all early that morning on a silly hunch.  I had no idea it would play out this way.

My experiences continue throughout today, but seem to be dissipating as time goes on.  The dreams are not as vivid and I am having a difficult time remembering details, so I can’t be as certain as the previous two nights that unexplained events are occurring.  For the purpose of research, I would suggest following up with my fellow team members to compare experiences.  For the purpose of security and in the interest of the Army Corps of Engineers, I suggest looking into my direct superior, Doctor James Lowell.

Doctor Henry Barnham

Twelfth December, nineteen twenty-two.


I did some quick searching online for references of a pyramid shape that appears and disappears throughout history.  While I couldn’t specifically find any pyramids, there were a lot of mentions in folklore referring to pyramids and obelisks appearing over centuries.  Sometimes they were noted to have appeared preceding significant historical events, often catastrophic in nature.  Occasionally, they would disappear right before those events unfolded.

I don’t know if they’re related or not, and they’re not pyramids, but do you recall those strange monoliths that were appearing over the last few years?  They were triangle in shape, but they weren’t pointed at the top; just flat.  Some of them had similar features such as no evidence of construction, but some had rivets and were passed off as art pieces.  The first time I heard about these was regarding one discovered in the desert in a canyon in Utah, but I also recall one appearing in Southern California as well, and even as far as Romania in recent years.  I might need to dig into this more, but I have to wonder if they’re related somehow.


SOUND: A phone is ringing.

JEREMY: Hello?

BRIANNE: Hey, it’s me.

JEREMY: I’m going to go ahead and hit the record button… is that enough fair warning?

BRIANNE: Sure, I guess… it’s still annoying though.

JEREMY: Sorry.

BRIANNE: What made you text me “L-Lernaia [bleep]”?

JEREMY: I got it from Patel.  She’s dead by the way… long story and I’ll explain later.

BRIANNE: What?!  I feel like I just saw her… or heard her at least.  I swear that woman was there, where Malcolm was holding me.  I don’t mean to speak ill about the dead, but don’t trust her!  She’s evil.

JEREMY: So, any thoughts on Lernaia?

SOUND: Brianne is typing.

BRIANNE: Um… You got this from Dr. Patel?

JEREMY: Yeah, why?

BRIANNE: I literally just played a hunch right now.  Jeremy, Lernaia [bleep] is the password to the medical files!  I have full access!

JEREMY: Holy shit!  What do you see?

SOUND: Brianne is clicking her mouse.

BRIANNE: There’s so many files!  And there’s a database too.  Hold on.

SOUND: Brianne clicks her mouse again.

BRIANNE: Jeremy, I found files on me and Ben.  We’re labeled as Shepherds.

JEREMY: What?!

SOUND: Brianne is typing.

BRIANNE: Malcolm is in here too…he’s been labeled as a Maker.  What’s a “Maker”?

[pause]

JEREMY: Okay, I’m dumbfounded. Do you recognize any other names?

SOUND: Brianne is typing again.

BRIANNE:  Jeremy, you’re listed here as a Maker, too.

SOUND: A mouse is double-clicked.

BRIANNE: Your whole life is here, Jeremy.  Your childhood, your birth certificate…your parents’ names!

[another pause]

BRIANNE: Jeremy, are you there?

JEREMY: Yeah, I’m just… I guess I’m in a state of disbelief and I don’t really know what to say.

SOUND: A text message alert goes off.

JEREMY: Hang on a sec.

[pause]

JEREMY: I just got a text from a private number.  It says, “El Campo – Saturday, nine PM.”

The Dependents – Season 4 Episode 6

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The Storage Papers is a fiction horror podcast.

Discretion is advised.

See Content Warnings
General horror, language, death, suicide.
Need to skip this episode? Click here to see the plot.
Ron suggests that Jeremy organize the documents by symbol. He also reviews the documents under a black light and finds previously unrealized symbols. He reads a document about two men making a deal with two women arising from a lake for rain. They got more than they bargained for and one ended up in the morgue.
Jeremy gets a call from Malcolm, in which Malcolm implies the Grinner isn’t dead. He tells a story about some simple-minded creatures who serve evil and can control time and space. He tells Jeremy to tell his grandfather (Joseph Foye) that he’s looking for him.
Detective Anderson calls Jeremy and tells him to turn on the news. On the news: Doctor Patel jumped to her death.

Transcript

EDITOR’S NOTE: This episode contains a story by the contest winner of Beyond the Papers: ‘Up at the Reservoir’ by Lou Sutcliffe.


Oh how far we’ve come.  By “we,” I mean you–the listeners–and me.  I’m finding myself conflicted lately about my involvement in this whole thing.  I mean, when I started this podcast, my wife and I had been talking about how I work too much; That I needed some kind of hobby outside my professional life. Something to take my mind off work, which was stressing me out and preventing me from really doing anything for myself… or my family. 

I haven’t always been the best husband or father, you know.  My life up until a couple years ago was spent mostly earning money.  I told myself I just wanted to get ahead or provide for my family.  I’d work multiple jobs in the name of being a provider, and at times that’s what was needed, but between those times, I persisted.  I persisted when I should have been prioritizing my family.  

As I’m sitting here reading another text from Ron, I can’t help but feel like the papers have just become another distraction, pulling me away from them.  This podcast was supposed to be a hobby.  It was just something I could do to unwind and get out of “work mode” for a subject I have always been interested in–that is, anything unexplained.  

Look at us now.  Secret societies, clandestine organizations, government contractors, psychics, demonic entities, law enforcement… the list goes on, and I’m at the center of it all.  Sorry if it seems like I’m ranting a little here, but the fact is The Storage Papers is taking a toll on me and my family.  Still, I don’t think there’s any way I can avoid seeing things through now.  I’m in way too deep and people are relying on me.

Speaking of which: Ron’s text.  He’s suggesting I begin to organize the documents based first on symbols, then on chronology, while he focuses on finding Doctor Adhira Patel.  I still find it strange that she left me a voice message saying we need to talk, yet leaves me no way to contact her.  I suppose I’ll just wait until she either shows up, or until Ron locates her and we can drop in.

Ron sent a second text as well. He wants me to check the papers with a black light.  Interesting… I hadn’t thought of that yet.  The notion seems very cloak and dagger.   I just happened to have a black light lying around from some of last year’s Halloween decorations I haven’t put away just yet.  Something my wife has asked me to do repeatedly, yet I continue to neglect it.  

I set the light on top of some of the highly-stacked boxes and thumbed through some of the documents in a few of the boxes I had opened up on the floor.  Wouldn’t you know, the pentagram symbol is printed on a ton of these documents!  I mean, I’m glad Ron decided to point me in this direction, but why the hell did he wait so long to fill me in on this detail?

I’d like to share one of those documents with you now.  It’s not a long one, nor does it have any mention of Doctor Patel, but I thought it was really interesting, and a welcome change of pace compared to some of the stuff that has been going on.  


SAN DIEGO POLICE DEPARTMENT

Case Report

Date: 12th March 1916

Reporting Officer: Guillermo Gonzales (Sgt)

Reviewed: Keno Wilson (Chief)

Incident: Body found by La Mesa Reservoir.  

Witness: Mrs Josita Quilp, resident up by La Mesa.

Summary: Mrs Quilp reported to the station because she had heard from her cousin about the body and believed she had information pertinent to the case. She was shown the body and stated that she had seen the man before. A witness statement was then taken in the interview room.

Transcript of Witness Statement:

It was sometime between Christmas and New Year, I don’t remember for sure which day. I was walking back along the lake road home from my sister’s place. My husband is away from home a lot working in construction so most days I go to either my sister’s place or to check in on my grandparents up the valley for company. 

I’m walking back along by the lake, and it’s mostly bushes and some trees here and there as you know so you can see pretty far ahead. I see ahead of me there’s this little red light. I get close and I realise there’s somebody smoking by the lake ahead of me. It’s late so I think maybe it’s somebody up to no good, so I creep real quiet towards them to see what’s what.

Once I can see from behind some bushes, I see that it’s two guys and they’re just standing by the water waiting for something. One of them was skinny, like if a long-tail weasel could wear a striped suit. The other was more like a coyote, he was pretty sleek, real neatly combed. He looked like he would sell you anything with a smile. On the floor in front of them is a circle with patterns in it and writing around the edge. I remember there was a triangle in the middle, but it was too far to read the writing.

Sleek, he seems pretty calm, but Weaselly, he’s antsy like he’s late for dinner and his wife is going to be mad at him. They’re talking to each other. Sleek, he asks how much they’re going to get. Weaselly he says he got a thousand bucks from Los Angeles for eighteen inches, but that was easy, he could tell it was coming soon anyway and he just needed to help a little. He says San Diego offered him ten thousand to fill Morena Dam Reservoir. He says he’s not so sure it’ll work this time, and he needs some help making sure. Sleek’s eyes go wide then narrow and he says he wants fifty percent. They haggle for a little but then something shuts them right up for a while.

I want you to know sergeant, I had not been drinking, you can ask my sister about that. What I say next is the honest truth of what I saw. I saw two women come right out of the lake. Not on a boat or anything, they just walked out of the lake, like they’ve been swimming, only they’re dry. I did not like those women, not one bit. They had a bad feeling about them. The taller of the two, she’s got a real mean look about her, like she’d kill you without a second thought, and this big wide smile like a snake. She’s dressed like one of those Navy boys from down Point Loma, all neat blue uniform with a little white cap. The other one, she was different. Fine and delicate, with a little red mouth and painted big eyes like a deer. And she was all got up like one of the working girls from the Stingaree, I mean everything that was there was on display. If you know what I mean. There wasn’t anything left to the imagination.

Weaselly, he’s surprised. Sleek, I guess he’s been expecting these two ladies to show up out of the reservoir some time, because he greets them all politely and they introduce themselves. Taller lady, she says her name is Miss Vine. I don’t like her voice like I don’t like her look. She sounds like she is hissing when she talks. She introduces the other lady – she says her name is Miss Fur something. Maybe there was a “fur” in it twice. Miss Fur just smiles and bats her eyelashes at Weaselly and Sleek. She doesn’t talk much at all and when she does she keeps disagreeing with everything Miss Vine says.

All four of them talk. They’re making a deal for Miss Fur to do something for Weaselly. Sleek says he has called the Misses here to trade for their help. He asks what the price is and Miss Fur says it’s not much. Sleek points to the circle on the floor and asks her forgiveness but he says she should stand there and say that. Miss Fur looks mad about that. Miss Vine laughs and she says the price will be steep, but it won’t be them paying it, it will be the city as they’re the ones who want the reservoir filled. Sleek and Weaselly, they look at each other like they don’t know what to make of that, but they must decide it’s a good deal because they agree. I guess they maybe aren’t that smart, because everyone knows when a deal sounds like it’s too good, it probably is. Sleek throws his cigar on the ground and steps on it to put it out and he offers his hand to shake, and Miss Fur looks at him like he’s something she found on the heel of her pretty shoe, but Miss Vine takes that hand and she shakes it. Sleek yells and pulls his hand back like it’s been burned and holds it in his other hand, rubbing at it. Miss Vine says, it’s a deal, and they’ll get their rain, right Miss Fur? Miss Fur says no, they won’t. They all nod like she just agreed with Miss Vine. It seems like they all thought the deal was struck, so Miss Fur blows the men a little kiss and Miss Vine tips her hat and the two of them just turn on their heels and walk back where they came from. I saw the reservoir part around them, like the good clean water didn’t want to be touching them on their flesh. Once they’re gone, Sleek shrinks back into himself, and Weaselly lets out a big breath. Weaselly says, better get rid of that, Pain. Sleek scrubs over where the drawing in the earth is and covers it all over. Then they turn and leave and there’s just me sitting in the bush, wondering what all this was about.   

I didn’t go home. Instead I went to my Grandmother and Grandfather’s house and I told them what I saw, like I told you. Grandmother said she would take a night to sleep on it and then she put me to bed, like when I was little, because I was scared. Next morning, she sent Grandfather and Uncle Rafael out to tell everyone to head up to Cowles Mountain and camp there like we do in winter, because there was a storm coming. So that’s what we all did. You know what happened next. It rained all through January. Sweetwater Dam overflowed. Lower Otay Dam broke, twenty people died. The city got their reservoir filled all right, and then some.

Like I said, the man you have on your bench in the morgue, that’s the Sleek man, the one called Pain. I wouldn’t have come to tell you that because we don’t trust cops, but I wanted to know if it was one of those men I saw. I wanted to know at least one of them was dead. If the other one comes back and brings those women here again, we will be ready for him, and God help him. You better catch him and make sure he doesn’t do those things again, Sergeant.

Action and further information: Body was identified as Mr Thomas Payne, proprietor of Payne’s Miracle Cures, originally from Newark, New Jersey. Mr Payne was reported missing by his brother Mr Christopher Payne (see witness statement, March first). Mr Christopher Payne attended the station March thirteenth to identify the body which was then given into his keeping for burial. Descriptions of the man and the two women in Mrs Quilp’s statement were circulated around the county asking for anyone to come forward with any information. Coroner’s report is appended and lists the cause of death as drowning, nothing to indicate foul play other than a recent burn on the right hand.


After recording this document, I spent a couple more hours skimming through some more of the documents, not really taking in any context, but looking for mentions of Doctor Patel’s name.  Then my phone rang.  I picked it up and it read, “unlisted number.”  I had a feeling that someone had been trying to reach me about my vehicle’s extended warranty, so I ignored it.  A moment later, it rang again from an unlisted number.  I decided to pick it up.  As soon as I recognized the voice, I hit “record” using an app I use for podcasting.


MALCOLM: I hope Brianne sent my best like I told her to.

JEREMY: What the fuck do you want?  And how does everyone seem to have my phone number?

MALCOLM: Well, you’re kind of the one putting yourself out there, you know?

JEREMY: So what do you want?  Did you call to threaten me again?

MALCOLM: Oh, I never threatened you…I just filled you in on the inevitable outcome of what you’re doing.  I can threaten you if that would motivate you though.

JEREMY: Motivate me to do what?

MALCOLM: Well, the thing is, I need your help. I need something you have.

JEREMY: Oh yeah, what’s that?

MALCOLM: By now you should have seen a fair share of symbols on your precious papers.  I just need the ones with the seven-fingered hand with the eye in the palm.  

JEREMY: What on earth do you need those for?

MALCOLM: Let’s just say it’s for a little project I’ve been working on.

JEREMY: Yeah… I don’t think so.

MALCOLM: Oh, why are you being so difficult?  It’s the least you could do after what you did to me.  You owe me, Jeremy!

JEREMY:  The only thing I owe you is a trip back to prison where you belong.  What do you really need that stuff for, huh?

[long pause]

JEREMY: Hello?  

MALCOLM: Let me tell you a little story.  You’re fond of stories, right?  Of course you are, otherwise we wouldn’t even know each other.  Here goes:
Long ago, in the days of old, when evil first stood before good as its own entity, there was a large group of task-oriented souls that I like to refer to as the Dependents.  The Dependents were pawns; underlings of the ancient society forced to do the grunt work that higher beings deemed necessary, yet beneath them to conduct themselves.
The Dependents were steadfast and diligent in their tasks, rarely asking questions or stopping to examine the purpose of their duties or the principles behind them.  They were not necessarily smart, but they got the job done, as long as they received clear instructions and were properly set in motion.
For what we would refer to as millennia, though the concept of time did not yet exist then, they served in faithful servitude until the great division, when the presence of evil manifested itself in stark contrast to all which was previously known.  For a long period of time, the Dependents went idle and failed to perform any tasks they were given, for they did not understand the conflict between many of those they previously served.  
Eventually, after a long period of observation, they realised they no longer valued their existence without fulfilling a purpose.  And for reasons of self-preservation, they communed with both good and evil separately, in efforts to determine who to serve.  
When they communed with the good, the Dependents were told they should remain in service of the good.  After all, it’s what they had known for their entire existence.  They were told they should choose good, with the knowledge that they would be doing good as their reward.  But they were also given a warning.  They were told that only the flawless could exist amidst the good, and that choosing evil would be a final decision; that doing so would prevent them from ever existing among the good again, for they would be flawed henceforth.
When they communed with the evil, the Dependents were told they would never be given an ultimatum; that they could come and go as they pleased.  They made the argument that all who were among the evil can’t really be bad, as they all originated from the good.  They told the Dependents the universe wasn’t made of black and white, but many scales of gray, and that “right” and “wrong” were an illusion.  They offered to allow them to do anything they wanted to do, as opposed to existing to fulfill the will of others.  They promised they could do whatever they wished to do. 
They were deceptive, but the Dependents, being simple, did not know they were being manipulated.  Upon hearing their terms, the Dependents were at first hesitant to choose, and desired to reflect upon their options before making their choice.  But the evil ones insisted they choose immediately, and as a final point in the negotiation, offered the Dependents mastery over time if they chose now.  And they did.
The Dependents chose evil and became the guardians of the underworld, policing the supernatural in service of evil.  They still roam today; thousands of them, all believing they are restoring true order, which of course is deception.  Yet they serve out of fierce loyalty, still never questioning motive and never truly thinking for themselves.  They wield a power they don’t understand, and cannot think for themselves, going about eternity much like a single-celled organism.  They have but one purpose…to serve evil.
It’s said that whoever controls the Dependents ultimately controls time and space. I’ve seen them, Jeremy.  You’ve read about them, but it’s only a matter of time before you see them too.  Nobody knows if a single entity controls them, or if it’s more of a collective evil who is their master.  Whose side do you want to be on when they come?  If I were you, Jeremy, I’d run if I ever met one.  Because they won’t stop.  They’ll just keep coming and coming…until you’re dead.

JEREMY: Wow, great story.  What does any of that have to do with me or the papers?

MALCOLM: Not much… yet. Consider it a nickel’s worth of free advice.  It was just a fun tale to illustrate that our knowledge of the universe is still so limited. Whatever religion you might subscribe to can only possibly hold a piece of the puzzle, but none of them want you to know that you can claim some of this power for yourself.  

JEREMY: What, control time?  No thanks.  Sounds like way too much responsibility for me.

MALCOLM:  There are other things besides time that interest me.  You know… I can do it too.

JEREMY: (to self) What the hell does that mean?

JEREMY: Do what?  What are you going on about?

MALCOLM: You know…the same thing that you and Brianne can do.  

JEREMY: I’m surprised you let Brianne go, you know?  What about all those other people?

MALCOLM:  (playful) What other people? I don’t know what you could possibly mean.  You know Jeremy, you thought you cast out the demon, but there’s so much more work to be done.

JEREMY:  If you’re trying to intimidate me-

MALCOLM: If you talk to my grandfather, tell him I’m looking for him too, will you?

SOUND: The call ends.


Malcolm hung up.  Why is he denying he’s abducted other people?  Surely he knew Brianne was going to see them and tell people about him.  And then he lets her go?  For being some kind of evil genius, he’s making some really dumb decisions.  Or maybe he wants to be searched for.  And tell his grandfather he’s looking for him.  That means he somehow knows we’re looking for Joseph Foye.  Maybe he’s listening to the show, too.  

When I went to my computer to start uploading my phone call with Malcolm, I noticed I had received an email from Doctor Patel late last night.  It wasn’t long, but I can’t tell you exactly what the message said, assuming Malcolm is listening and in light of what I’ve learned before sitting down to record this last segment of this week’s episode. Basically, she sent me instructions for how to retrieve a large package full of documents.  I thought, “great, more papers.”

But at the same time, I was wondering why she’d do this.  I’m skeptical.  Is she trying to help me or misdirect me?  My curiosity, I admit, got the better of me I left to get the package.  When I came back to my house, I heard my phone ringing, realizing I had left it on my coffee table next to my laptop.  


SOUND: Phone ringing.

JEREMY: Hello?

ANDERSON: Oh thank God you’re okay!  I was about to come looking for you.

JEREMY:  Why?  I just stepped out really quick to-

JEREMY: Ron has been calling you to.  Turn on Channel 8 News!


I picked up my remote and turned on the TV.  There was a story playing about a shocking scene in Downtown San Diego where a woman was witnessed by multiple people jumping to her death from a highrise apartment.  As the witnesses were being interviewed, most of them in tears describing the impact from their perspectives, I spoke to Anderson.


JEREMY: Okay, I’m watching. It’s about a woman jumping from a highrise. 

ANDERSON: Jeremy, I’m at the scene now.  The woman… it’s Doctor Patel.

The Summoning – Season 4 Episode 5

See Content Warnings
General horror, language, abduction
Need to skip this episode? Click here to see the plot.
Anderson is tasked with looking into any connections with Gerald Hubert and Joseph Foye. Jeremy reviews some documents that could be related to Subject 14-3, but from an earlier time, involving a boy that claims to be able to summon demons and a social worker’s account from visiting the boy’s home. Brianne returns and reveals she was abducted by Malcolm, and that he was using her and other Makers and Shepherds to try to help Tabitha. She also found that Dr. Patel was encouraging Malcolm to find an object. At the end of the episode, Jeremy recieved a voicemail from Dr. Patel saying they need to talk.

Welcome back to The Storage Papers.  While the search for Brianne continues, I just want you to know that I’ve exhausted all methods of communication at my disposal, as has Ron and now Detective Anderson.  A missing persons report was filed shortly after the release of our last episode… and now, I guess we just wait.  In the meantime, I need to record this episode to keep you all in the loop with what’s happening.  I think Brianne would want me to press on… if she were here.

Speaking of Detective Andersion, I was also able to touch base with him and ask for his help regarding the recent connection I was able to make between Gerald Hubert, the initial identity of the body found in the hotel room back in the second episode of the show from Season 1, and Joseph Foye, who happens to be Malcolm’s grandfather who raised him. The same Joseph Foye whose fingerprints belonged to that same body from the hotel room even though the ID with the body said Gerald Hubert, and the very same Joseph Foye whose fingerprints also showed up in the SCIC building… long after his alleged death.  

Anderson was just as perplexed as I am.  I also told him about the tweet I received from 4thTrumpet encouraging me to look into Gerald Hubert.  I’m at a loss and couldn’t even give you an educated guess about how they’re all related to Joseph Foye, but I’m calling in all the help I can get on this.  I’ve also been spending extra time in the papers looking– well, when I’m not waiting in medical office lobbies… but I don’t want to bore you with that nonsense. 

I did find another couple of documents that could potentially be related to those I shared last time in reference to Subject 14-3.  These documents don’t have any identification for the child they’re related to, but given their context, I think it’s safe to say that it may just be the same person.  I’ll let you decide.

This first document appears to be an intake report from a trip to the hospital, most likely an emergency room or urgent care visit.  If I can just vent for a second, I’m seriously tired of seeing all these redactions of names, dates, and locations.  It would really be so much easier to follow up on things with all the pertinent information available, but I suppose I’m preaching to the choir when it comes to this kind of thing.  I’m sure by now you’re all tired of hearing the word, “redacted” in your earbuds as you’re listening.  I’ll see what I can do going forward to cut the use of that word down.  

Okay, now that I’ve got that out of my system.  Let’s get to the intake form.  All of the standard normal information like vital signs, reflex response, and visual observations are included and deemed normal, so I’ll just start with the abnormal comments and spare you from non-pertinent information.  If this is the same child from the previous episode, my guess is this document pre-dates the info shared last time.  Important notes are as follows:


Patient presents with general malaise and muscle weakening.  Labs suggest early signs of malnutrition and vitamin deficiency that support the mother’s claim of extended sleep deprivation.  Child also complains of night terrors, but particularly vivid ones, and can recall minute details about dreams and potential hallucinations he is having.  Referred for psychiatric consult.  

Patient’s mother claims to be having similar experiences, though never in the presence of her child.  Both were interviewed separately and both described in similar detail what they describe to be an “inhuman entity” within their home that makes its presence known during sleeping hours.  

One other potential physical note to mention.  The mother states the child has a strange-looking mark on their right forearm that appears and disappears.  First thoughts were that it could be some kind of skin irritation or a rash, but the mother insists it’s dark enough to look like a tattoo.  Visual inspection and palpation of the area of interest were normal during my examination.

Post-visit notes: Arranging for a 60-day in-home follow up visit with a Social Worker and provided mother with a pamphlet for local pharmaceutical research company conducting clinical trials for a new drug to help with insomnia. Reference Rygen Pharmaceuticals. 


I have never heard of Rygen Pharmaceuticals, so I Googled them.  They’re still in operation today, and they are a subdivision of… you guessed it!  SCIC!  Now, if I only had a date this happened, I could research what clinical trials were going on around that time… unfortunately, I don’t have that information.  I do have the next best thing though.

This next document is what I believe may be the report from the follow-up Social Worker’s visit to the home.  Of course, there’s no date or identifying information included in this document, so there’s a definite possibility that I’m wrong and it’s not the same person.  Either way, it appears to have some common themes.  It reads:


Arrival at the home was met with some surprise.  When asked about whether the mother was made aware of a Social Worker visit, she remembered it being discussed, but claimed she was never provided a date.  She welcomed me into the home and was friendly and cooperative.  I spent a few minutes in the living room with the mother reiterating the purpose of my visit while sitting on the couch, outside of the presence of the child.

The mother seemed to have a hard time following complexities in our conversation.  I don’t believe there’s any indication of drug use or abuse, but she seemed to be extremely fatigued.  She appeared thin with sunken eyes and had trouble concentrating, often requiring extended amounts of time to recall events and answer questions.  

I took the opportunity to ask further probing questions prior to including the child in the discussion.  A routine assessment quickly turned into a longer, more methodical one when she began explaining night-time occurrences in the home.  She believed that her son had the ability to conjure evil spirits, or “demons,” as she referred to them, and that one of them is bound to their home.  She proceeded to encourage me to tour their home.

First, she walked me through their hallway leading to the bedrooms.  Immediately, you can see scratch marks on the walls and even on the ceiling.  Some appear to be more than one inch deep and there are several places where exposed wooden beams can be seen beneath the drywall.  

She proceeded to walk me past the child’s room, whispering that she didn’t want to disturb him in case he was managing to get some sleep.  We entered her bedroom, which is shared by the father.  Similar scratches were noted on the walls and ceiling and the bed frame was broken, leaving the mattress and box spring not level.  She explained that they had been sleeping on the pull-out couch at night because the bed would often violently shake when they went to sleep.  Pictures on the walls were hung upside-down and some were on the floor.  None of them had glass within the frames, and she said they were intentionally removed to prevent sharp objects from flying around the room.

We came outside of the room and back into the hallway to head back toward the living room when I noticed the child at the end of the hall.  He was just standing there staring at us.  I told the mother, “I didn’t even hear his bedroom door open,” and began walking toward him when she grasped my upper arm.  

When I turned to look at the mother, she whispered, “That’s not him!”  

The child I observed at the end of the hallway appeared to be the child from the pictures I remembered seeing in his file, so I asked, “What do you mean?”

The mother continued, “That’s not my son.  Sometimes the demons take different forms and they can make their appearance similar to people in this household.  You can always tell that something is just off when it mimics.”

I turned to face the child to see if I could notice anything unusual.  Aside from standing absolutely still and not speaking, nothing jumped out at me as being different at first.  I turned to look at the mother again, who seemed to be recoiling a bit, and not taking her eyes off of the child.

Then I turned to look at the child again, and I thought he was yawning for a moment, but his mouth just kept opening wider and wider until it appeared impossibly large.  His body began contorting into various shapes that shouldn’t be possible with normal human anatomy and then just a few seconds later, he rearranged himself back to normal.  As I was standing there in disbelief, I heard him laugh, as if he was trying to scare me, and thought it was humorous with the knowledge that he did.

Then, what I witnessed was truly terrifying.  The child began walking backwards, away from the hallway and further away from us at the other end of the hallway.  He reached a point where the living room wall was behind him and he paused for a moment.  His mouth opened wide again and he started flailing his arms.  While that was happening, he put his left foot on the wall behind him, and then his right.  His body turned parallel to the floor as he took backwards baby steps up the wall.  

Once he was about halfway up the wall, he looked straight at us, closed his mouth, stopped flailing his arms and pointed toward us.  Then he laughed again as if this was all just so amusing.  Then he ran sideways along the wall toward the front door to the home and out of our sight from our vantage point at the opposite end of the hallway.  

At this point, I insisted that the mother allow me to speak to her son.  We took a few steps toward her son’s bedroom door, still closed, and she quietly opened the door.  Looking over her shoulder, I could see what looked like the same child in the same exact clothes sleeping on his bed on top of the covers.  

I motioned to the mother and asked her to close the door.  I didn’t feel like disturbing the boy and I had seen enough.  I tried to remain calm and keep my composure, but I just couldn’t be in that house any longer.  I know it’s highly unprofessional for me to say this, but I don’t think I can return there or have any further contact with that family again. Furthermore, they don’t need a Social Worker.  They need a priest!


Even as a stand-alone story, and even if it’s not the same child from the previous documentation, that’s so intense!  I couldn’t imagine witnessing something like that.  It makes me wonder–

SOUND EFFECT: A phone notification goes off.

Oh, shit!  I’m incredibly sorry.  When I go to do a podcast recording, I’ll typically put my phone in airplane mode.  When I finished reading that document, I glanced at my phone and it looks like people have been trying to get a hold of me.  I’ve got three voicemails.  Hang on…

Okay that first voicemail is Brianne.  It was a short one.  She says she’s safe, but she’s been with Malcolm.  She’s fine now, and she’s on her way over… oh shit, I think she’s here now.  


Hi, everyone.  I took an extended break to talk to Brianne when she arrived and after we spoke, we needed to take some time to call the police and file a report.  Thankfully, Detective Anderson agreed to come here after we name dropped to see if we could avoid going down to the station.  This took several hours and she was not in the mood to be recorded afterwards, though she said it was okay to share some of the details we discussed regarding where she’s been over the last three weeks. Please understand, there are a lot of details I’m unable to share since her experience is now the subject of an open investigation.   

It was as we feared.  Brianne was physically abducted by Malcolm about three weeks ago.  That sick asshole has been busy since his escape.  She said that she had been among several people that were sharing a damp, dark basement. Some of the others… Brianne said she couldn’t be sure they were even still breathing.  

She couldn’t remember how she got there, but she woke up and wrists were bound behind her back with duct tape.  She also had duct tape covering her mouth.  For the first couple of days, she believed she was alone.  She said Malcolm would come speak to her periodically the first few hours, and then toward the end of the first day, he dragged her into the middle of the room and pulled up a chair, which he sat in while she was on the ground.  She watched as he went quiet and entered some kind of a trance-like state.  

After what she estimated to be about 90 minutes go by, a figure began materializing in the corner of the room.  There wasn’t much light in the room, but the more time went by, the more she could make out certain distinguishing features of the figure.  It was a woman, and all she ever did was stand there facing the corner.  She said she heard Malcolm call her Tabitha.  I reminded Brianne that Tabitha was the name of his late sister.

At one point, Brianne was given supervised access to speak with Tabitha.  Malcolm only gave Brianne two directives: “Don’t cause any problems” and “Fix her.”  

She didn’t really understand what he expected her to do, so she tried talking to Tabitha, but noted that she didn’t seem coherent.  She said if she were using her nursing skills, Tabitha would have been “alert and oriented times zero.”

Brianne said that when she couldn’t “fix” Tabitha, she suspected he began abducting other people.  The environment where she was being kept was so dark, she said that she could barely make out anyone else in the room with her until she heard labored breathing.  

Every few hours, Malcolm would open the door at the top of a nearby stairwell, which would let a small amount of light in the room.  For a few seconds each time this happened, Brianne could see duct tape with writing on it stuck to her co-occupants’ foreheads.  They were names.  While she couldn’t communicate with anyone there at the time, Brianne said she thought she recognized the names.  At first, she couldn’t remember why and it began to bother her.  

Occasionally after Malcolm had been going upstairs, he would unintentionally fail to close the door all the way and it would swing open, which allowed Brianne to overhear portions of a conversation he was having.  He seemed to be having conversations with someone else.  He was searching for some kind of relic or physical object, as he made references about not knowing where to begin looking for it.  

On one occasion, she recalled him saying, “I was convinced she was going to be strong enough.”  Then she heard a woman reply, “You must locate the object,” noting the woman’s accent sounding Indian-American.  

This has to be Patel.  

Brianne also got the impression that the woman was referring to some kind of remote viewing capability, implying Malcolm had the ability to do that, but was failing somehow.  She decided to keep that information to herself, but after her last session with Tabitha, she asked Malcolm why he had abducted her.  

His answer: “Ask Jeremy.  All of the answers are in those papers.”  As he went to replace the duct tape over her mouth, she noted his smile, which was widening just a little too much.

After that, he told her that she would be much more useful with access to the papers, so he told her he was going to let her go.  She was duct taped around her wrists behind her back and her ankles, a cloth sack placed over her head, and she was injected with something.  Afterward, she was thrown into a car trunk and driven around for over two hours.  Eventually, she was dropped off about a block from a local hospital, down an alleyway where there weren’t any onlookers.  

That’s where he pulled her out of the car and threw her over his shoulder and began walking for a couple of minutes.  When he stopped, he removed the cloth over her head, placed her on the asphalt, and gave her a plastic butter knife like the ones you get at fast food restaurants.  There she sat for a while as she watched him run to the end of the alley and turn a corner where his car must have been parked while she worked away at the duct tape.  We guessed he just wanted to be able to leave without her seeing his car or the direction he went once in it.

As she was laboriously sawing away at the tape to free herself, and after constantly thinking about those names on peoples’ foreheads, she was able to put it together.  All of them were names she’d seen from the medical files, and all of them had either an “M” or an “S” label on them, though she couldn’t remember which correlated to each name.

She told me that I needed to research the Shepherds more and find out what the “M” stood for in those documents.

I jokingly told her that she needs to catch up with the podcast and filled her in on the Makers and the Shepherds info.

After Brianne left, I remembered that hours ago, when I realized she had left me a voice message saying she was on her way over, I had two additional voicemails.  The first was from Ron.  He encouraged me to start looking into documents relating to Joseph Foye, and said we needed to find him.  I thought this was interesting because I thought Anderson was doing that… and he had just been at my house and failed to mention anything about speaking to Ron about the matter.  

The second voicemail was even more unexpected.  It was brief, yet concise, and was from Dr. Adhira Patel.  It simply said, “We need to talk as soon as possible.”

Subject 14-3 – Season 4 Episode 4

See Content Warnings
General horror, language
Need to skip this episode? Click here to see the plot.
Brianne is missing and Jeremy has a feeling Malcolm may be responsible. Jeremy reviews test subject documentation that alludes to the classification of people with special abilities as Makers or Shepherds. An attempt to classify this particular test subject goes wrong, causing the creation of a demonic-like entity that doesn’t exhibit typical characteristics of any being previously created by Makers or brought to our dimension by Shepherds, and forcing Hydra to consider a potential 3rd option.

I can’t recall any time I’ve been threatened in my past.  Malcolm’s prediction that I’m going to be dead soon couldn’t be based on any facts that he’s aware of.  No, he’s just trying to get in my head.  It’s not like he can predict the future, right?  Still, I wonder if he’s somehow been able to gain access to information while he was in prison that no one else is aware of.  

Mind games.  I just need to remind myself that he’s just messing with me.  After all, I literally scarred him for life by listening to that stupid idea of carving a 16-pointed star into his chest with a knife like some psychopath.  I still can’t believe I did that.  I suppose it’s too little, too late for an apology.  

That whole encounter in the church with The Grinner is still something I think about daily.  What did Malcolm mean when he said there were still big plans for me?  I was pretty certain we took care of The Grinner that night, but I can’t shake this uneasy feeling that we screwed up somehow.  What if we didn’t?  What if he’s really still out there?  

Since Malcolm’s escape from prison following our conversation, I’ve been trying to keep an eye out for anything in the news with his name on it.  I’ve also been keeping tabs on the rising number of missing people around here.  I can’t help but think they’re somehow related.  And in order to better understand Malcolm’s motives, I’ve been looking through the papers, trying to find anything with his name or possibly other documents that might shed some light on his behavior or abilities.  

My other concern is Brianne.  She hasn’t been returning my calls lately and that’s really unlike her.  In fact, now that I think of it, I haven’t received any communication from her since our phone call I recorded and included on the last episode.  I’m trying not to be overly concerned, but the fact that Malcolm is missing makes me wonder if I should ask Ron if he’s heard from her.  I’m sure everything is okay and I’m just getting paranoid with that freak inside my head.  Still, better send him a text real quick.  

SOUND: Jeremy texting Ron.

Alright, back to business.  Yesterday, I found something of interest similar to the documents that Detective Anderson sent me back in Season 2.  I titled that episode, “Subject Twenty-Two Fourteen”, and had reviewed some journal entries of Malcolm’s, with some accompanying psychologist’s notes regarding his behavior and mental state at the time.  While all of the names are redacted and I can’t be sure these particular documents apply to Malcolm, I’m finding some parallels that I have a hunch could be important.  The only identifying point of reference refers to a Subject Fourteen dash Three.

The first document appears to be an intake form of some kind, with an initial assessment, and reads as follows.


Initial impression of Subject Fourteen dash Three (Male, age nine) indicates a calm demeanor and no exhibited signs of anxiety during any of the testing phases or when being questioned.  History and physical examination upon arrival was normal, as well as initial psychological examination.  

(I’m going to skip a bunch of the other comments that all indicate this child is basically normal and get to the more interesting stuff.)

Subject had an unexpected response to fear assessment including tachycardia and shortness of breath.  Recommend additional dedicated sessions to probe further into what might be causing anxiety surrounding topics involving night time habits and sleep routine.

The next document appears to be a transcript of the boy’s response to questions asked during what I assume to be one of these additional sessions, but it’s noted that this dialogue occurs under hypnosis.  It’s unclear how many sessions there were, how many may have been conducted under hypnosis, or in what order they occurred.

Question: What scares you and why?

Subject’s response: The monsters scare me.  The ones I saw in the movie live in my closet.  

Question: Can you describe the monsters and how they appear to you?

Subject’s response:  It’s just like in the movie. I’m sleeping in my bed and in the middle of the night, I start hearing whispers that get really loud and wake me up.  The whispers always sound like people, but I think it’s really the monsters just pretending to be people though.  

They always come from my closet, but when I sit up in bed, the whispers stop.  Sometimes I try to lay back down and go to sleep, but they always start again and wake me up.  After a while, a different voice tells me to open the door.  They want me to let them out of the closet, but I don’t want to.    

They promise they’ll stop keeping me awake if I just open the door and they always convince me to do it.  If I hide under the covers, they just whisper louder and they don’t leave me alone.  One time, I refused to open the door. 

SOUND: Whispers are heard, unintelligible at first, then they start saying “open the door,” “please open the door,” and “just open the fucking door.” A child says “no” and covers up with sheets. Loud banging and screaming is heard before fading out to narration again.

I’ve tried to ask for help with them, but nobody else in my house can hear them.  I only kept the door closed one night because I didn’t want to hear the awful screaming all night again.  

SOUND: A door opens, then a child walks on carpet before jumping on the bed and getting under the covers.

On most nights, when I open the door, I run really fast back to my bed and get under the covers.  The monster knows I’m there though.  Sometimes it sits on the bed next to me and doesn’t say a word.  

SOUND: Heavy breathing.

I can just hear it breathing.  Some nights it leaves my room.  The worst nights are when it sits on top of me.  It makes it really hard to breathe because it’s really heavy.  On those nights, it either just stays on me until the sun comes up or it talks to me in weird words.  I don’t understand what it’s saying though. I think it’s talking in a different language.

Notes: It is unclear at this time if Subject Fourteen dash Three is just a normal child with an overactive imagination or if he is truly experiencing what he claims after several sessions.  His recounting, when asked in different sessions conducted by different psychologists, remains consistent, and I suspect I will be recommending the subject for M/S testing following next week’s screening session.


The next document I’m about to read appears to be some kind of screening process to rule out certain capabilities of the boy.  I’m not sure if it was written by the same psychologist or not, but it does appear to be written from a perspective of observation in a controlled environment.  It reads:


Supplemental screening for M/S traits of Subject Fourteen dash Three, November (date and year redacted). Present: (list of names redacted).

Standard testing was initiated with routine M/S protocol. Initial testing proved inconclusive.  Fourteen dash Three is somewhat of a puzzle to the team.  Pre-screening and familial observation indicated with almost one hundred percent certainty that he is on the M/S spectrum but the usual stimulus did not result in any M/S response.  

It should be noted that we disagree among the team regarding how to proceed.  Objections to further pursuit of testing Fourteen dash Three are a direct result of his lack of response, however, as noted, we have never documented a lack of response at all with the genetic markers present, with history of M/S-reported activity, and with the subject’s own vivid recollection of related events.

Ultimately, we compromised and decided to hold Fourteen dash Three under observation with the intention to discuss the efficacy of further testing. After several hours of debate, the team hypothesized three potential conclusions:

  1. Fourteen dash Three is neither a Maker nor a Shepherd. Reports are false or at least exaggerated and there were false positives in the genetic testing, along with the subject having extreme vivid dream experiences.  I find this to be least likely, however, the subject may be released after debriefing and tagging, should traits develop at a later time.
  2. Fourteen dash Three may test positive upon further M/S testing, but for some unknown reason, does not exhibit the typical response to stimuli that has worked on the other positive testers.  Scenario next steps:
    • Reorder labs to check for unknown medication usage and any contraindications for testing results.
    • Have parents submit questionnaires again and check the originals for discrepancies.  Consider separating parents for inconsistencies between responses.
  3. Fourteen dash Three possesses M/S abilities, but has found a way to control his M/S response. While no level of control has ever been exhibited by any Maker or Shepherd at this age and without extensive developmental training, we have to consider this a possibility and we should consider extended observation and testing to further learn how this might be possible.  If this scenario is ultimately correct, we recommend the following next steps:
    • Consider implications and safety precautions for staff conducting screening procedures.
    • Have asset standing by during testing.
    • Consider alternate classification categories beyond known the current M/S standard and document variations.
    • Research new stimuli to help identify future similar subjects based on documented variations from the preceding step.

I know what you’re thinking… what the fuck is a “Maker?”  I’m right there with you.  

The next document I’d like to share with you appears to have been only one page of a larger set of progress notes.  It appears Subject Fourteen dash Three underwent further testing, but I have no documentation indicating which proposed option from the previous document was selected, or if any adjustments were made to the recommendations provided.

Progress Note (date redacted): It should be noted that after last week’s testing session, and in light of its resulting manifestation, the safest and most ethical next step recommended by all team leads is to halt testing until such a time which consultation with the specialist teams in occult research can be obtained.  

This request is on hold as Dr. (redacted) has expressed some time and company oversight would be needed in order to proceed with those consultations.  Our team has been urged to continue with testing, however, we have argued on several accounts that doing so now without the consultation of those departments requested may pose risk to the Subject, our team, and potentially others without proper guidance.

We do not yet have enough information to determine if the being that Subject Fourteen dash Three manifested during last night’s sleep test fits either the Maker or the Shepherd profile as it portrays characteristics of a known and documented demonic entity mentioned in specific religious texts.  The being appears to have intelligence and its own unexplainable abilities, and we believe the only reason it has not left the laboratory is because it doesn’t feel the need to, though it has demonstrated the ability to.

Until such time that consultation by occult specialists is approved, I have refocused attention on the entity in an attempt to gather data to help determine any potential threat level, and in hopes that any information that can be acquired would help explain what we’re dealing with and how to keep it in a controlled environment.  Testing of Subject Fourteen dash Three to be placed on hold for now, along with barcoding and tagging.

Bar coding and tagging?  Are you thinking what I’m thinking?  Where have we seen a barcode recently?  On the forearm of the deceased from that hotel room… the one that was primarily hidden by the letters, “C.O.M.”  Was that person a Maker or a Shepherd?  

I recall the prints for that person ID’ing Joseph Foye as the victim, but then SCIC security recently found evidence that he was in their building.  Holy shit!  That’s what 4thTrumpet meant when he tweeted me to look into Gerald Hubert.  I thought the name sounded familiar.  Way back in Season one, episode two, the news report identified that same victim as Gerald Hubert.  What the hell is going on there?  I need to ask Detective Anderson some questions about this.  For now, let’s proceed with the episode.

I know last season, we were able to gather information on the Shepherds, but what I’m taking away from this so far is that it seems like the Makers are an entire second classification of people with abilities. I need more info, so moving forward, I’m going to look into this more and maybe get Brianne’s help.  I’m definitely going to ask Ron as well.

This last document just looks like Doctors’ notes, but it is extremely concerning.  Looks like it was written in a panicked state, and not so formal as the previous notes.  It puts to question whether or not Hydra’s classification system of Makers and Shepherds can even be trusted or if it may have been potentially expanded some time later.  But additionally, it also opens up a world of possibilities that would change science, and possibly religion forever.  I should just read it to you and I’ll comment later.  It reads:


Our study of Subject Fourteen dash Three has been compromised.  The being manifested by Fourteen dash Three appears to be hostile in nature, though we aren’t certain what motivates it.  We observed some new capabilities of the being after our occult specialist was brought in and what seemed like a provocation attempt was made to communicate with the being.  

I’ll summarize the best I can here.  With my limited knowledge of religious practice, the occult specialist appeared to be exerting authority over the being.  He explained prior to this provocation that he believed it resembles a specific demonic entity that is well-known in the Muslim and Judeo-Christian religions, therefore he began treating it as such in an effort to solicit a response.  

At first, all attempts at provocation had failed and the specialist was about to conclude testing when he explained that he had attempted to command the being to perform certain tasks under the authority of God.  When it failed to obey those commands, the specialist was ready to conclude that the being was not the actual demonic entity initially suspected because it “wouldn’t have the option of disobeying his commands,” thus ruling out the possibility of it being a fallen angel.

Then it proceeded to do something the specialist considered characteristic of the demonic entity he suspected it to be.  It disappeared from sight, but began communicating through Dr. (redacted).  In a voice not his own, he stated its name.  I have been advised not to share its name as a precautionary measure, even in writing.  After stating its name, he began convulsing and foaming at the mouth.  We assumed it was a seizure, but after thirty seconds or so, Dr. (redacted) seemed to regain his normal state and the entity was nowhere to be found.

Post-consultation with the occult specialist indicated some unexpected results.  He asked if the Subject who manifested the entity was brought up religiously.  Our records indicated he had.  He explained that the entity depicted all of the characteristics of the demonic entity that stated its name for us, including the ability to possess a human being, but the fact that it didn’t obey commands given to it in the name of God indicated it wasn’t a true demonic entity.

His ultimate opinion was inconclusive, but he explained a few things.  He believed if Fourteen dash Three Shepherded the being from an alternate dimension, he said it should still have the same attributes, as demonic entities and angels are believed to be extra dimensional beings, and not existing in multiples like human beings do, exercising free will to deviate the dimensions.  In other words, it was the specialist’s belief that there’s only one demonic entity among the various alternate dimensions and they have the unique ability to bounce back and forth between them, whereas human beings are confined to the dimension they are in, and there is one for each dimension with zero capability to hop into other dimensions (without the guidance of a Shepherd, of course).  There are infinite numbers of each human being existing in various timelines of existence, and only one supernatural entity being shared among them all.

He also said that because it didn’t obey his commands, and because its characteristics are so similar in every other aspect, he believed Subject Fourteen dash Three to be a Maker, not a Shepherd.  He felt the being to have been created by Fourteen dash Three, rather than summoned from another dimension.  

I must also state that none of this is supported by scientific data, and would be difficult, if not impossible, to corroborate.  Still, we all witnessed what appeared to be a momentary possession and Dr. (redacted) has no memory of that brief moment prior to his seizure-like episode.  But even more disturbing is that we cannot account for this being’s whereabouts.  We do not know if it decided to leave the lab or if it even exists in our dimension anymore.  We must still consider the possibility that Fourteen dash Three, not knowing the attributes separating Makers from Shepherds, may possess unique abilities exceeding those of either group.  Regardless of that possibility, I fear we’ve released something into the world that no one understands.


Okay, so what this tells us is that Hydra and their team of scientists and psychologists, presumably related to the seven-fingered hand with the eye in the center, have been testing children with supernatural abilities and categorizing them based on those abilities?  Does that sound right to you?  

This would definitely explain the “M” and the “S” labels on the medical files that we’ve been trying to gain access to.  If those do correlate to Makers and Shepherds, we really need to get those open.  Where are you, Brianne?

If all of that is true, what this also means is that Subject Fourteen dash Three created, out of thin air, a being with supernatural abilities, potentially based on his knowledge of a demon from religious texts.  This being seems to have all the capabilities of a demon, but is not subject to anyone’s authority.

Okay, nevermind what science can’t explain about all of this, but what does this mean for religion?  According to what I know about religion, God should have authority over everything, right?  So whatever this thing was superseded God’s authority, at least in that moment.  Regardless of what you believe, that poses a problem for monotheistic religions.  This just fills me with more questions… in fact, an endless supply of questions.  I think it’s safe to assume that the limitations in abilities of that being are probably only known by its creator, Subject Fourteen dash Three.  

As I was mulling all of this over in my mind, I felt forced to consider the possibility that Malcolm, though identified in another document as Subject Twenty-Two Fourteen, may have similar abilities.  That would mean that The Grinner could have been the actual demonic entity I learned about…or it could mean that it isn’t that demonic entity, but the creation of a Maker like Fourteen dash Three.  Is Malcolm a Maker?  God, I wish I could rule this out.  I wonder if 4thTrumpet knows anything.  

The other thing that popped into my mind was our showdown at the end of Season 2.  We faced The Grinner in a location that should have given us an advantage…a church.  I wasn’t sure at the time, but I didn’t think real demons could even enter a church, or even set foot on the grounds.  Malcolm’s Grinner did though, with ease I might add.  What the hell were we fighting?

SOUND: A text message comes in.

Ron just returned my text.  It says, “I’ve been trying to reach her as well. No luck!”  

Fuck!  I have this sinking feeling in my gut that her disappearance has something to do with Malcolm.  I feel like at this point I need to assume he’s gotten to her somehow and I can’t just sit here.  

SOUND: Another text comes in.

Ron just texted again and asked if I would contact him ASAP if I happen to hear from her.  Of course I will dude… seriously?  

This is not good!  I don’t know where to begin looking for Malcolm, but I know someone who might.  And since I have no way of contacting you, Dr. Patel, if you’re listening, I’d really like to speak with you.  I need to find Malcolm.

Malcolm – Season 4 Episode 3

See Content Warnings
General horror, language, gore
Need to skip this episode? Click here to see the plot.
Jeremy receives a letter from Dr. Patel, saying that Malcolm is in prison and ready to talk to him. Jeremy visits him and records the conversation. Malcolm explains that the Order of Divine Acolytes walked right into the Grinner’s stomach which is also where Tabitha existed, being eternally digested. The police believed their disappearances to be murders which Malcolm committed. Hydra then got involved and swept it all under the rug but kept him in prison.
During the visit, Malcolm states that Brianne visited him twice already, which she denies. Jeremy believes he’s trying to play mind games.
When Jeremy asks about the Grinner, Malcolm explains that he never worshipped the Grinner, but the Grinner had promised to remake the whole earth as beautiful and that Malcolm would be king of it all.
At the end of the episode, back in his apartment, Jeremy gets a voicemail from Malcolm in which he reveals that he’s a free man now, and that Jeremy is going to die very soon.

Before I get started on this week’s episode, I wanted to thank everyone for sticking around for season three of The Storage Papers. 

It’s been difficult. At points it’s even been downright terrifying. And it means a lot to know I’m not going about this alone. Throughout the last couple of seasons you’ve shared a lot of support, and while I didn’t always make the best choices and I’m often too stubborn to follow all of your advice, I’m always listening. If you can afford me just this one moment to be a little sappy, I just want to say I’m grateful for all of you. 

I wasn’t sure how to approach this episode. In fact, I thought about taking a much longer break between the last season and this one. Pretend to live a normal life for a little while before delving back into the mystery and darkness that lays in the storage papers. However, things aren’t that simple – at least not in my experience – and under the circumstances, I’ve decided to push on and share with you a conversation that I had with someone that I wasn’t sure would ever happen. One that, in fact, I’d hoped that I could avoid, but was likely inevitable. 

It felt violating seeing the envelope sitting on my kitchen table, amongst a collection of bills and junk mail. It was addressed with just my first name: Jeremy, written in neat print on the front of the envelope, and devoid of any sort of stamp or postmark. While it could have been innocuous, my gut told me that whatever was inside wasn’t good and whoever had placed it there was two or even three proxies away from knowing its contents, meaning it’d likely be pointless to even consider an attempt at nailing down exactly who’d delivered it. 

I guess it didn’t matter where it came from, what mattered is that it now sat atop an energy bill and a stack of grocery coupons, and there was no giving it back, no return to sender, and it was now my problem to deal with. 

If you’d asked me a few years ago, I wouldn’t have had so much to say about a simple envelope, especially one that I hadn’t even opened, but that’s the nature of things now. At the risk of sounding over-dramatic, having your eyes opened to this weird world of supernatural horror and conspiracy changes the way you look at things. 

After examining the contents of the envelope, I think I made some rather fair assertions. Inside was a note, the author first hoping they’d found me well, and then listing an address: a prison. It concluded with a small message.

“Malcolm would like to speak to you… whenever you are ready,” and it was followed by a now familiar signature: Doctor Adhira Patel. 

My heart raced at the thought that while it may be a trap (or more likely just a terrible idea), it was also likely the only opportunity I might have to speak to the real Malcolm. 

I’d like to say I spent a while thinking about it, but weighing your options in situations like this often feels like standing on the edge of a diving board; the longer you look down at the water, the further away it feels. The possibilities in your mind amplify… of your body crashing painfully and embarrassingly against the surface of the water, or your wet feet slipping from under you as you smash your head on the board. Before you can imagine the flowery ribbons of blood floating like jellyfish tentacles from your unconscious head as the chlorinated water fills your nostrils, you’ve already jumped. 

If I were ever going to talk to Malcolm I had to jump. I had to do it before I gave myself too long to consider any of the possibilities. 

I planned to go the following day. I’d bring a cheap digital recorder and pocket sized notepad with all of the questions I’d planned to ask him. In hindsight, I guess it’s a little embarrassing, but I’d started to fancy myself as some sort of journalist: finally getting my chance to interview what the media and the state would’ve referred to as an open and prolific serial killer. That’s, of course, if they had the opportunity, but more on that later. 

After all, Malcom had more or less admitted to the disappearance of every single member of his church – or rather his cult – and he’d even playfully toyed with the investigators regarding how exactly he’d disposed of their bodies. When “lost in a sea of writhing flesh” wasn’t a good enough answer, he sent them on a series of wild goose chases through forests and fields before concluding that he simply didn’t remember. The story is every bit as typical as you’d expect from a high profile serial killer, though there’d never be a big show of uncovering the bodies of his victims.     

However, I knew exactly where they were… I’d pictured it a thousand times after I’d read Malcolm’s personal journals. He was right: they were lost in a sea of writhing flesh. The same awful place he’d unwittingly sent his sister to as a young boy. 

There was a media blackout regarding Malcolm’s crimes. Something that would otherwise be of public interest, at least for sake of selling commercial breaks between street interviews from wild eyed locals, was unheard of to the general public. If I hadn’t been a part of it, held the papers themselves in my hands, and had frequent updates from Mark Anderson’s inside sources, I don’t think I would have any idea that any of this had transpired. 

I found all of it so suspicious. The lack of media coverage… lack of documentation… no public outrage regarding what was perceivably a largely successful local serial killer. It was all swept under the rug.

Malcolm wasn’t exactly a serial killer in the traditional sense, but he knew what he had done and he was without a doubt a sick, sadistic monster. Malcolm’s soul was bound to hell far before he willingly sacrificed his body to a demon. After all of the awful things that have taken place, it’s difficult for me to imagine Malcolm as anything more than permanently afflicted by his own intentional demonic possession. It’s hard to even imagine him as a human being, and I hold on to the possibility that maybe he isn’t. Maybe the Grinner is still in there, deep in his gut just waiting to take the next steps in its dark unknowable plan…or maybe he just left something behind to keep Malcom company. I couldn’t fight the feeling that I would soon be interviewing the Grinner itself, even if that was stupid and unlikely. 

But enough rambling my own thoughts off.  The following is the recording I made documenting my experiences and my interview with Malcolm. It’s a bit choppy, and I’m admittedly better behind an actual microphone than a bargain bin digital recorder, but I did my best to clear up the audio and minimize the background noise. In between bits of recording are my own interjections, as well as a quick phone call to a personal friend of the show. 

That can all be a bit confusing and possibly disjointed, but bear with me as I take you through my interview with Malcolm Foye.

FIELD RECORDING

JEREMY: I’m not sure of the best way to document this. The time is nine thirteen A M. I’m, uhh… sitting in my car outside of the correctional facility. I’m not sure what to expect. I’m recording this on my digital recorder, though I’m not sure if any of this audio is going to be usable, or if they’ll even let me keep it in my possession or use it during the interview, but I guess you guys will find out sooner than I will. 

STUDIO RECORDING

Prisons are a little bit different than I had imagined. While on the outside it was as much as anyone would expect, inside it was more casual. Laminated paper signs affixed with tape took the place of the plastic or metal ones that I pictured bolted to the walls. I sort of felt more like I was at the DMV, rather than at a correctional facility. 

Behind a sheet of plexiglass sat a set counter with computers accompanied by some personal items: small knickknacks and framed photos, much like you’d expect to find on anyone’s desk. I approached it and stated my interest in visiting Malcolm, and with a few taps on her keyboard and set of squinted eyes pointed at my driver’s license, the woman behind the counter was able to confirm that I was on Malcolm’s approved visitor list. 

“This is interesting,” she told me. “This is the first time any of his family have come to visit him.” 

After signing a form that I was admittedly a bit too anxious to actually read over and waiting for my name to be called, I was sent through a metal detector, followed by a less-than-welcomed pat down. 

A correctional officer held my digital recorder in his hand, waiving it as if waiting for an explanation. He had that look on his face that you’d expect from someone who was far too comfortable with being suspicious. I awkwardly fell over my words.

“It’s… for record keeping,” which was thankfully enough of an explanation to let me hold on to it. I was ushered down a couple of hallways, each with their own keypad entry, the guard casually swiping his badge at each barrier. Indecipherable chatter buzzed from the radio on his belt. 

The hallway we stopped in was made up of white painted cinderblocks and lined by rows metal doors with flaking teal paint. He moved a bit closer to me as we stopped at a door affixed with a laminated paper sign that read “Inmate Visitation.” Over that was a plastic plate with the number thirteen. Under that was another sheet of paper detailing rules of visitation: things like the amount of time allowed per visit, warnings not to touch the inmate, and warnings not leave any personal items behind or with the inmate. 

He cleared his throat and said, “So, this is your brother, eh?” 

I tried to transcribe a look of guilt on my face without saying the words, hoping he’d take a look of shame as an admittance to our familial relationship. It felt difficult to outright lie. 

He said, “Look, it ain’t my job to ask questions…” and at this point, that’s when I flipped on the recorder.

FIELD RECORDING

CORRECTIONAL OFFICER: -but if you get anything on the tape worth hearing, maybe send it over to the authorities. I’m sure they’d rather hear it from the source, instead of from whatever news outlet you’re working for. Alright, this is a private room and I’m going to give you some extra time if you need it, so consider that a show of good faith. 

SOUND: Keys jingle and a door is heard unlocking and opening. It’s thick and metal and makes a sort of clunking noise to illustrate its weight.

STUDIO RECORDING

Malcolm looked disheveled. I’d pictured this evil genius, clean cut and perfectly postured, but on the other side of the table sat a man that looked like he’d come from a gutter. His hair was greasy and tangled, and the lower half of his face was marred with patches of unkempt facial hair. He was slouched across the table, likely to add some slack to the handcuffs around his wrists, which were looped around a ring attached to the table. I had a feeling that they had a set of handcuffs with a longer chain reserved for some of the more polite inmates. 

A smile splintered across his face that up until this point was reversed for my nightmares. He took at deep breath, the sort of exaggerated breath you’d expect from a cheap sitcom character who just narrowly missed an awkward but assuredly hilarious situation. As I made my way to the plastic chair that sat across from him, he spoke.

FIELD RECORDING

MALCOLM: Welcome to my humble abode! Come on in and make yourself comfortable, Jeremy. I didn’t have time to scrounge up some snacks, but there’s some leftover Chinese in the fridge!
[he laughs]

JEREMY: [he clears his throat]

MALCOLM: Well, I’d ask if a cat got your tongue, but with your line of work these days I think that might be a real possibility.
[pause]
I see that look on your face. If I were you I’d appreciate the fact that I’m even willing to talk to you in the first place. If my hands weren’t chained to a table, I’d show you the scar I have from where you tried to carve some ancient symbol into me… before presumably giving up and trying to stab me to death. I hope you didn’t leave that part out of your podcast…
[he laughs]
You know… the part where you’re an attempted murderer?

JEREMY: Plenty of people in the comments wanted to know why I didn’t finish the job.

MALCOLM: And yet you walk free.

JEREMY: I get that this is all a joke to you, and the Grinner likely took your last remaining brain cells back with it to hell, but I’m not here for fun and games and goodie bags. I just want to ask you a few questions before I get the hell out of here.

MALCOLM: Well, Mister Serious, ask away.

SOUND: Shuffling noises can be heard as Jeremy retrieves his pocket-sized notebook and flips through it.

JEREMY: Ok… so… how exactly did you get caught? How did you get pinned for all of the disappearances?

MALCOLM: Well that’s easy. When a bunch of people go missing, and the only connection they all share is the man that they gave all of their money and earthy possessions to…

JEREMY: Right, but that doesn’t explain how they caught up with you… or how they even knew you didn’t disappear along with the rest of the people you brainwashed in to worshipping that demon.

MALCOLM: It has a name you know. I’m sure you’ve read it somewhere in the journals you stole from me.
[he laughs]
Its name is-

SOUND: There’s a distorted, ringing sound, as if the digital recorder can’t capture the sounds coming from Malcolm’s mouth, and it obscures the name in the recording. As it stops, the Correctional Officer knocks on the door.

CORRECTIONAL OFFICER: Is everything alright in there?

JEREMY[he is breathing hard]
Yeah… everything… is fine.

MALCOLM: [he is laughing hysterically]

STUDIO RECORDING

Malcolm’s laugh brought me back to the day in that old church. The day I watched an old priest morph into a creature of twisted muscle and flesh and hunt me down in order to dismember me. It spoke to me in my mind – that demon – and it laughed in sheer amusement at my terror… the same way Malcolm was laughing in that recording. I would know because I’ve had nightmares about it ever since. 

The way the light shone through the stained glass and glittered across the floating dust, and the shadows of the pews stretched across the floor. Lucas Stone’s bleeding shredded body and snapped limbs… Preston Nicholson, possessed and fused to the wooden floorboards, whispering for someone to get close enough so the demon could jump out and take over someone else’s body.

The image that has the most presence in these memories is Ben Scanlon, swinging from the rafters by his neck. He fought for control and hung himself before the Grinner was able to use his body to kill the rest of us. I have no issue accepting the fact that he didn’t do it for me – he did it to save his sister – and now here I have been, dragging her back through the muck, pulling her by the ankles back down into the darkness he tried to spare her from. 

Malcolm pulled me back out my stupor.

FIELD RECORDING

MALCOLM: You really want to know how I ended up here? I passed out from blood loss less than a mile from the church. Someone found me curled up behind the dumpster I’d chosen to die behind, and before I knew it, paramedics were shining flashlights in my eyes. Soon enough, they started asking questions about the disappearances. Turns out they pinned us as some sort of suicide cult. But the questions got boring and repetitive, and then Hydra got involved as they always do, because they just can’t seem to keep their noses out of anything. So I confessed… I said I killed them. 

JEREMY: Wait… what do you know about Project Hydra? 

MALCOLM: About as much as you do… which is not much. Only that they sent out some sort of fake FBI agents and led the police on a bunch of bullshit leads. They also managed to keep everything on the hush-hush, and somehow kept the media on a leash. Everyone involved – hell, most of the guards in this prison – have some sort of idea of what they think I did, but Hydra made sure there wasn’t even a single social media post about this. 

JEREMY: How do you even know all of this?

MALCOLM: Oh… I thought you and Brianne were buddies. She didn’t tell you that she’s sat in that same chair you’re sitting in? Twice?

STUDIO RECORDING

Malcolm was and is a liar. He’s manipulative, and he knows how to get under your skin, and he seems to really enjoy it. When I first checked in to visit him, I was told at the desk that I was his first and only visitor, but could those records have been manipulated? Had Brianne really visited Malcolm in prison and kept it from me? Did Ron or Mark Anderson know? 

My conversation with Malcolm wasn’t over yet, but I want to pause that conversation for a moment and play you the phone call I had with Brianne when I got home. I’ll pick up the conversation with Malcolm in just a minute.

PHONE CALL

SOUND: A phone is ringing before Brianne Scanlon answers.

BRIANNE: Hey…what’s up?

JEREMY: I’m sitting down and doing some editing for the podcast, and I just had a quick question – and it’s okay if you don’t feel comfortable answering – but did you happen to talk to Malcolm? 

BRIANNE: What- in prison? Did he say I visited him? Because I didn’t. I have enough problems to deal with, without manufacturing more. I know you did, and you told me all about it, but you didn’t mention this. If you were worried about it, then why did you sit on it? You could’ve just asked me.

JEREMY: It’s not like that, I just- I just wanted to get it on record. Do you mind if I use this on the podcast?

BRIANNE: That’s fine, but you gotta start telling me you’re recording me at the start of the conversation.

STUDIO RECORDING

Well, that answered my question. If I had to guess, that’s just Malcolm’s way of sowing division between us. If his old journals are anything to go by, he wasn’t always like this: so chaotic and manipulative. He was a quiet kid, somewhat well meaning. But something changed in him around the time he accidentally sacrificed his sister to the Grinner. 

You can see it in Doctor Patel’s write up, following his first therapy visit to her as a young boy. He responds to her questions with questions of his own, and picks topics he thinks will draw out completely unrelated conversations and draw the spotlight away from his issues. He works to run out the clock so he can leave without ever having to answer for his strange and concerning behaviors. 

Brianne had a theory on how all of this snowballed into what it’s become: what drew Malcolm further into the darkness. She told me that day we first met in that old church to destroy the demon once and for all that she thought the Grinner had imparted just a little bit of itself in him the day he unknowingly fed his sister to that demon. Maybe it left a little more behind this time when it was in his body, or maybe that same piece of darkness remained, festering and rotting away more of Malcolm’s mind. 

If Brianne hadn’t talked to Malcolm and told him all this, then I can’t help but wonder who did. I had a likely answer. It was Dr Patel. I have no doubt that she has some sort of game in all of this. After all, why would she have set up this meeting between the two of us? Why hadn’t Project Hydra just simply killed Malcolm, or had him sent off to some facility? 

The fact is, they wanted Malcolm in this prison, and they wanted me in this room talking to him. But then again, maybe they didn’t. Maybe this was all just Patel, playing some sort of sick game with all of us. 

Now, back to my conversation with Malcolm.

FIELD RECORDING

JEREMY: Let’s leave Brianne out of this.

MALCOLM: I’m guessing she didn’t tell you. Well, what else is in your little notebook there? 

SOUND: Pages are being shuffled.

MALCOLM: Skipping some pages there, huh?

JEREMY: Why did you give up on trying to get back your sister? Why did you leave her there? Why did you start working for the demon that took her? 

MALCOLM:  [he sighs]
It didn’t take her… no…
[he takes a deep breath]
I gave her to it…and there’s no getting those things back. Things don’t ever come back from there. It took me far too long to accept that.

JEREMY: But you’ve been there. And now you’re… here.

MALCOLM: Correct… but I think we are both speaking about it from the wrong perspective. It’s not just some far off otherworldly dimension. It’s a stomach. Over time it digests you. It envelops you and erodes your willpower. That’s why I wasn’t able to save Tabitha. My little sister wasn’t my little sister anymore. She wanted to stay there. She thought it was beautiful. It’d already digested too much of her. That’s what it does to you, and if I stayed any longer it would’ve happened to me too. That’s where your soul goes when you cut a deal with a demon. It doesn’t go to hell. You don’t get to meet the devil, if he even exists. One day you just get swallowed up and rot away in its stomach.

JEREMY: Why did you become his servant? If you couldn’t right your wrongs, then why didn’t you just walk away from all of this? How did you come to worship the Grinner?

MALCOLM[he laughs]
I don’t worship it. I never have. Those fools that followed my lead – the people they think I murdered – they worshipped it. They walked right in to its stomach. Years ago I tried to walk away, but something kept calling me back. I think its stink was on me the day I opened my grandfather’s book and started reading it. I tried to forget about it and move on, but every time I closed my eyes I’d pictured my sister, twirling in the fields of flittering eyelids and twitching flesh. Over time I came to accept that that’s what true beauty is.
I opened the book again because I wanted to escape. I wanted command over that beautiful place, and I wanted to see my sister again. I hated my life. I hated the man I was becoming, and I wanted to go back… you always want to go back.
But then the demon spoke to me. He told me that I could make the whole earth beautiful. And in this new beautiful land I would be a king. He told me he had plans and I was always meant to be a part of them. It was impossible to turn down that offer. 
I don’t hate you, Jeremy. I understand why you’re afraid. Trust me, I was once afraid, too. But you’ll see one day that there’s nothing to be afraid of.  We don’t know where we go when we die. That is truly and unfathomably terrifying. But in this place, there’s no sickness or health, no way to tell what’s pleasure or pain, and when you die you die for good. Your soul just disappears because there’s nothing left.
I truly wish for you to experience that beauty, Jeremy. And you will… soon. 

JEREMY: What do you mean by that, Malcolm? What do you mean by “soon?”

MALCOLM: The thing you call the Grinner isn’t dead, my friend. He’s still here on Earth and he’s still got… big plans for you.

STUDIO RECORDING

I have to admit that at this point I’d had enough. That last statement made me sick to think about. I was obviously a bit nervous throughout this entire conversation, but I wanted to avoid having an anxiety attack in front of Malcolm. I couldn’t show him how vulnerable I actually was. If this was all just some sick way to mess with my head, it had absolutely worked. 

FIELD RECORDING

SOUND: Jeremy gets up, walks to the door, and knocks on it.

MALCOLM: I’ll see you again soon… Jeremy.

SOUND: Keys jingle on the other side of the door and it opens, then closes after Jeremy passes through.

CORRECTIONAL OFFICER: So, did you get anything interesting out of him?

JEREMY: Not exactly… and, uh, I couldn’t get this digital recorder to work.

CORRECTIONAL OFFICER: Do you think he broke it with his mind powers or did something spooky to it?

JEREMY: No. I think I just should have sprung for the twelve dollar recorder… this one was eleven ninety-nine.

CORRECTIONAL OFFICER[brief chuckle]
Well ain’t that some shit.

STUDIO RECORDING

The drive home was a blur. It’s like my brain wouldn’t allow me to think, because otherwise I’d be too overwhelmed with all of the awful thoughts and implications. I spent the rest of the day sleeping, and doing my best to pretend none of this had ever happened. The following day I got a letter in the mail. It was from the Correctional Facility. From Malcolm. It was too soon for it to have been a follow up to our conversation. It must have been mailed before I even knew we would be speaking. Inside of the envelope was a folded piece of paper which detailed a short story I’d like to share with you now:

There once was a small boy who was born with a pair of eyes on his arm. 

“The eyeballs were squishy and wet, and when he poked at them, they would blink away tears and close tightly to protect themselves from his constant prodding. If he agitated them long enough they’d turn red and watery, and sometimes if he poked at them too much in a week they would swell shut and drip with yellow puss. 

The boy hated the eyes. He hated the way they felt and he hated the thought of them being there. He was a freak, and surely if he’d ever met any other children they’d tease him, or avoid him in disgust. He made his mind up that he’d remove the eyes – get rid of them for good – so he’d be a normal boy, and just like everyone else. 

He tried to pop them out with a spoon, but it hurt and they were in there much deeper and harder to scoop out than he thought. His mind was set on removing them, one way or another, and he soon found himself holding a kitchen knife to the eyes. They were red and swollen, painful and dripping with blood, but he knew it would all be over soon. 

One after another he twisted the knife into the eyes. They snapped and squelched and the blood and the pain was unbearable, but he kept going. He stuck his stubby fingers in to the mushy pulp of the eyes and reached deep until he could feel the slippery wet roots at the bottom and he pulled them out. What remained were two empty bleeding pits that sent his body shivering in pain, but the job was done. 

With a job well done, he rubbed his hand across the elbow on his face, and then ran it through the hair at the end of his arm. Now all he had to worry about was that awful nose and sickening mouth that sat below the eyes.

I wish I could say there was more to Malcolm’s letter, but there wasn’t. 

To be frank, I hope that this is my final correspondence with Malcolm. When I spoke to Brianne last, she made a point about not needing any more problems to deal with, and I think that’s the right approach in situations like this. I don’t think that I got much more information out of Malcolm then what I already knew, and there’s really no way of knowing if anything else he said was actually true. He’s manipulative. He tried right there on the spot to get under my skin, and in reigniting my trauma, he very much succeeded. 

What’s most interesting is Malcolm’s knowledge of Project Hydra, and I’ve been kicking myself for not pushing him on it. I know that Malcolm likely wouldn’t have budged, and I could have sabotaged the whole interview by trying, but in hindsight I wish I’d have done it anyway. Then again, Malcolm isn’t exactly trustworthy, so it’s probably a good thing I didn’t let him plant any bad ideas in my head. 

As far as I’m concerned, Malcolm is behind bars, and whatever knowledge he has about Hydra is safer tucked away in his deranged mind. Now that the excitement has worn off, I’m happy to say I’m done with him. 

[pause]

I meant to end this episode here, but while recording and doing some last minute editing,  I could hear my cell phone ringing in the other room. By the time I paused the recording, I’d already missed the call. Not thinking much of it, and not recognizing the number, I went back to recording, deleting the bit of audio that had been sullied by my ringing phone and getting back to business. It wasn’t until later that I realized that whoever had called had left a voicemail. 

I recorded it and, barring any other sudden updates, I’d like to end this episode with a recording from my voicemail.

VOICEMAIL

MALCOLM: Hey buddy! I bet you missed my voice.
[he laughs]
Looks like I’m a free man. Turns out that all I had to do was say please, and they opened the gates right on up! Even gave me a badge to swipe if I ever want to get back in. There’s something I wanted to tell you before you stormed out. One of the scraps of meat the Grinner left to rot inside my skull: I’m pretty sure you’re going to die soon, Jeremy…  really soon. You’re just laying there… the life leaving your eyes… there’s this stupid look on your face and you’ve got this gaping open mouth… 
I don’t really know how, and I’m not really sure why, or if there’s anything you can do about it, but I thought you should know. I gotta get going, but I’ll see you soon, Jeremy. You know… if you’re not dead by then.

Confession – Season 4 Episode 2

See Content Warnings
General horror, alcohol, language, act of threatened violence against a child, gun violence, police not serving time for murder, cancer, death
Need to skip this episode? Click here to see the plot.
Jeremy finally gets a meeting with Ron after everything that’s happened. Ron reveals why he works for Hydra – he would lose any contact with his kids after the death of his lover (and after he killed an unarmed thief during a hallucination which resulted in his firing from the police) if he didn’t. His two children are Benjamin and Brianne Scanlon. Brianne only found out at Ben’s funeral. Ron is using the papers as leverage to try to keep Hydra in check and protect himself and those he cares about.

Everyone has their own set of buttons that can be pushed, and everyone has a breaking point.  It’s one thing to experience just one tiny, little thing that bothers you.  It’s easy to ignore, to simply look the other way.  I’m conflicted in the lessons I grew up with in church, with the whole “what would Jesus do” mentality of just “turning the other cheek” when compared to the idea that my counselor told me, which is probably the most valuable thing I’ve learned since I have been seeing the prick.  That is, “whatever harmful behavior you’re willing to endure without making the person aware whose harmful behavior is hurting you… without drawing a line in the sand establishing your boundaries and how you expect to be treated… not only further damages you in the long run, but in essence, teaches that person how to treat you, and what you’re willing to endure.”

It’s funny, I used to think that my boiling point, taking so long to reach, was an admirable quality.  Now, I’m not so sure.  But I suppose that’s something to continue working on with my counselor.  These days I don’t have the luxury of waiting for polite interactions to take place. But yeah, I’m seeing a therapist on a more frequent basis these days because of…well…some health concerns.  As usual, the wife was right about my habit of bottling things up and after receiving the news…erm…

Speaking of which, I’ve been journaling my own thoughts about that to review in my counseling sessions, and intentionally leaving the parts about my frustration and anger out of this podcast for fear of… well, some of it’s private, and some I’m just not that ready to be publicly vulnerable yet.  But mostly because I’m afraid of being wrong.  I’m glad that I’ve done so because what I’m about to share with you confirmed that I was wrong about a few things.  

I can’t be certain if I finally experienced the one straw that broke the camel’s back, or if it was a brick, but either way, I finally felt it was time to call out Ron.  A seed was planted last season when 4thTrumpet told me Ron was actually working for Hydra.  Ever since then, I’ve been suspicious of his activities, and have probably been over-analytical.  More recently, I suppose it was the dreams that caused me to push further.  Or it might have been Ben’s funeral.  Yeah, I just can’t put my finger on it, but for a man who has shown zero emotion in most of the interactions I’ve had with him, he seemed to take Ben’s death pretty hard.  You’d think that would be to his credit, but in my mind, he owed me a debt: that debt being an explanation… for everything. Why has he collected The Storage Papers to begin with, why do I have in my possession a document confirming he’s working for Hydra, why I was used as bait in the church, and what the hell is the long game here?  

My patience is wearing thin and I think I just came to a point where I didn’t want to proceed with anything related to the papers.  Especially now that I’m in therapy over them, and it’s causing tension in my marriage and in my relationship with my kids, even if indirectly.  There’s only so much I’m willing to sacrifice without a solid foundation of purpose.  For these reasons, I got in touch with Anderson and told him I needed to speak with Ron directly, as soon as possible, or I was done. 

Of course, Anderson tried to tell me I was being irrational, so I shared with him a slightly less-detailed version of what I just told you, only with a bit more hostility.  I don’t think he initially thought I was serious.  A few hours later, I got a phone call from Ron, who asked me to meet him at a bar near Old Town San Diego at seven fifteen PM that night.

I got there early of course.  I’m always early.  I grew up with the expectation that I was actually considered late if I wasn’t fifteen minutes early to any appointment.  So, by my arrival at seven oh two, I’m confident my parents would have been disappointed.  Either way, I had enough time to get a couple of whiskeys burning their way down my throat, heating up my entire body and making me just a little loose before Ron arrived.  When we got there, he suggested we get a booth away from people, and toward the back of the bar where it was dark and seedy.  

The first thing out of his mouth was unexpected.  He said, “What’s so important to you that is worth risking my friendship and long-term trust I have with Mark?”  Had Anderson been on my side in all of this?  I mean, why would Ron say this unless Anderson had pushed him to have this meeting?  Perhaps…

Now I’m curious.  

I basically just came out and told him how I felt.  That I was being used, uninformed, disrespected a bit, and extremely disappointed at the lack of information flowing my way.  He didn’t budge.  Instead, he just looked at his beer stein as I paused for some kind of reaction from him.  After an uncomfortably long period of silence, I continued.  I asked why he lingered so long at Ben’s funeral, telling him that I’d given Brianne a ride, and waited in the car for over an hour for her while they were the only two who remained after the service.  I understood Brianne’s motivation.  I mean it was her brother for Christ’s sake, but why did he stay even after she left.  I asked what attachment he had with Ben.  Still staring at his beer, his right index finger began to trace the rim of the stein.  I looked back at him, and his eyes seemed to be watering up, but he didn’t crack.

“Nothing, huh?” I said in that parental disappointed tone I’d learned to use.  He didn’t even look at me.  I asked him if there was even an ounce of him that thought I deserved an explanation for a few things, to anything.  Nothing. 

I even got to the point where I asked, “Why should I continue this pointless pursuit of the podcast?”

At this point, he made eye contact with me.  He didn’t look angry, but more like he was trying to discern whether or not I was bluffing.  The podcast obviously meant something to him, or had value.  

After more silence, I picked up my whiskey, which was about half full, and slung it to the back of my throat before reaching into my pocket and extracting a folded up sheet of paper.  I placed it down next to his beer stein.  Ron looked at it, and our eyes met again.

“The fuck is this?” he said.

I just glared at him.  I was literally ready to walk away from it all without some answers.  He picked up the paper and unfolded it.  I could tell he recognized it immediately as the nondisclosure agreement he signed when he hired on with Hydra.  

Finally, some life was expelled from him.  In an obviously agitated, but whispered voice, he said, “Who the fuck gave you this?”

The shoe was on the other foot now.  I picked up my empty glass, intentionally ignoring his question, and held it between my eyes and the light above our booth, pretending I was unaware of his question.  He became more insistent.  “You don’t plan to go public with this, do you?”

He obviously wasn’t listening to the podcast.  I looked him in the eye and said quite calmly, “I already have.” 

At that moment, I couldn’t really explain how, but I could sense everything he was feeling.  It was one of those moments where I previously described losing myself within thought, but I could sense everything, and I could hear in his voice (though he wasn’t speaking) a series of thoughts with his emotions.  It was like a flash, like I was going to black out.  Anger mixed with “that cheeky mother…” then fear mixed with questions like, “Do they know?  Do I need to go dark?” and finally remorse and the thought, “I need to tell him.”

I felt dizzy and closed my eyes, assuming it was the whiskey doing it’s thing.  I reopened them and said, “Yes, you do need to tell me.”  

His eyes opened widely and he leaned back in his seat, almost as if I offended him.  Then he shook his head from side to side, and went back to staring at his beer.  I felt let down.  At that point, I stood up, threw a twenty dollar bill on the table and said, “Nice knowing you,” and turned to walk away.  

That’s when he grabbed my forearm and said, “Okay, I’ll tell you what you want to know.”  

I said, “Well first you can let go of my arm,” which he did.

Then I said, “If you aren’t going to tell me everything, let me know right now.”

He nodded and I sat back down.  He called the waitress over and ordered us both a whiskey… apparently he was drinking what I was drinking now. “Where should I start?” he asked.  

I replied, “How about the beginning?”  

Our drinks arrived rather quickly and he spent the next hour and three more whiskeys filling me in on the details.  He served four years in the Army as military police and began working at the San Diego Sheriff’s department in nineteen eighty.  He made Homicide Detective within two years, being the fastest promotion of the type to this day.  His partner retired in eighty-six, and that’s when a new, promising young detective named Mark Anderson was assigned to work with him.  Ron mentored him and taught him everything he knew.  

I asked him about why he left the Sheriff’s department, and he initially told me it was complicated.  I didn’t press him just yet, so I asked him about the Storage Papers and why he started the collection of documents.  He kept things very shallow for a while.  He just said that after he was no longer in the position of Detective, and after a few months of feeling sorry for himself, he began his P.I. business where he learned that there were a lot of people who had similar experiences as him.  Experiences of things unexplained.  Experiences that are related to Hydra.  Sadness began to come through his facial expressions like a napkin soaking up condensation.  I don’t think he could hide much any longer.

He began diving deeper, but in what seemed like a very different direction.  He said, “I didn’t know Brianne got a ride with you to the funeral.”

He proceeded, telling me that he was in love once.  He told me he never actually married Kelly, but that they had two children out of wedlock about one year apart from one another.  The youngest was premature, and experienced a slew of medical problems right from the start.  While he and Kelly had managed to get through several rough months with a preemie needing constant care, it wasn’t long after the baby started showing some progress and being released home that the news was delivered.

You see, Kelly thought that the stress and the sleepless nights of worrying about their newborn were causing her severe migraines, which is probably why the real problem was being overlooked.  She had developed a rare type of brain tumor.  This was all while he was working for the Sheriff’s department of course.  For about six months, Ron took a leave from his job to help with their preemie and to ultimately be there for Kelly.

“Things were looking grim,” he said.  “Kelly had slipped into a coma until I had nearly all but given up hope, and I was introduced by Kelly’s doctor to a pharmaceutical rep.”

Ron explained that this pharmaceutical company had been doing some research into what they called “gene therapy” at the time.  Keep in mind that this was in the eighties and gene therapy wasn’t even being thought of by mainstream scientists and researchers at the time, let alone being treated with medications and other procedures.  He explained that the treatment would be completely experimental, and would require transfer to their own private facility to ensure the treatments had the highest chance of success.  Their oncologist confirmed that there were literally no other options that could be considered from the hospital’s point of view.  

Ron expressed his concerns about the cost not being covered by insurance, and for being responsible for two very young children while all of this was potentially going to be happening.  He said he was lured into an agreement after being promised the world.  He said they told him their private facility had childcare, and that the treatment would be of no cost to them, as it was considered research, being funded by federal dollars through a government contract.  So, being unable to consult with Kelly and she had no living relatives to help make the decision, Ron begrudgingly decided to proceed with the treatment.  

Ron explained Kelly spent months in the facility, and eventually, I had to slowly begin returning back to work or risk losing my job, and any medical benefits that covered the kids while I was employed.  Knowing he didn’t quite feel ready to return, he spoke with one of the overseers of the facility who had been treating Kelly.  They prescribed him an experimental sedative that would supposedly calm him down, but allow him to function in his daily tasks.  It was supposed to get him in working shape, mentally.  But the drug had some side effects for him.  Occasionally, it caused minor hallucinations.  These were discussed with the medical team, and his dosage would be altered.

He had only been back to work for a few weeks when an incident occurred.  He was actually off-duty, in plain clothes after leaving his shift.  He stopped at a corner gas station to fill up his tank before heading over to the research facility to spend some time with his kids and with Kelly, who was still in a coma.  He’d walked into the store while the pump was feeding gas into his car, and was looking for anything he could find over the counter to fight a headache that had been culminating behind his eyes for several hours.  He went to the register, paid, and began walking out the door when he heard someone behind him yell, “give me the cash!”  

He turned around to find a caucasian male in his early twenties with his arm raised toward the cashier.  His hand was covered by a brown paper bag.  They man didn’t see Ron until his grocery bag hit the ground, and after Ron’s weapon was trained on him.

Ron yelled out, “Sheriff’s department, drop the weapon!”

And just then, Ron had one of the hallucinations he said he was experiencing.  He described in detail the man’s face, which initially looked dirty, but young, frightened, and somewhat innocent.  He remembered thinking the young man probably didn’t have much experience with armed robbery, so Ron felt confident that he had the situation under control, if only for a few seconds.  It was then that everything changed for him.

As Ron was about to negotiate with the man to drop his weapon, he said the man’s face began changing.  It started twisting and morphing into this sort of disfigured blob, undulating in waves of skin, hair, and teeth.  At the same time it began changing colors, from flesh tone to a greenish-dark gray, the man’s head began shaking violently from side to side, front to back, so quickly that it was blurry, as if he didn’t even have a head.  In the meantime, the man’s body remained completely still.  

Ron glanced at the cashier, a middle-aged Asian woman, who appeared frozen in time.  When he looked back at the man, he was… something else.  His face had changed from a boyish appearance to something demonic.  Large, yellow eyes with vertical slits for pupils glared back at Ron.  The creature’s breathing was ragged.  Ron watched as the eyes turned to look at the paper bag still enveloping its hand, then looked back at Ron and revealed a mischievous grin.  Rows of razor-sharp teeth were exposed in joyful satisfaction that the creature knew something Ron didn’t.

It looked at the bag around it’s hand again, then slightly lowered its arm toward the floor.  The bag slid off of its hand and fell to the ground, revealing that the creature hadn’t been holding a gun underneath the bag.  Instead, its grip was firm around a baby’s neck, with its face turning purple as the creature brought it closer to its face.  The yellow eyes pierced Ron, and the baby it was holding was intentionally turned toward him and held there for a moment, as if on some kind of sick display.  It took him a moment, but as the baby’s head began turning a darker shade of purple, he recognized it as his own daughter, the preemie who he thought was in the care of the research facility treating Kelly. As soon as Ron recognized the baby, it’s as if the creature knew.  It seemed almost amused as it grinned even wider.  

Ron yelled, “Put it down carefully!”

Instead, its head slowly turned toward the baby and it began opening its wide jaws, bringing the baby’s head beyond the boundary of its outer row of teeth.  A shot rang out, and Ron’s ears began to ring.

It all happened so fast.  As the ringing subsided, Ron looked over at the cashier, who was screaming in fear… not in fear of the monster Ron had just killed, but in fear of Ron.  He looked around to find two other customers backing away from him, and he was confused for a moment.  Then he looked at the floor where the creature stood.  Before him, lying immobile on the ground, was that early twenties caucasian male with a bullet hole in his forehead; just above his left eyebrow.  A pool of blood and brain matter lay behind him, and also splattering the magazine rack and checkout counter near him.  Next to an empty brown paper bag on the floor was the young man’s hand holding a banana.  

The police arrived within a couple of minutes to find Ron outside with his gun on the ground next to him, and his arms up, with his detective badge in one hand on display.  He spent several hours being questioned that evening, and ultimately was released under suspension from work until a further investigation could be conducted.  He knew he couldn’t tell the truth about his perception of the event, but he also said that he didn’t see a banana prior to pulling the trigger.  

The police released a statement with a generic, “There will be a full investigation with all of the witness statements taken into account,” kind of message, while Anderson was tasked with collecting Ron’s badge and gun prior to his release.  By the time Ron was sent home, it was well into the early morning hours, so he skipped going to the research facility that night.

Ron awoke to a phone call around eleven AM the next morning.  It was the research facility.  They called to inform Ron that Kelly had passed away overnight.  Ron was tearing up quite a bit when telling me this.  He obviously loved her.  He pulled out his wallet, and retrieved a small photo to show to me.  In the photo was a very young, much slimmer picture of him with a very pretty woman sitting next to him on a log outdoors somewhere possibly local.  Aside from Ron having more hair and less weight, he looked completely happy.  Kelly had light brown hair and some hefty eighties bangs.  I turned the photo over to see if anything was written on the back, and to my astonishment, the small amount of information there bore heavy weight.  Written in pencil that looked to have been smudged over the years, it was written, “Ron Hammond and Kelly Scanlon, nineteen eighty-six.”

I was shocked.  Ron was the biological father of Benjamin and Brianne Scanlon.  I had a seemingly endless fountain of questions that started flowing, but Ron insisted I allow him to continue, so I let him speak.

He said he wanted to see Kelly’s body before they took her away, and arranged to be at the research facility within the hour.  Waiting for him at the entrance when he arrived was Mark Anderson, along with four other Sheriff’s deputies.  Ron seemed somewhat confused at first, wondering if Anderson had also been informed of Kelly’s passing, but that wasn’t the case.  Instead, he was again given a difficult task.  Anderson explained that according to the witness statements from the gas station, the banana was fully revealed for quite a long time prior to Ron firing his weapon the previous day.  He was tasked with bringing Ron in.

Ron, a bit numb from all of the events that transpired over the previous twenty-four hours, explained the situation about Kelly’s passing and requested to see her before he went with Anderson.  He said Anderson was kind, and he did his job.  He allowed Ron to see her, but insisted that he accompany him along the way.  He kept a respectful distance while I grieved, and personally drove me into the station in the front seat, and without handcuffs, despite department policy.  

There was a hearing, and Ron was ultimately found guilty and was terminated from the Sheriff’s department.  In light of his impeccable service record in the United States Army and the Sheriff’s department, he didn’t have to serve any jail time.  He was away from Ben and Brianne for about sixty days though, and he had asked Anderson to act on his behalf to coordinate care for them while he was gone, which the research facility was pleased to provide.

Finally, the first chance he got, Ron drove to the facility to collect his children, but that’s where things went even more sideways.  Normally, he would check in with the front desk personnel, and a security guard would escort him through a series of locked doors to the childcare area.  That day, instead of bringing Ron directly there, he’s led to an office that happened to also look like an interrogation room minus the two way mirror.  

He sat for about forty-five minutes before a man greeted him.  He was tall, in his fifties with a dark gray suit and a yellow tie.  He carried a briefcase which he placed on the table as he sat down.  Ron didn’t go into much detail about the specifics of the conversation, except that the man kept referring to the situation as a “unique little predicament.”  Ultimately, he was sent there to negotiate.  They wanted to keep Ben and Brianne.  This infuriated Ron, but the man calmly presented the current scenario with some options.  He pointed out that Ron was now a convicted felon with no job or medical insurance.  The man produced a file from his briefcase that looked like a foreign language to Ron, but he was told that the children possessed some unique genetic markers, similar to their mother, that if not studied thoroughly could potentially cause the same demise for both of them (if no cure is found, of course).  

He assured Ron that the children would have a top-notch education and access to special programs, which Ron admittedly regrets not obtaining more details about.  It didn’t matter to Ron.  He was adamantly refusing all of it until the guy changed his demeanor.  Ultimately, he provided Ron with a choice.  Knowing that they had full custody of the children for over two months, all it would take is a simple phone call to child protective services to have the State take custody, pointing out that Ron would have a very low probability given his recent circumstances… or, he presented another option.  They offered him a job.  Apparently they had dug into Ron’s background and found some qualities they were looking for in his service and employment records.  They said Ron could work for them in exchange for regular updates on them to observe them being taken care of without informing them that he’s their father… or he could refuse and never see them again.

The man retrieved another document from his briefcase.  It was nearly a hundred pages, and one of the first few that he thumbed through was this nondisclosure agreement that I presented a copy of to him today – an unredacted version of course.  I suddenly felt like an asshole.  Ron said they allowed him to visit his kids for as long as he wanted that day while he thought it over.  He considered going after them legally, but with no job, no money, and a felony conviction over his head, he knew it was pointless.  He agreed to the job, feeling somewhat defeated, but still somewhat thankful he could at least have the knowledge that his kids are okay.  

He explained that the primary purpose of his job was to disseminate information, to create counterintelligence and disinformation when necessary.  “Regarding what?” I asked.

He just said, “About anything they asked me to.”

He looked at me in a very serious way and said, “The Storage Papers contain the truth.  If something strange is occurring in San Diego, then there’s a very high probability, almost certainty, that it originated with Project Hydra.  I’ve covered up these stories under the guise of a private P. I. firm for years now, intentionally creating a different narrative for the public to see compared to what has actually happened.  I’m good at my job… I use a service-oriented approach to gain the trust of the client, document all the details, and report out to Hydra.  They tell me what data to get rid of and what to report back to the client and/or what information goes public.  Only, I have them by the balls with all of the information currently in your possession.  So keep the papers under lock and key, okay?  I’ve always felt wrong about it, but that’s why I’ve archived everything in hopes that someday, I’d be able to keep the facts alive, despite what happened to the experiencers.  I’ve led people astray in my involvement with these cases, and served to report information to Hydra, while covering up any evidence that could implicate them.  I’ve been nothing more than a henchman,” he said.

He continued, “I’ve always held out hope that I could obtain even a small amount of redemption but I’ve never quite had a vessel.  Now that my kids are grown, Hydra continues to try to blackmail me into working for them.  They find new pressure points of mine to keep me in line.  I suppose I’m only comfortable telling you all this now because they’ve always used my children as a bargaining chip against me… and now that I’ve lost one of them, it’s time for some things to come out into the light.”  

I confirmed that I had his permission to share this information on the podcast.  He continued further, “Just so we’re clear, I do see your podcast as a very important piece of my redemptive process.  Without it, I fear this old man wouldn’t know how to spread the word about any of it, or at least not without significant risk.  The beauty of it is you’re not really at risk either.  You see, I was following you in the beginning, trying to collect information about you and I wasn’t sure whether to report you to Hydra for fear of being exposed or pursue you as an ally.  I still wasn’t 100% certain either way until I lost Ben.” 

Looking back now, I sensed some deception in this statement, but I was so enamoured with this news that I ignored that instinct at the time.  

I had to interrupt him with a couple of questions. “Okay, first of all, does Brianne know you’re her father?  And second, what kind of risk is there for you and myself at this point?”

He explained that the hour-long conversation after the funeral was spent informing Brianne of what has happened.  She’s now aware, and is currently under very little perceived risk from Hydra.  If anything, there’s potential risk only if certain circumstances were to come about, which he didn’t go into.  And he said he felt confident that by going public with this information, my safety was probably better off than if I continued sharing the documents without divulging our conversation.  This was due to the mere fact that if something ever happened to me, there would be a public record of motive that would incriminate Hydra.  If there was anything they were planning at all, they’d have to back off now.  

The real risk lies with Ron.  He said he’s at the point where he’s done playing their game.  He almost laughed about it, saying he still needed a job, so he was going to continue reporting to work there, which would be a true test to see if they’re actually listening to my podcast.  Pretty ballsy if you ask me…or stupid.  

He said he truly loved the cases he sees… the witness accounts and the things he’s personally seen that reassure him that death isn’t the end.  “They can do whatever they want to me now… I’m not afraid,” he said.  “With any luck, they’ll realize what a valuable resource I actually am to them, even with the ulterior motives I may have now to remain in their employ.”

I honestly think there’s more to Ron’s motives than he shared with me over those drinks, but ultimately, I’m satisfied that whatever they are, it’s probably not going to be bad for me… but I sure as hell believe he’s not going to let Hydra off the hook without contestation.

Final Rest: Part 2 – Season 3 Episode 20

See Content Warnings
General horror, language, injury, gunshot, death
Need to skip this episode? Click here to see the plot.
Jeremy awakens inside a dream shared with Brianne and the Dream Killer: a long, circular hallway lined with windows on either side. The Dream Killer doesn’t notice him at first and is excited to see Brianne, but she doesn’t recognize him. She tells him she’s going to stop him.

Upon noticing Jeremy, he grabs Brianne, smashes a window, and pulls her through it. Jeremy gives chase and finds himself back in Hellhole Canyon, his sleeping body next to Brianne’s, when a car flies at him. Brianne redirects it at the last second. Brianne and the Dream Killer disappear and Jeremy notices a glitch in the dream world where they seemed to disappear at. He jumps into the glitch and is back in the hallway, just in time to see them leave again.

He dives through the window they just jumped through and finds himself in an abandoned medical facility. He can’t see them, but he hears Brianne and the Dream Killer talking. The Dream Killer reveals he was with Brianne and Benjamin when they were in the custody of Hydra, and they experimented on him but were unable to put him to sleep while they did so. The only time he gets any rest is when he steals it from the dreams of other psychics.

Jeremy bursts through a door and finds himself next to his wife who can’t see him, but is mourning over his tombstone. The Dream Killer implies this is what will happen to him. Brianne tells him it’s a lie, and Jeremy realizes he is actually still in the medical facility, next to several metal doors – Brianne and Benjamin’s childhood rooms. The Licker is at the other end of the hallway.

Jeremy notices the glitch again and runs towards the Licker, then suddenly finds himself tripping through the hallway and through another broken window, this time falling into a pitch void where the Dream Killer is expanding stars and galaxies from nothing. He injures Brianne and begins exploring Jeremy’s mind.

Jeremy calls for Brianne in his mind and they repel the Dream Killer. The Dream Killer begins to grow in retaliation, ready to wipe them out. Suddenly they are awake and a gunshot echoes. Ron killed the Dream Killer, and pocketed something as Jeremy and Brianne were running up. They take Brianne back and Ron leaves immediately, offering no answers to what happened and what is going on.

Everything was white – almost blindingly white – while a rainbow of alternating pale and neon colors swirled in my peripheral vision. I looked around until I spotted two figures in the distance. One was clearly Brianne. All I could make out of the other was his khaki suit. Although they were far away, I heard them as if they were speaking directly in my ear, rattling in my head. A deep, masculine voice was talking, but something seemed off as it spoke.

“You – you’re the sister! I found you! I can’t believe it!”

Several small pieces of white paper floated around me, each with some writing and a crimson smudge on it. I grabbed at one of them to find it was a card, colored with dried blood and containing the message “I’m saving you for last, Brianne.” The message took some focus to see and kept fading away the moment I stopped concentrating on it. I looked past the card at the two figures, still impossibly far away. Brianne’s voice seemed to ripple into me as I started running towards the two of them.

“I don’t know who you are, but you’re scaring me.”

My heart began to pound as I felt her fear in my veins. I started to hear things as I got closer, like I was slowly getting sucked into a vortex of nightmares. There were monsters here. I knew that. I could sense them just in my periphery; I just couldn’t see them. The colors just at the edge of my vision were phasing in and out with objects of substance: the red turned to bloodied intestines, the yellow became a steady stream of animalistic eyes, and the purple and green combined to form rotting, diseased flesh.

His voice grew louder, more powerful. “You don’t remember me? I thought… then why are you here?”

I could tell Brianne wanted to sound confident… but I could also tell the nightmare was getting to her. “I came to stop you.”

Like a switch, we were no longer in a blank space full of swirling colors and gore, and I was jolted to a stop as I reoriented myself in this new space as his once khaki suit morphed into darkness. We were now in a long, dim hallway. Broken, frosted glass littered the floor beneath empty light fixtures on the ceiling. Brianne and the man stood at the end of a long, curved hallway lined with dark glass windows. Wind whistled through a crack in one of the nearby windows.

“You think you can stop me?”

His voice boomed, reverberating through my body. I took a step forward, bits of broken bulbs crunching beneath my foot. His head snapped to face me, then turned back to Brianne. “Who did you invite?” he seethed.

Suddenly, the windows were no longer dark. They never had been. Each window presented a glimpse of a different place. Some looked normal, but others were… unlike anything I’d ever seen before, and like nothing I could even explain or describe. Without warning, he grabbed Brianne’s arm then ran and dove through the window behind her, the shattering glass echoing down the hall. I ran to catch up and follow them. Whatever was on the other side seemed to be getting sucked into this place. As I drew closer, I saw that it was sand. With the sand blasting my face and spreading down the hall, I couldn’t see anything before taking a leap of faith.

Wind howled around me as I fell through the sand, trying perfervidly and in vain to find something to grasp while simultaneously bracing myself. There was nothing, and sand pressed into me on all sides, immobilizing my limbs and squeezing my lungs. Without warning, I hit the ground backwards with a thud that knocked the wind out of me. I reached up to wipe the sand off my face as I regained my breath and looked around. We were back in Hellhole Canyon. Brianne was lying on the ground and I was next to her, but both of us were slightly out of focus. Groaning metal echoed in the distance and the sound of something large was fast approaching overhead. I looked up to see a dark shape blotting out the stars and quickly growing larger. I tried to jump out of the way, but I reacted far too late to make a difference. Instead, at the last second I heard Brianne grunt from behind and the car that was about to crush me flew to the side and crunched into a large boulder beside me.

I spun around in time to see the man yanking Brianne off a ledge. I climbed up as quickly as I could to try to follow them but, as I reached the edge myself, I found that it was about a twelve foot drop down to more rocks. Survivable if you were prepared and in good shape, but Brianne wasn’t even in shape to be walking right now. I didn’t see them anywhere though, and that’s when I noticed it. A bird flew past, disappeared for an instant before continuing where it left off, flying a few feet, then for a split second I could swear there were two birds before one disappeared and the other continued off again. It was like this one area was out of sync with the rest. I glanced back at my shimmering body, took a breath, and jumped off the edge, bracing myself for a rough impact.

Faster than I could register, I heard more sounds than I’ve heard in my life, an eternity of life swirling around me in an instant… then it all went quiet again as I found myself falling atop sand, now back inside the large, circular hallway. Just as I looked up, the man was shattering another window and diving through it, Brianne in tow. I stumbled to my feet and followed suit.

This time, instead of sand, I felt myself being overwhelmed by a sense of darkness. I’m not sure how else to explain it. The darkness was thick, palpable. I could feel it crawling over my skin, touching every part of me, and sucking me into it. I found myself struggling to breathe again. Then I was on a cold, dusty laminate floor. With much effort, I got up and looked around me, searching for any sign of Brianne or the man who was pulling her from dream to dream. It looked like I was in an abandoned lab or doctor’s office of some kind. On one side was a bench with microscopes and test tubes, and on the other side was a sink and a padded chair… with leather straps. Scattered across the floor between the two sides were old papers that were all blank save for a marking in the corner: a seven-digit hand with an eye in the middle of the palm. Whatever this place was, it wasn’t anywhere I wanted to be. I took a step forward and almost fell as something underfoot slid. I looked down to find a bloodied scalpel.

I reached down and picked it up. The blood was fresh. Looking back down at the ground, I saw a trail of blood leading to a set of double doors with an unlit and cobweb-laden exit sign over top. His voice suddenly filled my ears, startling me.

“Do you remember me now? It was here, so long ago, that we met. You and your brother got out. You were the lucky ones. Not me, though. I had to stay, to stay awake, to stay thinking, to stay watching and bleeding and cursing every second of my life while they cut me open and put in and took out whatever they wanted. The things they did to me, to my mind, to my body… and I still can’t sleep! The only rest I can get is in your head, in their head, while they sleep. The ones like me. Like us.”

I heard Brianne reply in horror, “You were awake… the whole time?”

I moved past the double doors and found myself in what appeared to be a hospital hallway, but with one key difference. Eyeballs in sizes ranging from baseballs to watermelons hung several feet, the thick, glistening optic nerves appearing to grow out of the ceiling itself. The eyes one by one turned to look at me. I fought past the shiver of fear rippling down my spine to look past them to the opposite wall. There was a sign: left to the cafeteria, right to the subject’s rooms. On a hunch, I turned right, crouching as I ran under the hanging eyes. 

“Every goddamned second. I felt every tear of their scalpel. I thought it would be worth it, that they would be able to fix me. But here we are! I still have to hunt for the next person I can use to finally get a single drop of sleep.”

“You’re killing them,” I shouted in no particular direction. “You’re killing her!”

The trail of blood was getting thicker. His voice whispered in my ear, “You’re just determined to be a pest, aren’t you? Let’s find out what happens when you keep poking.”

At the end of the hallway was a door with a large, reinforced window and just below that, a crash bar. The blood disappeared underneath it. I stood and broke into a full run, disregarding the eyeballs that squished against my skin, and burst through the door to find myself outside in an open field of rolling hills and dying grass. Sunlight was blotted out by gray clouds near the horizon, dulling the sunset.

I heard shuffling behind me and turned to see my wife standing there, gazing down numbly at a tombstone. It was mine. I suddenly felt very cold. I’d been so certain of what I needed to do in that moment – to find the killer, to save Brianne, to help Ron. I couldn’t help but wonder if this was the cost.

“Jeremy.”

It was Brianne’s voice, echoing to me from every valley.

“It’s not real. Don’t believe whatever lie he’s trying to tell you. You’re not where you think you are.”

I couldn’t respond to her to tell her that I knew, deep down, this was something he was showing me. But it felt so real. The pain of watching a tear roll down my wife’s cheek with no other semblance of emotion visible was destroying me.

“Look at the ground.”

It was Brianne again. With much effort, I tore my eyes away from my wife and looked down. It was just dead grass and dirt. I don’t know what she expected. After a moment, I noticed it was a little more than that, though. It almost seemed too… liquid. I reached down and scooped up a handful of dirt. It instantly poured – not crumbled – out of my hand. Beneath the dirt was laminate flooring. I carefully scooped up another bit of dirt – this time with two hands – then flung it beside me. It stopped in midair, as if it hit an invisible wall, then suddenly the wall was no longer invisible.

Blood oozed down a white cinder block wall where the dirt had just been. I looked down to find my hands dripping wet, crimson. Blood coated the floor and small splatters of it contrasted with my light gray running shoes. I was standing in another hallway, this one far shorter. Three metal doors lined both sides of the hall, each with its own small sliding grate at roughly face-level. It reminded me of doors to solitary confinement cells. The two doors nearest me, the ones I could see well enough in the dim light, had names on them: Benjamin and Brianne. I was standing in their childhood.

I heard a sound at the far end of the hall that I’d only ever read about before in the papers. It was quiet, but unmistakable. There was another door at the end of the hall that was identical to the one I had entered through. Through the reinforced glass I could just make out the source of the sound – a tongue slowly sliding along the window.

I froze. This was so much more than I had signed up for. Or was it? Suddenly something on the other side of each of the six metal doors began urgently pounding against them at the same time. I turned back and tried to open the door, hoping to find a way out of there, but the handle wouldn’t budge – it was completely frozen in place.

I heard a click behind me and turned back to find the door at the far end was slowly opening. I resumed my efforts with futile desperation as I put all my weight against the door handle. It didn’t move, not even a millimeter. Adrenaline pumped through my veins as I once again faced the hallway. The other door was wide open now and the Licker slowly approached. It’s like it knew I was cornered and it could take its time with me.

As it moved closer, I noticed something. Just like in the desert, when it moved a certain way, it was out of sync with everything else. For a split second, it was like there were two of them, then suddenly it would just be one again. I balled my hands into fists to steady my shaking hands as I steeled myself. I remembered that image of my wife and the emptiness on her face. It wasn’t going to happen, not today, I determined. I ran straight forward – directly at the Licker.

It didn’t take long, just a few strides, really. One moment I was a mere two feet away from it – close enough to feel despair radiating from those unblinking eyes, to reach out and touch the dark skin – and the next I was stumbling back into the round hallway. My momentum propelled me directly through the jagged edges of another empty window.

I was immediately falling, but it felt different. I was falling and flying at the same time, tumbling freely through a pitch void. Then he was there. A pink mist shot out from behind him, followed by stars, then planets, then entire galaxies. The Dream Killer and Brianne stood there, silhouettes against the backdrop of the universe. He raised his hands and sneered as thunder boomed, reverberating through my body. “You think you can fight me? This is my life! You can’t take this from me!”

I yelled Brianne’s name.

Suddenly his face was inches from mine as drops of water (I guess you could call it rain) flew in every direction. He spoke without addressing me and his lips remained still. “Who are you? What tasty secrets are in this mind?”

His eyes burned my own to look at and I raised my hand to shield my face.

“No!” Lightning shot through the planets as Brianne yelled in defiance. “He is not yours and my head is not your plaything! This is not your world anymore!”

He spun around and extended a hand towards her, his black fingers growing to quickly close the gap of at least ten feet between them until they easily pierced her gut as if skin and flesh were nothing but air and water. She cried out as blood seeped from wounds still plugged with his long, boney fingers. He flicked his hand and she instantly flew backwards, spinning aimlessly through the stars, a trail of blood floating in her wake. As her blood drifted away, it seamlessly transformed into clusters of yellowed teeth. I instinctively tried to jump and found myself falling after her. I attempted to call her name but I couldn’t get any words to leave my mouth. I felt the air being sucked out of me. His voice pounded in my head.

“Oh, this is an interesting one. So many thoughts, so much to see that is hidden… even from himself. Hello, Jeremy.”

I felt sparks of electricity flick through parts of my body and mind as his fingers inched closer to me. They brushed my head and I suddenly felt an intense pressure in my skull. He was digging in my brain! The colors around me stopped being colors and started being first flavors, then sounds. I was at his mercy – helpless as he dug into me. We were going to lose. We were going to die. I closed my eyes and focused on one word.

Brianne.

I opened my eyes to find she was directly in front of me, pounding the air as it warped around her, trapping her. I reached through it with much difficulty and grabbed her hand. The pressure in my head went away. The air stood still; the planets froze; the stars grew bright. We descended together until we were level with him.

I felt something crackling and glanced at Brianne to see that she was covered in static and seemed to somehow be growing… louder – but without saying a word. Her presence was noise and I felt it radiate from her to me. She squeezed my hand and I felt us both becoming stronger. We were connected in that moment, but I couldn’t explain how – I think her psychic abilities were affecting me, or maybe enhancing what was already there.

He didn’t hesitate with his response. Planets disintegrated behind him and started to feed into him, becoming a part of him. He grew as dust and rock swirled together until he blotted out the stars. Without looking, I whispered to Brianne, “What’s the plan?”

She didn’t respond. I don’t think she had one. He towered above us, stretching as high as a skyscraper, a blurry figure of darkness. In a blink, he would wipe us out, any second now. I could hear it in his thoughts.

“Do you know how good it feels to enter these minds? It feeds me, gives me rest, makes me stronger. And what does it even matter in the end? People going through such dull lives. The only excitement they even feel anymore is when I tinker with their dreams, whispering in their sleeping ears. And you, for even a second, think you can do anything to-”

He stopped in mid-sentence. In a blink, he was gone. The maze of dark galaxies had vanished with him. Instead we were in the desert once more. Awake.

There was an echo across the canyon and a ringing in my ears. I was completely disoriented and felt nauseous. It was Brianne who got up first and started stumbling towards the abandoned buildings, past the smoking wreckage of a car that hadn’t been there when we fell asleep. I struggled to my feet to follow her. We made our way down to the blue building and stopped in the sagging doorway.

Ron was standing up over the still body of the person we had only seen in our dreams. He turned to look at us as he slid something into his jacket pocket and said the only three words there were to say: “It’s over now.”

I felt like I couldn’t tear my gaze from the body on the ground behind Ron as the eyes stared blankly, the evil within them now nowhere to be found. Blood soaked his chest and a mostly clean bullet hole dotted the center of his forehead. Even now as I record this, that image is still firmly ingrained in my mind. Ron moved past us and said that we should get out of here as he stepped outside. I turned to Brianne who was still staring at the body on the ground as she held a hand to her stomach. Thinking about the fact that he’d basically been stalking her for a while now, I tried to reassure her that it really was over. He wasn’t going to be able to do anything to her anymore. We’d stood together against him in her dreams and we’d won. Judging by how she was clutching her stomach and my own splitting headache, it hadn’t been without our share of wounds.

She finally tore her gaze from him and faced me. She just looked at me for a moment, as if searching my eyes, before speaking. 

“Sometimes after I wake up from a dream, I remember bits and pieces of it. Glimpses of the memories. It doesn’t always make sense, but I know that in those moments I’ve seen his face before. I think he would show up in different forms, and when he did look like himself, he was younger in my dreams; that’s why I didn’t recognize him… at first. But he knew me. Our childhoods crossed. I still don’t really remember it, but I know something terrible happened to him. I don’t know that he’s the one who holds all the blame for every death we’ve been looking into.”

She looked back down at the vacant body and continued, “I don’t know everything that happened tonight, but this doesn’t feel like victory. We didn’t win here.”

I didn’t know what to say so I just stood there, following her gaze. Finally, she turned away from the body. Somehow, she looked even more tired than before and her voice sounded worn as she spoke again. “I just want to go home now.”

The drive back was spent in silence. I couldn’t remember a time I’d been more completely exhausted and Brianne doubly so. While she slept in the backseat, I sat restlessly in the front. I thought about asking Ron what has happened, why he’d had to kill him instead of trying to apprehend the Dream Killer if that was supposedly the plan, and what had I seen him put in his pocket? The weight of the day was too much. Maybe once we were far enough away from Hellhole Canyon… but for now, my brain needed a break.

Brianne woke up as we pulled up outside her apartment. Ron got out and handed me my keys back, told me to make sure she got inside safe, then started to walk away. I was in disbelief so I called after him: “Hey, what the hell!” 

He just glanced back over his shoulder and said things had to be cleaned up, then rounded the corner and disappeared. I was reaching the end of my patience with Ron and his disappearing act with little to no explanation of what the fuck was actually going on. The church, then the funeral, the documents from 4thTrumpet I still haven’t figured out how to confront him about, and now this? Sooner or later I was going to get some answers whether he liked it or not. 

Brianne was asleep before her head hit the pillow, mumbling that I should go home and she was fine as she started to snore before the words were all the way off her tongue. It was probably the first time in a while she didn’t have to worry about being hunted in her sleep. I went home and, despite my own weariness, wasn’t able to find the same relief. Somehow, I knew the nightmare wasn’t over, yet.


Before I officially conclude Season 3, I need to ask for your help.  If you can recall back in episode 16 this season, the episode entitled, “The Shepherds,” I received some information from someone I don’t yet know, but who 4thTrumpet vouched for.

He said the next time he communicated would be “hidden in plain sight”… that I should “keep on the lookout for a very obvious change to something both you and your listeners have access to.”  Well, has anyone looked at our website lately?  At thestoragepapers.com? 

Perhaps it’s nothing.  But if it isn’t, I could really use your help. I’ll be in touch when we get a little closer to Season 4, and if you’re on Patreon, well… I suppose you’ll be hearing from me next week.

Final Rest – Season 3 Episode 19

See Content Warnings
General horror, language, tobacco use, injection of unknown substance resulting in adverse side effects, brief mention of a poor diet, and brief mention of death and injury.
Need to skip this episode? Click here to see the plot.
Jeremy reads a short paper about a person who sees that everything is made of bugs, but only when they sleep. They are whisked away to Hellhole Canyon and killed.

Jeremy’s recording is interrupted when Brianne calls him to ask him to meet at the behest of both Ron and Dr. Patel.

Jeremy arrives at Brianne’s apartment to find that Ron is already there. He was given a drug by Dr. Patel that will enable Brianne to dream while still awake and hopefully locate the dream killer.

She sees him, but isn’t able to communicate anything other than “he’s in hell.” She collapses to the ground and Ron and Jeremy go to take her to the hospital. While en route, Jeremy mentioned Hellhole Canyon and Ron realizes that must be where the dream killer is.

They go out to Hellhole Canyon and Ron goes off looking for the dream killer, searching a seemingly abandoned commune. After he leaves, Brianne collapses due to a seizure. As soon as Jeremy touches her arm, everything goes white for him.

I had just hit the record button to start reading another paper when I got a phone call. Getting interrupted when you’re trying to record something can be frustrating, but I’m glad I checked who it was. Brianne Scanlon’s name read out on the caller ID, so I answered and put it on speaker.


JEREMY:    Hello, this is Jeremy.

BRIANNE:    Hey, Jeremy, I-

JEREMY:    Real quick before you go, I just want you to know I have you on speaker and I’m recording. Is that okay, Brianne?

BRIANNE:    (sigh) You know you don’t have to keep asking me that, right? It’s fine, I get it. If there’s something I don’t want to be on the podcast… I trust you to delete it when I ask.

JEREMY:    I’ll try to remember that. Now, sorry, I interrupted you?

BRIANNE:    I got a call from that doctor lady you’ve been talking to.

JEREMY:    The… you mean Doctor Patel? How did you know-

BRIANNE:    Ron.

JEREMY:    You heard from him?

BRIANNE:    I… we talked after… after Ben’s funeral. But I haven’t heard from him since. I think he just needs some time. I don’t know everything going through his head right now. Honestly I don’t even know everything going through my own head. But the doctor reached out to him. She called us to give us some instructions and let it slip to Ron that she’d already spoken with you.

JEREMY:    Instructions? What kind of instructions?

BRIANNE:    They… look, I have to run an errand real fast, but do you think you can come by in an hour? It’ll be easier to explain in person, and she said you need to be there.

JEREMY:    I need to be there? I don’t understand.

BRIANNE:    I know, and I’m sorry, but will you be here?

JEREMY:    Yeah, I’ll come over. An hour?

BRIANNE:    Yeah. Great. Thanks, Jeremy.

Needless to say, the conversation with Brianne caught me off guard entirely, but I only had about an hour to record. This was actually a paper I was going to record for the bonus content released on the Patreon, but given the information inside, I thought it best to include it in this week’s episode. I suspect it played a role in how everything turned out.

I had found a single sheet of notebook paper, wrinkled and frayed at the edges. There’s no name, no date… nothing to cross reference for context. With that in mind, I’ll read it now.


The world is dark, but not for want of light. The bed on which you lie is not made of cloth and cushion, it is made of them. The black things that crawl. The walls of your room, the water you drink, the food you eat, it is all them. When you step outside, they blot out the sun. Their many tiny legs move quickly and they fly in formation, giving the illusion of things you know.

When you bleed, it calls to them. If you don’t wake up in your dreams, they feast. The flesh from your body will shed under their teeth. I am awake, although I dream. I am in the true world, the one I have known since I was young, the one under the skin of the delusion we share as we awaken. My skin is covered in cuts, scabs, and scars from them that no eye sees when we open our eyes.

Even now, I feel their tiny mouths as they try to latch onto my arms, my legs, anything they can reach, but I keep moving. I don’t try to move this time, but I move. I am pulled from my bedroom by something new. I can feel it grabbing at my skull and dragging me. I leave my home of the dark things and try to fight them off as they are scattered through the air. I’m pulled up, out of my neighborhood. I can see the whole colony of them that make up the houses, the trees, even the mailboxes. But still, I am pulled away. I see the desert below me, the grains of sand made of the tiny black things, all crawling over each other.

I see it ahead of me. Unlike the rest, it is not black, has color. It is red. Not normal red. It’s like when you close your eyes after staring at a cold, blue light. It’s out of focus, almost transparent. It wants to move as I move my eyes, but it stays still as I approach. I am pulled inside of it. He is there into the red of the darkness. We are in the canyon of the hellhole.

This will be my last journey, I know it in my soul, the thing that he is grabbing at. He is looking for something now. He is slicing into me – through my mind… my soul. I feel stars burst from my wounds and fill the abandoned air around me with colors I’ve never seen. At least my last sight will be beautiful.


My mind raced with the possibilities as I drove to Brianne’s place. Through the papers I felt as if I’d been there already, but I was somewhat surprised that it looked exactly how I’d imagined it when I parked my car – right down to the bicycle chained to a street sign outside. I must have driven past there before, but I can’t recall exactly when. I knocked on the door to her apartment and was surprised when it wasn’t Brianne who answered… it was Ron. The cocktail of surprise, confusion, fear must have been evident on my face, because Ron just told me to come in and they would explain. I hesitated, then followed him into the dim interior, immediately assaulted by the smell of stale cigarettes. Ron took a seat on the worn sofa, moving a crumpled blanket between Brianne and him as he did so. Aside from pulling a cigarette to her lips, Brianne didn’t move at all. Deep bags hung under eyes which seemed to stare at nothing. 

I sat down in a wooden chair opposite them and glanced around the apartment. She had definitely been busy. The laptop sat on her IKEA-style coffee table, surrounded by a number of books on topics ranging from understanding psychic abilities and the meanings of dreams all the way to biblical conspiracy theories and an introduction to quantum physics. The blanket on the couch behind the coffee table and several dirty coffee mugs told me how she had been spending her nights – the ones she remembered anyways.

I motioned to a pile of papers sitting on the kitchen counter to my left and half-jokingly asked if she was intending to start her own collection of storage papers. Neither of them acknowledged the attempt at an ice breaker. Instead, Ron leaned forward and asked how much I knew about what was going on.

I was more than a little confused by this. I asked him what he knew, and better yet, where had he been since the funeral?

He glanced back at Brianne but she just took another drag off her cigarette and stared unwavering at the coffee table. I followed her gaze and realized that she was actually staring at two vials, one containing a green liquid and one with a clear liquid, neither of which I had noticed a moment ago. Next to them was a set of sealed hypodermic needles. Clearly I was missing some information. I looked back at Ron and asked him again exactly what was going on.

That’s when Brianne finally spoke up and started to connect the dots for me. In the dreams she had been having, someone had been trying to get to her. The blurred individual which was mentioned in Episode Three, Dream Eater, had become a recurring vision. Even when she couldn’t necessarily see the person… she could feel them, and felt like she knew them. Based on what she had been digging up through her own searching, she wasn’t the only one. As I’d read in the papers myself, people – or rather, a person – had been finding and killing people through their dreams – quite possibly for a long time now.

She finally looked at Ron, glancing at him before looking back down at the vials in front of us. Ron picked up from there. Doctor Patel had given him something – an experimental drug – that, as she described, would make it so Brianne could dream while fully awake. It’s sort of like sleep paralysis, but without the paralysis part and with more of an emphasis on lucid dreaming.

My eyes fell to the green liquid. I asked if it was safe. Brianne gave a short, almost bitter laugh before asking, does it matter? As much as I didn’t want to agree, she had a point. If the killer continued unchecked, the clock on Brianne’s life was ticking fast. I looked first to Ron, then to Brianne, before asking… why was I there?

Ron looked me dead in the eyes as he answered. The plan is for Brianne to find the killer. Once she finds them, we’re all going to head there together; Brianne has to be with in case they move. Ron was going to go looking for them to take them in when we got there, but we also didn’t know what state Brianne would be in. I was there to keep an eye on her when Ron couldn’t.

“And…” he started to add, seeming to struggle with the right words, “Doctor Patel seems to think you might be able to… connect… with Brianne, I mean. In a way that I can’t.”

He shifted uncomfortably and to be honest I didn’t feel especially comfortable with it myself. I’d have to be inhuman to not empathize with Brianne, but I didn’t think that constituted any sort of special connection. And even if it did on some level… how would the doctor know anything about it?

With involvement from both Ron and Doctor Patel, to say I was uneasy with moving forward would be putting it lightly. I stood and pulled Brianne aside for a moment.

“I don’t think this is a good idea,” I said.

She just shrugged. “Of course it isn’t, but do you have a better one?”

I glanced back at Ron who was fiddling with the vials, then whispered, “No, I mean, this is a really bad idea. I… I don’t think Ron’s telling us everything. I think he’s involved with Hydra.”

She paused at this, and her eyes drifted away from me as she took another drag off her cigarette. Finally she quietly spoke. “I trust him. Maybe more than I should. More than he has a right to be trusted.”

I wanted to scream why, but she continued. “There’s things about him that you still might not now. I’m sure there’s stuff that I don’t know either. But regardless, this plan obviously hinges on Hydra’s involvement with that stuff from the Patel lady. This person… they’re Hydra’s fuck up right? I’m betting they want him gone just as much as we do.”

In a convoluted way, she was right, and I didn’t have a response. She sat back down and nodded to Ron. I returned as well and decided that if nothing else, I’d stick around so I could help Brianne. With that though, I nodded curtly towards Ron. I was in. At least this plan seemed less complicated than the last one I was a part of. Hopefully everyone comes out alive this time. Ron grabbed the green vial and began to screw on the needle.

“Are you ready?” he asked Brianne. She simply nodded. I panicked for a moment. For some reason I hadn’t realized this was happening now. She looked at me and, seeming to sense my nervous state, gave a tired wink, as if to say, what’s the worst that could happen?

Ron struggled for a moment to find her vein before Brianne took the needle from him, telling him she’d seen enough bad needle sticks before and didn’t feel like going through that. She then unceremoniously made a fist and jabbed the needle into the crook of her elbow. The plunger reached the bottom of the vial and she pulled the needle out before going to the kitchen for an adhesive bandage.

Ron said it shouldn’t take too long to start working. I noted the vial of clear liquid on the table and asked what that was for. Ron started to answer then stopped as he looked behind me. I turned to see Brianne standing behind me, swaying ever so slightly as she stared into nothing.

Ron called her name, “Brianne?”

Her gaze shifted slowly, as if she was turning her head underwater. “Yeeeess?” she asked, her words slow but not slurred.

Ron got up and brought her back to the couch where he gently sat her down. Thinking back to what she had told me about her dreams before, I searched the collection of papers until I found what I was looking for. I reached out and placed the blank card in her hand, ensuring her fingers held onto it before letting go and motioning back to the full vial.

“When do we give that one to her?” I asked.

Ron kept his eyes on Brianne as he responded. “It’s not for her. If she encounters the killer in this state and they notice her, she may be able to… pull it into her dream and use it on them. I know how that sounds, but is it any weirder than anything you’ve read yet?”

He had me there. He continued, “And if they resist me when I try to bring them to Detective Anderson, I’ll use it on them.”

I nodded in understanding, but the more I thought about it, the less his statement made sense. Before I could ask anymore questions, Brianne spoke. Well, it was still her voice, but much deeper than I’d ever imagined her speaking.

“There you are.”

Ron perked up and, ignoring the change in vocals, started asking her, “What’s going on? What do you see, Brianne?”

Her responses started off more than a little incoherent, but her voice returned to normal, if somewhat… dreamy.

“He’s here. But he’s there. His eyes are angry. No, sad. And curious. Why? It’s written in every blurred scar. I see them now. They are all over his flickering body, like the windows we cracked in our dreams. And his dark eyes, they’re looking, all over, they’re everywhere!”

I shifted in my seat uncomfortably and couldn’t resist a quick look around the room. As expected, I saw nothing.

She continued, “He’s… different now. He’s wearing a khaki suit and… holding something. A pipe. Like, for smoking. No… he’s a boy. Now a woman… holding a spoon that’s dripping blood. No, she – I mean, he – is wearing a gray suit. Now he’s… oh my god!”

Ron called out to her, asking if she was okay and if she could tell where the killer was. She nodded dreamily but said nothing as her eyes dropped to her card, then back to nothingness. I asked her to tell us what everything looked like, hoping her visions would make more sense as she tried to describe them, but worried that she was essentially just taking an incredibly strong hallucinogenic instead of the miracle drug promised by Ron and Doctor Patel.

Brianne started talking again. I could tell by her face she was concentrating very hard to make sense to us as she said, “The light… is dark.”

She looked back at us, focusing hard on first Ron, then me, then repeated herself. “The light is dark.”

Ron and I exchanged glances, but it meant nothing to us. Brianne must have seen our confusion, because she sighed and tried again. “He’s behind you, but he doesn’t see you. It’s hard to see him – your shirt is glowing orange like fire; it’s too bright. I can’t see behind you too much.”

My eyes dropped to my outfit. I was wearing a dark green shirt and sitting in the shadows on top of that. Regardless, I moved out of her way.

“There he is,” she said, pointing at the wall. “He’s trying to talk to me. No, to everyone. He’s like a radio. He’s screaming, now! It’s so loud! It’s so loud!”

Brianne collapsed to the ground, crying. She curled into the fetal position as she covered her ears. Ron and I both ran over to her and Ron started to shake her, yelling her name.

“Brianne? Brianne! Wake up!”

She shook her head from side to side, unable to hear us over the screaming in her head. With some difficulty, Ron managed to pull her hands away from her ears. She looked up at him, tears still streaming from her eyes, sniffling as she asked for it to stop.

Ron ignored her because he had to. There was nothing we could do for her except for the whole reason she had taken the drug to begin with – we had to stop the killer. Ron barked out a question: “Where is he?”

She didn’t look away from him as she answered, her voice again uncomfortably deep. “He’s in hell.”

Ron let go of her arms and stood up, his frustration evident in every movement. I was still kneeling by Brianne’s side. I took her hand in mine and grabbed her wrist with my other hand while a small drip of blood slid from the needle prick in her arm. For a moment, I felt as though I could hear the screaming, too. Holding her hand may have seemed like a gesture to comfort her, but I wanted to check her pulse. I’m no doctor, but even I could tell it was too fast. I asked Ron what we should do.

He threw a hand in the air that had been covering his mouth as he paced and yelled that he didn’t know, what do you do when the person you’re hunting is in hell?

Brianne suddenly stopped moving and relaxed. We both stared at her as she sat up. I asked her if she was okay. She gave a weak smile and said that the drug had worked, but she was finished with the nightmare. I heard Ron give an audible sigh of relief before asking the obvious… so where was the guy, really? Brianne started to answer, then froze as she stared at Ron. I said her name cautiously, but she didn’t acknowledge it and started crying, “He’s there! That’s him! It’s him!” while pointing at Ron.

I looked at him. Was this what Hydra had him doing? He looked confused, then moved to the side. Brianne continued to point where he had been standing. She was dreaming again.

She curled up onto her side, once again in the fetal position. I had a hard time tearing my eyes from where Ron was pacing, still feeling suspicious. I looked back down at Brianne where she lay on the floor, eyes now wide open and unfocused, still in pain and muttering to herself. I leaned in close to try to make out what she was saying.

“He’s coming now. He knows I see him but he doesn’t know who but he’ll know. He’s going to take me, make him stop. Make him stop, it’s so loud!”

I told Ron we had to take her to the hospital, at least to give her some sort of sedative. If the Dream Killer didn’t get to her first, she was going to have a heart attack. Ron only hesitated for a second before agreeing. Together, we lifted Brianne and carried her down to the car. I was surprised when we picked her up – firstly at how light she was. The drive down the rabbit hole seemed to have offered her time for a diet of only coffee and smokes. The second thing that caught me off guard was just how spry Ron was as he carried her. Although she was light, she was still a human being and he carried her with far more ease than I expected.

Lastly, as I grabbed both her wrists, I suddenly had a splitting headache. It was almost debilitating and came out of nowhere. Once we laid Brianne down in the backseat of my car, I tossed Ron my keys. My headache was fading, but I didn’t want to risk being distracted by another wave as we drove. Ron sped wordlessly towards the hospital for a minute before breaking his silence. “This doesn’t make any sense. How can he be in hell?”

I didn’t know what to say and ended up staring out the window as street signs flew past us. Brianne snapped out of her dream for another moment and I spun back to face her, but she went back into her state of a waking nightmare before she was able to say anything. I bit my fingernail as I found myself replaying today’s events in my head. I thought back to Brianne’s phone call and how I never could have imagined we’d be putting her in such danger… again. I thought about if all this was worth continuing with the podcast. That Sticky Note episode I had recorded hardly seemed important now. Still, I found myself reciting it back, probably as a way to distract myself from my inability to help Brianne.

“…into the red of the darkness, we are in the canyon of the hellhole…”

Ron asked me what I just said. I hadn’t even realized I’d been talking aloud, but I repeated myself. He asked me why that sounded familiar, so I explained that I’d been recording some papers that often lack more context and putting them on the Patreon for The Storage Papers.

He suddenly swerved the car as we went through an intersection, completing a U-turn in the middle of it. Before I could even ask, he started talking, much faster now.

“I knew that sounded familiar. That was about somebody seeing a world of bugs or something right?”

I was busy catching my breath and holding on for dear life as Ron weaved in and out of traffic. He continued without my input.

“Yeah, I remember that one. Her mind or soul or whatever was being pulled… out to the canyon of the hellhole.”

I asked him what that meant. He glanced at me, but only for a split second and kept driving, the speedometer not dropping below ninety.

“Something you don’t know – you couldn’t – about that paper… I knew that woman. She was a psychic who died in her sleep with unexplainable cuts and tears inside her body, but not a mark on her skin. I didn’t make the connection until just now, but at the time I ended up writing it off as unsolvable. Hellhole Canyon is a place. When she was killed, I spent a lot of time out there looking for answers, for any trace of whoever killed her. I found an abandoned commune and it looked like someone had been out there in the red building she’d described, but when I staked it out, nobody showed so I assumed it was some hiker or urban explorer. Some people are into that shit, you know? Anyways… this killer… he’s not in hell… yet. That’s where he is, though: Hellhole Canyon. I’d bet my life on it.”

I looked it up on my phone. Ron was right. It was about an hour and a half drive. I turned and looked back at Brianne. Her eyes were open, pupils fully dilated, and she seemed to be staring past the ceiling of the car and into a realm beyond my eyes. I hoped she had an hour and a half. I hoped Ron was right.

The sun was down by the time we arrived and stars peeked in from the night sky like thousands of glowing eyes, watching us from above. Brianne was still alive and had been going back and forth between this reality and the reality of her dreams throughout the drive, although she seemed to be mostly in the reality we shared by the time we pulled up. I suspected – hoped – that the drug was wearing off.

I rubbed my arms as I got out of the car. It was cold. Ron and Brianne exited and we all took a moment to check out our surroundings. We were at the trailhead for Hellhole Canyon. A massive, flat landscape of rock, sand, and dirt stretched before us, spotted with the occasional brittlebush and ocotillo cacti. Around us, the earth stretched up as if to grab the sky and pull it down to swallow us within its dark void.

Ron told us we had to hike a little ways before we would find the abandoned buildings. Apparently it was a ways off the beaten path. I asked Brianne if she would be okay and, while she assured me she would, I didn’t like our odds. At this point, we didn’t have too many other choices, though. We had basically put a giant beacon on Brianne for the killer. If we turned back now… there was no way to know how much more time she had.

Ron led the way and I followed behind Brianne, keeping a close eye on her to make sure she didn’t need a break or collapse from either another dream or exhaustion. Despite the chill in the air, I worked up a sweat by the time Ron finally stopped. He turned back to us as Brianne doubled over, trying to catch her breath. He paused as he looked at her, then focused on me, letting me know that on the other side of these boulders in front of us was the commune and he was going to go in alone.

“Stay here with Brianne. Protect her with your life,” he said to me. I nodded and looked at her, still panting, as Ron stepped out from behind the boulders and muttered to himself, “Too many buildings to check… I don’t like it. I’d rather burn the lot of them.”

Sometimes two things collide at just the right moment and, for the second time today, I made a connection that I hoped would save us all. In the Sticky Note, the woman had been pulled into something red, but she’d also described how it seemed like the exact opposite color. Likewise, Brianne had described my dark green shirt as being bright orange, “like fire.” The light was dark. 

I called out as quietly as I could, “Ron… look in the blue building.”

He looked back at me and I couldn’t quite make out his expression in the dark, but he nodded, then disappeared beyond the boulders.

I spotted a stone that was mostly flat on top and helped ease Brianne down onto it. She looked like she was going to throw up. We said nothing, just waited… waited and hoped. The silence was broken by the mournful howl of a lone coyote and I found myself wishing Ron had left me with something more solid and perhaps even gun-like than the distinct lack of defensive gear. Now that I thought about it, why hadn’t he?

Growing antsy, I walked over to the boulders and peered around them. It appeared to be exactly what Ron had described – an abandoned commune. There were buildings half eaten by the elements with remnants of broken furniture scattered in and around them like a corpse’s spilled guts. I tried to see if I could spot Ron, but if he was there, he was sticking closely to the shadows.

I heard a thump behind me and spun around to find Brianne collapsed to the ground and shaking. I ran to her and dropped to my knee. She was having a seizure. It had to be that damn drug! I knew Ron couldn’t be trusted. I quickly tried to roll her onto her side to keep her airways open since she had already been on the verge of vomiting before this. As soon as I touched her arm, my mind exploded and my world changed as everything went white.