The Third Subject – Season 3 Episode 15

See Content Warnings
General horror, experimentation on children, involuntary medical operations, rodent death
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The story is told from four perspectives: a (Hydra) doctor conducting the experiment on children, and three children, two of who are brother and sister, and suspected to be Benjamin and Brianne Scanlon. The third subject is unidentified, but is revealed to be unable to sleep. The scientists believe he is very powerful.

Each of the children can communicate with each other telepathically, and share dreams. In their dreams they go to a long, circled hallway with windows on either side. One side contains a dark mist, and the other has windows to things which the sister can pull things from so they can play with them.

The sister breaks the glass and the Licker is on the other side. After that, it is able to enter their world.

This week I’m exploring a few different documents that weren’t grouped together. As I read them, I realized they almost certainly belonged together. I was surprised at first that Ron could have missed the connection, but I suppose when you’re sorting through such a massive collection, mistakes can be made and pieces of the puzzle overlooked. Then again, with what I’ve learned about Ron, maybe he had a reason to keep these separate.

Whatever the case, I’ve brought together three different journals for today’s episode. I’ll read them in what I believe to be chronological order. The first journal is held together with a binder clip and contained in a folder with a now familiar emblem on it: a hand with seven digits that has an eye in its palm. There are parts of the journal that are redacted, including the entirety of the first page. The only information outside of what I’m about to read is the unredacted portion of a date: nineteen ninety-five.

Three more subjects went through the intake process today. Their files indicate that two of them are siblings – merely a year apart – while the third was born on the exact same date of the girl. This is exciting as we haven’t had siblings here in some time now, especially not ones so close in age, and they tend to have unique traits in my division. The fact that the other one was born on the same date means that this could be a true triumvirate in this arena. I don’t know exactly what has been done in other divisions – and I assume they’ve already been through a few different ones given their age – I can only hope nothing we need has been… damaged. That’s been a problem lately.

Still, the initial evaluations are looking good. They responded well to the sensitivity testing. To say that the possibilities are endless… well, I’m not even sure that’s an understatement. They were each given [redacted] and will share a room for the night so that it takes full effect. Tomorrow, we’ll begin the [redacted] test first thing and they’ll remain separated at night in the [redacted] rooms so that they’ll each be adjacent, per standard protocol. My next update will have the results of [redacted] tomorrow night.

The first paragraph of the next page is redacted, and the second paragraph only has a few words visible which, when combined, make no sense. It’s basically a handful of “and’s” and “but’s”. We’ll pick up from the third paragraph.

So far the brother and the sister have been very responsive. The third subject, [redacted], has been somewhat erratic. What’s interesting is viewing the effect the sister has on him when they’re in close proximity. We’ve seen similar effects when they share birthdays before, but it’s extremely pronounced in this case.

When they were all given [redacted] after breakfast, there were no immediate effects seen between the siblings. It wasn’t until we conducted the [redacted] test just before lunch that we saw the impact it had on them. However, when the third subject went through the same process, the glass that held his water shattered where it sat on the countertop.

At three o’clock, they were all once again given the next dose of [redacted]. This time the brother and sister were given their doses ten minutes apart and in separate rooms, but they each began to say the same words at the same time. We asked the brother how he liked his lunch, and both of them answered that the chicken was too salty. I was with the sister at the time and was quite confused, but it made sense once I reviewed the brother’s Q and A session.

When the third subject was given his dose, nothing extraordinary appeared to happen. It wasn’t until just before typing this that I learned that, at that exact time, three of the mice kept in the laboratory next door to Testing Room C stopped moving. Over the next half hour, something started to ooze out of their ears. An autopsy of the mice determined that their brains had melted.

The readings from the implants on the siblings were incredible and showed a steady increase. The readings from the third subject, however… it appears his abilities are tied to other chemicals in his body such as adrenaline, dopamine, and epinephrine. Over the course of the first day, small things occurred whenever the third subject was around the sister like papers shuffling by themselves or a pen falling to the floor. By dinnertime, however, as the sister and the third subject got to know each other more, it seemed she had a positive effect on his chemistry. The final test today after dinner was markedly better when the three of them were in the same room.

They’ve each been given a ream of paper and crayons with directions to write and draw the things in their dreams. At exactly one A.M., we’ll begin Phase Two.

The other journals are written in crayon. While what I read never referred to the “subjects” as children, it’s very obvious based on the handwriting that they’re no more than maybe nine or ten years old. I’ll start with the one written in blue crayon first. It looks like they each only had one color crayon, so all the blue ones are from the brother.

I don’t like this class. The food tastes funny and there aren’t any games other than some cards and they aren’t even normal cards, they all just have pictures on them. We tried to make a game out of them but it didn’t make sense and I think the other boy was cheating.

Ms. [redacted] says I have to write about my dreams. She said I might have a bunch of them, but I only had one. It was a fun one. I got to run around in a place with a bunch of windows. It had those long light bulbs on the ceiling like they have in the Testing Room. It was dark outside so I couldn’t see through any of the windows, but me and my sister played tag for like an hour or something. I hope we get to play tag today. Maybe the other boy will play, too. None of the other kids act like they want to play at all. Some of them just stare at the wall all day.

The next journal is written in red crayon and looks like it’s from the sister.

Ms. [redacted] says I have to write about my dream. I don’t want to. I feel funny this morning. My neck hurts. Benny says it’s normal that we can’t remember how we got here. He said it happens every few months. But I don’t like it. I think this is the dream. At least I can draw.

There’s a few papers with crude drawings made in red crayon. Taking some interpretive liberties, I’ll try to describe it. It has two stick figures, one with long hair, standing in… I think it’s a hallway. It has a bunch of rectangles on the side. The same scene looks to be depicted in the different drawings. I think the sister is drawing what her brother, “Benny”, described from his dream – a place with a lot of windows where the two of them are playing tag.

The next entry is another update from the staff’s journal.

I’ll be the first to admit I was surprised that the siblings are already able to share a dream state. After reviewing their dream journals, I made an effort to ensure the sister and the third subject were kept in closer proximity today. Aside from the impact she has on his brain chemistry and thus his abilities, I’m immensely curious if we’ll be able to focus their energies in a way that has only been seen once before, and this time the [redacted] has been more finely tuned and I’m confident will be ready for demonstration when-

The rest of the page is redacted and, based on the page numbers at the bottom, the next several pages are missing. I’ll skip to the children’s journals. Benny, the brother, is first.

Ms. [redacted] said I had to do some tests by myself today. It wasn’t too bad though, ‘cause I could still talk to my sister. I don’t think they could tell. She said the boy is nice and we should play tag with him. I think we had the same dream the other night. Maybe that’s how we can all play.

Last night I was in the place with all the windows again. I tried to look in some of them but it was too dark still. I walked around while my sister tried to look. That’s when I realized the whole place was a big circle with big windows on both sides, ‘cause I came back around to her and she was still looking out the window. We didn’t play tag. She said she was too sad. I asked her why but she wouldn’t tell me.

The next entry is in red crayon, from the sister.

I still don’t like it here but at least me and Benny can talk even when we aren’t by each other. I think the other boy knows, ‘cause Benny told me a joke and he was smiling even before he saw me giggling.

Last night me and Benny were in the same place again. Benny said the whole place is a big circle. That’s weird. He said that he can’t see out any of the windows. I can, though. Every window on the outside wall has a different picture. It’s like watching a movie. A bunch of movies. There’s a bunch of people and when I touch the window I can hear them talking, even when they aren’t talking out loud. Some of them were nice but some were mean and yelled a lot.

The windows on the inside wall were harder to see through. It was dark and they were all wet on the other side. I saw a gray cloud in the middle. I think there were people in there too but it was too hard to see. I couldn’t hear anything when I touched the windows.

I looked around and Benny was gone, so I went to a different window on the outside again. There was a lady watching TV. I touched the window but I couldn’t hear the TV. I couldn’t hear the lady either. Other people were talking. They were saying mean things to her. It felt bad. When I looked long enough, I saw them. They were people walking around her, all dressed up. They were poking her and sticking needles in her. One of them slapped her. She didn’t see them, though. Then they left.

She got up and grabbed a knife. She started stabbing her walls and blood came out of the walls. Then she looked at me. It scared me. She walked up to the window and started to stab the window. The glass started to crack. I thought she was going to get inside.

Benny didn’t see any of it. He asked me if I wanted to play tag and I told him I was sad, but I lied. I was scared.

The next page is still from the sister, but it’s from what I believe to be the next day.

I don’t know why Benny can’t see everything I do when we dream. I asked the boy about it. He said I can’t see everything either. I asked what I can’t see. He said he is there too. So last night I tried to see him. Benny asked what I was doing and I said I was trying to find the boy. He said he would help. He grabbed my hand and we started walking around the big circle of windows. Then Benny said to stop. He heard a noise. We walked up to the inside windows and touched them. I could see him!

I was happy I could see him, but he didn’t look happy. He looked scared. He was on the other side of the window and was hitting it. That’s the noise I heard. I asked him what was wrong but he just kept hitting the window and looking behind him at the cloud. I couldn’t see what he was looking at. Benny couldn’t either. I think he wanted to be with us. Benny and I closed our eyes and the boy was inside with us when we opened our eyes back up.

I asked the boy why he was scared but he didn’t say anything. We just played tag.

There are some more drawings. This may just be conjecture on my part, but I think the children may have been too scared to write down their dreams for a while. The pictures just show different things that they saw in their dreams: stick figures through windows and a big circle with rectangles that I think are supposed to be windows. There’s a few that are just a big scribbled mass inside of a square. I’m guessing that’s the cloud she was talking about. The next page I’ll read is from the staff member.

The three of them have now shared a dream state for multiple nights, which means Phase Three will begin tonight. The [redacted] device has already been successfully visualizing their dreams individually, but tonight we’ll begin the three dimensional depiction using their combined perspectives, which will be a first – once successful, of course.

The [redacted] test results from the three of them are rivaling any other subjects we’ve had in the [redacted] Division. I believe the more intertwined their minds become – both conscious and unconscious – the greater the likelihood that we will be able to-

The remainder of the entry is completely redacted. The next entry is in blue, from Benny.

Now that the three of us can play at night, this place isn’t as bad. We can all talk even when we aren’t with each other so the tests aren’t as boring. I have to be careful, though, ‘cause I told them in my head that one of the doctors keeps whistling with his nose. The boy said back that he thinks that the doctor’s nose is louder than his farts. I laughed and the doctor asked why I was laughing. I tried to lie but he made me tell him. I don’t know how. But he didn’t like it.

I don’t want to write about my dreams anymore. We play games, but sometimes there are things there that I don’t like.

Although Benny is reluctant to write about his dreams, his sister shed more light on them.

Last night was fun at first. We played tag for a while and the boy showed me how to pull some things out of some of the outside windows so we could have more stuff to play with. I asked him why he had been scared when he was outside the window since he can pull stuff through the windows. He said the inside windows are different. I asked how but he didn’t answer and wouldn’t even look at the inside windows. Then Benny and him started building a fort with the stuff we pulled through the outside windows.

I wanted a doll to bring into the fort because I never had one before. I walked around and around but I didn’t see one. I looked at the inside window instead and tried to see what the boy was talking about. They were always wet on the other side. I wondered if the cloud rained on them. I tried to look inside the cloud. It looked like something was inside of it, but I couldn’t see it.

My nose left a mark that looked funny. It made me laugh. I pushed my face against the window again and stuck my tongue out. That’s when I saw it. I fell backwards. It was the thing that the boy was scared of. It stared at me. It felt like I couldn’t move. It stuck out its tongue and dragged it across the window. That’s why the other side of the window was wet. It had been there the whole time, licking the window and watching us. That’s why the boy wouldn’t look at the inside windows.

The boy yelled at me. I don’t know what he said. It was hard to think when I looked at the thing in the window. The boy and my brother ran over and dragged me away from the window. They pulled me into their fort. The boy told us to be quiet. I heard glass explode and it got darker. More glass exploded. I looked out and saw every light bulb was blowing up. The glass didn’t fall all the way to the ground. It all stopped in mid-air.

I looked at the boy and Benny and they both looked scared. It was really quiet. Then I heard it licking the window right by our fort. I wanted to cry but Benny told me I can’t. The boy looked outside the fort and then ducked back down. I asked him what was out there. He didn’t say, so I looked out. There were a bunch of them in the windows and they were all looking at me and their tongues were out and they were licking the windows.

They knew we were in the fort. I screamed and told Benny that we have to run. We ran and I pulled things in from the outside windows to hide, but they kept finding us. Every time I looked at the window, there was one staring at me and licking. Its drool was thick and gross and dripped down the window every time it licked.

I was really scared and I wanted to wake up. The dream wasn’t fun anymore. I told Benny and the boy I wanted to wake up and we all tried but we couldn’t, not when the things were in the windows. I kept closing my eyes and covering my ears so I couldn’t hear them but I could still hear their tongues slide up and down the glass.

I banged on the window to get it to stop but it didn’t. I think it was smiling. I backed away with my hands over my ears until I was up against the outside window. Then I heard a tapping behind me. I turned around and it was there. It stared at me with its tongue out. Licking. Tapping its finger. It tapped faster and faster and harder and harder. I screamed. I kept screaming. I didn’t stop until the outside window in front of me shattered and it was just black.

The boy told me I shouldn’t have done that.

The staff seemed to have trouble in their next entry. While the past ones have seemed to contain an almost cruel excitement, this one comes off to me as being almost worried.

There was an anomaly last night. The [redacted] device had to be shut off. When I tried to review the data from it again today, I found that my access had been revoked which is… infuriating. I practically designed the thing and they decided I can’t be trusted. How could I have known what they would be capable of doing? It wasn’t supposed to be possible.

After the alarms went off, I spent the rest of the night on phone calls as they “had to clean up my mess”. It’s like they don’t even understand what I’m working on here. I can put these three in the same program I have the rest of the subjects, but they’re capable of so much more!

If these abilities they display can be harnessed and studied, who knows what the possibilities could be? The only thing that changing their routine now will do is alert them to their potential in a method I can’t control. The danger in this can’t be understated. Tonight, I have set traps for-

The remainder is once again redacted. I couldn’t find any further entries in blue or red, but I did come across this one in green crayon after I’d recorded most of this episode. I know I said there were three journals, but after I read through this, I think it might be from the third subject – the other boy involved. It’s mostly drawings, some random lines, and a bunch of scribbles. There may have originally been more for all I know, but there’s only a couple actual written entries that I could find.

I hate it here. I don’t think the brother and sister like me. Maybe the sister. They all think I sleep, but I don’t. I get enough rest in their heads. Tonight they aren’t sleeping, though. I told her not to break the window. It’s outside our rooms. It’s not walking. There aren’t any footsteps. It’s just licking.

If she hadn’t pulled me inside they would have got me. I don’t think it matters, though. It’s here. This isn’t a dream.

I can see its shadow from the light under the door. I think it knows I’m in here. I think it knows I’m the one that got away from it. It’s tapping on my door now.

I asked the brother and sister if they heard it. The brother told me he did. As soon as he said that in my head, it went to his door and started tapping. The brother told the sister not to say anything in our heads because it could hear us, too. I told the brother to stop talking. It came back to my door. It started to wiggle my door handle. My door doesn’t have a lock on the inside, so I grabbed it to make sure it couldn’t open the door. It was really strong and I couldn’t keep it out. The door started to creak open and its tongue slid through the crack. Thick drops of saliva dripped onto the ground by my foot. 

Somewhere outside our rooms a siren went off. It disappeared almost right away and I could finally shut my door.

There’s only one last page in the collection I’ve hobbled together and it’s from the third child. The green crayon continues in a short entry.

They took the brother and sister away today. I hate them for that. They won’t even remember me.

They keep trying to put me to sleep but it doesn’t work. I just close my eyes and watch them from up top. They’ve been cutting into me and stitching me back up and I think they’re going to keep doing it for a long time. I look weird inside. They can’t find what they’re looking for. Every time they pull something out of me or put something into me, they always seem like it will fix something, but they know they’re wrong. I can hear it. They say they’re making me better with their loud words, but their quiet words say they’re scared of me they’re trying to make themselves stronger than me.

I don’t feel strong. I don’t understand what they see. I don’t understand why they’re scared. Maybe I should be scared of me.

This is clearly further evidence of Hydra experimenting on children. I hate to read stuff like this and I wish I didn’t have to. But now, given the year, the handwriting, the vocabulary… I can’t help but think that this is even more important than before. I think that Benny, the brother… it might have been Benjamin Scanlon. Brianne said she remembered being subjected to unusual tests as a child… I can’t help but wonder if I’m reading her journals through a part of that testing.

The third subject, the boy… I wonder what became of him. It sounds like he was able to enter the dreams of others while being incapable of sleeping himself. If Hydra kept him there, experimenting on him while he watched, basically torturing him through his entire childhood and he remembers it all… I can only pray that he hasn’t grown up to be the monster Hydra thought he was.

Who knew that the realization of the Licker freely roaming into our world out of their shared nightmare wouldn’t even be the most concerning thing to me out of all this.

Keep your windows closed and locked tonight. Thanks for listening.





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