Snake in Human Clothing

We’ve spent a lot of time this week searching for the Archivist. So far our only lead is that the timing of his disappearance coincided very closely with a beneath-the-books experiment at a mass collider. We’re going to have to talk to the physicists and find out exactly what they were accelerating. There have been some reports that other beings not native to our dimension were affected by this as well, so please pass on the information if you know one or are one, ok? Not that I’m saying the Archivist isn’t native here or anything.

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Letter: 13th Floor Concerns (Guest Report)

I may (or may not) be a researcher within J- T-’s Surreal Institute. As such, you may (or may not) be inclined to give me an audience, what with the censure in place, but this is a concern of no small importance.
A month ago, a letter was delivered to the aforementioned Surreal Institute. The contents made reference to a building, and within the body of the message was this warning: “If [the building]’s 13th floor no longer exists, we have been successful. If, however, it remains, you will need to again send someone back to 1881 through the passage in America. Whomsoever goes, they will want to arrange for delivery of this message again for the first time, and then they must act to prevent the existence of the aforementioned 13th floor. Note, under no circumstances is anyone to visit that floor themselves! It would tip our hand, and possibly usher in a premature apocalypse. Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.”
As the building in question was found to have no 13th floor, J- T- believed the message to be fraudulent in nature. Further, he claimed that it was an attempt to get him in trouble with The Archive, given the obvious temporal ramifications. So the letter was quietly buried. It has since been determined that the paper was indeed over 100 years old, that 1881 was in fact shortly before the first skyscrapers were built in our timeline, and that the letter arrived at the Institute via the usual channels for such messages, that being America’s Western Union.
None of which is my primary concern.
The key issue here involves a second letter which arrived shortly thereafter. It read simply: “Regarding prior message concerning 13th floor, the apocalypse trigger may have relocated away from the original building. Please take appropriate precautions around other buildings in the area which identify as having a 13th floor. Alert the usual authorities if you see anything unusual.”
While a routine follow-up was done, and nothing unusual was seen in the vicinity, my concern is that whatever this is, it has escaped out of the specified neighborhood. After all, the data we have available would seem to relate to triskaidekaphobia, which is fear of the numeral 13. A fear which I now believe to have been amplified by certain individuals back in the 1880s.
That said, if an apocalyptic trigger is being held at bay by superstition, I have no information as to why those behind it would not have considered a Chinese implementation in the first place. Seeing as their fourth floor is subject to similar superstitions, yet is naturally more prevalent. Perhaps whatever this is, it also involves some specific height requirement; I lack the necessary data to be sure.
Of course, J- T- continues to insist that this is all a hoax, yet I wanted to bring it to your attention, just in case. I regret that I cannot leave my name, as if I am a researcher at the Institute (or an employee of Western Union), this breach could get me fired. But know that I wish you all the best with your future and your past endeavors.
A Friend in (the Nick of?) Time

This guest post comes from Greg “Mathtans” Taylor of Time & Tied, a time travel web serial. Check it out!

If you enjoy the story please leave the author a comment, as this makes him very happy. You can also help the Archive research temporal anomalies around the number 13 by voting at Top Web Fiction. We drift on and off the bottom of the Top Web Fiction list, so a vote each week does wonders for our visibility!

Cursed Waterfall Workaround

Environmental officers had to do some emergency landscaping work in Senegal recently, in order to reroute a stream back onto its original course. A passing holy man cursed a waterfall to flow backwards in revenge for splashing his favourite religious text. He obviously didn’t stop to consider the environmental impact of reversing a water feature, and he clearly needs to spend some of his meditating time considering why he is trying to walk and read at the same time.

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Warning On Books

The International College of Librarians has asked us to put out a public reminder to be careful of books. As we all know, books are a form of useful parasite. To some extent they have formed a symbiosis with humanity, allowing the efficient storing and transmission of knowledge, but in large numbers they are still capable of overwhelming and taking over their host – the human home.

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Hatery

The Sphinx Jerribean, who is also head of the Cairo Inimical Artifacts Department, is requesting help in tracking a loose Hatery. Or at least we think so. It is difficult to communicate clearly with a Sphinx.  For example exhibit A, her announcement:

It spreads dislike

Causes abhorrence

A hostile world

It makes more so

In this mechanism

I sense gears turn

The one thing we can guarantee is that a Sphinx doesn’t release her riddles for nothing. Alternative potential interpretations are welcomed.

A Hatery is a device, usually worn, like a pocketwatch or bracelet that hates. It manufactures hatred towards a target and pushes that hatred out into the world, into anyone it can reach. They are a difficult device for the wearer to bear, as Hateries draw their power from the wearer’s non-hate emotions. This leaves it hard to feel anything else.

As a rule, people are already pretty fantastic at hating each other without paranormal assistance, so I question the sanity of anyone who makes one of these things. With the wrong wearer and target it is likely to spark a dangerous and unpredictable outcome, but I suppose it could be of use to someone who considers themself a modern-day Machiavelli.

Sphinx are often excellent investigators due to their love of complexity and patterns, centuries of experience and natural predatory leanings. Jerribean is one of the most accomplished of all Sphinx investigators, so if this Hatery has eluded her enough to make her ask for help then it must be hard to find indeed. Perhaps she eludes to turning plots with her final line.

Please send any leads to the Cairo IAD by carrier pigeon. Do not expect to get the pigeon back.


If you enjoy the story please leave the author a comment, as this makes him very happy. You can also help the Archive decypher cryptic riddles by voting at Top Web Fiction.

Australian Dromaeosaur Captured

To start with some good news the Dromaeosaur has been found. We found a former time travel victim with dinosaur tracking experience in the Cretaceous period through community connections. Once he’d made it to the area it took only a couple of days for him to track down the missing beast. The dromaeosaur itself was in a very sorry state, starving, terrified and with sagging, matted feathers. It has been captured, but not returned to the Surreal Institute. Naturally J- T- is kicking up a fuss about this, but if you can’t look after a dinosaur the first time you don’t get a second chance. It’s not like you forgot to feed the goldfish one time.

Despite the search being over the group camping in the train has refused to leave. Indeed, their numbers are growing. All the seats are now apparently taken and a campground has started to spill out around it. The group is no longer just community and Institute members, with more people arriving from goodness knows where. This now looks like a very suspicious situation, please remember your common (or uncommon) sense and stay away from that train.

The night screaming we commented on before has continued irregularly, and seems to be growing closer with more voices joining in. What is more concerning, another of the sufferers has reported that they recognise one of the voices, and that it is someone who has stopped at the train while searching for the Dromaeosaur. We contacted this person during the day and she claims to be absolutely fine, but that we should definitely come down and see this train for ourselves.

This shouldn’t need repeating, but do not go and see the train for yourself.

Escaped Cryptid Revealed As Dromaeosaur

The Surreal Institute has failed to recapture the large feathered animal that escaped their facility last week. On the other hand, J- T- has finally been shamed into revealing the identity of the animal: it is a large dromaeosaur, species unknown but related to the famous velociraptor. So just to recap: The Surreal Institute appear to have been messing with time travel, they have collected a large predatory dinosaur (ignoring the butterfly effect that could have wiped our entire species out before we ever existed). They then managed to lose said predatory dinosaur and let it loose into Australia, but didn’t tell anybody. When confronted with the fact that something escaped they still stalled for a week before deigning to tell us what it was.

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