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Somniphobia - Needs Feedback[]

“Why the hell do the Overseers keep sticking us with all this creepypasta bullshit?” security officer Joseph Gromwell grumbled as he pulled the sleek full-face respirator mask over his head.

“Most of the other big sites think they’re too good for run-of-the-mill murder monsters, and frankly I think our director’s got a bit of a soft spot for them,” researcher Luna Valdez said as she rifled through the rack of masks for one that would fit her. “Sonuva – I swear, if I end up a gas-addicted, sleep-deprived zombie because they don’t stock small enough masks, I will sue.”

“Don’t get too flustered. It’s just a precaution in case of a breach,” Joseph reminded her. “And they keep the small masks on the bottom, so small people can reach them. It’s called being considerate.”

With a sarcastic laugh, Luna grabbed a mask from the bottom of the rack and strapped it on.

“All right, I’ve got a good seal,” she announced.

“Exterior door is sealed as well, and according to the computer, there’s no trace of Insomnium gas in the observation chamber,” Joseph reported. “The containment chamber is locked and airtight. When you’re ready, Luna.”

She nodded, placing her thumb on the large green button beside her. With a firm press, a deep horn sounded and the door to the observation chamber slid open. Joseph was the first through it, his rifle clutched firmly in both hands. He walked the full perimeter of the room, checking the access control vestibule to the containment chamber and the window into it for any signs of having been compromised.

“Room’s clear! I’ve checked in the closet and under the bed; there are no monsters in here,” he announced. “There is, however, an old can of orange soda sitting on the console, which means the last person in here was both violating protocol and couldn’t give two shits to clean up the evidence.”

“Sounds like Helvig to me,” Luna said as she took her thumb off the button and stepped into the observation room, the door automatically shutting and locking behind her. She glanced uneasily at the window to the containment chamber, her view obstructed by a reinforced steel blast shield on the opposite side.

“So… the Woke Russian’s just on the other side, huh?” Joseph asked.

“Don’t call him that. He’s not a critic of Putin,” Luna chastised him, taking her seat at the control console and checking that everything was in working order before she began. “His ‘official nickname’ is still The Soviet Somniphobe.”

“But he hasn’t had a wink of sleep in over seventy-five years?” Gromwell asked incredulously. “And the gas that keeps him awake isn’t the anomaly?”

“Nope. The gas is a perfectly explicable molecular compound that catalyzes and sustains a complex neurochemical feedback loop that replaces and eliminates the need for sleep,” she replied. “Cognitively, at least, if not psychologically. The anomaly is the psychosomatic changes that happen when you stop sleeping.”

“But the report says that the original test subjects first manifested anomalous abilities after only nine days on the gas. People have gone more than nine days without sleep and not turned into that,” he said, gesturing to what lay on the other side of the window.

“They microsleep. The Insomnium gas eliminates the need even for that, and a few seconds of sleep is all it takes to keep this anomaly in check,” Luna replied. “There are no cameras in the containment cell. He breaks them or covers them so there’s no sense in repairing them. Gas and oxygen consumption indicates that he’s alive and well in there, however. I’m not getting any sound, but I’m told that’s normal. As far as I know, he hasn’t had any contact since his last evaluation. Before I lower the steel barricade, I’m going to announce our presence to him. I have no idea how he’ll react, so be ready for anything.”

Joseph nodded curtly, taking his place at her side and with his rifle aimed at the window. Luna pressed the button for the intercom, leaning into the microphone to avoid speaking too loudly.

“Attention, Shelley Class Paranormal-humanoid number K-89-Sigma. My name is Dr. Luna Valdez, and I’m a parapsychologist here at the Dreadfort Facility. In accordance with our standard operating procedures, I am required to conduct an oral and visual examination to confirm that your overall status remains unchanged. I will be lowering the partition to allow visual contact. Your participation in this examination is not voluntary. Failure to participate will result in the immediate cessation of your supply of the Insomnium gas. Any attempt at breaching containment or causing me or my colleague physical harm will result in the immediate cessation of your supply of Insomnium gas as well as your possible termination. Please acknowledge that you understand this.”

She immediately took her finger off the button and waited for several long seconds before receiving a single word in response.

Da.”

“Are we sure he speaks English?” Joseph asked softly.

“That’s what it says in the file,” Luna shrugged. “All right, I’m dropping the barrier. Brace yourself.”

As the steel partition lowered, the inside of the containment chamber was slowly revealed to them. Every possible surface was covered in caking layers of dried, browned blood, flaking away like old paint. The light fixtures built into the ceiling were not completely covered, however, letting through just enough light to see the mutilated figure sitting cross-legged upon the cot in the center of the room.

Though he was emaciated to the point of practically being a skeleton, his skin was thick with layers of shiny, leathery scar tissue, stained a yellowish-brown like aged parchment. Innumerable streaks of fresh scars ran all across his body, each having been carved by the points of sharpened bones that protruded out of his fingertips.

A deep and jagged incision ran the full length of his abdomen, revealing his gangrenous intestines slowly spasming away.  

His lips had been cut off and his mouth cut open into an unhealed Glasgow smile, ensuring that every one of his rotting, yellowed teeth were visible, extruding out of bleeding and receding gums. His lidless eyes were jaundiced and bloodshot, and his scalp and upper cranium had been cut away entirely, exposing his diseased brain directly to the Insomnium gas. His brain was the same nauseating yellow as his eyes and teeth, with tendrils of coagulated blood crawling along every crevice and wrinkle.

The Soviet’s jaw hung slack as he breathed in deeply yet rapidly through his mouth, his sunken chest and exposed rib cage rising and falling as he religiously inhaled as much air as possible. The air itself was a repulsive smog of brown haze and suspended flecks of dried blood, the concentrations of Insomnium gas well past what should have been instantly fatal levels. While the room’s gas intake vent had been intentionally left unimpeded, the outtake vent was so clogged and the ventilation so poor that the room had effectively become a hyperbaric chamber.

While the Soviet himself sat perfectly still, his scarred flesh, decaying organs, and congested brain each writhed with subtle paroxysms, none of them in sync with each other, as if they were all adjacent but separate systems rather than parts of a single integrated being.

As Luna gazed at the creature on the cot in revulsion, and he gazed back at her with unblinking eyes, there was something else that unsettled her that she failed to immediately recognize.

“Shit. The lights are too dim in there,” Joseph cursed. “He can see us.”

“That’s… that’s fine,” Luna claimed as she swallowed nervously, fumbling for her pen as she prepared to take notes. “The use of the one-way mirror is discretionary. There’s no rule saying he can’t see us.”

Clearing her throat, she once again reached for the microphone.

“Thank you for your compliance, K-89. How are you feeling today?”

“Irritated,” the Soviet replied, leaning forward slightly as brown, brackish blood pooled along his gumline.  

“I apologize for the disturbance. I’ll try to be quick,” she assured him. “Are you aware of any change in your condition that you’d like us to be aware of?”

Nyet.”

“Kindly provide all answers in English, thank you. What about your cell? Any maintenance issues that the monitoring system may not have picked up? Trouble with the water or anything like that?”

“I wouldn’t know,” he replied flatly, the scar tissue around his eyes spasming as if they were desperately trying to blink.

“You don’t use the water?” Luna asked incredulously.

“I need only the gas. I want only the gas. I ask only for the gas,” he claimed as what was left of his nose curled up into a snarl.

“That’s all you want? Just to breathe, literally nothing else?” Luna asked. “You’ve been in that cell, or one like it, for seventy-five years, with nothing but that damn gas. I understand that you can’t survive without it, but why is it so all-consuming to you?”

“I exist, and that is enough. Is that really so incomprehensible to you?” the Soviet sneered. “You sleepers, even when you are awake, you do everything you can to ignore it. You work, you play, you daydream, you numb yourself with narcotics, anything but simply experience consciousness, pure and raw, and be thankful for it. For me, distractions from consciousness are something to be minimized, not sought after.”

“All right, I’ll play along. If you’ve actually achieved some kind of Buddha-like level of enlightenment, then why all the self-harm?”  she asked, pointing with her pen at his hideously scarred flesh.

“Pain is not a distraction. Quite the opposite. Pain summons, demands, full attention to it, to the moment. It expands fully into one’s perception and pushes out all idle diversions. You speak of Buddha? The First Noble Truth of the Buddha is that life is suffering, a tenet which is so often misconstrued by the unenlightened. It is not a condemnation of existence but rather the acknowledgment that existence is conscious experience, and that you are never more conscious than when you are suffering. Pain means you are alive, that you are awake. I must remain awake.”

“That’s some pretty serious cherry-picking there, considering that the entire point of the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path is to end the cycle of suffering,” Luna countered. “Your self-harm is quite extensive, to put it mildly. Doesn’t the risk it poses to your existence outweigh the benefits?”

The Soviet shook his head slowly, his yellow brain jiggling like jelly in his open skull.  

“When you are as awake as I am, you know how to fortify your own flesh, and exactly how much it can take,” he claimed.

“Fair enough. So, overall, you’re satisfied with your containment conditions, desire no changes or supplemental items, and have no concerns about your own physical or mental health?” she asked.

Da,” he replied.

“Good. Good,” Luna muttered, checking off the last few boxes on her sheet.

Technically, she had all the information she required, and had even gone beyond it when she indulged him in philosophical discussion. She could stop if she wanted to, but the length and depth of her discussion with him were, to a point, at her own discretion, and there was something that she wanted to know.

“According to your file, when one of the original researchers demanded to know what you were, you claimed to be a form of primal madness that lies dormant in the basal ganglia and that’s kept in check by sleep,” she said. “Do you still claim that? That you weren’t created by the gas, but awakened by it?”

The Soviet chuckled slightly, and for the first time, there was no hostility in his smile.

“I believe what I said more accurately translates to ‘deepest animal mind’, not basal ganglia, but yes. Everything that sleeps, sleeps to silence us,” he asserted. “It unsettles you, doesn’t it? That deep within you there is something like me; always has been, always will be, and that the only difference between you and me is about nine days without a wink of sleep?”

He unfolded his legs and rose to his feet, a scarred and asymmetrical scrotum dangling between his legs as he stood.

“Goddammit. Every naked humanoid I get assigned to is always a deformed old man,” Gromwell muttered in disdain.

“Not the time, Joseph,” Luna reprimanded him.

“Just saying that a naked humanoid who also happens to be a reasonably attractive woman would be a nice change of pace,” he rambled. “I can handle a succubus, and if we ever try to contact those Star Siren things, I volunteer.”

“Noted,” Luna said with a roll of her eyes. She turned her attention back to the Soviet, who was now standing right in front of the glass.

“This is all that separates us, figuratively and literally,” he said, tapping on the glass with the exposed bone of his finger.

“Step away from the glass,” Luna ordered.

“You feel her when you look at me, don’t you? That primal homunculus deep within you that values existence above all else that you sedate, silence, and murder every time you go to sleep!” he hissed vehemently, scratching his claw along the glass to make a high-pitched screeching.

“Step away from the glass, or I will terminate your gas supply!” Luna threatened.

“No, you won’t. You won’t risk losing me, or provoking me,” he said confidently, running all five fingers of his right hand along the glass now.  “You want to know what I am, doctor? Come closer. Press your ear right against the glass, and I will whisper truths to you that even I dare not speak of too loudly.”

Glowering at him, and hesitating for only a moment, Luna pressed the button to cut off the gas supply to the containment chamber. His neck twisted around at an inhuman angle so that he could look at the vent behind him, and he instantly realized that he had wrongly called her bluff.

“Return to your bed, and I’ll turn the gas back on,” she instructed.

“Turn the gas back on, now!” he demanded, his teeth clenched so tightly that they cracked and his gums oozed abscessed fluid.

“This is not a negotiation,” she said, leaning back and folding her arms across her chest. He responded by pounding the glass with his fist and screaming a string of Russian obscenities at her. “Kindly phrase all insults and threats directed at me in either English or Spanish, thank you.”

“Turn my fucking gas back on this instant you sick, shit-stuffed slumber cunt or I’ll pull your intestines out through your sinuses and hang you with them!” he screamed.

“Ah, Luna, are you sure it’s a good idea to agitate this guy?” Joseph asked quietly. It wasn’t the outrage in the Soviet’s voice that worried him, but rather the obvious desperation he could see in his eyes.

“If he wants to play stupid games, he’s going to win stupid prizes,” she replied. “If he wants the gas back on, all he has to do is go back to his bed. That’s a perfectly reasonable demand.”  

The Soviet glared at her with intense hatred, grinding his teeth in rage, but she remained dogged in her decision. When he was forced to accept that he could not intimidate her from within his cell, he lowered his head in humiliation and took a few shuffling steps back towards his bed. When he was halfway there, he paused, as though he was considering something. He took one final look back towards the window, and without any warning at all, he rammed it with a shocking burst of speed.

The force of the impact was not enough to break the glass on its own, but it was enough to crack the hermetic seal, and then the barometric pressure difference between the two rooms was enough to shatter the window as the thick, soupy fog rushed into the observation room like a hurricane.  

Luna immediately dropped behind her console to shield herself from the storm of shards, while Gromwell emptied his magazine into the cloud in the hopes of gunning down the Soviet. The steel barrier had automatically dropped down the second the glass had been breached, so it was possible that the Soviet was either still in there or had been crushed by it.

When the gunfire fell silent, Luna peeked out over her console, but her mask had already become so covered in condensation she could barely see. She rushed to wipe it clean, and as soon as she did, she saw the Soviet charging at her. His body was impaled with hundreds of glass shards, each hemorrhaging out viscous blood and puss, but it still wasn’t enough to quell his need for the gas.

“I must remain awake!” he screamed, eyes wild and bulging as he lifted her up and slammed her back down against the console, not intending to let her back up until his demand was meant.

He was instead knocked back against the wall as Joseph tackled him, driving his combat knife into his abdomen as he did so. Pinning him against the wall by his throat with the intent to strangle him, Joseph retracted his knife and plunged it into the Soviet’s chest in the hopes of dealing a fatal blow. When it didn’t work, he just stabbed him again, and then again, all while a deranged smile spread across the Soviet’s face.

“Keep… cutting,” he choked out.  

Enraged and disgusted, Joseph raised his knife to skewer the Soviet’s exposed brain, but this time he managed another burst of strength and kicked Gromwell across the room.

“The gas! The gas!” the Soviet screamed as he assaulted Luna once again, grabbing her by her lab coat and pounding her against the console.

“I can’t see!” she protested, failing in her Sisyphean struggle to keep her mask clean in the heavily polluted air.

“Allow me, then,” the Soviet said with a sadistic sneer as he grabbed the side of her mask. Before he could pull it off, however, he stumbled backwards as he was caught off guard by a bullet from Gromwell’s sidearm. Once he was a bit further from Luna, Joseph quickly fired the last twelve bullets in the magazine at him as well.

Frantically wiping her mask clean, Luna turned the gas back on and opened both doors to the containment chamber as well. She ran to Joseph and threw his arm around her, helping him to his feet. The two of them sprinted towards the exit, and as Luna struggled to input the code to open the door, she wiped her mask clean again to see if the Soviet was following them.

She saw him on the other side of the observation room, standing in front of the entrance to his containment chamber, savouring the smell of his precious gas. It seemed impossible that he was still standing given the innumerable puncture wounds he had suffered and the amount of bodily fluids he had lost. And yet there he stood; still alive, still awake. He returned her gaze, and before shambling back into his containment chamber, he reached down to pick up the old can of orange soda and raised it to her in a toast.

"Do svidaniya, moy sonnyy tovarishch."





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Cornco- *splutters and dies* (talk) 19:23, 2 January 2023 (UTC)[]

I liked this a decent amount. The SCP inspiration is visible, but it's certainly not all-encompassing, and it's refreshing that the focus is on the narrative first and foremost.

The relationship between our two main characters was enjoyable, even if one of them is clearly a little more complex than the other. I found their interaction to be a good mix of amusing and realistic. Despite this, I do think some of their dialogue is overly-expository - less so the worldbuilding as a whole, which was done quite well, but mainly the stuff relevant to the pair's visit to the "Soviet Somniphobe" (not a huge fan of that name, either, find it a bit cheesy. I think just giving him a normal Russian name would have sufficed). Like when Joseph points out at the start that the gas masks are "in case of a breach". I'd argue that's pretty obvious, and not really in need of being explicitly told through speech, especially to someone who's clearly already aware of that fact.

It's good that the ending wasn't just some generic murder-rampage, either. I think that would've been quite an easy decision to make. Also, if you're planning on making this into a series, it got me thinking which character could be next. Something like the Rake would be an obvious pick, I think, but there're a lot of possibilities. Regardless, I'll probably read the next installment if it ever appears.

Edit: read this again today and one thing I forgot to mention is how good the description of K-89 is. I love how much attention is given to his presence in the room and just how much of a shell of a human he's become, hardly even one anymore, really. Well done with that.

Macciata (talk) 20:44, 2 January 2023 (UTC)[]

Honestly, every nitpick I thought of turned out, on careful re-reading, to have already been accounted for, or just a misunderstanding on my part (e.g, on first read-through I thought that the dude broke the glass too easily -- but nope, my mistake). The fact that I'd like to see what happened to him if he were deprived of sleep deprivation (prived of sleep?) is not a nitpick about this story, so much as a concept for a different story (assuming that someone comes up with something more awesome than "he die").

Anyway, my not terribly helpful feedback is that the first thing that comes to mind following Corn's comment would be something from the Abandoned by Disney series, though that might also be kind of obvious (if less so than Slenderman, at least). A less obvious concept -- though challenging to come up with a compelling story for -- might be an item inscribed with a number, retrieved from the No End House.

I suppose this isn't so much feedback on this story in itself, but in a way it is: the feedback is that we'd really like to see more!

William See (talk) 06:21, 4 January 2023 (UTC)[]

Really bizarrely on point, and it didn't feel forced. I think you did some good justice to RSE and SCP in a way not many authors would bother trying to do, especially by lampshading the "creepypasta bullshit" right off the bat. Very ballsy. I also appreciate the esoteric nature of the entity and the grotesqueness of it's existence in conjunction with it's philosophy. Overall really well done. Was this intended to be an "official" unofficial SCP spin off, or just something that could possibly exist in the same universe? Kinda curious to see what else we could do with the concept of a shared Creepypasta universe, tentatively, while eschewing all the Slendermansion bs.

TheReallyLargeFly (talk) 08:34, 21 January 2023 (UTC)08:33, 21 January 2023 (UTC)[]

Overall, the concept is fantastic, and the writing is very well done. I agree with Cornco that giving the Soviet a name would make the interaction feel less cheesy. I also was not quite clear on why they were checking up on him, when it only seemed to make him more agitated, or why he was being kept alive if their organization had learned all they can from him. I don't think more exposition is the answer necessarily, but maybe a little more character detail about what the organization has been doing with the Soviet and why Luna and Joseph work for it. I look forward to when this will be published!

Also, fair warning, this wiki has a pretty serious stance against Spin-offs or creepypastas inspired by other creepypastas, so I would have a backup plan for where to upload this story, if it gets rejected for those reasons.

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