The Archivist is sitting at the table.
The room around it seems perfectly normal. A sweet little cottage up in the Scottish Highlands. A pair of muddy boots sits at the doorway, blankets strewn over the small sofa, empty mugs piled up on the draining board. Vague sounds of the countryside slip in from the outside. Sheep are bleating and cows are mooing and the wind is whistling its way through the trees.
At the kitchen table however, something incredibly abnormal is happening. The Archivist is reading a statement. That in itself is not an unusual thing for The Archivist to do, it needs to feed after all, but this is not an ordinary statement. It sits on one of the rickety old chairs, clutching the statement in one hand and clawing at its throat with the other. Blood is starting to run down its neck, soaking into the white of its shirt collar and staining it red. Yet The Archivist continues to read. It cannot stop the words being pulled out of its mouth. On and on it goes. Reciting the words that would bring about its downfall.
“Come to us in your wholeness. Come to us in your perfection.”
Its hand is shaking now. Moving against its throat in a desperate attempt to stop itself. It can’t stop itself. It can barely move at all. Not of its own accord anyway. Its mouth is still moving, the only thing that is, and it is the one thing that The Archivist desperately wants to stop. Its hand refuses to let go of the statement. To put it down. To scrunch it up into a ball and hurl it across the room. To get rid of it. Its eyes are jammed open. It can’t even blink. Just stares straight forward at the statement, not even taking anything in. Not knowing what it is going to say until the words come tumbling out of its mouth.
“Bring all that is fear and all that is terror and all that is the awful dread that crawls –"
The hand against its neck is shaking more now and it finds that if it puts all of its concentration into that hand, it can move it ever so slightly, ever so slowly, upwards.
“- and chokes –”
Its hand reaches further upwards.
“- and blinds –”
It can feel the tears that it didn’t know it has been shedding landing on its hand.
“- and falls –”
Nails are digging into its chin.
“- and twists –”
Its lips are moving against its thumb.
“- and leaves –”
It tries to clamp its mouth shut, but its lips keep on moving.
“- and hides –”
And sound keeps on coming out.
“- and weaves –”
Its hand lets go of its mouth.
“- and burns –”
The shaking hand rises higher up its face.
“- and hunts –”
It can feel strands of hair brushing against its hand.
“- and rips –”
They had fallen out of the messy bun that it had put its hair in earlier.
“- and leads –"
It can see the blurry outlines of its fingers in front of its eyes.
“- and dies.”
The Archivist pushes its fingers forward and is astonished to find that they obey its command. The action is still hard. There are a million voices screaming in its head not to do this. This will hurt. This will bring about its downfall. There’s one voice that rises above, louder and calmer than the rest, assuring The Archivist that this is what needs to be done. What it needs to do. It knows, without needing to Know, that there is nothing else that it can do. Its a choice: itself or the world.
It feels calm.
Fingers push into eyes and it takes more force than The Archivist thought it would, but it still manages to push deeper, curl its fingers up and drag them back out again, leaving the remaining sockets more or less empty.
For a moment, everything stops. No knowledge is pushing itself into The Archivists brain. It feels vaguely empty. It takes a second to realise that it isn’t speaking anymore. It has done it. It has stopped the apocalypse. It has saved the world. Maybe it isn’t such a monster after all. But as a human, The Archivist has taken too much damage. It isn’t a monster anymore, but being a monster is what had been keeping it alive for longer than it likes to think. It can’t survive like this. But it isn’t a monster.
The Archivist breathes a sigh of relief.
And Jonathan Sims dies.