Anne's Lament (1 of 3)
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Article by Robert GoermanRobert Goerman

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(Previously: A mysterious visitor delivered a Frontrooms newspaper to M.E.G. Team "Harbinger" on Level 710. Security Technician Alberto Sanchez, involved in the encounter, immediately suffered a psychotic break. M.E.G. Station Chief Marvin Matthews believed that an extra-dimensional "Man in Black," or MiB, was responsible for the mental breakdown or "enchantment" and ordered Security Technician Amy Cochrane to escort Sanchez to Base Alpha for treatment.)

AmyCochrane

Amy Cochrane
M.E.G. Archives

Like learning to open your eyes underwater, Amy Cochrane mastered consciousness and sight during no-clipping. The world turned translucent, almost transparent, and shot by like a roller coaster, in every possible direction, while you felt that you were actually moving in slow motion. What a rush!

No-clipping with an unconscious person on a makeshift stretcher was a daunting task. Cochrane and her two assistants followed the Pilgrims Path to Level 1. Security and medical personnel waited patiently for them there.

"One of the pilgrims to the Harbinger Arch traveled with a Saberzoa from The Blue Channel and its Spirit Link. He was kind enough to let his Saberzoa deliver a message to us from Marvin Matthews," the Base Alpha official explained to Security Technician Cochrane. "We will escort you to your briefing at this time."

Two Medical Techs carefully transferred Alberto Sanchez to the rickshaw ambulance and began immediately checking his vital signs. The patient was unresponsive as the doctor intervened with stethoscope and experience and checked the pupils and rates of respiration and pulse. After a few moments, the doctor turned and said, "We are sorry for your loss." He pulled the blanket over the man's face. "Your assistants will follow us to the morgue for now."

"He was just….confused," Amy mumbled the words with barely any air behind them.



Like the rest of this sprawling concrete warehouse known as Level 1, Conference Room C, although the smallest one available, could easily accommodate more than one hundred people. Amy Cochrane paced this large room in Base Alpha with shuffling steps, drooped shoulders, and her gray eyes glued to the cement floor. She couldn't believe that Alberto was gone. He was her first real friend here in the Backrooms.

She would all but disappear whenever she stepped into the shadows. Clad in black, Amy was stealth incarnate. Twin short swords sheathed on her hips showed the world that this young girl meant business.

Alberto called her "Hermosa Muerte," or "Beautiful Death."

She was fearless when it came time to protect wanderers.

The silver-haired man at the conference table let her walk away her grief. He looked more like an elementary school principal than a high-ranking M.E.G. official as he attacked a pile of paperwork with pencil in one hand and an eraser in the other.

The door opened.

AnneDunne

Anonymous Painting of Anne Dunne
M.E.G. Archives

"Ah-hh," the senior officer broke the awkward silence and rose to his feet. "The Heroine of Level 3-6-5 graces us with her lovely presence."

The "Heroine of Level 3-6-5" was a five-foot-two, thirty-something explosion of color. Fiery curls sat atop emerald eyes and painted lips. Her floral halter dress was way too festive for this somber occasion. A brass key on the chain around her neck caught flickers of light now and then. Anne Dunne was the antonym of stealth. She greeted the official and apologized for her tardiness.

Amy held out her hand and Anne took it in both of hers.

"It is too soon now," Anne said, "but we will become good friends."

"I do not believe that will be possible," the official corrected. He placed a red binder on the table in front of the pair. The cover read Protocol of Non-Intervention and Non-Interference Regarding MiB Activity.

"Marvin Matthews wrote the book on MiB. Literally. The document will not leave this room and you are not to reveal its contents. I will ask you both to read it.

"Here's the CliffsNotes version. The Men in Black have visited the Backrooms four times in recent history. The first time that M.E.G. tried to protect an individual marked for death by the MiB, we lost forty-nine of our best people. Humans can't hurt them. Humans can't stop them. The second time, we lost ten. We no longer interfere."

Amy couldn't believe her ears.

"This is not different than swallowing a poison with no antidote or suffering a terminal illness. Nothing can save Anne Dunne now. If we assigned a hundred men to her, she would still end up dead, and we would lose one hundred men.

"Matthews was not giving us a call to arms. He was reminding us to stand down." The M.E.G. official gathered up his papers. "The Overseers are now aware of this situation. I leave you two to your own devices."

"One request?" Anne asked.

"What is it?"

"If the design is simple and material is readily available, might your supply officer have a weapon fabricated for me?"

The M.E.G. official smiled grimly and penciled and signed the order. He handed her the page.

"Thank you."

He shook her hand.

"Anne Dunne, it has been an honor to finally meet you," he said.



"You would think that a psychic could read a map and find her way around," Anne Dunne said aloud to herself, then chuckled under her breath. Crushing all negative thoughts, finding humor, even under these circumstances, was her metaphysical armor. She paused for a moment of positive affirmation.

The building that she was looking for was right in front of her all this time.

Dunne made her way to the clearly marked door and began the process of filtering herself through security. Four checkpoints and two conversations later, she found herself on the other side of a counter from the "giant" in charge. He looked eight-foot tall, with shoulders eight feet wide, and had his back to her. He turned around and flashed her the kindest smile that she ever saw. He was over six-foot tall and full of muscle.

"May I please help you?" His voice was soft and refined.

TheUnicorn

The Unicorn
M.E.G. Archives

"I am leaving tomorrow morning and need to have a metal weapon fabricated. Each square equals one-quarter of an inch." She placed the sketch and document signed by the official on the counter.

"The Unicorn?" the giant asked.

"When you hold it in your clenched fist, it looks sort of like a unicorn."

The giant sighed and studied the design of the weapon and immediately recognized the signature on the document.

"Tomorrow? What type of metal?"

"Iron. I need this weapon cut from the oldest cast iron you can find in the Backrooms. Maybe an antique frying pan."

"Cast iron is too soft for knives," the giant explained. "It is too brittle and won't hold an edge."

"That's okay. For my purposes, it must be cast iron. It only needs to possess the appearance of an edge."

The giant sighed again.

"Hm-mm. Now Tom, over at Tom's Diner, has a fry pan that he claims was cast when dinosaurs ruled the Backrooms. This is his prized possession. I happen to remember, when he told me for the umpteenth time, that the pan was cast in the Frontrooms in the year eighteen-something by Griswold Manufacturing."

"Will he part with it?"

The giant sighed a third time.

"I will do everything that I can and see you first thing tomorrow morning with whatever I can pull together. I promise. You once saved my little brother from the Sightless Seers."

Destiny was a funny thing.



"Only one bed," Anne noted, running her hand across the bedding. "It's clean and dry, at least. They must have just changed it." She rummaged through her pack and changed into a nightshirt.

Amy checked out the pillows.

"No mints on the pillows." The M.E.G. Security Tech frowned. "You'd think that they could've sprung for some candy for the Heroine of Level 3-6-5."

The comment stung a bit, but Anne let it pass.

Amy wondered about the brass key on a chain around Anne's neck.

"What's with the key?" she asked.

"It goes to the front door of my house."

"Your house in the Frontrooms?"

"Yeah."

Hope was always a good thing.

This was all chit-chat. Anne felt the tension building in the room.

"Ask your question, Amy."

"Are you really psychic?"

"Seven," Anne replied, then added, "Might have been just a lucky guess."

Amy thought to herself that if Anne was really psychic, she would pick up on the number seven that she mentally visualized. But it might have been just a lucky guess.

“I ask that white light fill and surround us, cleansing our minds, bodies, and spirits. Protect us from all negativity, lower vibrational energy, or entities. I ask this, according to Divine Will, for the highest and greatest good. And so, it is." Anne called forth the divine light of protection.

"I don't see your white light," Amy admitted.

"Don't be afraid," Anne whispered. "I am going to open your third eye for a few seconds." She gently rubbed the girl's forehead and then tapped it with her painted fingertips.

The Security Tech squealed in ecstasy. She glanced at her hands and her wide eyes darted wildly around the M.E.G. VIP suite. You could tell when the magic faded by the sadness and disappointment on that face.

"Everything will be fine, Hermosa Muerte," Anne reassured her.

By the time that Amy recovered from shock, Anne was already brushing red locks with an unremarkable hairbrush trimmed in brass.

"I have met you in my dreams, Amy Cochrane." Anne loaned her the brush and explained that their lives depended upon holding on to this object for a short while. "There is a nondescript table mirror that goes with the brass hairbrush. They are a featureless set. But the mirror no-clips you to Level 365 when you look into it. That mirror is here at M.E.G. Base Alpha, if you are interested. Tell them that I sent you."

They both laughed harder than the joke was funny.

It was a nervous reaction to the tragedy of their circumstances.

"I apologize for the 'heroine' dig."

"Forget it. Let's try to sleep. Tomorrow will be a busy day."

To be continued...


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