Entity 23 - "Unapproachable Horse"
rating: +45+x

There are some actions so terrible that atonement is impossible, that redemption is unobtainable, and that forgiveness is unreachable. Those unfortunates who have their very souls blighted by the actions that they commit have no need for the punishments of others, for they have already given their lives to exist as husks, moving silently through the purgatory that the rest of us call life. Never again seeing or feeling or being, for they have already had their fill with poison of their own design.


honse.jpg

Entity 23, photographed deep in Level ES-41.

Entity Number: 23

Habitat(s): Varies

Description:

Entity 23 takes the appearance of a dark-brown horse of unknown gender and age. The entity has been sighted on a variety of levels, but it's most commonly seen on levels that take the appearance of natural spaces, such as forests and fields. It is unknown if the entity has the same movement restraints as wanders, as it has been sighted on a large variety of disparate levels without ever being seen to no-clip between them.

The entity has a unique property in it's never able to be approached. At all times, the area with a radius of 40 meters (130 feet) around the horse is completely inaccessible. The mechanism that prevents wanderers from approaching the horse is not understood at this time, with any wanderers who attempt to approach the entity reporting that they are still able to walk or run towards the entity but never get any closer to it.

Additionally, any time the horse moves in the direction of wanderers or entities, those that end up in the horse's area of effect are physically displaced to an area beyond it, sometimes clipping through walls and other solid objects. Although this occurrence appears to an outside observer like wanderers or entities being physically pushed by an invisible wall, wanderers who have been affected by this don't feel as if they are being moved but rather that their environment is being moved around them.

Biology:

Entity 23 is a horse of unknown gender, breed, and age. Its coat is brown, and it has a black mane and tail. It is assumed that the entity requires food and water, as many reports of the entity discuss it either grazing on grass or attempting to drink from streams that it comes across. Due to the nature of Entity 23 and the impossibility of getting close enough to it for examination, many aspects of its biology cannot be discerned.

Behaviors:

Entity 23 acts like a normal horse, usually not taking particular notice of its unusual effect. It will usually spend its time in natural levels, grazing or wandering. Entity 23 has shown signs of loneliness, such as restlessness and calling for other horses, though it is not able to approach any animals or humans due to its effect. The entity occasionally has episodes of distress in which it runs through levels at high speeds. This can occasionally be dangerous or unsettling due to nearby wanderers due to the spatial displacement caused by the approaching horse.

Discovery:

The first reports of the entity come from a sighting in Alcatraz Park on Level 11, where its unique property was first documented. Due to the property, no one was able to enter the park, and they were only able to see the entity briefly, calling it the “ghost horse”. After some time, it eventually left the park, only to enter a state of distress and charge quickly through the level, causing many of the witnesses to experience spatial displacement. M.E.G. operatives from Base Beta attempted to capture the entity with no success. The entity eventually left the level once all attention was taken away from it. This is the only known event of the entity in a heavily populated level, and there have been no further reports of the entity in Level 11 since its discovery.

Do's and Don'ts:

Do:

  • Be prepared for spatial displacement if you spot a horse running in your direction.

Don't:

  • Attempt to approach strange horses.

A single horse stands alone in the middle of a field. Alone. A quality that need not be specified because it is a quality that has plagued the horse's entire existence. As long-rusted neurons make connections in the horse's brain, a face forms in the deep vacuum that is memory. Perhaps the quality of "alone" did not always apply to the horse, but it has applied for as long as the horse can remember. As long as it can bear to remember.

The rain above picks up, beating into the horse's skin with minuscule fists, and the horse begins to remember a time before. Before it was irredeemable. Before it was unapproachable. Before it was alone. The face in the horse's memory begins to take shape, eclipsing all other thought, and as it sees a young boy in its mind's eye, a deep sorrow washes over it, reminding it of all the pain. All the hardship. And even more painful, of a time when it was happy, that terrible feeling of contentment that it will never feel again.

But the memories continue flooding back, against the horse's wishes. They are now a fully formed being, outside of the horse's control, surrounding it, suffocating it, and leading it again on this path as an unwilling participant in its own past.

"Pferdnando, I think we're almost there," the young boy says from the horse's back.

The horse says nothing in reply, for it is a horse, and horses don't generally speak. The rain continues to beat down on the horse's skin, but the boy seems unaffected. As they will both find, they were not almost there. The horse grows weary as the night grows deeper.

"Let us stop here, Pferdnando, and take a bit of rest." The boy motions for the horse to slow its pace, and it does.

The boy dismounts, sitting on a nearby rock as the horse stands idly by, examining the faint silhouettes of trees and hills that can barely be made out in the evening light. Twigs can be heard breaking, as a small doe flits gracefully across the forest floor until an enormous booming explosion rattles the trees around and the doe's fur is shrouded in a viscous blackness that leaks out from its chest.

The boy stands still in the shock of a gunshot so close, but the horse's glassy eyes are blind with rage. It rushes towards a large man not far away, which it recognizes as the source of the blast, quickly approaching his position. The hunter shoots once at the horse in shock, missing it by a large margin as the shot continues behind it, and the horse knocks him over. Hoof meets skull, and grey matter leaks into the mud too fast to be washed away by the rain.

The horse turns around at a gurgling sound from behind it to see that the boy had been hit by the hunter's stray shot. Skull fragments are embedded into the sky like stars in the spot above where the boy's head once was. No. No. No. No. No. No. No.

A single tear rushes down the horse's face, as it pushes the memories away from its mind, but the boy from inside them is still there.

"It's okay, Pferdnando," the boy says from beside the horse. "You have to let go, now. I know it's hard to deal with the pain, Pferdnando, but you must forgive yourself because, well… there's no other way for you to keep on going. The pain you have inside you. This pain you've been carrying for so long, we all feel that pain, to some extent, and if you stop pushing people away, then you'll find that they can help you."

The boy fades away. He's done all he can.

The horse gives it some thought through its tears. Perhaps just this once, just for tonight, it will try to bring down its walls.


The horse makes its way through the empty streets of Spawntown and comes across a man. In the darkness, the man looks almost like the boy from the horse's past, though the horse knows that this is not so. The man looks surprised, at first, but he recognizes the horse's pain, senses the things that are ripping their way through the creature. The man wraps his arms around the horse and gives it a hug.

But the horse feels nothing. Is this all it is? After all the pain, after all the loneliness, it's finally feeling the contact that it had isolated itself from for so long, that it had desperately hoped would make everything go away, make the suffering numb for just a little bit longer, and this is all it is? The horse is crushed even more by the emptiness the hug brings him and somberly breaks off the embrace. The horse continues on, seeing a sign marked "Tavern", one of the few buildings open at this hour.

The horse walks into a bar. The bartender says to the horse, "Why the long face?"


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