You aren't going to believe me. Hear me out, I'll start slow, work further in from there.

You probably heard of the Large Hadron Collider; big thing beneath Switzerland built to prove string theory? Crazy theories about what it's actually going to do abound: create a world-destroying black hole, reset the universe, create a time paradox, etc.

What you probably didn't know is that there was a failure, a breach in the hull releasing some super-cooled helium. Just a minor setback, not important.

Except that the helium was zero degrees Kelvin, a temperature at which matter has no mass.

They didn't tell us about that.

And no one saw the hole that began to burn its way through the sky, no one saw the thing that stepped through. I didn't even see it.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. A failed rocket test in Russia, swirling colorful thing. Thank god they pulled the self-destruct.

I wanted to show you a copy of the footage, but it's gone, all of it. They must have destroyed it.

Blackness spreads from where the rocket detonated; darker than even the night sky around it spreading in a perfect sphere. You ever seen a honest-to-god PERFECT sphere? No. You fucking haven't.

The city below suffers an unnatural ice storm. I can't remember the commies' excuse.

Something got out. Or in. Something old and dark and thoughtless, something that could stamp out life and existence if it knew it wanted to.

I call it Cold-Space, because it lacks mass, shape, or form; I've only been able to follow it looking for the inexplicable freezing-deaths, before they hide them.

I don't know why they're doing it. Maybe they want to capture it or kill it or weaponize it or find fucking Hoffa with it. God only knows. I, on the other hand, don't even know who they are.

When we first found out, started tracking it, we thought - knew - it would disperse. It couldn't exist, not logically. Not within any science, religion, or law I know of.

But it didn't.

Three fucking months. That's how long we monitored it. We couldn't wait anymore, so we tried to find a way to catch it or find someone who could. That ate up another nine months.

Then we found him - and the weapons that might do the trick.

At first, we didn't believe they were real, but we sent Cornelius (Or was it Phillip? No, we lost Phillip in the first round, but more on that later.) to try and get one of them. He did.

He came back, different in a similar kind of way, and showed it to us. Dylan vomited, I think I cried, and the rest handled themselves better. Cornelius started talking about what he learned when he asked the question - there is nearly always a question - the power they could give us, the knowledge. We didn't need the Trollvader, we could be gods.

I think I was the first to release that Cornelius had died in that room. The thing that came back, it was a ghost, a doppelganger, a shadow. Maybe just the Objects probing our group, trying to discover our intent.

He went down real enough when you got him in the back. Maybe I'm just going off the edge.

We didn't try and get another Object after that. We knew they would eat us from the inside out.

We found him on a message board. Don't use technology to talk to him. hurts my mind. i love to talk of Jjiiiigglingggg things A ruuunnnnning through the guCCCK- Pppplease make UT stop. LLiiIeZ, R annnd D for them.

IN BRAIN!

He found out we were looking for him, sent us a nice little letter in the mail and asked to speak with us. That was when we lost, I think.

It's fairytale rules with him. Take no gifts. Be polite. Don't eat his food. Don't lie. Don't tell him your name. Don't look him in the eye. Don't dance. Bind him to his oath. Wear red. Never sleep. Always have a frog with you. Don't ever let him speak.

We lined up like lambs to the slaughter. Told him our names, let him speak, went into his home.

He said he'd help us if we won a game. Three rounds, three of us. Phillip was chosen for round one, Dylan round two. I'm last.

I think we're like old Cornelius, now. Ghosts. Dead in all be deed.

Let it not be said that we mice, food played with, did not fight 'til the bitter, mocking end.

We lost two rounds. Game over. All of us now.

But he wants the game to go on.

That's where we get him.

He lost years ago, before they started using envelopes again, we use it now. Found it in the Sahara, fools didn't know it for what it was.

IT IS THE MIRACLE THE THREE WISHES IT IS THE ONE MORTAL THING HE LACKS.

Use it against him. Tell him you have it but don't speak with him.

Make no deals with it; only imply you might give it to him. If you suspect the smallest sliver of foul play, burn it. Better he suffer with you than kill you.

I can't tell you his name. I made that earlier on up. It will help you. Here is a clue, and a warning:

What is greater than god, More evil than Satan, Feared more than death, And carries on beyond the grave

You know it. Please, find him, bind him.

Cold

Appendix A: Eight Flashes

TRANSLATED FROM BRAILLE

A description of the photos I told you about. I'm not sure they're even real, Robert, so take it all in with a healthy pinch of salt.

Photo 1:

An extreme low shot of a three-story house. By all appearances it's somewhere in a city, no front yard, very thin, squeezed between the nearby buildings. The number on the door reads 7699. Nothing extremely remarkable.

Photo 2:

By my estimation, it is a heavily edited version of Photo 1, or at least a similar shot. The sky has been converted to an unhealthy shade of yellow; nearby buildings are all strange shades of blue and green. The central house has been colored crimson. The door hangs open and the inside of the house has been blacked out.

Photo 3:

Again, this seems to be an edited version of the proceeding photo. The only difference I notice is that the foreground is now primarily taken up by an indistinct gray figure. Mismatched eyes and a sucker mouth have been sloppily edited onto the figure.

Photo 4:

New shot, coloring remains altered. The photo is now high above the street and at substantial distance from the house and Gray. Gray has progressed away from the house down the sidewalk. Gray's eyes remain fixed on the camera despite him walking in the opposite direction.

Photo 5:

New shot, same angle as Photo 4 but further zoomed out. Gray has progressed substantially down the street. A burning car wreck is now visible in the shot. Originally out of the frame, away from the direction Gray was progressing. An emaciated or skeletal figure lurks behind the wreckage.

Photo 6:

Return to Photo 4's angle and zoom. This appears to take place between Photo 4 and 5. Gray is between his progression in the two photos. His photo prints have been highlighted blood-red. It appears he walks with a limp.

Photo 7:

Hard to discern much. Most of the shot is taken up by Gray's blurred face as he approaches the camera.

Photo 8:

Last shot, portrait, although the rest were all landscape. The lens appears to have cracked. The skeletal figure from Photo 5 is all that is visible on the black background. All the figure's bones are visible, simply because it is so emaciated and decrepit. The figure has no discernable mouth and empty eye sockets. Scarring around the crotch area indicates that its genitals had been removed.

The figure seems to be holding my severed head.

There's no way this is real, right, Robert?


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