The Testament of the remains of Rachel Garramonde, SCP-578-2 Codename WRETCH

I am being to asked to write my experience. To write myself, and leave it on this page so that even as I exist in the story of the Foundation's eternal containment, a part of me us can be our own story. To exist free of the voice and interpretation of the doctors and agents and soldiers of the Foundation. So I guess this is a will.

They're arguing amongst themselves if this is a will or a testament or if the distinction even matters, but they're encouraging me to keep going. They suggest it could help if I explain how I got here, and to explain how my knowledge can be so clear even across the void of death. I am also being asked to clarify that there are three of us.

For being our story, they're certainly telling me to do a lot.

But, pardon my sour. I guess I will start there. I am in this Library because the qualities that make the three of us up are a story as much as any destroyed sci-fi novel or never-written play. We are directly shaped by the stories told about us, in gossip after we died, by the ink spent on Foundation procedures, and even in the idle thoughts of our captors. The living write the ghosts into existence, and that when circumstances are right, even the forgotten and the redefined have a chance to fall through the dark into this Library.

They say that there are three of us, because the three of us used to be distinct. We each died in different places, in different times. And at a given time, only one of us can emerge. The other selves get beaten in, and the one outside has to interact with the world. But we retain some awareness of each other, and I use that to help keep the girls strong when they're alone, and I derive strength from them when I'm the one in charge. The other two, they're just children, or near enough. And so much of their ability to focus and reason was lost when they died. But not me.

I know that my type of dead tend to forget details of being alive, only holding onto bits and pieces of the who they used to be as new bits of cruft and detail begin to accrete on them. I know this because of a bell. When I came in from the darkness surrounding this Library, I saw a blur of motion, heard the deep keen of a bell. The tempests in our heads quieted down to a still pool, and from some place very deep, very far away, our memories of how we died returned to us.

Not the memories of how we lived, because that's not important to what we are.

Even with the bell restoring so much to me, I don't know what happens to people when they die. I don't know what happens to the self. It was there, and then it was gone. I am not Rachel Garramond. The thing I am, the ghost, was born when Garramond died. I always though that I could say "Well, at least I never bullshit myself," but the bell has made clear the difference between the parts of me that started from Rachel Garramond and the parts other people added to my story, and there is distressingly little of Rachel Garramond left.

That's all ghosts are. A memory of a glare, a sad story told about a parent to a child. The awareness that someone died here. Small, tiny things. I suppose these pieces stick around for a bit, but they usually remain weak, cloudy. I don't think the dead grow; the most the three of us could ever do was steal vitality from the living. Most ghosts don't go far. Eventually the memories fade, or people move on, or maybe people don't expect to be haunted by the ones they loved. Maybe they didn't have enough stories told about them. Maybe something else. I don't know know how it works. The bit of the juice powering me and my sisters was a little stronger, strong enough that a little bit more stuck around when we died.

I guess I should tell you the personal details of how each of us died. It seems like it's that point in story. I don't really want to spend a lot of time on this.

Emily Boynton, the kid, the one the Foundation calls SCP-578-1 Codename CHILD? I actually think she was the oldest of us when she died. She was a minor writer, struggling to almost no fame, no recognition. As she got older, something about her struggles made her remember the last time she felt wanted. She increasingly retreated into a second childhood. And there's always someone willing to prey on weakness. Emily died of blood loss in service to satisfying the urges of someone else. I don't know if they ever caught the guy. Guess that's not for our kind of dead to know.

My story, the story of SCP-578-2 Codename WRETCH, is short. Rachel Garramonde was high on heroine, passed out on the floor, slowly dying of an overdose. The guy I lived with found me passed out, took a steak knife, and stabbed me. I guess he was pissed at the way life was going, to be shacked up with me. He punctured a large intestine. The irony was that I was going to die of the overdose anyway, and to be honest, I don't know if it was the sepsis or the overdose that killed me.

I don't know when SCP-578-3 Codename FERAL died. It's a place and a time and people I don't recognize. But I know that she had been kicked out. I don't know what happened, it's not in our memories, but the separateness was there when she died. Whatever happened was traumatic enough that something inside her choose to forget speech. Or choose to forget that what people were saying was important. I'm not sure which is true.

She lived in a forest. She lived off the land for several years, learning how to survive alone. But the year she died, the winter was hard, and the man who was walking through the frost looked so healthy. So she ambushed and ate him and survived another week. This was not tolerated by the others, and so they descended upon her. They descended and put her in a box and let her starve to death.

So that's how we died. These events, in part, determine how we look and act. I'm sure the Foundation would love to know these things, so they could compare and experiment, and design containment based on "syncretic resonance" or "folkloric strategies". But the ways we died are so unimportant. The Foundation guesses on containment that might work on ghosts, and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, but what's important is that they think it works. They're not entirely convinced, not yet, so we still have a chance.

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