The 13th Floor

A Doomed Explorer’s Journal Documents the Terrifying Search for “Subject C”

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The horrors of World War I are well documented by historians, journalists and many other chronicles of humanity’s atrocities, and among the worst of these is the development of chemical and biological weaponry — deployed in the bloody trenches of Europe on a massive scale, with apocalyptic results.

But countless whispered rumors and hastily hidden documents suggest that the bloody chaos of The Great War concealed many more military experiments that, had they been successfully deployed, could have made the deadliest weapons of mass destruction seem like sticks and stones by comparison… even now, a full century later.

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One of these rumored weapons was known only as “Subject C.”

Little was known about the project during or after the war, other than it was a cataclysmic failure… and that the project’s chief, Dr. Howard Brown, went missing — along with his entire research team — less than a year before the armistice was signed in November 1918, signaling the surrender of Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire to the Allied Nations.

In the months before Germany’s downfall, the team failed to report back to their superiors, and any attempts to reach them went unanswered. After a recon mission to the facility failed to return, a search-and-rescue team was dispatched by the British Royal Army to the alleged location of a top-secret Quinine testing facility, where Dr. Brown had been assigned by the Allies in 1915.

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The search party was accompanied by their own team of scientists from several Allied countries — including UK field scientist Daniel Granda, who kept a journal of the mission to document their findings. He also brought a small pocket camera to capture any photographic evidence which might reveal the cause of Brown’s sudden and unexplained disappearance… as well as any details pertaining to the undisclosed “Subject C.”

Like the scout mission before it, the search-and-rescue team never returned.

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Decades later, a series of scanned documents and distorted photographs surfaced in Ireland, which were claimed by experts to be the remnants of Granda’s journal, along with a backpack bearing his name, containing assorted field gear and a broken camera — presumably the same one Granada or one of his fellow scientists brought on the mission.

The tiny roll of film inside was chemically damaged and partially exposed, but a few of the negatives were reportedly salvageable. Combined, the writings and images seem to chronicle a bizarre and horrifying vision of Hell that eclipses even the horrors of the Great War.

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Seven entries were recovered from Granda’s journal, beginning with an entry dated October 12, 1917. Here are excerpts from those entries, accompanied by the only known photographic evidence.

Note that not a single entry describes exactly who or what “Subject C” is supposed to be…

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October 12, 1917, 15:04

My name is Daniel Granda. I am a field scientist, among those chosen to take part on the expedition to find Subject C.

One of our specialists, Dr. Yurich Sigalov, has tracked C’s movements down to Ibradden Wood Pine Forest. As I write this, we are en route to this location via Royal Army convoy. We plan to split into two groups — each with three field scientists, two specialists, and five soldiers. I am in Team Beta, with Dr. Sigalov. Our group is to scour the southern end of the forest.

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October 13, 1917, 9:41

Yesterday’s expedition led us nowhere. Over a six-hour search, we did not catch a single glimpse of Subject C. However, the day was not a complete loss. One of the trees in the forest had four large scratches on it, each secreting some black matter. Sigalov suggests this is some form of cytoplasma, and collected a sample for future study. We haven’t yet heard from Team Alpha. Assume they hadn’t found anything either.

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October 15, 1917, 18:27

We have once again found similar scratch marks on even more trees. This would have been a positive day, if not for the disappearance of Gy. Sgt. Jonathan Hitchcock in the hours before dawn. We devoted yesterday’s search to finding Subject C, and today’s to finding Hitchcock. We were not pleased with what we found.

At about 17:30, we found a man-made clearing in the forest. The trees looked as if they had been freshly cut, and the bark was coated with the same substance as on the scratched trees we encountered yesterday. It was here we found Hitchcock’s corpse, cut into five even pieces, with clothing and skin removed. This is eerily similar to what seemingly happened to the soldiers in the lab.

Upon closer examination, we found his sidearm completely spent and the barrel still warm. His bayonet was also found near the body, and it appears he put up a fight. Oddest of all, his canteen was filled with a black substance — the same material we found on the trees.

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October 16, 1917, 11:54

We have lost two more — one soldier, whose name eludes me at the moment, and one of our specialists, Dr. Nathan Radley. His father was one of the soldiers who had supervised the Quinine S Testing Project many years ago.

The corpses were discovered in another clearing apparently made by Subject C. The soldier’s body was almost untouched; his throat and wrists were slit by Radley’s own knife. It appears that soon after, Subject C attacked the doctor, whose clothing and skin were removed. Once again, the canteen was filled with the cytoplasmic substance, which I’ve nicknamed “Beast Blood.”

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October 17, 1917 [no time specified]

There are only four of us left. The remaining soldiers were taken this time. We found another clearing, and two corpses in the same state as the soldier we found yesterday, apparently dead from deep lacerations from his or the other man’s knife. The third, like Hitchcock, was sliced into five pieces, his clothing and skin removed, and his canteen filled with Beast Blood.

My guess was that one of the soldiers was somehow forced to kill another, and the two remaining were made to fight to the death. It’s a wild guess, of course… but Dr. Sigalov thinks I’m spot on.

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October 18, 1917 [no time specified]

The rest of Beta Team was taken by Subject C today.

Upon waking, I was told by a stony voice, “Kill the doctor. Yurich must die first. He has something of mine.” Dear God, I complied… but do not mistake my choice as cowardice. I simply had not the will to do otherwise.

Doctor Brown was absolutely right in his earlier descriptions of Subject C: his estimate of the creature’s height at roughly three meters is accurate, as well as the mention of the thing’s four large claws. The dark “aura” Brown noted in his own journals was not merely a subjective description… I could both see and feel it.

I stabbed Dr. Sigalov in the temple with my bayonet, hoping to offer him a quick death. I made the right decision, as he did not respond and seemed to cease breathing within seconds.

I was ordered to shoot the others next, both in the stomach first, and then the foot. This woke them both up… but strangely, only after I had fired the final bullet.

Subject C then told the survivors to fight to the death, and forced me to watch. I heeded him, not only fearing death, but as a prisoner of my own subverted will.

The battle was fairly quick… they simply unholstered their sidearms and shot each other. It appears Subject C was amused by this… and he let me go.

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October 19, 1917 [no time specified]

I will never see again… family, friends. Stuck here. I traced steps back to the landing zone, but found no trace of the RA convoy. Now I hear that voice again, saying that these are my final mome———

There are no further entries from Granda. There is, however, a single paragraph following his final, interrupted entry, in a nearly illegible hand — though apparently using the same pencil as the previous entries.

While some theorize it represents Granda lapsing into some kind of dementia just before his death (possibly from exposure to deadly toxins in the facility), a handwriting analyst claimed the final words were actually scrawled by an entirely different person.

He was right I don’t prefer the name but I am Subject C at least according to this fool. That line above is his pencil trailing across the paper it is so difficult to write while being cut to pieces. If you read this you have been marked. Prepare