working on a science team with my mom and dad. they are divorced, but still working together. we are very cautiously exploring an anomaly- a cave or pit that has appeared in a place where there had been none, and no record of seismic or other geological activity. in fact, satellite scans revealed no tunnels or voids below the surface- this despite the fact that we had explored miles and miles of tunnels with no end in sight. further adding to the anomalous nature of this cryptic aperture was the fact that from time to time it disgorged monsters. huge, misshapen toads are the most recognizable of the horrors we have encountered. after we had dispatched the monsters found roaming the countryside, we had sealed up the entrance to the anomaly, and it was now accessible only by a specially designed combination elevator and airlock, hermetically and electromagnetically sealed. when we made excursions (incursions?) into the anomaly, we donned specialized suits outfitted with a variety of telemetry and life support functions, as well as ceramic armoring and muscle-assist servomotors, able to magnify the strength of the wearer by about one half.
at this point we have mapped well over twenty-five miles of tunnels, all by hand, as none of our sophisticated sensory equipment can be coaxed to function within the anomaly. we have moved our whole family onsite, as the oldest, I worked with my parents, while the younger siblings watched each other and occupied themselves out of the way.
over the last several weeks, my father has become increasingly erratic. several times, against all protocols, he has made trips into the anomaly alone. i have heard him muttering in his sleep, he shares a bunk with me since mom kicked him out of their quarters. i can’t access his data logs, they’ve been encrypted. i asked mom about it, but she doesn’t want to talk about him. they’ve taken to working opposite shifts and barely speak even when they do see each other, which isn’t often.
then one night i wake abruptly, and some hunch propels me from my bed to the main lab. there I see my father, suited up, punching the access code for the elevator- and he’s carrying my little sister on his hip, still in her pink onesie pajamas. the door to the lab is locked, and banging on the window earns me a wave from my baby sister, but dad ignores me as the airlock irises open and he carries her through. i slap the fire alarm, waking everyone, and yell for mom to open the lab door so we can go after them. as the two of us suit up, she fixes me with a hard stare. “we may have to kill him.” she says, matter of factly. i just nod, waiting for the elevator to come back up.