Voir dire

My first contribution to the  SCP Foundation collaborative horror-writing project. If you’re not familiar with SCP and enjoy the kind of lingering creepiness that will keep you awake in the middle of the night then head on over and check out their site.






Item #: SCP-2055

Object Class: Keter


Still captured from covert remote recording of SCP-2055-1809.

Special Containment Procedures: Best practice in relation to SCP-2055 is currently limited to constant monitoring of key personnel and the suppression of public knowledge. All Class A and Class B personnel as well as valuable civilian figures should be subject to constant automated remote surveillance using approved protocol D-11 for intelligent remote monitoring systems.

Recording and alarms should be triggered in response to observed individuals engaging in “chair-gathering”, talking to themselves, or otherwise displaying abnormal acute-onset behaviours. In the event of automated monitors being triggered the nearest available security officers should be alerted and authorised to carry out immediate physical intervention.

In cases where remote monitoring has allowed SCP-2055 to be interrupted, affected individuals have become highly agitated and resistant. As such the use of restraints is approved in order to prevent affected personnel harming themselves or others.

Once removed from the location of onset, abnormal behaviours cease, with the individual exhibiting no memory of preceding events. Affected personnel must nevertheless be debriefed in order to identify any epidemiological pattern or predictors of onset.

Where the process ends in the individual taking their own life, gathered chairs should be removed in order to support the appearance of mundane suicide.

Due to the difficulty in predicting the occurrence, prevalence or individual outcomes of SCP-2055, constant surveillance is currently the only certain counter-measure. Professor H███’s interviews with survivors of SCP-2055 and post-mortem examinations of fatalities have not yet identified any definitive aetiology or risk factors and as such further investigation is essential. Observation is therefore a priority and it is necessary that observed occurrences in non-essential populations be allowed to continue to completion in order to further knowledge of this phenomenon.

Description: SCP-2055 is a behavioural phenomenon that has been observed in ███% of the global population. Estimating the precise number of cases is difficult as survivors of SCP-2055 retain no memory of the phenomenon and it is likely that the majority of SCP-2055 fatalities have been miscategorised as conventional suicides due to the similarity in presentation.

SCP-2055 fatalities are distinguished only by the behaviours preceding death: affected individuals will, whilst alone, suddenly begin gathering any available nearby chairs and placing them in a row. Affected individuals have then been observed to talk to themselves for anywhere between a few minutes and twelve hours, moving around the room and appearing to address the empty chairs.

In 94.3% of observed cases, the individual ultimately discontinued this behaviour and resumed previous activities without any apparent memory of the occurrence. However, in 5.7% of cases the individual ended this behaviour in suicide, most commonly through the application of a ligature to the neck, although exsanguination and self-poisoning have also been observed.

Due to the lack of awareness of their own behaviour exhibited by survivors the only means of investigating SCP-2055 has been through random surveillance of the general population via █████ █████. The first case was observed ██/██/1994 and since the inclusion of ████ ██████ in commercial ███████ after ██████ it has become possible to remotely observe increasing numbers of cases.

No abnormalities have been identified by either psychological examination of individuals who have survived this phenomenon or post-mortem examination of those who have not. Remote recording of the phenomenon taking place has however generated potentially useful insights into the nature of SCP-2055.

Analysis of recordings initially identified a resemblance between the behaviour of affected individuals and the behaviour of a defendant standing trial. However legal experts who have reviewed recordings of affected individuals have suggested that the process more closely resembles the legal practice of voir dire: the preliminary examination of prospective jurors to determine their suitability to serve on a jury.


Transcriptions of remote SCP-2055 recordings gathered covertly via █████ █████:

Transcript SCP-2055-1207

[Subject 1207 is alone in his home eating an evening meal at onset of phenomenon. Subject 1207 rises from his place and silently arranges four dining room chairs in a row against one wall. Subject then appears to listen intently.]

Subject 1207: Yes, yes I am.

[110s silence]

Subject 1207: I understand.

[27s silence]

Subject 1207: I swear I will speak the truth.

[8s silence]

Subject 1207: I accept the consequences.

[6s silence]

Subject 1207: Sorry, I’m not sure I understand the question, could you repeat it?

[4s silence]

Subject 1207: Oh, right. That’s a hard one. I would say that we are the highest form of life. We are God’s children.

[5s silence]

Subject 1207: Capable of thought, compassion, love. We have consciousness.

[8s silence]

Subject 1207: No. No one.

[2s silence]

Subject 1207: I’m sure of it. No one. I mean, no one in the way you’re suggesting.

[286s silence]

Subject 1207: It wasn’t like that. It was just a casual fling. I feel nothing for her now. I may have felt that way at the time but feelings change. It isn’t fair to say that. I don’t think you’re being fair to me.

[13s silence]

Subject 1207: That was just a dream, it doesn’t mean anything. Do you dream? Do you remember what it’s like? They don’t necessarily mean anything.

[4s silence]

Subject 1207: Even if I still had those feelings, I can put them aside. I want to put them aside. I’m a very fair-minded person, really, I can be impartial. Look, I don’t see why you’re dragging my personal life into this. Everyone has a personal life, if being human means my judgement can’t be trusted then what’s the point?

[5s silence]

Subject 1207: Of course I can, listen, you need me. I understand people.

[3s silence]

Subject 1207: No.

[6s silence]

Subject 1207: I can be, I swear I can be.

[7s silence]

Subject 1207: I do!

[4s silence]

Subject 1207: I want to help.

[4s silence]

Subject 1207: [Visibly frustrated] No, you’re twisting my words. I just want to help you reach the right decision. Should caring about people disqualify me? Did none of you care about people when you had the chance?

[16s silence]

Subject 1207: Look, I understand what’s involved! I just want to help. I must help.

[6s silence]

Subject 1207: Please. [Subject A begins to weep] Give me a chance.

[7s silence]

Subject 1207: Please let me help.

[Subject 1207 suddenly ceases crying and calmly replaces the dining room chairs before sitting at the table and resuming eating dinner. In interviews following this incident the subject exhibited no memory of SCP-2055 or of his own behaviour.]


Transcript SCP-2055-1809

[Subject 1809 is alone in a private office at onset of phenomenon. Subject 1809 rises from his desk and arranges five office chairs in a row against one wall before pausing and apparently listening intently.]

Subject 1809: Yes.

[110s silence]

Subject 1809: I do.

[27s silence]

Subject 1809: I swear I will speak the truth.

[8s silence]

Subject 1809: I will.

[7s silence]

Subject 1809: A kind of animal I suppose.

[5s silence]

Subject 1809: Different in some ways, not in others.

[6s silence]

Subject 1809: Nothing specific, I guess I’ve never given it any thought. People are ultimately animals. We’re all just clever monkeys aren’t we?

[8s silence]

Subject 1809: Yes, many and badly.

[6s silence]

Subject 1809: Of course I do, but it is what it is. As my ma used to say, there’s no point crying over spilled milk.

[7s silence]

Subject 1809: We wanted different things.

[13s silence]

Subject 1809: I think I see people as they are. I’m gonna be sixty next year, I think I’ve reached the point where I know what’s what.

[18s silence]

Subject 1809: What will be will be. If not me then someone else right?

[20s silence]

Subject 1809: I’d say I’m pretty typical. We all want the same things don’t we?

[4s silence]

Subject 1809: It’s like…what’s his name? Maslow? The guy with the triangle?

[2s silence]

Subject 1809: Yeah, him. His triangle thing says we all want food, sex, warmth, safety. Not necessarily in that order. I’m a realist, I appreciate that there’s good and bad in all of us, that you need certain comforts to have the luxury of morality. Sometimes it is kill or be killed and when it comes down to it a starving man is much the same as a starving dog.

[16s silence]

Subject 1809: I don’t know. I guess I’ve thought about it too much. We can never really know can we, but I’ve tried to live my life right without worrying too much about what I can’t change. I’ve never really been what you’d call a believer, but here I am talking to you so I guess all things are possible right?

[8s silence]

Subject 1809: Ah, good question. I’d say Hollywood, the way it used to be…or Paris, Paris is nice.

[5s silence]

Subject 1809: I dunno, the Holocaust I guess?

[8s silence]

Subject 1809: I can’t possibly know is the simple answer to that, but we all find out in time.

[5s silence]

Subject 1809: Honesty.

[6s silence]

Subject 1809: Self-delusion.

[5s silence]

Subject 1809: [Laughing] I’ll take that as a compliment!

[37s silence]

Subject 1809: Yes, I understand. I am willing.

[44s silence]

Subject 1809: Thank you, it’s been a pleasure and I’ll do my best to justify your confidence. So I guess I do it now then? Here goes…

[Subject 1809 then removes his belt and smilingly tightens it around his neck. Post-mortem examination confirmed death by hypoxia.]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: