Wendigo

Wendigo
by
TJ Radcliffe

Fragment: FQ9238
Probable file C:\My Documents\protest_letter.doc
Probable author: Svend Franken, Expedition Leader

change is drawing back the skirts of ice-shields and glaciers around the world, exposing to the light and air things that have been safely buried for at least a thousand years, sometimes more. We must be sufficiently funded to find them and catalogue them and study them each year as they are exposed, before they have time to rot or wash away in the hot Arctic summer.

[…]

has been taken over by bean counters fixated on the commercial possibilities of displaying remarkable archaeological discoveries, and even baser pursuits. Mineral deposits, outcroppings rich in rare gems, are suddenly exposed. Even oil, which no longer bubbles up out of the ground in the rest of the world, has once again been found flowing freely on the surface in the far north.

While I appreciate that Committee is responsible to the agencies which fund it, there is no excuse for the confused mandate of the present Expedition. I was willing to come out of a well-earned retirement and take on a leadership role as a personal favour to the Chairman, but had I realized what a poorly-organized collection of diverse and incompatible responsibilities I would be taking on my answer would have been quite different.

To employ one of the Chairman’s beloved hockey metaphors: you cannot be a great goalie and a great forward at the same time. They require different skills, different mind-sets, different gear. Likewise, mineral exploration, crypto-zoological research and archeo-virology don’t mix well within a single underfunded mandate.

It is therefore no surprise that we have suffered difficulties from the very beginning. The filters for the pathologist’s iso-lab were left on the tarmac at Killarney, and the geologist Auger, who was appointed to the Expedition over my express objections, managed to smuggle a case of rye whiskey on board, conveniently filling the space the missing lab components would have taken.

Had I not been on hand to supervise the unloading personally the high tempers and strong words this discovery produced might have escalated into immediate violence, which I hardly need remind the Committee members is not a promising way to begin months of life in close quarters with few amenities and

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Fragment: NX2134
Probable file /usr/home/nygard/personal/blog/2012/07/01/index.html
Probable author: Joseph Nygard, Chief Virologist

idiot rockhounds.

Bad enough that we have to spend two days jerry-rigging the iso-lab filters, but then to have THEM find three complete cadavers! Or they claim they were complete when they found them. “Who knew the arms could come off so easily! We hardly pulled on ‘em at all!”

It would be positively comical if these weren’t invaluable specimens being destroyed at the very moment of their discovery. Think of it! The two of them hiding under the cloak of ice like a pair of Dickensian metaphors for all those thousands of years. Even after the depredations of our very own stone age oafs they’re still in remarkably good shape. The one intact body is almost life-like in its repose.

We’ll know more once they’ve thawed and we can get some decent samples.

At least the diamonds Lee found on her first excursion will keep those thugs away from camp while we get to work. I tried to insist on an apology from that ape Auger, but no such luck. He just laughed, and said knowing roughly where Lee had been surveying was enough. So off they’ve gone. Good ridda

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Fragment: NX2482
Probable file /usr/home/nygard/personal/blog/2012/07/02/index.html
Probable author: Joseph Nygard, Chief Virologist

wear I could kill them all.

The cadavers were thawing nicely, the two damaged ones starting to drip reddish fluid as the sun heated the air inside the iso-lab. Our strictly rationed energy budget–all due to funding cuts to the science expedition in favour of hunting for gems and oil.

I should explain that I’m typing this one-handed, or one-and-a-half-handed. Why will become clear in a moment. I’m not quite clear in my head, either. I hope I haven’t picked up anything from our archaic friends. Our superficial examination suggests the two damaged corpses died violently, although it’s hard to distinguish the ancient damage from the modern. But number three is pristine, and might have had something interesting, and now maybe I have it too.

Lee’s watching to see if I grow horns or something, like poor Daniels after he was infected by that archeo-virus from the “Apline Minotaur” those hikers found a few years back. She’d like to write that up.

If I do she’ll have a bunch of drunken geologists breaking the sterile barrier to thank for it. Idiots. Compl

[…]

procedure was going well when the whooping and shouting announced their return to camp. We were working as quickly as we could, taking samples and setting them aside for processing. We’d left the intact cadaver until the end. The light was starting to fade from the sky, entering the long summer twilight that never quite becomes night. The day was overcast and the thin light seemed to leak through the gaps in the high dark clouds near the horizon, as if a wall was closing us off from the south.

Both Lee and I were very tired, although that doesn’t excuse us. But when those dunderheads burst in, singing and dancing and tossing rough diamonds the size of my fist back and forth between them, I just

[…]

the disagreement. I won’t swear to anything, but I’ll never forget that moment in the midst of the shouting when the cadaver sat up. Lee can say all she likes about gas in the body cavity. It looked at me with eyes that were not blind. Wild mad eyes. Lee thinks I’ve got a whiskey cache of my own, or have been injecting something stronger, or have gone all fey like my Irish mother. Maybe I have. Those eyes…

Then the rowdy bozos were on the cadaver, and I was on them, and somewhere in the melee my hand wound up in the cadaver’s mouth. I have the suppurating teeth marks to prove it. And our one undamaged specimen was on the floor, headless, while the reveling horde moved on, and our gloriously ineffectual leader came doddering by to commiserate whil

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Fragment: FQ4522
Probable file C:\My Documents\log20120814.doc
Probable author: Svend Franken, Expedition Leader

seen such a shambles. I had to fire a bear-banger into their midst to so much as get their attention, and even then they only paused long enough to hand me the largest diamond I have ever seen before continuing on to their own hut. Thank heaven we have separate huts for the various scientific groups.

I must say the prospect of the Expedition showing a profit is nothing to sneeze at, although as the nearly apoplectic Nygard told me this morning, the virologist team has just as good a prospect of finding value here as anyone, if they are only left to do their work in peace. I pointed out that damaged cadavers are just as good as intact ones for viral work, but he didn’t seem to take much comfort from it. His hand is healing remarkably qui

[…]

ettling down a little after that inauspicious beginning, with the geologists and virologists keeping mostly to themselves. Several more fragmentary bodies have been found, as well as a frozen frog that surprised everyone by recovering from its thousand-year sleep as if it had been nothing more than a particularly long

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Fragment: TJ6321
Probable file C:\My Documents\med_notes_nygard.doc
Probable author: Yung Ruefond, M.D., Expedition Medical Officer

not sleeping well at nights, and yet feeling increasingly lethargic during the day. He says he has been increasingly sensitive to light, as well, often wearing his heavy snow-rated sunglasses even inside the thin nylon walls of the iso-lab. As the days grow shorter and the nights longer he has taken to sleeping in the day and being active only at night, much to the irritation of his colleague, Lee, who has to take over much of the routine work that can only be done in the bright

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Fragment: FI0236
Probable file C:\My Documents\met_report_w18.doc
Probable author: Yuri Fotiev, Expedition Meteorologist

pheric ionization levels highest ever recorded. This explains our lack of contact with the south, and could be some of anomalous instrument readings as well. With solar cycle peaking in next year or two this is going to be increasing common, and final report will recommend that improving communication infrastructure in the north be made bigger priority. Again.

In my defense, the storm was unprecedented, and given that supply plane was sent out at all they must have missed it in south as well. If there had been survivors they maybe could be able to tell us something. They maybe were running ahead of it, hoping to land before worst caught up with them.

I am thinking this was first recorded occurrence of anti-hurricane: vortex driven not by rising hot air as in tropics, but falling cold air near Poles. Theory says this can occur, but will be much smaller and much more violent than

[…]

s before. Landscape so empty. Inhuman. Would be beautiful if we were not stuck. Digging out took over one day, and when we were finally able to break through back to surface it was clear how deep we were, and not just in snow.

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Fragment: FQ8372
Probable file C:\My Documents\log20120925.doc
Probable author: Svend Franken, Expedition Leader

all too clear that we are trapped here for the winter, which has set in far earlier than expected, thanks to our increasingly-volatile global climate. The whole island is now covered with an impassable mixture of heavy snow and large ice blocks that appear to have been blown out of the sea by the incredible winds the storm brought.

The sea itself is equally impassable, and there is no reasonable prospect of clearing an airstrip before the fall of the long night.

So far everyone has behaved reasonably well, particularly given the close quarters into which we have been thrust. The virologists and geologists still don’t speak, but at leas

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Fragment: TJ9382
Probable file C:\My Documents\med_notes_nygard2.doc
Probable author: Yung Ruefond, M.D., Expedition Medical Officer

more unstable. Skin is pale, even for this patient in this climate, and cold to the touch. Body temperature fluctuates wildly, consistent with a severe circadian disorder. The wound on his hand has completely healed, quite remarkably leaving no scar, almost regenerated like an amphibian would.

He complains of being practically comatose during the brief days, followed by preternatural alertness throughout the long nights. Some classic signs of sleep deprivation are apparent: paranoia, auditory hallucinations, twitching. With so little in my dispensary surviving it has been difficult to find effective treatment, even if I understood his underlying problem, which may indeed be the archeo-virus he so intensely fears.

His appetite is poor but he claims he is constantly hungry. He has difficulty keeping food down, and reports a craving for raw kidneys, apparently a delicacy his mother fed him as a boy. He has had some success in hunting, which bodes well for our diet as the supplies salvaged from

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Fragment: RU4328
Probable file C:\My Documents\auger_xxx.doc
Probable author: Drew Auger, Geologist

turn to me when things go wrong. Smug bastards.

I’ll say this for the little fag virologist: he can travel over rough country. And he’s kept to himself lately. Not like that butthole bandit Franken, always wanting to know how I feel. To hell with him! I feel like crap: we’re stuck in this lousy snowhole for the rest of the year. We could’ve been out of here at a profit in the first few weeks.

Such diamonds! I never thought I’d be the one. Me: Big Dumb Auger. Well, I’ll show them who’s so

[…]

able to track both of them over the ice, through the snow. Not much light left now, only a few hours a day. Soon it’ll be full dark, and we’ll be eating nothing but rationed rat turds. We won’t starve. We’ll just wish we could. Six bloody months! The least those bastards down South could do is send another damned plane, drop fresh supplies. And girls. Yeah, I could do with a whore for the long night. Pay her in diam

[…]

of them after that. Some blood on the snow, signs of a scuffle, no bear tracks. Maybe gone over the cliff, Nygard and Lee both. I wonder if he was doing her?

I was lucky to make

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Fragment: TJ3421
Probable file C:\My Documents\personal.doc
Probable author: Yung Ruefond, M.D., Expedition Medical Officer

touching the southern horizon now, hardly any light left.

Auger still claims he saw Nygard again last week, just beyond the lights, ranting, howling, dancing under the stars, his hair long and unkempt, his body almost naked, his clothes in rags, like a wendigo out of the stories: a mythical creature like a northern vampire, invariably mad, lusting after human flesh.

Maybe it is him, impossible though it ought to be for a naked man to survive out there. Maybe the light is keeping him at bay. Not much juice left, though. If it is, he’ll be here soon.

Fotiev has gone missin

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Fragment: FV0002
Probable file C:\My Documents\My Videos\20121224.mpg
Probable author: Svend Franken, Expedition Leader
Transcription By: K. Dawson

[Transcriber’s note: even after extensive reprocessing most of the video is unintelligible noise with no audio. It appears to be from the webcam on Dr. Franken’s computer. The following short summary is based on a frame-by-frame analysis, but contains much that is uncertain to the point of speculative. Timestamps are approximate at best.]

[0:10-0.15] Two shadowy figures struggling in the main hut while fires burns around them. It appears the building is burning, consistent with the condition it was found in by the relief team. Both figures are vaguely humanoid, one in heavy winter gear, the other apparently either a human in tattered clothing or an animal with long trailing hair and tail.

[0:24-0:46] Animal (?) figure appears to overcome the human, and they both fall out of view. Spray, possibly of arterial blood, can be seen near the bottom of the frame for a few moments. A brief appearance of the animal’s head occurs in the last two frames. It is impossible to identify the creature, and there is insufficient evidence to support the belief that it is human.

Copyright (C) 2008, 2009 TJ Radcliffe

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