I’m really not certain how best to begin this, so I guess I’ll just start with the basics. My name is Dr. Bernard Hawkins; I am an archaeologist and have been in my field of study for the past thirty years.

Forgive me if this is a bit impromptu and/or formatted incorrectly, as this forum is not my usual medium of research publication. This may yet prove the best way to publish the information I possess before the academics and skeptic’s get a chance to rend it into oblivion. To make what will certainly become a long story short, we found something. Something which may alter what we know of human history, and perhaps the planet earth itself.

For the last six years I have been devoted almost exclusively to a dig site in northern Russia. Our group is stationed out of Lovozero; a very remote locality of under 3,000 inhabitants located some 2,00 kilometers northeast of Moscow.

This is Siberia, above the arctic circle. The winters are long and tough, with wildly fluctuating day-night cycles depending on the season. The weather never climbs far above 10C, and a perpetual tundra spans the hills for the majority of the year. Needless to say, digging a giant hole is not easy here.

Luckily for us, someone got a head start on that. In 2007 a Russian petroleum company was probing for new deposits. They found no reserves of petroleum, but they did find something far more interesting. Their operations disrupted a small fault line in the land which suddenly ruptured into a fissure, splitting earth and ice along with it.

This microquake caused a receded depression in the land to jut outward; almost like a flower blooming in the spring. This revealed a cavern that had previously been sealed under the ice, and when the team discovered what was inside, they halted their efforts in their tracks.

One thing led to another, and eventually the institute which I am employed was contacted to come take a look. It took two separate flights, a five-hour train ride and a total travel time of nearly thirty-five hours for us to simply reach our destination. On the first trip was myself and my acquaintance Dr. Sergei Tolevsky; a renowned geologist and longtime friend of mine.

The two of us finally arrived in the cold, windswept town of Lovozero after the lengthy commute. We met our contacts who offered to allow us to rest awhile in order to acclimate to the local time and sleep off the jet leg. Both Dr. Tolevsky and I declined as were adamant on seeing the site as soon as possible. I didn’t fly halfway round the world to catch a nap after all, and both of us knew that the longer the site remained in limbo the greater chance of someone else coming along to claim the dig for themselves.

Soon enough they agreed, and another hour of driving later and we finally rumbled into the isolated site. Cold winter winds blew tufts of powdered snow in between the excavators and wind guards. A dozen or so workers tried to avoid the elements garbed in bright yellow winter coats as they huddled around barrel bonfires.

That’s when I first glimpsed it; a small hole wedged underneath a blanket of ice. The hole itself was formed parallel in the rock wall. The crack which formed was only about a meter tall and perhaps half a meter wide; much too narrow to enter in person. However, beyond that was quite clearly a lengthy cavern that appeared to stretch for quite some distance.

We used flashlights to peer inside, and quite quickly discovered something interesting. The passage appeared to slope downward at around negative .227 gradient for a good two-dozen meters, and beyond that appeared to drop off entirely. Yet beyond that there was another cavern wall that appeared almost vertical. Again, it was difficult to decipher from our vantage point, but there appeared to be patterns carved into the wall. It didn’t look like something produced naturally; it looked like cave drawings.

It wasn’t conclusive evidence by any means, but it was enough to pique our interests. It took multiple correspondences between our employers and financial donors, as well as several elaborate promises we had no way of being able to guarantee. Eventually though, we managed to acquire the assets we needed and begin our true work.

For the next three years we slowly and methodically began excavating the fissure. The weather in that particular part of the world is rather drastic; plunging to temperatures of -60 C in the dead of winter. For eight months of the year we were unable to do much as the elements proved too formidable to overcome.

We began by expanding the initial passage, and after a great deal of effort we were able to carve away the overhang rock and allow us to access to the sheer rock wall beyond. The coarse-grained rock was revealed not long after to be limestone in monocline formation. Carbon and potassium dating soon revealed it to have been formed nearly 150,000 years ago.

The pattern on the rock was segmented into distinct grooves at certain portions. After some tests on the grooves, we came to the determination that they were unlike any natural formation; at least that anyone had ever seen. They looked like portions of petroglyphs; a partial segment of ancient cave paintings.

A certain feeling struck me as I first beheld those fragmented images. It’s one I have not yet found the proper wording to adequately describe, but it was unique to any archaeologic site I’ve ever seen. As I put my hand against that rock, I saw the hairs on my arm stand on end. I felt my pupils dilate, and an odd sense of euphoria struck me. In the moment I interpreted it as a sign of the prestigious findings that awaited us, but now I suspect it was something else entirely.

Down below that rockface was a layer of sediment that appeared to have set much more recently. More than likely the culprit was a small cave-in or mudslide in the last couple thousand years. It was yet another obstacle to overcome, but we were not about to be put off by a bit of dirt.

The shape of the chamber was also vaguely geometric; more-so than that of mother nature’s design. In the left-hand side of that cavern was an indentation in the rock that sloped downward. Tolevsky pointed out the odd divots cut into the slope; a formation that looked reminiscent of a heavily eroded stairway.

Our group exited the cavern not long after, enthused by our discovery and talking at length of the fanciful discoveries that may dwell within. The zeal in his voice as he spoke of how prehistory may soon need an addendum, and I’ll admit I allowed myself to fantasize upon the prospect as well.

Once back outside, Tolevsky excused himself to make a phone call, and I stood alone to contemplate the findings. It was then, as I stood out upon the perilous, windswept Siberian plains that a curious spectacle met my eye. Some distance out upon the horizon I glimpsed a single creature staring back at me betwixt the twilight heavens.

It’s black eyes did not blink, and it’s long grey ears flicked back and forth. It was a deer of some kind, but with two striking features. Two long pencil-like teeth jutted from it’s upper jaw, sticking downward like the teeth of an ancient Smilodon.

I had never seen a creature so strange before, and stared in wonder at it as it eyed me inquisitively. Our mutual moment of bewilderment came to an end as the beast suddenly darted away, leaving me to dwell on my thoughts alone.

I found out some time after from one of the locals that the bizarre saber-toothed deer was in fact a Siberian Musk Deer. An endangered species native only to northwestern Siberia, one which was regarded as an omen of good fortune by many of the locals.

That mention elevated my spirits further, as it seemed as though even mother nature herself had smiled upon our efforts, and sent one of her scouts to inquire upon our work. With the gift of hindsight now in hand, I suspect that omen was one of an entirely different kind.

The excavation continued, thanks in large part to the drilling team that had originally unearthed the fissure. Progress was slow, but in time the sedimentary layer beneath was slowly whittled away. The set of what we had assumed were a type of primitive stairs continued downward, revealing sharper and more intact steps with each meter of muck removed.

By that point we were all but certain our preliminary findings would yield something unique, but even we did not anticipate what was to come next. Towards the end of the digging season on our fifth year we made a remarkable discovery. The unearthing of sediment had gradually worn away the overall deposit, revealing the top of an arch in the lower portion of the cavern wall.

As the days rolled on, the parabolic arch became more pronounced as the deposit was further removed; and soon we were even able to glimpse beyond. The first time I looked, I felt my jaw nearly strike the floor. The opening was only a couple centimeters deep, but beyond it our flashlights illuminated an entirely separate chamber.

In the lights of our flares we saw diamond-shaped tiles lining the floors of a large open room. Two large support columns stood as timeless monoliths in the dark, shielding the depths from prying eyes. Beyond that however, was simultaneously the most curious sight of all and the substantial proof we needed. A large semi-metallic door.

The dug-out arch was not large enough to squeeze through then, and our flashlights and flares not nearly powerful enough to disperse the canopy of dark. It was clear to us in that moment though; that place was something truly extraordinary.

Unfortunately, we had no choice but to temporarily retreat and allow the crew to resume digging. The two of us took some samples of the rocky wall and climbed back out talking exuberantly with one another.

Once back outside we took our haul in vacuum sealed packages back to the trucks to analyze back at our dormitories. The two of us loaded our belongings and had begun to waltz back towards the camp when something caught our eye.

Out upon the prairie, multiple sets of equine eyes returned our inquisitive stares. A small herd of perhaps a dozen deer stood motionless in the tundra. I saw the impressive rack of the bull standing at the vanguard of the group, while the does and calves stood out front. None of them moved a muscle, they only stared back at us as if in silent bestial judgement.

Tolevsky and I commented on the odd sight, and he withdrew his camera to take a photo. He snapped a photo of the deer, and none of them so much as blinked. They just stood there motionless, as if on high alert for something. I lack the proper vernacular to accurately describe the feeling it gave me, but the longer I stared back at them, the more unusual it felt.

Tolevsky and I continued to analyze our samples over the next few days as the digging crew continued on the sediment deposit. Over that time our igneous rock samples revealed to be granite comprised primarily of quartz, sulfur and trace amounts of phosphate. Tolevsky was analyzing the results of a radiometric dating technique and isotopic decay test when he suddenly gasped aloud.

“What is it?” I asked. His eyes were wide, and he could only shake his head slowly as if in sheer disbelief.

“Well the results are in, but they don’t make sense. According to the data, this rock was sculpted nearly 80,000 years ago.” It was my turn to mirror his shock by that point.

The oldest evidence of human civilization ever proved conclusive only stretched back around 55,000 years ago. It was found in the modern-day Arabic peninsula – a very long ways away from our site in Siberia; and consisted of little more than primitive tools and bone remnants. If Tolevsky’s findings were accurate, that would mean we found evidence of an even older civilization.

I spent my time researching indigenous tribes of the area and the early history of Siberia itself. The prehistory evidence suggests that nomadic tribes first inhabited the region as early as 45,000 BCE. Among the earliest of these groups were the Yeniseians; people who were believed to have migrated to the region from parts of the Mediterranean as well as central Asia.

The information on these early people is limited, and still heavily debated amongst historians and archeologists to this day. It also was only about half the age of our suspected timeframe. This led to our conclusion that whoever had originally built the structure we were excavating predated those tribes by dozens of millennia at the very least.

The arch was possibly the most phenomenal find hitherto, as the construction of arches for structural integrity was something not seen until the early bronze age around 2,000 BC. It wasn’t widely used until popularized by Roman architects some thousand years later. Once more, no one on planet earth was supposed to be making them; or even capable of sculpting rock in such a manner 80,000 years ago.

We couldn’t wait to enter the room beneath the sediment deposit, and luckily for us the excavation team managed to clear the path with only a few days remaining in the season. Once we finally got the green light, Tolevsky and I dove back in posthaste.

Beyond the arch, the two of us slowly repelled down into the chamber we had glimpsed previous. The cavern was surprisingly tall, at least five meters in height. The columns were rather unremarkable, as the creators had clearly devoted little effort to decorate them. The true prize was the large 3-meter-tall door on the adjacent side of the room.

The door was a slight greenish-copper coloration, appearing to be synthesized of some bronze compound with oxidization veins. The architecture of the door was incredible, looking almost like the vault door on a bank.

The door was slit in the center, and appeared to bear the indentations of two halves sealed vertically. Some sort of locking mechanism was in the center, taking the shape of a small rounded aperture with eight metallic nubs slotted symmetrically around the circumference.

As ludicrous as all of it was to believe, we were forced to consider an even more outlandish possibility. The way the door was oriented and sealed so perfectly made it seem as though it wasn’t meant to be hand activated. Tolevsky suggested that perhaps it was designed as a hydraulic release or pulley-activated system. Technology such as that was eons beyond the early stone-age tribes of the area, and the discovery only served to raise a plethora of daunting questions.

It also appeared to be sealed tight, and despite our brutish efforts we were unable to get it to so much as budge. We brought in Yuri who was the standing foreman of the operation and asked for his opinion. He suggested the use of small explosives detonated on the locking device; to which both Tolevsky and I vehemently disagreed. After a bit of deliberation, we agreed for Yuri and his team to try and drill out the center locking device.

I ended up excusing myself to get some fresh air while Tolevsky and Yuri continued their work. I breached the external entrance of the cavern, and felt the cold air of the Siberian tundra fill my lungs. I took a moment to stretch-out my arms when I saw something curious.

Several of the members of the crew were standing a couple meters away in silence. None of them so much as glanced in my direction as I approached. I was about to call out to them, when I saw what held their attention.

There was a small hill some hundred meters out, and upon it was a curious sight; a small gathering of animals. Multiple deer were present, but also amongst them were rabbits, raccoons, beavers and a few species of birds. There had to be at least fifty of them altogether, all just perched motionless and staring down at us.

The enclave of forest creatures continued to stare silently towards us, as if judging us with a poignant collective stare. It was the oddest sight I’d ever seen, and even now I’ve found no substantial explanation to their behavior. The rest of the crew seemed to be slightly unnerved by the sight as well, but none of them spoke a word.

“Hawkins get in here!” The voice of Tolevsky suddenly called out behind me. I turned to see him peeking out from the cavern with a wide-eyed, almost frantic look on his face.

“The animals…” I began. “Have you ever seen…”

“Forget that, I need you to take a look at this, quickly!” Tolevsky darted back inside the cave as soon as he finished speaking. The animals had yet to budge, and after one last unnerving glance in their direction I followed Tolevsky.

As I was descending back into the cavern, I heard a sudden popping sound, followed by a light clang. The next part is difficult to describe, but it felt like a wave of energy suddenly rushed through me. It was this weird – barely discernable sort of minor concussion that pelted against my chest. I felt my breath catch in my throat, and the room seemed to somehow change shade for a split second.

It was a very odd sensation, but it faded quick and I refocused on the task at hand. Once back down inside, I found that Yuri had not only successfully breached the lock, but the team had also pried the doors open entirely. Tolevsky motioned me to follow him in, and with baited breath I complied.

On the other side of the door was a lengthy equilateral tunnel which stretched a couple hundred yards. We did a full check for poisonous gases such as methane and a suspected hydrogen sulfide that we feared may be present due to the regions known pockets of natural gas.

Luckily, we found no such hazardous gasses, but strangely, the Geiger counter did pick up a slightly higher concentration of beta particles. It could’ve very well been vestigial readings, and was not a level considered dangerous, but it was something worth noting.

The tunnel was nothing too spectacular in design, but the fact it was there at all was remarkable in it’s own right. Along the corridor we found various rusted metal tools and other debris that all but confirmed the tunnel was dug-out intentionally.

On the walls were perhaps the most interesting findings thus far; at least for my taste. Petroglyphs and warn cave-paintings that seemed to depict a myriad of activities from a primitive culture. There seemed to be depictions of humans, performing standard hunter-gatherer like activities. One mural depicted several of them hunting what looked like a bear. Another showed a group congregated around a mountain.

It was fascinating, and it stretched for almost the entirety of the tunnel. There were far too many for me to possibly describe in full detail, but there was one which was clearly unique.

It drew my attention right away due to the ornate spiral formation that stretched nearly floor to ceiling. Various animals were depicted upon the outer ring of the mural, seemingly having surrounded the group in the middle. Humans were carved on the spiraling arms of the shape with their arms raised above their heads, seemingly in reverence or fear of something at the center. It looked like nothing more then a large blot of ink.

I thought maybe there had been something depicted there before someone else covered it up for some unknown reason. Neither I nor Tolevsky could decipher a meaning from the mural upon first viewing, but hindsight has painted an elaborate and macabre portrait. Regardless, we continued down the tunnel after some time, and found the real prize awaiting us at the end of the corridor.

As we exited the tunnel on the other end, we found ourselves entering a large open chamber which was a few meters taller than the tunnel. It seemed to be a dead end, as there were no other passageways leading further. More petroglyphs covered large portions of the walls, but that was about the extent of it.

I’ll be honest, at first glance I was a tad disappointed, as that room didn’t seem to contain much. After the astounding security measures put in place, I thought for sure we would stumble upon some lost treasure trove of some kind. But the only thing contained within that final chamber was what looked like a central water well.

The floor was raised about a meter in a circle formation, and the internal section of it was covered by a massive stone slab. On top and all over the slab were what appeared to be runes, faded from the elements, but still discernible. But they looked nothing like any lexicon I’d ever seen. The thought struck me then: maybe it wasn’t a water well at all, but an ancient sarcophagus.

I spoke my theory to Tolevsky but he didn’t seem to agree. He knelt around the rim and dug away some of the dirt at the base. His suspicion seemed confirmed when he demonstrated how the ground and shape of the well were one solid piece. Unlike that of a coffin or sarcophagus which are not normally built directly into the ground itself.

Tolevsky and I debated one another for a couple moments. I reiterated my belief that this was some sort of burial chamber, but Tolevsky thought there was more to it than that. He believed that we hadn’t seen anything yet, and the true prize lay beneath the slab which he thought would lead to another passage. He believed the structure was some kind of religious temple or underground ziggurat. As interesting as those prospects were, all the findings seemed to indicate otherwise.

A sudden blurb came through Yuri’s radio. It was garbled and barely audible underneath the earth, but one thing stood out. I couldn’t identify what was said through the static, but it was clear they were distressed.

Yuri rushed back through the tunnel towards the entrance, and the rest of us followed close behind. Yuri stepped outside while yelling into his radio. He then abruptly stopped and cut himself off mid-sentence. Tolevsky and I called out, but he didn’t respond. Once I finally stepped out behind them, I understood why they had gone quiet.

There in front of us, maybe twenty meters away was a large quadrupedal shadow looming in the night. It dug it’s hooves into the frozen earth, ripping out clumps as it’s lumbering torso wrinkled in the cold wind. The moonlight shining down revealed plumes of breath expelled from it’s snout with every snorting breath, and an impressive set of antlers adorning the top of it’s head.

A bull moose; pretty much the last thing I expected or wanted to see. In terms of the most dangerous animals you can come face to face with, a bull moose pretty much takes the cake. Over two meters tall and almost 700 kilos of testosterone and rage. In mating season they’re known to trample people to death simply for being near them.

We just froze, and a silent pervasive panic descended upon us. There was no need to vocalize it; we were all well aware of the dangerous situation. The moose grunted, and it’s head shook back and forth. They don’t have good eyesight, but there was no doubt it had already locked on to our scent.

“Nobody move.” Yuri spoke in a whisper, but we needed no instructions. The four of us stared down the beast in utter silence for what seemed like an eternity. To be honest; I can’t say I’ve ever been that petrified in my life. My eyes then caught sight of the loader sitting a couple meters to our left. It was our only real shot of survival. I pointed it out to the others, and our group slowly began to tiptoe towards it.

The moose suddenly snorted and suddenly galloped into a charge towards us. We ran for the loader, and thankfully found the door unlocked. Three of us managed to pile inside, and Yuri hopped onto the roof just as the beast came rampaging by. It charged past, swinging it’s impressive rack around in a frenzy.

For hours we sat crammed inside the small cabin of the loader as the enormous moose smashed, charged and slammed into the hull over and over. The beast just seemed to refuse to give up, and after thoroughly exhausting itself it resorted to circling around us, like a shark stalking it’s prey.

Only when the sun began to rise on the horizon did I see the odd gleam in the creature’s eye. There was something about it’s gaze that was more than just the rage of some animal. I don’t know how to describe the feeling it gave me, but it seemed almost like hate. Like a primal, deep-seated hatred.

Everything about it was strange. As dangerous as moose are known to be, they don’t normally stalk around people like that. It’s behavior was incredibly odd, something Yuri commented on multiple times.

After hours of it pacing around us, it finally sauntered towards the cavern entrance. It then dropped to it’s knees and laid down in the dirt. We waited around for a little while longer, and finally we were able to make our escape.

We were all exhausted after the long night, and wanted nothing more than to get some rest and put the odd incident behind us. A crew of animal control were dispatched to deal with the moose, and after tranquilizing it they were able to transport it away from the area.

Time was not a luxury allotted to us, and the encroaching winter meant that in only a few days the site would be forced to shut down for the season. So, we went back, determined to give it one more go before the mounting ice made things impossible. After the odd event concerning the moose, it may have behooved us to consider our options more carefully. But truly, there was no way anyone could’ve foreseen what was coming.

Upon returning we found things relatively unchanged. The loader which had served as our refuge was pretty banged up and had a cracked side-window, but other than that no extraneous damage.

I kept my head on a swivel the entire time there, as part of me suddenly had developed an overt phobia of the place. Perhaps it was a sort of mild post-traumatic anxiety, but something about the place just suddenly felt unwelcoming in a way I couldn’t quite put my finger on.

Tolevsky and I had decided that priority number one was to try and open the sarcophagus in the omega chamber. With any luck, we may find some remnants of whoever was buried there. It was our hope that it may help shine a light on the still-unknown culture that built the place.

So, Tolevsky, Yuri, myself and three other workers entered the tomb once more, as an armed squad of security stood guard outside. We made our way down the tunnel and back into the omega chamber. There seemed to be an odd lingering mist inside the chamber. It was like some mild, ethereal veil that hung loosely in the dank cavern air. I don’t know if the others noticed it, but I sure did.

Finally, we reached the circular sarcophagus; finding it exactly the same as we had seen it previous. The room suddenly seemed to possess a certain sinister aura to it. I can’t explain why, but being there had formed an amorphous pit of dread within my gut.

We wasted no time in prepping the lid for removal. Unfortunately, the narrow passage leading down was too small to accommodate a hoist, and we were forced to resort to other means. The crew positioned a hydraulic jack on the side, with a wedge slotted in between the crack. The lid probably weighed at least a couple thousand kilos based on it’s size and thickness.

After assessing, prying and prodding for a good ten minutes, the lid finally budged. The entre group put our whole weight into the effort with all six of us pushing against the side. Finally, the lid scraped and slid a few centimeters revealing a small crack between the stone.

As soon as the orifice opened, a sudden rush of air came bursting outward. The stagnant air was foul, striking my olfactory senses like the rancid stench of a dozen rotting corpses. I couldn’t prevent myself from turning aside and gagging, feeling bile rise in my throat which I somehow kept down.

The rest of the team backed off as well, all aside from Tolevsky who actually rushed forward. He pulled his shirt up over his nose and shined a flashlight in between the newly formed crevice. I saw his eyes open wide as I meandered to his side.

“What is this?” Tolevsky asked as I looked within. I then understood his confusion, as there was no mummy or treasures within. There was nothing at all as a matter of fact. Underneath the lid was only a gaping well that plunged downward further then our lights could reach.

Tolevsky and I shared a confused grimace, and further inspected the confines. We of course realized then it wasn’t a sarcophagus after all. It looked more like an ancient well, but something on the chutes wall caught my eye. There we deep groves cut at random intervals in segments of three. The more I stared, the more I realized they almost looked like claw marks.

Tolevsky and I marveled at the sight, when a ringing sound echoed behind us. Due to the event with the moose and failure of our radios, we had taken the liberty of installing a small wire-to-wire direct communication device. The line ran from the entrance to the omega chamber, and without it, I may have not been able to recount this incident.

Yuri answered the call, and I saw his face scrunch in confusion. A moment later it went a ghostly pale and he slammed the device back onto the receiver.

“We need to leave.” Yuri grabbed his bag and turned towards the entrance. His men did the same; ignoring Tolevsky’s call for an explanation. He and I looked at one another as the others entered the return tunnel, and decided we should follow.

Yuri ran full speed back down the tunnel, and his men weren’t close behind. I didn’t understand what was happening, but knew it had to be something quite serious. As we neared the sediment deposit point, I heard a distinct sound pierce the air up ahead and chill me to the bone. A blood-curdling scream, followed by a hail of gunshots.

Finally, we breached the entryway, and the entire scope of the truly extraordinary scene was presented to us. Animals and men; numbering in the dozens were deadlocked in a heated battle. I saw raccoons, deer, coyotes, foxes, squirrels black bears and wolverines all assaulting the men. Countless birds swarmed overhead, diving and slamming into the men when they got the chance.

The men were doing all they could to hold off the ravenous attacks, but they were not fairing well. Those who had guns were firing them at any animal they could, but it was doing little to quell the onslaught.

A throaty snarl then drew my attention to the left. My eyes then met the sight of a snow leopard leaping from the loader and latching it’s teeth around one of Yuri’s men. The man screamed as the cat’s teeth and claws pierced his flesh, spewing forth a slurry of crimson and shredded organs.

The others attempted to help him, but they too were then attacked by various other rabid creatures. Things broke down entirely then, as all sense of composure was lost and it became a deadly game of every man for themselves.

I am no soldier, nor am I well-versed in the art of combat. Even if I were, there were entirely too many creatures with more emerging from the forest by the second. There was nothing I could have done, and so I ran.

The sounds of pained screams and flesh tearing from bone accosted my ears as I ran as fast as I could. Before I got clear of the site, I was seized upon by a raccoon as it lunged for my ankles. It’s jaws clamped around my legs, and I felt sharp teeth pierce my flesh.

I struck back with my flashlight, slamming it into the creature’s head out of desperation. In the midst of our fight I glimpsed the look in it’s eye. It was unlike the look of any animal I’d ever seen. It wasn’t just attacking out of desperation; it was seething with some kind of relentless hatred. I don’t know how to describe it.

Some way or another the beast finally released it’s jaws and scurried away, leaving me a brief window to make my escape. Others within our group managed to flee as well, but many more were left behind to endure the slaughter. I hobbled on my wounded leg while facing an endless barrage of pecks and scratches from birds and rodents. I then spotted two men entering a truck; decorated with scratches and deep festering wounds.

I called out to them, begging for them to wait, and thankfully they did. I flung the rear door open, and lofted myself inside. The driver hit the gas before I even had a chance to shut the door. The animals swarmed against us as we fled, and I felt the car run several of them over. The birds continued slamming against the body of the suburban for a good half-click down the road before finally calling off the assault.

The driver took us to the nearest medical center, as I dwelled on the line of delirium and panic. I had no explanation for what had just happened, and in the moment, I had forgotten about Tolevsky. I tried to phone him, but he did not answer.

A few minutes later and the three of us arrived at Lovozero’s only hospital and rushed inside. My leg was aching from the raw wound, and I collapsed in between the doorway of the building. I don’t remember much after that.

When I finally came to my wits I was in the hospital bed with my leg wrapped and hoisted in a brace. There were bandages covering my torso, and a patch of my hair had been removed to address a scalp wound. It was apparent that I had suffered more wounds then I was previously aware of.

After some time, a familiar face entered into the room; a woman named Oksana who works at the same institute as I. She showed a great deal of concern for my wellbeing, but I assured her not to worry. I then asked about Tolevsky. She just fell silent, and shook her head.

She asked me what I remembered, and I told her everything I have written here today. She didn’t seem to believe a lot of it, or at the very least seemed quite skeptical, but I assured her it was all the truth.

“What happened to Dr. Tolevsky?” I asked. With a long sigh, and a brief look of disbelief glimmering in her green eyes she divulged what she knew.

The sudden attack of animals on the crew had been blamed on an outbreak of Rabies. A Russian agency equivalent to the CDC had been dispatched to quarantine the area and treat those who had been wounded when word got out.

I myself had been forced to undergo the immunization process; an extremely painful series of injections into the stomach via a 25cm needle. One of the most unpleasant things I have ever had to endure, but I had no choice, as once the Rabies virus has gestated it is 100 percent fatal. Luckily for me, and the other two men who arrived with me, we never showed any symptoms.

Stranger still, none of the animals or people who died in the attack did either. The Rabies virus was not found within the systems of any of the deceased. Even if it were, I doubt that would have been a suitable explanation for what transpired.

In it’s final stages, the Rabies virus attacks the brain and central nervous system of the host. This causes the patented aggression and foaming at the mouth most associate with the disease. A rabid animal or person will often violently attack anything that comes near it, including those it is otherwise familiar with. The brain just degenerates into the point where it can no longer recognize things, and all it knows is aggression.

What we witnessed that day, is something never before recorded. Dozens of animals of different species all attacking humans as if acting as one unified force. Not to mention the fact that many animals seen that day are not normally aggressive to human’s at all. The way they behaved and fought so viciously; it was almost like they were coordinated somehow.

Nine good men and two good women lost their lives on that horrific day. Among them was Dr. Sergei Tolevsky; a brilliant man and a dear friend. Authorities are all over the place now, but there haven’t been a whole lot of conclusive answers. No trace of any unusual pathogen or disease has yet been found, and no one really has any explanation for why it happened. I may have one though, but even I don’t know whether I truly believe it.

The day after the attack, a massive blizzard struck the dig site. This prolonged the authority’s cleanup efforts a good few days as they waited for the snow to abate. When they finally got down there, they began the arduous process of extracting the corpses and picking up the pieces.

Amongst the carnage, they noted something bizarre when they arrived. The cavern entrance had been sealed by snow and ice; stuffed floor to ceiling and packed tight in a way that natural snowfall would not have been able to achieve. The only real explanation is that the animals or someone else did it to bury the cavern intentionally. I know it all seems impossible, but I don’t know how else to explain it.

As an archaeologist, it is always my prerogative to understand why things happened the way they did. In this instance, with a lack of substantive data and no real-world equivalent to compare, I am left with but one option. Science is the process of admitting the things we do not yet understand, and in this unrefined theory, I will attempt to do just that.

I think whoever built that cavern nearly 100,000 years ago did so in order to seal away something they feared. I don’t know who they were or how they did it, but I think It is still in there. I think the animals can sense it. I think their attack was not one of hunger or aggression, but one to drive us away from something we never should have found.

I think we found something; something horrible. These thoughts have preoccupied my mind ever since that day. The guilt of not seeing the warning signs and failing to protect others has left me unable to sleep most nights. The nightmares have been excruciating as of late, and the level of anxiety I grapple with on a daily basis has left me all but entirely agoraphobic. Every time I close my eyes, all I see is that deep hole beneath the sarcophagus.

I see the thing down inside it, and sometimes I think it sees me too.

All my life, I have sought to discover the details of human history in hopes of better understanding the cultures and civilizations that came before us. I believe I have contributed to that now, and also have been forced to acknowledge something which I have vehemently disagreed with for my entire life. I think some things were buried for a good reason, and furthermore, I think there are some truths that should never be found.

 

 

Sarcoph