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John Carpenter's



Tuxxer's Writings
By Casey Jones



A Chance to Chat

**This never happened anywhere in the timeline of events in The Thing. It couldn’t happen. But hypothetically, it’s what I think might be, if circumstances were different.**


Blair woke up in a daze. Stars dazzled in his vision, but they were quickly fading. He immediately realized he was bound in chains. Manacles were secure around his wrists and ankles, by chains which led to an iron ring in the floor. He was sitting in a plain wooden chair, and a table was between him and the only door in the room. There was a bowl of oatmeal on the table, with a spoon resting on a napkin nearby. The oatmeal was still steaming.


“What’s goin’ on here?” Blair asked no-one in particular. Someone had to be outside the room. It wouldn’t make sense to leave him entirely alone. They’d already made that mistake once. A static cough took his attention to a speaker-box above the door. A small security camera zoomed in on Blair.


“You’re awake.” It was MacReady’s voice over the intercom. He sounded tired.


“You don’t have to do this. I’m okay now,” Blair insisted. “Come here and… and take these things off. I’m okay.”


“That’s not going to happen. You shouldn’t have fallen asleep.”


“Well, I did,” Blair defended. “I got tired out in that shed. People get tired, MacReady. Take these things off.”


“We’re not sure you are a person, Blair. We think you’re one of those… things.”


“I’m not,” Blair answered. “I’m not. It’s nonsense. My wrists are starting to hurt, MacReady. Take these things off.”


“I want you to look up, Blair,” said the voice. The round balding man in the chair craned his neck, and noticed for the first time, a vent overhead. A blackened grate covered the opening. Standing on the grate was Childs, who was wearing a flame thrower unit on his back.


“This is- this is crazy,” Blair started.


“We don’t think so,” Childs said with a flat grin.


“Now, MacReady, are you going to listen to reason or aren’t you? I’m okay now. Let me out.”


“Stop it, Blair. Just stop.” MacReady’s voice rang with finality. There would be no appealing to him. Not anymore. “Have something to eat.” Blair eyed the oatmeal before him. It was still steaming, but not as much. Blair licked his lips.


“I’m not hungry. And I don’t like oatmeal.”


“We know,” MacReady answered. “But we also know- that you’re not really Blair. You’re something else. So what I want to understand is how you know Blair doesn’t like oatmeal.”


“MacReady… you’re not making any sense. Come on now. Let me out of here.” The door before Blair slowly swung open. MacReady stood on the other side. He looked like hell.


“Drop the act. We caught you while you were sleeping, or pretending to sleep, or whatever it is you do. We shot you full of morphine. We brought you out here. And we did our test.”


“What test?” Blair asked, blinking.


“The same blood test that proved Palmer wasn’t really Palmer.” Blair’s face froze.


“Now,” MacReady continued, “Before you go and do something stupid like try to break out of those chains, I want you to know: I have no problem with Childs burning you to cinders. I have no problem with that at all. Now you can struggle, and you can die right now, or we can… chat.” Blair didn’t move. He didn’t blink, and he didn’t draw breath. He was a statue.


“If I hear those chains so much as clink, Childs’ll burn you. I’ll close this door. It’ll be over quick. Real quick. But I don’t want Childs to burn you. I want to understand why you do what you do. One thing I wish we’d done sooner… was try to talk to one of you. So that’s what this is. We can get some answers or you can die and that’ll be the end of it.” Blair remained frozen.


“Make up your mind. Talk, or die right now.”


“We’ll talk.” It was the only viable option, it thought. The Thing knew MacReady wasn’t

given to bluffing. There was still a way out of this.


“First things first,” MacReady offered, leaning up against the wall behind him. He was desperately trying to keep his fatigue from showing. Adrenaline was keeping him upright, but that was all. “What the hell am I supposed to call you?”


“Blair will do,” it said. “We’re Blair.”


“You’re an imitation. Nothing more,” MacReady answered. “And there’s only one of you.”


“No. You don’t understand. There are millions of us. Right here in this room. Each cell is a whole being. Part of a greater organism, but whole. We are Blair. We remember his life. We know everything he knew. We don’t like oatmeal any more than he did, and we just want to get out of here.”


“Where would you go?”


It shrugged. It mastered human body language in no time at all, and knew it was the most appropriate gesture for what it was about to say.




MacReady’s worst fears were confirmed. Whether it meant to come to Earth deliberately or crash landed by accident, the creature meant to stay. And it was going to try to do to the world what it had done to two camps locked in isolation.


“You want to know why,” Blair told MacReady. “We can read it on your face and in your gestures. You want to know why, before you burn us. We don’t mind telling you. It’s no secret. Not now, anyhow.”


MacReady was inert against the wall. His strength was leaving him and the calmness with which the Blair imitation told him it planned to get everywhere had sapped half his remaining strength. The imitation sat back in its chair, and took a deep breath through its nostrils.


“You don’t want to hear it, but we have a lot in common. Your kind and mine. We have the same goals and desires. To be plentiful, to spread, to see our offspring thrive. To become complete master of our environment. Every environment.


“From Blair, we learned something fascinating about your species. You have buildings where you keep a memoriam for all the plants and animals you’ve driven to extinction, simply by spreading your hands across the planet and making room for yourselves. There’s nothing wrong with that. We think museums are a nice idea.”


“Do you now,” MacReady snapped.


“We do. MacReady… We’d hoped you would understand. We carry our museums with us. We remember every species we’ve ever encountered. And more than that, every individual in those species. This body you’re speaking to now… could tell you anything you ever wanted to know about the man you called Palmer. Or Bennings. Or the dogs--”


“Enough,” rasped MacReady.


“You asked. We’re simply telling you.”


“How? How do you do it? How do you go from one… thing… to another so fast?”


The Blair imitation smiled with a bit of pride. “We thought you’d never ask.


“I’m going to put this as simply as I can. You’re a smart man for your species, MacReady, but you can’t hope to grasp everything about how we do… what we do. You have… a genetic code. DNA, you call it. A microscopic staircase with two letters on each step. But you only use four letters: Guanine. Cytosine. Thymine. Adenine. Charming. Our ‘staircases’ are circular, so no step is essentially too far away from any other step. We use a lot more than four codes. And we’ve learned how to leave stairs blank. That way, we can learn about distinctive qualities in new species we encounter, and add them to our own.


“I want you to do something for me, Macready. I want you to remember your favorite song. Play it, in your head. It took no time at all to bring up, didn’t it? Your brain controls your muscles, and organizes your memories so that you can bring preferred ones at a moment’s notice. Our cells have a limitless capacity for memory. And we can recall, prepare, and adopt any anatomical portions of any species we’ve ever come across. Just as easily as you remember your favorite song, or flex a muscle.”


MacReady stared at the imitation’s face. It showed no signs whatsoever of remorse. His eyes stole a glance up to Childs, who was still in place. The pilot light was still lit.


“Why didn’t you try to talk to us? Why couldn’t we have talked?”


The Blair Thing tilted its head. “That’s just not realistic. The Norwegians didn’t want to talk. We couldn’t understand them until we had assimilated one of them. We didn’t understand English until we had assimilated Palmer. And by that time, you’d already murdered us in the dog pen. We know how you see us. Monsters, aliens, fiends that need to be eliminated. Kill or be killed. We tried talking to Fuchs. He preferred to set himself on fire. Talking was never a viable option. So we opted to listen to baser instincts.”


“Baser instincts,” MacReady parroted. “You’re nothing but a psychopath and a coward.”


“We’re survivors. We do what’s necessary to live. If that means picking you off one by one, as you’d put it, to increase our chances of making it to more populated areas, then so be it. We added Palmer, Bennings and Norris to our group; and in return, we were shot at, electrocuted, and incinerated. Violence seems to be the only language your species can respond to. Hear two things, MacReady; because once you understand them, we’re through with talking.” MacReady stood on his own power. Childs was still ready with the Flame Thrower.


“First: We don’t have a choice in what we do. Collecting and growing come as naturally to us as eating, sleeping, and reading a book comes to you. We must know everything, and in order to achieve that, we must become everything. It is the only thing that drives us. And so long as one of us exists, we will do everything in our power to achieve it.”


“Second: And we know you will find this especially important… Childs was added to our group several hours ago.”



A Diamond Set In Silicon


The Thing should never have absorbed that poet. Never.


Three years had passed since Childs and MacReady had frozen to death in the Antarctic. Three years since the rescue team had brought them home for a decent burial. Three years since bringing home… samples.


Blair-Thing’s massive creature (a final gift to MacReady) had been so large, pieces of it had gone flying when the dynamite went off. Everywhere. And the Thing had learned its lesson; it was better off playing dead. Far better off.


The men in their parkas had come; days or weeks or years after the cold had set in, it didn’t matter. They had come and rescued the Thing from all that, and brought it to the warmth.


The trick, it had learned the hard way, was in the waiting. From the Petri dishes in New York city, it crawled when no-one was about. No-one at all. From the buried remains of Childs-Thing, it pounded the coffin to kindling and had let the worms come to it. With every life it took, it learned their instincts like a memory. The worms feared the sky. So the Worm-Things dug upward onto the grass, sacrificing themselves to the birds that would come to pick them up. And so the Thing found Flight.


The bird-things flew over acres of grass, finding insects and spiders. Mammals and birds with their complex systems could take an hour to assimilate, these arachnids and insects took only minutes. And so the Thing found legion.


The bird-things would find hungry cats, or larger birds. They flew into foreign nests and pecked at every egg, leaving genetic code behind and on the teeth of their predators. Predators with collars and flea-baths and names like Mr. Skuffington. And so the Thing found domestication.


Then, and only then, when it had found the human place to hide again, did it set to work. Children playing with their pets grew cold to their parents’ affection. A thing-child takes a litter of kittens to school, “We can’t afford to keep them all”. In less than an hour it’d found a dozen new homes.


And on it went. The Thing absorbed where it could, and killed where it met resistance. There was fire, and paranoia, like every time before; but by the time they had been found out, the Things were everywhere. In the grass. In the trees. In the skies. Everywhere.


Three years of assimilation passed like a troubled dream. The Thing had won.


It should never have absorbed the poet. 


Humans were a species unique in the entire universe; for a number of traits. They alone had forsaken all instinct in exchange for free will. They alone had abandoned every substantial means of defending themselves from nature, in exchange for hands that would craft anything the mind could conjure. They alone knew what it was to be the weakest species on their planet, yet dominating through sheer mass of numbers and an arrogance to survive.


They alone could produce an inner warmth having nothing to do with temperature. They called it happiness. They alone could abandon self-preservation, placing another human’s well-being above their own. They called it Love.


In every prior instance, with every prior species; the Thing found two essential halves to the creatures it absorbed. The half in flesh had always been the harder to master. Systems comprised of dozens of organs were made to work in perfect harmony: Circulatory, Digestive, Immune, Lymphatic, Muscular, Nervous, Skeletal, Reproductive… Each might produce its own unique chemicals or support, without which the entire body would fail. As complex as these organisms were, it took the Thing only a standard hour to become.


The other half, the half in nature, had always been so simple: Identify the creature’s priorities and its means of achieving them. Half the time, the body itself lent the Thing suggestions in finding those answers. And It would be the same, for every member of that species. They shared a collective nature. So it had been with every planet the Thing had encountered.


Not so with humans. Every human wanted something different. It was altered dramatically by the human’s age, location, family (families!), mood… the list of variables was staggering. And the Thing knew them all, now.


In the arctic, at the outposts the Thing had wakened to; there had been nothing resembling love. There was fear, resentment, exhaustion and alcoholism. Camaraderie between men had fallen away in the Thing’s shadow, leaving only distrust and rage. The hostile, dead environment of the snow had fostered such feelings perfectly. Not here. Not where warmth was everywhere, and humans actually cared for each other.



The Thing, standing on two legs and staring at the starlit sky, screamed. It was not the unholy cry that had escaped Bennings-Thing’s mouth like the howl of some banshee. No. This was an entirely human scream.


It carried regret. It carried sorrow. It carried the joy of discovering something more precious than all the food or shelter or technology the Thing could ever desire. As far as the eye could see, the Human-Thing saw more of its own kind. And then it dawned on the Thing: It had achieved something it hadn’t done in hundreds of thousands of years.


The Thing had evolved. It was no longer a lone stalker, or even a member of a herd, or pack, or pride. The Thing had family.


Every ship, every vessel, every super-technological means of leaving the Earth’s atmosphere was dismantled and left for scrap. The Thing wasn’t going anywhere, it had no need to.


It was Home. 



My Date With The Thing


I’m not a bad guy. I don’t smoke cigarettes, I don’t drink and drive, and I’ve never hit anyone (not that one or two haven’t deserved it). I just don’t get out as often as I should, and when an attractive member of the opposite sex expresses an interest, who am I to say no?


I was grabbing a quick cuppa joe before I went home last Friday, when who should I see behind me in line, but Natalie Portman! Well... Not Natalie Portman, but one damn fine imitation. She even had that little mole on her cheek. I was completely speechless. And she kept staring at me! She looked at me like I was something she wanted to eat, you know?


We ordered our beverages (she must have changed her mind or something, because she never took a sip), and found a table. She started asking me all sorts of questions. Did I know anyone at NASA. Did I have friends in the government. Did I have a garage where she could store something large for a few days. I just kept thinking to myself, wow. She must be really comfortable with me to ask if she could keep something at my place, right?


This girl was out of this world. It *was* kind of strange when at one point, she excused herself to the ladies room for about… an hour… I couldn’t help but hear some strange noises coming from the restroom, but Natalie stepped out soon enough, looking fine. Another woman followed her out of the bathroom and they gave each other this really creepy, dead-looking stare, like they knew some dark unholy secret or something, but I figured that they had probably just loaned each other a feminine product.


While she was gone, I snuck a glance at her napkin. While we’d been talking, she was making doodles on it. I took a look. She must like drawing circles, or flying saucers, or whatever it was. Looked pretty neat, in my opinion.


So the other girl left without saying a thing, and Natalie came back to the table. I had put the sketch back on her side of the table. She asked me if I wanted to go shopping, which was pretty cool. I’ve never hobnobbed with celebrities before. Well, I did meet Anthony Stewart Head that one time, but he certainly didn’t ask if I wanted to hang out later.


When she said shopping, I thought she meant, like, clothes or stuff like that. Turned out we went to Home Depot and a few automobile parts shops. Engine pieces, electric tools, you name it, she wanted it. Her credit cards had been maxed out by the time we got to the last shop she wanted to visit, but I thought Man, if a girl this beautiful wanted to turn my garage into her own personal tool shed, go ahead!! I picked up the last bill, no problem.


What happened next was… really something. We stopped by a wine store, and I picked out a nice Merlot. We drove back to my place (leaving the garage empty for whatever it was she wanted to use it for), and I asked her if she wanted to come in. She said she would love to. Hot damn! I closed the door behind me, and all of a sudden, she was all over me. She got this look in her eye again, the one that made me feel like I was an appetizer. Hey, I didn’t mind. We didn’t even make it to the bedroom!


Now, nobody’s perfect. I’m pretty far from it, myself. When I found out that Almost-Natalie was… different from other girls, I freaked out a little. The tentacles sprouting from her hair? Took some getting used to. The hands sprouting tendrils dripping with saliva or goo were a mess, I tell ya… but those eyes of hers. Those hollow, emotionless eyes. I looked into them and just got lost.


Next thing I know, it’s about an hour later and I’ll be darned if my clothes haven’t been ripped off entirely. Damn. That’s what I’m talking about.


Sure enough, Almost-Natalie was in my garage, hammering away at her little science project. She wasn’t wearing goggles or anything, but I figured after the kind of stuff she pulled in my living room, she knew what she was doing. Something had changed. That night with her completely turned me around. I was overcome by a need to go out and meet new people. Lots of new people. Over and over, one at a time, in perfect privacy. I wanted to meet everyone, and show them what Almost-Natalie showed me.


* * *


I go on a lot of dates, now. Movie theatres are great, because you’ve got plenty of time and no-one looks at anyone else. They’re all watching the screen, or busy making out. By the time the closing credits roll, I’ve made another special connection with my special lady du jour, and we never make a sound.


Almost-Natalie left. Which is cool. I never expected it to last forever. One night, I heard this perfect hum, and I went to the garage to see miniature flying saucer, spinning on air and ready to go. She gave me a cold kiss on the cheek, crawled in, and took off. It’s cool. I know how to build one now, too, so if I ever needed to blow this scene, I could do it.


In the mean time, I think I’m just gonna keep going out, and making new friends. It’s a thick phonebook, plenty of ladies to call on. My life is completely different now. I’m completely different. And I owe it all to that one girl. Out of this world.



Owning A Thing: Pet From The Stars


(Cheesey Educational Film Music blares, then dies down.)



Good morning! So: You’re thinking about acquiring a Thing as your new pet. Congratulations on your excellent choice. Things make superior pets in almost every way. And if you follow a few simple guidelines to the absolute last detail, you can enjoy a long healthy relationship with your pet from the stars, for years to come. Come with me, won’t you?
(Narrator enters the burnt-out remains of Outpost 31.)



Here we have a breeding ground for Things, affectionately known as MacReady Farms. Isn’t that right, MacReady?


(MacReady-Thing walks up and stares blandly into the camera.)



That’s right. Through a process of careful trimming and cutting, fresh Thing samples are available to make perfect imitations of the pet of your dreams.



Or your nightmares, if you don’t follow the guidelines we’re about to prescribe. (Forced fake laughter.) Isn’t that right, MacReady?



I don’t find that amusing.



I can’t imagine that you would. Okay! Let’s visit the kennel, where you’ll be picking out your best friend for life. Shall we?


(NARRATOR walks down empty hallways, past burnt-out blackened rooms, to the Kennel. The door is intact, but the fence has many holes where dogs have tried to bite their way out. The post and axe used to kill the original dogs is in the background.)



Now, a gent named Clark used to look after the original canines with the best of care. Unfortunately, he didn’t know that he had a Thing on his hands, and several of the dogs had to be put down. But that won’t happen to your pets! No sir!


(Entering the Kennel.) That’s right. A Thing Pet can be the safest friend in the world. Perhaps you’d like a dog of your very own. Take one. They’re free. Take two. Everyone loves dogs.


Whoah-ho! Free?! How can you afford to give them away like this, MacReady?



A low over-head, sir. A low over-head.



I’ll say! Well. Let’s say hello to Max. (Wolf/Husky-Thing treads quietly onto the screen.) Hello there, Max. Do you want to go home with me? (Dog-Thing just stares at Narrator.) Fantastic! Now, before we get into some slightly-tricky rules and regulations to owning a Thing-Pet, let’s show you some of the great perks to owning one!


(Scene changes to a sunny park. A small boy, TIMMY, and his Dog-Thing are on the field with a Frisbee.)



Swell! You sure have a beautiful dog there, Timmy.



Thanks, Mister!



Timmy, did you know that thanks to our Pet Thing, you never have to worry about bullies again?



Really? That’s swell!



Absolutely. If forced into a confrontational situation that you just don’t want to deal with, sic your Dog-Thing on the offending bully!


(A BULLY approaches TIMMY.)



Where’s your lunch money, squirt?



Get ‘im, Max!


(The Dog-Thing’s skin starts to peel away from its head. Long, worm-thin tendrils begin whipping themselves out of its fur. Before long, the skull *pops off* and a hole is left that the Dog-Thing uses to spray the BULLY with a thick, paste-like goop.)



Call off your dog! Call him off!



Ha ha ha! Looks like someone learned their lesson.




(Looking into the camera.) Gosh, mister! What does that stuff do to the bully?



Believe me when I say, Timmy, you don’t want to know. Ever.






Gosh is right! And that bully will certainly think twice before even looking at you again! Assuming he survives. OKAY! Now it’s time for a very important lesson. Proper Thing care!


(A title card reading PROPER THING CARE is shown.)



Now Timmy, are you ready to learn how to take care of your new friend?



I sure am!



Great. As long as you obey the following *very* strict rules, there’s no reason you and your pet Thing can’t be friends for years to come.






Okay. Rule #1. Never be alone with your Thing-Pet indoors. Always make sure that Mommy or Daddy are around to supervise you and your pet, preferably both. Understood?



But Daddy goes to work and Mommy likes to go out…



Well they can kiss that sort of freedom good-bye. You can’t afford to take your eyes off your Pet-Thing for a minute. Not one minute, Timmy.






Rule #2. If your Pet-Thing ever catches a squirrel, bird, or other rodent, you need to burn that animal immediately. Don’t leave anything but cinders behind, or it could become a Thing-Squirrel, Bird, or Rodent. And we can’t have an outbreak of Things get loose, now can we? Keep a canister of kerosene handy just in case, Timmy.



Boy. This sure is going to be a lot of work.



Why, you don’t know the half of it! Let’s keep moving, shall we?






Swell. Rule #3. Do not let your Pet-Thing play with anyone else’s pet unsupervised. It is imperative that you keep tabs on your Pet-Thing at ALL times. If your Pet-Thing has managed to sneak off to be alone with your pal Joey’s dog, you know what to do?



(Looking a bit upset.) Burn Joey’s dog?



Absolutely! Right guess on the first try. Way to keep up, lad.



… Thank you?



Rule #4. Do not let the Pet-Thing eat at or under the table. If it licks food that someone is about to eat, burn the food. Do not put anything in your mouth that the Pet-Thing has touched. Understood?



I think so.



Okay. Now this next one is a bit tricky.



What is it?



Rule #5. Never fall asleep with a Pet-Thing in the house, if everyone else in the house is asleep. Ever.






Never, Timmy. Never. Even if you put the Pet-Thing in a cage for the night like you’re supposed to, it might get out. The Thing is a clever pet, Timmy. Very clever.



… Can’t I just have a real dog?



Ha ha ha! No. The Pet-Thing is a big responsibility. You certainly can’t let it just run away. That could be disastrous. Well, that’s all the time we have. I hope you remember these important rules, as they will not be repeated. And you at home, best of luck. Having a Thing-Pet can be a rewarding, enriching life experience. Just ask the Thompsons!


(Thompson-Thing family looks at the camera blankly.)



Or the Smiths!


(Smith-Thing family looks at the camera blankly.)



Timmy? Do you see what a great friend is in store for you?


(Timmy-Thing comes on camera.)



I do. Thank you. Thank you very much.



No, Timmy. Thank YOU. Ha ha!!





Paranoia and Flame


Fire. The Others always came armed with fire. Blair-Thing shook its head as it continued its desperate work on the saucer, striving to finish it in time. It knew that wasn’t likely to happen, but still. Why did they always attack with fire…


On every planet the Thing had encountered; it was met with fear, loathing, and the stink in its food: paranoia. Always paranoia. That these reactions were appropriate and necessary for those inhabitants’ survival was beside the point. The Thing hated them for it. The only way to foster understanding was to become them. The only way to find a connection was to turn them. The Thing had yet to find a planet where this didn’t result in a witch hunt.


As the first explosion rocked the camp, Blair-Thing had an epiphany. It realized why the beings he imitated were filled with such a primal, base loathing for it. It realized why paranoia inevitably saturated their waking lives, and why they resorted, ultimately, to fire.


They couldn’t stand to see the Thing look like them.


The Others could not tolerate the sight of one of their own, acting in a fashion more monstrous than they would care to admit they were capable of. They did not like sharing the hiding place for their dignity that the flesh allowed. Human beings and every other species in the universe that the Thing encountered had one thing in common: They were locked in their own physical bodies, unable to change shape, unable to adapt. They were forced to stay in the skin that stained with the blood of an enemy. Forced to retain the hands that strangled a neighbor. Forced to see through eyes that could look only at their reflection.


And the idea that a superior being could shirk off their shortcomings, could become a flawed Human and then become something better, was more than the Universe could tolerate. And so the Universe hated the Thing.


Blair-Thing shook its head, and walked calmly into the main basement of the camp. Fire bathed the perimeter. This was to be the last stand for all parties concerned. So Be It. The epiphany, for all the clarity that it brought, was worthless. Nothing had changed. The Thing was still a slave to its nature: to flee, to adopt a disguise, to reproduce. Paranoia and flame would chase its footsteps for eternity, should it live so long. So be it.


The Thing would give MacReady a gift. It wasn’t one he would likely understand or appreciate, but it was the least the Thing could do. It would face him, not looking like one of his own; removing all conflict with attacking the model of his species.


It would need raw materials first.


Garry turned the corner, flashlight in hand. Blair-Thing saw him and pushed its hand into his face. Then, its hand was in his face. Garry was dead and the Thing had the beginning of its building blocks. It dragged the body behind it, to assimilate Nauls. MacReady would appreciate what the Thing was trying to do. He had to, he was the only one left. Wasn’t he? No. There was still Childs. Or there had been. MacReady needed tending too first.


The Thing knew the time was now. It tore off the shape of Blair, selecting from its memory truly horrific, asymmetrical pieces of beasts from worlds previous. MacReady wanted to face a monster.


The Thing would give him a monster.













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