☰ Melting

[A Have Tools, Will Travel... Story]

This e-mail/ response was sent to my girlfriend’s Reddit account a week ago, where I originally posted about the strange things that have happened to me on the job. I’ve tried to contact Bradley since, but I haven’t gotten a reply. To be honest, I’m worried about the guy. 

He seemed so hell bent on getting to the bottom of the ‘phenomenon’, I think someone might have ‘silenced’ him. 

Well, they’re going to have to silence me too, because until I hear from him, I’m going to blast his story on the internet until the exposure is so high, there won’t be any ‘containing it’ unless they kill us all.

Maybe I’m just being paranoid. 

Maybe not.



Dear Connor,

My name is Bradley. I work for a construction crew in east Atlanta. I’ve been reading your experiences online and I was hoping to compare notes. I’ve spoken with a few people who have messaged you and they all say you answer quickly.

Something strange happened to me on the job as well. 

It changed my life. Ruined it, is probably a more accurate description.

The occurrence was so disturbing, I took out a loan to investigate it.

I bought a couple of handheld camcorders and a GoPro that straps to the head, but they haven't done me any good yet. I haven't caught anything on tape. I have one picture, and it’s not even that good.

I decided to call the phenomenon that I found “melting”. I know, it’s not very original, but it’s accurate.

When “melting” occurs, it's as if everything in a small area spontaneously begins melting into everything else; kind of like when you and Sam found the car in the garage. 

I wanted to let you and Sam know that you’re not the only ones who've seen it.

The company I worked for was hired to completely renovate and restore a three-story office building in one of the prominent parts of town. The job was going to take a few weeks, so I remember being excited about it. Times have been tough as of late, and jobs have been scarce, so when we got the substantial workload, everyone on the crew was happy.

It started off normal enough. 

The foreman and I walked through the structure seeing what we would need to do first. We climbed each flight of stairs to the next level, taking notes as we went. When we got to the third story, that's when things started to take a turn for the worst.

We'd seen in the first two stories that the walls were uneven and warped. It got worse the higher up we went. The third story the most affected. It was evident that “melting” had happened here.

We worked around it.

Like any good construction team, we set out the to fix the problem. Once we were confident that the foundation was intact we worked from top to bottom. The farther into the project we got, the more we started to notice that everything was melted together. On the lower levels it wasn't so bad, but on the third story, the wiring, insulation, wood, sheetrock... Everything: it was all one big clump in each wall.

Nick, the man in charge of our crew, was completely stumped. As you can imagine he’d never seen anything like this before and didn't know what to make of it. He brainstormed ideas like a possible electrical surge; he posited that lightning could’ve hit the building and melted everything together. We all, (including Nick), found this highly unlikely due to the fact that there were no burns anywhere in the structure. There was no sign of any electrical or fire damage.

We continued working without any answers. I didn't like that we had to work blindly on the renovation not knowing what really happened, but such as life.

We worked for a few days without event. On the fourth day into the renovation, Nick began to look haggard. Worn-down. 

Nick was a young, good-looking guy in his 30s. He had blond hair, blue eyes, and he was a hit with the ladies. (I knew this because Nick and I occasionally hung out outside of work). We would go to bars and drink with some of the other crew members on Wednesday nights.

I was curious as to why his appearance changed so unexpectedly, so I asked him what was up. He said that he didn't know. Nick told me that since we'd begun renovation on the office building, he'd felt out of sync. I suggested that maybe he go to the doctor, that he was coming down with something and maybe he needed a few days off to regroup. He waved away my suggestion and we went back to working normally. I didn’t think much of it at the time. He knew how he was feeling better than I did.

By day six, Nick looked nothing like his old self. He was sweating all the time. His face looked warped, just like the building; and his personality had become the equivalent of a wet blanket. He wasn’t worried about deadlines. He didn’t care about safety anymore. He didn’t care about much of anything, including his own health. He kind of just ignored what was going on with him and how he was getting sicker.

Come Wednesday, I wasn’t overeager to hang out with my feverish and probably delusional boss, but Nick insisted. He said it would make him feel better. 

Thirty minutes after we were supposed to meet at our regular bar, Nick still hadn’t shown up. I got a weird call from him on my cellphone and it sounded garbled. I thought it was a connection problem so I went outside and called him back. I thought I could make out the word “help” several times, so I broke off in a sprint towards his apartment, which was only two blocks away from the pub.

Nick lived on the second floor in a corner unit you could see from the road. One of his windows was so warped and disfigured, it looked like a smiley face. My eyes widened in horror as I rushed to help my friend, but the closer I got to his building, the more my eyes were opened to what was happening within it. 


It was everywhere, obviously clear from the outside. I tried to get into the lobby, but a man in a white hazmat suit stopped me. He was in the middle of cordoning off the entry into Nick’s building. I tried to push past him, just as flashing lights and vans pulled up behind me and others in suits and masks whisked past me.

Someone grabbed me by the arm as I tried to tell them that my friend, my boss, was inside that building and he’d tried to call me for help not too long ago. I screamed at the top of my lungs that they should be going inside the apartments and rescuing people from whatever was happening inside. 

No one of any import would speak to me. In fact, I was ‘escorted’ to the other side of the street and told to stay back or that I would be detained indefinitely. 

I was so pissed. 

I paced back and forth just watching the crowd of white clad C.D.C. people work on closing off any way that could potentially be an exit for someone inside.

The residents were being quarantined. Not rescued. 


The army showed up next and I took that as my queue to leave. They weren’t going to allow me to help Nick anyway, and by the way they were acting, getting him ‘help’ may have been beyond anyone’s capabilities. I went home and turned on the news. I channel surfed trying to find any information on what was going on at Nick's apartment building. But nothing came on. The news mentioned nothing about a biochemical scare, an outbreak of strange sickness, or melting in general.

Nick was not at work the next day. Or the day after that. 

I went by his apartment complex after work the second day. The place had been burned to the ground. Nick's car was gone along with the rest of the cars of the residents in the parking lot. I called local hospitals looking for my friend. 

I found nothing.

Another guy at work began to show the same symptoms that Nick had before he disappeared. He was pale in the face, sweating profusely, devoid of energy and consumed by fatigue. This being the second time that I'd seen these symptoms, I noticed that Cade’s face looked as if it were falling. Like he was wearing a mask made of plastic, and it had begun to melt. I could only assume that whatever happened to Nick had come from the office building we were working on, and that anyone of us could be susceptible to the same fate.

I tried to warn Cade about what had happened to Nick but he wouldn't listen. Cade and Nick we're closer than Nick and I. Cade insisted that Nick owed some people money, and that he had skipped town to avoid paying. I didn't doubt that Nick may have been in debt with questionable people, but I knew for a fact he hadn't skipped town.

Cade was a young guy. He was much too busy being cool to worry about getting sick. I watched him struggle to do his job as days passed; I tried to explain to him that Nick had gone through the same thing. I tried to explain to Cade what had happened to Nick's apartment complex, about the C.D.C., about everything. 

Now may be a good time to mention that I do have a slight reputation for being a bit of a conspiracy theorist. I may or may not mention in passing how I feel about the Illuminati, secret aliens, ufos being covered up by the government and other such nonsense. But this was different. No one believed me when I told them what happened to Nick, they all just assumed I was being paranoid.

The next day was when I took out the loan and bought the cameras. I decided to follow Cade home and see if his place looked like Nick’s had before he disappeared. I took my new cameras with me.

Cade did not live in an apartment complex like Nick had. He lived in a large two-story house with his parents in the suburbs. I sat in my car and watched his house from a distance. It looked normal to me, but I wasn't willing to give up so easily. Right before dusk, an older man came out of the house to take the trash out. My fears were confirmed when I saw Cade's father's face. 


How could Cade, or his mother, let this go on unattended for several days? I know if I came home from work and my face started melting, I would definitely go see a doctor as quickly as possible. But no one affected by this weird phenomena seemed even remotely concerned that they might die at any second. No one seemed to think that they were coming down with an alien plague, or that any of this was strange. They all acted like they had a simple cold.

Well, I knew better. I knew that something is going on, and I wasn't going to be able to rest until I knew what it was.

Cade’s father was sweating profusely. He could barely pull the trash can behind him, and when he neared the end of his driveway, he jerked violently two or three times. He fell to his knees and clutched his chest as if he were having a heart attack. I scrambled to get out of the car as quickly as possible to help him. I left my cameras behind in my haste. A man's life was certainly more important than my capturing proof of an unknown disease.

I knelt at Cade’s father’s side just as he toppled all the way over onto the ground and began to convulse. He knocked the trash cans over and they made a racket in the street. Dogs started barking and howling and his wife opened the front door to see what was going on. She screamed and ran over to us, hobbling on her uneven legs. 

The whole family had been affected by whatever this sickness was. Cade’s dad snapped out of it, but it took him a second. I told them who I was and asked if Cade was home. They thanked me for trying to help Cade’s dad, but told me Cade was sick. I told them I knew he was sick, that’s why I was here. His parents informed me that he would be over his cold soon and would be back to work the day after next. 

It was all so surreal. 

They asked me to leave politely after I helped Cade’s dad back to the front door. They said they didn’t want me to get sick. I asked for the third time if they didn’t need an ambulance of medical assistance, and they said no again. I saw the inside of the house when Cade’s dad hobbled inside. The walls were warped and uneven just like Cade’s mom’s legs and his father’s melting face.

A few days passed after that. I spent a lot of my time looking up information on ‘melting’ online. There’s not much, but I found a few pictures of the interiors of homes that look similar. I found the article about the little boy stuck in the cement that you and Sam found, but no picture. They called it an unfortunate accident. It was much more than an accident.

My construction crew and I finished the office building where it all started. The inside looks normal now. We started on another building a few days ago. I haven't seen Cade for a while now, but since then, another guy at work has gotten sick even though we are working in a different location. 

I’m scared to call the C.D.C. I’m scared of what they might do to me. I don’t want to make myself known in the event that they make me disappear like they did Nick. 

I drove past Cade’s parents place the other day and it looks normal, save for a deformed corner on the side of their roof. I did take a picture of it, but it’s not obvious unless you know what you're looking for. I’m horrified to knock on their door for fear that they're all dead and melted into the floors of the house or something similar. I can’t keep thoughts like that out of my head. 

I wish I knew what was causing this. I wish I had someone I could talk to about this, but I’m scared and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I’ve been looking for a scientist unaffiliated with the government I can talk to about this phenomenon and I think I’ve found one. Her name is Leslie. Dr. Vanessa Leslie. I have an appointment with her in a week. I don’t know if I’ll make it or not. 

Someone’s been following me and it’s not my imagination. I don’t know who they are, but I see the same car in my rear view a lot. It’s unmarked, black and the windows are heavily tinted.

I decided to write you this when I got to work this morning and noticed that the new job site is beginning to show signs of melting. When we first started work on this place, it looked fine; now, it’s walls are uneven and warped. It’s starting to look like the inside of a circus funhouse. 

Connor, if you have any information that might help me, please send it. If this Dr. Leslie doesn’t pan out, I’ll be right back at zero when it comes to leads. Whatever this is, it’s spreading, and I seem to be caught right in the center of it.



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My novel, Trigram, is in the works, but in the meantime, I'll probably be working on short stories such as the ones on Wicked Shorts. (Wink)

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