WretchesWretches are a humanlike entity, often described as acting undead or zombielike. Once human, these entities were transformed via a poorly understood process, thought to stem from deprivation of vital sustenance such as food, water, and sleep. Wretches are common throughout the Backrooms, residing in the shadows wherever humans gather due to their nature.
The process of transformation into a Wretch appears to be related to hunger, thirst, and lack of sleep. Isolation is thought to accelerate the process, judging by the high concentration of Wretches in unexplored or dangerous areas. The process of transformation into a Wretch is commonly referred to as the "Wretched Cycle" among wanderers, and cannot be reversed by normal means. However, a transformation in process can be stalled by proper sustenance and rest, including Almond Water and Royal Rations. Complete prevention of the process is possible, but rare and often risky. Wall Masks are thought to reverse the transformation, at a cost; Reality Fresheners are hypothesized to aid in prevention as well. The "Wretched Cycle" lasts between several weeks to months, and has three phases, as follows: Stage 1: Initially, the symptoms manifest as itchiness and irritation, comparable to a poison ivy rash; over time, subtle psychological symptoms will set in, eventually resulting in erratic and aggressive behavior and a complete change in personality traits. These effects can be halted with normal bodily sustenance and all possible cures shown previously. Stage 2: During Stage 2 of the Wretched Cycle, skin and muscle tissue will begin to dissolve in an unnatural fashion, often developing orifices and pustules. The outer skin will start to redden and flake off, eyes become bloodshot and irritated, and hair loss sets in. Survivors of this stage often proclaim the itchiness of this stage to be "unbearable", even describing scratching layers of their skin off in an attempt to stop it. Speech is still intelligible, but consists only of pleas for water, food, and help. Almond Water and Reality Fresheners seem to be the only possible cure at this stage of the Wretched Cycle. Stage 3: At this stage all hope to return to normalcy has been lost. Nails and teeth fall out of their natural positions, often regrowing elsewhere in unnatural quantities and sizes. Eyelids, lips, and cartilage dissolve, forcing the eyes to remain open constantly and roll wildly in their sockets. It is unknown if the consciousness of the original victim remains at this stage. Wretches at Stage 3 constantly ooze a brown sludge-like substance from mouths and other orifices. This fluid is currently unnamed and is found to be harmless See M.E.G. Entity 15 Incident Report for more information. The behavior of an average Wretch is comparable to Entity 10, possessing little intelligence but astounding strength. Rarely, however, Wretches have displayed intelligent or even humanlike behavior, able to craft or wield weapons. In packs, Wretches often act in unison, behaving as a hivemind. Weaker Wretches exist, but the majority possess superhuman strength, often able to break through walls, despite their fragile, skeletal appearance. The speed of Wretches varies as well, ranging from a slow shamble to sprints surpassing human capabilities. Vocalizations are the fastest and most reliable way to determine the threat level of a Wretch. Many Wretches produce gurgling and snarling sounds often and with little apparent purpose; low-pitched and slow sounds often indicate an unintelligent variant, while high-pitched vocalizations are often intelligent or unusually quick. This method is not always accurate, but it is the only reliable means of gauging danger at this time.
Like their behavior, the appearance of a Wretch often varies greatly. A fully infected body will have reddish-brown skin that is dry and flaky, covered in holes and pustules secreting a thick red-brown substance. Wretches are often skeletal in appearance, belying a great potential strength and resilience; larger Wretches have been rarely seen. Remains of the past human identity of a Wretch are difficult to discern, but visible if closely observed; most often, keepsakes such as clothing, supplies, and personal belongings will remain on the body, though often mutilated beyond recognition. Mutations are frequent in Wretches, often resulting in misplaced eyes, disjointed or excess limbs, or even fleshy, skeletal "wings". A common and formidable variant manifests as a deformed mass of flesh, consisting almost entirely of eyes, mouths, and other orifices of unknown purpose.