Mine, or Inside the Shadow

by: Garett Strickland

“Not in the spaces we know, but between them, They walk serene and primal, undimensioned and to us unseen.”
—H.P. Lovecraft

“And yet they do not belong to the world but to the underside of the world; they do not attest to form but to lack of form, and they are only clear to a person who does not penetrate them […]”
—Maurice Blanchot

AFTER TIME UNFATHOMABLE, all tools of telling collapsed under the weight of that which they were meant to measure and likewise the paths we’d made unto our moment, it was decided we’d continue to dig. This tho spirits and supplies had dwindled, members lost to weariness or bouts of madness that flung them into the towering chasms we opened to on occasion, others hazarding to carve a fate perhaps no different, the requisite faith required to do so presupposing a bottom or a center we would reach not by gravity but by our very hand, shovels and pickaxes long dulled to uselessness. We remaining ate our canaries before even the hardtack ran out, and spoke now to each other in a manner an outsider (if there were such things) would think involved our holding them still alive beneath our tongue. We adapted. We feasted when it was given to us to do so on the cavefish and insects self-effulgent in puddles or swarming in and out of cracks, thereby gaining their quality of light, bodies stripped assuming the role of the torches and lamps that had quit us ages previous. In more poetic moods, I described us to us as a living shifting constellation traversing the space of the rock, very soon to converge at last to swim in the buried sun awaiting our fought for arrival.

Of the many stones discovered, a few possessed qualities unknown by those who’d remained on surface, place kept alive by legend alone and either scorned or longed for depending on morale. Their traits communicated themselves mostly when, having been held in one’s mouth, they’d begin to fizzle and smart. A certain flavor of indigo onyx would make one glow up further red, begin to float and see thru the undug abyss, the hollows-objects-beings suspended for the stone’s practitioner in a wide open space in which the work forever toiled for by hand and purpose was in a flash now total, the sensation of center—for how slow is movement—swollen to degrees that only those the stone would know could know. In ceremony one is exempt from expenditure, suspended staring and rigid, confused when not in commerce with those distant at why these others should claw and moan against nothing and advance so slow a pace. Neither could one understand their words, if indeed they spoke at all. One would tend instead to swivel and tip, pivot on one’s axis under influence of discovering magnetisms, newly aware of an echelon to which one was before occluded, great whales swimming thru the planet like weather with the ease of their sound.

The WYRM it spoke to me and said:

][ ENJOY TUNNELING thru what was once the earth but is nowhere the process of which ][ am composed the act of conversion one thing to another fullness to lack and back again the oscillation supports maintains as ][ move my being transmuting the chain of which despite my size is lowest beneath even you my child you look upon my facelessness and cower but what need have ][ of a face when ][ have gazed upon the first huge and embracing ][ one of the first pores to open thereon issue therefrom and will no doubt be one of the last what need have ][ of a notion of state tho when ][ am without position dimension strain substance quality instead that which gives rise to those the illusion of interval of variation thus all goads obliged as system as assistant to cosmic rot fire of entropy in the rapeyard harvest forking in the rising of the eye

: : : : :

Waking the door to core before me, I behold in my milky limbs the lights of my brethren grown into the thought of a body, the nerves we’d been if ever discrete meshed into the map that’s delivered me here, the only location.

Hand a key familiar alien, my wrist twists in the lock, and I open.