May 12, 2013 § 1 Comment
The foundations of the city are riddled with holes. Basements, sewers, sub-basements, forgotten wells and more upon more. Even the eerily still worlds of natural cave systems stretch down for untold fathoms beneath the daylight world. Very few people venture down into these dark, fungus haunted spaces. Fewer still return.
Somewhere in the subterranean sprawl, a dim light shines into a cave half-lined with crumbling brickwork. A figure, tattered and smeared with grime, staggers out from a side tunnel and slumps against the masonry. It lets out a low moan, before sliding down to the gravel-strewn ground. A hand reaches up to pull away the cobwebs covering its face and reveals the features of a young man, his blood-streaked cheeks cleaned only by the pale tracks of tears. Gingerly, he pulls his other hand from the folds of his jacket. Green-tinged and bloated, it seems to almost glow as red streaks creep out from two ragged puncture wounds in the palm. A scrap of cloth is wrapped around the wrist and he uses his teeth to pull the knot tight, wincing as a thick fluid wells up from the holes. He gasps and retches, leaning back into the wall.
The globe he uses for light flickers, dims…and then glows brightly again.
He sits for a measureless time, listening to the silence that stretches around him. Not even the drip of water, the whisper of air. Why did he even come down here? Curiosity? Greed? Pride? A mixture, all of them now satisfied in their own way. He thinks of that vast cavern and what he saw inside, lit by the light of countless candles. He thinks of his pack, now long lost, and the gleaming things it held for a short while. He thinks of Matthieu, who ran when he didn’t and was snatched up by the darkness itself.
He thinks of being more alone than he has ever been before.
He thinks about closing his eyes, just for a moment, and wonders what will happen if they don’t open again. Could it be worse than this?
The globe he uses for light flickers, dims…
…and then dies.