How long has it been? No way to keep track. Not in here; not in this crypt. I’m sure the humans know. Once, they were prey; I was the hunter, too powerful for defeat. How long since they dug this pit and threw me in? Imprisoning and confining me to this tomb? These stone walls: built to contain; to prevent my escape. Impenetrable; unbeatable. That’s their belief; makes them feel safe; makes them forget. Time will be their undoing. Look there! See the plants? Slowly, they’ve found a weakness; slipping in through cracks. A way in, is a way out.
The time is nigh. He feels it, smells it, tastes it. The rocks encased in the cement binding the wall together tingle with excitement. Leaves growing within the cracks between the rocks turn towards the sound of foot steps.
The fool approaches. Each step brings him ever closer to his destiny.
Anticipation hangs heavy in the air.
The young man is entranced by the wall. Stepping closer, the leaves reach out to him and force him flush against the structure. His spirit and the soul trapped within the wall exchange places.
He walks away, a devilish grin on his face.
The grating whisper of movement over rock and stone pull me from my long slumber. Sweet bipedal things, wet and soft, are often driven by curiosity into these cavernous depths.
Warm hands grip the cold rocks as they descend with their blasphemous light. Their tasty meat, covered by cloth and rope, awakens my ravenous hunger. One draws near, its eyes focused on where it climbs, unaware it just took its last breath.
No scream escapes its crushed throat. Through his terrified mind I see my eyeless face and gaping maw until his death closes the vision and my meal begins.
Etch away the soil of my heart. Let the roots and tendrils cling.
Where once blood flowed upon a course, there pulses a stony thing.
Nothing do I feel but cold. But when I lay me down…
A hatchet set to “swoosh” and “ching”; a dark and eery sound.
Young and fair my head to rest . Choice sinews for carrion to shred.
They laughed so coarsely in the crowd; fools believed I was dead.
I will get my pound of flesh when next I am set free.
Beware those who have put me here. A rock cannot hear your pleas.
Life, all life, is cannibalistic. The temperate way to say this is ‘cyclical’, but let’s be honest, the transition isn’t exactly a smooth one. Some take the phoenix perspective, where life rises in miraculous fashion from impossible means. And, I say, that is nothing but ignorance. Nature survives on destruction, it requires death. This malformed wall, for example, was built with more than stone—a mortar made of mud and human remains. The bodies of Jewish children stacked atop their brothers and mothers by “superior” humans; Aryans advancing by killing. And, from this concentrated death, green nature shamelessly grows anew.
The secrets of the cave were no secret to Ravena. She’d seen what happened to those who wandered too close, and it fascinated her: the screams as the inhabitants revealed themselves; the panic when victims realized that there was no escape; the blissful sound of ripping flesh, the tearing of sinew as the creatures devoured their meal. Even as a child, she found delight in the slaughter and dreamt of the day when she might partake in the massacre. She would wait no longer as today was her eighteenth birthday and two adventurous campers had just strayed from their group.
Your bodies slid over one another, lubricated by sweat and the warming oil from your bedside drawer. I watched for as long as I could, hypnotised by your sinuous limbs.
“I’m sorry,” you said afterwards. You said other things too; empty words as hollow as the hole in my heart. “LonelyfrustratedIdon’tlovehimyouareneverhere.”
When your speech was finished, I took the bedside lamp to your head. You died in a flash of light. I buried you in the dark, beneath the stone wall between our garden and the fields behind. Nettles grow there now. In the summer, butterflies dance over your grave.
Joseph A. Pinto
And now there is nothing, nor shall there ever be; from light I have walled myself. Immurement eternal; so shall I become one with stone. My fortress, my penitentiary – a fitting fate; obscurity wrapped as melded shawl round my shoulders. Yet still you find your way, flitting ‘tween cracks I believed mortared so long ago. Ivy seeks my companionship; so too do you seek to entwine my heart. But I have grown unjustly hardened, so wrongly decayed. Leave me, do you hear? I deserve as much. Let me solidify as I contemplate the ways I have erred, gone wrong.
From impenetrable depths I hear a single word drifting on stone-cold breath: Come. The shadows beckon me; an icy existence beyond pain calls to one of its ilk – a destroyed soul, my soul. The nether recognizes its own; the summons continues. I stumble forward, grasping desperately at sanity. Home, it murmurs seductively. I scream my need for shrouded deliverance. Reaching a desperate hand forward, I place it upon the stone, follow the path into dappled darkness, but no matter the length of my stride, sanctuary eludes me; the promise is shattered. I’ll forever chase shadows that reveal nothing but light.
Smell the rot you will soon become as your eyes close for the final time. You have always been within my grasp; you have always been mine.
Rest against my ancient skin; hard as rock, cold as stone. Flay yourself against my edge: sharp, cruel, merciless. Feel the warmth drain away, blood turns to ice in your veins. The pain of your myth subsides. Breath escapes as mist, a long held speechless gasp. Before you infinite nothingness, mocking laughter.
I will swallow you whole and fold the illusion of time. Rest against my ancient skin; you have always been mine.
Skulls. I’m surrounded by skulls.
“Wait, wait, don’t leave me here!” Sweat pumped from Jarod’s pores. Was it the pain from the compound fracture? Or was it the skulls?
“You can’t leave me here with all these dead people!”
Steve turned his headlamp into the crevasse. It couldn’t penetrate the pitch. Somewhere down there, his friend was losing it.
“We’ll be back with help. Just hang tight, Jarod!” he shouted.
“They’re only stones, buddy,” Steve added. “It’s the shock. It’ll wear off.”
Jarod stared at the wall’s rock face.
“Heh, heh,” something cackled.
The first stone shifted.
Each piece of fiction is the copyright of its respective author
and may not be reproduced without prior consent.
Image © Copyright Dark Angel Photography. All Rights Reserved.