LIBER IMMENSUS

CAVEAT LECTOR

A Humble Narrowing

As I hiked through the rocky hills, I came to a humble narrowing. This was a place of vulnerability, but I knew that going backward wasn’t a viable option, at least in terms of self preservation. On either side of the path, monstrous jagged trees pierced into the sky for what seemed like miles. I had no intentions of traveling into the wild, even though the thick scent of blood lingered ahead in the pass. These were the wandering woods, impossible to navigate and with beasts twice as savage as the most hideous of men. I would have been lost and devoured in less than a minute out there, in the tangled brush of infinite possibilities. At least I knew what manner of thing lay in wait in the upcoming crevasse, terrifying as it may be.

I continued cautiously, taking note of the various the places from which an ambush could be staged. In the darkness waited a stalker of flesh, watching my motions and carefully weighing the odds of my struggle. I made a desperate attempt to disguise my flaws, hoping to avoid conflict outright. Somehow, I knew my ruse was being met with some sarcasm from somewhere just out of sight.

I remember noticing the movement behind my head and over my left shoulder. I turned too slowly and was knocked to the ground in an instant. My assailant was exactly what I had expected, and yet somehow I found myself in a chaotic turn of events. I was pinned by a wild widow. These vaguely arachnoid hunters are feared and revered for their insatiable appetite and preternatural senses, and few victims tell of their encounters. I cursed my hesitation, for it had doomed me to gaze upon a nightmare.

The widow is a putrid fusion of spider, bird, and human kind. It stands just smaller than a man, but with a wide span of powerful legs. It has a hominid torso, but no upper appendages. There is some speculation as to whether the beasts simply have not yet developed common human arms, or if they in fact lost them to natural selection. Their head is that of a great bird, and it is said that it sings in pulsing tones which draw out unsuspecting prey through eager bliss.  I had heard no such singing, so I wondered now how much was really known of the creatures.

My struggle led us to the cold stone wall of the passage. Where did it all go wrong? I thought to myself, attempting to block out this overwhelming stimulus. I knew that if I could reach the end of the narrowing, I could overcome these dreadful odds. With that goal as my sole thought I fought for freedom, and made it to the very edge where the path opened up yet again. The widow released me from its grasp, shrieking and staggering back toward its sacred grounds. I had been victorious, but the encounter had not left me unscarred. Events of this caliber never leave you without some lasting effects, but I am not sure that is a negative fact. I would transcend such a place again, if needed.

The Wanderer Between Worlds

I was standing on a hill, absorbing the sight of a peculiar sunset. The majority of the sky had turned a pale emerald green, with only hints of orange at the epicenter. The green light drenched half the sky completely, before cutting off almost unnaturally into the dark blue of dusk. It was as if the sun intended to fight back at the inevitability of night, making one last hopeless stand before being devoured.

I could not help but wonder if there was a reason for this moment, for the upset of balance in this otherwise harmonious event. There is no secrecy in the fact that beauty can often foreshadow dreadful things. Certainly, I had never seen such a thing before, and I could not ignore intuition. This was a symbol, and it’s meaning would be known to me, in time. 

Night quickly came with a wind and rain of powerful effect. I had anticipated this, but nevertheless regretted my travel through it. This was the kind of storm that you could feel through the metal casing of a motor vehicle. Within seconds, I felt a distinct constriction of my entire body in the overwhelmed machine. Water poured thickly onto the road, and without traction my speed was forced to a crawl.

Suddenly my entire focus was drawn to a figure in the distance. From initial assessment, I saw it as a man. He was walking with a large pack, the kind used for an extended trip through the wilderness. He made no effort to seek shelter and avoid the rain, and I thought strangely of him for it. He walked steadily and without impairment, despite a downpour which hindered my movement almost completely. 

As I approached him further, an even more unsettling feature became known to me. The man seemed to have no form beyond an outline. His body was that of a void in space, and like nothing I knew. There were no details in this being, he was the nothing of the universe, and because of this I thought much more of him. Was this strange wanderer the one heralded by that curious green sky, or was he its architect?

He never peered in my direction, but that did not stop the feeling of his eyes upon me. For my sanity I had to escape him, so I pushed on as fast as possible. I was able to race ahead of him, but doing so seemed to require an abnormal distance. I swear, I could see him just off in the distance for the entire night, pacing forward in the fog.

The wanderer lingers just out of time, carving paths between worlds and leaving blurred memories of his journey.  His footprints are strange permutations of the mundane, and the beauty of unfamiliar things which too often slip our minds.

Reality and the Indecisive Being

Back in the black woods, I existed as the animal I am. I cannot explain how I got here, to this dead and open hall, but I was blinded by the curiosity of its contents. Its pale essence glowed softly in the moonlight, slowly waving with a translucent fog of dust. I am drawn into it, yet I know the air is impure.

An open window gives sight to the clear night sky, whose inhabitants gawk at and shun those dwelling below. A black bird, the raven approaches. It caws. I know it sees me; it is here to learn my impressions on the world. Of my impact and alterations to the course of reality and all things to come. I know it sees the falsity of my current path and the scars it creates. The raven judges accordingly, and violently in dismay. I am overwhelmed by clasping talons in a black plane.

I am shamed, for my actions lead me to be so. It is a turning point, a place for decision. Momentum alone can no longer fuel us; it is a time for action, and it must be taken as so.

I do not fear the clasping talons, for I now know that they are needed. They dig deep into my spine, and force my hand when force is the only course of action. I would expect that any person could use this lesson at some point.

It is the terrible and lonely dawning of realization that not everything in life is easy, and that sometimes, difficult decisions must be made. We find ourselves so often at crossings that we would rather ignore, but to do so is a damaging and destructive habit. At times your path must be altered by some effort to improve your experience. I recommend that you, the reader, take this to heart. Remember that all things desired are attainable. Ours is a lengthy and strange journey; take control of its navigation sometimes.

Transfigured and Immutable

As the night wore on, I began to notice the most undesirable traits of those around me. Just a short while ago, I had been surrounded by my peers; people who could be trusted and their actions well known to me. You never expect, in a situation such as this, to feel suddenly and completely alone. Strangers had been among us for the entire night, but sometime after midnight a change had occurred in them. Formerly smooth and presentable humans had morphed into deeply scarred and hardened barbarians. They became abominations of flesh, pieced together in homage to the cruel and dominating Khans, and there were hundreds of them. I was so outnumbered; who could be trusted now? 

My companions had fallen one by one to the temptations of the labyrinth. Only two of us had made it to the exit, and my counterpart was beginning to show the scars of trauma. An expansive and barren swamp stood before us, littered with the remains of great stone structures. Only fools would build in a place like this, and their failed attempts had left a clear sign of warning. We were forced to make shelter here, among the strange giants and broken marble slabs. I wondered – was this place always so vile? 

We waited in the swamp for what seemed like a lifetime, and by that I mean I felt the heaviness of age upon me. A thousand years suddenly wizened my mind and expanded my thoughts beyond the mortal realm. I became aware of the all of the eyes around me. This was the moment of my transformation. I knew that I would not escape this place before some grand finale.  I was now in this until the end, a term rarely represented so perfectly. 

Walls of sickly green smoke closed in on us. In the distance, a foul shape appeared. It was an unsettling human form, hunched and clutching at its chest. As the creature drew closer, the total lack of fluidity in its movements became apparent. I was alone now, surrounded by strange faces focusing intensely on the spectacle in the fog. The barbarism became a supreme force, one I could no longer rend. The moment devoured me, and no valorous intention could drag me away. The air was thick and sweet, and its succulent poison was a feast. 

Speaking in Obscenities

When I was a young child with a malleable mind, my mother instructed me to always question authority figures. This simple instruction has constantly affected the way I think. I have, historically, found myself in more arguments following this advice than I would likely have otherwise, but this is not always the case. More often than not, I find this skill one of my most valuable. Without it, I may have ended up a shuffling drone or worse, somebody who blends unseen into the crowd.

The reason I find this ability so useful is as simple as it is difficult to follow. Honesty nurtures respect, and the truth is often ugly. The exchange of raw, unpolished honesty is all too often neglected and is even sometimes shunned. Emphasis is put on polite and complacent behaviors, but is this reasonable? When you only blend in and follow, you are also making yourself unnoticeable. I truly believe, when dealing with the general population, that it is impossible to view a person as a peer without knowing what they are really thinking.

You may be saying to yourself, dear god! Is he actually suggesting that I just let myself go like that? I am viewed as a functional member of society, and to reveal the inner workings of my mind surely would topple the fragile social systems of which I am accustomed! I understand your hesitations, for they are deeply ingrained.

A good rule of thumb to remember is that we are all terrible people in some clandestine way. We are flawed individuals attempting to mimic the impression of perfection, an impossible standard which often drives us to insanity. Politeness should not, in my opinion, take precedence over your true thoughts. Embrace your flaws, and don’t fear the consequences of speaking your mind.

The Naga

One night I wandered into a cave, in a dream, and I wondered, how does such a thing fill one with contentment? The sound of rushing water whistled swiftly inside, and I became astounded by it. It sang as a choir, quietly hinting at sentience. The complexity of its mystery had no equal. I had to know everything about it.

Treasures beyond all means of comprehension must lay to be unsurfaced in this cavern. I dredged endlessly on to it’s core, using what little light I had available but never losing a peculiar shimmer emanating from the rock walls. By the time I had finished my journey, I was worn thin. I found myself on the edge of a great forest, growing thickly with sickly obese plant life. Vines as thick as a man’s torso infested all of the trees and the bushes bore a bulging red fruit. I felt unable to ignore the symphonic tones ringing out from the wild.

Suddenly, great pillars of flame shot out all around me. I saw the scenery begin to melt out of form and become an enormous viscous sea. I received the vague impression that something was alive down there. I shuddered to think what manner of thing would live off the ooze of a daemon fueled forest. The horrible stuff turned a deep wine color, and I Found myself on a small sailing vessel. It was a long way from home now, and farther still from my destination. I had wondered deeply if I would find any meaning in this journey. I sailed forward to a small island with an iron wrought chest displayed prominently in the center.

I approached the auspicious prize with great candor. In it, I found a simple kris wrapped in a burlap cloth. I felt the naga spirit which dwelt in this cave. An unmistakable chill as any rationality is stripped away and forgotten. I am one of us, but we are all of the consciousness of man. What can be shared, is up to the willingness and ability of our peers. React, accordingly.

The Black Stag

Occasionally, you may find yourself drifting through the countryside. Passing through a completely unfamiliar area, which by unfathomable coincidence may only exist a short distance from home. A special kind of distortion seems to loom over these areas. Trees grow in an unsettling way, gnarled in patterns that suggest the intelligent design of some grim creature attempting to recreate the aesthetics of its origin. The air becomes twisted and thin, bleeding out between the veiled worlds of the unseen. It is not unusual to feel a subtle onset of horror, as this strange world surrounds your physical structure.

One tends to ignore these feelings about such a place, and that may be wise. It is undeniable that the common man may be overwhelmed by the sudden realization that all things unknown could be called into the forefront of his reality with very little effort. Some find the process of evocation far too unsettling to even consider. I, however, feel that the uncommon type of man can benefit from such things in a thoroughly satisfying way, and may learn to see deeply. 

This ability certainly has no use, or perhaps very little use, in the physical world. I would not claim to have mastered the technique myself, for it seems to work on its own motivations. There is a natural uncertainty to seeing in this way, as it is impossible to distinguish it from a fleeting imaginary thought, even with great focus and experience. Having little relative practice myself, I would not share such a belief, had it not changed me so significantly.

I can account for it quite literally as being able to see things at a young age. Back then, it was nothing more than shadows and shapes oddly out of place. It was not until years later that I was taught that these things aren’t real.  So I simply brushed them aside. Then recently, I saw a great black stag that changed me. His eyes bled into my world with a pale blue fog. Horns, blazing with an unnatural heat like a great red sun shining somewhere far off in the cosmos. He spoke to me, but words were not needed to convey his meaning. I must charge ahead. I must further myself. The term I use to describe this kind of experience is image.

An image overrides all sensory information, for an eternity lasting less than a fraction of a second. Unable to interpret such a thing immediately, one ponders its meaning heavily. Like a dream which continues to elicit emotion long after waking, it has no place in reality but has a real effect on you. Are they visions of the future, or of the present in another realm?  The importance is the interpretation. This is where the change occurs. Does it matter?

You return to awareness. There is nothing but the road you are on, and drive through a run-down town in the middle of the wilderness. A place that is somehow close to home, but never attains a semblance of familiarity. Can you forget it?

Hordes of Humans

I have never been a religious man, but have always considered myself deeply spiritual. This is certainly why I tend to become so agitated by the rabid barking dogs on either side of a religious debate. Slobbering animals who, by no means of communication, manage to take large amounts of information and turn it into something both offensively loud and somehow inaudible to the opposing side. There is no empathy in this situation. It’s as if both sides have a completely different perception of reality. A casual passer-by may mistake these groups as warring tribes, locked in eternal conflict due to the misdeeds of their ancestors. The passer-by would be correct.

The worst offenders of these groups are never high profile representatives of their respective organizations. A great spiritual leader and a scientific genius would surely interact in a manner far too reasonable to feed the desires of the gluttonous masses. We are discussing hordes of humans not properly equipped to deal with critical thinking. They require their own representatives, to maintain appropriate levels of maladaptive behavior. Blubbering sacks of flesh with microphones embedded in their skulls as to facilitate the yelling process. It it simply the only way to get nothing done.

The individuals I am describing tend only to associate with other members of their particular group, causing an unwarranted sense of smugness. They would certainly be cast out in tar and feathers for questioning any of their core beliefs or even the underhanded tactics often used to discredit the opposition. Luckily, they are unable to assemble their brain patterns into this type of thought. Instead of rationality, they utilize a special ability which forces the brain into a temporary state of vegetation, preventing the traumatic repercussions of having to think for themselves. Surprisingly, specimens of both tribes show some traits that are miraculously similar, and have skills not widely known in modern society.

The most curious of these people possess the unique ability to turn a lack of knowledge into a type of wisdom. Imagine the possibilities, if they took the time to develop these skills? Aye- Marvelous feats of human stupidity, carving the way for a better tomorrow! I, for one, would welcome these contributions. So far as I know, most human advancement has been through the effort of open minded and motivated individuals. Close mindedness and argumentativeness is, therefore, unfairly misrepresented. Society on the whole is just now beginning to see these people rocket their way into positions of power.  What a very exciting time we live in! What a very exciting time.

Becoming Civilized

A terrible and strange rain set in sometime late last night, long after my mind had drifted out of these mortal realms into dreamscapes. I have no recollection of it, and cannot say if it was meaningful in any particular way. It came in like a deep dwelling serpent, hidden by cloudy waters and of devious intent. My intuition tells me it was of a murky blue tone with thick, gaseous plumes just outside of reach.

I awoke to find that the vegetation had overgrown to a state resembling some primordial jungle. I knew that at any moment horrible things would be crawling out of the brush, hoping for a chance to devour any hapless soul foolish enough to be taken in by the exotic world now growing out from between the concrete slabs of my patio. I would not be that fool to suffer his end at the hands and tentacles of those shambling horrors, making their home in the desecrated remains of my garden.

I retreated in disgust. What kind of a world was this where I must be so offended by the foul stench of a freshly sprouted ecosystem? Couldn’t something be done to irreversibly shield me from this sort of attack on my senses? The truth was too concerning to be deciphered in any coherent way. The door closed with a distinct feeling of suction, as if creating a containment area for the most sterile of living conditions.

Inside I was comforted by relative silence, save for the motorized whir of a modern domestic household. I was the unchallenged leader of this empty space, and found comfort in the confinement which I had created for myself. A man can be truly what he is when alone like this, a luxury widely unattainable in most areas of living.

It is humorous; that which we find to be pleasant behavior often contradicts so greatly our humanity. We go about our day-to-day with so little primal influence, each day becoming more like the machines we create. Eventually, I think, we will simply whir quietly, shuffling to complete the grind, suppressing any remaining hope for salvation or satisfaction. I can only hope for better, for now.

Disguised, Disgusted

Have you ever known someone who seems to have been replaced by a creature from outer space? Who, by casual comparison, passes as a reasonably functional member of society, but upon closer examination proves to be – off – in some fundamental way inexplicable to the mind. The patterns are all wrong, as if they are being guided by some unheard frequency just outside of human understanding.

I became aware of a small sample of these creatures on a hot afternoon in Kentucky.  They dressed and acted as we would, but with differences which managed to be mild yet completely foreign. I was struck by such examples, and was left with a feeling of woe and dread, not of their presence, but of their character. I was not treated as a brother in this place. I had been seen as something slightly repulsive. A corroded piece of meat left out far too long.  Manageable, yet detestable. A thing to be dealt with.

Our eyes met. Our lips moved. We spoke, but not to each other. I had intentions of diplomacy, and had the means to fulfill my intentions. We, however, could not come to such an arrangement. Hers was a way of secrecy. Of a dark cloud with ominous intent, which doomed the misfortunate in its path to total obscurity.  Even once I had received the information I needed, she continued to display an air of concealment.  It was not an option to reason with these people.

My interactions came with good manner, but fell short in creating any footing for sustained cooperation. I was grasping to the sides of a jagged cliff, with no hope of pulling myself up. Why was this person trying to foil my attempts at reason?  Who was this animal behind a human face?

I stood stunned. Shunned by a frequency I had no familiarity with.

Now was a time for the hunter. I was the prey.

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