Saturday, February 13, 2016
Iamí - Cavernas do Inconsciente (2015)
I wandered down the hall of purple torches for nearly an hour, and yet it still seemed to stretch on without end. The torches barely lit the stone walls around me, and I could not see the ceiling which was a great height above, far beyond illumination. Every footstep echoed long into the silence, leading me to believe that the ceiling stretched as high as the hallway was long, which as far as I could tell was endless. There were countless doors to my right and left, all identical. I tried opening most of them that I passed, but all were locked. As I continued to walk, suddenly I was startled by a small dark shape darting across the floor. I rubbed my eyes, wondering if I were hallucinating in my delirious state; I was was very thirsty from the many years entombed.. I approached the spot where I had seen the shape vanish, which was by a door on the right wall. I discovered that the door was slightly ajar! I reached out and pulled it open. As I did so it released a deep echoing creak, of ages unmoved, and as it opened I smelled something immediately familiar though long-forgotten, the scent of life, of plants, trees and water.
I walked through the door into this next dark chamber. There were scattered torches about, and I could make out the edges of the room in the distance. There were trees everywhere, somewhat like a jungle and somewhat like a garden. The path leading from the door meandered through the trees much like a forest trail, and though there was dirt, grass, and leaves all around, the path itself was still masoned stone. Who had cultivated this place? Would they perhaps still be here? Then I heard a distinctive sound to my left, a meow. There was a black cat perched on the edge of the path several feet ahead, and it stared at me absently. I realized that this must've been the black shape I had seen in the hall. I was going to say a word of greeting, when it suddenly turned away into the forest.
I continued along the path until I eventually reached a small clearing, where I found a fountain holding a pristine pool of water, which was somehow fed from a small creek that drifted through. I immediately stuck my face into the fountain and drank deeply. As I lifted my head I saw my reflection. I was ancient. Though my memories had long since disintegrated, I imagined myself as a young man. What I saw before me, however, was a thoroughly wizened old creature. My skin was wrinkled, my head was bald, my beard was long, and my eyes had sunken so far within that only the darkness of the sockets remained visible in the low light. I saw only a stranger looking back, and so I felt nothing apart from the initial surprise. I understood it to be myself, but contentedly understood it to also be merely an aspect of my eternal self, a shape taken in temporal novelty.
I asked of my reflection, "Where am I?" obviously expecting no response.
To my surprise it replied, its voice croaking like the grinding of stones, "This is a forest, one of many in the Hall of Lucidity."
"How are plants able to grow here without sunlight?" I asked.
"Many things are able to grow without sunlight, like mushrooms for instance," my reflection said.
"Mushrooms?" I sighed. "I'm not a mushroom. I need to find the sun."
"Why do you need to find the sun?" it asked.
"Because I'm cold."
"You may find it, you may not, but even if you do I doubt whether it will bring you warmth. In any case, you should follow my shadow. Take comfort in the Hall of Lucidity. It might be cold, but it is sacred." And then my reflection vanished, and I only stared into an empty pool of water, as if I were a vampire.
I stood up, satisfied to have quenched my thirst, but still felt cold, and still longed for the sun. There was life in that chamber. And so I scoured it, searching everywhere for another exit, waiting for the night to pass. But I knew it never would. The life here thrived in spite of the darkness, and in fact seemed to thrive on it. I realized that I would need to step back out and continue my search. If light was not necessary for life, why should it necessarily exist at all? The thought worried me. But I could not deny that the place had left me with hope. I had not expected to encounter nature so soon again, unless this whole vast tomb were some sort of natural construction.
I turned away from the beautiful fountain, and that chamber of life, and made my way back into the endless hall of purple light. As I neared the exit, I turned and looked back and saw a dark shape moving. It stopped and two bright yellow orbs stood still in the blackness, gazing at me with alien intelligence. I took a final deep breath of that unexpected fresh air, and then reluctantly left, back into the gloom of the musty hall.
Posted by Andrew Werdna at 4:45 AM