Slave team. The odor of sweat hangs in the air, mixed with the smell of the desert. Beneath the pitiless blue of the sky, the sound of low grunts; cold, methodical drumbeats, whips on bare skin, the piercing scrape of the stone. The men groan as one body. A meshwork of ropes wound round their backs, clanking jet irons chaining their feet, each one of them harnessed into each other; together as one body, they are taking the Thing to the Place.

The Thing is evil. A ribcage of bones, stretched, twisted and smashed. Black as the night against the hot yellow sands, it reeks of ritual death and warm blood. And beneath the pounding, the cracking, the groaning, the clanking, the Thing hums.

The team comes to the Hill. A ringlet of skulls surrounds it; idiot heroes killed for their bravery. The drum rhythm gets faster. Against the flatness of the sands, the men begin dragging the Thing up the sheer slope. Hisses and groans. Bodies collapsing, dead with exhaustion. The masters unchaining them, the team straining on.

The sun is starting to fade. Thin shadows extending across cooling sands. The summit finally is reached. In the vapor of the desert heat escaping, the Altar swims into focus.

A small, square, featureless box. On the box, an egg. The Thing begins to be cantilevered into position. The team circles around it, some walking backwards. The Position is reached. A small slitted opening in one of its faces — so tiny that it would be imperceptible, were it not surrounded with hideous symbols — is maneuvered into place, directly facing the egg.

Night has now closed-in completely. The slaves wait somberly, dumbly in the desert air turning brisk. The High Priest begins his chant. A stream of vowels and syllables, some terrible tongue…

He stops abruptly. Pregnant and hideous, dark with foreboding, infinite night pours instantly into the emptiness. A moment passes, then another. Nobody moves, nothing moves. And then, just as suddenly, too quick too see, something flashes out from the side of Thing, out across the egg. A momentary glimmer of metal in the moonlight.

The drums and the whips start up again. With another low groan, the slaves begin dragging the Thing back down the Hill. Winds whistle through the desert.


There are no comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: