I attempt to forget all of the mayhem that has preceded this meaningless schedule. Each morning arises as the last with little by way of significance. The cattle graze. I tend to them. I retreat back in from the cold following the completion of my menial duties. No faces await me inside. These walls stripped of any memories evoke far worse in the recesses of my darkening psyche. It’s not just apparitions from my past that plague my present but otherworldly beasts with no rhyme or reason.On my way back out, I am confronted by senseless jabbering. An old pal of the family shares his condolences but I know his game. We suffer the same ailments however incessant blabbering about this and that was never my approach. A boulder grows on his plot of land. Our loquacious comrade may have indulged in the seasonal fungi. Despite my rejections, he is vehement that it has grown ten metres in the last day. I’m struck by his conviction. Nonetheless his ailments may have gotten the better of him. A solitary life plays devil on the mind. I excuse myself and return to my tasks.
Once finished, there is little left to do but indulge in my supplies and follow the sun beneath the covers. The noxious transition from waking to projected life fills me with fear. I see her face but it’s contorted. As if a serpentine beast controls her skull from afar. It slithers here and there. Always after me no matter how far I run. Patches of darkness cloak my recollection beyond a holistic account. This is a world tarnished by reckoning and mine is on the horizon.
Finally, I awake from this tormented slumber. The same routine and tasks will likely fill my every waking moment. That is until I peek out from the slit in my blinds to find an otherworldly obelisk obscuring my vision. Is this a practical joke? The blabbering fool may have a better sense of humour than I’ve given him credit for. I venture out into the biting cold, where a sickly sweetness violates my nostrils.
This is the quietest morning I have experienced in my thirty odd years on this patch of Earth. An occurrence so rare leads me to first inspect my livestock. Approaching their field, the odour worsens with every step. Instead of cattle roaming freely, I am welcomed by empty land with pools of black ooze. It yields an ungodly aroma only amplified by the eery silence. I hasten my stride to the old man’s residence. Perhaps he can shed some light on this matter.
Upon reaching his residence, I find a gargantuan millipede-like organism floating mid-air. Nothing propels the creature. It just hovers above the old man’s house. To my horror, it appears to be inhaling the poor fool. Particles of his being gradually disappear within the black cloak of the floating insect. I take refuge behind his barn as the old fellow disintegrates. The ominous hunter hovers away into the sky, seemingly satiated. Its body moves in ways not akin to any creature of our natural kingdom. It lacks any form of face, eyes or appendages home to our planet. The thin tentacles protruding from its core secrete the same odorous black ooze found on my land.
Gazing up at the sky, I realise that the creature is hovering towards town. I scramble into the old man’s house. A hoarder at heart, the place is more than difficult to navigate. I scan for the keys to his battered up jeep. They lie precariously under an old newspaper. It’s her face. Those eyes harken back to my nightmares. That’s why he always stops me. I'm nothing but a walking documentary to him.
I’m way over the speed limit. Maybe I can redeem myself. Let bygones be bygones. The court certainly did. Why can’t this town? This is my chance. My fantasies are abruptly halted by flashing blue lights. A Garda steps up to the window. It doesn’t take long for her to realise that this isn’t my car. Despite my urgent claims that a reckoning is upon us, I am treated no better than a mentally ill criminal. Escorted to the holding cell in the local station, it dawns on me that I never should have tried to explain a phenomenon so outlandish. The powers that be are going to suspect me a murderer on top of all that my reputation has garnered.
As I’m subsequently questioned, the first Garda takes a companion and the duo leave to inspect the old man’s wellbeing. I’ve been framed by an organism of which I haven’t the faintest clue. Its anatomy alien to me. After my inquisition, I’m finally left alone. Making the most of my restricted liberty, I step onto my bunk and gape out of the window. A gargantuan amorphous cloud conceals any sunlight. The end of times appears nearer than anticipated.
My persecutor returns from her duties but there is a strangeness to her disposition. The known world ceased to exist within her limited sense of karmic justice. I beg of her to let me go. It takes a number of attempts but she finally opens the cell. I enquire as to what transpired during her visit to the old man’s home. This serves little purpose as she shuts down. The information may be too much to bear at this moment.
I take the keys to the Garda car and speed off in the direction of the obelisk. Upon making it onto a country road, I notice a multitude of serpentine beasts scattered amongst the amorphous clouds. Human skulls adorn these serpentine bodies. My eyes must be deceiving me. They move through thin air as if swimming in water, defying gravity. The town remains eerily quiet. No one whispering gossip from within the crevices. However this unnatural quiet is short lived. A cacophony of screams grows in volume as I approach my land. The obelisk continues to loom oppressively overhead.
Knocking branches aside in a frenzy, I close in on the harrowing sound. A sight beyond any human comprehension awaits me. The townsfolk have been morphed into a large unidentifiable blob. An amorphous amoeba akin to the indistinct structure penetrating the skies. This collective human hive squeals in unison. Their conspiratorial whispers amplified to chilling roars.
A creature sprouting a mass of tentacles from its skull floats regally atop this creation. Next to it a familiar face can be seen. Is that her? My curiosity gets the better of me and I trudge to the peak of the hive. The obelisk shrouds this entire section in darkness. It is her. She confronts me. What could this be? She was never found. Is this her fate? Was she always destined to haunt me? The mysterious creature behind this illogical apparition shows no sign of emotion, appearing as an objective witness to the horrors before me.
Slipping and falling, I careen to the bottom of the sickening mass. Once below, I sprint with all of my might away from this cosmic statue. I deliberately angle my escape into the adjacent forest. However as I re-emerge into the embers of the sunlight, the obelisk remains ahead. How could that be? It defies anything rational. I change my direction yet the obelisk materialises before me.
There has to be an explanation for something so afoul. A break in the spacetime continuum? The Great Filter may yet be ahead of us after all. Is this a calamitous change to all of humanity or is it just me? Is this all being played out in the confines of my skull? Am I in actuality hooked up to a tangle of sensors and this is a fabricated figment of my imagination? Have I wandered into the depths of the West ailing from severe hypothermia and conjured up this last hopeless vision?
No. I must push on. My mind is capable of all manner of foul when left to its own devices. Once inside my abode, I overhear a rabid digging emanating from the living room. Upon inspection, a large hole has been excavated into the ground. I muster up whatever courage I have left and drop into it. A crevice with bloody pools awaits me. Towards the end of the tunnel, a fidgeting figure obsessively burrows.
Slimy tubes leading into the darkness protrude from the figure’s eyes. It's the accompanying Garda but there is something truly ungodly about him. His arms husks of flesh. Blood streams as he fastidiously shovels the Earth away. A battered hammer lies next to him. From within the shadows, the being emerges. The slimy tubes extend from its skull to orchestrate the Garda’s every move. As if the being were a puppet master, it turns the Garda around and has him charge at me. I narrowly evade his tackle and grab for the hammer. The Garda lands on top and uses his blood soaked appendages in an attempt to restrain me. My face now covered in his blood, I defend myself against his obstructions and crack the hammer against his temple multiple times.
The tubes release from the Garda's eyes and inject themselves into mine. My every movement is commanded by an alien force. I am led back above, across the crying hive of townsfolk and into the obelisk itself. I’m with her now, reliving that horrendous moment. I persuade her to take her father's boat out into the sea. We do so, giddy like two schoolchildren intentionally breaking the rules. I hit something large. She falls. There’s no sight of her. I dive into the murky waters below. Nothing.
Why would this entity want me to relive this harrowing event? How is this all being projected? Have I reached purgatory in the dying embers of a forgotten land? The deathly grip loosens itself on my eyes. My vision is now bombarded by an arena of tortured souls. The townsfolk simmer away in this hellish world. Cooked, quartered, sliced or otherwise. Those who had judged me guilty tormented eternally.
I sprint away from this overwhelming sight yet again. Peering back, I can see that the floating orchestrator doesn’t budge. Am I being toyed with? I depart the obelisk and crash down onto the field. The hive of townsfolk has disappeared and the obelisk dissipates behind me. Covered in blood, I return home. A Garda car awaits me with a forensics team. The hammer has been bagged up along with the eyeless Garda. I am forcefully apprehended and shoved into the parked vehicle.
Incessant questioning concerning the whereabouts of the townsfolk awaits me. Despite my better judgement, I divulge my experiences from the animate hive to the creature navigating my grief stricken past. I am confronted by speechless stares. The Garda's demise and the mystery laden disappearance of the townsfolk hang over my head. Any attempt at blaming a cosmic phenomenon would likely yield similar results yet I bellow them out at full volume. I have nothing left to lose. My parents are gone, my only chance at love resurrected by an alien creature and unexplainable events intruding on the world around me. I give up and fall into a deep slumber.
A Garda with the telepathic tentacles extending from his skull allows my escape. As I step out into the world, I am confronted yet again by the obelisk. It has grown in stature. My capturers wander the streets with the same tentacles protruding from their eyes. I am drawn to this oppressive tower. It’s my only chance at experiencing the woman whose end will always remain a fixation. I see the creature for what it is. An orchestrator, which welcomes me in for the bastardly beast I am. Now I am enclosed in its tomb forevermore.