Stars going out like candles, an image shown in so many media. The splintering of bone.Why dream about something like that? When we're children, we have nightmares even then. Glowing green eyes in the depths of a cave. A whispered name.
I dreamed tonight that I was in a maze. Not a labyrinth, a maze. A multicursal stucture, rather than a unicursal structure. The walls were not stone. The were gray, gray, gray and brown, with writing on them. Some form of concrete or stucco? Beside the point.
Alchemical symbols. Antimony. Silver. Platinum. Magnesium. Gold. All beneath a layer of dust so thick that I could see my footprints in it. Ahead of me was evidence of someone passing before. Small of stature, bare feet. Bare feet in that mess... I've stepped in worse, I guess.
As I ran a hand along the grime and rust-covered wall, watching the flowering of the rust along the surface, I began to notice lighter spots along the wall. They were rectangles, reaching from above my head to the floor. Like when you have a piece of furniture in a single place for a very long time and it leaves a mark when you move it.
It took a long moment as I looked at the marks, and I began to realize that they were doors. Or where there were doors. Places where the doors had vanished. What would happen if you were in a room and the door vanished? Would you try to go through the wall?
What if you couldn't go through the wall due to being trapped in an extradimensional pocket? Set fire to the room? Listen to the voices? Try to press on anyway? Curl up in a ball and give up? Rage against the sky that you no longer had access to and that would not listen, anyway? Skies are very bad listeners. They have no ears.
Pc ypn wngf ittlwf qxpy sff httn dwhh ui, ak ah httrw oqixs bw ttwozs tq evmccw spr rdrlmps.
There were true openings in the walls now. Tiny altars of perhaps-dead things that have been forgotten for many a year. A woman robed in cobweb, the wet, glittering black of her eyes shielded by skeletal fingers, a ring glinting on each. A small, stout man with the face of an reptile of some sort, eyes sparkling and following every movement, completely nude. A many-horned creature, vague in form, leathery and violent in its very appearance. A young woman with the eyes of a cat, snakes and the tails of scorpions woven into her sooty hair, a shattered hand outstretched in supplication. A child with her hands over her eyes, wings of light broken and shattered. Offerings become dust themselves, scattered and strewn away.
Tell the king; the fair wrought house has fallen
No shelter has Apollo, nor sacred laurel leaves
The fountains are now silent; the voice is stilled.
It is finished.
Other tiny staues are tucked in smaller nooks, most of them toppled over on their sides, a spread of acrid liquid spilling from their bases, discoloring the air and the mind with shades of dreams lost and unseen.
As I went further, the hundred alcoves became fewer. They were all empty, except for more graffiti, and the walls have elaborate water stains, dripping rust and orange colors down the concrete. One of the spaces had a small round opening, perhaps six inches in diameter, presumably the mouth of a pipe. It was also surrounded by a flower of rust stains, and some individual with a very strange sense of humor left a ragged black scrawl reading “The Chicken Goes Here” with an arrow pointing to it.
If only I’d thought to bring a chicken... and that was an odd place to wake up from, babbling and clinging.