Persistent Memory

the worms crawl in, the worms crawl out...

the worms play pinochle on your snout

The four of us descend into the tunnels below…the walls are red, packed clay, interspersed with large stones.

It smells terrible in here, like mildewed cloth, wet and dank. Five tunnels radiate from where we stand. We choose one and start exploring.

We come across a skeleton, bones tumbled on the floor. Unsurprisingly, it is wet and mildewy, but we see a shine of something else…a closer inspection reveals that the bones were most likely those of an adult male, and that the person died in a similar manner to Stuart Cabot Jenkins…there are the same cracked ribs, the same tell-tale fissures in bone. The shine turns out to have been from some coins, which Marion identifies as being from the 1860s.

The tunnel starts to show signs of being man-made rather than natural, the walls being too smooth and regular. We theorize this may be one of the “copper mines” Marion had read about in her research of the area.

To our left, we see another shaft; this one is almost vertical…little white grubs drop down one by one into a small pile. Some of them go off towards tunnel entrances and others mill around. We all look closer…we see the tunnel from which they drop is also quite regular in shape…more like a pipe than a tunnel, really.

Further along, we find more shafts and yet more grubs. We hear a loud, scraping, hollow sound, and have no idea from what direction it’s coming.

We then hear another loud noise, as of a beast bellowing in pain or rage.

Marion and Clara see a portion of an immense, segmented, greenish organism as it moves along one shaft that intersects the one in which we stand and enters a shaft on the other side. Marion drops her flashlight and starts gesticulating wildly with the sickles. Clara manages to calm her, but she remains far from lucid.

She pushes ahead of Troy and Douglas, so we follow her. We end up in a roughly ovoid cavern…this has also been artificially shaped, and a tracery of copper runs along the surface, too regular and even to be natural, just like everything else in this very unnatural place.

A large statue in a blocky, angular, style is in the chamber. This type of sculpture is not fitting for this area, being more readily identifiable as Mezzo-American in character. It appears to be bound, spread-eagle against a doorway. Its shackles are copper.

Marion performs a spell to open the gateway. It’s very similar to the ritual that had been performed by the other Marion at the dolmen near Skookum Lake. The portal opens and we walk forward. Marion and Clara are unscathed, but Troy and Douglas don’t fare so well; their tenuous grasp on reality becomes that much more fragile.

At one point, we come out on a mountain overlooking a placid lake. It’s springtime, and the sun is setting. There’s a dolmen here, too. A girl in her mid-teens, and a boy of about 12 stand together…the boy reaches over to take the girl’s hand, but she twitches it aside, laughing. As the sun drops below the horizon, the boy’s face takes on a predatory look, belying the innocent sweetness that had been on the surface just moments earlier. He looks right at us. It’s Edmund Cage.

Then we’re through the gate.

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