The Mesa: Part Two
~ A photograph from the top of the Mesa, taken at unknown time by Mila. Towns can be seen in the distance around the base of another mesa.
Above me, who knows how many hundreds of feet, was a giant Eye made out of cloud. It was shaped like an eye, pinched down at the sides, white and perfect on the outside. It had a dark grey iris, and a deep, voidlike pupil. It was staring directly into me.
“Boz.” I said weakly. “Do you see that?” I asked him. He looked up.
“It’s an eye.” He said. We both saw it and stood in awe.
Building in pressure underneath that awe was a feeling I couldn’t quite make out. My attention was solely on the giant eye, which continued to exist in its shape above us. The emotion that soon bubbled out of me was of complete joy and child-like bewilderment.
“I think…”I said hesitantly, words feeling like strange empty echoes, “That its a Good Cloud.” I couldn’t keep from smiling. We had a guardian. I looked at all the clouds around in the distance, large and fluffy white on stark blue skies. “I think they are good clouds.” And soon, the Eye had floated away, and could not be seen.
We continued walking towards a part of the Mesa we had yet to discover, the long grass in certain places swaying and distorting my vision, my eyes focused into sharp clarity and unfocused into a blurred visual cacophony. We were in the thick of the primeval rocks and plants and insects, red, brown, red. The greens of cactus that dotted the ground. I knew I was not in the same world I had left. I had gone someplace else. Someplace…liminal. Someplace between two places.
The Axis Mundi, I thought reverently, though I had never before placed any importance on the concept, I felt sure that was where I was, physically and mentally. On the threshold. The Eye and the ants had been our welcome.
It was about this time that we saw something growing in the distance. My eyes, or brain, couldn’t decipher it. In the distance, on the other side of the Mesa to which we had headed, was a wall of darkness. There is no way to explain fully how big that wall was, but I could see Denver from the mesa like a splotch of gray and squared shapes in the distance. I could see other mesas and I could see clouds bigger than the town below. This wall was bigger, wider, than anything else within eyesight.
Someone, I think probably Boz, pointed out that it was a wall of rain, topped by thick, gray and black clouds.
“Those are not good clouds.” I grumbled, only half paying attention to the words, and a fear gripped me. It didn’t matter that I had not only walked, lived but slept in rain with sometimes little more than a pine tree to keep the moisture off of me, while Tiggle curled up in my jacket. It didn’t matter that I had been stuck on the Appalachian trail and had to endure nights of non-stop rain and intermittent thunderstorms. This was not a storm like those. I would only realize later that this was a special kind of storm. A desert storm.
“Fuck!” Someone cursed, perhaps all of us. “We should head back to the camp” Boz suggested earnestly. We walked as fast as we could, but the wall of darkness was rushing at us quickly. I had never seen a wall of rain from the side. Everything beyond it was lost to sight. Soon the dry, desiccated Mesa would be muddied.
Then we saw the lightning, streaking down through the wall of darkness every few minutes. Not good, I thought. I realized where we were. Not only elevated, but there was not much that would be taller than the few trees that we had tented up at.
When we returned to the camp, Mila and Boz had situated themselves under the tarp canopy. They were discussing whether or not we should try to exit the Mesa, but all agreed there wasn’t much point. The storm would be upon us before we could make the long walk back into town, and even if we could have made it, where would we have gone?
What they didn’t see was the Shoggoth that was circling the campsite. A large, amorphous tunnel of distorted light and ephemera, without face or end, made its way around behind them, and avoided their gazes should they turn, sinking into the landscape. I decided not to tell them, and instead chose to ignore the thing, knowing for some reason it could not penetrate the camp boundaries. It was getting dark now, the storm was nearly on top of us, thunder was echoing out across the valleys between the shelf mountains and lightening began to light up the sky with even more frequency.
I turned and looked at the town around the Mesa. I saw dark buildings, I saw bright lights. I saw something start to come out of the drains and sewers in the streets, a thick green goo. It rose up through the streets, engulfing the buildings and everything around, except for the lights of the houses and streets lamps, which were like pinpricks that swam around in the goo, like a million eyes, and it kept rising.
“What is that?!” I asked, because I was sure I didn’t know. But they didn’t see what I saw.
Then the storm hit like a fist.
(Definitely didn’t mean for this to be drawn out so long! Not too much more to go until the end of the anecdote, but I think putting it all into one post might make it hard to read, so I will have to write a short third section.)
~ Seth Moris