The Solitude’s Curse

The Solitude's Curse: An Encounter with Ancient Evil

I’ve always been a fan of solitude. The Hermit would be my tarot card of choice if I were directing my own psychic reading. I’d sit in the dark, like some solitary monk at the end of an empty chasm in the cosmic stone. Alone is where I discovered myself. Alone is where I confronted the demons and angels of my psyche, smelt the roses, and licked the very ichor of existence like a hungry child at the fountainhead of life.

All my thoughts and observations on life had been purely subjective, existing only between the gray whirls of my cerebrum. But in a world of chaos, It made sense to me that order could only be self-imposed. So I found solace in my hermitage, and the seclusion it offered me. It’s a cold comfort, but it is one that sings a sweetly dark harmony to my soul.

It was on this particular day that I found myself wandering in the woods, meditating upon the nature of existence and meditating upon the great failure which is mankind’s cursed history. My musings were interrupted by a sudden scream reverberating through the banks of fog that swept across the land like a spider’s web.

It was a scream that was both male and female at once, both young and old, reverberating its lonesome wail across the ether of existence itself. I would have recognized it if it was human, but not even the most fervently frayed imagination could paint this sound as human. It seemed to come from every angle as it turned me dizzy – this timeless scream that screamed at me from hell’s depths.

As I staggered away from the scream with a chilling pricking down my spine, I stumbled upon an ancient graveyard – in the heart of the woods which nobody disturbed. There was no gate or fence to separate what was living from what was dead; an obelisk stood in the center of the graveyard, like a dark finger beckoning the heavens. Crumbling gravestones encircled it, connected by veins of perpetual ivy, curling like the bony fingers of some skeletal hand. I knew, instantly, that this unearthed plot was something ancient and evil.

The very air was colder, time somehow heavier. As I looked down at my feet, I saw a grave dug open, recently. Amidst the rotting burial cloth, a putrid stench crawled into my nostrils and refused to let go. My gut told me never to set foot again on this unholy ground, but curiosity has always been my sin. It lured me deeper onto this soil of death.

The shadows that flowed between the tombstones seemed to converge towards the obelisk. There, amidst the decaying monuments of the long forgotten, something stirred.

Long, dark tendrils sprawled across the ground, sprouting like diseased roots from the base of the obelisk. I knew not what they sought, but their searching blackness chilled my bone marrow and caused my heart to thrash in its cage.

As the tendrils found their way to the open graves and desecrated tombs, the scream echoed in my mind again. The tendrils recoiled before suddenly plunging deep into the dark earth at each touchpoint, binding itself to the forsaken remains below.

With each pulse of communion between the tendrils and the grave dirt, the shadows grew darker. And from that darkness, they rose – shambling horrors reanimated and coated in grave-muck. Bony fingers clawed through the clotted soil; gaping jaws creaked as if rusted shut. The risen dead were held together by some force binding them to this dark sinew of communal shadow – a sinew that seemed to be fed by the obelisk, and whatever horror it hid within.

As the legion of unearthed corpses began to converge upon me, I realized that the scream – that terrible, haunting wail – was no longer echoing in the depths of the shadows. Instead, it arose within me. The solitude that I had so cherished became suffocating. It was a curse that bore down upon my very existence, crushing any hope I had for escape.

I ran, through the dark woods shrouded in mist. I ran because my life depended on it. But the undead horde followed me with insatiable hunger. The tendrils of darkness now reached out from beneath the earth, tearing at our world and pulling it into their own.

My once beloved solitude had become my undoing as I realized that isolation was never the answer. We are irrefutably connected to the chaos of humanity and denying its existence wouldn’t destroy its effects on us.

My heart nearly exploded in my chest as I made it out of the woods, reaching a small stretch of salvation beyond the treeline. The dead stayed behind, perhaps bound to the area that they died in or maybe just momentarily sated by their pursuit.

In this cold, desperate escape, I had learned that self-imposed solitude might sometimes be as damning as any external force. As my heart slowed its pounding and the darkness receded like a nightmare at dawn, I found myself grateful for the rare solace of silence. I knew, however, that it would never be quite the same again.

In those woods, something ancient and evil had reared its head once more, and the fateful knowledge of its existence was now mine to bear… alone.

Author: Opney. Illustrator: Dalli. Publisher: Cyber.

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