I emerged, crawling upward from the bowels of unending, the grime thick and the smoke spreading.
What lay there, I hardly recall. My thoughts were not my own then. They are barely my own now. I am not who I am, you see. I am all that remains.
Here is what I remember of that dark time. The memory of that caustic smoke, acrid tasting, stings my eyes still. The dim phosphorescence provided by the braziers stationed on the walls at various junctures left everything shrouded, so that I made my way through the boweled earth by feel as much as by sight. It mattered little for I trod the same path each day, the hours of my waking passing with a regularity that provided its own kind of timekeeping. I knew when to sleep. I knew when to eat. I knew what to do at every moment of every day.
My tasks I barely understood, only that they were ancient and immutable, part of a vast undertaking involving those thousands of us who lived below. I knew nothing of them and they nothing of me. Our existence was tied solely to what duty required of us. Hour after hour, day after day, we moved through those tunnels and byways, in service to those who had gone. Our chants and songs, incantations and prayers, filled the air, clouding it as much as the smoke, never falling silent, easing me to sleep when my time came.
What we did defined us and I remember so little of it now. Every step, every gesture of my hands, every intonation, all so precisely done, in spite of the obscurity we existed in. The meaning of it all escapes me. I am not who I was.
Read the rest at Circumambient Scenery.
In A Flash: read a new story every Thursday…
If you like this story, or any of my others, please consider supporting me on Patreon