Fragments of Descriptive Prose

Embers flickered in the dying light. The moon’s rays having been made diffuse by encroaching clouds, the night sky was swept a sickly grey-white. The merest prickles of orange punctuated the landscape, delivered by the unexpected visitor in their midst. These flickers, these flames, sought the very stuff of their new environment. What they found was green and brown and grey. What they found were diverse textures, substances both rough-hewn and soft.

The crackling energy wondered where it was.

Most of what these spits of heat and light picked out of the inky blackness did not belong here. Riveted silver panels that spilled outward and upward from a vaguely cylindrical form, acute blades jutting from them in every conceivable direction. A steel behemoth sitting in languid silence, its only voice a spirited crackle borrowed from those charred, glowing remains of the deadwood it had careered through earlier in the night.


A lone carpet tile, tucked out of notice beneath that initial shelf, barely a corner presenting itself for the world to see. It blended not quite perfectly with the seamless flatweave surrounding it, a single tile in an otherwise uninterrupted sheet of pile.

The square begged to be removed. Beneath, what he unearthed had doubtless gone unexposed since the plans of the school’s architects had been met by the efforts of labourers of yore. A wooden surface: rough, unvarnished, not even sanded. Carved flush along one edge of the ancient timber, a pair of brass hinges as gleaming as the day they were cast. Opposing these, a corroding iron ring was similarly set in a form-fitting cavity.

The ring – a handle, as evidenced by the nature of its pivot – lifted easily, leaving no trace of oxide on his hand. He paused to consider what thing this was that he had found. A door, he presumed, but to what? Some hidden chamber?

He pulled at the handle.

The hinges, though pristine, creaked against the ageing timbers. He could lift the hatch scarcely more than an inch – not because of its weight, which was considerable, but for the obstruction that was the lower shelf. This was enough to satisfy the source of a strange, pervading tumult that spilled from the opening. It ate at him, bringing a terrible unease to his being while emboldening him like some strange addiction to press on.

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