Interpretation Pt. 1

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   The rocky and shabby cliffs, sheer walls of sand, held together by the roots of the surrounding and often encroaching chaparral stood high in the setting sun, Tum casting darker blue across the canyon where not much but the ticks found comfort. There was very little life, and most of what was there ended up gnarled or crushed by the weight of its own weakness. Maybe in the spring some almost green things would try harder than most to get a touch of the strange and powerful spirit of the winged globe of light, but right now, in the depths of fall, even the thought of effort made the grass brittle and break, for here and now energy lies dormant. Dry winds change the environment faster than the rodents could keep up with, their wondrous underground fortresses withered - perpetually unrecognizable. Even the ants had trouble coalescing. Their scent, carefully excreted on every grain encountered flew about in the air, not allowing the food collected to find its way back to the queen. The only birds who dared to stay around were jet black, and the fish that swam in the stagnant and quickly evaporating lake, which consisted of something that cannot truthfully be called water, bore the colors of dust and bacteria. Nobody knew why the environment was so naturally unsustainable in these parts. Plenty of myths piously sang songs of suspense, but it wasnʼt until recently that any evidence was found to explain the organic anomalies.
    Dari Whitler, a habitat and biome researcher and part time editor and publisherʼs assistant, was taking a morning walk through this estranged and vibrating canyon, looking for anything that might take her mind off of an absolutely inappropriate situation that had just occurred with her fifty-nine year old Italian landlord and his liberal understanding of the concept of privacy and perversion. She walked quickly cursing the fate, and thereby the people involved, that spat her out in this shitty town researching the environmental demise of this withering countryside. Her focus on these issues seriously deterred her from analyzing and researching her surroundings adequately and her fury only stirred the spirits that should be left unbothered. She encountered more hostile animals on this hike than any other in her life this far, but was too upset to notice. She had only arrived four days ago and knew the rest of the four months would probably “get worse.” She was trying to mean “get interesting,” (she had been working on her rephrasing abilities, [something her psychiatrist keeps saying would improve her often bitter mood, {in the inevitable and classic, albeit mildly childish and unprofessional, words of Dr. Lassiter, “life only seems like shit if youʼre made outta shit!” He was a good psychoanalyst and was perfectly aware of his scatological fixation, which he subtly and uncomfortably pushed upon everyone by using cliches that often involved those sorts of things. “Cʼmon Dari, you just gotta take out your butt-plug!”} ]). These strange situations might have been accentuated by the eldritch aura that had surrounded Dari her whole life. She was drop-dead gorgeous, but for some reason, always seemed to bring out the worst in men. She never really knew about this effect, knowing only what it is like to be her, that would somehow cause them to say the most outrageous things, or to commit some mildly or wildly embarrassing acts. She had yet to find someone who could stand the powerful fire that burned in her mind.
    To soothe herself, she decided to think about simpler things. Her mind fell onto states of matter, (she had been studying some chemistry the past few months and it had begun to invade her metaphorical thinking,) analyzing how the states of matter - solid, liquid, gas, and plasma - could relate to other subjects. As she sat down to take a sip of water, she laughed at how people thought these scientific names for earth, water, air and fire were so much more revolutionary. Everything seemed recycled, all ideas, all lifestyles, but each thing at its own speed, creating a constant flux of slightly new and varied combinations and permutations. Maybe the origin of this obsession with fours began with the analysis of our limbs, where two pairs of two exist in harmony to allow us, and many other animals, to stagger in space. Maybe the origin of this obsession with fours began when humans first tried to communicate directions, stumbling upon East, the place where the air blows, and South where the fires burn, or West where the waters flow, or North where the Earth stands steady. Maybe the origins of this obsession with fours began by experiencing the seasons, spring being a watery womb, summer being an airy and sunny sustainer of life, fall being a fiery and dry destroyer, and winter the cold and desolate refresher of earth. Again, recycled. Even in astrology things boil down similarly; the angel, or Libra - the air sign, the bull, or Taurus - the earth sign, the Lion, or Leo - the fire sign, and the Eagle, or Scorpio - the water sign. This is also reflected in the new testament of the bible with Matt, the angel, Mark, the lion, Luke, the bull, and John, the eagle, all of which have four letters. Again, reflected in some of the archangels, Raphael - the protecter of the eastern air, Michael - the protector of the southern fire, Gabriel - the protector of the western water, and Auriel - the protector of the northern earth. Even colors applied. If one combined the primary colors of subtractive light and additive light, one ends up with yellow - the airy color of the east, red - the fiery color of the south, blue - the watery color of the west, and green - the earthy color of the north. The Christian Cross, the right-triangle, the high cards of the tarot, King, Queen, Prince, and Princess. The most common rhythmic structure in music has four beats divided by four more sub-beats. Two dimensional surfaces have four sides. Humans perceive in four dimensions - three spacial and one temporal. Dari could not explain this flood of ideas. It seemed to be coming from somewhere outside herself. Overwhelmed and confused, she looked around frantically realizing where she was. She was perched on a cliff-side trail, hugging the mountain in fear of falling into the canyon. Turning around frantically, a rock caught her eye. Carved into it was a strange symbol, and its color unique from those surrounding it. The apple she had brought on the hike sat perched on the rock and she didnʼt quite remember when she had put it there. The more she thought about it, she realized she didnʼt know exactly how she had gotten there, and had no idea of how long she had been there. It was already getting dark and she didnʼt know which way to go to get back to her room that was most likely invaded by the boundary-less landlord. She began traveling east, because why not, and quickly realized it was not the direction she was supposed to be going.
    The sun had moved into the realm of Khephra, the great scarab beetle - wings outstretched with a fiery red disk held above itʼs head, which Dari was again confused to find herself thinking about. This information hadnʼt popped into her mind since she had learned about it in an Egyptian mythology class in college a few years prior. She was now walking very slowly, listening very closely. The only light available was projected from a thin waxing crescent rising over the mountains. Only a few clouds stood in the way of the moonʼs glow and the scratchy, dry and unknown path so carefully crafted by time and nuance. It looked to Dari that the trail would lead to a town; a yellow light subtly emanating from a few minutes in the distance. After a mileʼs worth of being scared over and over by the tricky and esoteric motion of teratological molecules, which transformed passive plants into vicious animals, and motionless rocks into agile predators, Dari started to lose the hope that the emanating light was caused by a collection of humans. In another attempt to “rephrase” the situation, she realized she had never tried to analyze a habitat at night, which in retrospect, struck her as absolutely biased and unscientific. This turned her classic “person lost in the desert” situation into a “scientist doing important field work” situation, and she felt the illusion of security. As the surrounding bushes cleared slightly and the canyon trail opened up into a wide valley, a small house was visible. This was the source of the strange beacon and Dari had conflicting views about whether to approach or not.
    She tiptoed, using the deeply engrained ballet technique remembered by her calf and ankle muscles from childhood, up to a side window and peered into the single roomed shack only to see a single burning candle as the source for the entire valleyʼs glow. The shack housed no humans, or any other easily noticeable creatures. Dari circled to the door and knocked, while her force gently pushed the door open. The inside was spotless, and organized in a very particular and religious way. The floor was fixed with a tile alternating squares of black, although faded, and white. In the center was a circle painted on the floor, with strange markings, both symbols and words, some of which used recognizable letters (in unrecognizable ways,) while other parts were completely abstract and unintelligible. A “T” shape was painted in the center of the circle with smaller squares, and a rectangular altar stood at the apex of the intersection. The lamp that gave off this wondrously powerful glow whilst remaining soft and subtle was hanging from the ceiling directly over the altar. It was an oil candle made with the greenest of olive oils, the cork from a duly enjoyed bottle of wine, and the wick of hemp, pulled through the cork floating in the center of the oil in a round glass. The light slightly flickered every so often, but still seemed too steady for the gusts whistling just on the other side of the walls. On the altar was a metal plate, topped with a glass full of some liquid Dari was too afraid to investigate, a stick, (at this point she was considering using the word “wand,”) a small double-edged dagger with a black handle, and large sword draped up against it, also double bladed, with an opposing-parentheses shaped swordguard, not unlike “ )( ” if it were shifted 90 degrees. Dari felt tingly in most of her body, her motions became deliberate and careful. Against one of the walls was another desk, topped with more mystical devices that glowed with the lamp-light that filled the valley. A triangle-shaped placemat, also with a circle on it that contained strange symbols written in strange colors, sat with a large dark mirror placed perfectly in the center. Off to the side was a book with a big embossed title written on a wretched leather book cover. All it said was “Goaysha: The Lesser Key.” Dari sat down in the chair in front of the dark mirror and glanced at herself in the opaque reflection. The longer she looked, the more her reflection began to look refracted, into many selves that compiled to create a single image, but was alway shifting and morphing into new versions. It suddenly stopped on a single face. One difficult to describe. It was humanoid, but alien. Its proportions off-key, and its colors off-kilt. It seemed to be speaking directly into her mind in a language she could not understand. Regardless, powerful emotional reactions overwhelmed her at the sound of the speech. Dari felt unable to look away, she lost all concept of where she was and what was happening. All she could do was stare into the wild and sinister eyes of the creature flowing from the obsidian. The wind picked up and caught the door, pushing it hard to a slam waking her up from her trance out of pure shock. Baffled and horrified, she threw the scarf that hung around her neck over the mirror and took a deep breath. She limped to the floor more exhausted than she already was. She looked around again. There was not much else in the room, a single chair, and a rug at the door. At the desk she noticed there was a single drawer, right in the center, which was open by the slightest offset, the right side slightly more than the left. She pulled delicately at the handle of the drawer and it snapped off with ease. Regardless of how tiny of a detail that may be, it might have caused the most curiosity inside her thus far. She now felt a competitive thrust to get the drawer open, which was not difficult once she established the proper fingering. It helped that she had smaller hands. Inside was a deck of tarot cards, which happened to have one card up on the top, the Hierophant, which dawned in each corner respectively, a bull, a lion, an angel and an eagle. She felt the connection to her earlier thoughts and could now feel her heart beat in her toes and temples. The coincidence seemed too perfect. Next to the deck was a smaller and more archaic book covered with a dark green title-less cloth. The first page had a few drawings of shapes Dari was somewhat familiar with, but not very. The most obvious shape she knew was the star. The next page had a hand written title, “The Collected Experiments and Experiences of Seamus, the Flaming Snake.” The whole book seemed to be handwritten, and luckily, handwritten by somebody with decently legible handwriting. Dari picked a page at random:
    “We wandered, and we waited. We waxed, and we waned. The drips fell faster as the clouds covered more of the quickly fading sunlight. We had only a few things with us, most of which we brought to destroy. The weather didnʼt permit a fire, or the time to make a shelter and we were beginning to feel bites, but the intensity I seemed to feel emanating from Squ pushed those thoughts off the cliff we were so dangerously perched on. Looking down at the river below we disorganized our few belongings and began preparing. The uncertainty lied in our technique, but the certainty wallowed in our vigor. Many had warned us against the use of the Goaysha, especially in combination with the effects of Kayo, but they were just afraid, and fear is something that only helps prevent insight. Squ could speak in much clearer and purposeful tones, which rang through the valley, reflecting and refracting further into dust, while my abilities lay in the accuracy of my drawings, and the clarity of my sight and imagination. He would call them into the circle that was carefully drawn and talk with them while I saw, drew, and wrote what was said and what occurred. We had run it over in our minds, and had even had a few rehearsals to make sure the basis of the ritual was well conceived, but also contained a kind of looseness that allowed for the spontaneous and the unforeseen. Tonight was the attempt to communicate with Asmodʼes, a mysterious and powerful creature, as the myth goes, that contains the keys to many doors of knowledge. Squ had experienced this working once before with his previous partner, who had successfully coerced the creature to show itself, but was unable to command control, and lost contact. Squ had described the experience to me in fantastic detail largely due to a heavy night of drinking, which also explains why I canʼt remember it, combined with the fact that he had never told anybody about it since it occurred twenty-three years earlier. That was the fourth time I had ever met Squ and the first time anybody had ever told me about these strange creatures which he said lurk around, unseen, until those suited to command them attempt contact. Since then he has been showing me the tricks of the trade of the mind games, and as it is with the brain and infinity, the more I seem to learn, the less I seem to know.”
    A gust of wind blew towards the north and kicked a tumbleweed up towards the window and began breezily scratching the glass that looked out towards the barren and razor cliffs. The more she read of this strange book, the more the air began to change. Itʼs density rose to the point of tangibility, but still lacking the heavy and thick humidity that most often made air feel real. Dariʼs heart had been beating quite fast pretty much ever since she stumbled upon the shack, and she was now feeling the pains of hunger tap at her insides. The apple sat in her sweater pocket. She felt lucky that it hadnʼt been eaten earlier on the hike. She thought about eating it but figured the pain could be handled for a little while longer. She would try to hold out until she absolutely needed it. She pushed back at the growls of the hunger and forced herself to refocus on the book:
    “The beginning stage had four different parts, one offering for each element dispersed with the intent of Kayo. We began facing the east, with a bag full of the lightest, littlest pieces of plants, dust particles, and feathers, that were found on daily walks and carefully put together over the course of four weeks. Both Squ and I took a handful raised above our heads and as we let go, proclaimed, “KAYO!” with all our being, and with this the wind rushed by and blew pieces all scattered up and out like a puff of thick smoke. Our ears perked at the gale, our cloaks flapping in ways not often seen. We turned to the south. Here we had a pile of writings that Squ and I had spent time, daily, writing over the course of four weeks. We had both agreed on the quality of writing and thought if the working fell though that we might like to have it published, but alas, there we were, lighting a torch with some flint to have it burned. As the papers began to enflame, we called from the deepest depths of our chests, “HAAD!” The clouds grew darker and the ground grew hotter. The wind spat in our faces. We turned to the west. Both Squ and I had collaborated on a painting using a very special paper that disintegrates very quickly once it encounters water, which was brought with us. We unraveled the art and placed it on the ground. As it began washing away we focused the energy of our minds and intoned, “BAAB” The rain changed gears so rapidly it made the precipitation from few minutes prior seem like mist. They turned once more to the north. Squ had been making a living as a flame-worker, and was quite good at producing delicate glassware. I had apprenticed a few times and made a few decent glass talismans, but nothing compared to the intricacy of Squʼs work. We had made a collection of the five best pieces we had produced over the course of four weeks, two from me, three from him. Mine were very simple, often modeling basic geometric shapes - an ornamented triangle, and a cube made of thin, twisted glass rods. Squʼs were modeled after other beings he had encountered and other visions he had seen. An attempt to describe them would do no justice. After digging a hole with our bare hands, we took each piece and carefully placed it inside. A rock was found, too big for one of us to carry, and brought over the hole. As the rock was dropped, we both exclaimed from the deepest desires of our hearts, “NUUT!” Lightning began to strike off in the distance. The four elementals had been invoked, and the space was now ready for Asmodʼes.
    The sigil, or seal, that had been used for Asmodʼes in the past is quite intricate, and looks like a strange bow and arrow, if the arrow was pointed the wrong way and was all swiggly, while the bow was growing a patch of blueberries with a cross somewhere in there and the roman numeral for the number two. I made each of the elements of the sigil look more the way I described than they way they should actually should look, in the name of Kayo, of course. We sat and breathed long and deep for what seemed like the whole night and arose with our minds clear and receptive. Once the sigil was etched deeply into the earth and drawn on the chest of each of our cloaks, Squ began his conjuring. As he started, my ears became extremely sensitive to an emerging high pitched squeal, which became the center of my focus for an unmeasurable amount of time.”
    Dari, realizing how dramatic this strange person phrases things, took most of this information with a grain of salt. It was becoming more obvious that these people were highly suggestible, or at least tried to be, and that whoever wrote this knew there was a lot to say about something that shouldnʼt often be talked about. The next section of the writing was scratched with more pen-pressure and the ink bled through on both sides. Dari felt colder, and the flame of the lamp seemed to be less vibrant and illuminating than she remembered. Again ignoring the need for nutrients, she continued.
    “Come thou forth! and follow me! and make all spirits subject unto me! So that every spirit of the infinity of space and of the minuteness of detail: upon the Earth, under the Earth, and above the Earth, on dry land or in the water: of whirling air or of rushing fire: and every spell and scourge of God may be obedient to me!” He then began chanting Asmodʼes in a long drawn tone, that grew in intensity with each repetition. I began to feel slightly dizzy, but the blue flaming stars that I imagined around me held me up and sustained my balance. The feeling of the ground under my feet felt no different than the wind on my face. The colors around me began to rearrange, and the darkness was no longer latching. All shadows seem to slip off into corners, where they congealed into tar. Colored smoke began to collect in the spaces in front of us. Hues of all types, combining, from infinitely tiny pixels of matter, to form the beginnings of a large and looming entity, chimed as their timbres washed within the circle. The high ranged squeal in my ears had morphed from a single pitch to an entire electronic storm of frequencies, modulating and shifting in ways that paralleled and mimicked the organization of the colored smoke impeccably. Sweat dripped from my forehead into my eyes and I could smell iron as my nose began to bleed. Squ was shaking while he commanded firmly for the creature to show itself in physical form. “Not only by the winds, or by the fires! Not only by the earth, or by the water! And not only as the spirit! But as all in harmony come unto us! And as all in harmony communicate the secret unto us!” He chanted valiantly. The images, clearing and conforming before my eyes, were filled with a light that emanated from each pore of the quickly forming skin of this creature. Three heads became clear upon the shoulders of a giant, one of a bull, one of a human, and one of a ram, sitting upon a large, four-legged reptilian. Itʼs feet were webbed, quite like a duck, and its serpentine tail scaly and green. Itʼs breath was exaggerated by flame. My nose was dripping an equal amount of blood and snot, which was finding its way around the circle with my constant shivering and shaking. I was flooded with ideas involving too many things to describe. The motion of the stars became clear to me, and I seemed able to describe them mathematically. I felt power and energy of an electrical form, even though my fear still watched from above like a rowdy crowd-member. I could no longer hear anything except the singing of frequencies and noise in my mind. The sight of a physical manifestation of Asmodʼes seemed to induce even more hallucinations. I knew all of a sudden what meaning meant, and then my body gave out and I fell limp to the floor, not knowing the state of Squ.
    I quickly awoke with Squ standing over me holding a rock. Only a fraction of a second had gone by but what seemed to me to be a whole nights rest. I whipped my mind and refocused on the rock. It seemed to emanate a particularly blue glow that slowly morphed in imperceptible but intuitive patterns. On it Squ had etched the sigil and inside held the spirit of Asmodʼes - available unto us upon our will. He had coerced the creature into the rock by promising to exalt the name of the spirit for as long as ones life would allow. The rock could not be moved far from itʼs found resting position without the spirit feeling stretched, which meant that contact could only occur after a journey back to the spot on the cliff. My brain throbbed with a score of information and ideas that I attempted to decode on the journey back to the temple. With the help of Squ and a small piece of paper stuffed in the bottom of the bag we brought with us, I now had a mathematical theorem that described the pattern of motion responsible for Saturnʼs orbit around the sun - fitting, realizing that it was saturday.”
    Dari was shocked. She wondered what other parts of her life would magically fall into themes already explored by some strange person living in a shack in the middle of a desert. By this time, the light from the olive oil lamp was as dim as it could possibly be without extinguishing itself, but to compensate, the orange glow of the peaking sun trickled into the valley. She was relieved to see its light, knowing now she could make it back to her apartment and continue researching the habitat, which had completely slipped her mind the whole night. The hunger she now felt was unbearable and decided it was the perfect time to eat her apple. After taking the first bite, her stomach thanked her with a leap of activity. It felt great to get some food in her body, better than it had ever felt before. There was now enough energy in her body to continue trying to find her way back. She felt for a few seconds a connection to this space that was unspeakable, and she was in a way sad to be leaving. In a selfish act of desire, she grabbed both books, the one she had been reading and the one still on the desk, and put them in her backpack before she started walking. Before she had walked too far, she felt compelled to turn around and look one more time at the shack. She twirled in a circle, clockwise. Again, she took off for the east.
    The first person to get nervous about her being missing was her perverted landlord. He had already figured out her nightly patterns after four days, and knew something was definitely wrong when she wasnʼt up in the morning for her stretching routine that he swore to himself that he would never miss. He checked in her room and noticed that one of her four pairs of shoes were missing from her meticulously organized shoe holder by the door, the hiking shoes - the ones with the weird hexagon designs on sole. He remembered those shoes well, they were the first shoes he ever saw her in. He also knew the complexity of the hiking trails in this area, having been lost a few times himself, and started wondering about whether she was still out there or not. He called the local authorities and they assembled a small group of people very familiar with the surrounding trails and wildlife to check each trailhead for what he described as a light blue sedan with a sticker that has some quote by Einstein or something is too small to read stuck on the right side of the bumper. After only a few hours the car was located and the group had dispersed around the area, combing the desert for those hexagon patterned shoe prints. Once the prints were found, it was fairly easy to follow their trail. As they walked through the desert, it became clear that she had wandered about eleven miles out on a service trail that had been hardly used since it was made around fifty years ago as a conjunction to a particular town another forty-five miles south-east. The footprints veered off the trail a few miles down into a valley which the crew carefully followed to an old broken down and decaying single roomed shack. It looked as if it was built a very long time ago; the past one hundred years spent its time making sure this structure was standing for as short as possible on this earth. The amount of activity shown from the ground proved certain that she had spent some decent time there. There was even evidence of her going inside of the shack, which looked as though it could have fallen at any point in its now dilapidated state. Feeling fairly certain she would be found, they continued following the footsteps that now took off into the east.
    “Footsteps of missing biologist strangely end at rock face, mystery still unsolved” was the headline of the local paper the next day. The landlord was sobbing for a good few days before another attractive woman moved into the building he owned that he could fixate on. The firm she worked for never got the report that analyzed the strange anomalies occurring in and around that area, but her strange situation explained plenty to her fellow researchers. A man finished his beer at the local bar ritualistically with her in his mind before he wandered home to his pointless and heated existence a few minutes down the dark, dry, dirt road; this could have been the last thought surrounding the existence of those daring to find a white glow looming, for here and now energy lies dormant.