There is no sight in this place, yet, despite its absense, I know that this cavern is damp. My footsteps leave auditory trails in the air, as if to extend themselves by the dripping and the slapping of water. It coats the floors and the walls of this chamber, augmenting the echo that would otherwise be. Perhaps the eyes are given too much credit - for work done by the ears, the nose, and the hairs which stand to attention on the hands. Ironically, in the vaccuum left by my eyes, there lies a new dancing flame of colour. A warping, twisting image of my surrounings. I can see the room in the eye of my mind - shades and hues, of which, are un see-able, indescribable. Unknowable.
As my hands desperately scrape and slap at the walls and the ceiling and the floor, the image becomes more complete. My knees instinctively angle themselves as to get closer to my map. I crawl my way through the tightening cavern walls, my form becoming abstract to fit some of these ancient ports.
Eventually, I find myself in an opening. The floor wraps around my head high enough for me to just barely stand on my hind legs. I elevate, and I inhale deeply through my eager nostrils. The sweet scent of dewed moss permiates my skull, and with it - my view of this place expands. I can see the bryophytes scattered around my periphery, I know not to tread on them, lest their slippery surface trip me. I could smell my surroundings before - but now I can see in my mind where they are, even more clearly than before.
Moving ever forward, the dripping ceiling illuminates the ground before me. The pleasant sound of liquid dissipating on hard stone sets my mind at ease. My palms continue to scour the surfaces, in search of direction - and encounter something alien to them. Warmth. Specifically, the warmth of a thick metal cylinder. I begin to examine the object profusely, discovering that it extends onwards on its axis for further than my arms can reach. It must be a pipe of some sort - what it carries is beyond my new found powers of sight. All I can tell is that it's hot. Hot enough that I can feel it through the dense material. My fingers trail its surface, dithering on the sporadic bumps and imperfections of the cast mold. I knock it with a reluctant knuckle. A muted "thunk" reverberates into my sight, where a tinny and verbose "tang" was expected. There is something flowing through it, something thick, almost solid. I begind to follow the thing, as it goes the same way as I do. This tells me that this tunnel is not only known to man but inhabited at some point. The contents of the thing now begin to flutter in my mind as to what it may be.
I excitedly begin to rush alongside my new travel companion, on all 4s my palms and feet smack and slap the damp stone. However - almost just as soon as I begun to pick up speed I am stopped in my tracks. My sense of smell, now on high alert, pricks up at a new odor. A vile rot, a burning smokescreen floods and revokes my inner vision, just as hastily as it was given.
Here I sit, blind, again.
My hands once again attempt to map the walls as what feels like thick fog enters my lungs. The thick pipework still remains with me, bringing with it comfort. I begin, slowly, to move forward with the pipe - and after but a few steps - there is something unknown to me. Light. A strand of illuminating shadow originating from around a corner. My eyes awaken from a death-like sleep. Open the whole time, yet, in stasis. Dormant. Had I lost them forever I would not have been known. I throw up my hands, my tools of sight to cover my eyes from this new enemy. This miniscule scrape of light attacks me, it means me harm.
I shut my eyes as if they were shutters in a storm, and clutch the now hot cylinder to my left. I drag myself along its path, barraged and berrated by the searing light and stench of whatever lies ahead of me. The thought of turning back and living in blackness was more appealing. I could survive on the slime and the moss and the moisture. My friends, the dancing pictographs in my mind, amusing me to no end.
Similar thoughts of cowardice run through me, until I coerce myself to sneak round the devilish corner, this veil shadowing me from the unknown. Every flat-footed step on the cold slimy rock calms me, returning me to my own realm, where I felt safe and content. I sustain myself and press on.
I reluctantly pop my head around the corner, and whatever lies there was so bright that it immediately and completely blinded me. Still getting used to my newfound and weakened sight, I whip back to the shadows and begin to rub my now agonised eyes. Not only that, but a blast of hot air all but shot me back against the wall.
A hypogean sea of white and red lies before me. A lake of twisting and mixing ire. Black scabs sit like lilly pads on this crimson sheet, the surface of which sprouts wretched and furious bubbles the size of houses which pop just as soon as they spawn. The most curious of all its features are thick pewter platforms scattered across its surface, as far in the horizon as I can percieve. Connected by thin little lines I would surmise serve as bridges, these things are equiped with strange equipment, perhaps to measure or to tamper with this malicious liquid. Remembering myself, I panickingly scramble for the metal thing that guided me to this place. Unable to grasp it, my stomach drops - and I look back to see that it emerges from the tunnel as i did. It warps and traverses up the ceiling of the titanic cavern where I now find myself. My eye follows it for what seems like miles, until it becomes a thin line like the rest of this wretched scaffold, and it joins up with its friends.
As my eyes journey up to the top of the room, I hear shouting. A deep and masculine voice howling down at me. My squinted eyes scatter and dot the illuminated roof of the cavern searching rapidly for the source. Just as I begin to think I had misheard some earthern rumble - the very ceiling erupts. A column of white blindess now cascades directly onto me. Spotted - I shield myself again with my palms, and begin to clamber backwards. Doing so, I dump my sightless foot onto a dull waylaid stone. And I trip. Backwards. Residing within this halo of white light is 3 black figures. They point at me and signal at eachother. Shouting.
Now lying face down the soft rocks, the hot dust filtering through my nose into my lungs - my eye meets with the familliar portal I stumbled through to find this venemous place. I look back at the black figures, who now fork an open hand down at me. My ears are ringing from the blast, and dread flows through me like a thick syrup.
In this moment, there is no sense. They have abandoned me in this place, all but one.
My gaze is most certainly returned, and taking what may be my last chance, I hurriedly shamble and fall and tumble back through the cave entrance.
Thanks for reading!