I’m in the dark place, now. I feel cold ichor and water dripping on my head. My voice echoes as I cry vainly for help into the lightless cave. The last bolt clicks into place above me, in the world of the living. My knee and wrists ache where I broke my fall. I’m weak, shaking and feverish from these last few weeks of starvation and dehydration, but I can’t bring myself to drink the cold water dripping from above. I reach out with my remaining senses, projecting my essence into the cave, feeling with some kind of desparate energy for any sign of life, any breath of wind.
My heart is thumping faster than I thought it could. If I go on this way, my heart will stop, I’ll be dead in an hour. A part of me is past caring, after the panic of being unable to leave the city, the forced dissolution of Parliament, the horror of my incarceration. And now my exile unto death.
Time passes. The downward spiral of my life arrests itself, resolving in slow starvation. I shuffle through rock formations, hand on the wall for support, moving at the pace of an invalid. My strength is failing, but making this effort is all I can do to fend off madness in this strange place.
Until the catacomb. First, I notice the wind, foetid and blowing in the wrong direction, venting directly into my cavern. I want to avoid it, but my foot strikes something familiar; the square shape of a manufactured building stone. As I approach the source of the stinking wind (now obviously an underground burial place, both from the smell and the presence of human skeletal remains) I begin to hallucinate intensely. The charnel-place becomes a temple of Satanic entities, a place of child sacrifice, every earthly horror; and I dread my approach, even as my gaunt and shaking limbs carry me to the portal.
Beyond the slimy concrete of the door, I see something green and shining appear, then another, then another; a dozen floating lights with black centers wave and flicker, ascend and descend. I watch them in their dance, paralyzed, until the soft tip of a tentacle touches my face. I groan, sink to my knees among cracked bones. The lights are eyes, shining eyes, moving on a tentacled head. I cannot move now, and a presence enters my mind against my will; it knows my shape, and I its, without any effort at all. It is madness brought here from another world. Part of my mind cracks, slips away, and I do not pursue it.
When the voice comes, it emanates from within me, not from outside. Pictures come with the words, images of what I must do. The lurker knows me now. I am saved, saved from death. Yet rendered unto a darker fate; for the lurker that waits must feed, and now I shall bring the living to the place of death.