He stepped over the clustered mounds of rot that smeared the concrete floor of the tunnel. No light shone from the mouth through which he had entered. The water dripping from the roof and leaking down the sides was neon and drove small and sizzling fissures into the surface where it slid. He thought the alchemic markings formed some antiquated pattern but he was not sure so he moved on. Further on down the tunnel he saw a man, naked and thin and crouching against the side of the concrete tunnel, scraping his hairless and bleeding forehead up and down the wall. He was convulsing and murmuring to himself and he was sorting through piles of skin with his bony and sinuous fingers as if there was some unknown truth hidden inside their folds. He walked on, that crooning dialect echoing from wall to wall. He stopped at the atrium to a wide cavern and saw at the far end a small opening and so he wandered over to it, his footsteps repeating themselves in that broad space and saw that the opening was also circular, though unlike the tunnel, the far end of it was blocked by a veil of liquid mercury, swaying and colliding in silver waves, a roiling and diminutive sea. He turned back to find the man but the man was gone and so he squat where the man had squat and began sorting through those self same skinfolds, those archaic parchments. Slowly pieces of skin would fall from his forehead like portions of his memory. Suddenly the tunnel opened up overhead revealing a cloudy sky. Rim shards of bone fell from those heavenly fissures and came to rest around him in small clusters and formations like opal flowers and they began to bloom one by one, shift and contort in cumber swathes to reach back up from whence they fell. They grew on forever. The man stopped his grinding skull and looked up but there was no sky, no bone flowers. He went back to his grinding and saw in the periphery of his vision the firmament materialize once more from that concave darkness. He would never properly see it. Not ever.

By Aidan Scott

Aidan Scott is a student and young writer based in Canberra, Australia. He completed his first (as yet unpublished) novel in May 2017 and has written numerous short stories. When he’s not writing, Aidan reads Cormac McCarthy, and Georges Bataille. He is inspired by the films of David Lynch and Andrei Tarkovsky as well as the novel “Maldoror” by Comte de Lautréamonts.