The room is large; a bare rectangle of space, carved from sandstone and most certainly underground. A twenty-foot ceiling yawns overhead. The walls to left and right span forty feet, while the rear wall disappears into unstructured darkness.
Ahead, a large rectangular tunnel — twice as wide as it is tall — peels open the forward wall’s blunt face. This extends into gradually thickening dark; bends sharply left into a disruption of broad shafts of dusty, golden light.
Notice, at length, the carving above the tunnel’s entrance. The room’s only decorative feature — a meticulous stone replica of a carp’s head, its scales and gills and bulging eyes polished to matte smoothness. Long whiskers fringe the stone fish’s slightly open mouth – mid-breath, mid-speech.
The floor is warm, slightly gritty underfoot; the air, still and without scent. Remain rooted, motionless, within the tomb-like, womb-like space. A column of flesh, surrounded by stone, enfolded in half-light and absolute silence.
— C.Birde, 4/18