Sometimes I believe the dark legends that say man created this hell. That this is what it looks like when he is left to his own devices, and I, for reasons that could only be wondrous and terrible, am placed here as witness.
The Desiderasha is man’s greatest monster, her reach over all the earth, spreading and collecting deenay through her scavengers that grab fresh victims with fresh blood, through the exchangers, who mixed their blood and body with hers, and by the horrific children that grew brand new from her demonic form.
Many of the abominations in the emptiness of time come from her, yet there are still others, like the togoom shadows drifting through people and delivering a hundred different forms of death. The worst of the Desiderasha’s children flee from the togooms.
When Tumat told me my beloved Enta had been sold to the children of the Desiderasha, I had to follow it smart. This far north ‘children of the Desiderasha’ didn’t just mean her children. It meant all the creatures under her servitude, every filthy kind of deenay eater and all the deformities she spawned. I pursued every camp, every nest, every hole in the ground where they clustered. Crusties, skreepers, lipplenites, bizits, and many others came under my scrutiny.
I’d been watching some tenting pilolites from a cluster of boulders, identifying which ones would be weak and more likely to talk, studying them for any sign that they may have kept a small child for a time. These were horrid men who shared living orbs with fleshy flaps that they would bite upon and suckle, the flaps’ tiny barbs slicing the tongue to draw blood and absorb it. The tents looked like piles of rags. I was about to sneak up to the camp when the togoom emerged from dense shrubbery beyond them.
The shadow billowed like a cloud, drifting toward the tents as if the night blew in on a slow breeze, cutting through the daylight. It spread and flattened, its speed increased.
I leaped out of my perch and bellowed, then hurtled over the scrub to reach them. A few sentries turned their attention to me, and I yelled again, pointing and waving.
Most of them set themselves, preparing to fight me, but one looked back at the togoom and yelped. By the time I’d reached them, they were tearing open the tents to pull the others out. One of them pulled about five of them off of an orb in the middle, they stumbled like drunks. The shadow was upon them. In seconds they would be flooded with it, pulled in to an unknown death, any knowledge of Enta gone with them.
At top speed, I rolled to the ground and regained my feet in the middle. I picked up one of the stumbling orb-suckers and threw him over my shoulder, then turned and ran. I didn’t stop until I’d reached the top of a butte, where I lay the man on the ground and looked back.
There’s an ancient legend about the salt drying in your veins if you look back at certain horrors. I nearly felt that when I turned to see the shadow pooling over the pilolite settlement, a blackness into which no light was seen, like a hole in the world to nothingness. No others had escaped. A shiver threatened to shake my salted veins to dust and let me blow away in the wind.
This deenay eater looked more man than most. He squirmed on the ground and moaned, chewing on the web between his thumb and finger. His clothing was tattered and moth-eaten.
“What’s your name?” I asked.
He squirmed and grimaced. “Where’s pilo?”
“They’re all gone.”
“Pilo! Pilo! Pilo!” He made hand motions and I realized he was demonstrating the orb.
He let out a howl, followed by inconsolable moaning.
“What’s your name?”
This was the pathetic creature I counted on for some tiny thread of knowledge about my Enta.
“You’re about to be reborn,” I said. He screamed until sunset and into the night.
For more Mallocrest, check these out: Day 49: The Desiderasha in the Emptiness of Time, Day 66: Lost Among the Crusties, Day 72: Running from Ghowats, Day 104: Skreepers, Day 107: Despair in the Emptiness of Time, Day 124: Porgrents on the Grassy Sands, Day 136: Northern Flight, Day 152: Where Legends Die, Day 153: Flight from the Tsheemarocs, Day 154: In the Thick of the Swarm, Day 202: The Search for Enta, Day 203: Mallocrest the Slave, Day 204: Surviving the Internment, Day 209: Escaping the Internment, and Day 210: In the Hole.