Small Town Nightmares – Part 15

The wired man has stopped chasing me, his footsteps have long since ceased. So for a little while I walk down the tunnel with only my own footsteps to listen to as their sound bounces off metal and concrete. I eventually reach a stretch without rooms set in the walls, and there’s only twisted metal spiraling ever onward like a descent into an industrial Tartarus. I’ve entered the large intestine of this strange living beast, the physical incarnation of the nature of the evil spirit which holds sway over it.

When my feet are beginning to ache as though I’ve been walking for miles, I feel a cool and constant breeze flowing down the tunnel. Praying it’s some opening to the outside world, I keep on. At some distance the echoes of the whirring and minute beeping of computers comes to me, and a little further on I hear the echoes of occasional bursts of static.

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Then the lights of it start coming into view. Dots of green and red wink in the dim light ahead like so many eyes. I hear voices coming from that place as I get closer to it, voices of varying levels of quality, and dotted with screeching static. Then I come to the threshold of the great chamber where the monster lives.

Most of the walls and ceiling are covered in layers upon layers of the same cables and cords that I saw coming out of the eyes of the wired man and the people on the metal carts. It’s almost like the whole cave is woven from them, there’s so many. All of these cables go to thousands upon thousands of CPU towers, to TV and computer screens, to speakers big and old and worn and clusters of newer sleeker ones, to printers printing nonstop, all filled with sights, sounds, and descriptions of mundane daily lives, exciting secrets, and dark and heavy guilts, of everything anyone would try to hide and everything anyone would want to express, all on display in that room. The whole cavern is filled with this electronic menagerie, stretching way back into the depths of the huge cave in a series of lights and sounds that gives whoever looks on it the impression of looking at a vast metropolis with endless never-sleeping skyscrapers. The noises of the computers and cameras are always going and never stopping, beeps and whirs and wheezes of CPU fans big and small, like the all of it is one big creature talking to itself in as many voices as it can think of. Through it all a cool wind blows from vents jutting from the ceiling.

Out of a morbid curiosity I walk through it, letting the various computer and TV screens light my twisting path through it all. I’m looking at all the plastic and metal in this forest of circuitry and wire when I hear I sound I haven’t heard since I got roped into this whole thing. There’s the sound of five legs walking in tandem behind me. I turn around and feel my body tense as Buer comes toward me, then rears up on two of his five goat’s legs, the rancid breath from his lion’s maw stinking of disinfectant and embalming fluid. Big fangs hang from his blue lips, and under his eyes I feel bare, split open like a live animal on a dissecting tray. Then Buer opens his toothy maw to speak to me.