On Ceremony

You wake in the corner, arms wrapped around knees, head firmly planted between elbows and wrists. Open your hazy eyes. The walls are gray and smooth and clean. The edges are perfectly aligned in geometric radiance. Your fingers run across the surface of everything and the muted color is etched into your body.

Shakily, you stand, knees worn from time unused. The air smells of faded sunlight. There are no windows, no doors, no sources of light and yet shadows are cast in every corner, flickering. Bracing yourself, you shuffle along the edge until reaching the center of the wall. Rubbing your eyes, you are amazed at the clarity of the atmosphere.

The shadows move from your origin to each of the six faces until they settle in the center of the floor hovering over an engraved number three. You chance a move toward it but quickly falter. Face forward and ever forward, you crawl.

The lines are drawn with blood, dried and cracked with ages. Flecks reveal evidence of tampering. There are no other bodies here.

You speak its name in but a whisper and garner no response. Then louder. Then louder. Then louder until your voice carries echoes across the air in a cacophonic fury.

The walls devour the sound and silence befalls you. You are beseeched from beneath.

Already in the form of supplication, you offer up your service, your gratitude.

The number transmutes. Rising above the gray and its lower dimensions, meat hooks descend from the ceiling and yank flesh upward until a statue of blood and offal outline the shape of a cube.

Sussing its machinations you press your forehead to the floor, hands extended, palms outward. A silent cry extends from your lips.

The walls shift and turn silently. Out of the edge of your eyes you see other rooms, each identical and stacked upon one another impossibly. At their center lies a number and a vessel ready to receive. Their edges coalesce and hum deep reverberations.


The word falls from your mouth and darkness falls. The incessant hum lingers until the voices rise with vicious mimicry.

You are being lifted, extended, exposed, and examined. The lines drop from above and cling and pull. You try to speak but sound has dissolved into this vacuum. Immune to placation, the will of the transfiguration of flesh from six to twenty-four takes hold. Outward, ever outward, the red arcs outward until caught in a gyroscopic revolution.

by Dan Diehn (@diedan)