Fragment.

The city is parabolic, collapsing on itself like an amphitheater on the surface of a world in the bloom of catastrophe. The outer walls leading to the citadel, which is central to all engineering and architecture and life throughout, are an actual labyrinth. The builders don’t want me to see whatever lies behind those layers of bone and rock.

Every word

is a secret

when you aren’t

supposed

to hear

From the outer limits of this curved horizon, I can see its head, that of the beast, or what I can make of it, and what I assume to be a “beast”—what I see or imagine, in my limited and tiny and insignificant and utterly ignorant understanding of the incomprehensibly infinite universe upon which I’ve been thrust, an awkward and careless pissant observing only what I can, what I am allowed, and only in passing, at that (and at great distance)—and on its back a host of insanity.

And oh, how beautiful

those first moments

of wild revelation

The surface of the world seems to shift around it, and as I crane my neck to see its whole shape, a dark raven soars past, aimed at unseen prey above my head, angled so that the bird passes upside-down above me. Truly, I never could have imagined such a sight, and yet, here it is. The bird seems to hold forth all that the beast has brought to bear on the world.

And then I see differently. Then, it is revealed to me that the beast has not come to destroy, but to breathe life. The land around me is barren. How had I not noticed? There is no life here on the surface. The once great and thriving citadel has grown dry and languid. Only a few surviving scribes live to tell of its ostensible greatness.

But the beast brings with it life, and with life, chaos, and with chaos, the birth and death of entire universes all around me.

And I watch

as all

is reborn

and

among it

I am

new

I am

not

when

the shape

of all things

becomes the same.

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