“Beginnings”

For ages they had been without heads. Headless they lived, and headless they died. How long they had thus flourished none of them knew. Then something began to change. It happened over unremembered generations. The signs of a transfiguring were being writ ever more deeply into them. As their breed moved forward, they began crossing boundaries whose very existence they never suspected . . . and they trembled. Some of them eyed their surroundings as they would a strange land into which they had wandered, even though their kind had trod the same earth for countless seasons. And during idle moments after dark, they looked up at a sky filled with stars and felt themselves small and fragile in the vastness. More and more, they came to know a new way of being. It was as if the objects around them were one thing and they were another. The world was moving farther and farther away, and they were at the center of this movement. Another world was forming inside the heads they now had. Each of them, in time, became frightened in a way they had never known. In former days, they were frightened only by sights and sounds in the moments they saw or heard them. Now they were frightened by things that were not present to their senses. They were also frightened by visions that came not from outside them but from within them. Everything had changed for their kind, and they could never return to what they once had been. The epoch had passed when they and the rest of creation were one and the same. They were beginning to know a world that did not know them. This is what they thought, and they thought it was not right. Something which should not be . . . had become. And something had to be done if they were to flourish as they had before, if the very ground beneath their feet were not to fall away from under them. They could do nothing about the world which was moving farther and farther away from them and which knew them not. So they would have to do something about their heads.

-T. Ligotti, from Conspiracy Against the Human Race

 

Happy (early) Halloween.

Tomorrow: monthly review.