Unlike the landscape surrounding him, he is insubstantial. He is not of matter; he is more than immaterial; he is greater than psyche; he is beyond nous; he has become Being.
He sees without eyes, without a body. And what he sees unfolding around his sight is nothing less than a blighted, barren waste land. Above him, voluminous gray clouds churn across the sky. Their color and size and movement give an impression of weight, and he can almost feel that weight bearing down; he would be crushed by that weight if he were anything other than he is now. Darker shadows swim through the nearly black clouds, and though they are hundreds, and even thousands, of feet above, the immensity of the creatures casting those shadows is unmistakable; creatures unlike any he has seen before. Some are winged like huge dragons soaring through a primordial mist; some are serpentine and move like eels swimming through open water; some have many heads, and others have tentacles like eldritch octopi thrashing in overturned depths. They are not silent in their sky-bound travels. They cry and roar and wail like animals pained by hunger and with grim knowledge that the only prey remaining to them are their own kind.
Above and through the oil-dark clouds shines a white star, its edges made distinct by the veil through which its light must travel. This star only lends a half-light to the world below; a dying world trapped in twilight.
The ground is salt for nearly as far as any human eye could see—but he sees not with human eyes, now. There is a gray ocean in the distance, and he imagines the salted earth to be the remnant of waters long receded. Out of the salt, still half-buried, as if they had been clawing out of their own graves, rest a collection of bones. Their size and shape leave no doubt that these are kindred remains of those that still stalk and soar the skies above. He believes the bones may be remnants of three creatures. Given how they seem intermingled, perhaps they died locked in combat or entwined in embrace so strong that the ebbing waters could not unbind them. He can see bones in the shapes of wings and skulls and unfamiliar limbs. There are three crumbling formations that rise from the earth like a strange stand of trees. These are without doubt rib cages. The cavities they were intended to encase are cavernous. Many of the ribs themselves have been made into gruesome totem poles. Bodies of men, women, and children, in varying degrees of decay, have been twisted, broken, and bound together around each rib. Each totem must be composed of nearly thirty or more bodies.
There are no carrion feeders present.
More disturbing, there are no signs that anyone has ever been present to erect these gruesome emblems.
Photo by Joran Quinten on Unsplash