In my short time traveling among men, I came across all manner of curious and strange creatures. Of all the tales I have to tell of these beings, one specifically lurks above all in memory. A predator prowling in the highest recesses of my mind. Relentless, unforgiving, it stalks many, skulking in the shadows within the minds of men.
Through the thick, steaming jungles, I flew. Two black eyes slithered forever in pursuit. Infinite holes, raptures in the very fabric of being, glinting with the darkness that lies within the hearts of all men. The beast itself was shrouded by the heavy rustling of the wilderness and murk of an inescapable twilight birthed of a ceaseless nightmare. A monster born from the pits of utter despair to which it relentlessly drags its prey, screaming, clawing, sobbing; silently. And I stumbled in silence. Through the hefty creepers whose long arms sought to ensnare me for designs unbeknownst to myself. I stumbled, I tripped, I fell, I helped myself up. Each plunge to the bottom recuperated from only with the shaking of muscles and the shedding of tears. Then, my leather shoe sank into the sand of a deepest wood coloring, whereupon a sheet of foamy gray swept over my ankle. I shivered. The thundering sky seemed to pull at the twisting, writhing, gunmetal glass, churning and frothing as it yearned to be one with its kin high above. And there, far beyond, a schism in the nightmare, a chasm of hope! A safe refuge where I, mere refuse, could find refuge. An isle of light among a monotonous sea of gray, illuminated to me by that wonderful fissure through which shafts of the purest clementine streamed, waved and eddied. I turned my head, cocked it. Silence. The heavy rustling of the wilderness and the murk of an inescapable twilight omnipresent no longer. Free, or so I thought.
For the island lay forever beyond reach. An elysium calling like a siren, and although I dearly wished to wreck my trireme upon its shores, my rowing benches were empty and the tiller unmanned. Perhaps it was better I never reached that isle, to not hear the enticing song of sirens turn to a ravenous screech.
For better or for worse, I shifted to face the jungle, alone. Deep within the windows of darkness framed by branch and leaf, death padded soundlessly upon the rot of the jungle, its lithe body sliding ever closer. Putrefaction following in its wake. Or perhaps it followed the putrefaction that already lay within that dank jungle? To this day I do not know. I still stand between the jungle and the sea, waiting for the final wrest that nears upon four legs. And although I can neither see nor hear it, I know it still stalks, Skulking in the Shadows Within the Minds of Men.