The Chronicle of Belthaeous
by John W. Steele
Chapter 7: The Wall of Stars
We walked down a gentle incline paved with massive slabs of limestone. The ramp lead to the mouth of an enormous cavern. The walkway could not be seen from the ice field below. It descended along the roof of the ridge for a short distance, where it ended with a broad staircase. The steps were hewn in the rock face with laser-like precision. They were smooth and sharp, and the stairwell had no seams.
I marveled at the craftsmanship, and I could not understand why the stairs held no ice or snow. I removed a mitten and touched one of the treads. It felt exceedingly warm. It appeared that the steps led to a balcony overhead. Jigme led the way, and we followed him to the top.
We entered a crescent-shaped opening that looked like a lava channel. A boulder as large as a locomotive sat in the distance occluding the entrance to the cave. So lustrous was its surface it reminded me of a colossal black pearl.
A feeling of defeat swept through me. I wondered if all of our efforts had been in vain. It would be impossible to remove the barrier from the entrance. We did not have the equipment or the manpower to accomplish a task of such Herculean proportions.
Jigme stepped forward and motioned to the others. From inside his pack, he removed what appeared to be a long hollow bone that looked like the femur of a human skeleton. He rolled the bone in his hands, cried, “Kah-We-Tah,” and then raised it to his mouth.
His cheeks ballooned, and he wheedled a long note from the pipe. A nauseating low-pitched buzz pierced the air, and I placed my hands over my ears.
The ground trembled, and I braced myself for another catastrophe. But as I gazed through the stillness, I could not believe my eyes.
The boulder groaned, and though it weighed thousands of tons, it rose from the floor and disappeared into the roof of the cavern.
A blast of wind the color of amethyst hissed from the opening like the sustained exhalation of some inorganic entity. The breeze penetrated my nostrils with a more delightful scent than I had ever known.
When the mist cleared, a portal in the rock face had opened before us. The passage fell deep into the mountain. Its corners were cut at ninety-degree angles, and the walls inside the cavern looked smooth and even.
The mouth to the cave had four planes as if a pyramid had been laid on one of its faces. The floor and the walls expanded from the entrance in perfect proportion, and the perimeter of its base could not be determined. I had not understood why Thrangu insisted that we would not need any lights to enter this cavern, but now as I gazed into its depths, I could see what he knew.
Jigme crossed the threshold, and we followed. The sunlight dimmed when we entered, but the light within did not decrease, it grew brighter.
I could not describe what I saw there in scientific terms. The walls inside were composed of a mineral the classification of which defied explanation. An intense radiance beamed within the chamber. I thought the light might be produced by phosphorus, but it had no white or yellow hue. The walls shone with a sky-blue incandescence and their radiance felt soft on the eyes.
It appeared that the photons inside the cavern were not absorbed, but reflected in a sustained luminescence from the surface of the chamber. The phenomenon was not unlike the glow of a fluorescent bulb, but more condensed. In the distance, the light grew even stronger, but it did not irritate the retinas.
I marveled that the air inside the tomb was sweeter, and though it smelled of ozone, my lungs no longer burned; the aching torment of air hunger had subsided.
We followed the floor and journeyed deeper into the vast unknown. I felt a sharp rise in temperature, and I pulled the altimeter from a pocket in my parka. It read exactly twenty-one thousand feet and zero degrees Fahrenheit. I turned to Adrian. “What’s going on here, Dr. Necroanus? It’s getting balmy.”
Without missing a beat, he replied, “The temperature is precisely where it should be, Dr. Neumann. Any colder, and the ice crystals in the cells of the Avatar would rupture their membranes. The conditions here are exactly as described in the scrolls of Belthaeous. The Archon is not dead. He sleeps in a state of controlled hypothermia.”
We continued along the path, like intergalactic explorers who had landed in a strange new world.
The walls were alive with symbols and glyphs created with great detail. I could only surmise these carvings were the writing of some ancient and possibly extraterrestrial form of life. Images of floating disks and spheres surrounded us and beams that resembled lightning pulsed from their hulls.
Bipedal creatures that looked like hard-hat divers or gladiators in battle-style headgear adorned the walls. Their faces revealed large glaring eyes, and their bodies were scaled and powerful.
In their hands, they held strange rods or staffs. A great force appeared to emanate from these batons. The glyphs seemed to be arranged in a series of images that chronicled the origin of this place. But there was something more in these ancient carvings, something terrifying.
In the center of the horde of reptilian like forms sat a hominid-shaped creature. Its skull was large, and perfectly symmetrical, like the elongated structure of a gourd.
The entity reminded me of Teonanacatl, the Aztec mushroom god. I remembered the figures of this thing when Heidi and I snuck off for a week-long mathematics conference in Cancun. We took a tour of the museum in Juarez. Paintings and pre-Columbian artifacts made of stone commemorated this deity with great veneration. Images of this Toltec god-man were scattered everywhere throughout the museum.
The creature in the glyph sat on a cloud of vapor, and in one hand it held a scepter. Its other hand pointed at a human figure of normal proportions. The man lay curled in the fetal position inside what looked like a large urn similar to an embryo locked in a shell. From the scepter flowed a liquid that nearly filled the container with a mysterious fluid. I pointed at the creature and said, “What is that thing, Adrian?”
“A Vulpeculan deity,” he replied. “You’ll meet them soon, and when you do, your life will never be the same.”
I shuddered at the thought. I had heard rumors about the Vulpeculans at Genabolic. But I brushed them off as the paranoid delusions of conspiracy theorists that seemed to think this world is controlled by the hidden hand of Illuminati blood lines. Despite the gullibility of these so-called truthers, these alien creatures had a nasty reputation. I had no desire to be anywhere near one.
Our journey continued and I studied the mysterious symbols. A glyph as large as a theater screen portrayed numerous eyes glaring at the men in the urns. The carving felt eerie, and I wondered why the eyes were staring at them.
The cavern continued to expand until it opened into an immense cathedral-like cavity. The walls shimmered like moonlight reflected from new-fallen snow.
As we penetrated even deeper in to this place the gloomy cloak of despair that always surrounded me lifted, and for the first time in years, I felt vibrant and alive. Emotions I had not sensed since childhood emerged. Old and buried perceptions I’d long forgotten about leaked from the bedrock of my subconscious, and I marveled that I had ever abandoned this priceless mind state. Undefiled thought, freed from the stain of duality flowed simple and fresh through my mind.
A great oneness seeped from within, and my awareness grew crystal-clear. Everything vibrated with energy. I was this energy, and I understood that my body housed this mind-boggling force within a virtual hologram created by imagination. I grew intoxicated with a deep feeling of gratitude. I am a Light being and I will reflect the Light for eternity.
The Sherpas smiled, their eyes shining like children on Christmas morning. Everyone but Dr. Necroanus seemed to be consumed in a state of rapture. He remained stoic, his forehead knitted and his eyes narrowed to angry slits. He did not appear to be enchanted by the force that thrived in this place. I didn’t understand how he could escape its psychedelic charm. Yet this feeling of unconditional jubilation was so foreign to me that I wondered if he was the only sober one among us.
We walked for perhaps another hour, deep into the heart of this paranormal fantasyland. In the distance, a light pulsed like a quasar. Jigme pointed at the beams of energy. His smile grew wide and his pace quickened. We approached the sparkling anomaly, and a thrill exploded in my nerves.
Standing before us, a wall of cascading radiance glimmered like a horizon made of lightning. I looked at Adrian, his face now etched with dancing rainbows of light. “This is impossible, Dr. Necroanus. Am I hallucinating?”
He stared at the miracle like some anhedonistic robot devoid of emotion. “No, this time you can trust your senses, Rodney. Everything is just as it was written in the chronicle: And a fragment of heaven shall lead to the sepulcher of the defiant angel.
“Your eyes have not betrayed you. The artifact is solid diamond, its facets perfected by the Gardeners of the Earth. They fashioned the icon over one hundred thousand years ago.”
My mouth hung agape. The splendor of the impossible gem defied imagination. The Sherpas grinned as if they’d seen it before.
The monolith forced us to make a sharp left turn. As remarkable as the journey had been, nothing could have prepared me for the wonder we were about to encounter.
Copyright © 2014 by John W. Steele