Prompt: You are an explorer and you and your team just found a jungle with temples older than civilization and strange artifacts
The dark gray temples were cyclopean in nature, yet rounded and jutting in certain sections, like an expanded balloon. Some possessed needle-thin doorways into narrow hallways, and we weren’t able to squeeze through them. Crude, continuous — what we believed to be — words were scrawled around and around each temple, endless flowing from one word to the next until its weathered peak was reached.
In the center of the smaller temples stood a larger one, enough space for at least one of our crew to enter. I was selected because I was first to stumble upon the temples, but truly, I believed I was the scapegoat and fear played a larger role than my crew would like to admit.
If I hadn’t a torch, I would’ve been stumbling in absolute darkness. The walls were covered in the same scrawl as the exterior, yet the words were long, as though the bottoms of each were dragged to the stone floor. The narrow corridor began to descend and veer west, then east, then west and north. The warmth of the jungle left me as sweat cooled on my brow.
A low, small room was at the end of the hallway. I hunched under the doorframe, and stood before a small stone pillar, a shape with numberless sides was atop. It looked like a sphere, yet it wasn’t quite round but round still. Each side gleamed with a different color under torchlight, forming a wave of kaleidoscopic colors that flowed over its frame. It would be priceless, and I was certain a museum would pay any amount for it.
I quickly removed a handkerchief from my pocket, covered my hand, and slowly reached for it.
When my hand met the sphere an overwhelming burning sprung up my arm, exploding in my chest. I stumbled back, gasping for air, looking at my hand to see that a dark outline on the handkerchief in the shape of my hand. I looked at the sphere, then removed my jacket, wrapped it tightly around my hand, and reached for the sphere once more.
The burning was subtle, but I managed to raise it into the air. My skin prickled and I could smell burnt hair. As fast as I could I ran from the room, back into the corridors; south, east, west, east. Faint, evening light fell through the doorway, and I briefly wondered how long had it been since I entered. The burning increased, and my chest tightened. I slid through the portal and into the open air, smiling, holding up the relic.
My crew was gone, only their equipment remained, scattered upon the ground. I shouted for them and received no response. I went and crouched next to a bag of supplies, finding it still full. The burning was paramount, as if I held the bottom of a kettle freshly off the fire. I hissed as I let it drop to the ground, where grass instantly burnt and charred around it. As I returned to the bag of supplies, a blinding light blared out from the sphere, casting the clearing, the temples, the sky into a white light.
I turned— stopped. The scrawl on the temples was glowing violet. A shimmering liquid began to ooze and seep out from the line, streaming down the stone sides, melting over the grass and pooling beneath the sphere. Gradually the sphere began to glow violet, then a deep purple.
Like a volcano, a line of purple light erupted from the sphere’s top and injected into the now night sky.
I looked up.
A constellation popped into the darkness, in the shape of the sphere. The insides glowed purple, appearing like melting max. Long fingers pushed through, extending, reaching; a thin dark gray arm followed; another hand, another arm; then an oval, craggy face speckled with kaleidoscopic, gleaming eyes.
Not only did my mouth scream when I sprinted into the jungle, but my mind, too. Screaming, relentlessly: What I have released onto the world?
Read my previous prompt, “The Golden Cup of Coffee.”
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