Review Summary: Even Thomas Gaze couldn't see this coming...
The Bowels of Ignorance, by Joe Gogh:
Chapter One: Fun Cave Adventure
I tighten my shoelaces to ensure that I’m ready; it’s my first time going caving alone at night. I can’t even see the cave entrance yet. I bet it’s pretty. Hardhat? Check. Shoes? Check. Multiple flashlights, so I don’t get stuck in there? Check. Alright. I’m ready. Time to seize the day… or night. It’s all the same. Or is it? It is when your in a dark cave.
Usually, I must confess, I’m somewhat of a pussy. Why did I sign up for this? Remember why. It’s to ensure your life becomes worth living. How sweet will a honey-bun taste in comparison to the dark? How incredible will my mind become when it’s the brightest thing in the room? I should turn off my flashlight at some point, and perhaps I’ll know why monks go in caves. Alright, let’s do this. Hmm. I’m walking slower than I thought. Scared? Nah. Here I come.
This trail seems quiet. I don’t like how gray it looks. Gulping. Expectation of something other than human. Inhuman trail. I can hear each twig snap underneath. I shouldn’t be able to hear it. Cold wells up. Choke. Inhuman. Doesn’t care about honey-buns. Has never tried a honey-bun. Trail is too long. It’s a straight line. Good thing and also bad thing. I might black out if I see a change. I’d almost forgotten.
Begging for color, I approach the entrance, finally. I feel its cold breath. It smells of rose and rock. It looks gray – there is no color here. The hole is like a dead man’s mouth still breathing. Diseased like the earth. One of the nodes of the last whimpers. Frozen to death. Mummified relic of obscure, unbelievable times. Inconceivable history. Deaths. Warmth and betrayal. Then grime. I look at the entrance, and feel wheezy and overly tall. Gravity hunches my back. I have no choice. I can’t assume I’m brave. I get a whiff of body odor, which frightens me. It does not belong to me. It’s becoming stronger. I struggle with myself. Hillbillies? Madman? Some body scents can tell you something. This is psycho. So, I head inside.
No more body odor. Instead, I do feel refuge in the inorganistry. I find myself peering back. Surrounded? My pace is quick. This is not so bad. Rather boring, in fact. I’ll have to wait til daybreak to leave. I don’t want to encounter a psycho in the dark. Something about dark gives them strength. It smells almost floral in here. I can see the welcoming now. It is fine. It is like watching birds sing, or anything else which is not out of the ordinary. Caves are normal. Everybody goes caving. Nothing to see here, thankfully.
What’s this? Dog house? I feel a shock, a sudden excessive innervation. I stop with a stance prepared to run back. But I approach against my own good judgment. Expecting what? At this point, I could fathom a demented man crawling out, yelling like a emaciated hoodlum, with food dried to his face. Raw meat. But there’s no reason to believe that a dog would honestly be living in this cave. There must have been a dog living here at some point, however… I assume. An aggressive breed, no doubt. I fear for my flesh now. I prize my flesh. My fantasy about the hoodlum in the dog house… why did it occur to me? I realise these imaginings do not happen by accident. No. This cave was once the hub of dementia. I can see a pile of empty Vienna sausage cans next to the dog dish. Did a man feed his dog Vienna sausages in a cave, or did a man live in a doghouse in a cave and eat Vienna sausages from a dog dish? I can’t say. Perhaps the man was brought up by dogs. This can occur in the wild. But to be raised by domesticated dogs… that is an orchestration of malicious intent.
I should move on. Is this the only strange thing I’ll see? I hope so. I want nothing other than the cave, unadulterated, by itself. In a soft pig grunt, I hear my name be uttered. “Jacob Roth.” I quickly turn around, my eyes wide, my flashlight moving frantically. I wait and listen. I look scared. Has all of this been planned as a horrible joke? Perhaps my bullies are back. I don’t see any toilets around here though… Or do I? What’s that? A toilet? I cover my nose. The stench is horrible. I peer inside the bowl. It’s filled to the brim with poop; obviously, there’s no sewage system in caves. What type of horrible monsters had the idea to live in a cave so haphazardly? It is almost as if psychotic mentally disabled people put this operation together. Operation? Oh, the word sends a chill down my existence. What sort of operation is this, anyway?
I have been walking for a good while after seeing the toilet, and it would appear that my fear was queer. No more insane sights. The madmen, which they no doubt were, are not here anymore, as evidenced by the aged smell of the poop in the toilet. Or singular madman? Even scarier, really. Phew. Imagine the smell of poop containing nothing but mechanically separated chicken parts from off-brand Vienna sausage. The smell still haunts me. But now that I’ve reached the likely point of exhaustion for the vandals, I see no more trash and scum. This is the point at which the mentally disabled give up. What about the psychos? They are at the bottom of the world. So, I should still keep my guard up. But I’m feeling good.
Ah – a rock – I can sit down now. I pull a joint from my pocket. I hesitate. I mildly anticipate seeing black beings if I go through with this. Oh, *** it. I light up and lighten up. Immediately, I feel relaxed. I should have started this whole trip with this, but fear got in the way. I think of something funny. Thousands of generations of chickens, and they are locked in cages and enslaved by humanity. They are at peace with their relative worthlessness. Out of the congregation, random, likely sickly chickens were selected for mechanical separation. They hail from Alabama? New York? Mississippi? They get torn, and combined. Filler is added to glue their maimed bodies together. I can almost hear them cry out. Then they get sealed in the claustrophobic cans, their souls being unfit for reincarnation just yet. Then they wind up on a grocery store shelf, mingling, and crying on each other’s shoulder. Claustrophobic. Stretch your legs? No chance. Then a… I can see a bald man with patchy, mutated facial hair growth. He picks up twenty cans of Vienna sausage and proceeds to the check out. He looks angry. “Will that be all?” The cashier is smiling. But he isn’t. He doesn’t respond. He takes his cans to his dwelling space – a cave. This is the other one percent. He opens and pours into dog dish. Then, without his hands, he slurps. I laugh amidst the smoke and the cave. Then the chickens take a swim in his gastric acid. Then they plop into the toilet while this idiot struggles.
I snap out of the sick fantasy. I’m in a cave, for crying out loud! Oh, oh well. It’s my brain. No sense in being ashamed of it. I sit contemplatively. I hate myself. I’m a weak freak.
The joint has me walking a little bit slower and more strange. I’m not making physical sense. A thin film like a drum skin blocks my path. I am taken aback by it. I feel an urge to touch this translucent, thin, vein-covered, biological film. There must be a bright light behind it. Is somebody… watching television in a cave? The curiosity gets the better of me. I grab my pocket knife to puncture the film. This is unreal. When I puncture, I am surprised by pressure release. I am horrified to be notified. The smell of thousands of bitterly decayed bodies flies in my face as this translucent film farts and loses it’s light. When I look up from the flayed “skin” of the film on the ground I see nothing but the light of my flashlight. My mind swims and my body yells at me to turn around, with such volume as to cause me to start against my own will to investigate. What the hell is going on here?
Beyond the remains of the film is the familiar scene of the cave. Except for the fact that I thought I saw a phantasm of a pale naked man slide behind a rock and whither away. I am horrified. Appalled. What the ***. I know now that I will turn around. Perhaps, I’ll even run back to the car, struggle to put the key in the lock, and speed back home, hoping that they can’t find me. But when I turn around, I find a congregation of nude idiots, breathing out of their mouths, staring without consciousness, genius in their apparent stupidity. They made no move, which, ironically, secured their capture. They crept up, squatting as they moved. When they move, they do not bob their heads. It gives the impression of complete intentionality. They know what they want. Prey. I am prey! I look down to see my shirt being torn asunder by these dull ones. Their eyes have no shine. Their skin is dead already. Their fingers have a variation of width marked by every knuckle. Their genitals are eerily small. Shriveled? No nutrition? They must be hungry, then! Oh, God! Help my poor soul.
Being groped and pinched by the lifeless fingers. I see heads moving back and forth over me. I am crying without consciousness. They can see how afraid I am? Does this please them? They are… something other than human. Their chins are long. Their faces are like vertical rectangles, with their chins adding a distinct triangle to the mix. Their pupils are the only difference between the whites of their eyes. They are too curious of me. They are moaning and groaning, smothering my face with their hands. Their hands smell like body odor! Between their fingers, I catch occasional gaze of their eye whites. Like cooked eggs with black yolk. Sickening. They begin to pull tightly on my limbs, in opposite directions. I am lifted up and taken deeper and deeper. Occasionally, one of them will squeeze my arm with tremendous strength of grip. Just for the hell of it! Mean creatures. Eager for torture? Oh my God!
I am convulsing. It seems the more I convulse, the more I am grabbed and pinched by cold leather fingers. I begin to notice that there are pockets of decay on their skin. Puffy, white marks of cancerous decay. The cancer species. This is in the earth, where mutations are rampant. The order of failed experiments. The frontier of conceptual possibility. This is where mathematics is reprehensible.
I can barely see that I am being taken to a stretcher in a large room in the cave. I can hear the roar of a waterfall. They slam me onto this stretcher, and tie me down with belts so tightly that I fear my circulation. I can feel my heart throbbing throughout my entire body. I pray that I have a heart attack. But what will happen to my body if I die here? I will turn into poop. Horrified by the claustrophobia of bowels. This is the poison of consciousness. The possibility is being tested. The phenomenon will be recorded by sallow tongues, an oral tradition.
Scalpel! One of the ghouls, with hundreds of scars on his forehead, cuts into my eyelids. I scream as loud as I ever have. The digesting sandwich in my stomach begins to tremble. My fingers form harsh code. When he is done with his task, he holds two little pieces of flesh into the air in a celebratory manner. I am curdling my throat with horror. I am taken into myself. If I was a turtle, I would retreat into my shell. I am hiding. My throat goes numb and I stop screaming. I look Scar Forehead into the eyes. Blood makes him appear red amidst the glow in the dark cave rocks. He is smiling. He seems proud now. There is an understanding between us, so to speak. He is evil, and I am to accept my fate. I would never sleep again, cursed to stare. I realize now. I am a part of them. Their eyes… dry. They must bring their sustenance to the cave, and rest.
A pungent, cheese-like, slimy substance is placed in my mouth. Once I notice them holding a dog above my head, force-feeding me, I violently resist. Can I taste it? Cheese, metallic. A group of ghouls grab my chin and force me to chew. I throw up in my mouth again and again. I can’t swallow, especially with fingers pushing the intestines deeper. I’m almost more grossed out by having the scarred ghoul push his unwashed finger into my mouth. Force feed. Terrible.
Then they put the dog kidney into my mouth. I could tell it was juicy. The moment they make my jaw squish it, I convulse from the gag reflex. This is not what I conceived of as nourishment. Now Scar Forehead pushes the liver in with stalagmite. I heave. I push. My brain is about to bust. I’m seeing red. Then, suddenly, I am wheeled off. I panic as I look around. Where are they taking me? It is the evolution of pain.
When they push me into another translucent film, I immediately see an inconceivable creature. Its head is shaped like a closed off hyperboloid, with an insect-like feature of having its mouth near the bottom of its chin. Arms with minor fingers are nested near the mouth, presumably to finesse food. Its eyes are like that of a millet grasshopper’s. It probably is a mutated grasshopper, in fact. It possesses the same long legs, with a wound-up look of potential energy, except having sixteen of these instead of four. From the top of its head hangs slime, reminiscent of a rooster. It has no body, only an enormous head, and legs. It then roared with such volume that I could feel voices and whispers in the volume. During this same interval, it occurs to me that it is speaking. But I have not the concentration nor the inclination to listen. Thousands of voices, all distinctly belonging to it. I peer into his mouth to find hundred of arms, fit to carry away prey. They are still wheeling me closer. N – nooo!!!
I am taken off of the stretcher by ghoul fingers. They send me into his mouth, where I am tickle tortured by the fine hairs at the end of the insect-like arms, slowly carrying me inside. It is getting tighter and tighter, and it seems as though the arms are competing with each other now, pushing on my skull and tearing the skin with their small fibers.
I become claustrophobic, and my anxiety increaseth tremendously as I pass along the villi of the absurd creature’s throat, until I then drop into a space with a little more room, in which the floor gives a little with squishiness. I hear click-like laughs from insect creatures. The gut bacteria for this beast? I feel them crawl on my skin. Soon, the stomach starts to glow, as if by some digestive method. I do find my eyes burn from the light, for my eyelids are minimal. When I look down I see praying mantises and grasshoppers biting into me, causes red spots on my skin (even more red). An onlooker to my body would perhaps accuse me of leprosy; I would have to explain – no, I was bitten by praying mantises and grasshoppers in a demon’s stomach because I was carried into a cave by ghouls. I swat them off me one by one, but I can’t manage to fully rid of them. I hear loud gargling noises and start to cry. My pain is great as I start to fall gradually, as the entire room seems to be tilting over. Both of my legs are getting sucked into the small intestine. There’s pain there. Some sort of… enzymes. I feel insane claustrophobia as my arms get buried too. Then my entire body is fully within the rank, decaying flesh-tunnel. My muffled screams can not be heard except in my own head. I can barely breath. It feels as though I am having to breath through a single stirring straw. I can feel my body, ravaged first by insect bites, and secondly by hazardous digestive fluids, twisting and turning through the bowels. Then contractions.
Squeezed by such great force that I believe my eyes would pop out. Probably a good chance they would, without eyelids. Squeezed with such power that I *** myself. The smells in this bowel… evil. I can feel myself being grated like cheese. The lack of physical awareness is disturbing. Then I fall.
Chapter 2: Vacation in Paris
As I hit the hard ground, both of my legs break. I cry out in anguish. A group of horrifying long-necked humanoids are coming closer. Their heads resemble lotus seed pods; their arms are like tyrannosaurus arms, with two fingers and a thumb; their legs are lean and muscular, but pale and unhealthy looking; their torsos are far too long. They are coming at me from every corner of this unfamiliar, foggy landscape. Reapers, I say. These are the grim reapers. I could care less anymore. Is it possible to feel more pain?
They begin to surround closely and “sniff” at me through the many perforated holes at the base of their “upside down cone” heads. I can feel the suction bringing air from behind me. A barely visible mouth near the apex of the cone-head reveals a tongue which begins to assist the air suction, similar to snake action. They squat down to inspect. They perform what looks like a sort of ritual dance, hopping around me, cocking their heads left and right, and making squeaking noises. I’m just in awe. I’m not even experiencing this right now. This can’t be true. But the pains too real. I feel as though my whole life has been a dream that I’ve just woken up from. This is hell. My cowardly soul deserves it. But its not all that bad. I can see mountains in the distance. Beautiful. Even this pain can be construed as beautiful.
The reaper’s hands start groping at my face. It disgusts me, because their hands smell like rotting feet. Sick creatures. Uh! Guh! They’re vomiting on me! It burns! The acid burns! I begin writhing. They’re still vomiting and groping. One of the reapers forcibly opens my mouth and vomits in it. It burns the hell out of my tongue and esophagus. It tastes like mustard, ketchup, and oatmeal. I spit it out of course, so it began to burn my face.
But the reapers started fleeing. I looked around. The big cheese approaches. Specifically, a fifteen-foot tall viking giant (donning horns helmet), with octopus tentacles instead of legs. I black out from the high level of fear.
I wake up. I’m more mortified than is possible for a mere banker to conceive. My guts are reorganized, and are stretched from my body in some odd display of length. My kidneys are disjunct from my body; they are propped up carefully by medical instruments. Everything is separated – mechanically separated! I can see my heart whimpering before my eyes. My skin has apparently been carefully flayed by some procedure. How am I still a part of the living? Can anybody hear my consciousness cry out in sorrow? Oh, its too late. No possible career now. Nobody wants to look at the spectacle wheelchair. The famed Museum of Physiology Wheelchair. My lungs are taking in air, this I have no doubt. If only I’d never smoked, I’d have better scenery. I whimper at this sarcastic comment. I can’t put up with this anymore. I’m finished. Done. My life is over. I start to ache from the tears. The only thing that feels good to me anymore. The ache of the brain from tears, a euphoria no matter the reason. I must look like a newborn baby. I can’t stop crying. My eyes are separated. My brain has been separated. My mouth and throat has been removed. Am I part machine now? It is likely so.
A demonic humanoid bull opens the “hospital door,” even though I still appear to still be in a cave lit by red, glow-in-the-dark rocks. I wish I could squirm. He wheels a man in a stretcher into the room, then looks at me to grunt. The man is softly whimpering with eyes wide open, looking like he’s experienced quite the trauma. Since his bald forehead is bleeding, I would assume blunt trauma to the head. He’s staring right at me, horrified. I wonder if I please his vision. Probably not. The minotaur bites down hard on the man’s calf. He screams from the pain with such energy that for a second I truly believed that his eyeballs would explode, being replaced by wilted blood spots. His voice is rasp and shrill. One can tell that this is the worst experience he’s ever had; though a virgin to such experiences could not determine this information. I know from familiarity. While the minotaur chews his food, he looks the crying bald man in the eyes. Instant emotional connection. Slave and master. What is this game?
The minotaur punches the bald man in the face, and the back of his head explodes onto the pillow. A veteran of this “realm” for God knows how long I’ve been blacked out, I’ll only comment on the man’s luck regarding the pillow and death. I could barely stand to see the man’s red-brown brains falling out of the bull-man’s stupidity mouth. His eyes were not present. Again, the solid white and black. Something in this – what shall I call it – cult?, places heavy importance on the eyes. Or the lack thereof. Dead man’s eyes. Being alone with this bull, I begin to grow afraid. I’m in real danger. He’s not bothering me, which either way suggests something ominous and disturbing. And how he sucked from the intestine – unfathomable. I can’t avoid watching, as my eyes are fixed in place. I suppose falling asleep now consists of genuine exhaustion. Or perhaps I’ll just begin to hallucinate. Speaking of which – do I still have shrooms in my pocket? Perhaps this can be the last euphoria I’ll ever feel. I am feeling around… feeling around… the bag! But, there’s still a problem. Or two. I’ll have to throw the shrooms from my hand to my mouth, since I am now mechanically separated. I probably look like one hundred shish kebabs stuck upright into the ground. Lets see if I can manage. Okay, I caught the shrooms with my mouth!
Not so fast, impromptu celebration! Turns out, I may have been a fool to take shrooms in this place. I can feel myself coming up on these shrooms, six grams was it? And as of now, the pale ghouls are back, squatted down, arms outspread but pointed downwards, cocking their heads and staring inquisitively. Some selectively grab my eyeballs, and then retreat in fear. Why the curiousity? You did this to me, dumb***s! Or did you? I do not particularly like the sensation of having my black lungs squeezed by… goblins? What the *** are these peo – creatures? Certainly other than human.
I’m tripping hard. The ghouls are still here. I thought I felt pain before. Only minimal, at most. I can feel the separated body for the first time. When the ghouls squeeze my eyeballs with the fingers, which they’ve been doing with less timidity lately, I can feel the shock it does to my nerves – already fried. Hanging on the last threads. These shrooms are the air propeller which cause the second winds of nerve innervation. I am sickened, for the ghouls are pouring what I can minimally detect to be pure grain alcohol down the esophagus directory. I can feel the squeezing pumping action of the stomach cause the slosh of the liquids. I can’t peer over to look behind, so I can’t tell what they are doing. I can’t squirm. My body is a crippled freak. I can see shadow people marching on the walls, violently flailing their arms. The minotaur is staring angrily and dull-like towards me and the goblin’s pranks. I can hear the voices. My mommy. My poppy. Goodbye. Sissy! Mom! I want my mom! Come save me! Their voices keep on!
But their whispers are subtly turning into demonic whisperings. Garnishings on the plate, by no means the apex of my horrors. But I have a suspicion of a conductor somewhere in the ceiling, with the puppet strings. These ghouls can’t think straight. I think they’ve been kidnapped from Lanesbury Palace, in fact. The minotaur seems of a higher rank. What is this land. I wish I could have my body back. I’m a more complicated field of awareness now. And complication demands attention. I can’t believe or fathom anymore. My imagination is kept from me by no other employment than “entertainment.” Where am I. It’s hard to believe that just “yesterday” I was eating a fish fillet at, well, shall we say it’s all run by a clown, and leave it at that?
My mind then paused, which seems hardly possible. Are clowns running this operation? I’ve been seeing various clowns after eating out at, well, yours truly. Let’s just say it starts with an m and happens to be a clown club. I’ve been seeing the bastards all over the place. The red hair… that snickering laugh… the yellow themes… they’re everywhere I go. It would seem that I’m being chased by clowns. But not anymore. I’ve got the upper hand now! Hahahahaha! Hahahahaha… Oh my God, have pity on my poor soul!
Even a clown can’t fathom this wretchedness. Is this a second or a year. Where am I. I just can’t calculate anymore. An abyss marcher comes onto the scene, a pure black cloud. It enters through the Minotaur's nostrils. His eyes begin to glow yellow, and then he explodes, leaving blood all over the place. The ghouls begin licking the floor. Aghhhhh!!! I am deeply surprised as one of the ghouls, whom I cannot witness, and apparently in some blood frenzy, bites the end of my colon. I am on the receiving end of the signal, and yet I can even calculate the “hard” squishiness. I haven’t been in the bathroom for a while. The abyss marcher, the title of which seemed to have leaped into my head, lingers.
Sleep was interesting. I essentially blacked out, and now I can’t differentiate dream from reality. Either that, or I had no dreams. What function would a dream serve now? They general function is to notify. What messenger would dare grace me? The one who can’t respond. The one whose location puts one in danger.
I awaken to the horrific noise of a vacuum cleaner, and the terrible feeling of having my intestines evacuated completely. My disjunct mouth seems to be wailing and gnashing of its own accord. Demons are the last thing I ever see. My life is not very lucky.