failed search party

There is nothing out there. They checked and they found nothing. That is why they are now huddled here in this concrete chapel, lighting matches and burning their fingers on candle stubs too short to hold fire. And so in the dark they sit meditating on what has transpired between then and now—the before and after. The search was long and arduous because as everyone knows nothing worth anything can be found without a long and arduous journey. But sometimes what is found turns out to be nothing, as in this case. Well, that’s not entirely true. A few things were indeed found. Things tangential to what was being sought (which itself remains elusive—all that is known is that it was not found). These few relatively inconsequential things found along the way were pocketed in such a distant mindless way as to almost suggest they were acts of the unconscious mind. Upon reaching the chapel the pockets of their loose-fitting black garments were turned inside out and the contents subsequently arranged on the altar, now, here, among the nettles and vines. As they stare hard at the altar, covered as it now is by their random and unimpressive offerings, somewhere in the distance comes the sound of drumming—although it’s possible they imagine it. Hallucinations are, after all, not uncommon following these types of expeditions. A return to so-called normality is never certain, and in fact often impossible. Hence now the chapel and later the inevitable retreat to the grottoes and much later still the descent to the catacombs, where a final resting place of sorts awaits deposit of their faded hollow bones.

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