I entered the caverns to find her. They say she’s lived there for decades, deep in the bowels of the earth, with eyes that could pierce souls and ears that could hear unspoken things. One of the last of the living sages.
Whenever I asked about her, people would stop and shiver, their eyes darting around as if she might find out their darkest secrets. They told me stories in hushed tones, warning me of how a child of a friend of a friend once went down there to find her and never returned. They would warn me not to let my curiosity lure me to her.
They fear her.
Everyone has secrets, and the thought of someone finding out such things just by looking at them was enough to keep them far away from the cavern’s entrance.
The sounds of daytime faded behind me as I stepped deeper into the dark. It didn’t take long for my ears to only hear the drip, drip, drip, of water hitting stone and the thump, thump, thump of my own heartbeat. I walked slowly, trying to get my eyes to adjust, but the light of the entrance had disappeared at the first bend of the path.
Some told me there was no sage, only endless tunnels to get lost in. It was easy to believe them once I was shuffling blindly through the dark. It was easy to believe anything at that point.
Then the glowworms started shining.
If I stayed quiet, and did not touch, they continued shining, leading me deeper with their soft blue lights. I started walking to the rhythm of the dripping water so as to not disturb them. They were the stars of the underworld.
Down I journeyed into the earth. The ceiling rose, walls widened, and in time I found myself walking through open spaces paved with smooth rock, littered with stalagmites and stalactites, puddles and drop-offs. A mist started appearing above me, like the barest hint of clouds, and something inside me told me you’re closer, closer, close.
They all warned me. Every one that I spoke to, they all said the same things. She sees, she hears, she knows. Finding her costs your secrets. Finding her costs your sanity.
They did not know I was going insane anyway.
They did not know I could never find someone to listen to my secrets. They did not know how no one saw, no one listened, no one knew. I could not find a way to tell them.
I was going insane, after all.
The stories could not scare me. They only made me want to look more. I wanted it so bad I finally entered the tunnels to look.
Now I’m standing inside a cavern lit by millions of blue glowworms, listening to dripping water echo into the darkest corners, and I’m finally breathing again. I will find her, I am so close.
Just once, I want to be understood.