The Cosmic Seed
Along the walls were long ropey bright green vines with a purple sheen to them. As they crept closer to the hum and dim. As they approached the vines became denser, spreading like a growing web across the rock walls.
Father Pleasant inspected the vines closer, his eyes running along them as he kept his hands away in fear. While the color was bright and verdant, with an almost metallic purple luster, the texture appeared to be leathery, hard, and porous, with a shale-like structure. Every few feet, and getting closer together as they moved in, were small asymmetrical pieces of what Father Pleasant could only imagine was fruit of some kind. The shape somewhat akin to a pear on one side and ginger root on the other was a gradient of peach to deep red. Father Pleasant tapped one and it shook on its stem and fell to the rocky floor of the mineshaft. It hit the ground with a hollow ting, loud enough to startle the men, but not loud enough to travel far in the hum of the machinery. Father Pleasant reached in his bag and pulled out a bandana. He wrapped the bandana around his hand several times and slowly picked up the unearthly fruit. He slowly unraveled the bandana at the same time wrapping it around the strange object. It was heavy in his hand as he slowly set it in his back and zipped the top shut.
They continued their dive into the mineshaft finally coming to the opening as the dim light and hum became clear.
Before them was a large opening in the tunnel. To the sides, they could see that the main cavern spread off into multiple more tunnels forming a massive cave system. From each of the shafts, their entrance included the vines poured into the hollow. Moving all about in shadows and light were the goblins that Buddy had described. They were small, pale green creatures with basically human form. Two legs, two arms, and humanoid bodies. They had no hair or reproductive organs to speak of on their warted naked bodies, but on their heads, they had two massive jet black eyes, whites, no irises, all pupil eyes that reflected light when properly angled.
In the middle of the massive rock cavity in the ground, the vines converged on a massive dark brown object. An object that can only be described as a seedpod. The seed or husk was easily thirty feet around and the same distance high, covered in vines with the same shale-like texture.
Around the base of the seed was a collection of junk, washing machines, car parts, old bikes, and other seemingly pointless miscellanies, all cobbled together into some sort of slowly twisting machine. No part on its own looked like it mattered, or even appeared to be in working condition, but together, they slowly spun and undulated causing the creaking hum the men had heard earlier.
Behind them, they heard footsteps and clicking. With a nod and a point, they both made their way out of the passage they had entered and stuck to the dark rock wall, doing their best to avoid the vines and their strange fruit.
Through their entrance passage came another pack of goblins carrying another assortment of seemingly worthless junk. Some carried one item, others carried larger items in groups of twos and threes. An old stove, a propane tank, an assortment of action figures, an old piano, and more.
Each item was brought in single file to a group of four goblins crouched in waiting next to the rotating machine ring. The group of four seemed more important, each with an odd stone sculpture, almost like a crown at the top of their heads.
They were sitting in a circle, eyes closed, chatting, or chanting with odd clicks and tweets. Each item was set into the center of the four. The stove was sent it. From the whirling machine around the seed, there was a change in tone and some clunks and clangs, like a piece of shit old transmission had finally seen its final moment, and then a mass of wires and tubes and parts grabbed the stove, pulling it into the rusted circular contrivance as it resumed its unknown function.
Next, the propane tank was set in. Again the machine slowed and pulled it in, this time the tank was lost in the fray and the dull dim from the machine grew brighter in spots and sparked.
The action figures were added in, the machine added them to the top, evenly spreading them out along the edges as the plastic melted their colors down the sides.
A group of three goblins set in the piano. The machine came to a complete stop for a moment, then a span of bars and tubes grabbed one side while a mass of wires and bent metal grabbed the other. The piano was stretched throughout the machine as it started its spin again, wires, and tubes filling in the splits as the keyboard spread around the entire circumference. Once the piano had been affixed to the machine it’s whirl and hum was subtly enhanced with a dark discordant melody.
Father Pleasant looked over to Buddy, hoping to see assurance, some form of an idea that the man knew what they were looking at. Instead, he saw the same look he had given in Buddy’s eyes, but something more. Fear, no a warning. Father Pleasant realized that look, the look of whatever the hell is the issue is, the issue is right behind you. Father Pleasant slowly turned his head and behind him saw one of the goblins. The goblin was holding a doll and stared right at him with its enormous black eyes.
The creature made a clicking noise and another joined it, eyes fixated on the two men.
“I suggest we leave, Father,” Buddy whispered to him.
Father Pleasant just shook his head yes and started backing up, “Where? Those things are between us and the entrance.”
“Anywhere,” Buddy answered.
Father Pleasant just looked at the creatures, as if entranced by their unnatural movements, head ticking back and forth like a thinking dog or confused pigeon, the pendulous head ticks and orbital black eyes almost mesmerizing.
“Father, we have to go,” Buddy suggested again, but still no movement from Father Pleasant. “Cotton,” Buddy said louder. “We have to go.”
Father Pleasant nodded with more affirmation and scurried, starting on all fours and working his way up to his feet. Behind them, louder clicks and tweets started filling the chamber.
“Here, Cotton, Here!” Buddy yelled as Father Pleasant saw him waving him down another tunnel from the room. The two men darted down the tunnel stumbling over the rocks and pebbles. The creatures pursued slowly, almost with confusion.
“Where the fuck are we going?” Father Pleasant yelled at Buddy.
“This is another exit!” Buddy responded.
“How do you know!”
“I don’t! But, the breeze is cool and coming in!”
Father Pleasant felt that that answer was as good an answer as he was going to get, so he ran. The two men ran and stumbled through the tunnel. Behind them, they could hear their leathery feet tapping on the ground and scratching at the walls. Father Pleasant looked back seeing the growing mob following after, their masses climbing up the walls and scamping across the ceiling of the mineshaft.