Weekly Skylights: The Tripod Looks to the Clouds

3 min read

Joey Cifelli ’23

A&E Editor

March 22, 2023, Part 1

On one of my nightly excursions exploring the intricacies of the labyrinth, I discovered a room behind a sturdy oak door. The inside was darker than soot, though I always kept a candle on my person in case this particular situation arose. The feeble candlelight illuminated several blunt forms lying against the wall. My body tensed immediately, and I kept one foot against the door for a quick escape, but a thrown match revealed the forms to be nothing more than a few barrels of drink. Relieved at this revelation, I placed a rock in the doorway and shone my light around the remainder of the room. 8.5/10

March 22, 2023, Part 2

Hundreds and hundreds of barrels emerged from the darkness, and I saw that this was less a room rather than an extensive tunnel. Inscriptions marked each barrel, but age had warped them unreadable. I decided to have a drink. The contents, which were certain to be liquor, might have a soothing effect on my rather frayed mind. An iron goblet laid on a barrel nearby, appearing to be well maintained despite its cobwebbed surroundings. I hastily uncorked the barrel and at once a shimmering fluid gently descended into my receptacle. It held a deep obsidian color, coated in the faintest outline of crimson. I put the cup to my lips, and drank a sliver. The taste was of dry earth and lingering sweetness. Unlike anything I had tasted before but not unwelcome. I continued sipping as I wandered further along the tunnel. The barrels seemed to be more recent in age as I progressed. The wood showed less warping, and I could read the text etched into it. 8.6/10

March 22, 2023, Part 3

They appeared to be names for the types of liquor. One bore the moniker “CAPTAIN RALEIGH,” and another “LORD MATTHEW.” Each had their own distinct notes, but the earthiness remained. Eventually I reached the flat wall marking the end of the tunnel. My candle burned low, and I prepared to turn back when a barrel caught my eye. It was the second most recent barrel to the end, and what captivated me was the inscription. In barely aged etching, it read “EDWIN CASTOR.” Edwin Castor, my Grandfather. 8.7/10

March 22, 2023, Part 4

MA

In horror, I uncorked the barrel with trembling hands. The ink-red liquid flowed out onto the floor, and I dared not stop it until it was completely empty. The last of the fluid had splattered onto the stones below, when out came a thin, segmented form. It fell to the ground: a rotten, pallid, wet finger. I averted my eyes from the ghastly sight, and my dotted pupils landed on the final barrel. A perverse realization dawned on me then, as I saw what I feared most laid out before me, freshly etched in the wood: “ALFRED CASTOR.” As I turned to run like a panicked deer, the sound of stone hitting stone echoed down the tunnel and the door creaked shut in its rusted bolts. My candleflame sputtered and died, and as I stood there sweating in the darkness daring not to breathe, the rasping of chains and struggled breath echoed ever louder down the smooth stone walls. 8.8/10

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