Short Story: The Blind Photographers of The Underground Temple

hermit

Photographers live principally underground.

Largely blind, with mole-like eyes, they feel their way along cavern walls, wearing dank sack-cloth robes.

Prior to becoming a photographer, all acolytes must have their eyes gouged out; once cauterized, their sockets are replenished with an unknown, semi-coagulated chemical – a milky, opaque quality to it – that half hardens, whilst still retaining its leakless fluidity – a dangerous, volatile chemical.

During periods of planetary conjunctions, these chemical pools within their eyes sockets begin to bubble and effervesce. The liquid heats up to a scalding intensity. Bilious streams of steam squeak out from behind their eyes. The heated liquid spatters out onto their skin, leaving them with a latticework of scars.

The periods of boiling are intensely painful. The deeper the pain, the deeper the photographers burrow, to try to hide their screams from others. But it is also when they experience their greatest inspirations. The pain drives them out of their ordinary consciousnesses: propelled into worlds where imagination is the ruler, they come back bewildered, inspired, haunted, raving at each other to try and convey their experiences; but, lacking the words to do so, they jabber at each other like a box of pixies, before better venting their madness through art.

Though blind, their sight is revived fourfold when a camera is placed before their eyes. At night, they rise to the surface of the world, and use their sacrificially enhanced sight to capture images beyond the ken of the surface-dwellers

Though the surface-dwellers can see, they are so weighed down by the worries of the world that everything to them just appears to be uniform and dull. This is where the acolytes come in – it is their responsibility to remind the world of the impenetrable colours surrounding them.

Only by blinding themselves, and withdrawing into the folds of darkness, can they show the sighted the wealth of what they have missed. They hide glossy magazines and 12X8’s outside their houses, in the hopes that this will one day inspire them to wake up.

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