Me Aorn, son of Thyann, I must watch over my father. From the opening of divine hostilities, we found refuge in the countless galleries that sink into the bowels of this planet.
Shaken by the violence of the battle raging on the surface, upset by the coma in which I was immersed, half asphyxiated by the lethal emanations of combat gas, my poor father almost lost his mind. I almost lost my life. The truth is terrible. Faced with the loss of his only son, Thyann my father went to the end of his forces, carrying me on his back through the underground maze, to the threshold of the Center Earth. There we met the Mole Men, the people of Teuth Hades, whom the Celts call Teutates or Toutatis, the Egyptians Toth and the Romans Hades, god of Hell.
The god of Hell is more than one being. Hades is a people who lives underground. Toutatis, Teuth Hades those of Toth, those of Hades, the Subterraneans, the Mole Men, the People of the Inside – many are the names given to them. They live here forever. They explored the thousand labyrinths within. They drilled passages, dug vaults, laid out the many paths that go to the Sacred Descent.
This is where they watch. These guardians are called Walkers of the Earth Center. They are proud of it. They have always kept the secret. Some of the visitors are allowed to go down. Others are repressed. The voice of the Passeurs is sovereign law. Whether prince or beggar, human or animal, ephemeral or divine, no one can appeal their decisions. They said to me: We will watch over your father. As for you, you will soon be able to go down. When your time has come, you will know it.
Soon ? Three good months have passed, I’m still stuck in the galleries. A family gathered me, I eat with them, I sleep with them. I miss my father a little, but I’m quiet about it. I know the Rifles are watching, and when they watch, nothing bad can happen. All the same, I really want to see the Earth Center. Amyann talks to me every day. Amyann is the son of the family where I live. He has three sisters, big with breasts. But I prefer his company. It’s a boy. We are the same age. He knows nothing about hunting, I explain to him and he tells me about the Earth Center. We always have new stories to tell.
– Not a little finished chatting like two old toothless? One day your languages will wear out and fall into your bowl of soup! his mother tells us, laughing.
I think she is delighted that her son has a friend of his age. Amyann is happy too, a little, not so much as me. He when he is happy it is not seen. I see it all the time. I am always happy Amyann is very beautiful, I think. His skin is white like coconut milk. He has the same red hair as the wood that smells good. He’s shy, he’s stubborn, he’s never happy, but he keeps on laughing. Even when he says nothing, I look at him, he looks at me, and I burst out laughing. In addition he knows the underground as the back of the hand. He takes me to see things too well. I’m ready to follow him everywhere, actually.
“Tomorrow we will go to see old Yima,” he whispered in my ear.
– Yima? Whoever lives at the bottom of the beautiful staircase?
– Yes, that Yima there. An old but super old man who lives underground since I do not know how long. But sometimes Yima is a very young boy like you who does not remember anything and who repeats all the time that he just arrived in the underground. He dreams of one day seeing the Earth Center.
– What? Since all the time he’s been there he’s never been there?
– No. The Inner Council never allowed it.
It puzzles me. Amyann talks about it as if it’s just a detail! But when do I go to Center Terre? Sometimes I feel like he does not care. I’m dying for it, he does not care. He is far from everything, all the time. It’s his weird side.
– You too would be weird if you had spent your life in galleries, he answers.
I forget all the time that he is telepathic. I do not need to talk to know what I’m going to say.
– All the Rifles are weird. But everyone with his own quirk. I tell you this so that you do not surprise you too much tomorrow in front of this sacred Yima. It’s a god who does not know it.
– An old ?
“No,” said Amyann. A God.
I had heard correctly. There are gods in the galleries? Too strong ! Gods moles? Divine Wireworms? It hurts me the spleen!
– Why are you laughing?
– No, but because in fact the wireworms, you are like us, you do everything like us. But from below.
– Do not think it’s over either. It’s you who do as we do, “said Amyann the chauvinist mole.
That night, in the niche where I have my bed, I fell asleep with images of all the delusions Amyann has trained me. Bubbling lavas, underground glaciers, the country of the stone trees, and above all, oh especially, the singing caves. Enormous crystals fall from the sparkling vault, others crisscross on the ground forming a transparent forest that rings incessantly, and whose increasingly deafening echoes twist our eardrums. Do not stay too long, it would make your ears bleed, Amyann told me.
Other wonders still, large halls with metal machines, very high ceilings, fabulous aquariums where behind a crystal wall evolve all kinds of marine dinosaurs and other monsters, these caves painted by forgotten artists, showing cities with large transparent domes, gigantic trees, unknown animals, strange beings covered with scales, like the reptilian gods, but with snake or lizard heads. And also the magnificent staircase, encrusted with precious stones and luminous sculptures, the staircase that I have always wanted to go down, and which leads to Yima the old master.
When sleep turned me off, I was already descending the staircase. I was already tomorrow.