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FYI #5: Doors
The doors in public buildings open outward to allow a large number of people quick exit in case of danger, such as fire. If the doors opened inward, people might pile up at the exit as everyone pushed to get through at once instead of stepping back to allow space for the door to be opened.
The front doors of private homes mostly open inwards because they sometimes have to be removed from the hinges in to allow furniture to be moved in. If the hinges were on the outside, burglars could remove them easily. Since there are fewer people in a home, there’s no danger of a pileup at the door in case of fire.
A pinch of irony, a touch of sarcasm and a bucket full of hate
“ The hint of irony splashes, following the earthquake filled sarcasm, and then, you’re taken surprise by the heat wave horror of fulfilled hate. The world just winks at you and tells you to get on with it. The earth can act so dry at times. But there’s the irony, sarcasm and the hate and it’s so worthless when the monsoon is done with and your deepest light embarks on life again
A year had passed since the incident in the rainforest of Suriname and yet, I could still not remove the thought from my mind. I could not shake the horrors I had felt. I could not even put into words what exactly happened. The experience was beyond incomprehensible, but it crept from the darkest crevices of my brain and embedded itself into every thought, every dream, every action—like some sort of angry parasite. The trauma done to my body only became worse and for months I could no longer sleep. The moment I began to drift, I felt myself evaporating. My skin could no longer hold the innards that were surely shaken beyond repair. My body was detaching from itself, transforming into miniscule particles every night—so small they would evanesce into the hot air if I could not force my eyes open. I was constantly being devoured whole and then regurgitated as some half-solid half-liquid substance. Each day, my body felt as though it were becoming less and less my own—that that horrible thing was still pulling me inward—that dreaded hole that would engulf the very soul of anything so unfortunate to fall within it. That thing that housed the universe’s deepest horrors inside—that somehow forced my step to cross its path.
At the time, I was a herpetologist researching endangered and extinct amphibians within South America. I had just received a package from a partner residing in a newly discovered area of rainforest located within Suriname. I was in utter disbelief when I opened the mail to rest my eyes on photographs of a species of frog that bore incredibly close resemblance to that of Phrynomedusa fimbriata, known also as the Spiny-Knee Leaf Frog. This species of amphibian was presumed extinct for over 80 years, and a sample had only ever been recorded once in São Paulo, Brazil. I could not begin to describe my amazement as I closely studied the photographs. The only pictures I had ever seen were nothing more than illustrations within dusty textbooks from so many years previous. The package also included a short letter of excitement and my colleague’s exact whereabouts. He wrote that he would meet me in the country’s capital, Paramaribo, and drive me to the site upon my arrival.
There was an unmistakable difference between the beautiful and humble cities that we passed, and the primitive, run down village of Atisidon, meaning “content” in the country’s native tongue, Srnan Tongo. The village was unmarked on the map and the truck hesitated and shook violently, fighting against the rough dirt roads that lead up to it. However, this area proved most convenient to set up camp, being close enough to venture from the site and back to our beds before dark. The townspeople poked their heads out from their dilapidated shacks as the loud truck sped by, but my colleague did not delay and drove us directly to the forest in hopes that we could capture a sample before the sun would set. He parked the truck close to the pathway he had recently walked, and we advanced within.
The rainforest was unbearably humid, and the plants and leaves grew so thick that some areas could never know the warmth of the sun. The trees were littered with red markers branding the discovered from the untouched. I snapped photos of unfamiliar plants exploding with colors that I had never seen, nor that I could describe with only words. There were insects that resembled genus I had known, but dwarfed those from home. Enormous black birds flew overhead, disappearing within the trees. The mosquitoes were ruthless, and the repellant acted as sugared water as they swarmed us while we tried to carve through the compact foliage. Pacing through, I noticed that the red markers began to thin out until they had disappeared completely. We were now standing before unknown land, and directly at the line that separated the ground we trod from undiscovered territory, I saw the glorious creature sitting peacefully—waiting for us, as if it wanted to finally be rediscovered to the world. I thought this all too easy, and my assumptions were correct, because the moment I took my specimen jar from its pouch, the amphibian made a speedy getaway, forcing my partner and I to chase after it, going deeper and deeper within the bush, becoming lost inside the alien terrain.
As we ran forward, tearing our clothes on sharp, hanging branches that nicked and scratched our skin, I heard the unmistakable sound of running water, but it was accompanied by something else—some sort of deep whirring resonance that chilled my very soul. I stopped my colleague from running forward to confirm that I was not going mad. We both stood silent in the forest, listening to the water crashing in the distance and the malevolent humming that joined it. The sound had grasped our curiosity completely, and suddenly, the frog was of no importance. We were hypnotized and began to follow the low thrumming that would reverberate stronger through our bodies with every passing step. I cannot remember how long we walked for, but I remember suddenly feeling the cold mist of water hitting my face, causing me to be released from my hypnotic state.
What lay before us was a sight that terrified me beyond reason—the sight that still haunts me to this day. A gargantuan hole lay in the center of the flowing river, however, this hole was not a spillway—the water was not pouring inside of it—the hole itself was vacuuming the water within it, pulling the entire river to depths unknown. I could feel the force of the suction pulling me in, even though my feet were rooted to the ground. Even the trees in the surrounding area were being pulled toward it, their trunks slightly arched from being exposed to the incredible pull for some time. I was in a trance again, staring into the black hole that stood here on Earth. Millions of questions formulated through my mind, but any answer that I seemed fit could not shake the horror I felt from the ungodly sight.
My train of thought was broken when my colleague placed his compass in front of my eyes. The needle spun so rapidly I could only see the blur of its red paint. He began to take pictures of the colossal hole and I began recording video of the area around us. While documenting the arched trees, I came across markings that were carved within them—foreign letters of an origin I could never guess. A deep disturbance rose within me when I realized that the markings looked relatively new.
We went from tree to tree trying to decipher the messages and saw depictions of the hole surrounded by men with long, slender heads. The frightening drawings showed the men throwing people within the hole—sacrificing them, and then the void slowly closing. The fear that ran through my body compelled me to go back and never return, but I wanted so badly to document every aspect of the discovery, and found myself inching closer and closer to the hole, greedy for knowledge. My partner became stressed, warning me that we should go back—that this was an area a geologist should look into. I ignored his words and began to cautiously near the void, stepping on wet rocks that fought the hole’s powerful suction. I needed to see what was within it.
I was as close as I would get to the damned thing—as close as I would let myself get. I held my camera high above my head and tried to record the hole in its entirety when I became startled by a giant black bird that flew close overhead. My footing slipped off the wet rock and I fell within the water, grabbing onto a thick vine that grew from the bank. Everything played out in slow motion from then on. I saw my colleague frantically pour out the contents of his backpack, grabbing the rope he had within it. But even though the world seemed to turn at a slower pace, the vine still broke away within seconds. My body was pulled so incredibly fast toward the hole that I was certain I would not survive to live another day, but I miraculously grabbed onto the rope that was thrown toward me. I held on with every ounce of my strength, watching my colleague desperately try to get me back to land—his feet being dragged forward. And suddenly, a bizarre feeling overcame my body. I felt as though I were disintegrating. I felt like my body was being torn to a million tiny pieces and swirling within an angry tornado. I could see my hands holding onto the rope, but I felt as though I had no limbs. My skin had been flipped inside out and my intestines were trailing behind me.
The deep humming was louder than ever as we both kept slipping closer, and I could feel the sclera of my eyes evaporating. And then I heard it—something shrieking past the horrible whirring sound. Screaming that was not from my own voice. Painful, dragged out screams of thousands of people—victims of sacrifice. I looked behind me in terror and could not see my own body, only particles being slowly absorbed within the onyx sides of the abyss. There was only darkness inside, but it was a darkness I had never known—darkness from somewhere outside of this planet, from some other realm. I quickly looked back at my colleague and saw his face. His skin was also slowly disintegrating—detaching into a million little particles that were being pulled toward the void. I closed my eyes, convincing myself that I was hallucinating—trying to block everything out, but all I could hear were the agonizing screams calling out to me—convincing me to let go.
I can’t recall what happened following those moments, only that I woke up in a hospital in Paramaribo. According to my partner, I had been comatose for nearly eight days. He told me that he sent the pictures he took to a team of geologists that were currently researching the area; however, my camera was lost within the river. He followed the bad news up with something he thought I would be happy to hear. He stumbled upon the Spiny-Knee Leaf Frog while he was in the village of Atisidon, and was able to collect a specimen. He continued on about how proud we should be—that we had multiple interviews set up with different newspapers once we returned home and that we would be featured in magazines. Then I saw his eyes shift past me and into the doorway. A man I had never seen before stood there and said something to my colleague in Dutch. He excused himself and I saw them talking to each other as they walked out into the hallway.
When my partner returned, he explained the news that I still, to this day, cannot wrap my head around. The man that visited him in the hospital was a geologist that was looking into the hole we had encountered. They discovered the same markings that we came across. They even encountered a tribe of people that resided directly past the river, but there were no signs of a hole ever being present. He said that multiple scans of the river were done and there was nothing beneath it that could have ever caused such a powerful suction.
His words were deeply disturbing, and I thought back to the images that we saw carved into the trees. Were the particles that were absorbed inside of the hole enough to close the ungodly thing? Or was someone sacrificed while we were away? I thought a million questions over again but this time, I could not even entertain an answer. I wondered what was inside the hole—if that tribe of people were the ones sacrificing humans—if they were preventing whatever it was from coming out, or if they were releasing it. I knew the questions would haunt me forever, but I was too traumatized to even think about going back. The only thing I did know was that a part of me belonged to that ungodly hole and I could feel it resonating within me—constantly pulling me inward.