drifting spores

6

redesigned book covers: the winner’s trilogy

Kestrel thought that maybe she had been wrong, and Risha had been wrong, about forgiveness, that it was neither mud nor stone, but resembled more the drifting white spores. They came loose from the trees when they were ready. Soft to the touch, but made to be let go, so that they could find a place to plant and grow.

archiveofourown.org
Deeper, Darker - CH. 8
Stranger Things / Danny Phantom crossover
By Organization for Transformative Works

He found himself flinching at shadows, stepping as close to Danny as he could without actually treading on the teen’s heels. Everything in the city seemed to pulse wetly, gleaming despite the choking fog and delicate spores that drifted and settled on his shoulders and hair.

When I asked McKenna if he seriously believed that psilocybin mushrooms represent messages from an alien intelligence, he told me that his proposal was not as whimsical as it sounded. Mushroom spores, he said, can survive the cold of outer space; in fact, mushroom cultivators here on earth store the spores in liquid nitrogen. “So if somebody were designing a bio-informational package, a spore is how you would go. Millions of them pushed around by light pressure and gravitational dynamics would percolate throughout the galaxy.”


Psilocybin’s unusual chemical structure suggested an unusual origin, McKenna added. It is “the only four-phosphorelated indol in all of nature,” which indicated “that maybe it came from outside the terrestrial ecosystem.” The personality of the mushroom, as revealed by the experiences it triggers in humans, also had an alien, science-fiction quality. “It presents itself as this particular slice of alien, aesthetic motif from Hollywood–the shiny metallic surfaces, the mercuroid forms, the piercing, instantaneous biointelligence.”


/


“The mushroom’s claims” in McKenna´s book True Hallucinations:


I am old, older than thought in your species, which is itself fifty times older than your history. Though I have been on earth for ages I am from the stars. My home is no one planet, for many worlds scattered through the shining disc of the galaxy have conditions which allow my spores an opportunity for life. The mushroom which you see is the part of my body given to sex thrills and sun bathing, my true body is a fine network of fibers growing through the soil. These networks may cover acres and may have far more connections than the number in a human brain.


Space, you see, is a vast ocean to those hardy life forms that have the ability to reproduce from spores, for spores are covered with the hardest organic substance known. Across the aeons of time and space drift many spore-forming life-forms in suspended animation for millions of years until contact is made with a suitable environment.


Symbiosis is a relation of mutual dependence and positive benefits for both of the species involved. Symbiotic relationships between myself and civilized forms of higher animals have been established many times and in many places throughout the long ages of my development.

I think I found something horrible in a mine in the mountains of Pennsylvania, and whatever it is, it has my friend.

It’s hard to tell where to begin, so I’ll just begin with me, and my friend. We’re spelunkers. I don’t know if you could call us ‘professional’ spelunkers, but we’ve done some of the pretty insane things you see on National Geographic or Discovery or whatever. Y'know, like squeezing through caves hundreds of meters down in the darkness, or doing cave diving, where you put on scuba gear and go through flooded and underwater caves. I’ve seen some pretty breathtaking things, but nothing like what I’ve come to tell you about now.

I’m getting ahead of myself. I’m Collin, and my partner is Craig. We’re just twenty-somethings with crappy jobs who are always looking for a new 'fix’, a new place to discover. I think we were drawn to caves because, unlike mountains, nobody yet knows what’s the biggest challenge, or what’s the best cave. We all know about Carlsbad or Mulu, but unlike Everest or K2, we don’t know if Carlsbad is one of the biggest caves. You never know when you’re going to stumble onto the mega-Everest of caving, way deep down. That excitement sticks with you on every expedition, I promise, and it’s what keeps us coming back as often as we can. So, when Craig got a tip that some old Appalachian mines might lead to some insanely deep and undiscovered natural caverns, we knew we had to give it a shot. The caving community is very helpful, and a lot of people had been out there trying out other caves. Craig tracked down a mining ledger for a company that had been used in the 1890s. It detailed employees, locations, and yields, but what interested us what one shaft that had been closed due to 'mysterious circumstances’. Seriously, it said that shit on the paper. It’s in a town called Coalsborough, Pennsylvania, and I’m still in that shithole now, working with whatever passes for internet. All we knew going in is that nobody else reported ever caving there. We were excited to get the chance to be the first people down there in 120 years.

We shipped our gear ahead of us, flew out, rented a car then head out. It was dark, and chilly. A blanket of fog lay thick on the roads, so we couldn’t see more than fifty feet in front of us. Craig drove. I watched the streetlamps and headlights pass by like yellow ghosts in the mist. I’m not easily spooked, but as we slowed off the paved roads and got on the backwood dirt roads through the mountains, with black trees towering above us, I have to admit I felt a shiver go up my spine.

We go to Coalsborough sometime in the middle of the night. It was everything you’d expect from an Appalachian mining town that hadn’t had a mine for over a century. Only a few hundred surly people. We unpacked our things and headed to the only motel in town, a flickering 'vacant’ neon sign the only thing that guided us.

A frumpy woman managed the counter, looking half-dead herself. She didn’t greet us when we came in the door - just stared, with drooping eyes.

“We need a room,” Craig said helpfully.

“What for?” She asked roughly, even as she got a key from the (full) rack behind her.

“'Cause we want to sleep, lady,” I replied. Her face didn’t even register my smarm - which wiped the shit-eating grin off of mine. “We’re here to survey the mineshaft in town. It’d actually be great if you could give us directions to it?”

She looked between the two of us, as if thinking. “No,” she finally replied. “We teach our boys t'stay away from there. For good reason. Ain’t nobody’s gone down there that’s come back. Ain’t none. Two city-slickers don’t belong here. I’ll give you a room for free tonight, if you promise to high-tail it first light.”

Craig and I exchanged a look. “Listen, lady…” he began, leaning on the counter, but she cut him short.

“No, listen to me, fancy-pants. Every time a fellow goes down there, they don’t come back… and when they don’t, we hear this… howling.” She looked out the window. The light outside only illuminated a wall of fog, pressing up against the glass, as if it were listening to us. “Howling in them hills,” she whispered. “Howling, for hours. Days. Like the Devil'imself is torturin’ souls down there. I tell you what, there’s something down there. Something t'ain’t meant to be found.”

Craig put down his pack. Bless that mine, he has a way with words. Or lies. Whichever. “We’ll leave in the morning, Mrs…?” He flashed a charming smile. The ass.

“Floyd,” she said flatly. His charm was lost on her, but she gave us a key, and we even paid her for the room, despite her offer. Nobody can accuse us of being dishonest.

We flopped down onto the shitty retro mattresses from the 40s. “What’re we gonna do?” I asked, half to myself, half to Craig.

“We’re going in anyway,” he said matter-of-factly. “I’m not gonna let hillbilly superstition keep me out. We already spent hundreds on the trip out here, man! Why wouldn’t we go in?”

I shrugged, looking at the yellowed ceiling and the feebly rotating ceiling fan. “Howling in the hills, I guess.”

Craig rolled onto his side. “C'mon, man, you didn’t buy Mrs. Loyd’s spiel, did you? That mine’s been closed for over a hundred years. Of course there are gonna be some ghost stories, but that’s just all the more reason to check it out. See what’s making the noises.”

“Yeah, I guess,” I agreed. I didn’t mention the disappearances she had mentioned. Maybe she had made it up, maybe not. I didn’t want to believe her, but I felt something was wrong. Craig did not share my concerns. Maybe it was the fog, or the sad look she gave us when he promised we wouldn’t go. I think she knew he was lying. I think she knew we wouldn’t listen to her. I think, maybe we should have.

Keep reading

The mushroom speaks, and our opinions rest upon what it tells eloquently of itself in the cool night of the mind:

“I am old, older than thought in your species, which is itself fifty times older than your history. Though I have been on earth for ages I am from the stars. My home is no one planet, for many worlds scattered though the shining disc of the galaxy have conditions which allow my spores an opportunity for life. The mushroom which you see is the part of my body given to sex thrills and sun bathing, my true body is a fine network of fibers growing through the soil. These networks may cover acres and may have far more connections than the number in a human brain. My mycelial network is nearly immortal–only the sudden toxification of a planet or the explosion of its parent star can wipe me out. By means impossible to explain because of certain misconceptions in your model of reality all my mycelial networks in the galaxy are in hyperlight communication across space and time. The mycelial body is as fragile as a spider’s web but the collective hypermind and memory is a vast historical archive of the career of evolving intelligence on may worlds in our spiral star swarm. Space, you see, is a vast ocean to those hardly life forms that have the ability to reproduce from spores, for spores are covered with the hardest organic substance known. Across the aeons of time and space drift many spore-forming life-forms in suspended animation for millions of years until contact is made with a suitable environment. Few such species are minded, only myself and my recently evolved near relatives have achieved the hyper-communication mode and memory capacity that makes us leading members in the community of galactic intelligence. How the hyper-communication mode operates is a secret which will not be lightly given to humans. But the means should be obvious: it is the occurrence of psilocybin and psilocin in the biosynthetic pathways of my living body that opens for me and my symbiots the vision screens to many worlds. You as an individual and Homo sapiens as a species are on the brink of the formation of a symbiotic relationship with my genetic material that will eventually carry humanity and earth into the galactic mainstream of the higher civilizations.

Since it is not easy for you to recognize other varieties of intelligence around you, your most advanced theories of politics and society have advanced only as far as the notion of collectivism. But beyond the cohesion of the members of a species into a single social organism there lie richer and even more baroque evolutionary possibilities. Symbiosis is one of these. Symbiosis is a relation of mutual dependence and positive benefits for both of the species involved. Symbiotic relationships between myself and civilized forms of higher animals have been established many times and in many places throughout the long ages of my development. These relationships have been mutually useful; within my memory is the knowledge of hyper-light drive ships and how to build them. I will trade this knowledge for a free ticket to new worlds around suns younger and more stable than your own. To secure an eternal existence down the long river of cosmic time, I again and again offer this agreement to higher beings and thereby have spread throughout the galaxy over the long millenia. A mycelial network has no organs to move the world, no hands; but higher animals with manipulative abilities can become partners with the star knowledge within me and if they act in good faith, return both themselves and their humble mushroom teacher to the million worlds to which all citizens of our starswarm are heir.”

—  O.T. Oss & O.N. Oeric (Terence McKenna and Dennis McKenna), Psilocybin: Magic Mushroom Grower’s Guide: a handbook for psilocybin enthusiasts (1976)

“I am old, older than thought in your species, which is itself fifty times older than your history. Though I have been on earth for ages I am from the stars. My home is no one planet, for many worlds scattered through the shining disc of the galaxy have conditions which allow my spores an opportunity for life. The mushroom which you see is the part of my body given to sex thrills and sun bathing, my true body is a fine network of fibers growing through the soil. These networks may cover acres and may have far more connections that the number in a human brain. My mycelial network is nearly immortal, only the sudden toxification of a planet or the explosion of its parent star can wipe me out. By means impossible to explain because of certain misconceptions in your model of reality all my mycelial networks in the galaxy are in hyperlight communication across space and time. The mycelial body is as fragile as a spider’s web but the collective hypermind and memory is a vast historical archive of the career of evolving intelligence on many worlds in our spiral star swarm. Space, you see, is a vast ocean to those hardy life forms that have the ability to reproduce from spores, for spores are covered with the hardest organic substance known. Across the aeons of time and space drift many spore-forming life-forms in suspended animation for millions of years until contact is made with a suitable environment. Few such species are minded, only myself and my recently evolved near relatives have achieved the hyper-communication mode and memory capacity that makes us leading members in the community of galactic intelligence. How the hypercommunication mode operates is a secret which will not be lightly given to man. But the means should be obvious: it is the occurrence of psilocybin and psilocin in the biosynthetic pathways of my living body that opens for me and my symbiots the vision screens to many worlds.

Since it is not easy for you to recognize other varieties of intelligence around you, your most advanced theories of politics and society have advanced only as far as the notion of collectivism. But beyond the cohesion of the members of a species into a single social organism there lie richer and even more baroque evolutionary possibilities. Symbiosis is one of these. Symbiosis is a relation of mutual dependence and positive benefits for both of the species involved. Symbiotic relationships between myself and civilized forms of higher animals have been established many times and in many places throughout the long ages of my development. These relationships have been mutually useful; within my memory is the knowledge of hyperlight drive ships and how to build them. I will trade this knowledge for a free ticket to new worlds around suns younger and more stable than your own. To secure an eternal existence down the long river of cosmic time I again and again offer this agreement to higher beings and thereby have spread throughout the galaxy over the long millennia. A mycelial network has no organs to move the world, no hands; but higher animals with manipulative abilities can become partners with the star knowledge within me and if they act in good faith, return both themselves and their humble mushroom teacher to the million worlds all citizens of our starswarm are heir to.”