Ƿent by Cascadia
Ic am ƿriting þis ƿiþ a heafy ƿeiht on my mind, for by toniht ic scall be no more. Penniless, and at þe end of my stock of þe lib hƿic alone, makes life þolenly, ic can bear þe tintrey no longer; and scall þroƿ myself from þis hihe eyedoor into þe filþy street beneaþ. Þink not from my þeƿdom to poppy tears þat ic am a ƿoakling or abroþen. Hƿen þu hast read þese cƿickly ƿritten leafs þu maist faþom, þauh nefer fully, hƿy it is þat ic must haf forgetfulness or deaþ.
It ƿas in one of þe openest and emptiest deals of þe broad Eastern Sea þat þe errandscip of hƿic ic ƿas maister fell to þe Garman seareafer. Þe great ƿye ƿas þen riht at its beginning, and þe Huns seamen had not fully sunk to her later hoad; so þat ure scip ƿas made harfee, hƿiles ƿe of her team ƿere handelled ƿiþ all þe fairness and keeping oƿed us as hafts at sea. So soft, indeed, ƿere þe hafters, þat fife days after ƿe ƿere fanged ic atƿinded alone in a small boat ƿiþ food and ƿater for a good lengþ of time.
Hƿen ic fund myself adrift and free, ic had but littel cnoƿlecg of my umbstandness. Nefer a fit ƿayfarer, ic cud only faþom mirkily by þe sun and stars þat ic ƿas sumhƿat suþe of þe efener. Of þe breadþ ic cneƿ noþing, and no iland or score ƿas in siht. Þe ƿeaþer kept fair, and for untaled days ic drifted listlessly beneaþ þe searing sun; biding iþer for sum scip to cum, or to be þroƿn on þe scores of sum lifenly land. But niþer scip nor land ateƿed, and ic began to sorroƿ in my loneliness on þe heafing endlessness of unbroken heƿn.
Þe ƿend befell hƿiles ic slept. Its small marks ic scall nefer cnoƿ; for my slumber, þauh moodsick and sƿefened, ƿas unbroken. Hƿen at last ic aƿoke, it ƿas to find myself half suckt into a slimy span of hellisc black ƿose hƿic strauht abute me in ilksum ƿafes as far as ic cud see, and in hƿic my boat lay grunded at sum farl.
Þauh man miht ƿell faþom þat my first feeling ƿud be of ƿunder at so great and unforeseen a ƿend, ic ƿas in sooþ more breed þan amased; for þere ƿas in þe lift and in þe rotting loam an efil feeling hƿic cilled me to þe bone. Þe land ƿas addel ƿiþ þe bodies of brosening fisc, and of oþer less reccenly þings hƿic ic saƿ rising from þe fule mud of þe unending emnet. Maybe ic scud not hope to tee in but ƿords þe untellenly dreadfulness þat can dƿell in treƿ stillness and ƿeast endlessness. Þere ƿas noþing ƿiþin hearing, and noþing in siht but for a ƿide reac of black slime; get þe fullness of þe stillness and þe ilkness of þe land onsat me ƿiþ a latsum fear.
Þe sun ƿas blasing dune from a heafen hƿic looked to me almost black in its cludeless reeþness; as þauh glassing þe rafen marsc beneaþ my feet. As ic crept into þe stranded boat ic came to see þat only one þouht cud rec. Þruhe sum nefer before seen firy upheafing, a deal of þe seafloor must haf been þroƿn to þe top, unheeling lands hƿic for untaled þusands on þusands of geres had lain hidden under unfaþomenly ƿatery depþs. So great ƿas þe span of þe neƿ land hƿic had risen beneaþ me, þat ic cud not hear þe softest lude of þe heafing sea, strec mine ears as ic miht. Nor ƿere þere any seafule to eat þe dead þings.
For many stunds ic sat þinking or brooding in þe boat, hƿic lay on its side and aforded a sliht scade as þe sun scroþe þƿares þe heafens. As þe day ƿent on, þe grund lost sum of its stickiness, and looked likely to dry enuff for a fare in a scort time. Þat niht ic slept but littel, and þe next day ic made for myself a bindel holding food and ƿater, ready for an oferland fare seecing þe sƿinded sea and mihtly nearing.
On þe þird morning ic fund þe earþ dry enuff to ƿalk on ƿiþ eaþ. Þe stenc of þe fisc ƿas maddening; but ic ƿas too muc ƿorried ƿiþ heafier þings to mind so sliht an efil, and set ute boldly for an uncnoƿn goal. All day ic steadily made ƿay ƿestƿard, ƿised by a farlen hillock hƿic rose hiher þan any oþer sƿell on þe endless ƿeast. Þat niht ic slept, and on þe folloƿing day still fared on toƿard þe hillock, þauh þat þing felt hardly nearer þan hƿen ic had first sihted it. By þe forþ efening ic rauht þe bottom of þe rise, hƿic ƿas muc hiher þan it had looked from afar; a betƿixtset deen setting it ute in scarper standing from þe mean bred. Too ƿeary to climb, ic slept in þe scadoƿ of þe hill.
Ic cnoƿ not hƿy my sƿefens ƿere so ƿild þat niht; but ere þe near full, get ƿaning moon had risen far abuf þe eastern ƿong, ic ƿas aƿake in a cold sƿeat, ceosen to sleep no more. Suc meetings as had befallen me ƿere too muc for me to þole agen. And in þe moons gloƿ ic saƿ hu unƿise ic had been to fare by day. Ƿiþute þe blasing sun, my fare ƿud haf nimmen less of my miht; indeed, ic nu felt raþer fit to make þe climb hƿic had elded me at sunset. Picking up my bindel, ic began for þe hihþs cop.
Ic haf said þat þe unbroken ilkness of þe endless emnet ƿas a spring of mirky broƿ to me; but ic þink my broƿ ƿas greater hƿen ic rauht þe hills cop and looked dune þe oþer side into an unmetenly pit or deen, hƿose black depþs þe moon had not get soared hihe enuff to liht. Ic felt myself on þe ecg of þe ƿorld; staring ofer þe rim into a faþomless dƿolm of endless niht. Þruhe my fear ran ferly aminds of Nerxenƿong Lost, and of Satans atel climb þruhe þe unmade lands of darkness.
As þe moon clamb hiher in þe heafen, ic began to see þat þe slopes of þe deen ƿere slihtly less steep þan ic had faþomed. Lecges and utecroppings of stone aforded fairly eaþ footholds for a fare dune, hƿiles after a drop of a feƿ hundred feet, þe slope became mihty liþe. Scied on by a sƿincg hƿic ic cannot treƿly rec, ic crept ƿiþ hardscip dune þe stones and stood on þe lesser slope beneaþ, staring into þe hellisc deeps hƿere no liht had get bored.
At ones my heed ƿas fanged by a great and mihty þing on þe ƿiþer slope, hƿic rose steeply abute a hundred geards ahead of me; a þing þat gleamed hƿitely in þe neƿly bestoƿed beams of þe rising moon. Þat it ƿas but an ettinisc bit of stone, ic soon told myself; but ic ƿas aƿare of a sundry feeling þat its scape and standing ƿere not altogeþer þe ƿork of Kind. A niher look filled me ƿiþ feelings ic cannot rec; for its greatness notƿiþstanding, and its standing in a neƿelness hƿic had geaƿned at þe seas bottom siþ þe ƿorld ƿas geung, ic saƿ begeond tƿee þat þe ferly þing ƿas a ƿellscaped standing stone hƿo had cnoƿn þe ƿorkmanscip and maybe þe ƿorscip of lifing and þinking ƿihts.
Mased and frihtened, get not ƿiþute a sundry þrill of þe ƿitscippers glee, ic hoƿed my umbstandness niher. Þe moon, nu near its hihest ord, scone ferly and brihtly abuf þe tall steeps þat hemmed in þe dƿolm, and unheeled þat a farflung ƿater body floƿed at þe bottom, ƿinding ute of siht in bo ƿays, and almost lapping my feet as ic stood on þe slope. Þƿares þe dƿolm, þe ƿafocks ƿasced þe bottom of þe ruffheƿn stone; on hƿose bred ic cud nu rine bo carfings and ruff graftings. Þe ƿriting ƿas in begriprunes uncnoƿn to me, and unlike anyþing ic had efer seen in books; made up mostly of tokens of þe sea suc as fisces, eels, prekes, clams, hƿales, and þe like. Sundry hoads suttelly betokened þings of þe sea hƿic sind uncnoƿn to þe latter day, but hƿose rotting scapes ic had seen on þe risen seafloor.
It ƿas þe great carfings, huefer, þat did most to hold me under her spell. Suttelly seenly þƿares þe betƿixtset ƿater for her ettinisc great, ƿere a set of scalloƿ carfings hƿose hoads ƿud haf hƿetted þe ond of a Doré. Ic þink þat þese þings ƿere meant to token men—at least, a kind of men; þauh þe ƿihts ƿere scoƿn sƿimming like fisces in þe ƿaters of sum undersea scrafe, or ƿorscipping at sum great scrine hƿic looked to be under þe ƿafes as ƿell. Of her anlets and scapes ic dare not speak too muc; for but þe amind makes me groƿ ƿan. Atel begeond þe faþoming of a Poe or a Bulƿer, hy ƿere eyfully manlike in her uteline, ƿebbed hands and feet notƿiþstanding, ƿide and clammy lips, great, glassy eyes, and oþer marks less kind to mimmer. Ferly enuff, hy looked to haf been ciselled badly ute of standing ƿiþ her backgrund; for one of þe ƿihts ƿas scoƿn slaying a hƿale scoƿn as but littel greater þan himself. Ic heeded, as ic say, her atelness and ferly great; but in an eyeblink ceose þat hy ƿere but þe faþomed gods of sum form fiscing or seafaring þeed; sum þeed hƿose last efer had sƿelted elds before þe first forebear of þe Piltdune or Neanderþal man ƿas born. Eystruck at þis unforeseen look into a geore begeond þe faþoming of þe most daring manlorer, ic stood þinking hƿiles þe moon þreƿ ferly glasses on þe still fleet before me.
Þen at ones ic saƿ it. Ƿiþ only a sliht cerning to mark its rise to þe top, þe þing slid into siht abuf þe dark ƿaters. Great, ettinisc, and loaþsum, it fleƿ like a great fifel of nihtmares to þe stone, abute hƿic it þreƿ its ettinisc scaly arms, þe hƿile it bued its atel head and let free into þe lift sundry ludes. Ic þink ic ƿent mad þen.
Of my mad climb of þe slope and cliff, and of my ƿild fare back to þe stranded boat, ic mimmer littel. Ic beleef ic sang a great deal, and laffed ferly hƿen ic cud no longer. Ic haf unsuttel aminds of a great storm sum time after ic rauht þe boat; anyhu, ic cnoƿ þat ic heard ringing þunder and oþer ludes hƿic Kind speaks only in her ƿildest moods.
Hƿen ic came ute of þe scadoƿs ic ƿas in a San Fransisko sickhuse; brouht þiþer by þe sciplord of þe Americkisc scip hƿic had pickt up my boat in midsea. In my madness ic had said muc, but fund þat my ƿords had been geefen littel heed. Of any land upheafing in þe Eastern Sea, my nearers cneƿ noþing; nor did ic deem it needful to hold on a þing hƿic ic cneƿ hy cud not beleef. Ones ic souht ute a mear manlorer, and nayed him ƿiþ ferly frains abute þe fern Filistine tale of Dagon, þe Fisc God; but soon seeing þat he ƿas hopelessly mean, ic did not hold steadfast my asks.
It is at niht, hure hƿen þe moon is near full get ƿaning, þat ic see þe þing. Ic fanded poppy tears; but þe lib has geefen only henƿard liss, and has draƿn me into its claƿs as a hopeless þeƿ. So nu ic am to end it all, hafing ƿritten a full rake for þe cnoƿlecg or þe hateful ƿin of mine oƿn kind. Often ic ask myself if it cud not all haf been but a dƿimmer—but a riþsƿefen as ic lay sunstricken and mad in þe open boat after atƿinding þe Garman scip. Þis ic ask myself, but efer cummeþ þere before me an atelly briht meeting in ansƿer. Ic cannot þink of þe deep sea ƿiþute scuddering at þe nameless þings þat may efen nu be creeping and flopping on its slimy bed, ƿorscipping her fern stone dƿalegods and carfing her oƿn hateful likenesses on undersea steepels of ƿatersoaked cornstone. Ic sƿefen of a day hƿen hy may rise abuf þe ƿafes to draƿ dune in her reeking claƿs þe lafe of tiny, ƿyebroken mankind—of a day hƿen þe land scall sink, and þe dark seafloor scall rise amids eyful dƿolm.
Þe end is near. I hear a lude at þe door, as of sum great slipper body hitting agens it. It scall not find me. God, þat hand! Þe eyedoor! Þe eyedoor!