The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

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It’s National Oatmeal Day, in these United States.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The “ideation” (if it’s not some vision or prophetic message) came upon me again, the one wherein a humble narrator finds himself moving about and through a city of titanic oozy blocks of elder masonry – dripping with decay – whose ruinous facades nevertheless speak to the former habitancy of some race of giants within it. In these visions that occur when a sudden wave of physical weakness and psychic discohesion overcome a humble narrator – a condition which has recurred daily since childhood – inducing both unconsciousness and an accompanying series of wild hallucinations. One is aware of himself, as a wandering mendicant clad in a filthy black raincoat, lost and wandering along the shadow blasted streets. 

Half remembered snippets of barely realized imagery, sense shattering revelations harvested during these usually nocturnal hallucinatory episodes leave one with a sense of disquiet, even long after awakening from these daily lapses of consciousness. Groggy and congested upon the return of cognizant wakefulness, one will often try to jot down the experience but this is a usually fruitless enterprise. 

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Towers of cylcopean scope occlude the sky in this place, like daggers thrust violently upwards towards the soft belly of the heavens. The burning thermonuclear eye of God itself hangs wanly above the scene in these hallucinatory visions, irradiating and illuminating the dispossessed, the barren, the broken. Great cylinders rise into the sky, carrying poison effluents, as do enormous concrete and steel waste conduits snake greasily to the surrounding waters of the City. 

All is fouled, filthy, and fecund.

Great metallic insect like things roll about noisily in the open air and and stealthily hidden in burrows beneath the ground, accepting and vomiting forth the fleshy inhabitants of a city of dark secrets both cherished and kept. There is always a sense that the metropolis itself is sentient, an ancient coiling dragon possessed of a macabre sense of humor and dire intent, displaying naught but cynicism and contempt for those who dwell within the subaqueous boundaries of her archipelagic territory. 

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Disquieted, depressed, and disillusioned – a humble narrator’s dream avatar, wandering about in this shifting miasma of sound and image, found itself entering one the gargantuan metallic centipede “things” and surrendering to its destination. The chromium skin “thing” with the two glowing eyes I boarded was headed for the sclerotic heart of this metropolitan entity, where the psychic power and tumult of the City waxed rather than waned. Horror overtook this alternate reality’s narrator, as realization that the belly of the noisome beast was empty save for himself. 

Was this some sort of snare? A ruse?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As the great centipede picked up speed and hurtled upon its course, observation revealed no other living soul within the segment ahead of mine, and in the segment behind there was similarly no occupation. Panic began to set in, as the disconnect was realized. You are never alone within the belly of this particular beast, after all. Was this charonic conveyance contrived simply to corral and control one such as myself? Producing a pocket tool, attempts were made to extricate, but the great metal beast was held together with some sort of proprietary headed screws which were impossible to budge.

Throwing ones body against both plasticine armored glass or polished metal wall was both futile and somewhat painful. Whatever the sentience of the city wanted of me – or wanted to do to me – acceptance of it was my only option. 

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A tunnel was entered, and the gargantuan metallic insect thing sped into the gelatinous darkness of the subterrene. Without its metal shell, weird shadowed entities were glimpsed in the tunnel only briefly, but it was enough to drive one into a fit of wild panic. Organisms – both micro and macroscopic – beyond counting have been reported by scientific observers as inhabiting these subterrene bolt holes, punched through the very flesh of this sentient metropolis or “magna mater.” Collectively, these beings are her bridegroom, slithering in and scratching away at her decay in the safety of the dark. It is said that there are things which fester, and crawl, and slither, and even some that walk about on two legs – down there.

It is only when the glowing eyes of the metallic centipede flashes in their direction that can that they can be glimpsed, and even then, only dimly. But… I mean… this was only a vivid hallucination, experienced while passed out… right… I mean… right? A place like this… it cannot be…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Familiar locations were observed in the dreamscape… but the great hurtling metal insect like thing did not stop in them, despite the presence of the City’s loathsomely abundant population therein. This population, disturbingly heterogenous individually – and as a group willfully ignorant of their surrounding, due to a societal preference for staring into small glowing rectangles of handheld polished glass – barely noticed as the centipede thing shot past them. 

None seemed cognizant of a terrified face, nor the panicky pounding of fists on the window being offered by a strange man in a filthy black raincoat, instead preferring to stare blankly at the little slabs of glass that illuminate their faces with a peculiar and quite pale bluish glow. The tunnel ahead swallowed this metallic leviathan one had been trapped in, and the sudden air pressure differential offered by billions of gallons of river water outside the tunnel suddenly caused one’s eardrums to compress. 

This altered the timbre of hearing for that alternate or dream avatar of my own personality, trapped in this lucid landscape of existential dread and daemonic dementia. 

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One wonders, and more than wonders, if what I remember hearing was more than just a combination of the metallic centipedes many steel feet striking against the tunnel floor, combined with both the scalar reflections of its speedy passage through the tunnel and accompanying atmospheric compression, mixing seamlessly with the rythmic thrumming of my own terrorized pulse which was omnipresent in my ears. 

There should be nothing down there which can speak, in those rock hewn tunnels beneath the river of sound – or East River as it is known in modernity…

There is nothing down there that can speak, damnit… nothing… 

This is not some charnel house of horror, redolent of the foulest abominations of the pit and absent from the sight of the burning thermonuclear eye of God itself, this is… but I heard what I heard… and it deeply struck terror in my quickly beating heart as I began to realize that this was no idle nocturnal vision, but that instead I had been fully awake the whole time. 

“Ia, Ia, shug nigguarth,” the sounds seemed to say, which was followed by “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn.” 

Then the worst thing of all was vocalized, and the ultimate horrorific revelation arrived, when a voice suddenly said: 

“This train is being held due to Police action, and a sick passenger at Grand Central…”


Upcoming Tours and events

Exploring Long Island City, from Luxury Waterfront to Abandoned Factories Walking Tour,
with NY Adventure Club – Sunday, November 12th, 2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Long Island City is a tale of two cities; one filled with glittering water-front skyscrapers and manicured parks, and the other, a highly active ground transportation & distribution zone vital to the New York economy — which will prevail? With Newtown Creek Alliance Historian Mitch Waxman details here.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

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Written by Mitch Waxman

October 30, 2017 at 1:00 pm

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