What lies beneath

I have been pondering this seismic survey of the campus. I do truly wonder what underlies the offices and classrooms, the basement laboratories and storage rooms, the utility lines, and the maze of steam tunnels with their miles of fiber optic cables.

I have heard rumors of a strange, subterranean river that runs in darkness into the unknown. Armed with magical light and accompanied by the beautiful and fearless Sigyn, I have set out to explore. A little-used door leading from the basement preserved-animal storage room is our access to the Aggie Underworld.

It is certainly a different realm down here. Carapaceous things with too many legs scurry into the gloom. The air smells of wet earth and old secrets. I wonder if the whispered rumors are true. Do the bones of staff who don’t retire but who drop in harness lie beneath the sticky clay? Is this where obstreperous students are interred? Is there a hidden cache of priceless relics—a treasure trove of ancient engineering texts and the missing aluminum dodo bird statutes from the Memorial Student Center?*

We can plainly hear the mutter and gurgle of running water. And here it is, our first indication that there is indeed a mini-Lethe, a Styx Minor flowing beneath the oblivious co-eds and cadets…

basementriver2.jpg

{Later}

We have been walking for hours beside this river of secrets. Now wider, now narrower; here a riffle and an eddy, there as still as glass. On and on it goes. Our feet are caked in sucking mire and we have begun to imagine that we catch fleeting glimpses of shadowy, demon-visaged creatures at the fringes of our vision. My dearest is growing weary, and we long ago ate the last of our provisions. Sigyn, I think we will have to turn back.

basementriver.jpg

Farewell, diminutive Cocytus, your secrets remain your own. For now.

>|: [

* I couldn’t make this stuff up. They were two feet tall, crafted out of snipped metal, and disappeared during one of the renovations.

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