Stigmus (Explorations)

Journal Entry:

Each night I am ripped apart, each morning I am reborn. How did I come to be this way? I can scarcely lift my pen. I can hardly remember who I am. I must reach back to the beginning.

Journal Entry:

I’ve just stepped foot upon the jungle planet of Stigmus. While not entirely jungle, admittedly, it is approximately fifty percent deep oceans, the land itself is seventy-five percent heavy jungle and a small portion of sandy plains. My first footfall was upon one of these sandy, grassy stretches that lay between the ocean and the jungle. The foliage is a deep light-absorbing blue-green which makes it quite dim once you’ve walked a mere two meters within. There are thick ropey vines, and climbing ivies, and trees in every size imaginable. From thick giants to thin wispy saplings and everything in between.

Evening fell and the purple sky swiftly faded to inky black and more stars peek through tiny gaps in the canopy overhead than I think I’ve ever seen before. I lay in my hammock observing my new temporary home. There are a sort of insect with many many legs, roughly a half-meter in length which remind me of Terra’s centipede species. Except these ones have a bright pink bioluminescence as they crawl along the trunks of the trees, the leaves of which have a dim green luminescence around their edges casting a soft glow about me. Not enough to see more than faint outlines but it is eerily calming.

Journal Entry:

I awoke with a start, feeling as if I had been watched throughout my night and the air is thick and silent around me. I have a sense of unease and the hairs on my neck seem to stand at attention, searching for what I cannot guess. Rolling my gear, I feel a need to constantly look over my shoulder.

Journal Entry:

As the day wears on, my initial uneasiness fades and I continue along through the jungle, bearing east via my compass just to have some sort of mild guide, as catching the glimpses of the sun is filtered and the diffused light and thick undergrowth makes it increasingly difficult to follow any sort of path.

Within a few hours I come to a narrow trail which is obviously used by the native inhabitants and I find it a welcome respite from the constant fighting through the hardy foliage. I have yet to come across any real wildlife but there obviously are some here, this footpath bearing testament to that. I have seen and heard the calls of many, many avian, amphibian-like, and insect life, though. Each more fantastic than the next. Along the way are some dark purple berries which grow prolifically. I sampled one and found it magnificently sweet and fulfilling. They fill me with vitality and energy and so I have taken to plucking them along the way, an easy and delicious repast.

Journal Entry:

I scarce know how to describe the last twelve hours. It seems a lifetime has passed. The trail led to a modest pool found at the bottom of a wide waterfall nearly eight meters tall. Finding it suitable, I set my hammock up nearby so as to not block the trail for any animals that may come to drink but also so that I may still observe them. What came instead was the dark oily evening once more. As I lay there, I felt the air shift beside me and turning my face, I was suddenly leapt upon by a cat-sized creature, then another and another and another. Their sleek fur I scarcely made note of for it was the sharp teeth and piercing yowls which stabbed straight through my soul. Their tiny paws, covered in needle-like claws, began slicing and shredding my clothing, making swift work, then upon reaching my skin those terrible teeth tore at my flesh, ripping away chunks which they rapidly swallowed. I screamed and flailed, attempting to dislodge the beasts yet they dug in those devilish nails and continued feasting upon my musculature. They did not dig in to my innards, but instead concentrated on my thighs and calves and arms and any meaty area, one even ate away both my cheeks before they all suddenly jumped off and disappeared into the dark. The ordeal could not have lasted even five minutes but there I lay in my own shredded clothing and blood and gore and I unashamedly say, piss and shit, for I was sorely frightened.

The first thing I noticed was the coagulating effect of their saliva to my blood as it stopped rather rapidly and it must have also had a mild numbing ability because while painful, it was not debilitating, though I was missing a large portion of muscle mass. I was overwhelmed with hunger and thirst and I was able to reach in my bag both my canteen as well as a large handful of the purple berries, which I consumed with gusto. I collapsed and fell asleep straight away.

Upon waking, I was positive it had been a nightmare yet there I lay in my mangled clothing, dried blood and bodily fluids and excrement. The wounds, though, were not as bad in the light and I sighed with relief that I would remain only disfigured, not incapable of movement. I decided to rest that day so I carefully limped to the pool and cleaned myself off and continued eating the berries.

Then an even stranger phenomenon was observed, as the minutes passed I noticed my wounds to be healing at an incredible rate. The muscles and tissues regenerating and rebuilding. Within several hours of waking, my body was fresh and new once more and other than the memory of the event, the only proof lay in my tattered clothing which were ruined beyond repair.

Journal Entry:

The last three nights have been repeats of that first visit. Each night the cat-like creatures arrive to devour my flesh and each morning the berries heal me to whole once more. This afternoon I attempted to hike as far from the waterfall as possible in hopes the creatures are territorial and will not follow.

Journal Entry:

Each day I attempt to put more distance between me and my wretched tormentors but either they are following me or they are numerous across this jungle. It has been a month since my last entry of note and each night and morning and afternoon look much the same. I am jumpy and fearful and my nerves are taxed. I am not sure how much longer I can cope with this before I lose my mind completely.

Journal Entry:

Each night I am ripped apart, each morning I am reborn. How did I come to be this way? I can scarcely lift my pen. I can hardly remember who I am. I must reach back to the beginning.

Journal Entry:

Attempts to thwart or defend myself against this planet remain buffeted. I must continue on and find my way off this world before I am lost completely.

Journal Entry:

Oh sweet merciful Universe! I am saved! I reached the other side of this continent after five months of sheer torment. I was unable to chronicle or nigh remember much of my passage. But one afternoon I stumbled out of the jungle and on to the grassy plain which gave way to the sea. I ran and ran as far from those dark trees as I could and then succumbed and slept my first peaceful sleep since I stepped foot on this deplorable world. The cats, it seems, will not leave their jungle, though in the early part of the night I do recall hearing their terrible yowls and snarls of displeasure in the distance.

I am leaving this planet less a person and having gained very little in knowledge except a bittersweet sorrow that I won’t be able to taste another one of those life-giving sweet berries again. A small price to pay, I fear, to continue my travels.

Stigmus, you wretched world
Stigmus, you shone like an emerald
Your intoxicating perfume of life, plenty
Your deep blue-green foliage, glossy
And calling birds, distinct
But when silence fell, so did my heart
For you hide a secret, don’t you Stigmus?
Beneath your skirts lies not beauty
But instead a living death
Stigmus, you wicked charlatan
Stigmus, you called for a lover
Your cologne and your tempting voice
But when I came a-calling
You sharpened your claws and your fangs
And you gobbled me down
Just to dress my wounds
And gobble me down again
Stigmus, oh Stigmus I’m leaving you now
I shan’t be back, no never

tara caribou | ©2018

This is part of the on-going series Explorations, journal entries made by the brave and intrepid Traveler. I hope you’ll continue on this journey with me.

24 Comments on “Stigmus (Explorations)

  1. I am speechless, breathless. This is just getting better with every journal entry. This was like a mythological nightmare, a demi gods torture or punishment. Absolutely Brilliant. I wish I could write like this. WOW !!! x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes I see. A bit less benign than the other planets. I admit now to calling these stories Science Fiction, as Fantasy doesn’t quite cover it anymore. They are both wondrous and terrible, just not in the same breath, luckily for that small blessing! Your imagination is truly amazing, and I am not ashamed to call that a compliment!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I really like this series! The mix of journalism and poetry is really well-done. The imagery is perfect and the story is captivating. Great work with both this piece and with the series!

    Liked by 1 person

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