Deeper and deeper they went, hacking at the earth, chipping the rock into rubble. Long ago having cursed the sun for its burning light in summer and its pale cold glare in winter, they turned from its remote indifference, declaring instead their fealty and love for the Earth, only the Earth. With an aching need to be closer, to feel its solid, warm embrace they’d entered the cave, descended to the depths of its cavernous abodes, then, upon meeting the final nook, they began to tunnel.
As they descended their gratitude grew, for here they found freedom: freedom from fickle weather, freedom from cruel predators, and freedom from the changing seasons. And they found warmth growing, so they graciously shed unnecessary garments—all was laid bare as the rock of their walls, roof, and floor. When any one of them had doubts about their course and harboured thoughts of the abandoned luminous world above, these were assuaged with an assurance that “where there is warmth, there is light.”
For this devotion they were richly rewarded. An uncontainable abundance of precious metals and stones overflowed their bulging pockets, falling unheeded into the worthless pebbles of broken terrestrial skeleton. Still they drove deeper, superterranean memories becoming more remote, their senses becoming more accustomed to the dim light of their torches. In this darkness, the glint and glean of their newly discovered treasures seemed to ever brighten into dazzling attraction.
In this pursuit, they turned first from the harsh glare of their torches to the faces of those who held them, and as the fires passed away from their sight, so did they pass from their words and thoughts. Pupils dilated wider. Then even reflecting faces too became unbearable to see, and they turned to their shadows on the walls, addressing them so that when they talked to each other, they talked to their shadows.
Downward they dug in the hot darkness, surrounded by their frantically dancing shadows.