The Dark Arts

Look through the flame, and tell us what you see. Clench your ash-stained claws—gaunt from centuries beyond your reckoning—to hold the vision in place. Grapple with the shadows as they seep in from the edges of your vision, and do not quaver when devils emerge to peer back. They do not come to harm you. Listen to them. Watch as they remove their bloodless masks, and then stare into the abyss. Your heart may seize upon recognizing its own reflection. Let the thurible smoke carry your words into the unknown. Make small offerings of things you’ve found along life’s dusty paths, such as fragile carapaces that no longer sing but remain untouched in forsaken beauty. Blow out the candle, and sit in the darkness till you find what you’ve been too afraid to know.