From Below, They Came

As Above, So Below

I’d come across that phrase before. In Latin, “Ut supra, ita inferius“. It made many appearances in Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol. Something about a physical connection existing between heaven and earth; about man being made in the image of God and the like; plus some other ancient, arcane beliefs as is typical of his work. Not a bad name for a movie title, and a horror one to boot. I’m particularly fascinated by the horror genre, always have been. While most kids were watching Seven Lucky Kids and Back To The Future, my siblings and I were braving Evil Dead and Poltergeist, and we were mostly under 10 years old!

I became wary when I didn’t recognize anyone in this movie though. I hoped it wasn’t some sorry low-budget flick with disastrous visual and special effects, especially considering the lofty location choice of “a network of tunnels beneath Paris”. I recalled seeing the trailer some time ago though, and it seemed worth the effort. Twas a slow afternoon and boredom threatened otherwise, so I accepted the challenge.

The first twenty minutes had me dubious with half-closed eyes, thinking, “Really? You guys are gonna rip off Lara Croft so shamelessly?” I was determined to see it through, however, so I stuck it out till the end. Adjectives that come to mind are: tolerable, fair, average. Nothing spectacular (especially if you’re a Dan Brown reader or Tomb Raider player or Indiana Jones watcher), but not altogether boring either. I won’t delve into detail as this is not a movie review. However, there was one scene that stood out for me: while trying to crawl through a narrow opening underground, a guy got stuck and could not progress any further – the roof above him, a pile of bones beneath. I found myself almost hyperventilating along with him. So much so that I walked around to tell my brain I wasn’t actually confined. Something about the first person view and restricted space that greatly unsettled me.

So the credits roll, as do I, and soon I am strolling along the damp, dark avenue of what looks like an underground tunnel, talking leisurely with a friend. We take this relaxed walk for what seems like hours, until I notice some gargoyle-like structures lining the path on both sides. They are little indistinct creatures about a third the size of a man, cast in a crouching position, and seemingly made of stone, yet in the recesses of my mind I know for certain they are made of bone. I turn to my friend and remark, “Look how they just sit around; it’s like they think they own the place!”

But before we could even crack a smile, let alone share a laugh at my silly joke, a loud noise fell on my ear and cursed me with lucidity and paralysis. In one fell swoop I was awake – the dream clear for what it was and completely gone – yet I could not escape the sound or make a move. It was the sound of a voice, bellowing right beside my head, so loud I could feel the vibrations blow against my ear, so there I could feel the warmth of the thing but couldn’t turn around to face it. I had unwittingly opened a portal between this world above and another below. Something had crept out to deliver some dreadful news, and wanted me to listen closely. I hesitate to call it a voice, because it seemed to consist of a million evil, accursed voices, with one chief tormenter having the lead vocal. There was not a second between my comment, space travel, and its reply:

We KNOW we’re going to own you too.

We, as in all the little gargoyle sentinels. We, as in an evil legion. Amused emphasis on know, since it was a fact and not something to be queried. I had just been spoken to, quite palpably, by something from the other side. It was official – I was no longer safe. I knew then that whenever I was alone, the doors would creak incessantly; the walls and floor would groan even though they were made of concrete; whispers would abound, just out of earshot, but loud enough not to doubt their validity – just enough to invite insanity with prolonged occurrence.

For the second time in my life, I woke up and ran outside my house.

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