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.