What creature of stone languished in the desert waste? A forgotten ruin, buried under sand and obscured by detritus, breathing hot, dry air through lungs of worn rock. Last gasps of a civilization long lost. A collapsed temple, gently pulled into the present by archaeologists, excavated from darkness back into the sun. Centuries, millennia had passed since last its depths were plumbed. Yet, walking its halls, these new explorers felt wind blow where there should only have been quiet, only stagnation. They touched the walls and swore they hummed. Somewhere deep within, a low, dull heart seemed to beat.
This place… is alive. The thought leapt unbidden, unspoken, to many a mind. Discarded for its absurdity and yet as they lingered in this sacred place, it seemed all the more a certainty.
There were too many mysteries about this living, rubble beast. From whence did it hail? There were no other remains for miles, no cultural touchstones from known nations that had risen, only to fall. It sprouted, a malignant tumor on the Gobi’s epidermis, in the middle of nowhere, built suring no obvious when. The hieroglyphs whittled on its walls and ceilings match no others. Only through inference could linguists and ethnographers even hope to translate. And in the reading most meaning was surely lost.
Created… life… stone… life… we… life… subside… life… only… Temple… allowed… life…
At night, in tents and substructures dwarfed by the ruin that grew more and more each day as sand was cleared away, these explorers dreamed of times long forgotten. Memories known to none still alive. Painted faces, harsh guttural sentences, simple and brutal for a simpler, bloodier time. Their souls boiled with emotion foreign to modern sensibilities. They itched to… to… they were not sure what.
They sent a messenger to let the world know what they found. No phone would function, some magnetic force blinded the eyes of satellites above. Only by horse, or camel-back, over hundreds of miles of wasteland could they send word.
Weeks passed, months, and the desert temple of unknown provenance grew and grew. Its corridors had no end, and still in the distance a heart beat and a voice whispered, and still they could not find it. They waited for reinforcements, to be relieved, to be free from the eye of the sun, from the words on the walls that every day became more a part of them.
Months passed, and these creatures began to worship a God with no name, in dream and in ritual, reborn after centuries.
Finally, relief came, but too late. They arrived before an empty temple. No trace of the tents, or the life that had erected them, no trace of those who had uncovered the desert wonder. The halls were wide and silent, only the quiet breath, a silent, echoed thumping. The only hint that anything transpired in this place in a recent eon? Blood, streaked on the ceilings and walls, covering long-unreadable hieroglyphs in recognizable English words, though what they meant was arch and unsure:
They created life, stone life, our life, ours… subsides. Only the Temple, only those of the temple are allowed to…
And now we join them, and leave this life behind.