Estimated reading time — 16 minutes
Legends. Such strange yet fascinating things they are. These intricate weavings of fantasy and imagination have always existed among us, usually bringing hope, caution or fear in one form or another. Some tell the tale of a brave adventurer forging his way to glory and fame through some metaphorical method or another while others recount an individual’s encounter with some awful being or monster. These legends, these stories we pass from father to son, mother to daughter, town to town, they vary quite wildly in all sorts of ways. The emotions they stir within us vary just as wildly, too. There is one thing, however, that all legends have in common: a message.
Sometimes the message is a warning; stay away from a specific place lest you be devoured by some foul beast. Simple. Other times the message comes as a lesson; adopt these morals, practice these methods and you will surely find success. Simple. A legend does not exist purely as a work of fiction. The necessity of the message, the value of the message, this is what defines a legend. Even today, in a world overflowing with tradition, culture, technology and all sorts of things that are rich with knowledge and understanding, we still cling to our legends. We must, after all, for they are the purest and most genuine form of a true message.
It is only now, after so much torment and madness, that I have come to understand the real weight behind legends. In particular, the fabled place of Ohran’s Eye.
It would not surprise me to learn that you have not heard of it, whoever you may be. It is a legend that is widely known to very specific circles. Circles in which I counted myself amongst, once upon a time. The story itself has changed much over the years, so much so that its exact origins have been lost to time. If you were to ask thirty people who knew of the place known as Ohran’s Eye, you would hear a minimum of twenty different tales. Some would only be slightly different while others would seem almost to be completely opposite. Throughout all recounting, however, a similar thread has persisted; that which truly made the legend a legend.
There is a place, one which has existed since the beginning of mankind, which contains a secret capable of changing the world. It lies within a stone tower in the shape of a diamond, which stands erect in a perfectly circular lake. No one knows quite where it is or what exactly lies within it, thus it has laid untouched for years untold, waiting for someone to find it. This place is known as Ohran’s Eye. The details revolving it are variable, as I said before, but this is the core, the backbone. Among many others, I was once obsessed with this legend. I still am to some extent, I suppose. And once I have finished saying what I need to say, recounting the events which occurred mere years ago, you too will understand the message of Ohran’s Eye.
It began late into the evening only a couple of years ago. It must have been around 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning when I was suddenly disturbed by a light knocking at my door. So light and easy was it that I could barely hear those quick, hollow booms. Yet, despite this, they roused me from my sleep quite effectively. In retrospect, I find it peculiar that such a soft noise could wake me from such a deep slumber. Cursing and stumbling the whole way for being woken so late into the night, I made my way to my front door. I readied a baseball bat by my side, just in case.
I opened the door in a cautious yet angry fashion, prepared for whatever awaited me. What stood before me was not something I could ever have anticipated. It was a man, taller than most, dressed in a deep gray suit with a white undershirt and a black tie. He wore a fedora, which matched his attire, and a pair of archaic-looking, articulate black sunglasses sat upon the ridge of his nose, completely concealing his eyes. He almost seemed to have stepped directly out of the 1950s. His lips were spread wide in a smile which can, in the clarity of retrospect, only be compared to that of a wolf. His face was smooth, lacking any hair while also appearing grizzled.
“Greetings! A fine a night to you!” He said after a moment of examination, his accent was clearly German and he bowed slightly upon finishing his sentence. I stammered for a second, taken off guard by his cheerful demeanor. “I know, I know,” he said, “it is oh so very late in the night. I am so sorry to trouble you, Sir. What I have to-” I found my voice then, my frustration boiling to the surface. “Do I know you?” I asked crisply. He chuckled a bit at that. “Of course, you don’t! How could you?” He broke off into his cackling laugh once again. I was beginning to reach new heights of irritation.
“What do you want?!” I demanded, cutting his humor short. He looked at me straight then, still wearing his wolf-like grin. He spoke again then, his voice completely serious now. “I have something you would like to possess,” he motioned toward a briefcase sitting against his leg. “I have come to give it to you.” I had no time to react for he turned away and proceeded to walk back towards the sidewalk bordering my own house with a sudden burst of haste. “You will appreciate its contents, I feel certain.” Was all he said as he disappeared into the darkness of that cold, winter night.
At first, I was apprehensive about even touching the case. I brought it inside my home none the less, however, for I was genuinely curious. Curiosity, in general, is something I have always felt quite strongly since I was a child. I tried to resist temptation, I really did. I have always proven myself to be a victim of my own desires, however, and so it did not take long for me to finally open the case. I will forever consider that moment to be the most regrettable one in my life. Yet I know, deep down, that it was an unavoidable one.
What I found within took my breath away. To anyone else, it would have been nothing more than a pile of papers with pure nonsense written across them. I knew right then and there that this was not the case though. It was a map, instructions and evidence, all pointing to the location – the true location – of Ohran’s Eye. A place of legend that was not meant to be anything more than just that: a legend. I spent the rest of that night poring over those documents, absorbing every detail like it was holy communion. Sleep was no longer a need during those hours but rather an irritable pulling that I ignored with utter commitment.
By the time morning rolled around, I knew it all. Where to find Ohran’s Eye, how to get there, what I would need for the journey, everything. It was not an adventure I could undertake alone and I would not have, even if I had a choice. My dear colleague and friend, Edward Wright, was who I turned to then. He was just as fascinated with the legend as I was. We had, in fact, spent many sleepless nights discussing its potential existence. And now the time had come, we would be the first to find Ohran’s Eye in untold years.
He was, of course, more than willing. Ecstatic, even. We set to work immediately, purchasing the supplies we would need for the long hike to Ohran’s Eye. It took us a couple of weeks, but we did eventually reach the point of being ready to undertake the journey. And so, during the early hours, we departed to find a place shrouded in mystery and wonder. I know now that it should have remained that way, untouched by the hands of mankind.
I will not disclose the location of Ohran’s Eye. My reasons for doing so will be revealed once you have finished reading what I have to say. I will, however, say that it was located among the great forests of North America. The trip involved a lot of driving at first. That was the easier part. We spent much of that time theorizing and chatting with one another. We were both so full of excitement then, so eager to discover the object of our obsession for so many years. After a couple of days, I parked my car and we started a long hike. We were both fairly tired at the end of those days, but we still possessed an unburdened cheerfulness.
I often think back to those few days of travel, that time of eagerness. Everything was so simple, we never considered that anything could go wrong. I only wish it hadn’t gone by so fast.
Eventually, we did reach that fated place, no matter how badly I wish we hadn’t. We had been following a nearly non-existent trail for a day or so when it finally led out into a large clearing. At the center sat a small lake, perfectly circular in proportion, and from its center stood a diamond-shaped tower of strange, dark stone at about fifteen feet tall. It was a scene which, despite not being particularly marvelous, inspired pure awe in Edward and I. We shouted and screamed in joy, in satisfaction, for we had made it; we had made it to Ohran’s Eye. This overwhelming joy was short-lived, however, for it was then that we noticed the silence.
Ironic, isn’t it? That silence would be so obviously noticeable, that silence would cut through our cheers of triumph. The complete lack of noise and life, beside our own, silenced us. We grew quiet very quickly as we began to understand. There were no birds, no wind, nothing; not even a whisper from the forest. We might as well have been on the moon. Even there we would see the stars shining through, offering some degree of hope. As we stared at that lonesome tower of faded, deep, stone, however, we felt no hope. The world was still there. Frozen in time. It was something only a curious human would dare intrude upon.
For a while we did nothing but just stand there, taking in every sight. The lake was still, much like everything else in the clearing; it was a pure blue color. Even from the edge of the clearing, we could tell that it was very deep. Grass faded to dirt the closer it got to the lake and the dirt to that strange, deep, dark, stone. The stone appeared to be… Warped. Much like the texture of obsidian but with a dull brown-gray tint to it. Where we stood, vegetation stood erect and proud, living. Near the shore, however, no life could be seen. Only that stone and still water.
We managed to push ourselves into motion eventually, though it did take considerable effort. We walked across the grass, then the dirt, and finally the stone to the water’s surface. We had brought an inflatable raft just so we could cross this lake to the diamond-shaped tower which brooded quietly at the center of the lake. We crossed the water rather slowly to the tower only to find that there was no way in. No door, window or orifice of any kind that would permit us entry. The surface was smooth and unclimbable. We found ourselves at an impasse.
Fortunately, this obstacle proved to be short-lived, for as we continued to circle the diamond tower we soon found an odd-looking iron chain dangling from the top of the structure on one of the faces of the tower. From where we were standing, it appeared to be tied to a D-shaped loop of some kind of metal attached to the top of the structure. We were hesitant at first, the chain appeared to be quite old and the metal seemed equally worn. After a few tests, however, we found it safe. So, our steps full of caution, we climbed the rope to the top.
I was up first. I found myself standing on a flat surface composed of the odd-colored stone. To my right, however, it became a set of stairs that went down into the dark depths of the tower, following the diamond shape of the structure. The stairs were made out of what appeared to be iron while the inner walls of the structure were composed of the same strange stone that the outside was. When Edward made it to the top beside me he gasped for he too was in awe at the oppressive looking hole which lay before us. Judging by how deep it was, we could only assume that a significant part of the tower on which we stood lay beneath the ever-still waters of that lake.
Glow sticks were not on the list of items we thought we would need. If they had been available, we would have dropped one down to gauge the depth of the descent. We searched our bags and soon found an empty tin can which only served to take up space since its contents had been used up that morning. We dropped it and watched as it quickly disappeared into the bowels of the tower. It must have been a minute or two before we finally heard the echo of it crashing at the bottom. We looked at each other, a mix of fear and wonderment in our eyes.
We talked for a bit after that, figuring out what to do. We considered going back to shore and making the long trip home to tell our colleagues and friends that we had actually found Ohran’s Eye. We would come back and properly explore what lay at the bottom of the tower in the safety and efficiency of a real expedition. We could have turned our backs then, at that crucial moment, we could have left and returned in what could very well have been months upon months. Or we could press on. We could continue by ourselves into that gaping pit of darkness and discover what lay at the bottom right then and there.
I don’t think I need to tell you what we chose to do. We thought we knew the risks, we thought we could handle it by ourselves. I know now that no one, no matter how many people they brought along, could have managed it. No one would really know the risk of that place until it was too late to turn back. And so we descended into what I am now convinced must have been hell itself.
The flashlights we brought with us had little trouble piercing the choking dark of that silent stairwell. Edward and I barely spoke to each other as we climbed further and further into the tower. Our moods were almost directly contradictory to the way we had been over the course of the entire journey. There was no excitement, no joy, just anticipation as to what we would find when we reached the bottom. Anticipation and an ever-growing fear, the source of which we could not identify. We continued our descent for a good forty-five minutes or so with a couple of breaks here and there before finally reaching the bottom.
The stairs evened out into flat ground. We stood in a diamond-shaped room which extended all the way to the top of the tower where we entered with the stairs obstructing any light that may have entered. We seemed to be underground. The only way forward was a tall, perfectly rectangular tunnel which spanned onwards for a bit before taking a sharp right. From around the corner emanated a very soft, yet noticeable, orange light. Edward and I exchanged nervous looks for neither of us knew what to expect or where we currently found ourselves. We were afraid. Very afraid. Fear would not stop us, however, and so we pushed on.
Cautiously, we began to move our way towards the strange tunnel and the even stranger orange glow coming from it. No words were spoken; no sounds broke the silence save our soft footsteps, as we grew nearer and nearer the bend. I cannot speak on Edwards’s behalf, but my heart was beating hard enough that I thought it audible to the darkness around me, though I am certain that this was merely a deception of the mind.
Finally, we both rounded the bend, slowly and with hesitation, but we did it. Ahead of us, the tunnel continued on for a bit before widening out into a large cavern with a ceiling so far up we could not see. Strange strands of what appeared to be chains dangled from the dark above, silhouetted by the orange glow. At the far back wall of the cavern were two enormous, diamond-shaped, window-like surfaces which were the source of the odd, orange glow, though we could not tell how or why. And standing tall on the flat stone ground between us and the windows was what appeared to be the silhouetted shape of a giant throne with its back facing us.
We froze at the sight before us. How could we not? Awe and fear coursed through our blood like some kind of paralyzing venom. We looked at each other in that orange glow, analyzing each other’s faces, trying to judge whether or not we truly had the courage to push forward and discover what lay in this giant cavern. To discover the source of the legend of Ohran’s Eye. We had come too far to turn back now, we knew that, yet still did we stare and wonder if we should return to the surface, even though we knew we would not. And so, with a confident first step, I moved forward, prompting Edward to follow.
We emerged from the tunnel and into the cavern only to be greeted by the sound of silence, once again. But this… This silence was unlike any I had ever experienced. It weighed on us, choking the air from our lungs and tightening our lips so that we could not speak. To disturb that silence was to wake hell itself, in our minds. Yet we pressed on, drawing closer and closer to the shaded throne that lay ahead of us.
We were about fifteen feet away when we felt it; the air became electric and the silence gave way to madness. We could hear chains rattling above us and the several thuds as things began to land behind us. We turned to see several shadowy shapes moving towards us, the sound of chains rattling all the while. In those brief moments, we saw the things for what they were. They were human, or used to be, for their skin was charred black and they all appeared to be extremely emaciated. Their eyes were a milky white and their lower jaws seemed to be completely missing. From their exposed throats came chains that extended all the way up into the darkness.
At first, there were only a few of them but they soon became a swarm of darkness as a symphony of chains began to emanate throughout the cavern. Edward and I were grabbed within seconds of their descent, our arms held behind our backs and our heads twisted so that they had to look at the throne. The strange… Creatures circled us, their milky white eyes burning into my friend and I. They would softly touch our skin and bring their own faces mere centimeters from ours, as if this was the first time they had ever seen a human. It may sound strange but I swear that I could almost see envy and lust in the way they examined us.
But the worst was still to come. It was then that we saw something rise from the throne. It was tall at about fifteen feet in height, also appearing to be some sort of humanoid being. And as it drew closer we began to see it more and more clearly for our flashlights, which had fallen to the ground, illuminated it in its entirety.
It dragged a cape of chains behind it, which were connected to a thick collar around its neck. Its actual body was grotesque. The skin was loose and saggy and several strange growths such as extra fingers and feet protruded from its disgusting form, all of which cringed and grasped at something only that awful… thing could understand. Upon its head sat a large iron mask, which resembled a face stuck in a completely indifferent expression. Several large spikes stood erect from the mask, forming a sort of arc which started where its ears should have been and connecting at the top, central area on its head.
It grew closer and closer with each gigantic step of its misshapen feet, the creatures all parting way like the sea so that their master could get through to us. When he finally did reach us the rattling chains fell completely silent and every single one of those awful, tortured things stared at him as a priest would his god. The enormous being stood before us for a long while, its head tilted downward toward Edward and I. We were frozen in place by the being’s awful presence. So much so that I doubt those things would have even needed to restrain us. After what must have been a short eternity, however, the silence was shattered into an infinite amount of pieces.
The giant reached one massive hand outwards so quickly that I hardly saw it. It grabbed Edward by the neck, lifting him up at arm’s length. The frozen terror was gone then, having given way to frantic screaming and struggling. I watched him writhe and twist in an attempt to free himself while that grotesque giant’s mutant limbs wriggled and twitched in what I can only assume to have been anticipation. The creatures began to shake their heads wildly at the roof of darkness that loomed above us, rattling their chains in a second awful symphony of torment.
The giant then took his free hand and stabbed two of its fingers into Edwards’s mouth, yanking them down and completely severing his lower jaw. My friend… My poor friend… He cried and shouted so loudly and savagely that I could almost feel the pain radiating from him. The giant grabbed one of the many chains in his cloak of iron and brought it to Edwards’s mouth. I watched as it slithered its way into him like a snake, as if it had a mind of its own. Edward continued to struggle and resist for a few minutes more before finally going still.
He was not dead though, much as he would have wished it. I could see life in his eyes; however corrupted it may have been, just as I could see it in all the strange creatures that surrounded me. I do not know how much time passed before the giant stopped the chain, yanking it free of his collar and tossing its exposed end directly up into the shadows. With a disgusting, bone-breaking crack, Edward was jerked and dragged up into that dark abyss. The other creatures followed him almost immediately after in a similar way, though I cannot say why. And so I was left alone with that demonic giant, that King of Chains.
He turned his massive, helmed head towards me then, but did not otherwise move. I had been released by the creature which had restrained me, yet I did not move. What madman would dare to flee in the presence of such unstoppable and abhorrent evil? I had no option other than to stay and wait for whatever fate this… monster had in store for me.
More time passed as we simply stared at one another. It kneeled sometime between the silence, making his head level with mine. The being leaned its iron mask in close to my face, bringing itself mere inches from mine. “Know me,” a deep, ethereal, genderless voice boomed through the cavern, “know what I am.” I could do nothing but remain motionless. The last thing I remember is that orange glow and that awful iron face staring through me. I can’t say what exactly happened, but merciful unconsciousness found me then.
I awoke sometime near midnight lying in the middle of a road, the same in which Edward and I had parked my car before embarking on the trails and mountains that concealed Ohran’s Eye. I did not try to find my way back to that pit of fear and misery, no. I got in my car and drove home.
This is the truth of Ohran’s Eye, regardless of what you may or may not have heard. Its message has been corrupted, you see. Made to appear as if treasure or scientific significance lies in wait, as if what sleeps there will benefit mankind. The message, I believe, has always been the opposite of an invitation; it is a warning.
For years I have carried the weight of what I experienced in that place. Nightmares plague me like death when I sleep while my memories torment me constantly during my waking hours. I told Edward’s family and the police that he perished while climbing a mountain and that we never found Ohran’s Eye. To this day I tell people that it does not exist, that it’s not worth the trouble or thought. I tell them of my quest to find it and how my friend fell to his death. I tell them how I found nothing in the end. I lie.
I am dishonest, yes. Of course, I am. Sometimes a merciful lie is better than a mortal truth. They would understand if they knew, just as you would.
To this day, I do not know who exactly the man with the wolf-like grin and german accent was. He disappeared as quickly as he arrived and left no trace in his wake. Similarily, I have found no answers as to what it is that lies within the depths of Ohran’s Eye. It is a mystery that should remain unsolved, I believe. Which is why I will not disclose the location of that awful place. It is for your own benefit, trust me.
I do not care if you believe me or not, I really don’t. You can keep your opinions and judgments to yourselves. I know what happened, I know my mind. And I know that Edward’s fate was much worse than anyone will ever know. I accept full responsibility for what happened to him. Sometimes when I close my eyes I swear I can almost see him, suspended in the darkness, existing as another one of those awful creatures, doomed to an eternity of torment. I do not like to dwell on this.
So, listen to me when I say that Ohran’s Eye is a place to be avoided.
Heed the message of the legend.
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