I Will Return

August 15, 2009

(Note: This is inspired by the Taman Shud Case, an unsolved case involving an unidentified man found dead on an Australian beach in 1948. To this day, his identity remains a mystery and various clues and interviews have only increased the confusion. Please give it a read, either before or after, or this entire piece may come off as incredibly abstract.)


This is where it began.

This is where I began. Not exact, but close enough.

The point on the time line is indeterminate. The geologic point has been overgrown, overrun, razed, rebuilt, burnt, salted and reborn. The entrance is submerged under the earth’s ongoing trauma and humanity’s damaged psyche.

I was of the sea. I was null and void. I was shaped by warring forces, formless beings of immense power and childish jealousy.

I was a malfunction. An afterbirth of titans, angels, demons and gods. I was malformed. I was so hideous no god would claim me. I was so horrible no people would have me.

I was unleashed, without guidance. Without purpose.

I rose from the depths. Destroying life. Igniting change. For millions of years, I existed nowhere. An idea. An illusion.

My impulses would not be controlled. I leapt through time and space. I was made whole in destruction. I was freed by chaos.

I was a scapegoat. The blame for the gods’ abuse of their worshippers was laid at my feet. I wore their shame to save their power.

I had no motive. I simply was.

I fulfilled a million curses from a thousand tongues. I eavesdropped on a million prayers destined for deaf ears.

I was alone.

My names were legion.

I was the Tower of Babel. I was “here there be monsters.” I was revolution. Tyranny. Anarchy. I was the Crusades. I was the smallest creature destroying millions through plague. I was the center of every conflict. I was the false god of mass suicide. I was humanity turning on itself time and time again.

I am carried in a vessel. A man like any other. A constant companion. For hundreds of years. There have been others, but I have been with him the longest.

He is ageless. He exists without a past or future.

He has seen without comprehending. He has moved through others’ lives. Existing without living. His motions are involuntary. He is because I am.

He has begun to resent me. He has acted out of fear and hatred. He has never known peace. Happiness. Love. He wishes to stop. He feels the ache of a hundred centuries. The burdens of a million lives. He is regaining sentience and he seeks closure.

His mind is hollow. His speech, garbled. He writes in code to me. He tells me of his pasts. He is fading.

I have been selfish. I have held on for too long. I moved with him throughout the world, setting plans in motion. Damage. Disrepair. Disarray. He was unaware and complicit. He needs release. He jots down another note on a scrap of paper.


It is unintelligible. A garbled prayer to a god that no one will worship. A mouthless scream in random letters, born of the emotions he has been denied. The dreams that never came. The life he never led.

He is clean, free of worldly entrapments. His possessions are in one suitcase, safely locked away. He has no family. No friends. No home.

He never was.

So I (and We) sit on the beach, gazing into the black, rolling water. He holds a scrap of paper in his right hand. A final request. A begging for the void. A keening noise fills my (his) ears. He turns the paper over. Instead of the usual jumble of letters, I (we) see two words: “Taman shud.”


A thousand years rush back in an instant. An empty vessel. A man. A poet. A philosopher. A scientist. But at this point, where I emerged, still just a man.

The millennium passes. I am back on the sand, gazing into the sea.

His voice finds itself after nine hundred years of silence.


I grant his request. My (his) eyes focus on the sky. His right arm goes numb, and the words (his prayers, his requests) fall to the sand.

I extract myself from him, pulling psychically and physically, propelling myself from his body. The force of my exit ruptures and distorts his organs. I reveal myself briefly and his mind is aflame. His soul thrashes and wails, before fleeing.

I could grasp his soul and devour it. Or ride it to another vessel. But I, too, want to go home.

I can see the future. It shifts and distorts. I see men playing gods. They conquer pain. They remove disease. They blend and fuse genetic ephemera into a fountain of youth. They extend their lives while neglecting the consequences of their actions.

They fail to see that something only has value if it is limited. That a life worth living is forever entwined with eventual death. Without death, there is no essence. No urgency. No importance. Infinity is worthless.

They will continue, compounding error after error in their arrogant efforts to unravel the mysteries of life. For such a learned group, they seem to be unaware that “unravel” has two very different meanings. They seek to unravel the keys to eternity as though they were untangling a length of cord, seeking order from chaos.

Instead, they will unravel life as though it were a fraying scarf, pulling at the thread until all that is left is a worthless tangle of yarn.

All secrets will be reburied. Disorder will stake its claim. They will discover, upon my return, that I am the needle and the haystack.

I return to the sea to gather my strength. Heal my wounds. Hone my edge.

I am alone.

I am a weapon.

My name is Entropy.

And I will return.



  1. Nice. Something different. I like it.

    Your piece and the case of Taman Shud reminded me of the passage below from McCarthy’s Blood Meridian (very much worth reading if you haven’t).

    “Whatever his antecedents, he was something other than their sum, nor was there system by which to divide him back to his origins for he would not go. Whoever would seek out his history through what unraveling of loins and ledgerbooks must stand at last darkened and dumb at the shore of the void without terminus or origin and whatever science he might bring to bear upon the dusty primal matter blowing out of the millennia will discover no trace of ultimate atavistic egg by which to reckon his commencing.”

    • Thanks, Overconfident. Great to see you again.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post. It is different. I was just doing some time-killing, reading a list of mysterious disappearances and this one spoke to me (I guess… I’m unfamiliar with parlance normally only found in kiss-ass interviews).

      My thought was either it was something very simple (some nobody travels several miles to commit suicide) or else it had to be something unimaginable.

      I have read Blood Meridian. Truly a masterpiece, although the cadence of his prose certainly takes some getting used to. Sort of like a Mamet script, I would guess, what with all the words being common but the give-and-take being unusually fast-paced and unadorned.

      My favorite part to quote from Blood Meridian contains this phrase, which struck me as something I would have killed close relatives to write: “…like a company of mounted clowns, death hilarious…”

      The whole paragraph is brutal and evocative, but that part sticks out to me.

      Thanks for the compliments, the spectacular quote from McCarthy, and for mentioning him and me in the same sentence.

      I’m getting that framed.

  2. I was taken with how different this is from your normal posts as well, then I realized that you really never have a “normal” post except for the Heavy Rotations. But then again, this is why you’re the genius.

    As for this piece of work, it is haunting and striking even without the reference to the Taman Shud case, but after reading the Wiki, it’s even more astute and thought provoking.

    • Thanks for the positive reinforcement, Claire.

      It was somewhat of a dismounting from my “list of clever stuff” one-trick pony. As stated earlier, the Taman Shud case just hit me right. I’d be unwilling to take any bets on whether I will do something like this again, and I’ve got the inside track.

      I guess we’ll all just have to wait and see. (And visit often. And tell all of our friends.)

    • If I visited any more often, you’d start charging me rent.

    • Aha! There’s the key to “monetizing” the blog! The fools said I couldn’t do it!

      Well, keep visiting, Claire. And bring a friend. But only as long as they’re willing to sign the lease. I can’t have you subletting the comments.

  3. The first time through I liked the writing though it was abstract and the meaning elusive without knowing the story behind it.

    After reading the background information, this piece became much more fascinating and brilliant.

    Nice work!


    • Thanks very much for that. I figured the story behind the story was pretty essential to any sort of narrative and cohesive.

      Thanks for the compliments, and nice seeing you again.

  4. I’m going to take it that I hit the mainline. Which I’m going to take as a compliment.

    Some VU right back at you:

    “The myriad choices of his fate
    Set themselves out upon a plate
    For him to choose
    What had he to lose

    Not a ghost bloodied country
    All covered with sleep
    Where the black angel did weep
    Not an old city street in the east

    Gone to choose”

  5. Thank-you for this, CLT.

    Not only did you introduce me to this fascinating case (which,knowing me, will now become my new obsession), I am once again in awe of your creativity and writing skills.

    You make me want to be a more verbally-adroit author.

    (in a good way:))

    • You’re welcome, bschooled. Great to see you.

      Thanks very much for the kind words. I’m always happy whenever I can kick off a new obsession. This case is bizarre and has some very eerie elements.

      Of course, it could all turn out to be nothing at all.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  6. I will read this again after finishing school.

    • You’re attending a finishing school?

      Well, whatever makes you happy, well-adjusted and annoyingly polite, RR. Thanks for strutting thru.

  7. What a convoluted tale!! About halfway through the Wiki article, I started to think back on a passage in the biography “Carl Sagan: A Life”. In the book, Sagan is dining with some friends while discussing miracles Jesus supposedly preformed. Carl becomes quite animated and slams his fist down on the table proclaiming loudly that “Jesus MUST have been an alien!!” In all fairness, and if I recollect correctly, they had smoked something earlier in the evening. Anyway, that was the direction my brain started to take when I read about ‘mystery man’. Now, as to your comments, I could swear I was reading the words of my youngest daughter (she totally ‘gets’ you). So much so, I am leaving any analysis and further comment to her (Bebe).

    • My brain pretty much went the same way, as you can tell, Elizabeth. If it’s not normal, than it’s got to be completely unexplainable. A very bizarre case. So bizarre, in fact, that I had to write something about it.

  8. Addendum: I have to confess that after reading through the Wiki article, I was a little tired (long night on the LV Strip and battling cognitive malaise). After gaining a second wind, I reread your post s-l-o-w-l-y and in depth. It was riveting, deep, heady and BRILLIANT. So brilliant, I plan on reading it again tomorrow when I am completely refreshed. This is the kind of passionate material Professor Keating would have had a field day with in the movie Dead Poets Society. Thanks, CLT, for sharing.

    • Thank you very much, Elizabeth.

      I’m as surprised at this piece as anyone. It’s very much not my normal output. But something just kicked into gear as I mulled over the Taman Shud entry.

      Thank you again for the kind comments (Elizabeth and everybody). Hopes it’s as good for you the second time through.

      Oh. And I look forward to Bebe’s analysis. I’d like to hear from someone outside my peer group, as the psychoanalysts say… at about $35/word, apparently. Expensive.

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