The Pallid Wyrm
When the farm quartermaster woke in the night it was to the sound of something large and solid passing through some distant point beneath the ground. An immense head of vibration building like the approach of a Planetary Lighter still far off. In the half-awake, it seemed to him that the storm outside was on the cusp of calling his name. He felt something squirm and buckle inside as a bird trying to escape a sack. The glasses on the nightstand trembled.
In the dream from which he had wakened he had been digging. Even now his limbs seemed to ache from the effort. The hole in which he had stood had been deep beyond imagining. The land itself drawing him and others like him into a magnetic embrace of ancient provenance. The odour of electricity and ozone, of stone recently cut and opened. There had been something in the ground with him. A slow tidal heartbeat, ancient beyond understanding, that radiated a dark malevolence and spoke of intelligence beyond words. He had felt scrutinised and impossibly humbled in its presence. An incredible and almost bewildering tranquility.
He recognised the field in which the watching crowd had assembled, the ring of standing stones there, raised by those who were long dead to mark the place where a meteorite had come down in pre-colonisation times. The crowd had appeared to be waiting for something. The sense of expectation had been overpowering.
He turned, restless with uncertainty, reached out to touch his wife sleeping beside him, found her nestled in her wrappings like some tiny animal, lit with a pale light that gave her the appearance of a fossil, chalky and pallid and freshly turned loose of the soil. Quickly and quietly he rose and got dressed and made his way down to the tool room, took a spade from the racks there, rested it in his hands, assessing the weight of the thing.
He knew then what had to be done.