Monday, 3 March 2014
The Darkness That Comes Before
There is something ancient stirring in Louisiana.
It must be ancient. What else could need a stone-age serial killer in order to take notice? Not for this being the newly-arrived mumblings of Latin texts. Slaughtering a sacrifice with steel would be functionally no different to dedicating a death by radiation poisoning - these are methods of death something so achingly old and distant could never understand.
So far removed from our time and comprehension is the stirrer that language itself gets tangled up. It would be easy to assume it's interest in Erath hails from phonetics; the wrath of beings older than we can imagine descending on a one-horse Southern town to remind us who is and always was in charge. But I think it's something else. Erath is Earth, viewed through the lens of a being that cannot understand the importance of the letters and the word it forms. Erath may as well be Earth, just as we may as well be birds, or wasps, or dead. It's the attempt by something so far beyond us it cannot possibly understand to make its terrible voice heard.
Which is what makes Cohle and Hart so appropriate as investigators here. If what is happening is the reassertion of a primal hierarchy humanity has entirely forgotten - if indeed we are old enough as a species to have intersected with what came before, and somehow survived - then who could be more appropriate to seek out the truth than two men equally deluded. One because he is aware that there are self-aware consciousnesses that far predate and dwarf our own, but who has given it a name and an interest in humanity that is completely incorrect; a comforting face painted on a featureless force of horror. The other, because his assumption that mankind is the first intelligence to rise beyond the basic rules of nature is born of the same fundamental arrogance: that we can name and study what exists beyond our pathetically minimal perception. Hart may not understand how Cohle can not be a Christian, his colleagues may mock him for not recognising a Tuttle when he sees one, but if they were to ever take a peek behind the curtain, what they'd learn of real power would, if they were supremely lucky, merely deign to kill them.
And soon the curtain will pull itself back. The memory of the town is fading. The memory of mankind is fading along with it, and Cohle is simply the first person to taste the psychosphere and figure it out. We were never writing the story of the world. We were merely sketching it in pencil, twiddling our thumbs between apocalypses. We all think of destiny as a meaningful conclusion because it is too horrible to consider it might simply be a full stop.
But a full stop is exactly what is arriving. It may take seventeen years, or seventeen decades, but our story is ending. We can make our peace with that, or not. I suggest we try, though. Peace will very soon be in short supply.