In retrospect, it made perfect sense that mountain snow would eventually melt. No rain was falling in the valley to cool temperatures down; and that would have a trickle-down effect on the nearby climate. Regardless; we had no way to predict natural relief would come. Somehow reassuring ourselves that we did what we had to be done; was of little consolation. I was relieved that the others were going to be saved but bitter that their salvation came at the unnecessary cost of our lives.
The first of my companions in the expedition fell into a terminal coma from his sickness. His body was covered with cancerous tumors and oozing skin lesions. I knew the other volunteer and I would soon follow with our own gruesome deaths. To protect the townsfolk from our contagious condition, we placed ourselves in quarantine. There, I had nothing but time to reflect on the irony of how my life would end. Again and again the puzzling vision returned. It occupied all my waking hours. My last remaining goal was to understand the mystery before I died.
I was certain that Pandemonium’s crystal walls were linked to the dream but I didn’t know how. “What kind of people would build such a sinister monument to death?”; I asked myself. “Who would even want to be the ruler of the barren wasteland? Lastly; what lost technology was used to construct such a menacing aberration?”
After running the same events over and over in my mind, the deep symbolism started to come together. The splashing water in my dream was caused by a tiny droplet of rain but a massive exploding object above the desert was the real source of the ominous ‘monument’. It was so powerful that all the sand for miles was charred and crystallized.
The old legends told of a time when men tried to destroy themselves and the planet with weapons of mass destruction. It seems inconceivable that any civilization intelligent enough to create such a devastating weapon; wouldn’t instead use their advanced knowledge for peace. Apparently they did just that. I shuddered to think how close they came to destroying the entire world with their carelessness.
Perhaps one day the effects of that ancient war will cease. In time, the barren zone may again be inhabitable and free from the terrible sickness that is killing me. With their deadly technology left behind in the sand, perhaps mankind can continue to live in peace. Whether it will happen, I can not say. At least I can die with a small amount of satisfaction. The mystery of Pandemonium, ‘the crystal castle’ is solved.