We’d cut a terminal scar through the jungle, a wake of emptiness that wildcats crossed, bewildered, skulking quickly into familiar humid darkness. Monkeys played in our path. I have never conditioned myself to their noise and proximity. I cannot abide this new idea that we are in some way indebted to the apes for our form and habits. I wish I could dismiss this, it disgusts me. Their hands, though. Clever, greedy hands. So like our own.

Upon arrival at the site I pragmatically assumed our presence recognised and did a circuit of the compound. It was not much larger than the crumbling Norman outcrops in the British landscape. Magowan suggested that there must be some secret entrance, some cunning fissure in the walls that opened from apparent nothing into a substantial doorway. I ordered an encampment to be established and posts of five men to be set at intervals around the circle of the fortification. At the beginning of the first night we heard a dignified and alien species of plainsong, infernal prayer. This unsettled the men, who expected a demonic horde of oriental warriors to vomit from some unseen aperture in a storm of blades. They did not voice their anxiety to me, but I could see it in them. Even the most seasoned butcher can be quite unmanned by what remains unseen.

At first light duties were dispatched to scour the walls for signs of access. Thick foliage pressed hard against the stone in most places, allowing for close, concealed examination. I was confident that we would find a doorway that day, and turned my attentions to making the camp more comfortable, anticipating a peaceful, if not insubstantial period of waiting. By early afternoon all the parties had returned to say there were no discoverable flaws in the masonry, which seemed built of massive, solid blocks of stone not native to the region. It was apparently a perfect, seamless ring. I sent them out again, a little vexed that I had been assigned such slipshod soldiers as could not discover something the non-existence of which was impossible. I ordered a more thorough survey, that they slide blades between the stones. There had to be a cleft, a space for hidden, ingenious hinges to twist in. There had to be a door. Again, they returned in truculent silence, group by group. They brought no good news. Reflecting now, from this novel standpoint of contempt for reason, I see how all things interlock. But I was ignorant then and for three days I would dispatch these seething fighting men to scratch away effetely at the perfect walls. Magowan suggested other possibilities. In my rigid mind I was constant. I could not see how two thousand men could live within that place, could call it home with no way in or out.