The Bat Girl

The day before Victory Day we received a short, yet welcomed report, from our field agent on our northwestern borders, that distant place of fertile pastures, tranquil lakes and mythical beasts called Serprerps. Having spent the best part of the winter underground, living off his short supplies and sleeping off the freezing cold, our agent was able to make contact with the local tribes. At first the simple-minded inhabitants of Serprerps took fright from the wild appearance of our agent, a bear-like brute so typical of the rank-and-file of the Field Commission of which he is a lowly functionary. Thankfully, he was able to make friends after several tribulations, and went on to organize a display of fireworks that, apparently, was a real winner with the children.

Quid pro quo, the tribesmen led him to their sacred caves, the first time any from our race was granted permission to that mysterious place.  Clerks should take note: our agent’s mission has been accomplished and, upon his return to the capital – whenever that may be – he must be presented with a class G minus governmental citation.

According to the report, the caves form a sponge-like complex, not unlike human brain tissue, buried underneath the muddy bottom of the lakes. To get there, one must take a boat and sail to a secret spot where the lake water is siphoned three hundred meters into the ground. It is a perilous journey for if you do not know your way out you will end up been sucked into the siphon forever. But the local tribes know their way well in and out of the maze of galleries and caves. Our agent landed on soft ground, at the bottom of the vortex and, following his guides, descended to the caves. His report is short on detail, but we understand that he has no intention of returning. Scribbling quickly on the last page that much was there to be further explored, he passed the report to the tribal chief and it is through the good services of this uncultured but loyal subject that we today, ten years later, are able to read it.

What is particularly curious in the report is what is displayed on the opposite side of the last page: a picture of a person. Our forensic analysts have decreed that the picture was taken accidentally, the result of a rare combination of electrochemical happenstance. Something to do with the scarce light, the composition of the air in the caves and the mould of the paper after been stored under ice for months. Anyway, the picture shows a young woman with the wings of a bat. She hangs upside down from the ceiling of a cave. Her eyes are bright red. Who was that girl and what role she played in the decision of our agent to stay in the caves remains a mystery.

A young researcher who happened to delve into a relevant entry of the Grand Book of Knowledge has suggested that the girl is not real and that the picture is in fact a projection of our agent’s thoughts. To substantiate her hypothesis she has correlated a local tribal myth that describes a time when every man and woman lived in those caves and all reality was made of pure thought and nothing else. We are also told that this researcher has applied for the post of field agent and asked to seek the caves and our lost agent too; but Central Directorate has decreed that the bat girl story was too weak a reason to fund a long and perilous expedition, not with the way our Empire’s finances are going. We agree and file this complementary report to the Archives for future reference.