Author's note: Hell hath fury. A woman's scorn is a small apartment here. Speaking of which, allow me to show you the stairs...
The world was at war but Ralph Ford didn't know that. How long have we been observing him now? Why are you and I even here to witness this? Questions on top of more questions, but the answers might become clearer a bit later.
The stairs show no signs of changing as he makes his descent. Although we can see him clearly, Mr. Ford seemingly doesn't have that luxury. His eyes only meet the ever-monotonous environment. Darkness above. Darkness below.
Onward and downward.
The only light is offered by his eyes, whose pupils had diluted completely for what seemed so long ago, radiating orbs of shiny darkness. Had they just grown so accustomed to the darkness or was he just hallucinating? Ralph doesn't know as he makes his rapid descent. And neither do we.
The only feeling he has is the sharp pain that his heels feel as they register the ache to his indifferent mind.
We hear the sound of Ralph's ruined sandals as they hit the broad, lightly-sanded stairway. From what we can deduce, he hears someone or something beckoning him down those lonely steps, as he seems to tilt his head downward from time to time. Voices or sounds from somewhere. But as you might have noticed, our ears are quite deaf to his summoners.
Now we observe Ralph doing what he has been doing every fifteen minutes. The only peculiar action he has been faithfully performing during this ritual, in fact. He pauses with his left hand on the rough wall, sweat pouring from his temples; twin waterfalls of salty precipitation. We then hear him make the only other sound we have heard in this place.
He yells, "I'm trying! I'm coming!" and continues his laborous trek downward.
We know he must be making some sort of progress down this strange stairway, because although it seems Ralph has been running for days, weeks, years without any needed human sustenance to speak of, we can see that he indeed is descending.
You see, we have a point of reference here. There is a rough line (that Mr. Ford's fevered head never noticed in the darkness all of this time) carved into the wall next to Mr. Ford's head. It had been almost parallel to his head, until a few days ago. It almost resembles a measuring line that a mother might use to mark the progression of growth for one of her children.
Now, the line that has been our point of reference is easily one inch above his head as he makes his way down that lonely stretch of sandy and inky darkness.
We inexplicably find ourselves exactly forty years later to the day and find our friend, Ralph Ford, still maintaining his routine. The world went to war again, but of course Mr. Ford couldn't know that. He only knows what we have already "seen", apparently. We observers notice no change in anything we have observed all those years ago, except that the line that has been his only companion (besides us and that being unbeknownst to him) is now well over a foot above his head as he makes his descent. That and it appears he isn't moving quite so quickly.
So, having these clues we can assume that Mr. Ford will reach his destination in roughly 150 years. It means that that is the point that we will cease to see him and that he has gotten to his destination based on his height, and accounting for the difference in speed. And since it appears he has been fine for at least these past forty years, without further ado, let's fast-forward to the year...
We now only see Mr. Ford's head toppling perfectly down the middle of the staircase. Onward, downward and around. Surprisingly, it's a non-bloody and pale thing rolling end-over-end, still pausing every fifteen minutes to proclaim that it is on its way.
The scalp drifted to the ash-covered ground, like a leaf on a blustery and early-winter day. Ashes from millions of species blow through the air and give the final touch to the bleak, and almost wintry landscape.
The lowly janklordemon picked the scalp up and sniffed it with his broad nose. He glanced up at the cyan-colored sky, looking for any more human-tops. He saw none. With a marrow-curdling scream of joy, he began to run back toward the Fortress of Bio-Structural Study that loomed to dizzying heights on the horizon.
The higher-ups would not be pleased that their calculations were off again. It probably had something to do with the strange shape of a human head hitting The Spiral's many stairs at such odd times and angles.
Or maybe it was the way their bodies slowed down so much as their limbs and extremities were ground away to dust over the years from constant exertion. Either way, it was ingenious how the Arch-Dukes increased the suffering by making them come down to the infernal depths themselves, via the intricate design of the Spiral.
All this mattered little to the dim-witted janklordemon, as he sped across the infinite and lonely expanse. The reward would be great. It had to be.
Or this demon's name wasn't "Ralph Ford".
Written by Mystreve