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The Incredibly Rare Caacrinolaas Album

anime mossy forest

There once was a mysterious one-man black metal band named Caacrinolaas. In 2399, they released a full-length album called Hungering Maw of Hell, which was limited to 10 physical copies. The band actively shunned any sort of publicity, instead choosing to bury those albums in the wilderness and e-mailing maps to a select few. The maps were accompanied with a simple message:

“Find the album. I will answer no questions.”

Vincent MacIntyre was one of the select few. The owner of a metal site called Among the Ruins, he specialized in covering the most obscure metal on the planet. When he received that e-mail from Caacrinolaas, he felt a mixture of curiosity and excitement. Underground bands would ask him to promote their work all the time, but this was different. By giving him a map to a buried album, this band was posing a challenge to him, and he gladly accepted it. He printed out the map, scrounged up whatever money he could find, hopped into his rusted car, and started heading west to the Kingdom of Cascadia.

As he drove down the long stretches of empty road, past the farms and grain towers before entering the mountains, his mind swirled with speculation. He was no stranger to secretive bands. Some of his favorite acts had anonymous members. He even reviewed an untitled album from a band that had no name. This was different. Caacrinolaas showed up out of the blue, told a tiny number of people about their only album, and then vanished back into the aether. The band’s name intrigued and unsettled him. He knew they were named after a Solomonic demon, which was a dangerous thing to do given that Satanism and blasphemy were illegal in the American Empire. Even if he managed to find the album, he couldn’t review it because he didn’t want a visit from the authorities. He then thought about what kind of person would go through the effort of burying albums in the wilderness. Were they eccentric or did they harbor an ulterior motive?

After a few days of travel, he reached the outskirts of the small town of Ash Borer Grove, located on the Olympic Peninsula. He pulled over to the side of the dirt road next to a bronze beetle statue which demarcated the city limits. According to the map, this is where he was to begin his treasure hunt. The fog was thick that morning. He could only see 30 feet in any direction before the scenery dissolved into a cold expanse of light gray. Judging by the amount of patina on the statue, he assumed it was erected quite a while ago. Moss hung from the tree limbs like curtains. He became hesitant as he peered into the forest. When he was at one of the town’s gas stations, a local warned him about strange sights and sounds in the area. The most common of these were beastly growls and glowing red eyes in the dark. He breathed in the cold air, straightened his posture, and ventured forth. He wasn’t about to be scared away from finding that album.

The forest was filled with Sitka spruce, some of which were almost 300 feet tall. Alongside them grew massive Douglas firs. Large ferns carpeted the forest floor. The canopy was filled with the calls of thrushes, finches, sparrows, and warblers. Twigs snapped beneath his feet as he walked down a dirt path that led northwest. He looked at the first clue on the map:

“The bees make honey in the stag’s skull.”

He looked around and noticed a bee flying away from a smooth douglasia. The further he walked, the more numerous the bees became. He soon found their abode: a stag skull sitting next to a large tree root surrounded by Sitka valerians. He stared at it with intrigue. He has heard stories of bees building hives inside mailboxes and underneath the hoods of cars, but never inside a skull. Scratching his head, he looked down at his map and started going northeast. The second clue read:

“Blossoms will sprout from the carcass.”

Being a connoisseur of the most extreme metal, he was no stranger to such morbid sentences. He was more amused by it than anything else. The fog cleared and the Sun’s golden rays illuminated the forest floor. As he ascended a small incline, he admired the beauty of the local flowers. He spotted the tall and proud Cascade wallflower, the charming Olympic bellflower, the lovely little larkspur, and the humble cutleaf daisy just to name a few. A small clearing came into view, and in the center was a human skeleton covered in moss. Flowers grew through the gaps in its ribcage. He was disturbed yet curious. He wondered how the man died and how long his remains had been there. It was past noon, so he chose not to dwell on it. He got back on his feet and went north in search of the final clue:

“It is buried beneath the sigil of blood.”

He entered a part of the forest that was filled with thin, sickly spruces covered in enormous burls. The forest floor was devoid of vegetation. The whole place was silent, for there were no birds around. He wondered if this area had been corrupted in some way. The dirt trail ended at an upright stone. On one of its four sides was a sigil painted in blood. He knew this is where the album was buried. He pushed over the stone, dug in the spot with his hands, and uncovered a metal box. He brushed off the dirt and opened the lid, and inside was the album he was looking for. The cover was completely black. Its only identifying marker was the name printed on the spine.

He was overjoyed, but as he got up, he heard a growl behind him. He turned around and saw a black pitbull with glowing red eyes. He froze in place. He looked at the animal, then his eyes darted around to find a path of retreat. As he sidestepped, it walked closer. Seeing a nearby stick, he grabbed it and threw it at the beast, hoping it would be distracted. It responded by leaping forward, its mouth wide open. He lunged out of the way and the dog crashed headfirst into a tree. He jumped to his feet and sprinted off, retracing his steps. The red-eyed animal shook its head and went after him.

He got back to the clearing with the mossy skeleton. The dog was approaching fast and about to leap at him again. Thinking quickly, he grabbed a green femur, shoved it in the beast’s mouth, then ran down the incline. The dog bit down, breaking the bone in half with ease, then continued its pursuit. It gained on him and attempted another leaping attack. He ducked and the dog landed on top of the stag skull. Enraged, the bees flew out of the skull’s eye sockets and began stinging the dog. It ran off, buying Vincent precious time to get to his car.

The Sun was setting. Once he reached his car, he rushed into the driver’s seat, locked the doors, and frantically searched for his keys. The old vehicle struggled to start up. He kept turning the key in the ignition to no avail. The dog came back, pressed its face against the passenger window, and barked and snarled furiously. Again he tried to start the car. No go. The animal then began throwing itself against the window in an effort to break it. He tried once more, and finally the engine growled to life. He floored the gas pedal and sped away until the beast was out of sight.

He drove for 24 hours straight, only stopping for gas and restroom breaks. His fear of that pitbull kept him awake. He constantly checked his rearview mirror, thinking it would appear over the horizon at any moment. It never did, but that did not assuage his paranoia. The mountains and forests gave way to grassy hills and plains, and he finally reached home under a clear starry night. As he went to his front porch, he noticed his neighbor’s pitbull glaring at him. His eyes widened and his shoulders twitched. He rushed into the living room where he kept his stereo and vast metal collection. He looked out the window and saw that the dog had lost interest in him. Breathing a sigh of relief, he popped the disk in and pushed play.

Within seconds, his excitement turned to disappointment as he realized just how mediocre the music was. The production was muddy, the instrumental work was weak, and the vocals were dreadful. He took the album out of the stereo and glared at it. He couldn’t believe he put in all that work to obtain something so dull and derivative. He broke it in half, threw it in the trash, went to his bedroom, collapsed onto the bed, and fell asleep.


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