There, off in the distance, where once the proud flecks of burnished peat hovered over the dusty flapjacks, it now stands and stinks. Its eyes, like jet black sacs of venom, scour the barren countryside. Occasionally, like some giant dyspeptic walrus, it wriggles grotesquely and profanes the air with noisome eruptions of sound and vapor. It resides in a shallow crater-like depression, as if the very land around it were sagging with the burden, not of carrying its foul weight, but of merely *knowing* of its eternal presence there, bearing down on the helpless soil like a thousand eons of vile sin. It also dispenses minty treats from a small vending area near the bottom.

As the inimical circle of blight approaches the surrounding farms, creeping ever so slightly closer as the seasons whirl past, the families there are born, grow up, raise children, and die, generation upon generation; they no longer see it. It is a terror from their childhood, that they have learned to put behind them as they put their childhood behind them. They harvest their poisoned crops with only a mild uneasiness and faint body odor to remind them of the horror in their midst that they have learned not to see.

But now and again, a traveller passes this way, despite the shadow over the land. Perhaps his map has led him across some back road, unsuspected on any other map. Perhaps a heavy storm has caused him to misread the road signs. It doesn't matter. He will never return. He will be drawn inexorably to the center, to the creature, to be devoured, to make it stronger. But he will enjoy a nice minty treat on his way to hell.