I saw the Tracker—but that’s wrong, really. I saw right to where the tracking thing was. I saw those winnowing tentacles come out again, and the front figure pause, and then—it’s the only word that actually describes it—ooze on again on its via dolorosa. And at that the hind figure seemed to summon all its strength. It seemed to open out a fringe of arms or tentacles, a sort of corona of black rays spread out. It gaped with a full expansion, and even I could feel that there was a perfectly horrible attraction, or vacuum drag, being exerted. That was horrible enough, with the face of the super-suffering man now almost under me resonating my own terror. But the worst thing was that, as the tentacles unwrapped and winnowed out toward their prey, I saw they weren’t really tentacles at all. They were spreading cracks, veins, fissures, rents of darkness expanding from a void, a gap of pure blackness. There’s only one way to say it—one was seeing right through the solid world into a gap, an ultimate maelstrom. And from it was spreading out a—I can only call it so—a negative sunrise of black radiation that would deluge and obliterate everything. Of course it was still only a fissure, a vent, but one realized—This is a hole, a widening hole, that has been pierced in the dike that defends the common-sense, sensuous world. Through this vortex-hole that is rapidly opening, over this lip and brink, everything could slip, fall in, find no purchase, be swallowed up.It was like watching a crumbling cliff with survivors clinging to it being undercut and toppling into a black tide that had swallowed up its base. This negative force could drag the solidest things from their base, melt them, engulf the whole hard, visible world. And we were right on that brink. What was after us, for I knew now I was in its field, was not a thing of any passions or desires. Those are limited things, satiable things—in a way, balanced things, and so familiar, safe even, almost friendly in comparison with this. You know the grim saying, “You can give a sop to Cerberus, but not to his Master.” No, this was—that’s the technical term, I found, coined by those who have been up against this and come back alive—this was absolute Deprivation, really insatiable need, need that nothing can satisfy, absolute refusal to give, to yield. It is the second strongest thing in the universe, and, indeed, outside that. It could swallow the whole universe, and the universe would go for nothing, because in that gap the whole universe could fill not a bit of it. It would remain as empty, as gaping, as insatiable as ever, for it is the bottomless pit made by unstanchable Lack.