Deep in the cavern, the Entity stirred. Consciousness returned after a century of oblivion. The Entity coalesced out of thin air and examined his surroundings.
The cavern was silent, apart from the ceaseless steady drip-drip of water. The stalactites had progressed but little during the Entity’s slumber but even so were indicative of the inexorable passage of time.
Where were the voices raised in song? Where was the chorus of incantations to welcome him back to the earthly plane?
The Entity was confused; never in his countless millennia of existence had he been greeted with silence. And where was everybody? Where were the cowled figures, bent in reverence and quivering with fear?
There was no one. No one at all.
Perhaps they had got the date wrong. Perhaps he, in his infallibility, had woken early – unthinkable!
In the deepest, darkest recess of the cavern, a human being cleared its throat.
Hello? The Entity called out into the shadows.
A tiny figure stepped forward. The hooded robe gave it the appearance of a much-used candle. It stooped in a low bow and intoned in a voice that echoed around the stony walls.
“Greetings, Entity, from one unworthy of thy presence.”
Hello, said the Entity. Is this it? I mean, I don’t wish to manifest as ungrateful but where the bloody hell is everybody?
“Um, it’s just me I’m afraid, Entity. I’m the only one.”
Oh. Got held up, I suppose. Be here in a bit.
“I’m afraid not, Entity. It really is just me. Sorry.”
Oh. I see.
“Oh, don’t sulk, Entity. Not on your special day. Let’s make the best of it, shall we?”
Make the best of it? I wake up after a hundred years of sleep and what do I find? No bugger here! Where are my incantations? Where are my blood sacrifices? Fine party this is.
“The world has changed, Entity. Mankind is moving ever further from the old ways. This past hundred years in particular has seen remarkable and rapid advances in technology and scientific endeavour.”
“But I’m here, Entity. I offer my throat to you, my entrails, my life…”
I’m not in the mood now.
“Oh, don’t be like that. Look, I’ve got the special knife and everything. Of course, once I’m gone, that’s it. There’ll be no one left to wake you up in another hundred years. You will sleep forevermore.”
The Entity mulled it over. Do I really want to return to a world that has moved on, a world that has overlooked me and has become a place I no longer understand?
Oh, go on then, he told his last remaining follower. And do the chant.
The acolyte rolled up the sleeves of his robe and brandished the bright blade of the sacrificial dagger. He pressed the jewel-encrusted tip to his jugular vein and began to sing.
“Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday, dear Entity…”
But before he could finish, the cavern was filled with snores. The Entity had already gone back to sleep.