Some years ago, in the storage stacks of the public library of Lodz, Poland, I chanced to come across a worn old box, set aside in a corner and covered with the dusty effluent of decades, even centuries, of literary ambience. Upon brushing aside some of the dust and cobwebs, an inscription appeared, chalked on the surface of the box in an obscure dialect of koiné with which I was superficially familiar.

Some pondering of its meaning led me to translate it, cautiously, as "Endless flame, chitonless and helpless before the Gorgon Medusa."

With some trepidation, and moved to caution by my realisation of the obvious antiquity of its provenance, I carefully opened the seal on the cover of the box. Reaching gingerly inside, I extracted, back side upmost, a sandstone tablet, frail and crumbling. On the rear surface, a small piece of paper, yellowed by age, had been pasted, identifying the tablet as a relic of the obscure but justly lauded Chalmers-Robinette expedition to northern Thessaly, in 1816.

Turning over the sandstone tablet, my eyes beheld, for a fleeting instant, its surface, which was covered with an amazingly detailed bas-relief carving, showing the naked figure of a young heros, engulfed in some sort of supernatural fire, frozen in a position of anguish - clearly petrified by the Gorgon Medusa, whose horrific visage glared from the right-hand edge of the tablet.

I say "fleeting" because, to my utter horror, the tablet began to crumble between my hands. Possibly it had been subjected to damp, at some time during its long durance in storerooms. Whatever the cause, this priceless relic of Greek art, preserved for my vision through more than two millennia, was lost forever in a scatter of particulate fragments.

Stunned, I wandered for hours through the stacks, until I found my way to a small broom closet, where an aging janitor revived me from my shock with a dram of home-made plum brandy.

As I stepped out into the cool Polish evening, I resolved never to forget the image that I had been privileged to see - that of infinite burn, naked and petrified.

Disclaimer: This is utter fiction, obviously, noded as a nodeshell challenge offered me by Infinite_Burn. If you like it, go read the works of Jorge Luis Borges, who wrote this sort of thing far better than I shall ever be able to.

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