Auxesis (ok-see’-sis): (1) Arranging words or clauses in a sequence of increasing force. In this sense, auxesis is comparable to climax and has sometimes been called incrementum. (2) A figure of speech in which something is referred to in terms disproportionately large (a kind of exaggeration or hyperbole). (3) Amplification in general.

I pulled and yanked, and tugged, and put my last ounce of strength into opening the massive iron door. This could be the biggest most amazing discovery in the history of the Anthropology Department, my university, my country, the world, and the entire universe!

I had been lowered 200 feet by a cable set up like a McGuire Rig. When I got to the bottom, I noticed iron rungs affixed to the wall and decided I wouldn’t have used them anyway. After I managed to open its door, my headlight shone into the stone vault. The walls were lined with neatly stacked cans of Dinty Moore beef stew (with potatoes and carrots). Also, there were two cases of cheap vodka, a case of tonic water, two cases of bottled water, one fork, one can opener, two cases of toilet paper, and one large cocktail glass.

This was supposed to be a late 17th-century pirate hideout used by Blond Beard, the not-so-notorious pirate cousin of Black Beard, not some kind of bomb shelter from the goddamn 60s. Suddenly the vault’s door slammed shut. I called to my helper, hoping he could hear me through the door. No answer. He was a local I had hired for minimum wage.

As my light dimmed, I saw a yellow glow coming out of the wall. The glow said “Harr looter—get out and promise to stay out, and I’ll let ye be.”

I promised and the door flew open. I ran through the doorway. Right then, I remembered, my helper had a blond beard. Coincidence? At that point I didn’t care. I yelled and yelled and nobody answered. My helper was nowhere to be found. I tried to open the door again, but when I touched it, it disappeared and was sealed over with stone. I climbed the iron rungs. As I emerged from underground and stepped away, the ground closed and became a perfectly camouflaged piece of earth. No trace. Gone. Erased.

If you are reading this I am dead. I honored my promise to the voice and have lived a happy and prosperous life, receiving a bag full of gold ducats in the mail every Easter.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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