With the fingers of his right hand still pinching the key, Tristan held the panel open, and his left hand maintained it’s grip on the large section of muscle and flesh. Tristan was frozen for several moments, as he took in the unorthodox scene, reflected into his eyes from the mirror. Several droplets of crimson blood, slowly dripped from the incision lines, gravity pulling them towards the ground, flat, dull, plips, the only auditory feedback of their collision upon the floor.
In the recess, once hidden beneath the panels that swung from different hinge points, a curious object spun, shifted, and rotated. It was spherical in shape, with several, similarly sized, bright brass-colored rings, slowly spinning ,and rotating across, and around each other. Slightly closer to the center of the largest of rings, another series of rings rotated, gyrated, and spun; Tristan noted that this layer, spun slightly faster than the outermost. Closer yet to the center, a third orbit of shiny, miniature halos, revolved, whirled, and circled each other, in extremely rapid fashion. At the center of the trinity shells of brass rings, rotating at different speeds, there was a small orb, constructed of a similar material to the shiny circles. The surface of this spheroid was perpetually shifting. The bright metal would, one moment, appear runic, the next like interlaced brick. It would shift from waves of rippling brass, to erratic, jagged, chaotic, forms of broken branches and lightning bolts. In the slight gaps between the shapes that formed on the surface of the sphere, a dull blue light emanated. The glow was ghostly, and shifted between shades of periwinkle, persian, and zaffre. The shimmer, and shift of blue light, was curiously energizing. Tristan felt the strength-giving force of the glow at the center of the tiny, planet-like orb.
He opened the fingers of his right hand, allowing the key to remain in its engaged placement in the keyhole in the panel. He reached into the housing within his chest, pinched the north and south poles, and forced the gold pins holding the spiraling object, inward. He drew the spinning, spiraling, circling, sphere from his chest.
As soon he brought the object from its housing, he felt cripplingly weak, and staggered backwards a half step, bringing his left leg back behind his body. He released the panel of flesh from his left hand, and brought his hand down to the sink counter, in an attempt to steady himself. With the sudden shift in stature, the metal panel had swung towards his chest. When he released his rectangle of fibrous muscle, it too, attempted to return to its original position. The key was still inserted in the small opening in the panel, thus, the chunk of tendon and tissue stuck on the head of the key, rendering it unable to return to its prior parallel with the rest of his chest, thus leaving it raised an inch above.
Tristan braced himself with his left hand, tensed his forearm, and pulled his retreated left foot forward, to give him stability. He slid his left hand forward onto the surface that housed the sink, and pressed his hips against the ridge of the counter. Tristan was stable, but still felt considerably frail. The ethereal, azure light glowed from the sphere that he held tenuously in his right hand, reminding him that he needed to take action.
He brought the orb, pulsing with aegean, shifting light, covered with morphing, metallic designs, and orbited by shiny brass rings, closer to his face. As the exquisite, circular, curiosity drew closer to his eyes, he noticed something peculiar.
He scrutinized the surface of the rotating rings, and noticed a dark fluid, its color shifting from shiny obsidian, to intense indigo, to deep, rich, nightshade. It slid along the curves of the rings slowly, and heavily. Tristan noticed a greater concentration of this strange solution on the outer rings, those moving more slowly, than on the faster moving, inner orbits. The shadow anomaly slithered, and twisted around the rings. As Tristan watched, a tiny droplet of the ebony ooze dropped from the outermost series of rings, to the closest one beneath. Tristan gritted his teeth, and brought the orb directly in front of his nose. His vision blurred momentarily at the proximity to the rotations of the rings, so he focused intently on the glowing orb in the center, surveying its minuscule surface. There were tiny droplets of the black, shimmering, liquid crawling amid the shifting, metallic expressions.
Tristan began to feel dizzy. He wasn’t sure if it was as a result of staring so deeply into a piece of himself, or whether the dark liquid had mysteriously entranced his faculties. He pulled the orb away from his face, held it at arm’s length in from of him, and took a step backwards.
The liquid started to grow in volume, then slowly, one by one, began to cover each of the rings. A portion of the black ooze then shot to the center, wrapped itself around, then gradually coated the glow at the center. Once the central orb was completely coated with the coal-colored sluice, the black liquid then extended itself, from the object, recently contained within his chest, to the mirror in front of Tristan. It grew exponentially, until it covered the glass, proceeded up the wall, and slunk down to cover the sink and counter, before dripping onto the floor and coating the walls at either side of him.
Tristan stood motionless, mesmerized by the dark veil that was being applied to everything around him. He was petrified, and incredulous, that this had come from the gyrating, spherical, construct, that he had just liberated from his chest. The dark liquid continued to flow around the room, and began to coat the floor, creep up his boots, towards his ankles, and up his arm from the orb he held in his hand.
Tristan opened his mouth, and mouthed a silent plea. He stared at the shimmering shades in the blackness, the deep fig, the ripe concord, the oxford and the ultramarine, and found them beautiful. He tried to move, but his muscles didn’t obey. He tried to speak, but his tongue refused. He listened for sounds, but his ears found nothing. He tried to find any smell, but his nostrils drew in oblivion. His eyes searched for an exit, a break, any escape from the expanding darkness, but he saw none.
The ebony fluid crawled up his ankles, coated his calves, and suctioned up his leg towards his torso. The raven-colored sluice consumed his hand, forearm, biceps, then engulfed his shoulder. The rest of the room had already been consumed by the black flow, the only remainder was Tristan’s left, upper-torso.
The shiny, obsidian, fluid, moved, unfalteringly, towards the left side of Tristan’s chest, and up his abdomen from his left leg. He had little resilience left, nor any idea how to stop this death-colored liquid from overtaking him.
He had made his best efforts to overcome this cloying presence. He knew, that the challenge would be incredibly difficult this time. He sensed the heavy draw, the intense pull, and the clinging presence.
He had done his best to hold on to who he was, but he had gone too far. He should have known all the repercussions of getting too close, he’d done it before, but such is the curse of failed remembrance, and discarded resilience based upon hope.
Now, he was too far removed from the hope avoiding the consequences of exposing himself to an existence devoid of pain.
The repercussion had come to him anyway. It was dark, black, and without any sensation of discomfort. The great, black maw stretched to consume everything in him. He wanted it to do so, but deep inside, it was not who he was.
With the last shred of fortitude left in Tristan, he opened his fingers, and let the orb fall.