As if struck by an intense arctic chill, time slowed to a desperate crawl, with each nanosecond feeling like prolonged seconds, or excruciatingly exaggerated minutes.
The curious, planet like orb, slowly descended through the stale air of the bathroom. It floated towards the counter with the speed of a slowly descending soap bubble.
The black ooze continued to crawl towards his wrist as the orb dropped through the suddenly, impossibly dense air.
The coal-colored sluice reached his palm, as the orb neared the surface of the counter. The creeping, black, fluid, slithered closer to his fingertips; then, the orb finally connected with the countertop.
Upon contact, of the orb with the counter, time shifted back to its normal, unadulterated flow.
A terrifyingly loud clang rang through the room, and the black coating throughout the bathroom, and on the orb, rippled, shimmered, but held. The sphere completed several rotations along the counter, then came to rest.
Suddenly, at the center of the orb there was a bright, blue flicker of light. Then, everything was dark.
Tristan felt his breath being held for him by the black ooze. He knew he could be without air for a long time, as his lung capacity was considerably more than that of most men, but eventually he would require a breath.
In his head, he was counting away the seconds. When he reached the count of twenty and two, something unexpected, yet fortuitous, happened.
The bright, neon-blue, flicker at the center of the orb returned. It twitched sporadically in and out of existence. As soon as the spark flared, it was gone just as quickly, similar to someone trying to start a fire by lighting matches in succession, under incredibly challenging weather conditions, finding that as soon at the flame flared, the wind snuffed out the fire.
After six or seven pulses, those that winked out as quickly as they had come, several long seconds of heavy darkness weighed upon Tristan, and the midnight drenched bathroom where he was begrudgingly restrainted.
The heaviness in his lungs felt considerable, and in the darkness that now enveloped him, Tristan resigned himself to oblivion.
An exploding light of intense, radiant, blue, shot out from the center of the orb. Tristan’s vision went from shade, to staring at the sun during an eclipse. He could feel the sapphire beams tearing through the darkness that coated his skin. They burned off, and removed the cold sensations on his flesh, obliterated the restrictive shell in the bathroom, as it shredded the cloying, black, sluice. The vivid iris flared intensely, for many heartbeats, before subsiding abruptly.
Tristan found himself liberated from his unintentional, transfixed state. He shook out his arms, turned his head side to side, and quickly looked himself up and down.
All of the dark, oppresive, liquid had disappeared from his body.
He took a cursory survey of the room.
The black coating was gone.
There was no evidence of the shimmering, ebony, liquid, on any of the walls, on the mirror, the floor, the water basin, or on the door, or its frame.
Tristan took one step forward, and leaned toward the orb on the counter. He brought his head down to closely scrutinize the curious object. The outside rings were stuck, and not rotating, due to their position atop the counter, but the inside rings whirred, and hummed, around a center that radiated pale, periwinkle light.
He noticed large droplets of dark liquid on the outermost, immobile, rings. He pinched the orb at its northern and southernmost poles, straightened his upper body and brought the orb directly in front of him, directing his gaze straight ahead, towards the mirror.
The outermost rings began to spin, languidly. Tristan saw the black droplets, noticed several more on the internal rings, and knew that they were impeding the proper rotation of the brass circles.
He flicked the wrist of his hand that held the orb, flinging a large piece of black fluid from the outer ring of the sphere toward the basin in the countertop. The ebony drop shimmered as it flew through the air, and Tristan dialed in his focus as it descended towards the metallic curvature.
He saw himself pseudo-reflected in the tiny midnight mirror, bare-chested, with his chest panel unopened, no sweat on his skin, eyes calm, and non-panicked. In the background of the black drop reflection, he saw an alabaster visage, topped with silky, straight, raven locks. It moved close to his droplet reflection, from behind. The blackbird hair rimmed an ivory face, which drew close to his face in the black droplet mirror image, and nestled her chin over his reflections shoulder, onto the lower portion of his reflections neck, directly placed upon the collarbone.
The image shattered, as the sable bead collided with the shiny, chrome basin.
Tristan flicked his wrist several more times, trying to dislodge the remaining, black, creeping, liquid caterpillars, on the orb. But his efforts failed to dislodge the dark, persistent, drops.
Tristan placed the orb on the counter, and turned toward the bathroom door.
He strode nonchalantly, and unaffectedly, through the door, and toward the small travel pack near the bed. When he reached it, he kneeled. He opened the pack carefully, reached inside of it, and retrieved the black velvet, palm-sized, bag. He undid the ties around the top of the pouch, then reached in with forefinger, middle, and thumb, and retrieved the object housed within.