Object 399

The Holder of the Unseen Color

In any town, in any country, go to any soup kitchen or optometrist's practice. When you reach the front of the queue, ask for "The Holder of the Unseen Color". They will feign ignorance, but should you repeat the name loud and often enough they will relent and take you through a curtained doorway into a back room. The room will be long and narrow, with a single hard wooden chair at one end, and a white wall at the other. It will be lit only by a single, bare flickering lightbulb, suspended from the ceiling.

The lightbulb will burn out. Do not leave the chair.

You will hear clacking, chirping rustling, as though a thousand noisome beetles were crawling toward you in a shifting carpet of chitinous black. The noise will draw closer and closer, until it feels as though they are beneath your very feet. The noise is hungry. Do not leave the chair.

A voice, not like any you have heard since your childhood nightmares, will breathe beautiful things into your ear. Mistaking it for a hallucination will be impossible; its hot, wet breathing will caress the skin of your ears and neck. With the most glorious words in existence, it will describe what it will do to you - what it did to you. Do not leave the chair.

The world will seem to invert about you; up becomes down, down becomes up, and you will instinctively grasp the seat or legs of the chair in an irresponsible urge to keep yourself from falling into the unfathomable dark below. Do not let go of the chair.

Hanging in the pitch darkness, you will be assaulted with questions in howling voices. They promise a reward of light. The questions will seem easy; you may even know the answers to some of them. Do not answer any of them.

One voice will sound above all others. It will ask you its name. You must reply: "Methuselah." Pronounce it correctly, or he will be displeased.

It will describe the unseen color. You do not see this color with your eyes, and will perceive it wherever you look. You cannot hide from this color behind your eyelids. It will lead you closer to the next Object, if you let it. Do not let it.

That Object is 399 of 2538. No man has ever been blinded by darkness.