I went into the library at Miskatonic University to return some books that I had recently finished -- namely, Howl's Moving Castle and a few works by H.P. Lovecraft. As I often did when I visited, I wandered the isles lined with books, thinking I might chance upon a new interest. This time I ended up in an area that I had never noticed before. In it, I'm drawn to a particular book. I look around at the layer of dust on the shelves and decide that this section mustn’t have been visited by any patrons for quite some time before taking it from it's place. The section is marked "occult," but the book I've found is titled Interior Design: When the Stars Align. I was sure that it must have been misplaced and am inclined to return it to the front desk to be filed where it belongs, but as I looked at the markings on the cover I feel the urge to look inside. The symbols on it were none that I should have recognized, though they seemed somehow familiar. I opened it and found a mixture of the queer symbols intermixed with more familiar text. I inexplicably decided to tuck it into my coat and quickly absconded the school grounds.
Step 1: In Which a Materials List Is Borne
Immediately upon having arrived back home I began pouring over the book. Much of it seemed to be incomprehensible ramblings that at times felt disturbing, though I was not quite sure why. The symbols bothered and drew me in at the same time . I slowed down at one point upon getting a feeling much as the one I had upon finding the tome. This time it was accompanied by what could have been a whisper in my mind. Nothing I picked up enough to discern or even be sure was real, but I begun reading more closely. It seemed to describe some sort of wall decoration, a description left somewhat vague by the symbols betwixt the usual writing. What I could make out was a list of materials required for the project.
- A wall space (As I rented a flat, I used a large picture frame to make for easier removal)
- "Antique White" and "Black Magic" Olympic Paint (Black Magic was clearly indicated)
- A paint roller (I used a smaller size, but for a wall a larger one might prove more practical)
- Painter's tape (A bizarre sense of urgency required that I use the masking tape that I had on hand instead)
- A tray for the paint (One appropriate, of course, for the size of roller and amount of paint being applied)
- A protective covering (Newspapers worked for me, though a drop cloth seems appropriate for a wall)
- A scale (Used, apparently, for combining colours in particular ratios)
The last item mentioned was some sort of key. There were further details as to what this was. More curious symbols obscured these specifics. I had a sense, nonetheless, that what I needed would present itself one way or another. I could not find a reason for believing this, but there was something in those symbols.
I quickly gathered what was needed for the procedures that followed and got to work.
Step 2: In Which a Depth Is Opened
First, it instructed the creation of a white rectangle with an empty hole in the centre. I would have used the masking tape to create the outer edge of it on the wall, but as I was using the frame the shape was already defined. I removed the backing to paint directly on the panel. As I poured out a measure of the antique white my internal dialogue seemed to have whispered that something significant was beginning. The book spoke of a five layer "depth" of colours leading to... something. Again, complete clarity was denied by the unknown markings. I felt like I understood them to some extent now, strangely. These ones gave me the sense that they meant an opening of some kind. I painted the border, estimating how much space I must leave for the rest of the layers.
Step 3: In Which a Distance Is Established
Next, the addition of a second layer was directed. For this layer about a tenth the width of the outer rectangle was to be used, leaving another tenth for the outermost colour. This meant that two tenths were covered for each of the two bands, one for the sides and again for the top and bottom. I used masking tape to define the edges. While I initially sought to make another series of straight lines parallel to the first shape, something compelled more irregular paths. This coat of colour called for 5 parts of the antique white used previously to be mixed with one part of the black magic colour. For my rather small purposes I measured out 20 grams of white and 5 of black. I mixed the colours and applied the result, being sure to stay within the tape. The third layer was one part white to one part black and used another spacing of a tenth. This time I combined 20 grams of black and another 20 of white and repeated taping and painting. The fourth one spoke of "black magic taking hold" with 5 parts of that to one of white, so I reversed the second layer. I applied the last layer entirely in black. As I did so, the whisper from before was more audible than ever. It was clear and in a deep, dark tone in an undecipherable tongue, though as with the symbols I seemed to understand now. It was pleased. I was shaken by this and stepped back, looking from a distance at what I had done. After regaining my senses I realized how exhausted I was. Maybe this languid state was to blame for my delirium. I thought that a relaxing distraction might alleviate this and sat down to read the paper. While doing so I happened upon an article describing an astronomer that had recently been admitted to a sanatorium after bursting into a senators office raving about some astrological event and begging for the politician to warn people. The shocked legislator refused and the astronomer went into a rage stabbed him repeatedly. Reportedly the scientist continued ranting about a "coming" even after being sedated. Glancing back through I realize that the date of this supposed event was today.
Step 4: In Which...
That leads me to where I sit now, unrelieved of my stress by the story in the paper. I've decided that the painting might be less disturbing if it were in a more natural state for a painting. That is, hanging on a wall. I've just finished hanging it and am inspecting my work. What's this? I must be mistaken, but it feels as if a drought is coming from the black, abyss-like centre. The more I am staring at it, the more it looks as if I could reach right through it and into the blackness. My ears are ringing! The voice has returned, shouting this time and beaconing me to reach out! I can't help but obey! What's this? I think I see something! I'm extending my arm and hoping that obedience will bring a stop to this agony! Can I feel if what I see is true? GOOD GOD! SOMETHING IS REACHING OUT! IT'S GRABBING MY HAND! WHAT HAVE I...