The sun was spread across the entire sky; there was no sun.
Light came from everywhere. It neither poured from a source, nor shone from a point, it radiated: even from oneself.
Gradually depth was born. Contours emerged, shapes pushed from the matte.
Hands. They looked as if they were covered in sindur, soaking up all light but orange. Fingernails, knuckles, a papercut or an old scar – the sensation of breathing, heat – no shadows.
Here, before Henri, was a tower. A building with an open front, composed of square cells, each filled with like objects. Several were filled with scrolls and loose sheets of paper. In one compartment metal file cabinets, each three drawers tall, were stacked at least ten wide and ten high. Yet by far the majority of the cells in the structure contained objects whose purpose escaped understanding. It was becoming clearer now - how tall it was! – the building, itself composed of smooth volcanic stone, reached into the orange blur and the faint black wisps that hung above, mocking the shadows of clouds. Who could have assembled such a collection? Who could have used these things? – these dully shining metal boxes with surfaces so rough they might have been pulled like crystals from the stone – these blossoms of pipes and fins – these sheets of liquid energy pulled like cloth on the looms of wooden antennae – these painted, scaled hides stretched over strange lump-ridden shapes . . .
To the right, another skyscraper of compartments rose upwards. Indeed, there was, ahead, an entire gallery of them, arranged in pairs that extended beyond Henri’s ability to focus
Confronted with the baffling environment, Henri could feel his grip on his sense of self, his notion of a reality in which his existence had purpose, being thwarted. But, by some stroke of luck, his very inability to get past the surreality of the giant shelves worked to his advantage and he was spared the impact of . . . things making sense. This was not clearly a real place, and so Henri’s psyche was relieved of the burden of taking emergency measures to protect itself; for now.
He could feel his own weight now: first on his hands, then on his knees, and finally on his feet. There was a stone block to his right; resting on it, a book of some kind, some papers, and a lantern. Standing beside it, there were two human figures.
No. One was clearly human, a man. The other was just as tall as the man, and cloaked in a sheet like a child masquerading as a ghost. The sheet glimmered silkily in the radiation. Beneath, there was a shape like a head, and perhaps a pair of slight shoulders. Though he could not see it, Henri felt sure that on the cloaked head, there was an eye – a great black fish’s eye – and that eye was upon him.
That unseen gaze! Terrible and unreturnable, it was! Yet – even worse! – that man, that other human in this place, had been speaking with it! The significance of the man’s engagement with the gossamer spectre fell all too heavily on Henri’s mind. If another man were here, carrying on with a . . . a . . . carrying on like this, then it was that much less likely that anything could be explained as intoxication. In a desperate bid to protect the spools of truth around which his habits, his social face, and his values were all wrapped, Henri’s mind contorted around the new, threatening world before him.
(For each other’s benefit, please incorporate descriptions of your characters in your comments.
Lots of rules pertain to this situation. Here’s a summary: Henri loses a total of -9 sanity (in addition to the sanity lost from casting the spell in the hospital). He has gone temporarily insane, so for the next few minutes, he should act in a way that reflects an effort to deny the reality of the situation. He has gained +5 points in a new skill, Cthulhu Mythos, which represents knowledge that has been reawakened from somewhere deep inside Henri. His maximum possible sanity, in connection with this skill, has dropped to 94%. Finally, he has spontaneously developed long-term issues. Deborah, you might think of some ideas about what you think would be an appropriate affliction for Henri or what might be fun for you. Let me know - it should be something persistant and bothersome, but not crippling.)