His feet carried him forward. Desires kept appearing within, seeming to spill from someplace else. From the outside. But outside from where? he asked himself. He wasn’t sure where that thought had come from.
He chased after the two spheres, noticing this hallway was also straight and narrow. Soon he came into another room as before, a third sphere having been knocked out of its center console. Zan walked up to one of the other spheres and pushed it in. The new sphere was red. The first was blue, the second yellow. He placed the blue into the console. Suddenly, light-blue lights illuminated on all outlines of the room, leading into the hallway. These lines had been there before, but never lighted. He pushed the blue thunk out, and the colored lights disappeared. He pushed the red ball back in, and now the lines became red. Very curious. Why had they been colorless before?
Zan decided to place the yellow ball in the console and leave the others in the room. He went back into the hall at a slight jog, soon noticing how the lights on the roof now veered to the left and down.
Very interesting, he thought to himself. He looked down the hallway, which appeared to extend a few hundred meters, before either ending or turning. He then had an idea. Zan ran back into the last room and juggled the other two balls out of the room. He wasn’t sure how he knew how to do this. His muscles just… did it. He went back up into the second room, placing the second sphere back into place. The ceiling was lit, but the hallway disappeared. He replaced it with the first, and the hallway was back. He removed the second sphere, and the hallway remained, the ceiling still yellow. Great.
He then juggled the red thunk to the first room, placing it into the console. The ground began to tremble, stone grinding on stone. It soon stopped, leaving Zan to wonder what had changed. He jogged back to the second room. All was the same. He went down the hallway to the third room. All was the same. So what had he done? He decided to check the fourth room, if there even was one. He ran down the new hallway, which ended up turning right, then left down about another floor. When he got there…
It was exactly the same as the others, though the thunk was now orange. He was perplexed. It seemed as if all were the same. What had shifted? He thought about the order of the spheres. Blue, Yellow, Red, Orange. Thoughts came into his mind, but Zan was careful this time. Last time he had embraced the thoughts so quickly that they had jumbled together and faded. Now, he let the thoughts linger for a minute, as he did back home with the coral reef fish.
Back home? Fish? The analogy made perfect sense in his mind… though instead of helping clear up the comparison, he was now twice as confused. He didn’t remember a home. He hardly remembered what fish were, let alone a coral reef, though it seemed that it would be home of its own. Perhaps a home to the fish. Again, it was as if he remembered more when not trying at all.
Ok. Colors. Focus, but not too much, he told himself. Blue, Yellow, Red. These were primary colors. Ok. Great. When mixing any two of these colors, you would get a new one. Orange was made of… red and yellow. And there would be two more possible combinations with the three primary colors. Got it.
He took a breath, letting the thoughts sink in. If drawn on a wheel, orange would sit in the middle of red and yellow, placing it opposite of orange. That’s called a… complimentary color.
The thoughts jumped into his mind before he could truly ponder them, which at the rate he was going, seemed like a good thing. The fourth sphere was the color of the complimentary color of the first thunk. So, it seemed likely the next sphere would be the complimentary color of yellow, which if you mixed the other two colors red and blue, made purple.
He wasn’t sure why this information was important, but it seemed like it might be. Heck, at least it was something. Because otherwise, he was at a loss.
He considered the order that the thunks now sat in the consoles. Thunk 3, Thunk 1, Thunk 2. He had taken each, and moved it to the next console, circling back from 3 to 1. So what now? Should he continue the pattern, incorporating the new orange thunk? It seemed like a good place to start.
He ran up to room 3, then switched the orb with thunk 4, just to see what would happen. Lights glowed, and another hallway appeared. Ok. So it seemed like as long as the first orb was placed into each new console, the next hallway would open. Perhaps that was all that was necessary to move on. But what about the full pattern, and the shifting stone?
He made a decision then. He would continue down the hallways for as long as they would go, and see what would happen. Then, he would go back and rearrange every thunk to see if anything would change.
Two questions remained. First, how many different colors would the thunks take on before he reached the end? Second, if there is an end, what awaited him there? This realization that he really had no idea what he was racing towards helped him slow down. It could be a great next step, or it could be the end of his life. Either way there was no real sense in rushing it. He would find out soon enough.
He went down the new hallway, continuing to descend. The fifth room, as he had assumed, held a purple thunk. The next one should then be the complimentary color to red, or the mixing of yellow and blue, making green. After placing thunk one into the new console, lo and behold, a new hallway appeared. He mocked surprise as he turned down the new hallway, juggling thunk 1 and laughing at himself. He wasn’t sure what was so funny. He had no inside jokes or references in his head that made this scene odd. And yet it was funny that he was making jokes to himself, making light of the situation. It felt good. It was a relief from all the unknowns. He made it to the sixth room. He called it. Green thunk. But as he replaced it, a chime echoed in all of the halls. It was creepy, as if each hallway carried its own voice of a massive creature, perhaps intending him harm. He walked slowly out of the room.
Then he noticed something new. Straight down the hallway, past where he had just descended, was an archway into another room. A different kind of room. The seventh room. He left the thunks where they were and jogged up to the new room. As he entered, he noticed the ceiling rose much further than the others, probably all the way back to the first floor where he had started. The walls were a mural of colors all twisted together, made of the different colors of the thunks, weaving and tying certain lines together. The pattern seemed like it could be wonderful, though it seemed a bit unbalanced and incomplete. He traced the lines of blue. All of the blues lines connected together, but were segmented from the others in the design. He noticed this was the same pattern for the other colors.
Then, he had an idea. What if the first shift was these walls sliding around on an invisible axle? This would mean that the picture before him could change, allowing for different lines to connect, therefore changing the colors of certain lines. Some of the lines were still the grey stone color of emptiness. It seemed likely he would have to fill every line with color to complete this stone canvas. What would happen then? It could be something great. It could be something terrible. The odds of either were equal. Again, it was worth a shot. What choice did he have?
After staring at the design a bit more, the overall picture still unrecognizable to him, he peered around the rest of the room. It was different than the rooms before in all aspects. It was even more empty, yet somehow comforting in a way, minus the open ceiling that left him feeling quite vulnerable. The walls and floors were soft, emanating a low light with a subtle warmth. Then he noticed that they were pulsing ever so slightly, as if waiting for something. There was a circle in the center. He wanted to step into it. But first, he would rearrange the thunks to fulfill his curiosity. Zan ran up through the different flights, rearranging all of the thunks in this order: 6-1-2-3-4-5. Upon placing the last thunk, there was another shift in pavement, along with another, more variant chime. He ran into the center room, and gasped.