The door swung open noisily, as if the answers were riding on molten wings. In the cold blackness within, I saw the key to the abyss lying on a golden nous. When I exhaled, it vibrated eerily, its voice loud and strong. It glowed a brilliant emerald green, indicating the time was at hand.

The dawn was coming, but I dared not speak the words I knew should be spoken. I merely listened to the colors which emanated from the key. Suddenly, I felt very inchoate. The wind had blown open one of the frozen clocks on the mantle, which caused it to speak of a bygone era. It told me many things concerning treasure and something called “freedom.” I was unfamiliar with this term, but surmised it must have something to do with insects.

There was a faint odor of ochre in the air, but I refused to yield to temptation. I would not deviate from the path I had chosen. My mind was under a tremendous strain due to a swarm of locusts that had invaded the grotto. Round and round my head they flew, making a terrible noise which I will not soon forget. Suddenly, the clocks, having thawed, fell from the mantle, causing a deafening crash. I was startled but continued on into the night, a brilliant moon lighting my way. This was how it must be, I told myself, as I wandered in the blackness of the forest.

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