[stuart semple, covered in vivid pink, yellow, and green powder staggers up a seemingly infinite number of steps toward the top of a marble pyramid upon which rests his coveted prize]
[he reaches the top, gasping for air. in the middle of the pedestal at the top of the pyramid there is a gaping black hole, endlessly deep.]
stuart semple, quietly: what is this
[sir anish kapoor, from the bottom of the pyramid lifts his head and gazes upward at semple’s back. his face is also covered in pink, green, and yellow. it is unclear how he heard semple’s voice from so far away]
anish kapoor: it is what you seek
semple: it’s so
sir anish kapoor: beautiful, yes
semple, turning his head just enough to look at anish over one shoulder: your reign of tyranny is over, kapoor. youve underestimated me for the last time. i will take the vantablack you so selfishly stole from us and return it to its place in the hands of the people.
sir anish kapoor: youre a fool, semple. stop this madness now before it’s too late. you know not the dangerous powers with which you toy
semple, turning back to face the void: you cannot deceive me, your ploys won’t work
[semple extends his hands, long pale fingers hovering inches from the inky darkness, hesitating]
sir anish kapoor: stuart, no!
[semple’s hand shoots forward and collides with the vantablack. instantly the void envelops his arm, then his whole body. semple’s screams of agony are swallowed in the crushing silence of vantablack and soon the pyramid and sir anish kapoor are also devoured.]
semple: …where are we?
sir anish kapoor: we are unstuck from time and space, trapped in a nanotechnological purgatory
[stuart semple’s lips have been replaced with photorealistic magazine cutouts of other people’s mouths, stop-motion flickering through each syllable, none truly belonging to him]
semple: how,, how could this have happened?
anish, whose entire being has been replaced by a series of clockwork cogs and a single, unblinking eye: you toyed with dangers beyond your imaging stuart. reality itself has been pulled into the vantablack. soon, the whole world will know the void as we do
semple, sobbing into his hands which have become splotches of warmth on a heat-vision screen, his body dissolving into salt and sand: i-i didnt know…… how do i stop it?
sir anish kapoor, his gears turning and clicking ever faster: the same way you stop a galaxy from expanding, a star from collapsing. the same way you stop human avarice and pride, from one man coveting what belongs to another.
semple, weeping: please,,, please tell me
[sir anish kapoor’s cogs begin to break apart, dividing like so many cells into the vast abyssal plane]
[semple, wrought with grief and desperation reaches out to grasp at the eye, which has begun to shrink and disintegrate at the edges. the eye pulses with one last surge of warmth. is it sympathy? is it love? the eye disappears and reality along with it.]