Taurus 5. In a faint light, a maps coastlines are vague.
The mapmaker studies himself in a mirror.
He’s curious about coastlines, even his own.
Dusk has come and he can hear the waves breaking against his outline, which is becoming indistinct.
It’s dark now, and he’s fallen asleep, dreaming himself into other shapes, ones he can never quite make out.
A certain box, cubic in form and wrought of ebony was found among the many possessions of Irnad when he died. When it was opened it was empty, but Tarmad Opanos, scholar and antiquarian has located in Irnad’s extensive diaries a word recorded by the alchemist that was to be used to open a hidden compartment within it. Opanos supposed the word must refer to this box for it (the word) was spoken of in the diary as “the key to the black cube.”
Opanos was allowed by Tirad Zamar, the boxes new owner, to speak this word to the box, and when he did a panel slid back in the bottom of it, revealing a dark whole whose bottom could not be found even with a weight extended on the longest of plumb lines. And though the box was no more than 8 inches on a side the hole within it seemed a vast cavern of unknowable extent.
“What is the purpose of this strange object?” asked Zamar. “Purpose? said Opanos, “why I have no idea. There might be something down there, but we’ve turned the box upside down and shaken it and nothing’s come out, not even a rattle. And no one is small enough to crawl into it with a light to explore it. I suppose it would make a rather fine wastebasket. Maybe that’s what Irnad used it for.”