The old man held the brush above the paper, his fingers trembling as the sound of footsteps grew louder in the hallway. Around him the pale walls shivered, their pastel colors twisting and swirling together in rapid succession.
A guard entered, striding with broad, confident steps over to where the wizened figure sat in front of the easel. He glanced down at the thick, creamy paper affixed to its surface, his eyes momentarily flicking to the walls. Then he looked at the old man and sniffed, wrinkling his nose as if detecting a slightly offensive odor.
“Nothing yet, I see,” he said.
No,” answered the old man.
The guard crossed his arms. “I don't understand what the problem is,” he said, beginning to pace. “We explained it all to you. Anything you can visualize, anything at all, appears on the walls around you. Just paint what you see.”
“Yes, I know,” said the old man. He rubbed his forehead with one hand, felt one of the implants bulging slightly beneath the skin. “I tried to explain...
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