A very nice room

You’ve come here searching for answers, but you weren’t really sure what to expect.

This time, you find yourself in a calm room, the only noise being the sound of the rolling ocean outside and the mild click of a wooden wall-mounted clock. It’s a pleasant white-painted room with a blue, wave-like streak painted along the length horizontally, like the ring of a bubble rising up to the surface. Through the four large windows you can see out to the sparkling ocean on one end, and the windswept sandhills on the other.

As you take in a breath of the bracken-salt air, a flock of seagulls chatter by from one corner of the windows to the other, making a graceful landing upon the beachhead.

You smile at the gulls as they prattle about in a squadron along the sand – it’s been too long since you’ve just quietly watched birds, you muse to yourself.

Returning back to the scene, you see a comfortable, blue-white striped couch with a coffee table in front of it, stacked up with book. For some reason you cannot make out the names on the covers; it’s as if language does not work here.

To the right, you spot a well-loved, scratched-tan writing desk, with what looks to be a picture tacked onto one of the rows. It’s a photograph of an odd couple. The woman is young-looking, with a little black streak running down her brunette head of hair. The male, at least you assume it to be such, is harder to make out, but you can tell he’s looking over to something outside of the frame – he certainly has a weirdly textured look to him, as if his clothes were made out of hands or something. They’re both standing, side by side, by what looks to be a nondescript field, probably used for farming at one time or another.

The girl’s smiling, but there’s an air of intensity behind it, as if she were about to run her first marathon, and has made the decision that she will, despite everything, give it her all.

You chalk the details up to poor photograph quality; you decide not to let it bother you.

Looking on through the contents of the desk, it’s mostly nondescript, title-scrambled books. There is; however, one article that piques your interest:

Upon the writing surface and tucked far into the corner, you see a small box constructed out of the most peculiar wood you’ve seen in your life. There’s something altogether comforting, but ultimately disturbing about the box’s appearance. You feel familiar, and yet in the way you might meet an old foe, like a snake or a spider. Something in you has learned to be wary, and that itself is what’s so worrisome.

What is probably the most disconcerting part in all this is that you cannot, for the life of you, identify what the threat might be.

What is it that feels so alarming about this wooden box?

Is it the texture? It’s quite unoffensive at first glance, but as you hold it, run your fingers along it, feel the smoothness of the sealed hardwood kiss your fingers, you finally put your finger on metaphorically as well as physically.

It’s perfect.

Not simply without blemish, but mathematically, spiritually, artfully the ideal wooden box. The wood-grain of this dark brown box is so smooth it’s as if it’s touching you back. It smells so rich, it’s as if it’s attempting to be smelled – to be noticed. It should not exist, and yet here it is, in your hands.

As you inspect the box, relishing in the tactile bliss of simply rotating it in your hands, you spot the bottom.

There’s nine lines, evenly spaced, out across the length of the box, with a little pencil taped underneath:

_  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _

Your subconscious immediately recognizes that you’ve been made a victim to uncanny circumstance – it knows something is going on, but your forward, evolved mind isn’t quite up to bat with a phenomenon like this. You consciously brush it aside the very moment you’re beset with the overwhelming desire to write something in the nine blank spaces. You instinctually know that the “password” could be multiple words without spaces, or simply one long word.

Do you place the box down and leave the room, or do you take up the pencil?