Photographs are rare down in the Slums.
Light, true light, even more so.
But isn’t that what photographers do? Use a flash of light to burn a lasting image onto film?
Were the one called Colt Ramsey to come before the Preacher, the lesson would be simple.
Light is pain.
Come to me, Colt Ramsey, so that I may burn this lasting image into you. For I am a priest of pain, and no lesson is truly learned until it has been purchased with pain.
Just as the light you use to take that which you sell to the highest bidder, pain is a spectrum.
It’s in the infrared that base instincts lurk. Thirst. Hunger. Greed.
Your throat is infected with cinders of lustful thirst. Lust for power, for freedom from your shackles.
Drink of my word, I beg you. Feel the scalding water of my message pour down your parched throat.
Freedom only comes through pain.
Higher up in the visible spectrum which you play in so gleefully, gleams the crimson wires of physical pain.
It’s the sizzle of stretched ligaments, the grinding glass-shard screams howling from your overloaded body.
There is green there, too–bubbling tongues of acid that hungrily lick your nerves as you begin to truly realize that this is one lesson you cannot use your skills to escape.
And as the lightning-blue shocks spasm your broken body into convulsion, that’s when you come to the most crucial decision of all.
Will you embrace the pain?
After all, you so gladly capture images of the world around, forcing others to be burned onto your film which you part with so willingly, to Zeus or whomever else.
Should you delay your decision, it will be made for you.
Traveling higher up the light spectrum, beyond the ultraviolent betrayal of Caesar XL, you will endure silent shattering gamma-ray bursts sleeting into your brain.
They have no true color.
Only the color of death.
Then, just as you would have developed your film carefully in a darkened room, the photo is finally ready.
You are finally ready.
Ready for the white.
Just as those burned onto your film, you will not be able to remember where you are.
Who you are.
Your life will consist of vague memories of what came before. You will not know if it happened to Colt Ramsey, or to someone else.
You will not remember if such distinctions mean anything.
You will know–intellectually, distantly, abstractly–that you once lived outside the white.
You will know that you once felt happiness, pleasure, regret, anger, even love.
But these are only ghosts, shadows murmuring beneath the roar of pain that fills everything you now are, everything you will ever be.
The fact that the white had a beginning does not imply that it will have an end.
Colt, I welcome you into pain’s excruciating embrace.
I welcome you to the white, a prism reintegrating the glittering spectrum of pain into pure blazing agony.
And snow-blind in a storm of suffering, you will hang in eternal pain
All you will know is the white.
All you will know is Grimskull.