Ray is in the crossroads of a series of murky sewer tunnels. Curved gray stone walls are pulsing and greasy with oily black fungus, which seems to be spreading visibly as he looks at it. In the gloom, mumbling humanoid shapes wander about in seemingly random patterns muttering gibberish to themselves beneath obscuring black hoods.
A smooth obsidian table with restraints stands on the floor. A cluster of men in dark robes encircles the table, led by a tall, thin human man who seems both old and young: his hair is perfectly white, long and straight, pulled back into a ponytail hanging halfway down his back, his hands are wrinkled and withered and gouty, but the skin of his face is soft and pale and stretched tight over his skull. His huge liquid blue eyes are leaking water despite the fact that he never seems to close them, or even to blink.
The men are gathered around someone lying on the table. It’s a young human man. He’s lying motionless amongst needles and blades and saws. He’s not restrained. He’s got shaggy black hair. He’s covered in scars, a single name scrawled over and over and over…
He’s looking down at himself but he’s also inside himself, immobile as the procedure begins.
The Crying Man leans close and whispers, “We’re all lost, you know. All of us.” And then he lifts a saw and with painstaking care, saws Ray’s right hand off. Ray doesn’t move. He just stares into the man’s eyes and cries. The man cries. They both cry together. The Crying Man crosses to Ray’s left side and, in what seems to take an eternity, removes his left hand. Ray weeps. He weeps.
This goes on for days. Sometimes they stop and pour a sludge of chunky black paste down Ray’s throat which seems to contain enough nutrients to keep him alive. On and on and on this goes until it’s all Ray knows and all he can remember.
Then, when Ray is nothing but a head and a torso, the Crying Man looks down at his work and he loses it. His steady stream of liquid tears turns into a torrent of parchment paper pouring out of his eyes, yellowed paper covered in black charcoal scrawls. “What have I done?” he howls. “What have I done?” He looks around as if he suddenly realizes where he’s been this whole time. The mossy walls start to melt away, revealing a yellow city behind them.
He’s so upset. And Ray wants to comfort him, so he speaks. “Thank you. With all my heart, thank you.” And he realizes that he had wanted this. The Crying Man screams and floats away into the darkness. The robed men lean near Ray’s ear and whisper, “For eternity…”
First Reference: Chapter 6
Other Notable References: Chapter 10