Escape Using the Colours in Patterns

Toby was in serious trouble. The auditors had taken an interest in his little project. Over the years he had worked very hard to remain average, and stay below their notice. They had come for him earlier in the day. His only hope now, was the slim chance that his escape plan would come to fruition.

Sitting alone in the interrogation room, Toby’s mind ran wild with all of the rumours he had heard about the auditors. Every time he closed his eyes, he could see a horror show in vibrant colour, and hear cries of anguish and cruel laughter in high fidelity sound.

After an indeterminable amount of time, he rested his head on the cold steel table and succumbed to mental exhaustion. Toby dreamt of his life, to this moment.

Toby was a demon, who lived and worked in Hell. His job was as part of the procurement team, within the research and development department of Evil Incorporated. Evil Incorporated was the corporation that had brought ‘disruption’ and a ‘start up culture’ to Hell.

When Toby started, as a newly minted demon at Evil Incorporated, he took pride in his work. He felt that someone with his potential would rise quickly through the ranks. Over time, he came to realise that this was not the case. Low level demons such as himself had their place, and they would stay in it until the end of days.

He now spent his days taking the forms from his in-tray, marking them as approved, and putting them in his out-tray. The dull routine of the work gave him time to think, and thinking was a dangerous habit for a low-level demon.

Toby started to consider his place in Hell, and turned envious eyes to the land of the living. His brief forays into the land of the living, on days such as All Hallows’ Eve, had taught him that there was a world outside of Hell that was full of possibility.

He yearned for a future, beyond the walls of his cubicle. He wanted a future where he had control over his life, and could set his own direction. It became an all-encompassing idea, he became obsessed with the land of the living. He made it his mission to break free from Hell, and take control of his destiny.

A lowly demon such as himself had only the briefest of forays into the land of the living, on a few prescribed days a year. In contrast, a high-ranking demon could be summoned by, and form pacts with sorcerers.

In return for acting as a conduit for large amounts of elemental energy, used in the sorcerers spells and incantations, a demon could get a measure of freedom. If the demon was especially lucky, and the sorcerer made a mistake and died during a summoning, the demon would be free to roam the land of the living and do as it saw fit.

The chances of Toby being summoned by a sorcerer were astronomically small. First, a demon could only be summoned by name. Nobody would think to summon a demon named Toby. Second, the practice of sorcery had waned with the rise of science and scientific thought. The ability for elemental magic, including sorcery, now lay dormant and unused in many people.

Six months ago, a requisition form crossed Toby’s desk that would change everything. The form was from the torment division. It asked for adult colouring books, colouring pencils, colouring pens and other art supplies. They were exploring ways that they could modify these materials to torment lost souls. Toby asked around, and learnt that human adults used colouring books as a hobby to reduce stress. The torment team wanted to turn that around and make colouring as distressing as possible.

With a shiver of excitement, Toby realised that he could use this hobby to escape Hell and make his dreams a reality. In his spare time, and in absolute secrecy, he developed a summoning circle that was specific to him. To the casual observer the summoning circle looked like a normal mandala.  When coloured in by a human, with the latent ability for elemental magic, the mandala would act as a summoning circle. He took great care to introduce a subtle flaw that would allow him to escape, and he would finally be free.

On All Hallows’ Eve Toby found an artist who contributed to colouring books. In a dream he implanted the pattern in their mind. Now all he had to do was wait, and hope that the right someone coloured it in.

Alice worked as a security researcher for one of the largest information security companies in the country. Competition in her team, the organisation, and the field of computer security in general, was fierce. One of her favourite ways to reduce her stress levels were her hobbies, such as adult colouring books.

One of her favourite websites on the internet was a forum frequented by artists and colouring enthusiasts. Many artists shared their designs in the hope of being noticed by publishers. Many devotees of colouring frequented the forums to get the latest patterns, and share tips and tricks.

Browsing the forums on Monday night, a few weeks after All Hallows’ Eve, Alice came across the profile of a new artist. They wrote in their post that the mandala had come to them in a dream. The dream was unsettling, and they felt that the best way to exorcise their troubling feelings was to publish it on the forum.

The new post intrigued Alice, and she quickly clicked the download link. When the file opened, the mandala was mesmerising, and Alice felt a deep connection to it. It was a much deeper and stronger feeling than she had ever felt before for any other work. She quickly printed it on her high quality laser printer, added it to her personal colouring book, and got to work.

The more she coloured, the more she felt that there was a hidden pattern. Pattern recognition was one of the skills that made Alice so accomplished at her job in the field of computer security. She was well-known within her team as the best at finding patterns in seemingly random data.

Over the course of the next few evenings, Alice worked on colouring in the page and discovered more of the hidden pattern. Colouring was an excellent way for Alice to reduce her stress. This mandala made her feel particularly energised.

By Friday evening Alice was nearly finished. Her earlier intuition was right and the hidden pattern was clearly visible. The hidden pattern included strange writing and symbols. It reminded her strongly of the magic circles depicted in some of her favourite Anime shows.

Reaching for her pencil to add the last finishing touch, Alice saw something out of the corner of her eye. It sent a discordant note through her happy mood. Looking closely Alice discerned a very subtle flaw in the hidden pattern. Now that she had seen the flaw, she had to fix it. Otherwise it would annoy her, like a splinter under the skin.

Toby awoke with a shudder. He cocked his head to one side as he tried to recall what had awoken him. His body was tingling all over, and he realised with a thrill of excitement that his plan was coming to fruition. A human had coloured in his summoning circle and it was nearly complete.

He turned in fear as he heard a key being inserted into the lock of the door. Time slowed as he watched with rapt fascination as the door handle turned. A feeling of panic rose in his chest. He fervently hoped that the summoning would be complete in time.

The door swung slowly open and Toby stared with horror into the emaciated, bone white face of an auditor. As the auditor entered the room Toby felt the summoning spell complete and he yelled with joy and exultation. The auditor screamed in frustration, as he watched Toby fade away as the summoning spell took hold.

With the final stroke of her pencil, Alice gasped in surprise and abruptly sat back in her chair as the circle pattern began to glow. The glow was so bright that she had to shut her eyes. As quickly as the glow started it winked out, accompanied by a loud bang. Cautiously Alice opened her eyes and shrieked in terror as she saw a demon, trapped in the pattern that she had coloured in.

Alice abruptly stood up and slammed her book closed with a thud. Trapping Toby within the book, his cries of frustration and anguish muffled. With shaking hands she locked the book away in her filing cabinet, made a cup of tea and tried to convince herself it was all a hallucination brought on by stress. A task made more difficult by the occasional muffled cry from her office.

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