Picture a polished wooden floor, dark as mahogany, absent of furniture, in a large room with a bay window. You begin to look at the thick, imperfect glass, when a white door opens at the far side of the room. The man entering the room has a name. We’ll call him Michael. Michael closes the door and sees a large plain-looking box on the floor. He approaches it, noticing now an ever so faint humming sound. He puts his ear to the box. A quiet but harsh buzzing behind the hum, as if the box contains a billion furious generals. Straining to pick out more, he eventually discerns the unpatterned clashing of what could be swords on shields or tuneless cymbals.
Michael presses his ear to the box, a finger in the other ear. A barely audible succession of high pitched short shrieks. He pulls back instinctively. He sees for the first time that the sides of the box do not meet perfectly, and from thin spaces between uneven joins.. the faint glow of a smoky red light. There are now clear cries of distress from inside.
Michael decides this is a very dangerous box and he should sit on it to prevent any of its terrible contents from escaping. When he has been sitting on the box for a good hour, a small demon nonetheless wriggles free. It flies around his head mischievously, poking him with its tiny but sharp trident, evading his attempts to catch it or swat it away. After one fruitless lunge, he hears the demon deep inside his ear, loud and true.
“You are the box” it says. The terrors that Michael feared swarm around his head, mocking, hissing, howling at him. Hideously aged and scarred faces; bloodthirsty battalions of the disaffected, in black uniforms, scything down homely couples and drifters alike; a girl begging him desperately to rescue her. When the bullet strikes, her face disappears and for a frozen moment a miraculous crested wave of dark liquid hangs in the air, then time returns with a sickening splash upon the pavement. He sees a hungry man eating from a day old dog corpse with his bare hands. He sees wretches flayed alive on the orders of a holy man. He sees and he sees, countless images of death. And he hears every sound. Worst of all, his own face before him, screaming wildly, although he himself can only watch, his lips unparted.
The box was an illusion. All the evils of the world are unrestrained, dancing before him, and he cannot look away. His visions coalesce; they whirl about him and, then, they enter him through his ears, eyes, nose, and mouth. Soon, the man conquered,all is still, and there is no longer anything of note in the room.
A white door opens, and Gabriel enters the room. He sees a plain-looking box. As he walks across the polished wooden floor he can make out a faint hum…
If you were Gabriel, would you sit on the box?