Type of Short Story: Novelette
Summary: Three black circles arranged in a very specific pattern, a simple arrangement of rudimentary shapes but one that has seized and destroyed the minds of several men. Will Henry Johns, the most recent artist to stumble across the maddeningly simple image, discover the meaning behind the trio of black circles, or will he succumb and become just another of its many victims?
“I have a... friend,” continued Henry, “who showed me this picture.” He tapped one of the drawings nearby, a Burnt Sienna rendition. “He asked me if I knew what it was, but I have no idea. Do you know what it is?”
Kevin, having been working on the oval, slowed his hand with the charcoal but kept going over the same line again and again. He did this for nearly half a minute, then suddenly dropped the charcoal and launched to his feet. Rushing across the room, he tore a picture from the wall and held it out towards Henry. It was one of the faces with a pentagram over top of it. Henry noticed that the eyes and the mouth each sat on a different tip of the pentagram, and that the mouth was only a semi-circle. A quick glance around the room revealed that a portion of the mouth was missing in every image. The semi-circle made it seem as though the face was grinning a minute, cartoony smile, and that somehow made it all the more unsettling.
“It’s him,” Kevin hissed quietly.
“Who’s he?” Henry asked, matching the patient’s low volume.
“Him.” He hesitated, thinking, then with a crayon he retrieved from the floor drew three 6s beside the face. Henry frowned ever so slightly, and Kevin, staring at him, noticed the twitch of the brow. He looked around, exchanged his green crayon for a red one, and, pressing the picture against the wall, carefully drew two shapes protruding from the oval. He turned and presented it again to Henry: the triple-circle-and-oval face, a pentagram overtop of it, 666 written beneath it, and two red horns protruding from the sides of the oval face. Henry mentally kicked himself for being so slow.
“Satan?” he asked, returning Kevin’s gaze.
The patient nodded once, slowly.