The beginning is fear
That isn't what the spray paint on the wall said, but that's what it meant. He knew, because he'd put it there. A reminder, and a promise.
The wall itself was ramshackle and non-descript, in a run down and neglected part of the city, boarded up windows and the detritus of other lives stacked up outside. But the wall wasn't important, what was important was what lay inside, universes of possibility unfolded behind it.
In that regard, it was like the skulls that he treasured. The skulls were only the containers, white and drab out of context, like the wall, sometimes chipped and scarred if he couldn't get to them early enough. But what lay inside them was truly magical, limitless possibilities, swirling galaxies and planets, almost as if the reflections of the stars against the retinas were held inside that cavity. Entire star clusters caught and reflected for all eternity.
Those were the ones that he treasured. The ones that, even in this city, still looked up beyond the glare and the lights, to see the stars. The ones who carried those stars within them.
He could already feel this one, he knew. It would sparkle and shine inside that drab facade, the sparkling beauty of a nebula, and he would capture it there. Plain, pure white bone, filligreed with gold and set with tiny gems. Diamonds, this time, with a hint of sapphire remembering the luminescence of the eyes. The gold wire was threaded through the skull before the flesh was stripped away. The diamonds placed to captured the light of the eyes before it faded. The skulls were woven and decorated before they could be seen, so that the stars were captured inside them.
It wasn't until the flesh was stripped away that he would know whether the stars remained. But this one, he could already see it in his mind. Swirling nebulas, captured deep within the hollows of the skull, this would become a prize in his collection.
It would take time, the weaving, but the stars would burn so brightly as he gave them birth. Like any birth, one wreathed with blood and pain. But first, the skull had to be tempered. Seasoned and purified.
The beginning is fear.