Object 10

The Holder of Ambition

In any city, in any country, go to any mental institution or halfway house you can get yourself to. When you reach the front desk, ask to visit a man who calls himself "The Holder of Ambition". The sound that escapes the mouth of the worker will be so slight, and betray so little reaction, that at first, you may not even be sure your words were heard. All doubt will be settled when they guide you toward a stairwell lit by many windows.

At the top of these stairs, the worker will leave you to continue your journey alone. You will find yourself standing at the beginning of an eerily calm hallway. Walk to the end.

In all likelihood, you will encounter a shadow that moves along the wall. Do not follow it, for it is the one thing that will lead you to a place you do not wish to go: a place filled with your silent fears and failures, from which you cannot return. No matter what shape the shadow takes, and no matter how it eases and taunts your dreams with the greatest of your desires and hopes, do not even let it tempt your gaze, let alone your feet.

If you make it to the end of the hallway without losing sight of your goal, you will find an open doorway with no locks, bolts, or restraints. A soft light bathes the floor in front of the opening. This is your one and only chance to leave without facing the Holder of Ambition or collecting his Object; if that is the course of action you wish to take, then walk directly back the way you came, without attempting to peek around or into other doors, lest you discover what that seductive shadow hides.

Beyond the doorway lies a room, bathed in an artificial light cast by high windows that cover each wall's expanse. At the room's center stands a tall, healthy man, standing naked and looking out into the light. His body is covered in uncountable tattoos and scars; only his face is recognizable as unaltered human flesh. You might be tempted to look where he looks, in search of the object of his focus; feel free, but you will see nothing, and learn nothing. The man will not react to anything other than the question, "What joins them together?"

When asked, he will turn to look you in the eyes. Meet his gaze, but know that if you are not prepared - if there is even the slightest doubt of your intentions - then you will lose yourself in his soulless eyes for an eternity. If, on the other hand, your gaze is an honest one, then he will begin to speak in a low voice. His tone will be a comical one, his tale told as if it meant nothing at all, but you must not miss a word, for this story is your preparation. Listen carefully to his tale, and remember every detail.

When the man finishes speaking, he will bring his hands to his chest, and remove the sutures from one of his more noticeable scars. As the stitches come out, he will bleed profusely and fatally. When the last of his sutures have come out, he will offer them to you, uttering his final words through his own gurgling blood: "Choosing to seek... leads to an inevitable fate..."

The clump of sutures is Object 10 of 2538. How you use them depends on what you hear.