Object 116

The Holder of Guilt

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 someone who calls herself "The Holder of Guilt". Before the worker can answer, shut your eyes tightly and clench your jaw. Count to exactly twenty, then open your eyes. You should find yourself on an unassuming dirt footpath in a moderately wooded area. If you are in any other location, then you miscounted the seconds and have only minutes to live.

If you are on the dirt path, then walk along it. You should feel, at all times, an eddy of wind playing against your ear. Should you ever stop feeling it, quickly stand still and shout into the foliage, "I freely admit it was my fault!" If the little eddy of wind does not return, then I suggest you make yourself comfortable and arm yourself, as these woods are now your home for all eternity, and they are filled to bursting with hidden creatures from the lowest pits of damnation, all eager to messily devour you.

If the wind does return, then continue along the path as normal. After a long while, you should find a battered little shanty. Knock twice before entering; failing to knock properly beforehand results in a punishment that cannot be adequately described in any human tongue.

Upon entering the shanty, you will find yourself in a clean little kitchen. Quickly shut the door behind you and remain standing, head bowed respectfully, where you entered. Fervently working the kitchen will be a woman who never turns to face you as she goes about her endless task of working on a meat that will never be finished. If you pay attention, you will notice that she works to an exact rhythm, but this is not terribly important - just an interesting detail.

There is only one question to which this woman will respond: "Why is it their fate to be used for wrong?" Give her a moment; it will take a while before she gets around to answering. When she does, she will recount in your mother's voice (even if you have never heard your mother's voice), and in explicit detail, every wrong you have ever visited upon others, no matter how trivial, no matter if it was intentional or unintentional. No matter how shameless, unrepentant, or vile a person you are, or even if your wrongdoings are few or barely extant, you will feel the weight of your wrongdoing pressing down on you. Remain standing in your respectful pose even as the weight of your wrong increases to unbearable levels. If ever you falter, you will be crushed, doomed to remain a broken heap on the floor of this kitchen listening to the woman repeat herself forever. Then again, that would mean you were never worthy of collecting all the Objects in the first place.

Once every wrong has been recited in excruciating detail, if you are still standing, the woman will ask you to retrieve an ingredient from a top cupboard. Go fetch it. Do not open any cupboard other than the one indicated, and do not turn your head in a way that would allow you to see the woman's face. There are fates worse than what would happen if you do either, but the list is very short.

The ingredient she is looking for is the only spice that has no label. Hand it to her in a way that prevents you from looking her in the face, then return to where you were standing earlier. Wait a while, and she will eventually offer a small sample of her cooking for you to eat. Walk over to her and accept it (being careful not to put yourself in a position to see her face). It is a sizable chunk of cooked beef. Thank her politely, tell her you had a wonderful time visiting and will come back another day, then quietly leave via the door through which you came. You will find you have walked out of a supply closet in the mental institution or halfway house.

The food you acquired from the Holder is no ordinary beef. It never rots, no matter how old it gets, and eating even a small bite of it will instantly heal all your wounds, no matter how grave. It does this, however, by transferring said wounds to someone you care deeply about. Survival in the future of this quest will make eating this beef necessary at least a few times.

That chunk of cooked beef is Object 116 of 2538. Hopefully, the Objects are important enough to sacrifice people you genuinely care about.