Object 198

The Holder of Blazes

In any city, in any country, go to any mental institution or hospital you can get yourself to. When you reach the front desk, make sure the person there is a woman. Hand her any book, so long as the words "I wish" are written on the cover in your own blood; otherwise, you will be turned away. The woman will look through the book with an expression of ecstasy on her face and give it back. You must not open this book or the images it now holds would destroy your mind. The woman will lead you to the room of a young child with a strip of black cloth tied around his head. You must speak to him in a mocking tone, or he will remove the cloth. You must ask him the question, "Why will it happen?" Only then will the child accompany you to your destination. The woman will remove her finger with a scalpel and hand it to the boy, then collapse onto the ground. Though the sounds of her agony will torment you, you must look away.

This boy will lead you to an unused wing of the hospital. Strange beings inhabit this place, and you will see some of them shuffling down the hallways. Do not look any of them in the eye; inviting as they may seem, most will tear you apart in seconds. After several hours, you will arrive at an old, decrepit door. The boy will insert the woman's finger into the keyhole, and it will open. This will be your final chance to leave unscathed. If you choose to leave, you must burn the book and throw yourself into the fire, for it will be a much more pleasant death than what the book has in store. If you choose to continue, you must step through the doorway and pull the child along behind you.

You will walk down many flights of stairs; trying to count them all would drive you insane. You will see the shadows of beasts suspended in the air by chains, and any attempt to return up the stairs would be halted by them. If you hear any noise besides your footsteps, sit down right away and yell, "I will continue my journey. You have no right to stop me." If the sound continues, hold the boy over your head. This is for his benefit, as the suffering that the darkness brings is preferable to being alone.

When you reach the bottom of the stairs, close your eyes and concentrate until you can picture a door in front of you. If you succeed, the door will appear as it did in your mind. Hold the book toward the door and open it. A creature from the illustrations of a madman will unlock the door for you, then join the creatures hanging in this room.

Open the door; beyond lies a finely furnished ballroom. Do not enter until a well-dressed man invites you in. He will offer to take your coat, but you must politely decline. You must ask him one question: "Who will end it?" The man will offer you a bemused glare and tell you of the world's deepest, darkest secrets. He will describe, in horrifying detail, all the sins committed by man. His explanation is enough to drive even the most stalwart of minds insane. This is the only time you may look at the contents of the book, open it to any page and read it; the text will be in an evil, unnatural language, but your mouth will reshape itself to pronounce the terrible words. When you have read four pages top to bottom, the man will fall silent. If you go made before then, you can at least take some comfort in knowing that the pain you'll soon suffer will be considerably more bearable.

The man will lunge at you, his true form no longer hidden. His claws will tear through space itself. Beautiful women will tempt your vision, but you must concentrate on fighting. This is a battle for your life. If he wins, your very existence will be naught but eternal, undying pain. Once the man changes his form again, open the book once more. The beings inside will grab the man and the boy, pulling them into the book and muffling their screams with death.

You will fall to the floor in terror now, and when you awake, you will find yourself in the boy's room, wearing his strip of cloth. Though it burns, do not remove it until you have left the building, for the sight of what now occupies the institution will be far too much for your fragile body to handle, and they will be alerted to your presence. Once you have left, carefully remove the cloth from your head and wrap it around the book.

This book is Object 198 of 2538. It is your only means of protection against Him when they are brought together.