Object 246

The Holder of Jealousy

At any beautician, cosmetic specialist's, or day spa in the world, you must approach the counter. You must fix the attendant with a hard gaze and ask to see either "The Holder of Jealousy" or "The Purest One".

If you asked to see "The Holder of Jealousy", the clerk will insist you leave. The only way to ensure that you gain an audience with the Holder is by facing the staff member, closing your eyes, and saying in a calm voice: "Help me to perfect myself, I seek only to change my ways to be in their image."

If you asked to see "The Purest One", the clerk will stand and lean in close to your face and whisper: "How can one truly define pure, when impurity is as plentiful as water on the earth?" You must hold their shoulders firmly and lean in close enough so that they can feel your breath on the nape of their neck. Quietly, but with determination, you must say: "Purity may only be found in the taste of water, the appearance alone shows a guise untrue of its truest form."

One cannot know if these first steps will be successful. If they are not, return the next day and attempt it using the other term.

If successful, the clerk will lead you to a large cream-colored pine door, with lettering engraved on the front in a language you cannot understand. The attendant will fix their gaze on the handle and a look of terror and blissful expectation will spread across their face. They will wrench open the door and rush inside. The sound of bedsprings will be heard, then silence. You must enter the room and look at the mirror in the right top-hand corner so that you can only see the lamp next to the bed in the reflection. There will be no sign of the clerk, only a faint smell of sweat and heavy perfume will be in the room. You must announce "I am here to find perfection," and a hand will extend to turn on the bedside lamp.

Turn to face the bed, and a woman will be sitting in the bed. This woman is the simple and incontrovertible epitome of beauty and grace. Voluptuous curves, small figure, a face that could make a grown man weep in astonishment. The woman will be sitting in a seductive pose and will beckon you with one finger. You must resist, with every fiber of your body. Regardless of sexuality or gender, you will have the most compelling forceful desire to have the woman as your own.

Under no circumstances must the woman be touched. If so, her eyes will burn a crimson red and time will cease to progress. There will be no physical pain, just the knowledge that this pure being in front of you is disappointed in you. Your body will resonate with self-hate as your body condemns itself to the rings of hell for upsetting the woman.

You must resist her, and shout the words with a passion and fury surprising to even yourself: "I do not want you, I do not need you, I shall not have you as mine."

At this point, you will begin to experience the true nature of the Object. You will hate her because you cannot have her as yours. You will loathe her because you do not need her. You will despise her, as you do not want her. You will become resentful of her for being what you desire but cannot own. Feelings of covetous envy will flood over you, to the point where you will notice the astounded expression on the woman's face.

As the rage passes, in the woman's place will be a withered old hag, crumpled in a heap. Her sobs are the most pitiful you will ever hear. You must kneel by her, place your head gently upon her bony shoulders, and say quietly: "Now I have tasted the purest fruit, I know what you are, instead of what people must think of you."

She will turn to face you, and her body will regress in age until she stands tall once more, the astounding beauty she once was. She will grasp you firmly and thrust you into a passionate kiss. A moment of ecstasy will be sorely ended by you apparating in the foyer of your local airport, clutching the mirror you first spied her in.

The mirror is Object 246 of 2538. You may see the purest form of man, but they may only judge themselves and wish to be another.