Object 269

The Holder of Nerve

In any city, in any country, go to any abandoned building you can get yourself to. To the building, say, "I seek the Holder of Nerve." If the house makes any noise, run. Run as fast as you can until the next daybreak without stopping. If you can do so, you may have escaped your fate. If the door to the house opens, you are ready to move on. Whatever you do, do not enter the building if you value your life or the very essence of your soul. Instead, scale the building in any way you can. As you climb, the building will seem to grow, reaching ever higher, higher than you thought, higher than you could have imagined. Whatever you do, do not look down, for if you do, I shudder to imagine the fate awaiting you. To fall is unspeakable, unthinkable. Do not do so.

When you have reached the top of the roof, you may look around. All around you will be the ruins of a large metropolis. No matter when you began your journey, it will invariably be dusk. We recommend you do not dwell on your surroundings, and do not look down. For if you do, you may lose your courage - something you cannot afford to do at this point, as there is no turning back, and has been no turning back since you first uttered the words.

Do not turn around. If you do, all is lost. Instead, laugh naturally. Do not force it, for if not a true laugh, the fate awaiting you is beyond those that can possibly be imagined by the frail human mind. After you laugh, you will hear the voice of a teenage boy. It will tell you to turn around, in a casual tone. Do so, on your own time. Do not turn swiftly, show no fear. Be leisurely, and move at a casual and calm pace. Standing in front of you will be a teenage boy dressed in clothing befitting the time of your own childhood. No matter what age you were when you began the climb, you will be a teenager again. The boy is gray-skinned, with murky white eyes holding black spheres inside of them. Do not say anything, for if you do you will become the boy's playmate, like so many others before you.

Instead, wait for him to speak. It may take minutes, it may take days. Eventually, he will utter one phrase in a cocky tone, asking, "Truth or dare?" You must answer with these exact words: "Both, but you first." He will frown, contemplating, before smiling broadly and nodding his agreement. The truth you must ask is this, "Does bringing Them together take courage?" The boy will become violently angry, but so long as you do not move, he will not hurt you. Eventually, his fit will cease, and he will tell you the answer to that question, a short and simple answer compared to the others you may have learned by this point, but one that will test the very mettle of your soul.

After he has answered your question he will ask you, "And the dare?" This is important, as it is your only way of getting out alive. You must smile at him, and point to the edge of the building saying, "I dare you to jump." His eyes will go cold, and then he will smile a smile of thanks and gratitude. Dropping his cap at your feet, he will nod curtly, and step off the roof.

Pick up the hat. Pull it low over your eyes, so that you cannot see. Now follow him. Provided you have followed these instructions exactly, you will land softly on your feet, in front of the building you scaled oh so long ago. In your hands will be the cap. If ever you feel so inclined to wear the hat, you may do so. It will offer you absolute and unwavering courage, but remember: sometimes courage is the same thing as foolishness, and not all beings in this world are as innocent as they seem. Especially not now, when you possess the cap.

That cap is Object 269 of 2538. Bring Them together, I dare you.