Object 292

The Holder of Visions

In any city, in any country, visit any mental institution or halfway house you can get yourself to. The worker sitting behind the front desk will wear a tattered suit, his hair will be greasy and unkempt, and in his eyes will reside the barely perceptible gleam of madness. Ask this man if you may visit the one who calls himself "The Holder of Visions".

The man will laugh loudly. "Oh, no, another one of 'you' guys," he'll say, in good humor. His charisma will draw you in, and he'll ask if instead, you'd like to go to the bar with him for a drink. Do not accept this offer, or he will lead you into an alleyway, where you'll be gutted before you see his knife. Instead, ask again, and his face will change. His smile will fade and the madness in his eyes will show itself again. "Why don't you come with me," he'll say. "Now."

Do as the man says, and he will take you around the building to a side door. He will open the door for you, and you must walk in without fear. Inside the door will be a dimly lit room, and the walls will have strange vents near the floor. The door to the outside will lock behind you, and the vents will hiss. A strange vapor will begin to fill the room. Hold your breath, bang on the door, or even scream, if you like, but you won't last very long.

It's best to find a comfortable spot on the floor to lie down, and breathe deeply. In moments you will pass out, and the visions will begin. No one ever sees the same things. Visions of your greatest triumphs will intertwine with those of your greatest failures. You will see joy and sorrow, anger and peace, love and hatred; all of this and more will pass before your eyes as you oscillate between ecstasy and horror.

No matter what, you must stay focused and lucid, and remember that this is not reality, but only dreams and illusions. Should you forget and become too engrossed in the visions, even for a moment, you will be forever trapped within them as they grow progressively more terrible, and consume your sanity.

If you manage to remain focused after what will feel like an eternity, amidst your visions you will see a straight flat road, stretching as far as you can see into a grassy plain under a cloudy, gray sky. Your hallucination will take you down this road, and toward a darkly-clothed man wearing a black baseball cap, standing at the road's end. When you are fifty feet away from him, you will see yourself calling out the question, "Have they been together before?"

Suddenly, your dream will shift, and in an instant, you will see a vision of chaos. The dream will become a nightmare of an ultimate destruction so complete, so terrible, that to even imagine it too heedlessly is to be driven insane. If, after this ordeal, your sanity is intact, you will wake up face-down in an alleyway. Your head will feel like it was just hit with something heavy and blunt, and your wallet will be missing. You will be sore and nauseous, and your strangely familiar, black baseball cap will be slanted awkwardly across your face.

The hat is Object 292 of 2538. It happened once, and it can happen again.