Object 294

The Holder of Decision

In any city, in any country, go to any camera shop or place that develops photographic film. When you reach the front desk, ask to speak with "The Holder of Decision". The person at the desk will go over to the developing machine and remove a photo from it, subsequently handing it to you. As they do this, say nothing: do not so much as acknowledge that they are there. They are quite the silver-tongued devil, and they will try to persuade you not to carry out this task.

The photo you are given is a simple picture of the room you stand in now, an old man dressed in a leather apron standing in the corner. If you would look up, he is not there now, so do not attempt to find him like that. Something about the man beckons you to follow him. Walk to where he was standing, and you will find another photo on the floor, this time of a very long corridor. Two steel doors stand at the end of the corridor, marked numbers 1 and 2 respectively. As you look back up, the corridor will be in front of you, much longer than the length of the simple building you likely entered. Surely, you are used to such oddities by now, though. Make your way to the doors.

At the foot of door number one, there will be yet another photo. It shows the door opening into a dim room, with the only light coming from a distant window. As you look up, the door will be open in the same manner as the picture. Make your way through the door, and it will slam shut behind you, the rust billowing out in plumes. Mind yourself not to think too terribly much about door number two; there is nothing of benefit to you behind it.

A carriage clock will sit on a dresser whose details you can't make out. Its face may be somewhat difficult to read due to the darkness, but you will be able to see 9:45. Lift the clock, and pull out the stack of five photos hiding underneath it.

Photo one, the clock sits on a counter reading 9:48. Your most beloved one is depicted speaking to the man at the front desk.

Photo two, and the clock reads 9:50. Your loved one is taken down the corridor by the man at the front desk. He holds door number two open for your loved one.

Photo three, the very same clock is shown on an almost identical vanity, reading 9:53. Two men are shown doing unspeakable wrongs to your loved one. Their filthy faces are screwed up with lewd, erotic pleasures. Your lover does not share their joy; indeed, they weep, submitting to their fate.

Photo four, and the clock reads 9:49. It shows you taking the clock in your room off the vanity and heading for the window to continue your quest.

Photo five, and the clock is broken, its face smashed. A combination of objects is shown, the broken clock included, in the filthy hands of two men. Your and your lover's body lie in a mangled heap on the floor.

Once you've finished looking through the stack and absorbing their content, regardless of how long you've spent, look back at the clock. It is 9:49.

The carriage clock is Object 294 of 2538. They have made so many decisions, and now you must make yours: will you take the clock from its Holders as is routine, or will you try in vain to save your lover?