Object 362

The Holder of Apathy

In any city, in any country, go to a black walnut tree, alone. Do not go to any other type of tree. Once you arrive, walk up to the tree and place your forehead against the bark, looking only at the roots of the tree as you do so. Put your left hand against the tree and whisper, "I only wish goodwill for the Holder of Apathy."

Count to twenty-three aloud after you address the tree. Do not move a muscle until you have reached that number, lest the bark rip open to reveal gnashing teeth as it devours you. If you are successful, however, the tree you are leaning against will tear open on its own to reveal a winding staircase bathed in darkness. Descend the stairs.

As you are walking down the flights in pitch black, you will be greeted by the most agonizing sounds of torment and pity. No matter what it is, whether a woman is crying for help or your own mother is screaming for you personally, you must NOT call back. If you do, the stairs beneath you will turn slack, and immediately, you will find yourself plummeting to the very depths of Hell.

If your journey is in success, you will find that you have stumbled straight into a grand, old-fashioned theatre. The red curtain will be drawn over the stage, and only one person will be in the entire auditorium. Approach her and sit down in the lavish seat at her side. She should be staring straight ahead at the curtain, but if her gaze falls upon you for even a second as you take your seat, you must cry out, "I have my ticket!" If her gaze doesn't move from you, close your eyes and hope for a swift disemboweling.

If not, take your seat beside her and stare at the stage until the curtain draws and the lights fade out. The play that comes after that is absolutely gut-wrenching. Only the cruelest tales of despair, joy, and betrayal will be acted out onstage by the thespians. Each act will go through every human emotion imaginable; love, fear, happiness, rage, jealousy - every single feeling you have experienced in your lifetime.

After the play is over and all of the actors have taken a bow, the woman will ask you, "How did you fare the play?" Look at her unemotionally, and answer her uncaringly, "I found it in poor taste." Any other answer or opinion will get your eyes torn out shortly thereafter. She will look as though she had just gotten slapped. The next few minutes she will spend trying to reason with you, to get you to admit that the play was fantastic and mind-boggling. No matter what she points out, stick with your original reply and show NO emotions.

Eventually, she will begin to show extreme displeasure with you, scorning and mocking you for your ungratefulness and egotism. Stare straight ahead at the red curtain and don't move your stare for a fraction of a second. Out of the corner of your eye, you will notice that she is changing; her flesh and bones melting and intertwining until there is no longer a woman at your side, but a monster.

As she reaches the climax of her threats and curses, she will begin to attack your loved ones, promising horrific deaths and torment to them if you don't reconsider your opinion. At this point, before it gets any worse, look at her dead in the eye, even though she is now a hideously disfigured creature, and state in complete confidence, "Your opinion is in even poorer taste."

If you failed at showing her your dominance, she'll begin to snicker as she impales you with one of her ribs. If not, she will hang her head in defeat and whimper. Now it is safe to ask your question in any emotion you are feeling.

"What will prompt the Seekers?" She will answer in little more than a whimper in her self-pity. After she has given you her despairing answer, close your eyes and wrap your arms around the hulking bone-creature in an embrace.

When you open your eyes, you will be embracing the walnut tree you had started out with. In your left hand will be a theatre poster.

The poster is Object 362 of 2538. Never see the play it is promoting.