Object 385

The Holder of the Plague

In just one special city, in one of the countries you've not yet been to, go to the cheapest motel located in its downtown core. You will know it by the smell and its dilapidated, rundown exterior. When you are sure you're alone in the lobby, approach the front desk, say absolutely nothing, and slip the attendant a small piece of paper with the words "I beg an audience with The Holder of the Plague" scrawled upon it. If anyone enters the lobby as this exchange takes place, your life is forfeit.

After absorbing the words of the note, a look of pity will cross the face of the attendant as his or her skin begins to bubble and blister, eyes turn black as the void, and unidentifiable insects begin to erupt from every orifice on the attendant's face. The poor soul will then raise its hand and point toward a series of doors lining the wall behind you that weren't there when you first entered. Wait for blackened pus to erupt from the attendant's finger, shooting its way across the room to mark the correct door. That is the door you must enter. If you've not been overcome with terror, make your way toward this door and do not look back at the attendant if you wish him or her to live.

The first thing you will notice as you cross the threshold of the door is the putrid stench that assaults your nostrils. Breathe deep these aromas of death, decay, and rot, for they imbibe your senses with the strength to handle a meeting with whom you seek. Second, you notice the walls, floors, and ceiling seem to be made of maggot-infested flesh - springy and squishy underfoot. You will then start to hear the dry crackling sound of biological decomposition, amplified and sped up a thousand-fold to pry at your sanity like a swarm of insects nesting in your ear. As you make your way further down the Hall of Disgust, foul-smelling blood will begin to rain down on you from the ceiling - do not try to wipe it away for it serves as yet another barrier to keep you safe from the dangers of this Holder.

If you've made it this far and have followed instructions to the letter, you will arrive at a door made from stitched-together, dismembered body parts. Place your hand on the door and focus your thoughts upon the Holder you seek. When your call is answered, piece by piece the door will begin to fall apart, starting from the top and making dull wet thuds as they hit the blood-slicked floor of maggots and meat. You may now enter the Oubliette of Infection.

Floating a few feet off the ground, suspended in the air by a swarm of dire-locusts, a blackened, humanoid form spasms with preternatural speed. "Seven times the before-death is found between the near and far. Where shall we place you?" the Holder of the Plague will ask you, his voice sounding inhales rather than exhaled and eerily coming from the walls instead of his face. Some of his insect minions will land at your feet and begin to crawl up your legs at this point, but try to pay them no heed - they are a distraction.

Walk up to the Holder, place your hand in the center of its chest, and in a strong voice, shout, "I am on His road. You will place me nowhere." Provided you took your time conquering the overloading of your senses while coming down the Hall of Disgust, you will have received enough of a blood-shield to protect you from the infection of the Holder of the Plague, and the Holder will explode in a blinding cascade of darkness - if not, you will die a slow, exquisitely agonizing death as you become part of the living structure this Holder's realm is made from, as so many before you have.

Return the way you came, running as fast as you can so as not to become the next Holder of this pocket-realm. Make your way home, wash the filth off, and fall asleep. When you awake the next morning, you will find a dark-green handprint upon your stomach that rests under your skin, not upon it as a tattoo would. It slightly twitches of its own accord, sending a violent itching to your nerve endings whenever it does.

You have found Object 385 of 2538. The Mark of Corrosion is now yours to call upon when needed.