Object 432

The Holder of the Celestial Spheres

In any city, in any country, go to any mental institution you can get yourself to. Enter and approach the front desk. Wait for the worker at the desk to address you, and then ask to see "The Holder of the Celestial Spheres". The worker may ask you to repeat yourself. If they give any other reply, apologize and leave, the Object you seek is not there. If they do, do not repeat yourself. Ask, instead, to see the person who hears the music. The worker will give you a name and a room number.

Go to the room. There will be more than one person within. As you approach, they will begin leaving. When only one person remains in the room, enter it.

The person within may be male or female, of any race. They may be young or old, they may be healthy, or they may be ill. It does not matter; if events have unfolded this way, you have found the person you seek.

The person will look at you, curiously, waiting for you to speak. Address them, but not by the name you were given at the front desk. If you address them by that name, they will become angry, and begin ranting at you, until the hospital workers come to escort you out.

Take a few moments, then, to think on the name you were given. Shortly, a new name will come to you, unbidden, as though nested within the name you were given. Address the person by this name. They will not respond, but they will sit back, smiling. Do nothing.

Soon, you will hear music playing. It will be beauteous, bringing you peace of mind, or it will be hideous, filling you with anxiety. In either case, it will be no instrument you have ever heard. Do not acknowledge it, or the person will become angry, and you will be escorted out. Simply listen, and let it permeate you.

After a short time, strike up a conversation. If you have allowed the music to fill your mind, it will tell you the topic. If you do not, and you speak on the wrong subject, the person will grow angry again. If, however, you choose correctly, the person will engage you in a pleasant conversation for hours, until it is time for you to leave. As you leave, the person will hand you a matryoshka doll.

If you anger the person, before you exit, the person will collapse into their chair, smiling.

Thereafter, anyone you encounter, even those who have known you all your life, will address you by a name not your own, and you will soon find yourself committed to the same institution, as your protestations will be taken as a sign of slipping sanity. You will find that the person you had visited was no longer there - in fact, the workers will insist they had never been. On your first day, you will have a visitor. The visitor will be the person you had visited. They will say nothing, only hand you a matryoshka doll and smile beatifically. Soon, more visitors will come, until the room holds more people than it seems as though it should. They will only leave when a Seeker comes to visit you.

The matryoshka doll is Object 432 of 2538. The faces of the dolls seem strangely familiar...