Object 471

The Holder of the Schism

In any city, in any country, go to any mental institution or halfway house you can get yourself to. When you reach the front desk, ask to visit someone who calls himself "The Holder of the Schism". A look of inward conflict, as though torn between decisions could cross the worker's face. It won't last long, blink and you'll miss it. The worker will request that you back away a few steps as they approach. Reaching down to the floor where you were standing, the worker will reveal a trapdoor that was not there before. The door will open, and you will feel yourself drawn to look deep within the blackness of the void below. If you look up, you will notice the worker has vanished and the entire room will be bare. Do not let this unsettle you, and descend into the darkness below.

As you descend into the darkness, you will notice that the darkness seems to lighten in an unnatural way. You will reach the bottom, a hard stone floor covered in small pebbles of debris and faint moisture. Gazing around you will notice there are no light sources. No bulbs, torches, nor candles. There will also be no windows, only high stone walls that reflect the texture of the floor. In the center of the cellar, you will see an ancient stone pedestal with a knob resting on top. The ladder will no longer be there, either, but instead, there will be a steel door embedded in the stone wall behind you. The door will have no distinguishable characteristics. Only a faint bronze tint from years of ware and a small hole where the knob should be. Should you turn around, you will see across the cellar from you there is a matching door. Its traits are the same, completely plain and made of a type of steel with a small hole. The difference will be that this door will be tinted a faint blue instead.

When you lift the knob from the pedestal, you will be filled with a strange, overwhelming sensation telling you which door to choose. While you won't have detailed knowledge of it, the knob has told your mind what is behind each door, and depending on your mood at the time will determine which door you feel you should enter. Choose one, place the knob into the hole, and enter. The door will disappear behind you, leaving you alone in a darkened hallway of stone. If you chose to enter neither door, and place the knob back to the pedestal, the ladder will reappear and you will be able to escape as if nothing had ever happened.

Assuming you have found yourself within the dark hall, proceed forward. You may not be able to see so much as your own hand in front of your face, but do not fear, for there will be nothing to concern yourself with in your path. Continue on, and you will eventually hear a strange buzzing noise in the distance. Soon after, the path will begin to glow the same as the cellar had, and you will find yourself in a clearing with seemingly no walls in sight, only darkness. In the center of this clearing, you will see a cloaked figure. The buzzing will grow ever stronger as you approach him, and soon you will see that he is shrouded partially in flies. Little of him can be seen, but his hands and face shall be exposed to you. Your reaction once you look upon him will determine everything, although you will not know it yet. His face is partially mangled and decayed, not split down the middle but in horizontal strips across. The other half will be so normal that it is almost too perfect to seem real. His hands will reflect this as well, the right hand being decayed and dead while the other being pristine and healthy.

If you recoil in disgust, one path has been chosen. If you stand strong and unaffected, another has. Whichever it is, you will not know until you leave, and only the cloaked man will decide how he thinks you faired in this matter.

Ask him the question, "What could split them?" as it is all that he shall reply to. He will open his half-decayed mouth slowly, allowing a small cloud of dust to escape. He will begin to tell you a tale of conflict. One of old times of the hardest decisions you could ever know. He will speak of each of the most difficult decisions that have ever been made in this world or any other, and for each, he shall tell you only what could have resulted from the decision not selected. Every one of these unchosen results will be of great resolve and promise, something which you could only imagine would be the greatest of results. You will be filled with a powerful woe for those many who chose the wrong path, and begin to reflect on your own back in the cellar. This is your one chance to change the fate of your path. If you doubt your decision, the path will remain the same. If you feel confident, it will change.

Once you have told yourself what you feel about your choice, your path will be set in eternity. The cloaked figure will be gone, the walls will have returned, and you will find yourself in the cellar once again. The ladder will have returned, and you may leave.

For the rest of your life, nothing will ever again bother you, for your mind will be eternally haunted by only two things. What would have happened had you chosen the other door, and how did the path chosen for you affect your life?

This conflict is Object 471 of 2538. Pine as you may, the answers will never come to you.