Object 484

The Holder of the Eight

The seven have been locked away, but dare you conquer the eighth and final Holder of this unholy pact which you have unwittingly exposed yourself to?

Yes, of course, you do. You are a Seeker and your foolishness knows no bounds. Besides, now that the seventh has told you his secret, it's not easy to turn back. So may I relate to you, now, my tale. The tale of the Holder of the Eight, and how to obtain my Object.

Your journey will be long, and your journey will be brutal. I have no mercy, and no pity for beings such as yourself. You willingly subject yourself to this, do not expect me to feel sorry for you. You must remember one thing and one thing only: eight. Keep the number with you at all times, for it will dictate all that you do along the way, as it does me.

Enter any city, in any country of your choosing, but make sure that it was the eighth city founded there since the current generation of inhabitants took root. Do not get this number wrong. I cannot control the forces which are outside of my number, and which will devour your soul should you choose the wrong city.

Upon your arrival, it is imperative that you sleep in a motel or boarding house for eight nights before attempting to locate me. Do not remain in your chosen building during the day. It is best left unsaid what will happen to you, should you do this.

Each night you will be visited by a dream, a vision, one that is somewhere between hallucination and reality. The first night, the vision will be tame. I will join you as a humble roommate, and we may chat about whatever you wish. You can ask me anything, so long as it does not pertain to the number eight. I may lie to you, I may tell you the truth. You may know when I am lying, you may not.

The purpose of this exercise is simply so that you may become acquainted with me. Observe everything I do, Seeker, for I will not repeat myself in word or action. Should you fail to memorize everything I do, then no amount of screaming will stifle your pain. I will be uncharacteristically optimistic about my answers and my demeanor, and I should think you will be glad to see a Holder so cheerful. We are not often this way.

On the second and third nights, the dreams will not be so complacent to leave you sane. My pets will burst from every open space and tear you asunder, climbing through any window and smashing through any door to get to you. I am not at liberty to discuss why I wish this upon you, simply know that it is MY will that allows you to be here at all; be glad I don't have worse done to you than this.

The next few nights will be worse, oh, so much worse. My fallen brothers, the numbers come before me, will wish their vengeance and I cannot control anything outside of my own number. Each will have his turn, some on the same nights as one another, some on different nights. Suffice to say that you may take no action to stop these dreams, and you may do nothing which will cause harm to my brothers' spirits.

Unless, of course, you wish to die. Then, by all means, be my guest.

By the eighth night, I know you will be fragile, and so I shall visit you again on that night. However, my demeanor will not be so charismatic or friendly this time. I will arm you with the instruction on how to succeed at my task, and I shall inform you upon that which you are about to face. Should you decline, I will slice your head from your shoulders and end your pathetic existence in the only act of "mercy" I am aware of.

Accept, however, and I will lead you to an abandoned mental institution, eight blocks from where you took up residence. In the dark of night, you will see that this building has replaced some other establishment which previously held this spot, and you will know that all inside of it at the time of its transformation are now dead, thanks to your willingness to accept such a challenge. Steel your heart this night, Seeker, for by the end of my challenge I hope to have ripped it from your chest and erected it on a stick. I loathe you, and all others like you.

From here on, my approach to this will not be nearly so hands-on. I shall not visit you, nor shall my brothers torment you. You need only enter the institution and declare to empty air, "I wish to speak with the Holder of the Eight." Should you hear and see nothing in response, you have already failed. Lie down and die now, Seeker, for it will be far better than what is to come.

If you are worthy, however, the room around you will shift and change. In its dilapidated place will stand a building of pristine and eerie whiteness, a white not known to man by any stretch of the imagination. A solitary desk of relatively normal black wood shall stand out in the center of this room, with a creature behind it typing away as if this is normal.

You know all of those desk-workers you have so eagerly dispatched of, tricked, talked to, or otherwise sacrificed to your greedy desire for more Objects? This is his true self, the being behind it all. Every soul that has ever been given to this beast has remained within his torturous gut for all eternity. Pray he does not make you one of these souls.

He will rise without a word from you, and sit you into a chair you did not previously see before. Now, the interrogation has begun.

Should you survive the next eight months with your sanity intact, I will be impressed. This monster will subject you to the most twisted conversation you have ever had in your life. He will accuse you of things, twist your words to get you to confess, then verbally reprimand you for what he has falsely accused you of. He will bend your mind, chew on your soul, and then spit it back out to you as if it is the vilest thing he has ever tasted. And once he has done this, you may believe him.

If, however, you possess the strength of mind and soul to overcome this, you will remember my number. Eight will solve all of the beast's problems and puzzles, and each time he attacks you and rebukes you for some new crime, rebuttal with the eight. It will be your salvation.

Sounds easy, doesn't it? But be wary, Seeker, for it will not be. The eight is not a magical toy for you to use, and I pray you understand what it is you are doing when you so eagerly throw my number in the beast's face. Be clever with your answers, conceal the eight beneath them, for if you do not the beast will find it, and will easily twist even that answer. I do not appreciate my number being so soullessly abused.

If your faith in yourself and the number eight remain sat at the end of the eighth-month conversation, the beast shall lead you to a corridor of white-walled rooms similar to the first, but completely bare inside. There will be eight, and if he leads to to the eighth, then you have been deemed worthy of the next portion of my challenge. Remember that the next eight days will be the last eight of your emotions and your faith, save in the eight. Should you forget my number, you will fall.

For eight days you will be subjected to endless amounts of torture; mental, emotional, and physical. Beasts you cannot comprehend will rend your soul and your body alike into pieces, then reconstruct you for their own amusement. Each will bear the mask of my brothers' numbers, starting from one and ending with seven. Should you, at any time, forget that eight is your only salvation and throw yourself at the mercy of another number, I shall make you my plaything for the rest of time.

On the ninth day, you will be freed. I do not know or control how this will happen, for it is outside of my number, but remember the eight nonetheless. It will save you, I promise.

Now you enter the final stages of my task. You will be led back to your original dwelling in this city, but a new occupant will have taken your place. This is another Seeker, come to claim my Object and my number in the time which has passed since you first accepted my challenge. Yes, it is true; it has only been eight days and the rest of time that you spent learning about my number was a lie. Steel your shock, and pose as the Holder of the Eight for this new Seeker.

Deceive him. Twist the eight, bend it, turn it into whatever you'd like, but make him truly believe that what you have taught him about the eight is true. For him to succeed is for you to fail. Remember, however, that he has been given the same instructions you have. Even after all the emotional and physical torment you have been through, you must successfully fool him into thinking you are the Holder. Just as I was optimistic toward you, remain optimistic toward this new Seeker. If he sees through this ruse, he will kill you.

When your conversation with the new Seeker is finished, kill him, by whatever means necessary. His soul will be delivered to the institution you have recently escaped from, and he will find himself tortured unimaginably for eternity. You now have his innocence on your conscience, but remain faithful to the eight. The greater your understanding of it, the greater your understanding of the necessity of your actions, and the more at peace you shall be.

Sleep one final night in the hotel, and dream of whatever you'd like. I think you shall find your dreams are much more under your control than before, and pertain to one particular subject more, as well. When you awaken, there should be a cheap, plastic eight ball on the bedrest beside you.

The eight ball is my gift to you for achieving what no other Seeker has achieved before. It does not have any special powers; it does not always give you the truth, or answer any question you wish of it. Nor does it control the minds of others. It is an ordinary eight ball, save being an Object, and it will serve as your only reminder of the eight which you now possess such great understanding. My understanding of.

Use the eight for whatever you'd like from now on. Bend psyches to your will, persuade anyone of anything, so long as it pertains to the number eight. The eight ball will remind you of what you have recently learned, for it is Object 484 of 2538. I think you will find your mastery over my number more useful than you might think.