Object 511

The Holder of Farewell

In any city, in any country, go to any airport terminal you can get yourself to. When you reach the ticket counter, ask to visit someone who calls himself "The Holder of Farewell". Everyone nearby will immediately fall silent and turn to stare at you, their faces soft and sad. The person behind the counter will choke back tears, then print out a plane ticket and hand it to you reluctantly. The moment the ticket is in your hand, everyone else in the airport will fade away, vanishing before your eyes. While alone here, always keep the ticket within arm's reach. If you do not, you too will vanish, never to reappear.

At this point, begin wandering through the now empty airport. Your wandering may last for only a few days, but most likely it will go on for years. When you get hungry or thirsty, you can steal food and drink from the airport's many vacant stores. No one is present to stop you. If you try to leave the airport, you will discover that the world outside has been replaced by a never-ending barren parking lot, completely without vehicles or people.

Assuming the crushing loneliness does not cause you to destroy yourself by purposely walking away from the ticket, eventually, you will encounter a strange man who is slowly waving at a wall. He will react to nothing save for a single question: "How do I say goodbye?" The man will respond simply by waving faster. Hold the plane ticket in one hand and imitate the man's wave with your other. The wall will then crumble, and beyond it, you will see every human who has ever lived, huddled together in an otherwise empty void. All of them will be aging at a frighteningly rapid pace. Continue waving goodbye as everyone you know, and billions you don't, grows old and dies in front of you. Should you stop waving for even a second, you will be sucked into the void and die alongside them.

If you somehow manage to wave nonstop, without once flinching or tiring, until every human has disintegrated into nothingness, both the man and the airport will fade away. You will now be standing in your bedroom, and except for the plane ticket in your hand, the world will be just as it was before you entered the airport. It will feel good to relax in your cozy home following your exhausting journey, but after what you experienced, for the rest of your life, you will be uncomfortably aware of how fleeting that cozy home truly is.

The plane ticket is Object5 511 of 2538. It is non-refundable.