Object 565

The Holder of the Ugly

In any city, in any country, go to the newest hospital or clinic that you can find. When you reach the front desk, there may be a beautiful young woman wearing an ID tag that spells out a name you've never seen or heard before, but which seems somehow intimately familiar. Ask her for "The Holder of the Ugly".

If the attendant laughs, that will be the last sound you will ever hear.

That tinkling elfin laughter will follow you for the rest of your days.

The ensuing deafness to all other sounds will be grating at first, and the sleep loss will prove damaging both mentally and physically for at least the first six months, but a great number of people suffering from complete hearing loss live very full, healthy, and active lives. Within five years, statistics say that you will have acclimated marvelously.

There will also be substantial weight gain, hair loss, and ensuing full-body acne, but these are treatable.

If the young woman only smirks, then you are safe for the moment.

Your teeth will be gone within three weeks, and you will require cataract surgery once a year for the rest of your life to avoid total blindness, but you're technically safe.

The attendant will then lead you to an ordinary-looking section of the hospital or clinic a few floors up; the only thing different from the rest is that there is not a speck of dust, not a hair out of place, and not a person wandering the halls. Do not look at the doors lining the walls, for the names - each of a woman you've known - will only tempt you to look inside.

If you do peek, you will behold for a second the most beautiful figure you have ever seen, or ever will. All other beauties, from this day forward, will pale compared to her. After getting your eyeful of the occupant, it would be wise to avert your gaze immediately. There is no record of what she becomes; the only thing those who survived could do was scream until their dying day.

Some of them became very adept at biting off their own extremities, as well.

At the end of the hallway, the attendant will turn to you. If she laughs, once again, the test is over. No god can save you... although knee- and hip-replacement surgery techniques are much more impressive now than they were only a few short years ago, and the loss of a quarter-inch in height each month is survivable for a surprisingly long period of time.

If she does anything else, you're on the right track. At this point, the attendant may ask you questions, give you a riddle, or even attempt to seduce you; feel free to engage with her mentally or physically as you see fit, but I would suggest avoiding any topics that might cause her to laugh.

She will eventually unlock the door at the end of the hall on the left titled BURN UNIT and walk back.

Open the door she has unlocked and step inside. The room will be filled with pornographic photos of beautiful models, with a single mirror on the wall opposite you. DO NOT LOOK AT THE MIRROR. I will spare you the description of the true nature of this horrible thing, suffice to say the lowest circle of hell would be a welcome respite from the sight you will see.

All right, fine. One hint: the mirror reflects what you truly look like at your very worst, stripped of all artifice, poise, and expectation. It encompasses your total appearance and presentation at the depths of your most drunken, helpless, depressed, and unwashed, and shows you for who you really are. The mirror reveals the way your worst enemy saw you on the day they hated you the most; it is the image of you in the mind of everyone who wishes you had killed yourself.

If you've ever had a single nagging doubt about yourself, you really don't want to take a look.

Avoid the photos as if they were of brutal executions. In the center of the room, there will be an attractive, 40-ish aged woman asleep on a hospital bed with an exquisite form and luscious hair. Do not take your eyes off of her. Wait until she stirs, and then quickly yell, "Why do they smirk?" before she raises her head.

If she continues to move, immediately look at the pictures on the wall, for anything is better than the horrible sight before you. If she stops, she will begin to speak in a soft, sweet voice and tell of the beauty of the world; slowly, her tale will turn into one of jealousy and hatred, petty revenge and casual cruelty. Listen carefully and never take your eyes off of her hair.

She will discuss in condescending tones what makes the world beautiful, and will laugh as she explains, at length, what the thin, dim glamor of glitter and sunlight truly hide.

When you hear the word "ugly", cover your eyes. She will attempt to coax you into opening them, but do not yield. She will become insistent. She will beg, and she will whimper. She will promise, and then deliver, a variety of shocking sexual acts, and will also engage in lengthy sessions of violent self-harm using a variety of medical instruments. Finally, you will hear a scream and the mirror shattering. Open your eyes. You should be at the entrance of the hospital or clinic. The attendant will ask you why you look so tired, and flirt with you; ignore her and reach into your pocket. There will be an envelope there. Do not open it. Do not hold it up to the light to see inside. There is only a photograph.

This photograph is Object 565 of 2538.

Seeing the photograph causes seizures, vomiting, swelling of the tongue, and complete loss of bowel control. It is a weapon. Use the horror.

Your reflection will be distorted and inhuman for as long as you live.