Object 69

The Holder of the Mind

In any town, in any country, go to any mental institution or rehabilitation clinic. Approach the front desk, and ask to see someone who calls themselves "The Holder of the Mind". There will form a look of reluctance on the employee's face, which they will hold just long enough that it is barely visible. Then, you will be led down a hallway, ending at a flight of stairs. The attendant will leave you at this point.

Ascend the stairs. They will go on for what seems like miles. If your step falters at any time, or you take time to rest, even a moment of respite, your focus will quickly lose clarity until it fades away entirely. If your consciousness returns thereafter, you may find yourself at whatever place you call home, and the institution or clinic will have essentially vanished from existence. If this is the case, thank whatever entity you wish that the least likely outcome came to pass. If your consciousness does not return, then you are still fortunate you did not awaken to find yourself where your more ill-fated predecessors arrived.

When you, at last, reach the apex of the staircase, you will find yourself in a dilapidated hallway, appearing as some portion of a high-right building. The wall to your left will have many doors. Do not open any of them under any circumstances, regardless of what sensations you feel urging you to do so. These feelings are scarcely more than base trickery. The doors restrain segments of your psyche mercifully shut away; to free them now is a grave mistake. The wall to your right is composed entirely of glass. Looking out this enormous window reveals whatever place you were born in, though entirely empty and devoid of life.

Walk the hallway. Its length is variable, so this may take even longer than your recent climb. At the opposite end, you will see a set of double doors. Unlike the many other doors in this hallway, you must open this one, though you may feel reluctance to do so. This is natural: your mind is still trying to protect you. Overcome this feeling, and step into the blackness within. Before long, a single spotlight will turn on from somewhere in the darkness above you, and all things within the spotlight will be made clear. Through its reflected light, you can see the surrounding area very slightly illuminated. It is best that you do not look too closely at the shifting images beyond the region of clarity.

The rings on the ground will indicate to you that you are in some kind of a circus tent, standing in the center ring. Across from you is a stout man with a flamboyant appearance, wearing a lustrous top hat that shades his eyes, blocking them from your view. Ask him, "What in me have They obscured?" Speak clearly, and more importantly, speak loudly. Speak as though you are addressing a crowd of thousands, or the ringmaster before you will have to remove you from the stage in a manner aimed to please the beings currently watching. Their sense of entertainment differs significantly from that of any human; hope that you do not find out how.

If you appeased the ringmaster, he will crack his whip. The sound will seem impossibly loud, and will be accompanied by a blinding flash of light. He will be gone, and in his place, two other people will have appeared. To your left stands the object of your hatred: whomever you have borne more resentment toward than any other you have known. To your right, the one most dear to you. Living or dead, these people will appear in the flesh in front of you.

Approach your mortal enemy, and wordlessly, he will hand you a knife. You will feel a strong compulsion to drive it into his chest - you must resist this urge at all costs. Instead, you must use it to carve the heart from your loved one. They will be conscious throughout, and will scream relentlessly for you to stop, crying out to understand why. Do not listen, and do not hesitate in your task, for the audience wishes to see the weak shed blood, and you do not wish to prove you are a valid candidate.

Retrieve the heart, and pass it to the ringmaster who now stands behind you. He will then tell you in great detail your first thought that compelled you to take up your present journey, and all context surrounding it. For some, this once-obscure knowledge replacing a false construction of the mind can drive them to such desperation as to plunge the knife into their own chest. If you resist this temptation, your vision will blacken, and you will regain consciousness in whatever place you were born. The knife you used will lie next to you. It will be a coarse red, forever stained with the blood of all lives you have caused to end.

The knife is Object 69 of 2538. You now have knowledge of why you began. If they come together, you will be held responsible.