Object 86

The Holder of the Lens

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 Lens". The attendant will not acknowledge your request at first, but you must continue to ask. When she raises her head, she will give you a questioning look, and ask if you are sure. If you have any doubt in your mind that you will not succeed, turn away quietly and never return. If you have no doubt of your impending victory, then give her a single nod. She will smile softly and lead you through a door behind the desk.

The door will open into a steel-gray hall, straight and narrow, barely wide enough for the two of you to traverse. Large mirrors, spaced at odd intervals along the walls, will reflect the two of you along the path; you must look in every one of them as you pass. Should one of the mirrors show that the attendant has disappeared, begin to pray, for you will not be long in this world. However, should it be you missing from the mirror, stop and turn to face it. The attendant will turn around and push it aside, revealing a darkened room. Make sure to thank her before you step inside; the powers in this place do not tolerate a rude visitor.

The mirror will slide silently back into place, coating the room in darkness, and a voice will begin to mutter nonsense words to itself for an indeterminate time. Should they stop, you must state calmly, "I am only here to see a friend." If the voice returns, it will not be a whisper, but a roar of anger that will shred your body, leaving your soul to be slowly consumed by the Holder; if the room begins to light up, then you have intrigued him.

You will find yourself in a small, dimly-lit room, with only a single chair in the center of the light. Stand still, do nothing until a voice asks you to sit, then do so. The Holder will ask you many questions, and you must answer them truthfully, and not make any attempt to clarify their details, no matter how damning they might be. Lying to him will bring out his demon, and you want to avoid that for now.

When he is finished, he will thank you for your honesty, and tell you that he wishes to know why you came. Ask him, "May I see your face?" The Holder will laugh kindly, and a pair of glasses will drop into your lap. Take the time to think of the one thing that means the most to you, and put the glasses on.

Now you will see the room in hole, oozing pestilent blood from every inch of every surface, save the small ring of illuminated floor. Do not stand until the Holder asks you to, and when he does, leap up onto the seat of the chair immediately. The light will go out, and blood will rush to fill the gap, but you will still be able to see through the lenses. Look directly ahead of you, and politely ask to see the Holder's face again.

The blood that forms the wall will part like a curtain, and a figure will emerge. If it is anything but the figure that you pictured in your mind before donning the glasses, quickly remove them and throw them aside. If you are fast enough, the darkness will part to reveal the doorway of the institution you came to; count yourself amongst the most fortunate. Should you be too slow, then your blood will be added to the room's - very, very slowly.

If, however, it is the object, step down from the chair. Your feet will touch the blood, but you will not sink. Take five steps forward and halt. The object, whatever or whomever it may be, will move to match your distance. Take three more steps, and wait for the object to move again, then take a single step. This time, when the object moves, you must ball up a fist and strike it with all of your strength you can muster. Hold nothing back, and press your fish through it. The surface will give way and shatter as glass, revealing a floating skull, with chunks of putrid, rotting flesh still clinging to its visage.

Pull your hand back immediately, and do not examine the wounds on your hand. Bow and thank the Holder as politely as you can. He will then ask, with horrid breath, if you wish to see your face. Politely decline, and begin to turn away. A hand will place itself on your shoulder, and the Holder will insist. Now, ask him, "How do they see?" The hand will then forcefully shove you down, and you will sink into the bloody floor. As you pass, press a hand to your face, and keep the glasses from falling away. They are all that protects you.

You will see scores of images, ghastly and demented, pass by your vision as you descend. In all of this, you must not avert your eyes in any way from these scenes, scarring as they might be, for one of them is you. As you pass your own mutilated image, reach out and touch it. The sea of blood will dissipate, replaced by complete darkness. When a door appears, open it. The light will be blinding, but you will find yourself safe, walking away from one of the institution's or halfway house's restrooms. Remember to say "Thank you," for the Holder has enjoyed your company.

The glasses you wear are Object 86 of 2538, the Eyes of Clarity. When the time comes, you can see what they see.