Object 90

The Holder of the Seeker

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 themselves "The Holder of the Seeker". A bored look will stretch across their face and they will ask you, "Friend or Family?" as they shuffle through their papers. Answer promptly, but calmly, that you are "The One Who Seeks". They will shoot you a look that will make you feel as if you were already committed. Perhaps you should be if you are actually considering this voyage. The clerk will dismiss you, claiming to have no time for pranks. Do not press the issue. You will only be escorted out by the guards, and your attempt will be ruined. Leave at once, and place your hand on the door of the building. Many who have sought this Holder distinctly remember weeping bitterly at this point, though I doubt you will need to. Scream at the top of your lungs, with a voice enough to shake the stones, "I know that they are real! Don't let this end here!"

You will feel a hand on your back. Perhaps she will touch your shoulder or arm, or perhaps she will tug on your pant leg. Turn to face her, although she will not be there. You will find a rundown shack directly across or down the road from you. If a forbidding air seems to push you away from it, you know you have found the place. If you wish to spare yourself the innumerable horrors of the 2538 Objects, turn back now. No one will think less of you. However, if you are brave, steel yourself and knock upon the plastic sliding door.

It will slide back, revealing a beautiful woman in an elegant dress. Her eyes will be dark-ringed from lack of sleep, and red from crying for so many years. So many years. And those brown eyes were so vivid once. She will ask you if you truly believe in them. Tell her the truth, for if you are lying to her this day she will know, and your quest will end here. If you do tell her the truth, and she likes your answer, then she will invite you in. Remove your shoes once inside. She is a neat freak and would be angry if you tracked anything on the carpet. Yes, the inside of this ramshackle place will be opulent, bedecked in marble, gold, silks, and fine woods. Some exist here who remember building this for her.

Touch nothing as she escorts you into her lounge. Especially not the crystals. Once inside the lounge, sit at the low table as she reclines opposite you. This table is shaped like a bagua, with a crystal ball in the center and feet made from effigies of the other Objects. Do not look at them. Do not touch the ball. There will be time for this yet. She will ask you questions, deep questions about your dark secrets. Questions that will lay bare your every sin and failure. If she begins to cry, know this: she weeps for you, and she weeps for herself. Do not console her.

After a while, she will touch the crystal ball. Do so as well. She will ask your name. Give it in full. Your name will drift away into the crystal ball. She will ask your birthdate. Give it. It, too, will drift away. She will ask you for your titles, your pseudonyms, your screennames, your nicknames. All will float away from you and into her crystal ball. When she bids you rise, do so, and follow her to her bedchamber. Here, she will lay out clothes on the bed and step outside, still clutching her crystal ball. Strip yourself naked in front of the mirror. Do not leave a single ring on your finger, or in your ear. You must be bare of all but your skin. Throw your clothes into the unlit fireplace. Dress yourself in the clothes that she laid out for you. Your fate will be sealed by the colors of the garments.

Lie down in the bed. Do not lie on your side or on your stomach, for if you do, you will stay there for all eternity, never able to sleep, but experiencing every nightmare there ever was or will be in every moment. Lie still for four minutes and thirteen seconds. If you stir, she will not come. When she does come she will be wearing the same clothes that you are, and her raven black hair will be deftly brushed. Her makeup will be done to a tee, and she will look ever so beautiful. This is your last glimpse of true beauty before your long journey or horror. She will toss your shoes into the fireplace and light it, burning all of your clothes and belongings. She will then lay down next to you in the bed, smoothing back your hair as a mother might her child. Watch in stillness as hundreds of grotesque servants enter the room. Do not look them in their pain-wracked eyes. Do not listen to their sullen murmurings. For if you do, they will make sounds that will slowly and painfully melt your every bone. They will then take your frameless form from the bed and consume you alive, inconsiderate and unworthy person you are.

As long as you do not do these things, and you allow her to pet you, and you stay absolutely still, you may watch as these servants in their black clothing bring in your every belonging and throw it into the fire. Do not weep for the loss of these things. The worst is yet to come. When all your things have burned to cinders, she will roll over and straddle your waist. She will then poke and prod your muscles and nerves. At times she will seem to poke at your very marrow. She will then rise to her full height and say, "You know what it is you must ask. Ask it."

Ask her, "Am I the One Chosen to Seek Them?"

This may yet be your last moment with your mind, heart, soul, and body intact. She will likely begin to cry ever harder. Her tears will splash down on your chest. She will begin to massage her tears into your skin. If, at this point, her nails dig into you know that your every lie this day has been discovered. Foul creature, how could you lie to her? Her tears will leak into your veins and dissolve your will into a screaming husk, and you will serve to carry people's belongings for all eternity, but never have any of your own.

She may look down at you in pity, for you have come so far and experienced unimaginable horrors, and have even told the absolute truth to her, but you are not the Chosen. She will apologize for what has been done to you and what you may have been forced to do. She will then ask you, "Do you want to forget?" You may respond in one of three ways. If you say yes, all your belongings will be returned to you. You will be returned to your home, and will have no memory of the Holders, Objects, or the horrors you have witnessed in seeking them. If you say no, as some do, her house will vanish from around you. You will have no clothes and no belongings, but you will have knowledge of the Objects as well as whatever Objects you have already collected. If you seek to collect them for personal gain, this is the option to choose. However, you may say "No, but I wish to aid the Chosen." In this case, she will tell you the name and location of the Chosen. You must immediately seek him out, tell him of the Bride, and turn over to him whatever Objects you possess. After this, as with the "yes" answer, you will be returned to your home with all your belongings and no memory of the Holders.

If, however, she bends over and kisses you on the lips, and your white garments touch hers, know that you have been chosen. She will tell you of the Holders who have been lost to documentation. She will tell you the proper order in which to approach the Holders, so that you may seek Them. And by seeking Them, seek Him. She will then whisper into your ear your new name, your name as the Seeker of Holders. Know now that every person who knows of you will not remember any name, pseudonym, nickname, or screen name you gave or ever will give them. Only your name as the Seeker of Holders. If you stand at the front steps of any mental institution or halfway house and ask the wind to bring you the Bride of the Seeker, her home will appear for you as a haven from your troubles.

You are not Object 90 of 2538, the Seeker of Holders. Whether you seek to gather them or destroy them, we who have gone before you pray for your soul.

Do not let us down.