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(NOTE: All 545 OBJECT ENTRIES IN THE HOLDERS SERIES ARE WRITTEN BY UNKNOWN AUTHORS)

The Holder of Life

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 Life". The worker will try to suppress a groan and you will have to ask again. He will then lead you to an operating room that looks just like any other you might or might not have seen in your life. The worker will give you a scalpel and then leave you alone in the room, locking the door behind him.

You will have to wait. Wait for almost an hour. Then the door will open and several people will enter the room, including a pregnant woman. The woman will lie down on the operating table; the other people, who will look like doctors, will prepare everything for the child's birth. While they do that, you will be able to ask the woman one question. Ask "How can they be reassembled"? Say nothing else, or the doctors will begin to skin and disassemble you. You will be fully conscious while they do this.

If you have asked the right question, the woman will begin to scream, the child is about to be born. You will have to wait until it's over, and one of the doctors will give you the child, moving his mouth, but without sound coming from his lips. As soon as he finishes 'talking' and smiles, you will have to throw the child to the ground and ram the scalpel into its head, or else it will smash your rib-cage and rip your heart out with inhuman strength.

If you have thrown the child to the ground in time, it will, despite the scalpel in its head, answer the question you have asked earlier. It will speak with a demonic voice that might drive you mad. While it is talking, the other people in the room will vanish without leaving a trace. After the child finishes talking, it will simply die and the door of the room will unlock. You are now free to go, if you have not been driven mad by the voice.

The dead baby is object 11 of 538. Dare you remove the scalpel?

The Holder of Catastrophe

In any city, in any country, go to any abandoned amusement park you can enter. Find the largest roller coaster in the park, no matter its condition. Take a seat on the far left side of the first cart, then close your eyes and whisper "I wish to see the Holder of Catastrophe."

You will feel the coaster start to move, yet you cannot open your eyes, or you will find yourself moving through an endless void which you will never escape. The coaster will then slowly start to head up, for what seems to be ages as you listen to the rumbling of the tracks. You will then hear voices whisper at you and ask you to save them, yet you must not respond to them, or they will take you away to the same void to which they belong.

The voices will stop speaking to you and the cart will come to a stop. With your eyes still closed, you must grasp the bar in the cart as tightly as you possibly can, or you will be left behind forever. After you do so, you will feel yourself plummeting straight down at impossible speeds. The air around you will start to grow cold, and continues as it feels as if you are freezing. As you sense the cart around you disappear, you must keep hold of the bar, as it is the only thing keeping you attached to reality.

Abruptly you will stop. Drop the bar, and sit still with your eyes closed until you start to hear the sound of a carnival fanfare in the distance, and only than can you open your eyes, to which you will be greeted by a large pinstriped circus tent a few yards in front of you, surrounded by meadows and happy people, young and old. You must walk towards the tent, staring at the small entrance which is shrouded by darkness. As you continue walking, the scenery around you will start morphing. Slowly the meadow dies, the carnival music slows and bends in pitch until it starts to sound twisted and demonic. The people decay in the very spots they stand. They will scream in agony, and ask you to help them, yet you cannot look directly at them, or you will meet the same fate as these illusions.

You must continue forward until you finally reach the dark entrance. Walk forward and allow yourself to be swallowed by the darkness, yet do not stop or look back, as if you do either, you will never find an exit. Continue your walk into the void until you see a dim light in the distance, and start to hear the sobbing of a man. Follow these two signs, as you hear the crying of the man growing louder, until you can see the light is coming from a door in the darkness.

When you walk through the door, you will be greeted by a cold, cement cell. In the far left corner, you will see the crying man dressed as a circus clown, covering his face with a small diary. You must slowly approach him, as not to aggravate him, until he is right by your feet. Sit down next to him and ask, "What do we have to lose?"

The clown will then read you an excerpt from the diary through his sobs. The writings in detail describe the demise of millions of innocents, and the forces that so cruelly and coldly carried out this act. As he reads, illusions will appear around you, and in the side of your vision you will see every death of every person in the story, many of which were slaughtered, many of which were taken by disease. However, you must keep looking at the clown, as if you lose sight of him, you will be stuck in this illusion and you will become part of the story yourself.

After he is done, he will stop crying. He will lower the book from in front of his face, revealing that he has suffered the same decay as the illusions which you had seen before. He will hand the book to you, which you must accept. He warns that you cannot read the diary yourself, or else you will be driven mad.

He will then whisper, "When the stakes are high, best to play the clown," as the rest of his body starts to decay, as well as the room around you. You must close your eyes one more time, keeping hold of the book, and count to exactly twelve seconds before opening them. When you do, you will find yourself in the same seat of the roller coaster in which you began.

The diary is Object 12 of 538. These events must never be allowed to occur again.

The Holder of Darkness

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 with no hesitation to visit someone who calls himself "The Holder of Darkness." The worker will mock you but you have to stay as calm as possible. Keep asking him until he stops denying and withdraws from his counter to guide you through the corridors. As his behavior changes radically, stay on guard, for if you start hearing one single tiny sinister hiss, you should turn around and flee as far as you can, covering your ears, because the time was bad. If you do not escape in time, the faint sound will turn into a dreadful growling, that will soon merge into a continuous shriek of sheer pain, until madness floods you and leaves you to die in a deafening agony.

If the warden remains silent, he will lead you to a closed door with neither handles nor lock. As he pushes it open effortlessly, you will see an ascending winding staircase which cannot possibly lead to any upper floor of the establishment. The door will close behind you and you will not be able to push it back. Past this point, climb and do not turn back, or you will fall into a bottomless pit waiting for living prey to chew upon. Do not count the steps, for knowing how many there are will drive you to insanity. One will then creak, and at that point you should stop. Another door should appear on your left. If it is on your right, then pray for a swift passing.

Enter slowly into the room, and a blinding, obscuring darkness shall descend upon you. You will be required to walk straight forward, for straying even slightly will lead you to be devoured by the roaming and unknown creatures observing you with blinded and purulent eyes. You will know you have arrived when coldness grips you. At that very moment, freeze, or you will die by the hands of the holder who is standing right in front of you. In complete darkness, even closing your eyes will not prevent you from his horrid appearance. It will form into your mind as the most outrageous monster ever conceived, and madness will try to creep into your brain as worms over a decayed corpse. His fulminating breath and constant mumbling would be enough to make you cry, but be advised not to utter anything louder than a weeping, for you might wake what must not be awakened. The only question you will be able to whisper without being torn apart will be "What do they fear"?

You will feel movements all around you, as shudders animate your opponents. You will hear what nameless and incurable diseases will strike the world if they were to be frightened, the countless terrors their own fright will unleash on those with a weaker mind than theirs. again. When your head is about to implode, it will stop. If you are still able to move, you will find a door in front of you which leads you outside of the ward. There, in the open, in Amidst the atrocious enumeration of the endless sores the world will suffer, you might hear the simplest, almost ridiculous, yet implacable and certain truth they all fear. Do not move the grass, a broken hourglass will wait for you.

You are free to pick it up. It is object 13 of 538. Your knowledge of their fears is up to you to share, but you may not want to use it as a weapon against them.


The Holder of the Adversary

In any city, in any country, venture across the highways and lonely roads until you reach the city's bottom rung. Walk among the ones society has cast away, beggars and poor picked raw by the demands of those better off. Should you come across a scruffy man under a large oak tree holding a bottle of liquor in a paper bag, his shirt sweat-stained and his pants muddied, do not be afraid to ask him if he knows of the one who calls itself "The Holder of the Adversary".

More than likely, he will smile knowingly at you, like an old friend with whom you've just shared an inside joke. Do not be alarmed; the man knows of the one you search for. The less fortunate of us often know things we will never dream of. He will guide you to a manhole and casually slide the metal lid off with one grimy boot. Tossing you a small flashlight which flickers precariously, he will urge you down into the darkness.

Once inside the putrid womb of the sewage system, you will come to realize that it bears no unpleasant scent - no scent whatsoever, in fact. But, turning on the flashlight and gazing at your surroundings, you will notice you are in a round room. On all the walls will hang partially decomposed bodies, their owners forever suspended in a state of half-awareness, feeling all the pain and horror of a body withering and rotting around them. Corpses litter the floors, and you may notice that one nearly touches you. Do not shrink back. To show cowardice would invite no creature or entity that you would do well to know.

Once you have observed your surroundings, the smell will arrive. It will be the most awful thing you could imagine: human and animal excrement, sulfur, rotting bodies, burning flesh. You will want to claw your nose from your face, and the watering of your eyes will nearly blind you.

But do not cower, do not run, and resist the urge to vomit. You will find a thought in your head, unbidden: "We are the remains of the ones who could not face the Adversary." There is no source of this whisper, though it may curl around you as if carried by the stench itself. Suddenly, the bodies will rupture and burst, one by one, releasing more of the horrible stench and bathing you in rotted bodily fluids and slimy chunks of human refuse.

The corpses then will sink to the floor, and what rises from the slurry is a creature of pure beauty. Man, woman, or something else entirely - it depends on you yourself. It will not be possible to shake your gaze from this gorgeous, naked human until you realize the creature is an idealized caricature of you. Confident, heart-achingly gorgeous, smiling a gentle, patient smile, It will be everything you yourself could ever desire to become.

You will be overcome by a sudden jealousy, a total anger, a need to annihilate this perfect you. Do not give in, no matter how strong the temptation. If you do, you are doomed to the Adversary's wrath - the eternal torment of the Damned you have witnessed prior. There is only one question you must ask the exquisite creature: "What could they destroy?"

The Holder of the Adversary will laugh at you melodically, condescendingly, and will explain to you as though you are a small, stupid child exactly the answer to your question. It will spare you no details, even the most horrific. Though horrifying, the story will be interesting and calming to listen to, and you will find yourself absorbed in a childlike fascination with The Holder. You may liken its story to one told to you by a loved one or a guide when you were a child, and you will know that you now have the key to defeating the Adversary - that which the Damned could not acquire.

At the end of the story, The Holder will ask, smiling pleasantly, "What will you do now, my child?" If it asks you anything else, or tells you something different, your fate is sealed, and when you eventually emerge from the sewer, the ragged people you have encountered will descend upon you like ravenous animals, and tear you apart with tooth and nail, feeding on your body. There is no escape, only the knowledge that it will happen.

Regardless of your fate, The Holder will place an Object in your palm and close your hand around it. "You mustn't open your hand until you are free of this place," it will say, as a fitting good-bye.

Now you must turn and leave, and do not look back. Once you escape the sewer, and if you are lucky, you may open your fingers. What you will find there is a green plastic army man toy.

That toy is Object 14 of 538. It understands how to defeat your greatest foe, and must never be allowed to join the rest.


The Holder of the Past

In any city, in any country, go to any mental institution or halfway house in you can get yourself to. When you reach the front desk, ask to visit someone who calls himself "The Holder of the Past". At the last syllable of your sentence, his eyes should open wide and stare at you as if he was attempting to see past your skin into your soul. Don't ask any questions, because he won't speak to you, and in the case that he does, you will wish he hadn't. He will take you down a long hallway and you will walk with him for what will seem like hours. Stare straight ahead the entire time, for if you look at the floor, walls, or ceiling of the hallway, you will run into a dead end and the worker will pursue you with a hellish bloodlust until you are completely disemboweled.

After exactly 350 paces the worker will stop, turn around, and pull a watch out of his pocket. He will turn the dial backward one hour and at that point, you will have one hour to complete your task. If you don't, then there are no words to describe your fate. The lights will go out for exactly 3 seconds, and when they turn back on, you will be in a room with no doors and a red-tinted skylight shaped like a pentagram. This will cast a blood-red star in the middle of the room where a splintered cherry table with two seats will be. Sitting at the seat closest to you, look up. Look down again, and a man with long, dirty black hair will be face-down on the table. He will answer to one question: "Where did He once stand?"

The man will speak not of a place that exists on any map, but will describe the room in painfully grotesque detail. Pay very close attention, he will enumerate exactly how many of what horrible object hang from spears protruding from the walls. You have the rest of the hour to find the room and sit in His throne. If you fail, I suggest you become armed; heavily.

His Throne is object 15 of 538. If brought together, He may once again return.

The Holder of the Future

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 see someone who calls himself the "Holder of the Future". Do not follow if the attendant offers to show you the way; he is not the true guide, and will lead you into madness. The true guide will fall silent and hand you a sheet of paper on which the way forward is written in lines of blood and fire. Walk forward, concentrating on the writing. If your focus doesn't waver, you will pass through both desk and man to find yourself in a long, disused hallway. It may once have seemed opulent, full of color and promise, but the walls are now stained and the carpet is black and filthy.

As you pass through the hall images will flicker in previously-unseen windows. It may seem that, from the corner of your eye, you see friends long-dead beckon to you, or lost lovers turned young and new once more as they offer themselves to you again. Voices seem to whisper that the windows hold second chances, opportunities to make things right. You can choose again, they seem to say, but you mustn't look up from the paper in your hands. To do so is to glimpse fully what watches you from outside, and that would leave you at an end truly beyond salvation.

Accounts differ as to the hallway's ultimate, impossible length. Some say that you must continue to walk until you have glimpsed each of all your possible futures through the windows. Others imply that the closer the time of uniting approaches, the shorter one will find the journey to the end of the hall. If the latter is true, may all who enter find their path long beyond reckoning.

You may only look fully away from the paper at the end of the hallway, and even there you may never look behind you. The door before you leads into a ballroom that, like the hallway, has fallen from its former bright elegance into filth and despair. Move forwards into the gloom until the door and all chance of escape are lost behind you.

Walk with care. The Holder watches you even now.

The path forward once passed straight through the center of the room, but the center has not held over the many years, and the way has...drifted. You may never find your way if it has drifted too far, and you will spend the rest of your unnaturally long life wishing you had given yourself to the windows' half-glimpsed temptations. If you are fortunate, however, you will find a single point where the little light remaining fades away completely, and there you must close your eyes and wait, regardless of what should happen next. If you have pleased the Holder, you will come to hear a cat's soft purr, and you will feel its warmth twining around your feet.

You must keep your eyes closed until a voice has asked you "What will you do with them?" three times. To answer the first or second time will turn the purrs to snarls as the touch of a thousand razored claws pricks your throat. Only after the third and final time may you open your eyes.

In front of you will be a woman lying on a bed. As with the rooms that preceded her chamber she might long ago have been stunningly beautiful, and though she lies naked on her bed she is nauseatingly fat, her skin pockmarked with bedsores and dead flesh and syphilitic blooms. Hundreds of cats cluster around her; eventually one will come to stand expectant at your feet. Speak only to this one, telling him "I will do what I must".

He will then teach you the language of the cats, and once you have learned the others will tell you a secret that was never meant for human ears. You must never reveal it until such time when you have nothing else in the world to give; cats are jealous creatures and delight in the pain of those who betray their trust.

Their secret is the 16th of 538. I may speak no more of it.

The Holder of the Present

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 with no hesitation to visit someone who calls himself "The Holder of the Present." The worker will look at you vaguely; you have to ask him again. Once the worker understands your question he will lead you through a door into a hallway that looks like it's an extension of Hell itself.

In this hallway you will find nothing but darkness and the feeling of unimaginable horror. If you should hear a shriek coming from the left of you, start running towards the door you just came from or you will be devoured by demons yelling incomprehensible babble from mouths awash with vile poison.

If you should hear a shriek coming from the right of you, start running towards the door that your path leads to. Ignore the worker and keep running until you reach the door. If you should hear another shriek coming from anywhere around you, close your eyes and pray to the gods that your death will be a swift one.

Should you not hear a shriek, just follow the worker until he unlocks the door at the other end of the hallway. He will now ask you to enter, and he will leave.

In this room you will only find two things: a naked girl whose left hand is a mangled stump, seemingly torn to shreds by an otherworldly maw, and the rusted key chain she is holding. You must look at the key chain and may not avert your eyes from it. You can say nothing, except ask her this one question: "Why do they belong together?"

Now move eyesight to the face of the girl. She will look at you and tell you the most gruesome story of the present, how this present has come to be, how it is now and eventually how it will be. The girl will slowly move towards you, do not move, and stay still until she is but one footstep away from you. She will put the shredded piece of rot that was once her left hand on your shoulder. She will then whisper into your ear, "The time has come, and now you must die." Do not react to this statement. Just keep staring into her eyes and eventually you will feel something being pushed into your hand.

The key chain is Object 17 of 538. Only the keys that are meant for it can be put on it, and all other keys shall be repelled.

The Holder of Passion

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 with no hesitation to visit someone who calls himself "The Holder of Passion." The worker will blush and daydream; you will have to ask two more times until he finally nods and gestures you to follow him.

He will lead you into a hallway. You will hear a muffled diesel engine, but for the moment, it does not matter. Ignore it for now. Instead, listen to any whispering you hear. If it stops, it is vital for your sanity that you shut your eyes, for a horrifying creature will emerge from the ground and after a short time leave through the ceiling.

Should you hear the whispers in unknown languages until you and the warden reach a door made from stone, you are safe. Now, listen to the engine. If it keeps running, proceed and open the door. Do not even try to imagine what happens when the engine stops; nobody has ever been able to tell after it has stopped.

Now, if the door has been opened, the worker will leave you alone. Enter the door and walk straight forward until it closes. Now, you have to say the words "Excuse me, I'd like to learn from you.” If you did anything wrong, you will be dead before you even realize it, so do not worry much about this. Should nothing happen for several dozen seconds, you may resume walking. Do this until you reach a heart that is as big as your head. Do not touch it, instead, turn around. You will see either the most beautiful woman or the most horrific creature your eyes have ever witnessed. The latter only appears if you have touched the still-beating heart. Its sight alone will almost drive you insane and haunt you for the rest of your life.

Should you see the woman, look at her eyes, nowhere else, even if she does not wear any clothes. The beauty will literally blind you and you will be forced to wander around in her realm until the end of your life. If you are able to keep looking at her eyes, you may ask one question: "Are they alive?" The woman will suddenly moan soundly and lay down on the ground, beginning to satisfy herself by masturbating. You must now quickly close your eyes and hold your ears shut with your hands, as her moaning will slowly destroy your mind and body, should you hear it clearly.

After some time, you will feel someone touch your right shoulder. You may now open your eyes and lower your hands. Do not turn around to whoever touched you. Instead, look at where the woman was. She will now be gone, only ash is what is left of her. Search within the ash for her uterus. Take it and close your eyes. Open them again after you felt something cold touch your head. You will be back in the mental institute, behind the warden who guided you to the stone door.

The uterus is Object 18 of 538. It has one child left to bear.

The Holder of Innocence

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 with no hesitation to visit someone who calls himself "The Holder of Innocence." The worker will say nothing, but a single tear should fall from her eye.

She will guide you to a forgotten hallway in an abandoned wing of the run-down institution. She will not enter the hall with you, but will only look into your eyes with a cautious hope, her own expression seeming to beg for salvation. Should you enter the hall, you will not see much, save for the dirty, broken fragments of what were once beautifully carved ivory statuettes. Before long, you will hear a soft whimper from the other side. Pay close attention, for if the whimper stops, then all hope is already lost. There is no use in running away.

As you turn the handle of the simple wooden door on the other side, a warm and cozy light will greet your face. You will find yourself in the bedroom of a young girl of eighteen years. The girl herself will be sitting cross-legged on the floor at the foot of the bed, her only garment an open night-robe, exposing the entirety of her pure body. She is the source of the tortured whimpers, and nothing you say to console her will end her torrent of stifled wails.

Only, if you ask her "What happened when it was first created? she will become silent to glance up towards your face. Her beauty will render you breathless, and if you are still capable of any thought it will be only the realization that in her you see everything in this world that you truly love. Suddenly, you will realize that the girl is bleeding from her nether regions as a grotesque phallus emerges from the petit orifice between her legs. The object will pulsate with its own life, and you will find that it is hypnotizing you. Do not look away, for you do not wish to try its patience. Soon, the room will disappear before your eyes, and you will be standing in the most serene clearing you have ever witnessed, and all of nature's fauna that you recognize will go about their lives around you, with no fear of anything, not even death. Suddenly, though, a shadow will fall over the meadow, and you will witness the forest all around burst into a pillar of flame. What happens next, no man can dwell on for long before going insane, but in the strength of the human mind you will endure. In the end you will hear screams and moans and groans, but what will overcome you more than anything are the quiet whimpers, the stifled cries, of all the sullied innocents of the world that was. You realize that these cries will continue to be heard all across the globe until the world's end. None can endure those near-silent pleas and still maintain the slightest hope for the future.

The illusion will fade, and you will find yourself back in the room. You will find the girl lying dead on the floor, her face a mixture of agony and horror, her already decaying body feeding the now towering phallus and giving it a sinister glow.

That is Object 19 of 538. If you touch it then it will be yours, but if you let it master you then it will use your body to seek and assemble all the pieces, no matter what the cost.

The Holder of Deception

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 Deception." The worker will look at you with an expression of shock on her face. Then, with superhuman speed she will attack you with her baton. If you are not knocked unconscious by the first blow, flee the city, for they will know what you are after.

When your consciousness returns, you will be in a magnificent courtyard on a starry night. There will be a great stone staircase that appears to ascend to the heavens themselves. Climb this staircase, but never look behind you. If you do, the stairs will begin to crumble and you will plummet into the void for an eternity.

After what will seem like days of climbing, you will come to a landing overlooking a great marble amphitheater styled in the ancient Greek fashion. Descend to the bottom of the amphitheater. An old man in opalescent robes will be waiting for you on a dais in the center. This storied old man will be lecturing as if there was a great crowd - however, you must not listen to him, for not a word he speaks is true. If you are drawn in by his charismatic speaking, your mind will be completely subjugated by his deception and you will be his slave for eternity. He will only react to one question: "What is the only truth you are permitted to speak of?"

The man will look down at you with an expression of great sadness. He will then impart on you a story that will shake the very foundations of your soul with great sorrow, but will leave you knowing one important truth: the number itself is not as it seems. He will then motion you towards an exit from the amphitheater, and continue his lecture. Turn away from him quickly, for you will now be able to see the legions of horrific, twisted demons sitting on the seats of the amphitheater. Do not gaze towards any of them longer than a moment, or else they will tear you apart and add you to their collection of souls. Walk to the exit as quickly as possible. There will be a great grimoire on a stand next to the door. Take the grimoire and exit through the door. You will find yourself in the back alley behind the asylum.

The grimoire you clutch, with its pages firmly strapped shut and locked with a great steel padlock, is Object 20 of 538. If you wish to see past the deception and reunite them, you must find the key.

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