Beyond The Holders
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[A chapter of The Holder of Deliverance.]
Author: J. Quincy
When Objects are in the hands of Seekers, any number of things could happen to them. They’ll trade hands sometimes, or even get lost. When this happens, often times they’ll either somehow find their way back to their owner, or wind up back with their Holder.
Most of the time, Seekers will hang on to them obsessively. Even for those Seekers that seem to retain their sanity after getting one, the pendulum will always swing back. They will start to change. The addiction takes hold of them, and as they become disconnected from the world around them, they form a bond with their Object.
Every now and then, you will hear strange stories of Seekers vanishing unexpectedly, with no one having any idea where they went. If you dig deep enough, you may discover that there are often power outages around the areas they lived at the time of their disappearance. When this happens, a new Holder has been born.
At some point, I should have given up. I’ve gotten myself deep into something I didn’t fully understand, out of pure curiosity. At what point should I have just stayed home?
Yet, every time I dwell on it, I can’t bear the thought of returning to my former life. Every day was the same, repeated over and over. I came to New York with dreams that were not being realized, and as a result, I was falling more and more into a spiral of monotony.
I told myself from the moment I got involved that I wouldn’t stop until I had all my answers, and I still had not changed my mind. Even after the meeting with Thompson, I had to dig deeper. It was the only thing I could do.
What did the message “Save me” mean? Was she even in trouble? What was she after? To get these answers, I’d have to find the Librarian. He is well known in the Seeker community, as a researcher who spends most of his days gathering information about the Objects and Holders. As it turns out, he’s not very popular; the Seekers’ favorite nicknames for him range from “wannabe Seeker” to “coward.” He lives in Boston, which is several hours away, but if I must, the drive wouldn’t bother me.
In the meantime, I had to admit that my curiosity became almost obsessive when I began to look at some of the Holder instructions.
These “instructions” have been gathered from various sources, most of which are questionable at very best, but I’ve been told this is how it is intended to be. No matter how much I ask, these Seekers simply can’t prove for sure that the Objects really exist.
Part of what makes them so enticing is that, despite this, any person could go to a certain place, ask to visit a Holder, and undergo a test to earn an Object. As far as most of the Objects went, it was that easy to start, and then you would know for sure.
All of my other questions had to take a backseat to the most important one. First, I had to know if they were real. I had to find an Object for myself.
“In any city, in any country, go to any mental institution or halfway house you can get yourself to.”
The instructions I have now are very clear on what I have to do for this Object. I’m standing outside of a mental hospital in Hartford, the notes on the paper quivering slightly in my hand. Why am I so nervous? All I have to do is go in, ask for the Holder, and walk back out feeling embarrassed. The clerk will probably just give me a funny look, that’s all. But, what if that’s not what happens?
I creak open the doors slowly and make my way to the front desk. My heart is pounding in my ears, and I almost have to remind myself how to walk. The woman at the front desk is staring at me like I’m a patient that had wandered loose, so I try to avert my gaze as I reach the desk.
“May I help you?” she asks monotonously.
It’s too late to go back now.
“May I speak to the Holder of Change?”
It takes a moment for the words to sink in, and she begins to raise her eyebrows, like I expected. But, she freezes, and her pupils dilate. Her whole frame seems to sink, and her face becomes expressionless. I can hardly breathe, but she lets out a sigh that seems to last for minutes. Then, slowly, she walks to the door of a broom closet and opens it, before walking away down a hall.
It must be a joke. Some elaborate prank that the clerk was in on. She reacted exactly as the instructions said she would. There was no way this was circumstantial right?
I step into the broom closet and shut the door tight. It was the only way to know for sure. There was no way the next part could be set up, no matter how much the pranksters prepared. I would open the door back into the mental institution, and the clerk would simply laugh at me while I stalk out of the building shamefully. That’s how it would go.
Taking a deep breath, I turn the handle of the door, and open it back up.
The room before me is small and windowless, like a prison cell. Paint peels from the walls, cobwebs lurk in the corners, and the sole light hanging from the ceiling flickers halfheartedly. The room I see looks older than anything I’ve ever known, as if it had been abandoned for decades.
Seconds after I had opened the door, a rotting stench rushes into my nostrils, and I double over, trying not to vomit. The corpse in the center of the floor is clearly months old, the rotting flesh and maggots sloughing from its bones. Its face is no longer recognizable, merely a skull—hanging open, and with bits of green and red mass hanging from its creases.
In the body’s hand lays a revolver, gleaming like new.
Knees trembling, I stumble into the room with difficulty. The air is so thick in here that it feels like I might suffocate. It feels wrong. Everything feels wrong in here. I’ve stepped into a world completely apart from the mental institution, or any other part of the world I’m familiar with. It feels dark and threatening.
I get on my hands and knees over the face of the corpse, breathing heavily. The air is so thick, and it’s difficult to keep from vomiting. The empty eye sockets stare at me as if waiting for the question I must ask. The question the instructions demand that I must ask.
“What were they once?” I whisper softly.
The body’s bony hands whip up and latch around my head, pulling me closer, pulling me right down to its face. Its jaw creaks like a broken hinge, snapping itself into place and moving up and down. From the depths of its throat a voice arises, that sounds like its being uttered from the bottom of a well.
It pulls me even closer, its mouth right up against my ear, and begins to answer my question. My bodily fluids have already hurriedly vacated themselves, and now, I feel as if my life itself is being drained away. I don’t know how long it’s talking—it could be minutes, hours, or even days. But what it says brings a terror to my heart that I had never known. Its voice tears at my soul with each syllable.
As soon as it finishes, I let out a scream that could shred my vocal chords, and its bony hands release me. With the little sanity I have left, I see the revolver that the rotting hand has dropped and scoop it up with a trembling hand.
Now, I’m laying on the lawn of the institution, a dull bruise on my forehead. I don’t remember hearing the gunshot. For that matter, I don’t remember how I even got out here. All I know is, I was free of the Holder’s realm, and in my hand rested the shell of the cartridge I had fired.
This shell is Object 178 of 539. Now I know what They were once, and even if it had not been in the instructions, I still may have turned that gun on myself anyway.
|Last modified on 2009-12-17 20:03:15Viewed 5232 times|