Holder of Mourning


In any city, any country, go to any cemetary you can get yourself to. Once there, find the custodian and say, "I seek the Holder of Mourning." He'll nod with complete understanding, and lead you to a grave, freshly hollowed out. A weeping willow gives shade to the grave, a shovel propped up against it. The fresh grave seems to have no bottom, yet a second look will reveal its shallow depth.

Prepare yourself for the descent. Commit now, or pick up your feet and run until the cemetery slips out of sight. Keep going until morning, when it is safe to rest again. Never again return to that cemetery, though, for you will not be welcome after disturbing the dead.

Step into the grave, and lie down. The custodian will grab the shovel and begin. The damp soil will fall heavy, burying you in darkness.

As you slip into the black, you will feel death creeping up on you, feel it snuff the life out of you. The pain shall come now, not just any pain, but grief. All the agonizing grief suffered in this world, and now you must experience it. Terrible, terrible voices, all of them screaming, all of them mourning. Each of their losses were different, but the feeling all the same. Few who reach this point ever return.

Once the agony leaves you shaken, you will wake. The grave is gone, but the memory of it all just as fresh. You now stand in a funeral home. A wake is taking place. Walk to the casket and show your respect. Be sure to gaze at the body's face. Look upon it, long and hard.

Horror has stalked you, and now it has found you. The body in the casket is you.

Look around you. There should be an abundance of people, all mourning for you. If not, the chorus of voices shall return, mourning and weeping, and you will mourn with them for all eternity.

Ask the room of people, "Why do you mourn?" When all is said and done, their faces will sour and twist with sorrow. The room will vanish in a blur, leaving only you and total darkness. The darkness will fade again, and you shall be in the cemetery, under the willow and standing beside your grave. Next to you, you'll find a figure kneeling, covered in the black of mourning.

Ask it, "Who will mourn when we are gone?" Barely audible, it breathes, "They mourn for none." The figure will dance madly then, robes spinning, yet never revealing what lies beneath. It will pause, and in a low whisper, say, "The dead shall mourn for the living." The robes swirl, and the dead wail. At first, the sound lingers, only a ringing at the edge of hearing, then the wails intensify, angry and torn. Mourn for them, or share their pain.

You'll be jolted awake, choking on the dirt above and scrambling for air. Rid yourself of the dirt, and rise out of the shallow grave. The custodian has gone now, as has the robed figure, and all but the pain has left. Above you stands the weeping willow, tall as ever. Beside you stands an urn. Take it. Open it. The wails of the dead can be heard within, however faint.

That urn is Object 274 of 538, a reminder that not even the dead are spared.

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Last modified on 2008-01-15 13:09:03Average Rating: 3.67 / 5 (3 votes)Viewed 7579 times

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