The Holder of Enlightenment

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 if you can visit a man who calls himself the "Holder of Enlightenment." If the worker opens the door behind him and beckons you follow him, do not follow. Each step taken in his wake will cast one memory from your mind, and you will die knowing nothing but fear and loneliness.

If, instead, the worker tells you to visit the Chaplain, ask for his keys and enter the hallway behind him to find the chapel. If a service is being held, come back the next day. If the chapel is closed, locate the chapel key and insert it into the door, but do not open it. Turn your back to the chapel and wait. Do not turn around. You will hear a child pleading to be let out, a rattling of the door handle, and the child's frantic screams as he is being torn apart by some foul creature. If you turn around at any time, your will will fail you, and you shall be reduced to obey whatever the creature commands. When the child has screamed his last, count to five, and turn back around; there will be a red key on the keychain that had not been there before. Use it to open the chapel.

The room you step into will be altogether different from the one you saw through the window, if there was one: a high vaulted ceiling disappears into darkness, and all around: the cold, stone pillars of a basilica. It will be dimly lit, yet with no discernible source of light. There are no sounds save for a low hum; your footsteps will not echo, nor will your voice ring out. Yet, attempt no speech, else the breath will be drawn from your lungs, and your ribs crushed under the weight of the great stones. Walk forward through the pillars until you reach the final row. There will be a missing pillar; stand in its place and call out "I know what I seek."

If a voice replies "You do not know," run forward, beyond the pillars as quickly as you can, and hope that the stone floor fades into the grass of the park nearest your residence. If instead you hear footsteps echo from the gloom, stay where you are and look only directly ahead. A man wearing a Roman collar will appear and walk calmly toward you. His response to any utterance, save one, will be to sever your nerves one by one, reducing you to a paralyzed, drooling, mindless husk. The one exception is to ask, "How can it be undone?"

He will tell you of the true origins of religion, of the forces at work seeking to dominate and control human kind: of the nature of the link between brain, mind, and soul, and finally of the true purpose of the objects, and how that purpose might be wrought or corrupted. If in attaining this enlightenment your mind has not collapsed into insanity, the chaplain will crack his head on the pillar behind you, and hand you his brain.

The chaplain's brain is object 482 of 538. You alone can undo what has been set in motion. Continue your journey or halt another's: the difference is a matter of will.

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Last modified on 2009-04-12 20:31:43Average Rating: 5 / 5 (2 votes)Viewed 8119 times

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