The Holder of Fiction


The following transcript was discovered at a library sale in Moab, Utah, tucked inside a copy of the children's book,
"Come Back, Blue Rabbit!" by Peony Strubmaier. No trace of the five remaining messages could be found. Appearances suggest the document was last used as a makeshift bookmark. Passages crossed out with black ink have been omitted.

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FROM THE OFFICE OF (omitted)
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STANDING OFFICER (omitted)
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TRANSCRIPT REQUESTED FROM: (omitted)
RESTORED BY: C. VARLEY

INTERCEPTED AUDIOTELEGRAPH MESSAGE 5 OF 6

DATE: AUGUST 15TH 1893
TIME: 03:23 CET
LOCATION: COPENHAGEN
SUBJECT: (omitted)
RECIPIENT: P. GRAYLING

Now, listen up... I'm only going to say this once.

They say the world's getting smaller, and maybe they're right, but there's some things so big and scary that they won't get any smaller at all. These ugly secrets about the world, you know what I'm talking about, don't deny it. Those festering, bloated secrets none of us know how to bury... Well, I've got another one for you.

They say that in any city or town, in any country in the whole blessed world, all you need to do is walk into the second library or bookseller you find. That's the second, mind you, not the first. I've heard tell that with the others... you know... the others, you ask someone at the counter for a holder of something or other, but that's the wrong thing to do in this case. Doing that will only get you chewed up and spat out into soggy little pieces. No, what you want to do is stroll right on by and get yourself to any fiction section. Then you pick up any book that suits your fancy. Yes, you heard right, any book. Sounds funny, doesn't it? But it gets funnier from there.

If you're not careful, they say, about which book you pick, then you're in for a heap of hurt, because books can be kind, but they can also be cruel. People forget that. They can twist a man and his motives into something awful monstrous. Course, if this happens, it was probably meant to be. Some folks are monsters at heart.

Well, once you get your book, you just buy it or check it out like any ordinary book, but you be sure to watch that librarian's face. See, if they look relieved or happy about what you hand them, then you've done it wrong. Just put the damn thing back and walk away, and don't try it again until the day after, because if you do, you'll regret it. Trust me on this. There's no part of me that wants to see you haunted by an eternal force of regret.

Now, listen. If you're feeling up to it, you can just set down in the aisleway, right then and there, and read that book start to finish. Wouldn't say I recommend it, though, because you might not get the chance to finish it. And it's very important that you finish it. You hear me? Finish the book. If you don't, you'll be sorry. They'll cripple your mind with questions, and not one blessed soul here will be able to answer them for you.

Once you're done, just sit back and soak in the story. Give it a moment. If you've done it right, you'll feel paranoid and entirely usure about your place in the world. Maybe you'll see little shadows flit and scatter in the corner of your eye. Maybe you'll have horrific nightmares that you can't shake yourself out of. Maybe those nightmares will chase you around in the daylight. If this happens, it just means you're getting somewhere.

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Now you're ready.

Look for a way to get a hold of that author. Send them something they'll like. A tribute, something real nice and pretty. Introduce yourself, and this time, now's the time you ask for the holder. Call them "The Holder of Fiction." Don't make sense, but that's because we're human. Things like this were never really meant for fools like us anyway.

If all goes well and the stars are lining up just right, and you've done everything I tell you to do then they should be real friendly and say, "I have been waiting for you." If they don't say that, or they act confused or hostile, then you're in trouble, and you ought to stop and wait. Just wait for a while. Then start the whole thing over again, and I mean the whole thing. If you don't, and you keep talking to this person, or you apologize or something, they're not going to be a person anymore, understand? They'll turn into something you don't want anything to do with, and they'll do things to you that you don't want them doing to you. I'll leave it at that.

This Holder of Fiction is going to ask you for a word. Be sure to give it to them. It'll be the eleventh word on the eleventh page of that same book you just got done reading. Why? It's the numbers, you know. They're important in ways we'll never comprehend. Just remember, eleven on eleven. Eleven eleven.

You'll probably be amazed to find that this Holder is friendlier and more sociable than many others you could tangle with, but you'll still need to be on guard, because this is not the tricky part.You can ask this creature anything you want, for as long as you want, you know, they'll be in a good mood, and they'll chat for a long, long time. By no means does this mean they're human. Or that they're on your side. Or that they aren't itching to devour you where you stand. They're just friendly, is all.

Now, pay attention. The last thing you ask must be only one, very delicate, and very specific question:

"How did they become real?"

This Holder's tone and demeanor will change like the wind, and you'll find yourself listening to hushed tones about the terrible secrets of reality, proofs of the eldritch nature of our world. Your head's going to spin, your stomach will flip-flop and you might feel the urge to vomit, scream endlessly, or even lash out and kill the sucker, god forbid, but you've got to hold fast to the words spoken, because you'll be asked to make an important choice.

It's the choice that makes this one so dangerous. The choice is different for everyone who comes down the line looking for their treasure, but they're all important. Damn important.

Now, you be careful and don't lose your head. After a short while or a long while, this Holder of Fiction character is going to send an object to you. A simple prize to reward your infinite curiosity. Something you can hold. Something you can take with you. Something you will never be rid of. Now, it might or might not have strange powers, but that's irrelevant.

This thing is Object 253 of 538. One man's fiction is another man's truth.

NOTES:

WITH THIS NEW CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE, I BELIEVE THE HOLDER'S EXISTENCE
HAS BEEN CONFIRMED, AND THAT THE OBJECT HAS BEEN PROPERLY LOCATED BY
A NUMBER OF
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ALL RETRIEVAL UNITS ARE STANDING BY, AWAITING ORDERS FROM OUR GOOD FRIEND
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The document is worn and faded in places, and it seems to be authentic. Toward the bottom left-hand corner of the transcript, there are a series of flaking smear-marks that appear to be dried blood.

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