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Holder of Forgiveness

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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 Forgiveness."

The worker will promptly slap you across the face and insult you. Do not lose your temper. Calmly ask again; this may have to be done multiple times. Eventually the worker, not hiding that he does it very grudgingly, will give in and tell you a room number.

Look at a directory of the institution to find the room. You might note a long hallway extending from the eastern edge of the building, even though such a hallway was never there before, and may not even be logical. Go to this hallway, and you will find the door with the number the worker gave you. Enter the door, and it should lead to an enormous fairground, complete with game stands and rides. If the door leads to any other location, just sit down and quietly accept the impending death, for resistance is a waste of effort at this point.

If the door indeed leads to the fairground, the sky should be dark as nighttime, no matter what time you entered. All the lights in the carnival are on, and music is playing, but there are no people, and none of the rides are moving save one: the merry-go-round. Wait at the turnstile for the merry-go-round to come to a stop, then embark.

Once the merry-go-round resumes turning, two people - a man and a woman - will appear. They will be dressed as though they are children, and their appearance is grainy and in black-and-white, as though from an old projector. They will each ride one of the horses, but not right next to each other - there will be an empty horse between them.

Sit on the empty horse as the man and woman laugh in a ghastly, mirthless fashion. Do not touch either of the two, or come in any kind of physical contact, or else their guardian will arrive early. No force in the universe can save you from your torment once their guardian strikes out to defend his charges.

Although the man and woman ignore you completely, stare straight ahead and, as though to nobody in particular, ask, "Who is to be forgiven when the time comes: them or us?"

Grip tightly to the pole, for the ride will come to a very abrupt stop. Your horse will be aligned right in front of the turnstile, where there is now a haggard old worker with filthy, tattered clothes and long, greasy, grey hair framing his dilapidated face. Look into his tired eyes. If he deems you unworthy of the answer, your innards will rip themselves from your body by their own will.

If you are worthy, however, then the man will give a respectful nod. The merry-go-round will start up again, but this time it will spin at breakneck speeds. Hang on tight. The man and woman who are dressed like children will cackle with glee as everything becomes a blur. Soon you will be moving with such speed that the world has resolved itself into a solid blur, and the pressure will nearly crush your innards. The cackling will exponentially increase in volume, intensity, and speed, to a point far beyond bearable. You will feel (though not see, for the speed at which you travel makes it impossible for you to see anything but a blur) that the merry-go-round - nay, the entire plane of existence you're in - is falling apart, and then all will go black.

When you awaken, you will be at the ticket booth at the carnival's entrance. The man who was operating the merry-go-round will be standing over you with a disgusted countenance. Do not get up or make any sudden movements; lie completely still, as he will now answer the question. No matter how pessimistic or negative a person you are, you will find yourself far, far, far less optimistic or hopeful than you ever imagined a person could be. Even the most bitter and jaded person will feel that he has managed to lose more faith in humanity than ever before. You might feel the vicious urge to end your life immediately, but you must resist.

Once the operator is finished with the answer, the man and woman from the merry-go-round will emerge from the carnival, except they are now children rather than adults. They will rush to the merry-go-round operator and embrace him, and they will enthusiastically call him their father. Once they embrace, they will emit an impossibly bright light. Shield your eyes, lest you be blinded.

When you no longer feel the heat emitted by the light, you may open your eyes. You will be standing before the front desk of the mental institution. The worker there will inform you that something belonging to you was discovered in the lost-and-found. Accept it.

The carnival ticket you receive is Object 125 of 538. It will allow you entry when the time comes, but only then will you discover if that's necessarily a good thing.

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