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Holder of Rest

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In any city, in any country, go to any hotel or bed and breakfast you can get yourself to. When you reach the front desk, ask to visit someone who calls himself "The Holder of Rest". If the clerk ignores you, turn and leave and depart the continent as fast as you have the means to. Do not stop until you are across the ocean. Only the salt waters will save you from their wrath.

If, however, he should look at you and then return to his work, ask again, adding that you are a relative of his. The clerk will sigh and pull out a large book. Wait calmly, with your hands by your side, as he looks through it. Do not clear your throat, do not adjust your stance, do not show any impatience. After what seems like hours, the clerk will finally look up at you and tell you a room number. Do not forget this number. Thank him and turn from the desk.

Find the nearest staircase and begin climbing to the floor indicated in the first two digits of the room number. Pay attention, though, for the floors are not numbered in order, and you will not be able to go back. After climbing countless flights, you will reach the floor you seek. Go through the door and you will find yourself in a normal-seeming hallway.

Here, too, the numbering is not sequential and you will have to hunt for the Holder's room. When you find it, knock twice and wait. Be wary, though, that you have the right room, for behind each of the other doors are horrors that will earn you the pity of those damned to Hell.

Should you have the right room, however, after ten seconds you will hear a man ask who it is. Do not reply. He will ask louder. Still, you must hold your tongue. Finally, you will hear him unlock the door. Before he opens it, quickly say, "You need no weapon, sir. I wish only to talk." If you were not fast enough, be glad that the extraordinary pain will only last a moment.

Should you have gotten your words out in time, you will hear him stop and put something down. The man who opens the door will be dressed in a white shirt and suit pants, with his tie undone, as though he was just returning from a long meeting. Bow to him and ask if you may enter. Stand upright and look at his eyes while he looks you over. If he approves, he will open the door wider and wave you in. If he does not, he will slam the door and you will be forced to wander the hotel for the rest of eternity.

Once you are both inside his room, he will sit down on his bed and mute the television. Then, he will ask, "So, what is it you need?" Look him in the eye and reply, "Will I be able to rest?"

He will sigh and motion for you to sit down. He will then tell you about the others that have sought the Holders, their trials, their successes, and their inevitable failures. He will describe every detail, every movement, and every false move. Listen closely, so that you may not repeat their errors. Finally, he will tell you if you will ever be able to rest again. Know, though, that his pronouncement is final.

When he is finished, apologize for interrupting him, thank him for his time, and stand up to leave. He will ask you to wait a moment and pull something from the suitcase beside his bed. He will then throw you a pillow and wish you the best of luck.

Find the elevator and ride it to the ground floor, and you will be in the lobby of the hotel nearest your home.

This pillow is Object 96 of 538. When you are weary, sleep upon it and you shall be renewed.

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