Have you ever wanted to know a particular person better? To be able to predict his or her every move and reaction? Be familiar with all of his or her tastes and see right through his or her personality so that you can be the wiser?
If so, then you may embark on a journey… There you will find your answers, or so the forgotten runes of the Aztecs dictate. Needless to say it’ll be dangerous, and the burden of risk very heavy.Your intentions may be as innocent as trying to comprehend the person you love, or give a heart-warming surprise to a friend or family member. Or, it may be sinister, as to use the information you are given to manipulate and thwart someone you loathe. It might even be wanting to know a very influential person; so you may cajole and appease that person with ease. Regardless, I will not judge your intentions, but beware…because you will be evaluated. And the basis of that analysis is not only obscure, but seemingly random; so don’t think you are sure to get out unscathed just because you wanted to know your lover’s dream honeymoon getaway to impress him or her. That is the price of the knowledge that will be bestowed upon you.
You need some hair from the head of the person of interest, even a single strand will do,and you’re good to go.
Tucked away in the dense foliage, there is a sacred, yet forbidden retreat, somewhere along the banks of the Amazon. It lurks in one of the nooks and crannies of the marshy vegetation, it’s whereabouts ever changing. Mortals are only tolerated on a full moon night; the place can never be located otherwise.
Start looking, riding a boat, preferable one that makes minimal noise, as the moon makes it first appearance. Reaching the entrance is before midnight is a prerequisite. Keep your ears on patrol. You are listening out for a distant hiss, one not so dissimilar from a snake’s or one audible when you twist open the stopper of a carbonated beverage. It is said to be a calling to you, more like a challenge, in their indecipherable tongue. As if they are saying, “So, do you think you are worthy?”
If you are able to hear a hiss, stop the boat. Try to locate it. One you have a rough geographical estimate, anchor your boat along the bank and start foraging.You must leave anyone you brought with you on the boat, otherwise the place will not show up. Look for a cave, it should be just enough specifically for someone of your height to enter. You may use a light source to illuminate your path as you search, but the eerie, yet glaring moonlight should suffice.
As soon as you spot the cave, extinguish your light source. Leave all technology behind, otherwise they will be incapacitated. Bear nothing with you other than your clothing and the hair. Bare your feet. The moonlight should generate a lighting synonymous to the rustic images of early television, devoid of color, ominously monochromatic. Muster up your courage- you’ll need every ounce of it, and walk inside.
It will be pitch black at first, so walk cautiously to make sure you don’t get lost. Use the walls to navigate; feel for a pattern of carved series of circles at the height of your hands. There will be diverted paths and forks… Feel for the pattern. I must stress the you do not follow any walls that do not have this pattern. Around five minutes in, you will hear footsteps behind and ahead of you. Don’t panic. The noise from footsteps will vary; some light, others heavy, some will correspond to strolling, other pacing, and even running. Things will brush past you occasionally, and even bump into you; only to immediately dart away. Do not heed them. Move forward. After a while, you will see a light, as if one at the end of a tunnel. The walls bearing the circles should lead you right there.
Shafts of moonlight will riddle the pathway, illuminating the circle pattern so you no longer have to feel. Proceed with a steady pace; no need to run, nor lag. The footsteps will cease. You might curse your peripheral vision, for shadows will linger at the corners of your eyes, only to fall back as you turn around. But you need not worry. Keep walking.
Occasionally you will come across diverted pathways, and something will be standing there. A gray, indiscernible figure, mottled with inky stains of black. Unlike the others, it will not retreat from your plane of sight. On the contrary, it will gesture you to it. Run. You must run past all of these pathways. Otherwise… well, I’ll get to that. That thing will scream and chase after you but you must not stop, and you must not look back. You may stop when the footsteps die away.
After what might seem like an hour or so, you will have reached your destination. An enormously spacious room. Enter the room and you will see and stone altar illuminated by a single moonbeam descending from the ceiling. Patterns similar to the circles on the walls will have embellished its every surface. Everything else will be hiding under the the cover of darkness. As you make your way up to the altar, you will be greeted with whispers and hisses from the darkness that surrounds you. There will be occasional shrieks and undulating moans. Something might screech as if right beside you, or right behind you… Jump scares are always on the table. Anything to draw your attention. Whatever you do, do not look. Keep your eyes on the altar at all times.
When you have reached the center, sit down with your legs crossed. The full moon will be visible, through a slit on the roof, as it pools the altar with its ghastly, yet eerily mysterious light. Place the hair at the center and take a deep breath. Close your eyes and pronounce in a low voice, as humbly as you can, “Face Keeper, bestow upon me your knowledge.”
The noises in the darkness will halt. Open your eyes and look at the hair. The hair will be set ablaze, but not by conventional fire; the tiny flames will emanate a soft, white, opalescent glow. Your body will note a steep temperature drop. There will be a presence around you, which you will find to be oddly reminiscent.
“Whose face do you desire to know by heart?”
The question will come for a random direction. Keep staring at the fire. The voice will be none other than your own, grim and solemn, and it will speak in the same language you used to summon it. Say the person’s name.
There will be a period of silence. Don’t look up, or make any kind of noise. Remain seated as you are.
“Why do you want to know that face by heart?”
Again from a random location, in the same voice and language. State your intention, as honestly as you can (it should be obvious that you mustn’t lie; in the case that you do, remember that it will not only know of it but also take account of that lie when judging you).
There will be a longer period of silence. I urge that you remain as you are.
“Are you worthy?”
The voice will suddenly reveal itself, right behind you. Do not take your eyes off the flames. As adamantly as you can, say “Yes.”
As soon as you do, the flames will flare for a split-second and extinguish themselves. You will hear a multitude of malevolent hisses all around you. A grim, spiteful aura will burden the air. You will be under the impression that an otherworldly presence is approaching you, from far ahead. Stay as you are, and keep staring at the ashes.
At one point all noise will reach an abrupt halt. A violent surge of wind will blow the ashes onto you, and you will black out.
You will open your eyes to the cacophony of birds rising at dawn. You will be lying at the place where you spotted the cave, only that the cave will be no more. Rise, gather up your things and go back to the boat. Now you can naturally think exactly like your desired person, as if you can dress yourself in that person’s very mental make-up. Of course, you can take it off just as easily.
In the case you were not worthy, be prepared to face nothing but sheer confusion and frustration for the rest of your life. The Face Keeper will have robbed you of who you are. You will know nothing, no memories, no language, nothing. All that will be left is instinct. You mentality will be likened unto a newborn baby, awed at the world around you, as if seeing it for the first time.
Now, as for my warnings, what if you looked up during talking to the Face Keeper, or didn’t follow the wall, or responded to the mottled figure’s beckons? The outcome is the same. Immortality. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Yep, just like those shadowy figures, or the mottled summoner; trapped in that lair for all of eternity, rejected by death itself. They just want more friends, that’s all.
Now, if you make it out successful, there are no catches, no restrictions. You have been deemed worthy. You are free to proceed using your new-found prowess in any way you see fit. Feeling powerful? Want more? You can if you want to. Just take some hair off another person and return to the Amazon. Go through it again. You’ve done it once, right? No problem.
The Face Keeper doesn’t take ambition too kindly. I suggest you stop to listen that your chances of being deemed worthy twice in a row is much slimmer. And what if you aren’t? Will the Face Keeper snatch away your ability? Oh no, you can keep that. It’ll take away you and only you. But hey, you’ve got someone else’s personality, right? Sure you do. Good luck being that person when he or she legitimately exists. You know that you’re you, so why is that person claiming to be you? Why is your mom calling him or her, her child? Why is your lover sleeping with that person? He or she is the real deal; you are just a cloned personality stuffed into a now unknown body. Identity theft with an unexpected twist, don’t you think? Makes you wonder whether losing the first time around was better, huh?
If this doesn’t bother you though, go on. Sail along the Amazon in the moonlight, seeking that hiss. I wish you good luck. But don’t forget to ask yourself, “Are you worthy?”