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In any city, in any country, go to any mental institution or halfway house you can get yourself to.
The Holders series are several short stories about 538 objects which, if brought together, will cause the The End of the World as We Know It. There were originally 2538 objects, but 2000 of them were lost.
Each object is protected by a Holder, who presents a series of trials to anyone who seeks its object. Failing on any of these trials, no matter how insignificant your failure was, earns you a Fate Worse Than Death.
Each of the stories details the exact sequence of steps you need to retrieve one of the objects. Most of them start with you going to a specific kind of place (often a "mental institution or halfway house") and asking to speak to the Holder of the object you want. You are then guided to a hidden section of the building, where after several trials you will meet the Holder, who will only answer one question (which is different for each Holder).
Originally from the Image Boards, can be found at several places on the Internet, one of them being http://www.theholders.org Another version, and the one many saw due to it being reported on Snopes.com, is this one, which also contains equally insane Nightmare Fuel "Easter eggs".
The Holders series stories contain examples of:
- Abandoned Hospital
- Alien Geometries - Most Holders are found in places within a building which cannot physically be there
- Artifact of Doom - (2)538 of them
- Body Horror
- Brown Note - More than a handful of scenes and creatures in the trials are described as beyond normal human comprehension. And then, of course, there are the answers the Holders give.
- Clingy MacGuffin - An Object cannot be thrown away, it will always come back
- Determinator - You must become this to collect all of the objects.
- Hell, even just collecting ONE object requires an excellent memory and probably some amazing concentration and physical skill. Managing to do it over 500 times is inhuman.
- The End of the World as We Know It - What will happen if they are brought together
- Enemy to All Living Things - Edo Edi Essum is described as a "living black hole". He absorbs the life of anything that he is near, and his voice causes all who hear it to die screaming in agony as they become a part of him for all of eternity. Once he devours the entire universe, he will devour himself. Also, he is trying to bring all of the Objects together.
- Fate Worse Than Death - If you fail any of the trials (and sometimes even if you succeed)
- Final Exam Boss - Taken to an extreme level with The Holder of the Journey: To start the test, you must tell the worker every single method that you used to get all of the objects you currently have. Forget just one, and you lose all your objects and must start all over again. After that, you must tell the Holder your entire life, leaving no details out.
- The Final Temptation - The Holder of Remorse
- Go Mad From the Revelation - What will happen from hearing the Holder's answer to the correct question unless your mind is strong enough
- Gotta Catch Em All - Doubly subverted. They must never be brought together. That doesn't stop the Seekers from trying, though.
- Gotta Kill Them All - Subverted as a method of preventing disaster. If all of them are destroyed, they'll "unite in the destroyed state".
- Luck-Based Mission - A number of the trials may still result in your death (or worse) even if you follow them exactly. An example is the Holder of the End - if he decides to stop muttering, you might be able to get him to start up again. If not? Run and pray.
- May be a variation of Only the Worthy May Pass - some of the instructions imply that Seekers may be chosen by destiny, and so the "luck"-based missions may just depend solely on your chosen-ness rather than luck or skills.
- Most Writers Are Male - In any story where the reader's sex and/or gender are relevant, the reader is assumed to be a cisgender male.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast - "Edo Edi Essum" is Latin for "to eat", "to devour", or "to waste".
- Jack Empty may not seem like that scary of a name, until you realize that he's actually Exactly What It Says on the Tin
- Red Right Hand - A lot of the Objects cause some kind of physical mutation or mutilation.
- Shout-Out - The Holder of Time is The Doctor.
- You Kill It, You Bought It - The very last Object and its Holder.
- You Will Know What to Do - "Will you X when the time comes?" is a quite popular phrase used in the endings of most Holders entries.
- Superpower Lottery - All of the objects are cursed and aren't supposed to give you face on superpowers, some are utterly useless and mundane, while others can be useful to the extent of what supernatural ability you're granted from the object.