Literature: The Holders Series
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 Imageboards
, can be found at several places on the Internet, one of them being theholders.org
. Another version, and the one many saw due to it being reported on Snopes
, is this one
, which also contains equally insane Nightmare Fuel
This creepypasta provides examples of:
- Abandoned Hospital
- Adaptation Expansion - The first Holders story implies that all 538 Holders and their Objects are identical, hence the reason they can be accessed from any asylum or halfway house: the Holders are distributed throughout the world, and there's always one nearby. However, this was not explicitly stated, and subsequent stories, written by different authors, continued on the premise that all the Holders and Objects were different and operated by different rules.
- Affectionate Parody - The Holder of Fluffy Kittens.
- Alien Geometries - Most Holders are found in places within a building which cannot physically be there
- The Air Not There - Painfully averted by The Holder of Speed.
- And Now for Someone Completely Different - Most of the stories are written as instructions, as if given to the reader by a Mysterious Benefactor. However, this story takes the perspective of one of the receptionists for the Holders. The story plays with the usual Once an Episode events of the other stories: the Seekers the character sees that demand for the Holder of Denial are impatient, screaming at her until she sends them through the door (likely because that's what the instructions said to do in this case), and are thrown off when she puts her foot down, and demands they ask her politely (since THAT part wasn't in the instructions). Compared to the other receptionists (who are inferred to be demons in the guise of humans, or at least people that know about the Objects, Holders and Seekers), the character is a Na´ve Everygirl who doesn't know what happens to the Seekers she sends through the door. And when one comes back out, Object in tow, she's the one to "Ask only one question" at the end of the adventure, and it's the Seeker, not the Holder, to give a madness-inducing monologue of all the horrors the quest for the object entails. A huge Tear Jerker, (especially when this Seeker tells in grisly detail the fate of all the other Seekers before him, and made the character realize she unwittingly condemned them all to A Fate Worse Than Death), and also holds a nasty bit of Fridge Horror - if somebody has grabbed an Object before you, is there ANY hope of escaping the trials?
- 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.
- The Chosen One - Mentioned in object 48, 90 and 92.
- 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.
- Of course, by that time, you probably are literally 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 how you obtained each of your Objects. It's not so much a test of memory as it is a test of resolve, seeing as you'll remember every detail without flaw... the problem is more that it forces you to reflect on every atrocity you've inevitably committed to obtain the Objects before this one. It even outright says that unless you're a monster, you'll feel like your heart's been torn out once you finally finish.
- 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".
- Ignored Aesop - The receptionist in the Denial story apparently still sometimes presses the button even after learning that it condemns innocent people to A Fate Worse Than Death. Yeah... good job doing that...
- 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.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast - "Edo Edi Essum" is Latin for "to eat", "to devour", or "to waste".
- Our Zombies Are Different - The Sephiron
- Once an Episode - The "In any city, in any country" line (usually with "any mental institution or halfway house you can get yourself to", but with other locations as well), asking the receptionist (or somebody else, even the thin air) to "See the Holder of X", enter a place with Alien Geometries, go through a Luck-Based Mission (or one where Only the Worthy May Pass), risk A Fate Worse Than Death if anything goes wrong (and sometimes even if you "succeed"), and finding the Holder of the Object you seek, who only responds to one question (saying anything other than the exact question either gets no response, or a Fate Worse Than Death), and gives a monologue detailing everything there is to know about the Object in question, most likely driving all but the strongest minds to madness when they hear it. Also ends with the words "That X is Object # of 538", along with an ominous ending line.
- Some of the ending lines make it plainly obvious that you don't actually want to even get that object, since they have horrible side-effects or weird curses.
- 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.
- SuperpowerLottery - 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 or knowledge you're granted from the object.
- 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.