The Sin Taker
Have you ever felt...lost? Alone? Unloved? Perhaps you’ve fallen into a spiral of emptiness and loneliness, one that no amount of therapy could help you escape. These feelings are, unfortunately enough, all too common in today’s world, a problem not exactly helped by a society that constantly tells us to keep such dark emotions close to the chest, lest you be written off as an overly-emotional trainwreck. However, while humans may lack the ability and, by extension, the willingness to aid those who find themselves as their own worst enemy, there are “alternate” ways of not only eradicating your emotional pain, but making yourself spiritually stronger than you ever thought possible. I refer, of course, to aid from beyond the boundaries of this world. One entity, in particular, would love nothing more than to function as your otherworldly psychologist. He calls himself the “Sin Taker”. Well, in all honesty, he’s gone by multiple names throughout time, but the Sin Taker is the one he seems to prefer the most. Of course, such supernatural expertise comes at a cost, although in this case, the payment comes in the “physical” and “mental” form rather than any kind of “monetary” exchange, so if you find yourself desperately in need of his services, be very aware of the risk. Your meeting with the Sin Taker will take place entirely in your house, and yes, this ritual can only be performed in some form of living space, whether it be a grand estate or a two-room apartment. Wherever you wish for the meeting to take place, make sure that you will be alone. The Sin Taker’s “appointments” are strictly one-on-one. You will need a spool of red string, some candles, a piece of paper, tape, and something to write with. Take the red string and lace it around the borders of every window in your abode. Other spirits may sense the presence of a dimensional rift and attempt to break into your house for some unwanted fun. The string will help to keep them at bay. Take the candles, carve your first and last name into each of them, and lay them along the path to your door in two separate rows. You will then take your paper, and write the following: “I turn away from the machinations of man, who infect the masses with their toxic lies and doubt. Instead, I, [your first and last name here], humbly invite you into my dwelling and graciously ask for your aid”. Tape this note onto your front door, preferably late at night so as not to alarm any passersby. Finally, before you fall asleep that night, leave your unlocked. This, coupled with the note and the candles, will serve to inform the Sin Taker that you have fully accepted him into both your home and your mind. Lastly, try to be asleep before midnight. Your otherworldly assistant has only a short amount of time each night to interact with us mortals, and midnight is the best time for him to arrive at your home and to “work his magic”.
When you awake, you shouldn’t notice anything terribly out of place. By all means, your summoning area of choice should, at first glance, appear perfectly normal. It won’t be until you turn on a light that you’ll notice that quite a few things are off. The house will look far more decrepit than before. Paint will have started to peel off of the walls. Cobwebs will adorn every corner. The occasional rat or roach may even scurry away a few inches away from your feet. You may also start to notice a faint unpleasant smell, similar to rotten meat, but no matter how hard you try, you won’t be able to discover where the odor is coming from. Steer your attention away from these things. None of it truly matters, anyway. Instead, make your way to the living room, or your home’s equivalent. There, you’ll meet the Sin Taker. Don’t worry if you aren’t necessarily taken aback by his appearance. He tends to avoid taking his true form when conversing with his “clients”. Instead, he’ll try to create a visage that’ll be most satisfying to you, such as an attractive 20-something white woman with blonde hair and glasses to a black man in his 50’s with the voice of an evening radio broadcaster. Once you lock eyes with him, he’ll stand up from his seat, bow at the waist, and thank you for accepting him into your mind. Tell him that the pleasure is all yours and that you’re the one who should be thanking him. He appreciates manners. Don’t mistake his courtesy for weakness, though. He’s more than eager to put you through absolute mental hell to see that his job gets done. As a side note, don’t worry about potential intruders catching you in the act. You may have already figured it out, but in actuality, you are no longer within the confines of either your home or the mortal realm as a whole. The space that you’re currently occupying is nothing more than a construct in your mind. In fact, if you were to step outside, you’d discover that there isn’t a single soul to be found anywhere. Everything will be dead silent, with not even a gentle breeze carrying any noise within. After you exchange greetings with the Sin Taker, he’ll then instruct you to enter, in this order, the main bedroom, the main bathroom, and the basement. If you don’t have access to some of these, don’t worry. He’s willing to be flexible if you lack any of those facilities, for instance, allowing the use of a garage in place of a basement. The most important facet of this assignment is your adherence to the order of the rooms. Do not attempt to enter any of them before of after their intended place in the sequence. If you do so, the Sin Taker will grow angry and accuse you of cheating. Best case scenario: You wake up in the real world with no memory of the ritual occuring. Worst case scenario: He’ll abandon the dreamscape and leave you trapped in it until you inevitably pass on from hunger or dehydration. When you place your hand on the door knob on the door leading into the bedroom, you’ll start to feel a large amount of heat radiating from your hand all throughout your body. You may even feel the beginning of a steady drip of adrenaline coursing through your veins. Don’t worry; this is part of the Sin Taker’s test. Enter the room and don’t forget to close the door behind you. The room will be drenched in darkness. Feel around all you want, but you won’t be able to find your bed or any other objects that would otherwise be present.
After a few seconds of deafening silence, you’ll suddenly hear a loud voice yelling at you from behind. Turn around and you’ll be met with the screaming face of someone who has wronged you in the past. Someone who enrages you at the mere mention of their name. Someone who you feel knows exactly which button to push. Again, it could be anyone from a particularly nasty middle school teacher to a particularly cruel former boss. They’ll come at you with a barrage of insults. Deep-cutting personal attacks that you’ll tell yourself aren’t true, but will still manage to tear at whatever self-esteem you have left.
“You don’t deserve to be happy!”
“How would the world be a better place with you in it?”
“Do us all a favor and kill yourself already!’
You’ll endure dozens of insults like this from your harasser before a second voice crops up, represented by another vindictive individual, spewing similar vile words to her predecessor. Then, another figure will appear, then another, then another, until the entire room is filled with angry, hate-filled people shouting over each other, trying their damnedest to get you to realize just how much of a nothing you are. All the while, the heat that you felt at the door will begin to grow in intensity. You’ll begin to feel a rage that’s almost inhuman spreading through you like a virus, with every one of your thoughts telling you to get even with those who’re belittling you. Your fists will start to clench and the desire to assault your aggressors will be almost irresistible, but no matter what, do not attack them. This is part of his plan. He wants you to confront the harsh words that you’ve heard your entire life and to learn to grow stronger from them. Attempting to interrupt his work this early in the process will be taken as a personal insult. If you lay so much as a finger on any the apparitions, all but the one that you attacked will disappear. The figure will then be replaced with the unholy true form of the Sin Taker, at which point you can do nothing but pray that he’s in a decent enough mood to finish you off quickly. After 5 minutes of verbal torture, the figures will suddenly vanish. The lights in the bedroom will turn on, and the anger that had all but consumed you will slowly vanish. Take a few moments to gather yourself and continue on to the bathroom.
Once again, when you lay a hand on the doorknob to the bathroom, you’ll feel an emotion begin to course through you. However, unlike the previous door, you’ll feel small pangs of intense sadness and despair. You may even feel lethargic and ponder the point on continuing on. It’s crucial that you ignore these feelings and enter the bathroom, once again closing the door behind you. This time, the darkness will be interrupted by a bright blue light coming from the filled bathtub. The glowing light will be intense enough for you to look in the mirror above the sink and to gaze at your reflection. This image will only last for a brief time though. Soon, it will ripple and flicker until you’re no longer looking at yourself but rather at a recreation of a traumatic point in your life. It could be anything; the death of a beloved pet, a difficult break-up. The images vary from person to person, but they will always be especially painful, as they will remind you of just how much you’ve lost and how, despite what everyone may tell you, the idea of life getting better almost seems laughable. Once the depression that you’ve felt since you touched the bathroom door has overtaken every other aspect of your being, a voice will begin to emanate from the bathtub. The voice will be almost angelic in nature, like that of a mother singing a lullaby to her newborn child. It’ll tell you that it knows all too well of the pain that you feel. It’ll tell you that it’s found an escape, and that all you have to do to achieve freedom from heartache is to step into the bathtub. If you approach it, you’ll find that the tub seems to be bottomless. Do not enter it. If you do, the hand of the Sin Taker will appear and drag you underwater, where you’ll slowly drown, but not before being utterly consumed with feelings of guilt and worthlessness left behind by those who attempted the ritual before you and failed miserably. Five minutes of this will pass, and the voice and the images will cease. The bathroom light will turn on, and your feelings of sadness will shrink to nothing. Take a deep breath. You’re halfway done. If you’ve made it this far, then hopefully, the rest of the ritual won’t be nearly as troubling.
Just as before, upon reaching the basement door, you’ll begin to feel emotions coursing throughout your body. This time, you’ll be overcome by an immense feeling of dread and paranoia. Every part of your being will be screaming at you to not open the door, as nothing good can come from it. Ignore these signals. Remember that, as you currently reside in the world of dreams, none of what you witness is real. You can only be hurt if you allow yourself to be. Once you enter the room, the door will slam behind you. The room will feel far smaller than usual, with the air inside beginning to weigh on you and a single dim light illuminating you and you alone, resulting in an intense feeling of claustrophobia and paranoia. The latter sense is completely justified, as you are far from alone in the room. What happens next depends entirely on what you fear the most. If it’s something such as spiders or lizards, they’ll begin to appear from the walls, constantly crossing across the room and over your feet, their numbers swelling by the second. If you fear the death of a loved one, you’ll begin to hear the panicked voice of said person screaming and begging for you to save them. You may even see quick flashes of them being brutally murdered or burned alive. If you fear death, your skin will begin to turn grey and clammy. Every breath will feel like a chore and your senses will become duller and duller. You’ll be succumbing to death before your very eyes. All throughout this experience, you’ll hear the voice of the Sin Taker, reassuring you that he’s here to protect you, and that all you have to do to get the nightmare to end is turn around and face him. Do not so much as flinch. Turning around will result in you facing a visage so personally terrifying that you’ll forever be left as a nerve-wracked shivering shell of your former self, the sense of hysteria leaving you paralyzed. Instead, stay perfectly still and resist the urge to escape whatever personal hell your being put through. The spiders and lizards will begin to crawl up and down your body and rise in level like water being poured into a bathtub. The visions of your dying loved ones will become far more vivid and harrowing. The feeling of death will make you wish for nothing more than eternal sleep. Do not move. None of this is real. This is also a part of his test. Remaining motionless is the only way to continue on with the ritual and, ultimately, escaping from the dreamscape. Another 5 minutes will pass before the nightmare ends. Steady yourself. Only one more room to go.
If you’ve made it this far, then take comfort in knowing that your trial is almost over. All that’s left is a final meeting with the Sin Taker. Return to the living room and you’ll find the being waiting for you on your couch. He’ll congratulate you on making it this far and ask you to make yourself comfortable. He’s being completely sincere, by the way. He’s very much impressed by your resilience and resistance to temptations that would be too much for most people. Don’t get too comfortable, though. Many of those who have made it to the end of the ritual have claimed that this is the hardest part by far. Once you’ve sat across from the Sin Taker, he’ll ask for your full name. It’s not like he doesn’t know it already. Giving him your full name is symbolic of you giving him complete power over you. Don’t bother trying to avoid giving it to him, though. You’re too far in to go back now. After receiving your name, he’ll ask you a series of very personal questions regarding your past and your mental state. Questions such as “Have you ever found yourself resenting your parents?” or “Have you ever contemplated suicide?”. If the questions sound familiar, it’ll be because the majority of them will be ones that you’ve asked yourself multiple times before. The ones that keep you up at night and consistently cloud your mind, the ones whose answers you even lie to yourself about. You must answer the Sin Taker’s questions truthfully. A simple “yes” or “no” answer will not suffice. He wants you to elaborate on them, to reflect on your past and to revisit the most painful and depressing points of your life. As mentioned earlier, these are the questions whose answers you’ll have lied to yourself about. As such, you may not even notice that you’ve given the Sin Taker an incorrect answer. It won’t be until you feel a sharp pain in your arm or leg that you’ll notice that something’s off. Looking down at the afflicted appendage will reveal a thin, bleeding gash, the source of which will be completely unknown to you. The Sin Taker hates lying. Continuing with this practice will only result in the injuries getting worse. Lacerations will appear all over your body. Blood vessels inside of you will start to burst and clot. Fingers and toes will fall off. If you’re particularly unlucky, an invisible force may gouge your eyes out or rupture your eardrums. If the latter happens to you, the Sin Taker’s voice will start to appear in your mind telepathically. The only way to avoid the Sin Taker’s slow dismemberment of your body is to tell him the complete and honest truth in every circumstance. No matter how painful the answers to his questions may be to dig up, the physical pain you’ll receive if you betray his trust will be far more severe. The amount of questions he asks you will vary. It could be anywhere from 10 to 100. Regardless of the count, once you’ve satisfied his curiosity, he’ll reverse any injuries he’s caused you and rise from his seat. He’ll pull you into a tight hug and tell you that, as a reward for passing his tests, he’ll ensure that you’ll no longer be burdened with the emotional baggage you carried with you into the ritual. The room will start to spin and you’ll feel overwhelmed by vertigo. Your mind will be stripped of all feelings of doubt and insecurity, and before you know it, you’ll awake in your own living room, back in the real world.
From that day forward, you’ll no longer have to suffer through periods of depression and existential dread. Those feelings will be replaced by confidence in and satisfaction with both yourself and your life. No matter which biting words your enemies decide to hurl at you, you’ll be unaffected. Your mental fortitude will be strong as iron, and no one or nothing will be able to hurt you ever again. No need to worry about any sort of catch or fine print, either. As far as the Sin Taker is concerned, your business with him is finished. So again, if you ever find yourself wanting an escape from the sea of anxiety and hatefulness you find yourself drowning in, and you’re willing to face the challenges that he has in store for you, then proceed at your own risk.