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There is a moment each leap year, at exactly three minutes past three on the morning of February twenty-ninth. If you possess the courage, await that moment in a darkened room, with no one else present.

At that minute, the darkness will deepen. If you were to hold your hand directly before your face, you would not see a thing. But you must not do so. No, for that would waste the moment. Instead, you must reach out into that impenetrable darkness.

It will reach out to you. An unseen hand will grasp yours. You must not flinch, nor tighten your grasp. To do so will only slow the decrepit flesh that covers it, and anger its unseen owner.

Remain perfectly still as the withered fingers move over your palm, tracing unknown patterns. Do not move an inch as they crawl slowly up your arm. And most of all, do not even breathe as it caresses your face, touching what cannot be seen.

Should you remain still through this, the hand will be withdrawn and a voice will speak, so close you can feel its breath on your face, and smell the scent of decay it carries. It will ask you for one simple piece of information: your name. Answer truthfully, and the presence will retreat, leaving only a whisper in the air as the darkness lifts. "It is done."

From that day on, untold good fortune will be yours, and mysterious power. You will lack nothing, and have everything. But in a year, perhaps two, your eyes will sting in bright light, you will feel your skin begin to decay, and smell the sweet smell of death upon your breath...

Original author unknown

Originally uploaded on December 25th, 2010