Kaleidoscope

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One

She ran down the corridor screaming for someone to help her escape, pushing and pulling on the knobs and banging on the hard-oak doors. She saw the darkness creep up slowly behind her. Scared, out of breath and alone, tears began rolling down her cheeks as she accepted her fate, doomed to dwell in the colourless, ever-changing world she accidentally wandered into. Slowly sliding down the wood-panelled walls to the ground, sobbing hysterically, she wondered why she had even picked up the wretched thing.

“Perry! Over here!” she suddenly heard from a door not far from her. She couldn’t believe her ears as she slowly got up, staring at the door the call came from. How could anyone here know her name? Without a second thought, as she watched the darkness creeping closer, she ran towards it and found a door, covered in black paint and painted skulls. “My room,” she mumbled and twisted the brass doorknob.

It was her room, her old room, still filled with the posters of her long forgotten favourite pop artists, teen heart throbs and films she just couldn’t live without. The flood of memories flashing through her brain must have made her forget about the darkness less than 10 metres away from her. Gazing into her room, she heard a loud crack. “Not again,” flashed through her mind as she bolted into the room.

The first crack was the first of many as she hid inside her room. Stop it! She yelled, covering her ears. The cracks became louder and louder as the room started moving slowly in a circular motion, tossing her from wall to wall. Her stomach felt queasy as the motion continued with her falling on every wall in her room, ripping off all her posters.

Eventually the chaos stopped. Perry looked around the room but was confused by what she saw. It was not her teen room she had been used to but appeared all twisted and it confused her: cream-coloured walls decorated with modern contemporary artworks . . . and . . . with blue bed covers. “A guest room,” she snarled in disgust. She opened the bedroom door to see if she had been saved from the darkness.

No! The corridor was changed as well. No more wood-panelled walls, but walls painted light blue. Suddenly the corridor had windows and an ocean view. “Hello! Is anyone here!” she heard someone shouting from her right. She walked to where the sound came from, only to find a little girl crying. “Hey, are you all right?” she asked softly, and the girl looked up in fear. “Who are you?” the confused child asked.

“My name is Perry. What’s yours? And how old are you?”

“Abigail” she replied. “I’m nine. Perry helped Abigail to her feet. “How did you get here?” Perry asked

“My sister brought home this thing that looked like a pirate’s spy glass...”

Perry’s face grew dark. “Was it black?” she asked.

“Yeah, and if you twist the front part, the shapes on the inside move and change,” Abigail answered.

She looked around her and saw the darkness coming after them again. “RUN!” she shouted. She knew exactly where to go, and that’s where she would take Abigail. With the darkness gaining on them they reached the door of the room Perry hid in. She opened it and went inside but something stopped Abigail from joining her “I can’t come in” she cried “Try another door” she shouted at her. Perry listened as she ran, pulling and yanking on the doorknobs. After a while she heard the loud slam of a door and figured that she found one open. And then she got tossed around the room like a rag doll again.

When the rotation finally ended the room changed again; this time it was a baby room complete with smiling animals and a pink crib. She stood up and felt an ache on the side of her head. Blood covered her hand as she rubbed over the aching area. I need to find Abby; she thought and ran up the corridor pulling on doors like in the beginning of her . . . can she even call it a dream?

Finally, a door opened, and she immediately wished it didn’t. The room was dark and smelled of smoke and alcohol. There, on the hard wood of the floor she found Abigail’s corpse, lifeless and bloodied. “She probably couldn’t handle the violence of the rotation,” she heard from behind her. She was scared to turn around. “Who are you?” she mumbled. “Peter, and you?” the voice answered “Are you sure you want to keep this door open, especially with that thing in there” “What thing” Perry asked “The thing in the shadow.” Peter pointed to the door of the closet that was opening slowly. “Oh hell no!” Perry screamed and slammed the door shut.

“What is this twisted place?”

“Well, you should get used to it. I’ve been here for very long time, and every time when someone new arrive they don’t last long.” Peter grinned.

“How is it that you’ve been here so long? And what does ‘here’ mean?”

“You twisted that black kaleidoscope, right?”

“Yeah, why?”

“That’s why you’re here. It eats the soul of whoever twists it and every time you’re stuck in a room when it gets twisted. It feeds off your body and eventually you’ll end up like Abigail,” Peter explained

“Yeah right” Perry snapped. “I’m just dreaming.” Peter rolled his eyes and kicked her shin “Would you be awake after this then?” he smirked, and she looked at him with anger in her eyes.

“So if we are in the kaleidoscope, how do we escape?” she asked, humouring his insane story of being trapped inside a demonic kaleidoscope. It is just a stupid dream she thought to herself as she pretended to listen to directions to what he thought an exit was.

“It’s either we follow the corridor to wherever it leads or. . .”

“Or what?”

“Or we end up like Abigail.” He stared down the corridor as the darkness came running towards them.

“The darkness is coming again; we need to get to the rooms!” Perry shrieked in panic. “Do you want to die?” Peter snapped as he grabbed her hand “The rooms are dangerous, more dangerous than facing whatever lurks in the corridor after the darkness consumes it.” He lifted the end table and fashioned it into a beating stick and shield. Perry looked at him as if he were a mentally ill patient and she was trapped in his psych ward.

“Do we really have to stand here and watch?” Perry asked annoyed.

“Run if you want but you’ll never get out if you do.” he smirked. He knew something more, something which made standing his ground with broken table armour making sense. “It doesn’t, don’t be stupid,” she barked in her thoughts, but she didn’t run as the darkness approached. She stood there, fighting every bit of fear as it galloped towards them.

“We’re going to be late,” she heard as a bouncing motion woke her. But . . . wait . . . how could she be in her room? How could she be okay? She opened her eyes to see her little sister smiling at her from above. “What’s up?” she asked with a lisp and laughed at the confused look on Perry’s face. “What are we late for?” Perry asked and watched horrified as her little sister morphed into a misty black snakelike form above her head.

She screamed and sped out of the room into the darkness of the corridor. Behind her she heard the cracks of bones moving into place and growls of hunger.

“Peter!!” she shouted as the grotesque figure emerged from the door frame, its claws digging into the blackened wood. The creature let out a hate-filled growl as it exited the room and clawed his way to her. She tried to run but it felt like she was going nowhere. The creature’s pace quickened while she was struggling on her back trying to get away. Tears streamed down her cheeks as she thought it might be the last time she breathed when a powerful light suddenly blinded her for a few seconds.

When the glare faded, she again saw Peter, now suddenly standing above her with a small white candle. He looked towards her. “What the hell. . .” she mumbled. If you have light, they don’t hunt you,” offering his hand to help her up.

“What are those things?” she asked, still shaken and a bit nauseous. “They are Vorgothian hounds,” Peter explained. “They feed off your fear and eventually your flesh. That’s why the kaleidoscope sucks in our souls, to feed them, but they are terrified of anything that resembles light”.

Her fear started to dissipate slowly. “Wherever did you get that candle?” She was more worried about what he could have done to get a candle than the Vorgothian hounds. “You’re not yet ready to know that,” he smiled.

They walked with the candle up and down the corridor as the Vorgothian hounds cowered in the dim light of the candle. Perry was just as terrified as the Vorgothian hounds but more confused than they were. How could all this be real? How could these . . . shape-shifting creatures even exist?

Soon the darkness retreated and the corridor was something else again, this time painted pink with white borders and full of drawings of flowers and butterflies. “Why does this whole thing change every time the darkness goes away?” Perry asked.

“It’s where the kaleidoscope is. It is probably at a kindergarten or children’s hospital judging by the walls.” “Can’t we just escape?” Perry asked.

“Don’t you find it fun to live in an ever-changing environment?” He smiled and blew out the candle. “Are you insane? I hate this place and want to leave!” Perry stormed off down the corridor. For the first time she wandered to where the darkness starts each time and not away from it. She wanted to confront the Vorgothian hounds or find something that she could use to set the place on fire. No matter what, she was determined to get out and she was convinced that she would escape. She couldn’t handle being around Peter and his unusual behaviour of constantly being bent on trying to kill her.

Or maybe dying was the only way for her to get out of it. Peter did say she could die, but also that she would be alive in the outside? She shunned the idea as the corridor’s ceiling started to lower and the walls to move closer to each other, forming a corridor.

She walked further down the corridor which finally started making a bend. After a while she crawled. Where was she going? She crawled further frantically, saw a bright light and heard the sound of kiddies singing nursery rhymes.

Excitement gripped her. Was this finally the way out? As she crawled closer, she started seeing shapes beyond the light . . . the heads and shoulders of children. Their singing becoming louder and louder! Her excitement grew as her hand could reach out of the corridor into the light.

She pulled herself towards the exit, the smell of the outside filling her nostrils. She was almost out, her head poking through the opening of the kaleidoscope. She breathed the sweet air of escape! Her horror film was finally over . . . but then she felt a new horror she wished she could rather not feel!

A cold, damp hand grabbed her around her ankles. The horrifying grip terrified her even more and made her attempt to escape more urgent. She increased her grip on the outside of the kaleidoscope, digging her manicured nails into its thick black carton structure. It was now or never; she was not going to allow whatever force was clinging to her to flaunt her escape. Perry braced herself and pushed forward to let her upper body breach into her escape as a birthing baby would finally be forced from the womb.

But it was all to no avail; she heard a devilish giggle as she was again yanked back into her horror film.

She tried to hold on to her position near the exit with her nails, but the force was too great and her escape again prevented; the white light faded into darkness. She cried as the creature dragged her down the darkness of the corridor. Where it was going with her, she couldn’t surmise.

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