Matt, Alexis, Mia and Khaia set off in search of Tom and the others.
“They couldn’t have just disappeared.” Mia was repeating to herself, not quite believing they were missing.
There were six doors adjacent to the landing: they tried them all. After discovering they were all locked the four of them were heading back towards the stairs to check the rest of the house when a soft click stopped Khaia in her tracks.
She turned to face the door behind her and saw it slightly ajar.
She turned back to tell the others, but they were gone. Assuming they had reached the bottom of the stairs, Khaia pushed at the door to open it further and she saw, what she assumed to be a firefly glowing softly in the air in front of her.
The light hovered slowly, up and down in front of her and Khaia felt oddly reassured.
When the glow started to move down the small tunnel in front of her, that, distracted by the light she hadn’t noticed before and she felt compelled to follow.
Khaia struggled down the tunnel, knocking her elbows on rocky edges that were jutting out from the sides of it.
“Gah!” she hissed as one particularly sharp piece caught her top, slicing a small tear in her elbow.
Still she fought her way down the tunnel and just as she decided to turn back the glow stopped, the tunnel opened into a dark circular room that looked like the inside of a tower without windows.
“There you are!” Khaia cooed at the glow, reaching out to touch it. Before she could make contact the glow had split into two and separated.
Khaia watched in fascination as the glow multiplied over and over again until the room was filled with soft glowing, firefly type orbs until she was surrounded by them.
Khaia suddenly let out an ear piercing scream as every single one of the glowing orbs flew straight at her.
Matt made it to the bottom of the stairs and chose to lead them towards the dining room.
“This must have been one hell of a place in its day.” Alexis whistled, dislodging dust and making Mia cough and waft the dust from her face using her arms.
“Hey! Where’s Khaia?” Mia asked as she looked around the room.
“I thought she was right behind me on the stairs.” Alexis told them.
“Did she fall and we not realise it?” Matt asked.
“We better go and look.” Mia told them in resignation, heading for the doorway.
When she got there she was stopped in the doorway. Holding out her arms to stop the two boys she gazed intently at the floor, which had changed from hardwood to what appeared to be steaming volcanic mud with tree trunk type objects set out in a pattern.
“So how do we get out of this room?” Rose asked, looking all around for the exit.
“The same way we came in is my guess.” Lucas snapped.
“Really. genius? How do we get back up to where we fell from?” Rose shouted back at him.
“I think Lucas may be right, and the way to back up there is in this room somewhere.” Emma told them, forseeing and stalling their impending argument.
“So what do we do?” Rose asked, reining in her temper.
“I think we look around the room to see what we can find to get us back up there.” Emma told her, jabbing at the open door, partially illuminated in the moonlight, which they thought was weird as there were no windows in the room, but they came to the conclusion the light was from another room.
The three of them searched the room and the only item they could find was a table, and for that to happen it took Rose to walk into it.
“We can use the table to reach the door.” Lucas suggested.
“No, really?” Emma scoffed.
Together they moved the table into position below the door and one by one they climbed on top of it. Once they had all regained their balance they took it turns to reach toward the door above them. Agonisingly, the bottom of the door frame was millimetres out of their reach.
“You will have to climb up on my shoulders.” Lucas told them. He knew that neither of the girls were strong enough to hold him on their shoulders. He also knew it would take the combined strength of both of them to pull him out of the room.
“I’ll go first.” Rose said as Lucas dropped to his knees and allowed her to climb up with her legs around his neck. He took a deep breath and used all of the strength in his legs to stand upright with Rose balanced on his shoulders.
He inched his way to the space below the door and positioned himself so Rose could get hold and pull herself up, Lucas helping her by pushing her feet.
“I can’t reach!” Rose nearly cried as the ledge she was aiming for was again just out of her reach.
“What do you mean you can’t reach? That ledge was just out of reach!” Lucas grunted, shifting Rose’s weight on his shoulders.
“Let me try, I’m a little taller than you.” Emma said.
Emma helped Rose keep her balance as Lucas knelt back down on the table before swapping places with Rose.
Lucas, once again concentrated all of his efforts into his leg and stood, taking Emma with him.
Lucas could feel Emma squirming and wriggling on his shoulders while attempting to reach for the ledge.
“What? I can’t reach it either!” Emma called, pressing one hand down on Lucas’s head and trying to extend her reach.
She reached a little too far and lost her balance. Lucas was taken by surprise as Emma fell to one side, landing painfully on the table before rolling off it onto the floor. As she landed on her back, the breath knocked out of her, Emma noticed a flash of light on one of the walls.
“What’s that?” she asked, pointing to just above Rose’s head.
Rose turned around and ran her hands over the wall until she came to something smooth, reflective, with what felt like an ornate frame surrounding it.
“I think it’s a mirror.”
“What use could a mirror be, other than to show our depression?” Emma muttered climbing to her feet.
“Well we know the table is bust, so it has to have something to do with the mirror.” Rose pointed out.
“Wait, I’m remembering something.” Lucas said, trying to recall tables and mirrors. “A man is in a room. It has no windows and no doors.”
“How does he get in there if it has no door?” Rose asked him sarcastically.
“Clearly it was built around him, anyway, the only items in the room are a mirror and a table, how does he get out?” Lucas snapped back before continuing.
“I have no idea!” Emma told him, puzzled as to the relevance of his quiz.
Lucas stood thinking about the answer for a minute or two, trying to remember the exact phrasing as he knew it was important.
“Look in the mirror, see what you saw.”
Rose turned to the mirror to see herself reflected in the moonlight and instantaneously a saw appeared at her feet.
“Take the saw and cut the table in half.” Lucas continued.
Rose jumped down from the table as Emma took the saw and started to cut the table into two. As she sawed, she wondered where Lucas was going. When her arms were starting to tire he took over the sawing. Once the table fell to either side the saw disappeared.
“Two halves make a whole so then you climb out of the hole.” Lucas told them.
He took one of the table halves while Emma took the other and they pushed them back together. Immediately a hole appeared allowing them to climb through it one by one.
As soon as they did they felt like they were in a tube, plummeting towards what felt like the centre of the earth.