Project: Phantasma

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XIII. Truly Mad and Sickly

At the end of the corridor was a metal door that resembled that in the asylum. There were dirty, gray stacks of cotton in rubber covering stuffed on the little window with iron bars. He pushed the rickety door as it creaked loudly. Plain darkness stared back at him as the door came into a stop.

He stepped inside and saw that the empty room was covered in these cotton with rubber coverings, like that of a solitary. It’s bigger than the average solitary room, about 15x15. He scanned the room with his flashlight as he stood on the doorway. Something in the middle of the room caught his eye as it reflected some light. He looked behind to see if there was any raging butcher.

Nothing. Just empty, quiet darkness.

He cautiously went near the glaring object, swinging his flashlight around along with his view. He thought this room was supposed to be a white room, but all this dirt buildup made it look like a brownish gray room. A few feet from the object, he identified it as a tag on a key. But the tag is a sharp-edged mirror.

“To escape, reflect on what you’ve been doing. Something cheesy like that,” a crazed voice said from behind him. “Welcome to the white... Well, gray room.”

The door behind him closed as Lloyd panned his flashlight towards the source of the voice who was now laughing horribly. A shambling and horribly twitching figure moved about near the door. Four straps with blades in the end dangled dangerously on the tattered straitjacket.

Lloyd held the shard of mirror forward.

“Hello, Lloyd Harley. I missed you,” the psycho said, revealing a girl’s voice followed by a laugh.

Lloyd lowered the mirror a little. “H-how did y-you know my name?”

“I’ve been around you guys ever since... You just didn’t notice. I hide very well. Gab and Kim seemed to be very worried about you. ”

“What happened to them?”

“Kim is losing it. Gab is 308.”

Lloyd gasped as he held both his flashlight and the shard of mirror with a key.

Twitch turned back and slowly approached the wall. To Lloyd’s confusion, she sat rocking back and forth on a corner, humming a haunting melody that soon became ridiculous. Lloyd wondered why the presumed battle did not commence, but thankful as well. The shambling humanoid in a straitjacket growled and laughed like those he heard inside Dark Raven Asylum. “Use the key or you’ll be coming closer to me.”

“You’ve g-got it backwards… Shouldn’t you be the one coming closer?” Lloyd replied, confused and shaky.

Twitch convulsed for a moment. “You’ll see.”

The pillowy walls opposite to the straitjacket-person started to inflate. Lloyd got Twitch’s point as he bolted towards the door, desperately trying to unlock it with the key, but the keyhole is on the opposite side.

Outside.

To escape, reflect on what you’ve been doing. Something cheesy like that, Lloyd recalled.

But he’s already trying the key. Twitch stayed at the corner, humming disturbing tunes.

Five meters. Thinking. Four meters. Still thinking. Three meters. Desperate.

“Use your head and hands while you can, Mr. Harley… Too bad it’s too late for me,” Twitch said, followed by a hideous laugh.

An idea flashed in Lloyd’s brain. Reflect. The fucking mirror.

“Of course!” He stabs the inflated wall with the glass shard as a burst of putrid air stirs the dust that seemed to have stayed for a long time already. He faces the corner and covers his nose with his arm. No man in a straitjacket. Just dust. Coughing, he could barely see anything around him at all. He squinted inside the room of dust. It barely did anything. He turned back and saw a silhouette crawling on the ceiling as it pounced toward where Lloyd was. The drop propelled 4 blades down, cutting down the pillowy leather on the floor. Dust enveloped Twitch and Lloyd spat some dirt that went inside his mouth.

Footsteps were audible from his right side. Like a zombie with crackling broken bones in fast forward, Twitch ran towards Lloyd’s spot in a terrifying speed. Right before impact, she dashed backwards so fast that it propelled the blades forward to where Lloyd was. He made a fast sidestep and stabbed the arm portion of the straitjacket, revealing a rather smooth arm compared to what he imagined as gangrened. A small cut was seen that oozed a little blood. He backs away from Twitch.

“How rude of me. I haven’t introduced myself. I am Louise Le Blanc, a proud orphan of the Byron village… The village that was attacked by the Devil itself. As a grateful citizen, I purged them from Satan’s grasp with my teeth. The authorities blamed me for their deaths and I was sent in Dark Raven Asylum… I tried to free myself from the straitjacket so much that I broke my arm’s bones… But that did not stop me from gnawing at the iron bars…”

Lloyd’s shaky light made his fear obvious. “N-nobody cares. No one a-asked you.”

“The upper limb’s bones snapped pretty badly and were caught tight, but I can pass by without using much of them, undercover in a figure that shyly puts her arms down when she can… But couldn’t hide some… Vocal mannerisms. I also suffer from multiple personality disorder, but it seems to be more special… I can completely change appearance. I know, I know, mindfuck or magic or whatever. I prefer to call it… Psychosomal adaptation. Nosebleed? I’ll follow that up with jugular bleed.”

Lloyd didn’t see the sense in what Twitch just said. His eye widened as he saw the gut-wrenching face hidden in that frame of short, black hair. Twitch crawled on the floor and chased Lloyd to a corner. At the last second, Lloyd dived towards Twitch’s feet as she rose in a deadly dervish that ripped off the corner’s gray pillowy covering. Lloyd took the chance and did his most-practiced roundhouse kick straight to the chin as the dervish of blades stopped. Twitch seemingly got knocked out due to the weight of the leather shoes.

The area where the crazy person first attacked and missed seemed to be planned. Lloyd could see a trap door’s handle through it. He used the shard of glass that cut a bit of his palm to remove the other coverings that hid it. He entered it without hesitation, knowing that Twitch might recover from the concussion in God-knows-when. A spiral staircase led below, with ornamental rails that resembled Le Blanc Bouquet’s. He scanned the walls, but it looked like there weren’t any. What covered the staircase was pure darkness. It was cold and he couldn’t even see the end of the spiral staircase, like it went on forever.

Wait. Why didn’t I just stab the hell out of Twitch while I could? He thought. He looked up and doubted if he could even see the top in time. He decided to descend further.

Every step he took was creaky and dust fell off. Thankfully, there weren’t any hostile reactions. His nervousness found its place as he went deeper in what he began to believe as an abyss. The darkness around him felt like it was eating away at his will and hope; he dreaded that he will go nuts before this nightmare would end. He tried to remember what Onslaught said about escaping this and facing one last nightmare.

I don’t know how this will end but from now, I don’t think I can make it. Not without company, he thought.

But he single-handedly cleared the Twitch challenge. The thought made him smile. Gathering enough energy and courage, he descended with his thoughts along with the dust in the air. He could have sworn he heard several clanking and extra creaks like someone’s following him, due to his heightened senses, he shot his focus upwards, and saw dirt creeping from above, as if it was trying to swallow the staircase.

He ran blindly, failing to check what was below him. He kept track of what’s happening above while he gripped the railings for guidance. Suddenly, his body shot down. He held on to the last step, capitalizing on the grooves that provided him with a better grip.

Lloyd looked down below and saw complete nothingness, like it would take forever for him to drop down. Behind him was the continuation of the steps, but he knew he wouldn’t make it if he tried to leap with his hands. A pair of feet descended from the top as the staircase started trembling. Lloyd had his eyes glued on the eyes of a girl who should have looked pretty, if it weren’t for the terribly bloodshot windows to the soul.

“I wish to take you there faster,” the girl said. “He should not have a companion starting here.”

He? Lloyd wondered as his eyes bled. Before he fell a meter after losing his grip, a sudden jolt removed both of them from the stairway, leaving a dirty staircase alone and abandoned.

Meanwhile…

Kim couldn’t remember what happened. Her head ached like mad but she tried to stand up. She couldn’t. She tried to remember how she got here, but couldn’t… Only that time in the CorriDoor where she slept safely with her Gab and the others… Then a girl and someone twitching. Then her arm that suddenly wasn’t hers. She surrendered to her headache and her eyes shut once again.

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