Phantasmagoria

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House Of Montague

''Did you just say...Montague?'' I stutter in disbelief as I process what the girls have just said.

''Yes, we did,'' Marzipan answers.

''Is...Mathilde going to be in that house? Is she going to...control it?'' I ask them hesitantly. I'm getting really scared now. I am going into a house where I might be facing that crazy French girl any moment now. And I worry about what she might have in store for me.

''No, she won't be in there,'' Marigold responds.

''This isn't her level,'' Marzipan says after.

OK, now I'm baffled.

''But you said this place is called Montague Manor. I thought she was...'' I begin to say.

''Well, you thought wrong, Mr Williams,'' Marigold interjects.

''Let's not loiter any more, Mr Williams,'' Marzipan says as she turns around and they both go up to the entrance of the manor. The manor is really big, and it is made out of pink bricks. It looks like it's 2 storeys high, and has around 16 white paned windows. The door was huge, and it was pink and white in colour. But there's something odd about it as I get closer to it. It looks almost...plastic. Like it's fake. Like it's a...doll's house.

Oh, great!

I'm going to be in a doll's house. I think I know what these girls have planned for me. They're going to make me dress up like a doll and make me have a tea party with other toys. I can just picture it now.

''Are you guys fans of Mathilde? Have you named the manor in her honor?'' I ask the girls, still wanting to know why the place is called Montague Manor. I see the girls look at each other in unison and smile simultaneously. They turn their heads back and carrying on walking forward towards the door. Guess I won't be getting an answer to that question.

We all stop at the entrance, and I wait for the girls to open the door so that we can enter.

''Follow the white rabbit,'' Marzipan says as she turns to look at me. Marigold joins her a second later and they both look at me intently. What does she mean by that?

''And don't get lost,'' Marigold says. For some reason, when she says that, the word 'lost' holds more gravity for me. It means more than just getting lost in the game. It means...losing my mind. Disappearing in the depths of my memories. Failing to secure my hands tightly on the rope of my sanity. I look at them both, understanding what I have to do, and then I go forward to the door as they stand aside.

''Here goes nothing,'' I say with a heavy sigh, bracing myself before I open the door.

''Have fun, Mr Williams,'' Marzipan and Marigold say in unison. Have fun? What's with all these girls saying that? I don't think I can have fun whilst trying to anticipate unforeseen situations. Fun isn't a word I would use for this game. Not at all.

As I place my hand on the silver knob of the pink door, I feel a sensation of slight fear and excitement at the same time. I turn the knob and slowly open the door, waiting for something to jump out at me. Maybe a white rabbit? I peer into the inside of the house and I am greeted with the sight of darkness. I can't make out a single thing. I look back at the girls, who are already smiling and waving at me. I don't know what it is, but when I see the girls do this, they remind me of Mathilde. Maybe they are related...

''Whoa!'' I say when I feel myself being pulled into the house suddenly. My body has become stiff, and it feels as if it is being dragged inside by an invisible magnet. I hear the door shut behind me sharply whilst I am hurtling towards...towards I don't know where or what.

Who's doing this?

Mathilde?

I know the twins' said that she isn't in this level, but can she jump levels?

''NASH!'' some one screams my name loudly. My body abruptly stops as the sound of my name echoes throughout the house. The voice sounds...female. And it sounds familiar. It sounds almost as if it was...Hannah.

Hannah...is calling out to me.

She can't be here, can she?

''Hello? Hannah?'' I shout aloud in the be-darkened house. I look around wildly, now with regained control of my body, and I am trying to see if I can spot any one. I look left and right, back and forth, but to no avail.

''Who's there?'' I say with more determination. I know there is someone here. I'm not losing it. I wonder if it's the girls.

''Come out, come out, wherever you are,'' I sing in a calmer, funnier way, trying to appeal to the girls, wondering if they are going to reveal themselves. As I look around to see if any one is going to come forward, I nearly trip over something at my feet.

''What the?'' I say aloud as I bend down to investigate what it is that I nearly fell over. My hands fumble around my feet until I come upon an object that feels...fluffy and soft to the touch. I grab hold of the object and pick it up, and when I draw it nearer to my face, I see it's a rabbit. A white rabbit.

''Follow the white rabbit,'' I whisper to myself as I inspect the creature in my hands. It looks into my face for a moment, then, all of a sudden, it begins to glow. It's glowing a bright blue color.

As I marvel at its glorious light illuminating from its fur, I watch in awe as the rest of the dark house begins to reflect off the rabbit and show up bright blue star lights following a wavy line that starts from the entrance and ends...God knows where. I can't see where it ends. I put the rabbit down and observe its movements to see where it will go as I obey the girls' instruction and follow it. But to where, I wonder?

I walk northwards, following the wavy star lines and the rabbit. Sometimes the rabbit stops, sniffs around, then carries on going forward. This goes on for what I believe is a good 10 minutes before he stops once more, and then turns right. I look to where he has gone, but I can't see anything. The bright wavy lines carry on going north, but the rabbit has turned right. I might as well trust in the rabbit and go with him.

We carry on walking as I try to make out where the rabbit is taking me. I look behind me to see that we are getting further and further away from the wavy star lines. I think about when I first picked up the rabbit and remember that his glowing fur made the rest of the house light up, but he hasn't made this passage light up at all.

Maybe I should pick him up again?

I am trying to catch up with the rabbit to see if I can grab him, but I'm puzzled to see him stop suddenly. He carries on sniffing, but it looks as if he's...confused. As if he doesn't know what to do now.

Why has he stopped?

I move closer to where he is, and I suddenly become aware of another presence. I see the rabbit move closer to where a boot is, and as my eyes travel up to see who the owner of this boot is, I become speechless the moment I gaze upon the person.

''What the...'' I begin to say aloud as I behold what looks like a tall, Asian (maybe), dark haired man, wearing dark clothing. He looks like Neo. But what startles me the most is his...eyes.

They're... in bandages.

I'm not sure if he has any.

But...it's weird.

It's as if...he can see me. He is staring right at me with invisible eyes.

I think I like Mathilde's level better now. I dread what's going to happen to me here. And I dread what this person is going to do to me.


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