The darkness thins until you reach what looks like a wooden door, roughly carved and old, but the rusting handle, unbroken, turns easily. You push open the door as your eyes grow wide in unison. It’s like looking in a mirror. Albeit a mirror that seems to have been orientated the wrong way.
The dusty stone of a mansion lies around you, almost a replica of the walls you ignored in the ‘other’ place; and when you open your eyes to see what place has grown out of the light- since, you notice, it is the light to the ‘other’ mansion’s drear, with wide windows- you are revealed into an anti-chamber. There in front of you resides a portrait, blurred unrecognisably as if wet with water, and a staircase winds off in the corner of your vision, always out ‘there’, avoiding your central line-of-sight. The room is more extensive with every glance you give. Its mantelpiece seems gilded, but on a closer inspection, you realise that it is simply an illusion, made of light and wooden boards.
There are many walkways, both above you and around you, but away from the wood-colours and the whites of actual marble, a red door catches your eye. It’s hiding in the corner of the foyer-room, partly concealed by a net curtain, black, if you know your colours as correct in this land.
You hurry towards the curtained door, pushing the curtain aside so that you find your hands fluttering above a keyhole. You try the handle just in case; unsurprisingly, it’s locked. Luckily, the oversized form of the keyhole tells you all you need to know. The biggest key fits in a charm and, with a resounding click, you creak open the door.
Though at first you squeal as something wriggly falls down from an inlet in the door, your noise turns into a laugh when you see that the ‘wriggliness’ simply comes from tassels, black and glittery.
Pushing through the tassels, letting them tickle the top of your head as if they are an extension of your hair, you look around the room you have entered. It’s small and circular, with black curtains to dim what must be windows beyond the netting. You try to part them, in order to peer at the light that you think might be leading to a scent-filled garden, but as you touch the silk, a shock runs through your body. Maybe this mirror-land is not so fairytale as you’d wish…
The final pieces of the room come into your sight now: three individual doors, drawn into the wall at the parting of some of the netting. Each have the white of the wall, but each contain a different gold symbol etched into their front. The first, off to your left, has a key; the second, the middle door, an ornately spirally heart; and the third appears to be in the shape of a golden cupcake, oddly delicious.
You turn to go back, but you find yourself faced with nothing but a blank wall, freakishly white. Spinning back to ‘forward’, as you now name it, you know that you must take one of these penned routes.
Which door will you take?