Turn Back

You edge back along the corridor, scowling as if you have been tricked into thinking wrongly about the door. After all, you were the one who decided to take a detour up this way. But you dislike the thought of it being your fault. Instead, you grumble as you walk along, making ruts in the supposedly-perfect carpet.

Whoever this Red Queen is, she will pay. Mostly for making you traipse around a maze of stupid puzzles, you consider bitterly.

Due to your attention in the direction of the carpet, you barely notice that you have passed the balcony that contains the staircase that leads back down to the foyer. Instead, you only lift your head when the sheen of pale light reflects of something glittering, dug into the carpet roughly.

You drop to your knees and lift out the square piece, the size of a small camera lens, the shape of a perspex box. Though you observe it with wonder, a second later, you tilt you head upwards, for you have reached the other end of the corridor. You bow at the feet of a large painting of a stately woman, possibly a Dame from the 18th century. It is this which pushes the idea from your mind for a while.

You stare at the painting. Everything about it seems wrong. Not only is the subject a woman who is oddly proportioned and dressed in colours that are not her own, but her eyes give off the tale of being something more than just duo-coloured. It is their shape that makes you wonder, letting your sight spin back to the piece clutched tightly in your hand.

You stand on your tiptoes so that you can reach and stare back into the face of the ominous woman. Indeed, one of the eyes, the square to match the triangle in the pupil of the other, is missing a chunk of the painting, something which you wouldn’t have been able to identify in the poor light had you not actually come close.

One and one must make two, in the same way that slotting the square, glass peg into the square space of the figure’s eyes gives a resounding click. Here is an entrance, concealed in rough paint and paper sides; a door framed with ivory, such as a decorative piece would. Here in this land, anyway, if not in your own house.

The painting swings forward- causing you to jump backwards, only just out of its way.

You peer into the newborn darkness, taking one step into a rough chamber beyond. What is the first thing you see?

The End

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