The scene shifts like a pane of glass is standing between you and the real life. For a moment, you hesitate at the doorway to the chamber, but then you take a tiptoe forward. The air here is still, though the odour of cordite trips from the walls. Occasionally, you catch the smell of roses, but you can see none, and the scent dissolves back into the stone and wood. The room is sparsely furnished, with grey walls that threaten to hem in any and every one. You swallow. Was this such a good idea?
And every so often, that shifting occurs again. It’s hard to describe, you admit to yourself sheepishly, as the glimpse of colours in the grey room fades the instant they appear. You blink and rub your eyes, hoping that maybe your lack of sleep is making you hallucinate.
But, no—there again occurs the shift, more prominent this time. You take a bigger step. A metre. To test. To decide. Yes. The world shimmers. The room folds into its second colour-scheme, more lavish than before. You glance back. Yes, this room matches the décor of the corridor. The bed before you, large enough to be four-poster but without the poles and canvas, is dressed in a soft pink primrose duvet, and from its feet seeps a carpet as blue as the ocean. Beside it is a dresser, some drawers askew but not enough so as to frustrate you, and on its opposite side is an end-table, larger than the average bedroom side-table, but not large enough to be any sort of desk.
You can’t see another entrance or, if you like, an exit. You turn your head and glance back—
The door slams.
Okay. So, no going back, then. That’s okay. You weren’t keen on returning to the Red Queen’s microfibre mist. In fact, Hatter’s story pulls at your heartstrings – literally, your heart is jolting on every beat in your chest – and a tightness gnaws at your stomach. This must be one of her rooms—The Red Queen. The villain taking over this—this world into which you’ve inadvertently stumbled.
So, you clear your throat, and push down your shirt. Even that has changed from your venture into the chamber – from your tacky blue pyjamas to a vibrant blue smock-like shirt. You pull a face. This is worse than what the Hatter was wearing. Saving this world or not, you aren’t really keen on wearing this for the adventure.
You hum to yourself, stopping at the end of every bar to strain your ears. It’s as a quiet as a garden here, buzzing, ever-buzzing with bees that hang in the air like audible raindrops.
Speaking of which… You twirl around the room for a moment, taking in every element of the architectural tapestry. The grey stone still makes the room a rough chamber, as if at the top of a tower, but you are certain of the missing windows. No garden, then.
Your eyes, however, are drawn, as if by magic or wonder, back to the large tome on the side-table. It’s closed and bound with a lock, but that isn’t what makes you creep forward and pull the book into your palms.
You glance down at the space on the side-table. Where you hadn’t seen before, now you notice a keyboard, as if prised right off a computer and soldered to the wood. Your fingers tingle. You know what to do.
This book details your path to greatness. Now you just have to name it.