He stood there in complete disbelief, how many years had it been five, six? Regardless of the toll it should have been on the house there it was, looking as old and decrepit as it had been on the day he first laid eyes on the place. The walk up the ominous landscape sent chills of memory up his spine, the horrors he had seen followed by the calm realization that it was all over, but then why was he back here? Just a trip down memory lane he supposed, reveling in victories long passed, he thought as he pushed through theancient doors.
The main hall was as dusty as ever, layer upon layer built on dirty furniture covers shielding long rotten chairs. A smell of mold and age hung thick in the air, it burned the nostrils but it was nothing that he wasn’t use to. He looked around as a child would survey its environment with a sense of intrigue at everything he saw; it was like he was back. Everything was the same as he remembered it, the filthy covers, the paintings, the potted plants, and even…the mirror. His whole body tightened up at the sight of the mirror, the twisting, turning, sickening power it had held was one of the house’s little tricks.
He stared at it wanting to know if it was over- was the beast truly gone, or simply lying dormant. Standing there silent and unmoving he stared, eyes traveling across every inch of the mirror looking for any sign of the sickening motion, but there was nothing. Sighing a breath of relief he quietly spoke “it’s gone…the magic is gone” chuckling in the dark silence. With that he knew that the power the house once contained had long been released with his incredible victory, which was won so long ago. Taking in a deep breath of the moldy aged air he gathered himself together and continued his trip through the ancient house.
Traveling through the rest of the house evoked the same sensations as did the main hall, the flood of the adventure that he had had, fighting of terrifying foes in every room, no enemy like the last. He visited every room as if expecting something to jump out and challenge him after all these years, and much to his honest disappointment, nothing happened. From the kitchen, to the dining room, to the ballroom dancing with his “ghost” partner there was nothing left, just a lone man traveling through his memories. That was until he heard a creak come from right above him, his head shot up to stare at the ceiling smile gone almost instantly. His heart sinking his mind raced, the house is empty, it’s just an old house of course it would creak, but no matter how much he tried to rationalize he raced back to the main hall and up the stairs.
Racing through the halls he made it to the room where the steps had come from; trying the door he found it locked. “What the hell” he said to himself, twisting and turning the knob rapidly trying to open it before finally stopping. He stood there standing at the door puzzled until he finally had an exciting realization-rummaging through his pockets he exclaimed “AH HA!” pulling out a crumpled piece of paper. It was the map he had made from his past adventure, a smart tool to keep him from getting lost; scanning his eye across the paper he found the room.
Second floor room M, “Sealed Room,” he muttered quietly to himself. “Sealed Room” he said again confused. How could this be? he thought, I had checked all the rooms there were no secrets left, I have defeated this house, THERE WERE NO LOCKED DOORS LEFT! It was in the during this thought that he heard a loud CLICK come from the door, a sound that made his eyes shoot toward it and just stare at the knob mind racing. What was behind the door he wondered, trying desperately to remember; looking back at the map he looked at the other rooms trying to spark some memory buried deep in his mind. Washroom, tearoom, bathroom, foyer, study, nothing, this room was just empty as far as he knew, and after what felt like hours of eyes shifting from the door to the map, he took a deep breath and turned the door knob.
A plume of dust poured out of the door, a good portion of it finding its way into his mouth, the taste of mold and cobwebs surging across his tongue. Spitting out the disgusting mixture, he looked into the darkness that laid beyond the “Sealed Room.” It was empty, completely empty, nothing but dust, no special wallpaper or design that the house always boasted with every room being elaborate and custom to that room alone. Where he should have been relieved his heart only raced faster, none of this made sense-the locked door, the empty room, this wasn’t the way the house worked-this room wasn’t meant to be like this. The longer he thought the more he started to panic; he needed to get out of this room; the only way he was going to calm down would be to get back to the area that made sense, and with that he ran out of the room shutting the door firmly behind him.
Walking through the rest of the house didn’t calm him the way it should have done, his memories of the rooms was beginning to warp; the sight of the room that didn’t belong was unraveling all his confidence in his victory. The house felt menacing again, threatening, the beast had awoken from its slumber and was ready to enact a revenge years in the making. The only thing he could do was walk through these ever-closing halls and hope, PRAY, that the memory would return to him and kill the terror that was growing steadily across his mind. “A bed, no, cupboards, no, candle sticks, no” he muttered walking up, down, across, and through every hall, every room, every nook, and cranny, searching for that lost room’s contents. It was during his fourth tour around the house that a massive smile dawned upon his face, “The treasure room” he choked out as a chuckle, “the treasure room” he spoke as a full blown laugh, how could he have possibly forgotten the TREASURE ROOM he thought as he raced down the empty hall.
“Golden walls, chests, red curtains, paintings, railing, fireplace!” he laughed loudly with another turn around a corner, all the memories of the “Sealed Room” flooded back to him. The house’s ominous presence was fading back into the darkness with this realization, and not a moment to spare, rooms were starting to blur together-- he even thought he saw a few switch, laughing at his paranoia. However he was still puzzled about where all the items had gone; you could move the chests, and remove the curtains, he supposed you could even remove the giant chandelier with a crew if need be, but what about the design, that couldn’t be removed without an army of carpenters. He chuckled at the concept, even more when he thought it could be one man who just didn’t like gold! It was after this thought and a turn around another corner when he had an epiphany. “Everything is hidden!” he shouted, running up the stairs; of course it had been hidden he thought with a big smile, he raided it last time, why wouldn’t someone hide the décor after his adventure he finally thought as he threw open the “treasure room” door.
What he saw made his heart skip a beat, and his face turn pale… the treasure room was right in front of him, PERFECT, FLAWLESS, the way he imagined it, not empty, not barren, not a mystery room, it was the treasure room again. “No..” he mouthed quietly “there is no way...” , how could it have possibly fixed itself, how could anyone or anything rebuild it in such a short amount of time, but wait…how long was he gone..? Breathing faster and faster he found he couldn’t figure it out, how long was he gone, what should have been a simple question, was lost to him; in a panic he pulled out his map to try and make sense of it all. At the sight of the map, second floor room M being labeled “Treasure Room” in HIS handwriting, he lost it throwing the map he ran out of the room in a panic “No, no, no, no, no!” he screamed running past rooms that were in the wrong place, doors that were missing, the house decaying around him. In his panic he tripped down the stairs landing on unforgiving tile that knocked the air out of him; with blurred vision he looked forward to his salvation, the front door that would release him from this hell, only to be confronted with a blank rotting wall.
With all hope gone, he knew what was happening, the creature had come back, the owner of this house that was driving him crazy, the same creature that had tried to bury him so many years ago was back. Picking himself up again he wondered, how had he gotten here, had he ever left all those years ago, and if not where was he now? So many questions that had no answers, except for one-- that the creature was here and wasn’t going to let him go without a fight-- but he was ready, he needed to get out of here and the creature held the key. Picking himself up he looked around the room; it seemed that the house had stopped shifting and had gone dormant again waiting for his next move. Dusting himself off and taking a deep breath, he journeyed toward the stairs that would lead him down even further into the house knowing that somewhere below was the creature.
With every step down the stairs his heart beat a little faster; he knew where it would be waiting, down the stairs through the cellar, and then straight down the hall; it sounded so simple. The cellar was darker than he remembered, as if the light was absorbed the farther he walked until he was faced with a pitch black hall with a light at the end, a light he had remembered all too well. All he could do was stand there trying to gain the courage to confront the beast, but with no weapons how could he possibly stand against it? Picking himself up he merely said “I’ll find a way.” As he took his first step down the black hallway he heard sounds, laughing, loud awful laughing, with each step it got louder and louder as if someone was behind him, taunting him. The laughing was earsplitting when he reached the door and then…it was gone, he felt eyes on him as he stared at the rusted handle just waiting for his next moved; with shivers up his spine he pulled, and the ancient rusty door opened.
The room had gone unchanged throughout the years, the altar, the candles, the brick walls, the…painting. The silent painting on the wall stared at him, looking like a framed mirror, no…not a mirror…a window, but “a window to wha..” he said stuttering as a horrible realization appeared at the edge of his mind. Waves of memories coursed his brain the paintings were prisons sealing those things away,but what or whom was this one sealing away? Rushing over he looked into the painting to see it, to see IT smiling at him, the transparent white monster, the king of this house, of this prison… He screamed “No, no, please god NO!” turning back, he saw the darkness coming closer walling him in, “I STOPPED YOU!” he shrieked “THIS WAS SUPPOSED TO BE YOUR PRISION!” he cried trying to push back the ever encroaching darkness.
Outside the painting the creature smiled upon its screaming new prize, which was fighting against the darkness; it turned and quietly floated across the room. Another creature, also white and transparent, looking at the painting floated over to the leader and spoke “It would seem that the illusion has been broken, the subject knows where they are.” “It was bound to happen eventually” the leader said with a light chuckle, “who would ever believe Luigi could be the hero?”