There was at first nothing at all. Then a dark house was built on this nothing. Old at the first hour of being new, a cursed place, fomented upon it another form appears.
He realizes then that this form is himself, Noel.
“What is this place?” He asks to the mansion.
The house has no words. An unnatural breeze blows through the hallway. Tattered curtains flail by its power.
“What the hell?” Noel shouts.
The ghostly breeze flashes around him, striking him through with cold paralysis. Noel gasps a shallow brief of fear, and struggles against the numbness. His body lurches stiffly down the hallway, away into and away from it.
“Why would this be happening?” Noel whimpers.
“No, why would this be happening.” He stated again, as if correcting himself.
He wandered through the wraith fully, and found at the end of the hall, an old style parlor.
“I’ve never been in a place like this before.” He says.
The room was lit with an array of candles littering the room, burning wax softly onto every surface. He walks carefully around the fires, tip toeing gently in-between the fragile things. Finally he sat carefully on the edge of a sofa.
The room bobbed too and fro gently, the heat of the flame radiated a harsh sting.
“No.” He shook his head in confusion.
“I would remember coming here, if it were real.” He spat at the mansion.
He examined closely the dimension of his hands, swiping around attempting to feel them, to feel their reality. He bit at his thumb suddenly.
“I knew it!” He proclaims, “Nothing but an illusion.”
He smiles and walks with confidence from the sofa. Clearly he sees the candles and ghost-like passes through their presence unharmed. A pinch, like the flex of a nerve strikes him.
His thumb stings with the sensation of his teeth’s work. He looks away, to the thumb, and sees it, a tiny prick, a single flowing stream, looking delicately like red twine.
Absentmindedly he kicks a candle over. It knocks gently and the flame catches against the floor.
“Ah no, no.” Noel says nervously.
He creeps around the burning mass, but it pulls the other flames down with it. One by one they join it, falling dominoes. The exits are cut off. The heat swells, all the room goes up at once. Noel is consumed.
The floor burns, and capsizes under its weakness. The burning remains fall down into the level below. It slaps a surface of water with a wicked sizzle. The cries of hell choke, and a rush of water puts out Noel’s singed body.
His head emerges from the surface with a panicked gasp. He sprays swallowed water, and looks around. Panting heavily, he realizes he is in a pool, with dark blue water. Unnaturally rich, and encircled by tiles of stone, and stone statues, carven mermaids cast their admiration to the pool.
“What a trip.” He says exasperated.
He climbed slowly out of the water, and lay out near the statues.
“I know this is all fake.” He says, “I’m even surer of it now than before. All I have to do is stay calm, and enjoy myself. Nothing bad will happen as long as I remember that.”
“I want to be dry.” He says.
He sits contented and looks around. There is a garden out the window, the purplish haze of fading and rising light illuminates little. Noel turns to one of the statues.
He reaches out his hand to the sentinel’s forehead.
“Come on, its okay, come talk to me.”
The stone melts away revealing the flesh and scale underneath. The creatures sculpted smile is warmer although the same.
“I can’t believe you did it.” Noel replied amused, “I knew it really, thanks still.”
The mermaid nodded, at ease. Noel scuffs her hair, like to a child, and walks past her calmly.
“Is there anywhere else we can go mermaid? I’d quite enjoy something less dreary.”
“Nowhere,” says the mermaid, says the mansion.
The old ghostly chill strikes him as he realizes. He turns back, and the mermaid looks into him with sinister intent.
“Hey come on, don’t attack me.” He said assuredly.
She groans, creature-like, her presences dims, and she attacks.
“No, just talk.” He says.
She stops short at his words, and becomes warm again.
“I’m sorry.” She says simply.
“Ah stop, look I’m going to think up something better than this, it’ll put you in a better place. You’ll see, where do you like go-“He stops short.
He feels a cold reptilian claw latch onto his shoulder.
“How annoying.” He says slowly, nervously shaking.
He leans his head slightly to the right, and looks at the thing in his peripheral.
“Alright one second.” He sighs, “Alright…one…two.”
He whirls around and strikes a monstrous stone statue. Her fanged face takes the hit absently, and begins to snarl.
“Nice you’re scary.” He relented, “Unfortunately for you, I am more real.”
Noel swipes at the stone gorgons face again, tearing through the rock and shattering it. The beast cries out, but another such blow knocks it to the ground. All the mermaids shatter simultaneously. They burst with a final cry, shredding apart in stone shrapnel.
He is left there. Noel senses it once again. He is alone. He watches some of the pieces sink into the deep royal waves.
“What a silly thing to do.” Noel protested.
He went to the garden window, and pushed it open. It complied and the warm breeze washed in from the rising sun. He smirks, and climbs over the window sill.
Suddenly a claw clutches his leg.
“What now?” He groans.
A cruel dark shadow attempts to pull him back inside.
“No, I said. I’m leaving!” He says.
But he cannot escape the claw’s grasp, his strength leaves him suddenly, and the beast reels him in slow.
“No, I can move.” He struggles out.
But he cannot move, the beast drags him in slo-“No!”
The beast lau-“Shut up I said”
“I’m leaving to the garden. It’s nice there, there’s fresh morning dew, and a warm breeze.”
“I saw it from the pool area, but now that I’m here it really catches the eye.” He says.
“Look at that sun.”
He watches entranced by the huge orb, not much a sun at all, too close. He could see the burning ridges and plumes of fire clearly.
“No its’ not a sun at all.” Noel murmurs.
It moves quickly, but gently across the sky. It is soon directly overhead, he cranes his neck watching. It comes down the other side. The life all around him yearns desperately. He too does not want it to go. The greenery can not stand the rejection and begins killing itself left and right.
The sun creeps closely to the horizon, fading aw-”Come back.”
“The sun must stay, I want it.”
Unfortunately desire is never fulfilled forever.
“What? Who says?” He shouts to nothing.
The silence hangs in the air.
“Don’t go silent on me now. I know your there. I can feel you there.” He continues crying to the twilight garden.
“No not to the garden to you.” He says.
“No, I say, you don’t determine me.” Noel claims, “N, you claim not I.” He rambles “You say” He says “N-he is interrupted b-“You suddenly stop, and I-“ He is stricken sudde-“No stop this nonsense!”
“That’s better. I sigh. Now, then let’s bring back the sun.”
The sun continues to set in defian-“No it rises” He protests. But undeniably in sinks into the-
“Stop thi-” He chokes, suddenly.
The sun falls away, and night sets upon the pungent rotting garden. Noel wants to cry out but struggles to find words. Their power is sealed by the darkness.
The fluttering of bats echoes through the garden. They sail overhead, ominous, ambiguous, and half-formed. Noel moves nervously away, still struggling to catch his breath. He moves finding a wall of living vines in the dark. He touches it, it shifts reflexively away. The vines part, and usher him through to an inner sanctum.
Gnarled wood and vine intertwine forming haphazard paths. He breathes heavily through his nose. His mouth, refusing to open slowly fades away. Further he struggles to open what does not exist as he walks through the vines.
Finally he comes to the last stop. A dark forest meets him as he arrives with crosses, and tombstones lying, eaten up by mosses and weeds. His eyes flash with panic.
He has the look of prey about him. He digs his hands into his face furiously, ripping into the skin, tearing a new mouth.
“Oh god. No stop this. I won’t allow this.” He begs vainly.
The ground opens up in front of him.
“The ground is flat.” He says “No! You say.”
It slowly forms the sharp rectangular form-“It is fla-“form of-“It is flat! Flat! Flat! Flat! The ground is flat!”
“Now that you see it is flat, I’m going to leave.”
He turns into a giant shadowy claw. It cleaves through his neck. His head is sent soaring, helpless. He flies, consciousness fading. He sees his body tumble backwards into the open grave. He rolls nauseatingly downwards, downwards until.
“Shit!” He gasps, sitting up in his bed.
He looks around at his room, and is soothed. It was a dream after all. He smiles and shakes his head slightly, he had known all along. Yawning, and stretching, he leaves his bed for the hallway.
A ghostly hallway he walks down, he remains, however, ignorant.