As you enter the room, your feet create little splashes.\n\n(splash-splash-splash-splash)\n\n\nThe floor is covered with about an inch of water.\nYou start treading carefully.\nThere's not much light, but what lights there is reflects on the water, creating eerie glimmers here and there.\nThe only noises in this room are the splashes you yourself are making, and a soft, subdued dripping.\n\n(splash-splash-splash.)\n\n[[drip]]\n
\nYou shake your head and try to stay awake.\n\nYou walk to the nearest door and open it, without a thought.\n\nRows and rows of dresses and coats get in your way. The smell of naphthalene prickles your nose.\n\nIt's a closet. You've walked into a closet.\n\nThe clothes are soft, the fur coats are warm.\n\nYou feel sleepier and sleepier.\n\n<<if $dog eq "yes" >>\n\n"WOOF!!!" \nA sudden barking wakes you up.\nBehind a soft and warm mink coat you see the dirty smelly fur of the dog you released before.\nThe dog catches the hem of your shirt with his teeth and drags you out of the closet.\nIt stops in front of a curtain then starts sniffing it.\n\nYou pull the curtain and reveal a [[hidden door]].\n"Good doggie." you whisper under your breath.\n<<else>>\n\nYou curl in the floor of the [[closet]], and fall asleep under a warm pile of fur coats and stoles.\n\n<<endif>>\n\n\n
\nOvergrown bushes, withered and thorny block your way.\n\nBut that's not really a problem, is it? You came prepared.\n\nWith sweaty palms, you grab your scythe and start slashing.\n\nAnd slashing.\n\nAnd [[slashing]].\n\n
\nYou reach for the key, and the moment your fingers touch it, whatever was holding you down is gone.\n\nYou back away from the basin, coughing and spluttering, the key safely tucked in your closed fist.\n\nWater makes your hair stick to your scalp, more water trails down your neck, going down your back, your chest, your arms.\n\nIt's cold and it makes you shiver, but right now you're just too happy you didn't drown to complain about anything else.\n\nYou run towards the [[white door]] on the end of the hallway, your feet creating ripples and splashes all around you.\n\n-splash splash splash SPLASH-
\nYou climb a flight of stairs as quickly as you can, open the first door you find, and take a deep breath.\n\nYour nose fills with the smell of [[dust]].
\n\nYou nod to yourself. To Spring.\n\nYou give yourself.\n\nSpring shines upon you, making you glow, making you light, healing every wound you've ever had, erasing every scar, every bad memory, every good memory.\n\nErasing you.\n\nYou walk to the end of the broken down stair.\n\n("Jump and be free of us")\n\nYou remember Winter, Spring's tired sibling speaking those words in a frustrated, defeated whisper to you.\n\nYou didn't give it much thought then, but you do now.\n\nAs Spring courses through your veins, as you feel herself become yourself you jump into the open chasm.\n\nYou open your arms to welcome Death, this new mystery to unravel, this new door to cross...\n\n[[...]]
\nWhen has a woman stopped before the door guarding knowledge?\n\nNever, that's when. \n\nYou're a daughter of Eve, a sister of Alice and Dorothy.\n\n[[You kick the door open]].\n\n\n
\n"The dog will die so we can have this little chat." says the cold voice, for once sounding more businesslike than angry or sarcastic.\n\nThe dog yelps weakly in response, and you can't help but to look at him.\n\n"LISTEN TO ME!" the voice booms, the blinding light flicking on and off.\n\n"Listen, or the dog's death will mean nothing."\n\nYou turn your attention back at the presence behind the door.\n\n"Can you see the window to your left? Open it."\n\nYou [[open the window]], and the curtains flutter lightly with the early evening breeze. It's much warmer outside than inside. You take a deep breath.\n\n
\nThe moment you enter the room, you know you've just missed the presence, you feel it scurry away from you, so to speak.\n\nYou're alone, but had you entered one minute before, it would have still been here, the angry one, the snarly one.\n\nKnowing that, it's puzzling to see the childish display before you.\n\nRows of empty chairs , all facing a wall where a single mannequin stands, its only arm pointing to papers pinned on the wall.\n\nA classroom, right?\n\nIt's supposed to look like an empty classroom, the broken mannequin its silent teacher.\n\nYou walk closer to the wall, and snatch one of the papers pinned on it.\n\nIt's a [[crude drawing]].
\nYou hoist yourself up on the windowsill, then collapse inside the room.\n\nYou feel so tired...\n\nYou close your eyes, and promise yourself it'll be only for a minute, but when you open them again, the sun has moved in the sky, leaving the room you've entered in a dusky semidarkness.\n \nThe bald child that beckoned you in is sitting on a chair in the middle of the room. She's wearing what looks like a hospital robe, and there's something really stiff about her posture.\n\nWhen she notices you're awake, she stands up, and then you realise she's not a real kid, she's a mannequin.\n\n"You're covered in scars" she says. "You won't do."\n\nShe gestures with one hand, and more mannequins start moving towards you. \nYou fight them, but they basically pile themselves on top of you till you can't move.\n\n"I just want to see your eyes." she says.\n\nThe mannequin child cups your chin with one hand.\n\n"Lovely eyes." she says, her plastic fingers so close to your right eye you can feel them brush your eyelashes. "I think I'll keep them."\n\nShe sticks her fingers into your eye socket, and pulls your eye out.\n\nYour scream is the last thing you hear.\n\n\n\n\n\n\n
Although you were barely pressing the door with your hand, it creaks open.\n\nYou step [[inside.]]\n
\nA tin waterpot, covered in dust.\nAs you pick it up, you hear water sloshing inside.\n\nThere's a glass door across the room. You see [[sunlight]] shining through.\nYou walk forward.\n
\n\nYou stand upon rubble.\n\nAlone.\n\nAlone?\n\nYou open and close your hands, and know that the power, Winter's power to bring down buildings is still there.\n\nBut you stand under the evening sky and feel as if you were sunbathing, warm, fulfilled.\n\nThe decisions you made inside the house still stand, even if the house itself does not.\n\nYou carry ghosts within you, yes, but who doesn't?\n\n[[You leave the ruins behind]].\n\n\n\n
\nYou break into a run. \nBehind you, the plants rustle, in what you suppose to be frustration.\nWhen you finally make it to a small door in the side of the greenhouse, you're not surprised to find it closed.\nBut it's a glass door, and the panels are very wide.\n\nBehind you, the withered plants keep rustling. \nYou don't want to look over your shoulder. \n\nYou start kicking the panels, hoping to break them, when you notice there's a shovel lying on the floor near you.\nYou pick it up and swing it against the glass panels, smashing them as quickly as you can.\n\nThe door is still closed, but you can fit yourself in the opening you've created and get [[out]].\n\n
\nYou peer down into the chasm below, and you see something white moving.\n\nThe mannequins.\n\nThe mannequins start piling on each other, climbing, pushing each other higher and higher, until they reach your level.\n\nThey bridge the gap between you and the next floor with their bodies.\n\n"Come to me, my brave one, my beautiful one."\n\nAt the top of the stairs, a light, a silhouette of a young woman with flowing hair.\n\nThe one who waits, the one who pleads. \n\nPrincess.\n\n[[Spring]].\n\n\n
\nYou start walking over the mannequins.\n\nAs you walk, you keep your eyes on Spring, a vision made of sunlight, She who has all the answers.\n\n<<if $hair eq "yes" >>\n\nYour feet tread on plastic bodies that feel warmer the closer you get to the top.\n\nYou stumble, and one of the mannequins steadies you, its soft hand helping you up.\n\nThis mannequin's face is as empty as the face of the others, but looking at it unsettles you.\n\nThere's a dark shade on its scalp, where hair is beggining to grow back.\n\nYou run a hand through your own scalp, finding it as hairless and smooth as the mannequins' plastic (plastic?) scalps.\n\nYou're climbing a stairway made of people.\n\nWhy are you climbing a stairway made of people?\n\nWhere are you climbing a stairway made of people to?\n\n<<else>>\n\nThe mannequins make a soft squishy sound as you step on their plastic bodies.\n\nYou keep your eyes on Spring.\n\nShe holds out her hands to you, and giggles.\n\nHer infectious laughter echoes through the halls, through every room of this haunted house, but instead of making you smile back, it freezes you in your tracks.\n\nHer laugh is yours.\n\nYou touch the hollow of your throat.\n\nHer voice is yours.\n\nSince the very beginning, when it was only a voice in your head, capable only of sending thoughts into your mind, the voice you heard those thoughts spoken in was yours.\n\nWould you have found another voice so convincing?\n\nWould you have tried to save someone who didn't sound like you?\n\n\n<<endif>>\n\nYour pulse flutters like a hummingbird on your throat, on your chest, on your wrists.\n\n"Come," she says, a smile on her sunshine face. "[[Come to me]]."\n\n
\nYou stick two fingers in the hole where the handle used to be, and immediately pull them out, wet and stained with red.\n\nIt would be scarier if they didn't smell so strongly of paint, though.\n\nYou pull the door open, and the smell of fresh paint overwhelms you.\n\nThe hallway is brightly lit, the walls covered with white glazed tiles. There are several metal doors, polished so they're almost as shiny as mirrors.\n\nOn the floor, another mannequin, no clothes, no hair, lying face down on the floor, generously splattered with red paint, mimicking blood.\n\nA word is painted on the floor, and a big red arrow points to the mannequin, so you won't mistake its meaning.\n\n"[[YOU]]." \n\n
Next Door Taker\n
\n"Oh, do you really mean it?" speaks the warm voice, the kind voice. "Are you really coming to find me?"\n\nThe stone steps behind grow ever older, ever closer to rubble.\n\nThen you feel a piercing pain in your chest.\n\nThe tiny white light -The cold presence just went through you.\n\nYou check yourself, hoping for a hole, for a gaping wound and find nothing, but you feel as weak as if you had been stabbed.\n\nThe tiny white light grows big, fierce, and the ground starts [[shaking]] under your feet.\n\n\n\n\n
\nYou fumble a bit bit the belts and buckles, but you finally manage to put the pretty dancing shoes on. \n\nUnder the bed, a hand seizes your sneakers and pulls them out of your sight. You lift the covers and peek under the bed, but neither hand nor sneakers are there any more.\n\nThe dancing shoes pinch your toes horribly, they're not your size. You couldn't walk in them, let alone dance.\nYou take them off.\n\nThere's something specially weird about the left shoe, though, so you check the inside with your hand.\n\nYou find something stuck on the sole.\n\nIt's a little silver key.\n\nAll that's left is for you to find the door it opens.\n\nYou find it, a [[white door]], framed by white curtains.\n\n
\n\nThere are chairs and tables, pushed against the walls of this room, to make room for something that hasn't arrived.\n\nThe wooden floor shines with the light that comes from the huge glass candelier above you.\n\nWhat seems like a thousand candles have been lit, and scent the air with incense, blur it with smoke, make the room seem bigger, like the walls are miles away from you.\n\nA scratchy sound, louder than your steps on the wooden floor, louder than your breathing, surprises you.\n\nA scratchy, bumpy, uneven kind of sound.\n\nYou look around.\n\nOn a corner there's a phonograph. You know it by name, and you know what it looks like, but you're stumped on how to use it.\n\nA disk, a record (is this even a vynil, or is it an older thing yet?) spins, endlessly. \n\n"There should be music" you say to yourself.\n\nThere should be [[music]].\n\n\n
\nYou walk towards the wooden door.\nThere was a carving there once, but it's been completely effaced. \nSomeone has been to a lot of trouble so you wouldn't know what this door once looked like.\n\nYou run your fingers on the carved [[surface]].\n\n
\nYou crouch and find out that yes, there is a little opening here.\nIt's covered with netting you can easily push away.\nYou could crawl inside and find yourself in the other room.\nIt's narrow, but you're small enough, even if you will find it a little uncomfortable.\n\nIt beats being locked in here.\n\nYou push the netting with your head and crawl forward, down on all fours.\n\nIt smells strongly of fur and sweat, but you can already see the end of the tunnel so you keep [[crawling]].\n\n
\nThe staircase crumbles, rocks falling around you, barely avoiding hitting you. \n\nYou lie flat on your stomach, your fingers clutching the steps in front of you, too weak to climb down.\n\nThe tiny white light flickers above you.\nYou hear the warm presence chuckle.\n\n"That stuffy old ghost can't stop us now. It can't stop you, my fearless adventurer, my dauntless investigator, my Hero."\n\nHer warm voice gives you courage. \nYou stand up, dizzy but whole.\n\nIn front of you lies an [[open chasm]], separating you from the final steps of the staircase.\n\nEven with your newfound courage, you know you can't possibly jump that high.
\nYou drink your tea, and eat your cake, as you should, since you're at a tea party.\n\nAs you listen to the other guests talking to each other, someone's refilled your cup, and served you more cake, and the others ask you to eat some more, and you're only too happy to oblige.\n\n"Your hair is so pretty," they compliment you "So shiny and soft..."\n\n"Your skin is so pretty" you flatter back "Not a mole, not a freckle..."\n\nYou giggle. \n\nThey giggle back.\n\nA lot of giggling, and many slices of cakes later, you can barely keep your eyes open, so you excuse yourself. \n\nIt had been awkward to climb up the chair, and the way you climb down is quite shameful, but the mannequins don't seem to notice. In fact they don't seem to move at all. And their cups and their plates are all empty. The party is over. Pity.\n\nYou groggily walk towards the next room, feeling sleepier and [[sleepier]].
\nThe more you try to cut down the bushes, the heavier the scythe seems to be.\n\nYou stop for a second, to catch your breath, and only then you hear the noise you've been ignoring.\n\nAll around you, the bushes have been growing. Withered, brown and thorny, but thicker than they were before.\n\nYou frantically grab your scythe and start slashing, eager to clear a space for yourself.\n\nBut the circle around you keeps [[closing]].\n\n
\nYou take one step forward, then another.\n\nNothing happens.\n\nYou don't know what you expected, (The plants to devour you, as if they were hungry lions?) but you're happy it didn't happen.\n\nYou decide to do your best to squeeze yourself past the plants. It won't be comfortable, but neither is being their prisoner.\n\nYou start to push your way past the first of the bushes in your path, and then your sleeve gets caught in a branch.\n\nAs you try to pull it free, your hand is pierced by a thorn.\n\nTiny drops of your [[blood]] fall on a rosebush's mottled leaves.
\nThe glass from the greenhouse door cuts deep into your skin.\n\nBlood runs from several cuts on your arms and legs.\n\nTears run down your face.\n\nYou [[lurch]] forward, thinking this has stopped being fun a long time ago.\n\n
\nIn the dark, in the little corner of the closet where you've hid, the smell of the moth-balls fades after a while, and it only smells of fur, of your own sweet, and of darkness, if darkness had a smell.\n\nYou're woken up by the fur moving over your body, and as you open your eyes, you notice two bright yellow lights, piercing the darkness, piercing you.\n\nA heavy paw rests on your belly, and a growling grows in the throat of the animal before you.\n\nIt bares its teeth.\n\nYour scream is the last thing you hear.\n\n\n
\nStill rustling around you, dragging themselves over their own dried leaves, the plants you thought were dead have encircled you.\n\nThey've stopped a few feet short of touching you and now they wait.\n\nThey [[wait]].\n\n\n
\nYou find yourself outside the premises.\n\nThere's a wall to your left, and there's the greenhouse behind you.\n\nYou don't want to go back to the greenhouse, so you follow the wall, to see where it takes you.\n\nWith every step, your blood keeps flowing down your limbs.\n\nYou start feeling a little lightheaded.\n\nSo, when a window opens ahead of you, and a baldheaded child peers at you, at first, you think you're imagining things.\n\nBut then, the [[child]] speaks.
\nYou touch the glass door and the cold hurts your skin. You immediately take your hand back.\n\n"Through this door only death awaits you."\n\nThe dog whimpers loudly in the corner, echoing the words the cold presence speaks.\n\n"Do not try to reach me. There is no me. Nothing for you to find. All I am, all I have to give is this offer. Jump and be free of us."\n\nUnder the door, you feel the air grow ever colder, as if you stood in front of an open refrigerator.\n\nOutside the window, you won't find the answer to [[this mystery]]. Of course, you may find others. But not this one.\n\n\n\n\n
\nWithout thinking, you hold the mannequin's hands, and jump back started when the hands gently squeeze back.\n\n"So alone. So alone, and for so long..."\n\nThe voice you hear is choking with sadness and regret.\n\nIt's not coming from the mannequin in front of you (the mannequin hasn't got a mouth to speak with), but it's the mannequin who lets its arms hang loosely on its sides, and who seems to deflate while sighing.\n\n"All I want is to leave this place. You can sympathize, don't you? With not wanting to be locked up anymore...?"\n\nIt's basically your driving force, so you nod, wordlessly.\n\nThe air around you gets colder and colder, and the mannequin holds your shoulders, while the voice begs, beseeches...\n\n"Find me, find me, please..."\n\nAs the air gets even colder, the headless mannequin freezes in place, its hands touching your shoulders still, but stiff and lifeless.\n\nYou take a step back, and feel the other presence, the angry one trembling around you.\n\nYou run out of the room before it has the chance to say a word, and close the door behind you, hoping it won't [[follow]].\n\n\n\n\n\n\n
\n\nYou stumble your way inside a big bedroom.\nEverything's still in that stupid scale from the last room, where everything's bigger than it needs to be, with the walls seeming to be miles away from each other, and the ceiling might as well be the sky, and just what was in that tea that makes your feet so stupid and your head so slow, why is the room spinning, ah, no, you're the one who's spinning, right, that makes more sense.\n\nYou start to chuckle to yourself.\n\nThis won't do.\n\nYou really need to get some sleep.\n\nThere's this massive four-poster [[bed]], with a canopy, and shiny taffeta drapes, and the whole princess look to it...\n\nYou really need to sleep. [[Should you?]]\n\n
\nA dark hallway.\nA dusty floor strewn with footprints.\nTwo doors stand before you.\n\nA [[steel]] door.\n\nA [[wooden]] door.\n
\nIt's only a farming appliance, you tell yourself.\nOnly a tool for cutting down crops.\nThere are no crops around.\nYou still pick it up.\n\n\nYou should feel calmer now you've got a weapon, but you certainly don't.\n\nThere's a [[glass]] door across the room.\nYou walk towards it.\n
\nYour face is firmly pressed against the cold, smooth, ceramic basin.\nYou're holding your breath, keeping your eyes shut, but you know that if you don't do something, you'll just drown.\n\nYou start trashing your arms wildly, trying to hit your unseen assailant, but your arms find only empty air.\n\nYou're not being held down by a human. \nNot like it really matters now.\n\n"I'm [[drowning]]" you think.\n\n
\nA girl being strangled by...ribbons? It's a stupid drawing.\n\nYou quickly scan the other drawings. They all depict, very crudely, barely above stick figure level, a girl (you?) dying in stupid ways: devoured by animals, murdered by plants, stupidly drowning by herself, killed by murderous chairs...?\n\nIs this supposed to be a threat? Something that could happen to you?\n\nThat couldn't happen to you.\n\n[[Still....]]\n\n
\nYou pick up your waterpot, very aware that it's almost empty.\n\nYou kneel in front of the nearest plant, and carefully water its roots.\n\nYou imagine it sighing in delight.\n\nYou do not imagine its leaves becoming green and its branches sprouting buds. That is really happening.\n\nThe plant you watered rustles away from you, satisfied, but the other plants quickly take up that empty space. \n\nYou're no closer to an exit, and your waterpot is [[empty]].
\n\nYou can't hold your breath anymore, and it starts coming out in bubbles.\nYou feel a little relieved, even if it doesn't fix anything.\n\nThere's a buzzing in your ears, a sound you can't quite make sense of.\nThe force holding you underwater seems to falter.\n\nNow might be a good time to [[fight]].\n\nOr maybe you should try to [[listen]]...?\n\n
\nYou walk to the window, and look outside.\n\nThe first stars, high upon the evening sky, twinkle gently.\n\nFreedom?\n\nOn the ground below, soft looking grass grows. You can see a fence surrounding the premises. Yes, it's a big place, but it's not infinite. \n\nIf you jump, you could leave.\n\nOr fall down, break a leg, and die unattended. That's also a possibility.\n\nYou gingerly climb on [[the windowsill]].\n\n
\nGiving the dog a very wide berth, you make your way to the door.\n\nYou look over your shoulder one last time— an unnecessary action, as the dog's barking easily tells you exactly where he is\n\nThe moment the door closes behind you, the noise stops, and you no longer care.\n\nYou stand outside, in a small courtyard where no grass grows, surrounded by stone walls, too tall to give you any idea of what might be on the other side.\n\nYour choices [[narrow]] to a single door. So you open it.\n\n
\n\nThere's a brief -too brief- moment when you are weightless like a feather, but all too quickly, you plummet down.\n\nYou hit the ground and it hurts, yes, but you can stand and walk just fine, nothing broken.\n\n[[The world stretches before you]].\n
\n[[The whole world stretches before you.]]\n
\nThis kitchen is all wrong.\n\nThe kitchen -the room itself- is just a room, but the kitchen appliances are all the wrong size, too big, as if somebody had tried to cram normal furniture into a doghouse.\n\nThe room is crowded with too many steaming pots and kettles, and the many conflicting smells of sweets and spices.\n\nYou hear the whistling of unnatended kettles left to boil, your sight is blurred by the smoke of ovens where pies will soon be burnt...\n\nYou leave the kitchen, feeling overwhelmed, wishing for [[more]] room to breathe...
\n<<silently>> \n<<set $dog ="yes" >>\n<<endsilently>>\n\nYou could leave anytime you wanted but...\n\nBut the dog can't.\n\nAlone, in a stuffy room, with no food and chained to a post? No wonder he's cranky.\n\nThis might not be the smartest thing you've ever done, but you wouldn't feel right with yourself if you didn't try.\n\n"Down, boy." you say, trying to sound soothing.\n\nThe dog keeps barking, furiously.\n\nYou walk towards him, trying not to seem terrified, your eyes on the padlock that keeps the chain fixed.\n\nThe dog barks, louder. He shakes his head, and the drool hits your hands. Gross.\n\nWith trembling hands, you unlock the padlock and remove the chain.\n\nThe dog stops barking, sniffs your hands once, and runs off.\n\nYou didn't expect him to fetch, or play dead for you, but you did expect a little gratitude, maybe a little tail wagging or something.\n\nNo such thing.\n\nSo much for man's best friend.\n\nAs you exit, you find yourself in a small courtyard where no grass grows, surrounded by stone walls, too tall to give you any idea of what might be on the other side.\n\nYour choices [[narrow]] to a single door. So you open it.\n\n
NEXT [[DOOR]] TAKER\n\n
A scream is the first thing you hear.\n\nA wordless, high pitched scream.\n\nThen [[thoughts]]. \n\nSomeone else's thoughts are pushed into your head. \nYou don't hear them as voices, they're not as distinct as that.\n\n\n\n
\nBehind you, the door softly closes.\n\nYou're in a room with wooden walls.\nWooden beams support the roof.\nYour shoes make no sound as they tread on the loose dirt floor. \n\nOn one corner, there's a [[scythe]], rusty, but still vaguely threatening.\n\nLying on the dirt, not too far from where you stand, there's a tin [[waterpot]].\n\n
"This is an ancient battlefield."\n\nBut then, the harmony breaks, and the thoughts you hear in your head are [[two]].
"Help me." \n\n(Trapped birds flapping their white wings inside a cage that's just too small)\n\n\n"Leave."\n\n(Dust, rot, gangrene, shackles digging into skin)\n\nYou [[walk]] forward.
An abandoned greenhouse.\n\nSunlight twinkles on glass fragments from the sections of the roof that have fallen down.\nOtherwise, the room is dark, the glass walls covered with dry ivy and filthy with dust.\n\nAn unexpected fleck of color catches your eye. \n\nIt's a [[butterfly]].\n\n\n
\nYou take advantage of your assailant's weakening force, and pressing your arms against the sides of the basin, you push yourself upward.\n\nYou take your first mouthful of air as if you were eating it. Your heart pounds in your chest.\n\nBut then the force recovers and pushes you again, its invisible grip on your nape forcing you down.\n\nYou twist your neck, trying to avoid being dunked into the basin and you succeed.\n\nBut you hit your face against the cold ceramic surface and it hurts really bad. Your nose starts to bleed.\n\nYou hear a hiss, while the force holds your head high, as if inspecting your face.\n\nThen it brings you down against the basin again, not the water, but the ceramic, smashing your face, each blow stronger than the last one.\n\nIt's a little bit like a child deciding to completely destroy a toy now that it's not so much fun to play with.\n\nBut all the while, it screams, it screams in frustration, like this is not really according to plan, like it's not what she wanted.\n\n"What did you want?" you think to yourself, but your bloody lips can't say the words aloud anymore.\n\n\nAs you drift into darkness, somebody else's screaming is the last thing you hear.\n\n\n
\n\n[[Jump]]?\n\nWill you hurt yourself if you jump? Will you regret it?\n
\n<<if $hair eq "yes" >>\n\nYou walk closer to the phonograph and look at it.\n\nNo "play" button, and certainly no "skip" or "random".\n\nJust a record spinning and an arm ending in a slender needle...\n\n What are the parts of a phonograph even called?\n\nYou poke the little needle, and your touch pushes it to a different groove on the record.\n\nThere's a horrible noise, and for a moment you think you broke the thing, but then music starts to [[play]].\n\n<<else>>\n\nYou stare at the disk, spinning clockwise forever.\n\nYou sigh, loudly.\n\nThe disk stops spinning with a loud bump then starts spinning counterclockwise.\n\nYou didn't even touch it. Did it react to your voice?\n\nYou take a look around.\n\nA ballroom.\n\nThe dancing music you know is really not fit for this kind of place.\n\n You remember a song from a movie that had a ballroom like this and start to hum it.\n\nThe record keeps spinning, encouragingly.\n\nYou hum a little louder.\n\nThere's a scratchy sound, and then violins start to accompany.\n\nYes! That was the song.\n\nYou hum and start spinning in place, you are showing the record how to [[play]].\n\nPiano joins the violins, then the rest of the orchestra, then your voice humming the song is no longer neccesary because the song is real.\n\n<<endif>>\n\n\n
\nYou push the beaded curtain aside and the beads clink together.\n\nThe door they were covering is a rather small door. You don't have to duck your head to cross it, but you're sure a taller person would have to.\n\nInside, the room is overcrowded with furniture, and the ceiling seems too low, like you could touch it with your hand if you tiptoed. There are no windows, but there are several lit lamps here and there, keeping the place from being too dark.\n\nThe pink rug is clean, and the walls are a pleasant shade of yellow.\n\nThere's nothing inherently wrong with this room.\n\nYou just don't like it.\n\nSo you open the next door hoping for a room you'll like [[more]].\n\n\n\n
\nYou walk a little closer yet.\n\n(splash-splash-splash)\n\nThe big ceramic basin rests on a stone pillar. The water keeps dripping, spilling down to the ground. \n\nYou peer into the basin. The water smells faintly of rain.\n\nNow you stopped walking, the only sounds you can hear are the dripping water, and your own breathing.\n\nYou feel so dirty. And the water looks so [[clean]]...
\n"Now. Jump."\n\n<<if $hair eq "yes" >>\n\n"Excuse me?" you ask.\n\n<<else>>\n\nYou try to speak, but you can't. You point to the window, making an exaggerated grimace with your face, feeling like an actress in a silent film.\n\n<<endif>>\n\n"If you jump, and just walk away without looking back, you'll be free of us. That will be the end of it. Whatever trouble you get yourself into, it will be of your own making."\n\nYou look at the window, then back at the glass door, where the bright light has faded a bit.\n\n"Jump through the window. Be free. DO I HAVE TO PAINT YOU A PICTURE?"\n\nYou already have, you think to yourself, remembering the crude drawings on the classroom.\n\n\nYou wonder what would happen if you [[tried to open]] the glass door.\n\n
<<if $dog eq "yes" >>\n\n"AWOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO"\n\nA howl turns into a pained yelp.\nYou know it's the dog you set free. \nFor the first time, you wonder if you've helped him at all.\n\nYou hear the windows rattle, and the temperature drops several degrees.\n\n<<else>>\nA dog yelps in the distance, and the temperature drops several degrees.\n<<endif>>\n\nA sudden gust of wind blows the big chandelier above you out, and makes the crystal above you shake and click together, like chattering teeth.\n\nOnly the candles on the corners of the room remain lit, and their flames shiver.\n\n"You need to listen." says a voice in the dark.\n\nYou remember this voice, the snarling angry voice.\n\n"You need to leave."\n\nThe candles' flames flicker, rising, as if they wanted to chase the darkness away.\n\n"You need to think before you [[give]]."\n\nWith that, the presence leaves you alone, and your head is filled only with your own thoughts, and what you're thinking is that you liked this room before, but now the thrill is gone.\n\nTime to open the next door.\n\n \n\n
\nAs if the house read your mind and tried to please you, this room is much more spacious.\n\nYour feet tread on a carpet with an intrincate weaving that spells words you can't understand.\nHuge windows, from the ceiling to the floor, let the sun shine in the dining room, for that's where you seem to be.\n\nA long, polished dining table, sitting twelve. \nEleven actually. One chair is empty.\n\nMannequins wearing paper party hats and nothing more sit stiffly on the tall chairs, facing empty china cups and their matching empty china plates.\n\nThe empty chair, though, has a cup with tea that's still steaming, and the little plate has a generous slice of cake.\n\nYou awkwardly climb on the chair, and sit down. It reminds you of those chairs babies use, except without the little tray on the front.\n\n[[Bon appetit!]]\n
<<silently>> \n<<set $hair ="yes" >>\n<<endsilently>>\n\nYou wake up, and feel your legs tangled in the folds of your dress.\n\nBut you weren't wearing a dress before.\n\nYou sit up, your sneaker clad feet dangling off the bed and only then you notice you're still wearing your own clothes under the dress.\n\nYou touch you forehead, trying to remember when you changed into that dress when you notice something else has changed.\n\nYour hair.\n\nThere's not a single hair left on your head.\n\nIt's not important, right? Hair grows back, you tell yourself. \n\nHair grows back.\n\nYou guess it's a fair trade for the pretty dress, even if you never asked for the dress, and you look kind of dumb wearing it with dirty sneakers like yours.\n\nUnder the bed, another surprise awaits.\n\nA pair of dancing shoes, matching the dress. \nThey seem to be about your size. You [[try them on]].\n\n\n\n\n
\nThe butterfly hovers around the flower, then escapes through the opening in the roof.\n\nNow it's only you and the flower at your feet.\n\nThe waterpot hangs heavy from your arm.\n\nOnly now you remember you were carrying it.\n\nIt seems only natural to help the tiny plant to survive, so you kneel, carefully avoiding the broken glass shards, and water it.\n\nThe flower seems to [[glow]] with gratitude.\n\n\n
\n\nThe glass door opens, and you find yourself in an empty room, the walls lined with misty mirrors.\n\nA tiny white light hovers above you, helpless and frustrated.\nYou're pretty sure that's the only manifestation left of the presence you once found quite threatening.\n\nYou ignore it.\n\nThere's nothing in this room except for you, the tiny light, and the walls filled with your reflections.\n\nOne of the [[reflections]] smiles at you.\n\nBut you yourself are not smiling.\n
An abandoned greenhouse.\n\nSunlight twinkles on glass fragments from the sections of the roof that have fallen down.\n\nThis might have been beautiful and lush once, but now it's just a [[skeleton]] of itself.\n
\nYou smile as you fall, in silence.\n
\n"There's nothing out there." says the child. \nYou take a look around you, and while you can see some things, (Grass, the sky, some rocks, the greenhouse you just left)\nyou still don't feel like correcting her because there's certainly nothing of interest.\n\n"You have to get back in." she says patiently.\nThere's something really weird about the way she avoids to look at you directly.\n\n"I'm hurt. Can you help me?"\n\n"You have to get back in." she repeats, then leaves you alone.\n\nThe [[window]] is still open.\n\n\n
\nAs you touch the steel door, you feel a little buzz of static.\nThere's an unpleasant hum of electricity as the door opens automatically.\nAs soon as you walk into the room, the door slams shut behind you.\n\nYou find yourself in a room that's completely empty, and lit only by a single [[light]] bulb.\n\n
\nThe walls of this room used to have a wallpaper with a flower motif, but most of it has peeled off, revealing the white paint underneath.\n\nOn the center of the room, a single chair, occupied by a mannequin in the shape of a little girl.\n\nThe mannequin wears a very simple cotton gown that makes you think of a hospital robe. The fact that the mannequin's absolutely bald adds to that illusion of being a very sick child.\n\nNo.\n\nYou shake your head to make that thought go away, and keep looking around the room.\n\nTwo doors this time.\n\nA door half covered behind a beaded [[curtain]].\n\nA wooden door with no [[handle]].\n
\n<<silently>> \n<<set $garden ="yes" >>\n<<endsilently>>\n\n\n\nYou roll up your sleeves, and hold out your arms, offering yourself to this living dead garden.\n\nYou close your eyes and bite your lower lip, preparing yourself for incoming pain.\nYou feel the vines wrapping themselves around your wrists, and the thorns finally prickle you.\n\nYou open your eyes, startled.\nYou've had mosquito bites bother you more than this.\n\nEvery plant you touch taps your wrist lightly, then slides away, letting you pass.\n\nYou leave behind a garden that grows ever greener, scenting the air with flowers and herbs.\n\nWhen you arrive at the greenhouse gate and look over your shoulder, the garden seems so pretty you'd almost rather stay a while.\n\n[[Almost]].\n\n\n
\nYou drag yourself forward, towards the bed fit for a princess, thinking you've never felt less like a princess than right now, and then you collapse on the bed, which is soft, soft, softer than the softest thing you can think of, and it looks as if you might sink on the bed, but no, you're sinking into a dream, and your eyes are already closed, but you know you're still not sleeping when you feel fingers touching your face, but you're too tired to care.\n\nSo you [[fall asleep]].\n
\nYou swing the waterpot from side to side, but you can't hear any water inside. It's empty.\n\nThe plants are waiting.\n\n"I'm sorry," you hear yourself saying, "It's empty."\n\nYour mother, after all, believed in talking to plants, and her plants didn't move on their own, or at least not as quickly as these ones.\n\nThe plants rustle a bit, as if considering your words.\n\nBut they still won't let you [[pass]].\n
<<if $hair eq "yes" >>\n\n"Who are you?" you ask.\n\nYou hear the presence sigh in frustration.\n\n"I won't leave without some answers." you say, and mean it.\n\nThe light behind the door grows dimmer as the presence speaks.\n\n"I'm no one. I don't have a story, a past or a face. Or a name."\n\nYou look at the dog, his ribs barely rising with his breathing. His eyes are closed.\n\nYou focus on the door, trying to make out a silhouette behind the light. You're not sure if you're imagining it or not.\n\n"You do have a name, both of you." you say, in a low voice.\n"You're Winter and she's Spring. Like in Dickens? Tale of Two Cities? You know, It was the Spring of hope, It was the Winter of despair...?"\n\n"It's not that bad of a naming scheme. It's Winter and Summer who are opposites. Winter and Spring are just one day apart."\n\n"You've given me a name. I thank you for it. But I've already given you the only thing I had to give."\n\nThe presence goes silent.\n\n<<else>>\n\n"Can you hear me?" you think, pushing the thought through your forehead, wondering what telepathy is like.\n\nYou're not surprised when it doesn't work.\n\nMaybe the presence can read your mind, but doesn't feel like answering.\nIn any case, you have no words, and you won't get your answers with words.\nBut there's still action.\n\n\n\n<<endif>>\n\nThe dog's breath rattles one last time, then he's dead.\nThe light on the other side of the glass door grows dim, and the temperature is not as cold anymore.\n\nThe conversation is over.\n\n\nIf you want your [[freedom]], there's the window.\n\nBut there's still a door you can open, if what you want is [[knowledge]],\n\n\n
\nYou swing your scythe above your head, and a vine quickly grows around it, snatching it from your hands.\n\nYou fall on your knees.\n\nThin, hard, thorny branches entwine with your limbs.\n\nThey lift you up, they stretch you out. You're an offering.\n\nA huge withered flower that was dead before it germinated, and smells of rotten meat grows ever bigger, ever closer.\n\n\n\nYour scream is the last thing you hear.\n\n
\nThere's a murmur, an echo, a something in your ear, and you try to concentrate on it so hard you forget you're drowning.\n\n"Open your eyes..." says a pleading voice, so soft you might be imagining it.\n\nBut you open your eyes, and see a little [[silver key]].\n\n
\nYou walk blindly, arms extended in front of you.\n\n"Is anybody here?" you ask.\n\n"...I'm here..." says a voice, not your own.\n\nYou close your eyes (as if that would make your ears sharper) and try to walk in the direction of the voice.\n\n"...please..."\n\nYour hands find a door. You fumble with the handle, and it looks like it might open, but then somebody (or something) pushes the door back in place.\n\nThere's a weak sob, and then silence. Whoever was there before is gone now.\n\nHowever, in that split second when the door opened, the light from the other room helped you see [[an opening]], low in the ground, right next to the door.\n\n\n
\nYou open the first door you find, and it's immediately clear you've made a mistake, because you find yourself in a sort of storage.\n\nLegs, arms and torsi wait to be attached.\nYou wonder where they keep the heads.\n\nAisles and aisles of unfinished mannequins, lying on tables, hanging from hooks that remind you of cows in butchershops.\nAs you look at them up close, you realise they all have tiny imperfections.\n\nA mannequin with six fingers on each hand.\nLegs of different lenght, hands where feet should be...\n\nThere's only one mannequin standing, headless but with all of its limbs attached.\n\nIts arms are extended forward, as if [[asking]] for something...\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n
\nYou turn around and close your hands around Winter, as if you were trying to capture a firefly.\n\nLight pulses between your closed hands, numbed by Winter's chill.\n\n"What are you doing?" Spring asks.\n\nYou know that Winter's been taking strength from you, like it once took it from the dog, and you don't know if this will kill you, but it's the only idea you have.\n\n<<if $hair eq "yes" >>\n\n"Winter, take what you need from me, COME ON!"\n\n<<else>>\n\nYou can't speak, so you close your hands as if you were trying to crush Winter between them, hoping the wisp won't die, hoping it'll understand what you're doing, what you're offering.\n\nAnd it does.\n\n<<endif>>\n\nThe wisp in your hand pulses faster. The cold runs through your fingers, to your arms, to your throat.\n\nYou lick your cracked lips, and your voice sounds a lot like Winter's when you finally speak.\n\n"Help me [[end]] this."\n\n\n\n
\nYou think of your schooldesk, which you yourself used to carve, laboriously spelling the letters of your name. It makes you [[smile]].\n
\n\nBehind you, the mannequin steps quake and tumble down, blown away by a freezing wind that makes you weak again.\n\nThe tiny light of Winter's presence still flutters behind you.\n\nSpring walks to you, and her not quite solid hands close around your arms as she helps you up.\n\nShe holds you close, and shines brighter than ever, making you close your eyes.\n\nHer voice in your ear sounds somehow more intimate than when it spoke directly into your head.\n\n"Shall we go, then? Shall we discover what the rest of the world has to offer?"\n\nYou know that it won't happen unless you say [[yes]]. \nFor the spell to be broken, for this deal to be closed, you must agree.\n\nYou don't know what could happen if you refuse.\n\nWill you be locked up here forever? What can Spring take from you, what do you have to lose, what unknown part of yourself can still be of use?\n\nWith Spring in front of you and Winter right behind, all you know is that you [[cannot escape]].\n\n\n\n
\n\nYou (both of you) hold out your arms, as if you wanted to encompass everything: yourselves, Spring, this house, all the girls who were trapped here before you.\n\nThen you wave your arms around, you're a conductor, you're the orchestrator, and what you want is for this pointless symphony to end.\n\nAll around you, the walls shake, the windows break, the floortiles crack.\n\nYou're bringing the house down.\n\n"Fool!" Spring screams, and her voice has never sounded more like your own "Without the house, we have nothing! We are nothing! No one will listen! If I'm not trapped, no one will save me!"\n\n"You're still trapped," you answer, "And I still want to [[save]] you."\n\nYou offer her your frost covered hands.\n\nShe holds your hand, and the frost that covered it melts...\n\nYou close your arms around her.\n\nHer blinding light makes you close your eyes.
<<if $hair eq "yes" >>\n\nYou run your fingers over your head, feeling for the hair that's not longer there.\n\n<<else>>\n\nYour fingers clutch your throat, as if they tried to touch the remnants of your voice, which you can no longer find...\n\n<<endif>>\n\nSome strange things have happened to you...\nBut that's adventure, that's what you're here for.\n\n[[...Right?]]
\nYou open the hidden door and beckon the dog to follow.\n\nYour feet make the floorboards creak, and your eyes take some time to adjust to the darkness, but the dog has keener senses, and walks straight to a corner of the room.\n\n"OUT, you filthy beast!"\n\nHuddled on dirty blankets, a thin, gaunt woman glowers at you.\nThe dog sniffs her, but the woman shouts obscenities at him till he goes away.\n\nIn spite of her foul language, she hasn't done anything, not even kicked the dog that bothered her, so you decide she's not dangerous, if only for the moment.\n\nYou stay a few feet away from her, just in case, while you think of something to say.\n\n"I'm not here to save anyone," says the woman, like she's answering a question; "I'm not here to prove anything."\n\nYou really don't know what to say to that.\n\n"I'll take nothing. They'll take nothing from me," she says looking at you like you're both conspirators. \n\n"Do you want to come with-"\n\n"I WANT NOTHING!" she yells, silencing you.\n\nShe grabs your wrist and jerks you forward, closer to her, then whispers:\n\n"If you want something, you'll take something, and if you take, THEY'll take too."\n\nYou kneel close by. You want to hear what she has to say.\nNow she's got your attention she lets go of your wrist, and leans forward to speak.\n\n"There's always tea and cake on the dining room. You can take clothes from the closet, it's not dangerous if you stay away from the furs."\n\nShe looks around, like she's afraid someone might overhear her.\n\n"This is a safe room. They take nothing from you in here."\n\n"How long have you been here?" you ask, looking at the woman's sunken eyes, at her thin bony hands.\n\n"Years. Decades. Forever," she says with a smile and a shrug; "I'm alive and whole, that's what matters. This is a safe room. I promise."\n\n"I believe you," you say, nodding your head, but already looking around, trying to see if there's a door, a window, a trapdoor, something leading somewhere new.\n\n"Then stay!" she says, noticing your distraction; "Stay! You'll want for nothing in here."\n\n"That's not true," you say, getting up.\n\nThere are no doors here, you'll have to check the bedroom again. You're sure there was at least another door in the bedroom.\n\n"You want company, or you wouldn't have asked me to stay," you say with a smile.\n\nThe woman stares at you for a minute, then screams.\n\n"OUT WITH YOU, FILTHY ANIMAL! OUT! OUT! OUT! I WANT NOTHING!!!"\n\nYou lock the hidden door when you leave the room, and pull the curtains back in place, respecting the woman's wish for privacy.\n\nPoor woman. She thinks she wants nothing. Everybody wants something.\n\nYou rub your eyes, still sleepy, and look around the bedroom.\n\nThe huge four poster bed still stands invitingly close, and you feel like catching some sleep.\n\n"I just want a nap", you think to yourself as you get under the warm, fuzzy covers.\n\n"We never stop wanting things," you say to yourself as you [[fall asleep]].\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n \n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n
\nIt's a lovely Monarch, her wings speckled in black and orange.\n\nShe guides you among the bushes, through twists and turns, till she reaches her goal.\n\nSurrounded by fallen glass, reaching towards the sun, there's a tiny yellow flower.\n\nA timid but undeniable spark of [[life]].\n
\nSomeone pokes your shoulder, and you're not surprised to be asked to dance.\n\nFor a moment, you remember that you can't dance, not to this kind of music, you wouldn't know how, but the thought is quickly buried by the sensation of spinning effortlessly under the glass chandelier.\n\nThe feeling of someone bending lower to speak into your ear.\n\n"Close your eyes"\n\nYou do.\n\nYou keep dancing with your eyes closed, twirling faster and faster.\n\n"You're getting closer to where I am, closer to find me."\n\n<<if $hair eq "yes" >>\n\nYour bare feet barely touch the ground.\nYou shiver as you feel a hand brush your shorn head.\n\n<<else>>\n\nYou want to say "Yes", you want to say you won't give up, but words don't come out when you move your lips.\nWhere did your voice go?\n\nThe record keeps playing the song you taught it.\n\n<<endif>>\n\n\nYou feel a light, feathery touch on your eyelids, like a kiss.\n\nThen you open your eyes and find yourself alone in a silent ballroom.\n\n"Please find me." \n\nYou hear the voice, but it's once again only a voice in your head.\n\nThen all the doors that lead out of the ballroom [[slam shut]] at once.\n\n\n
\nYou climb the staircase, resolved to get to the bottom -or rather, the top- of this.\n\nYou climb flight after flight, and the ancient stone steps start [[crumbling]] under your feet.\n\n
\nYou leave the classroom, unsure of whether you've learned a lesson or not.\n\nYou climb the spiral staircase to the next floor, and the higher you climb, the colder the air gets, till you see your own breath come out in little white puffs.\n\nYou rub your arms, already prickly with goosebumps when you see the glass door, and the dying dog.\n\n<<if $dog eq "yes" >>\n\nYou walk towards the dog, ignoring your constant need for advancement, for yet another door to open.\nYou crouch next to him, and rub his back. His dirty coat feels damp, and warm.\nYou pat his head, not knowing how to help him, other than by showing you care.\n\n<<else>>\n\nYou've never seen this ugly mongrel before, but you like dogs, and this one is alone and in pain.\nYou kneel next to him, and he regards you with glassy black eyes.\nHe yelps weakly.\n\n<<endif>>\n\nBehind the glass door, a bright light flashes on and off.\nThe glass panels are misty with condensation. \nIt's cold in here, but you can't even imagine how much colder is on [[the other side]].\n\n\n\n\n\n
\nThe rosebush comes alive with white blossoms, then starts slithering away from you. \n\nYou take a look at your hand. The gash is small enough that you'd normally shrug it off and not even consider using a bandaid.\n\nBut the way the plants seem to hover around you, makes you clutch your hand to yourself as if it were broken.\n\nThere is still a small opening where the rosebush used to be. You [[might]] be able to break out of the circle if you are quick.\n\nAlternatively, you could try to [[bargain]] your way out.\nAfter all, very little blood was enough to feed the rosebush.
\nYou were feeling rather anxious, but the atmosphere on this place calms you down.\n\nShelves cover the walls, books fill the shelves, and dust reigns supreme.\n\nYou open a book at random.\n\n"Two households, both alike in dignity,\nIn fair Verona, where we lay our scene,\nFrom ancient grudge break to new mutiny,\nWhere civil blood makes civil hands unclean..."\n\nYou slam the book shut, creating a little cloud of dust, that makes you sneeze. \n\nYou walk by the aisles, here and there picking a book up, hoping for clues.\n\n...."The Prince and the Pauper", "Snow White and Red Rose" ,"The Two Towers" , "Jack and Jill", "The Fox and the Hound" , "A Tale of Two Cities"...\n\n"It was the Spring of Hope, It was the Winter of Despair..." you think to yourself.\n\nYou stop when it becomes obvious there's nothing useful here, just books that seem to have been chosen because of their titles alone.\n\nYou think to yourself that you'd like to sneak "Eight Cousins" into this library, or maybe "One Hundred Years of Loneliness", "1984", anything that would disrupt the silly dual gimmick.\n\nHalf hidden behind a bookcase, you find a door.\n\nYou think you hear a [[shuffling]] sound when you press your ear against it.
\n"Subtle." you whisper to yourself, and walk past the mannequin, trying to avoid stepping on the red paint.\n\nYou walk down the hallway, and check all the metal doors, but they won't budge.\n\nYou finally find one that [[opens]], and taking one last look over your shoulder at the message that was left for you, you step inside.\n
From two sources, only one [[message]], blossoming into your mind, as if sung in perfect unison.\n
\nYou find yourself catching your breath at how beautiful the flower has become.\n\nThen you hear a rustling around you.\n\nWhen you look up, you find yourself [[surrounded]].
\nBut, you already know what can happen here. \n\nThere's nothing new.\n\nSo you roll your sleeves down again, covering the myriad little pinpricks on your arms, and walk forward.\n\nTo the next [[room]].\n
\nThe light bulb flickers on and off.\nYou walk closer to it, thinking of moths.\nThe light bulb flickers on and off.\nYou stand directly under the light, and look up at it.\nThe light bulb flickers on and off, faster and faster, and then it explodes, showering you with sparks and tiny glass shards.\n\nIn the full darkness that surrounds you, somebody [[whimpers]].\n
\nThe room is pretty large, one of the biggest you've seen so far. Or perhaps it looks so big because it's so empty.\n \nThe walls must have been white once, but humidity has stained them black and green.\n \nOn the wall that's farthest away from you, you can see a black ceramic basin, filled to the brim, dripping slowly.\n\nAs you walk closer, you realise there's no faucet or tap, or anything nearby. For all you know, the [[basin]] fills itself.\n
\n\nYou approach the smiling reflection (all of the other reflections move as you do, but this one stands, a smile on her lips, knowing you know it's not really a reflection)\n\nYou touch the mirror that only sort of reflects you, and it falls to pieces, revealing a [[staircase]].\n\n
\nYou dip your hands into the water and wash them.\nThen you lean closer to the basin.\n\nBefore you know it, you are pushed from behind and now your head is underwater.\n\nFor a moment you think that's impossible. You should have heard somebody walk in, his or her steps would have splashed just like yours did.\n\nBut you didn't hear anything, and it doesn't matter anymore. \n\nAll you know is somebody has a firm grip on the back of your neck and is keeping your head underwater.\n\nYou [[struggle]] to get free.\n\n\n\n
\nThe small tunnel leads you to a room with a rather low ceiling, and a dirt floor. \nThe room smells strongly of dog, and the cause for the smell is chained to a post in the midddle of the room, next to a plate with dirty water.\n\nIt's a rather ugly dog, a mixed breed, with a shaggy, dirty coat and a big head.\n\nThe moment he sees you, the dog begins to bark loudly. He tries to run to you, but it's useless. The chain is firmly attached to the post, and he's never going to break it.\n\nHe gives a really strong pull, but all it does is almost choke him. In his frenzy to reach you, he tips over the dirty water on his plate. He hasn't stopped barking for a second. \n\nYou have no reason to worry, though. \n[[The chain]] gives the dog very little room to move, and you can [[walk past]] him with no risk to yourself at all.\n\n\n\n\n\n