I walked the long halls determined to find something. Finally I ended up in a familiar looking corner and I ascended the stairs. When I reached the top I wasn’t where I thought I would be. The room that housed the stairway had only the two hallways to my right and left. Behind me was a tiny little cubby room with a tall, narrow window.
Moving over to the window, I stared out at the silent landscape. The waves sparkled in the early morning sunshine as they crashed on the empty shore, their movement a symbol of the emptiness of time in this place. With a sigh I moved away from the window choosing the hallway on the right.
This one was completely unfamiliar and there were no paintings to tell a story. In fact the hall was devoid of any decoration which seemed to go against the whole grain of the fantastic castle. My shoes made muted slapping sounds against the bare stone floor. Even the windows seemed to let in less light.
I had only taken ten steps down when I noticed a door on my left. My curiosity got the best of me and I stepped toward the door. I immediately felt the same sickening sensation that I had experienced on the stairs the evening before. Determined I grasped the handle and twisted shoving the door open with all of my strength, fighting the nausea that came with my actions.
As soon as the door opened the sensation of illness left me. I peered inside the room nervous at what I would see. The room was as bare as the hallway save a wooden couch and chair in one corner. The windows were barred and everything had the distinct impression of a prison.
The thought entered my head that if I entered the room I might be shut in forever. I stepped back, slightly afraid, but something out the window caught my eye. I moved slowly looking back over my shoulder at the door ensuring it was still open. When I reached the window and looked out a tiny gasp escaped my lips.
The view out this window was very different from what I had seen during my entire experience. Smoke drifted across the opening from somewhere to my right. The ground below instead of devoid of movement was teaming with life, but not the kind of life I expected.
Below, in the now visible city and grounds I could see hooded figures moving in the ever constant dance of the village market. I was surprised at the sudden appearance of people in this silent place. I turned away from the village to glance around the room, but it remained the same as before. My gaze returned to the scene below and I watched for several minutes.
I never saw any faces and no one ever looked up. It seemed very suspicious to me and after a while I left the room. I was anxious to talk with someone, but I also wondered if what I had seen was even real.
I moved further down the hall and noticed another door on my left. The same sensation affected me, but I ignored it completely and opened the door. The room was much the same as the first and I went immediately to the window and viewed the same movement below.
This went on for three or four rooms. Across from two of these doors were barred windows looking into the center courtyard of the castle. The pretty gardens and grapevines were being carefully tended by hooded gardeners and landscapers. I wanted to shout to get their attention, but I could never open the windows to make the attempt.
When I reached the end of the hall I stepped onto the soft carpet of the round stair rooms. I made my way to the one window and looked out expecting to see what I had viewed before, but again my eyes met with the silent stillness and emptiness. There was no longer a village, but only untouched dirt and grass.
The whole experience was maddening and the questions that filled my mind frustrated me further. There was no staircase going up at this corner, but I was determined to find my room so I continued along the next hall. This one was not as barren as the one before. There were still no carpets, but ahead I could see a large silver guilt mirror on the wall flanked by two straight-backed, wooden chairs.
I reached the mirror and examined my reflection half expecting something to have changed. Instead I was greeted by my normal brown eyes and slightly disheveled brown hair. I looked tired and the slight downturn of my mouth gave away the annoyance I felt.
I looked at the remainder of the reflection in the mirror and noticed a hall behind me. I glanced around and saw only a bare wall. I looked back in the mirror and the hall was there once again. What else could happen in this bizar place? I reached out my hand to touch the glass, but it kept going encountering not glass, but air.
I eyed my reflection carefully figuring I had nothing to lose at this point, closed my eyes, took a deep breath and stepped through the glass. When I opened my eyes I could see the frame of the mirror behind me and the hallway I had just left. Before me was a stone passage lit every ten or fifteen feet by a single burning torch.There were no windows, paintings or furniture adorning the walls, just bare stone that drew me forward. Somehow this felt right so I moved into the dim passage with determination, squashing the tiny doubts that had fluttered in my chest.
I walked for what seemed like hours when I finally came to a solid wooden door. I reached for the handle wondering if I would come face to face with a monster or something worse. It turned easily at my touch and swung open.
I was surprised at the comfortable trappings that greeted me. Soft carpets dotted the stone floor and a tall bed with filmy curtains stood in the corner. Pretty chests, bureaus and bookshelves lined the walls.
The last thing I noticed was a tall, slender woman with dark brown hair and piercing blue eyes. She stood next to a tiny window and held a beautiful baby in her arms.