Monthly Archives: October 2010

Tower

The Art Door's Tower of Fears

Inspired by the Tower of Fears a special 2010 Halloween build created by The Art Door; open October 28-31 only.

The sound of the TV is a low murmur in the dim living room. As advertisements flicker insistently you note how much less frightening a horror movie is when spliced with girls testing shampoo. You feel the buzz first and then hear the sound that always accompanies a text message on your phone. Touching the screen you see it’s Sarah with her well timed *Ready?* Rolling your eyes you type back, *Been ready. Always waiting on you.* Standing up with a stretch you flick off the TV, move through your house of old wood floors that creak, grab a sweatshirt and decide to wait on the front porch. The night air was full of fall with just the edges of crispness on it. High up the moon peeks through low rolling clouds. You turn your phone in your hand and then text, *On the porch. Everyone else is already out. Hurry up would you.* As you tug on the sweatshirt stolen from Sarah you notice at the time and half sigh, the original plan was 7:30 and it was already 8:00, the place was going to be jammed with obnoxious teenagers.

As if on cue a red Honda flashes into the driveway going a fraction too fast for the neighborhood. The back passenger door flies open and you hear, “Come on!” and a laughing, “I blame Sarah!” Okay, maybe the teenagers weren’t the only ones who could be obnoxious. Nic was up front so you slide in next to Tess and Mikael in the back.

“What’s up, kids? I thought we decided on 7:30?”

Tess is still laughing about something and scoots enough to let you snap your seatbelt; the warm side of her arm is now pressed to you.

“It was all Sarah, drives like a demon but forgets twenty things on the way out the door.”

“Shut up! See if I give any of you a ride again,” replies the spirited red-head you had the pleasure of calling a friend. For years you two had been inseparable. She was the one who held you when your heart was demolished senior year in high school. You were the one who held her hair back after that party in college and you were at her house so much her parents helped raise you. It was only six months after you moved to this area for a job that she too came this way. In fact, the plan was to be roommates again as soon as your lease was up.

You lean back for the ride; it would be a little harrowing as drives with Sarah always were. The general banter and laughter of the group fades in and out as you watch the sky; something didn’t feel quite right but you weren’t sure what exactly it was.

The parking lot was full of cars. The oddly compelling press for the “Tower of Fears” had done its job. Your small band of friends climbs out and Tess gasps, “It’s flippin’ huge! Are you kidding me? How did they even get that built?” Nic shifts and runs a hand through his hair, “You know these things, they can build stuff overnight now.” His argument is not convincing though and there is suddenly an air of anxiousness around as you stare up at the seemingly endless tower.

“They say all your fears are in the maze somewhere,” says Sarah in her best Vincent Price imitation.

“Well, if we are going to climb that thing before midnight we better start,” you say and take the lead with a bravado you aren’t sure you truly feel.
The wait in line goes faster than you expected. Suddenly your group is up; you hand over your tickets and walk into the first floor which appears to be a brick maze. A shadow moves in the corner and your gut says this was not the best idea. You feel a hand slip into yours, “Are you coming, darlin’?” Shaking the general haze you glance at Sarah’s freckled face and nod letting her tug you behind the group.

Mikael nearly lost it on a floor with spider webs; cussing like a sailor and he reveals a phobia no one knew about. Tess leads him through with his eyes closed. At some point near the middle of the climb there is a floor so dark everyone gets turned around. Your phone buzzes and you tug it out of your jacket pocket. Hadn’t you worn a sweatshirt? Someone screams and then people dissolve in fits of giggles above you. Creepy aliens wheeze in your ear as you read, *I think I am on the floor above you. Tired. Meet you at the end?* It was Sarah. Wait. When had you let go of her hand? It must have been several floors ago but you can’t remember. Wasn’t she just behind you? *Okay, but please be careful.*

It strikes you that might have been a strange thing to say but you shake it off again. How tall was this thing anyway? Hooking back up with the others you climb the floors, navigate the maze and make it to the top. There appears to be a line to get down and people are milling about discussing the structure or how they weren’t really scared. “Sarah!” you call out getting a few odd looks from people near you. Ignoring them you push through a few groups looking for that familiar shock of hair. Nothing. Figures. Opening your phone you start text her. For some reason the thread from the night was gone, what the hell? Maybe you had deleted it by accident. You flip to contacts but her name isn’t there either, okay, now something feels weird. There is no way you took her name out of your contacts; it had been in there for years.

Catching up with Nic you tug at his sleeve, “Hey, did you guys see, Sarah yet? She was going to meet us at the top.” He tips his head, brown eyes registering your face and some confusion, “Who?”

“Nic, you know, Sarah, our friend, the girl who drove us?”

Tess turns at the note of irritation in your voice, “What are you talking about, I drove us, hon.”

You glance at Mikael, “Okay, real funny, where is Sarah, guys?”

But they aren’t laughing; there isn’t a single thing in their eyes that betrays the trick. Suddenly you can’t breathe. “Sarah, our friend Sarah, my friend Sarah. She has freckles. I was practically part of her family, ” you were babbling, you knew you were babbling.

“Drugs?” you hear a voice ask with slight concern.

“No, never, not in all the time we have been friends. Low blood sugar maybe?”

They thought you were crazy. But you know. Sarah who had always made you stronger.

“Sarah? SARAH!” you hear yourself screaming out. There were people all around you. Voices full of calming, placating words.

The fear grips your heart,
presses at your stomach,
churns up your dinner,
toys with your mind,
this is your dark secret,
this is your biggest fear,
and you know the tower has stolen her.

Everything has changed.

No one will ever believe you.

Gilded Cage

House Cyr in Second Life

Inspired by House Cyr built by Lucia Cyr.

Wide wings push downward to give lift, fan out to catch a warm current, and then adjust for wind; in this way he circles the island and House Cyr. His eyes, the color of burnt summer sun, scan the walls and turrets of her home, her prison. He was her assigned guardian, sent to keep an eye on her situation, as it were. The Gods could be cruel but for her they had found a crumb of mercy. Swooping through the floating islands he searches for any other movement on the grounds. The red roofs of each tower accent the crystalline blue windows making this place a work of art. Each intricate sculpture drew the eye. With ease he angles down and settles on the edge of a massive grey, stone wall in view of the upper rose garden. The full moon would call to her and he would be waiting.

Sweet warmth, like that of velvet, seemed to carry her along and cover her with its presence. The dreams vivid and soft; she could not avoid sinking into their seduction. Subconsciously she gives in to these moments. Curled amongst red satin sheets a tiny smile almost graces her pale lips. The amulet about her neck glows with its own light, pulsing with her heartbeat. She must be dreaming of something that pleases her, perhaps her fair painter, or the endless dark fields of her home, her real home.

Violet eyes flutter open to look about her dark room in the place she had to live. Oh to have stayed right where she was, in her dreams of pleasure. The amulet still glows softly against her breast, and she can feel the inner warmth residing there for a bit longer. Bare feet press into one of the plush red carpets that were carefully crafted and placed about the fortress. Azure light filters through the windows of her room. Frowning she feels the pull, there was something…

Quickly she dons a warm gown and slips from her room, suddenly willing to grace the upper world with her presence. Shying away from the throne room she hurries onward she knew not to ever enter there unless an invitation was extended. She had born witness to the results of such trespassing. Old eyes stared down at her from portraits lining the red walls, paintings, idolatry of those with power, those so much older than she. Portals whispered to her but she ignored their temptation. Air, she needed night air, she needed out of the rooms closing in on her.

She pauses only once, at the entrance to the ballroom, its clockwork floor mesmerizing her as if she were a regular toy of those that ruled this place. They call her a guest, she knows she is a prisoner but she is not a mindless servant. Shadows of finery. Parties at a cost. Dark laughter fills the room. Gasping she tucks her arms to her body and climbs more urgently.

One hallway, then another, more stairs, a careless switchback and then the burst of night air blowing back her autumn colored hair as she reaches the garden. Her heart drums against her chest. She breathes in the scent of hedgerows and roses. Sinking her feet into the grass she looks up at the full moon. Then, accompanied by the sound of the stair stepped waterfall, her voice rises in a haunting melody. In the light of the moon she dances, small fireflies join her movements, she becomes unearthly. Violet eyes are pale, her body twists and turns, the music of her voice echoes.

When she explodes from the doorway like some wild creature, he holds his breath, he knew she found her way out of the maze without even trying. They had never fooled her. Black hair, tousled from his flight, teases against his face. Her form is familiar to his eyes. Had it been an eternity, or just days that she was in his care? How many times had he seen her do this, on a night when the moon was full? At these times, she seemed like a nymph, a wood sprite trapped in the body of a damned woman. There she was, dancing, her voice raised in a kind of prayer, her hair and eyes lit like some caged creature. He remembers the first time he saw her this way, the shock that coursed through him. Up to that point he had hated her, loathed that he was in charge of her. But now…

She did not know him, she would never know him. A silent observer was all he could ever be. Invisible chains tied him to her. Through the night he keeps vigil until she is exhausts herself completely and drifts back to her quarters, her gilded cage.