Shattering Point: Part Two
The mansion was only a couple of paces away now. I turned
around, to see if my owner had followed me, but I seemed to be in a different
world than her. I shook with excitement at the thought. The large dead oaks filled
my vision instead, with black bark. I moved to the side to look around the trees,
but they only moved along with me.
I decided to try and run straight through the
oaks instead; perhaps they weren't real. Smack! I collided head first into the
largest oak sending its last leaves fluttering downwards. This was insanity!
Trees don't just move! Secretly, though, I was a little bit glad and amazed.
There was magic here and not the usual kind, a strange and wonderful magic that
had no real explanation.
I turned around then to find I was right at the
doorstep of the mansion. "Bizarre," I said to the house, which seemed to shudder
a little with the insult.
"I wonder if it's alive?" I whispered, now certain
the house could here me. Tip-toeing up the stairs, I was kidnapped by paranoia.
Someone was in the house watching me, I was sure of it. I whirled around only
to find the trees standing innocuously all around me.
Stretching out a paw, I easily flew to the door.
I touched it lightly and it opened inwards.
I suppose I expected darkness, or a magnificent
entryway, but it was rather plain. There was a bronze coat rack and a long worn
red rug, but other than that the endless corridor was empty. The floors were
a highly polished cherry wood and the entire house was fairly warm for being
unheated in the beginning of winter. I was about to turn around, but the door
quickly slammed behind me. Turning back was really impossible now, though some
part of me knew it always had been.
Just as I took my first step, I heard a tinkling
sound, like that of a piano. I shivered. I had once played the piano, a long
time ago, but I had quit after my third year; perseverance was never my specialty.
That of course wasn't the full reason, but it hurt too much to think about.
Slowly, I found my self humming the eerie tune as I walked; my foot falls falling
into eclectic rhythm.
The corridor really did stretch on forever; it
seemed, with only blank green walls and the same worn carpet. I was reminded
of the time in my childhood when I had gone to the barber to get my hair cut
and there were two mirrors parallel to each other; if you looked into one you
could see eternity, both reflecting off of each other. The hallway was a twisted
eternity like that, one I could never escape from.
A shadow, I was sure I saw a shadow in the distance
a tiny blot, another faerie Kougra. "Hey!" I yelled, and began a frantic dash
to the other figure before it disappeared into forever.
Splat! Full force I ran into the other creature.
"Sorry," I said, dusting myself off and looking into the other Kougra's eyes.
I was staring in a mirror, directly at my self. I took a good full moment to
laugh at the house. I had fallen for it, me, the most intelligent Neopet in
my entire town. I slapped the mirror affectionately leaving a steamy paw print
on its surface. The trick wasn't free, though; I had a good-sized bump on my
After laughing I began to search for a doorknob.
Anger overtook my amusement at a frightening speed as I watched myself look
and look for a door knob, my face contorted by rage and frustration. Angry I
slammed my fist against the door, expecting it to break. It only swung inwards.
I took a deep gulp of air stained by the taste of forbidden magic. "Pets come
in there and don't come out," I whispered to the silent house, and stepped into
the next room.
It was a music room. Instruments of every kind
were placed around in a pattern of a conch shell, a maze of brass and sliver,
of sound waiting to explode into symphony, but for now it was as if time was
frozen by the house's mischievous hand.
At the center was the most gorgeous grand piano
I had ever seen. Understanding spread through me like a disease; I knew this
piano. It was my piano teacher's old piano. This room was so odd. The room was
strange certainly, but I had no understanding of how disturbing it really was
until I glanced at the warped walls.
They were made of glass.
I whirled around to look into the walls, and
found myself staring at my reflection. They were all mirrors, but something
was missing, a little off, with my reflection. It took me just a second to figure
out. In my reflection I looked younger; my eyes were still wide and innocent.
This was not amazing; this was scary. I tried
to turn around but I found I couldn't. I was being drawn into a story that I
already knew. The music began again, a frightful arpeggio in minor, descending
"With less power; this is a sonata, not an
etude," my old piano teacher chided a younger version of me. I watched in horror
as the mirror showed a memory I had tried to suppress for so long.
My paws danced across the keys with a grace
that I only gained when on a piano, though the piece was still butchered by
my childish paws. Each crescendo was fraught with all the anger and fear I held
inside. It was supposed to be a peaceful piece about a Lenny flying, but each
note was desperate. The Lenny was falling.
"What are you doing?" Horror crept into Sonora's
wise green Eyrie eyes. I played on, uncaring to Sonora's orders. "Stop, you
are destroying it!" She was becoming frantic now, her whole being rising as
if to slap down the cover to the piano. I played on, carefully changing the
cords to a dissonance that sounded harsh and sad. Then after a couple of seconds
"You have a gift." Her voice was strangely
cold and cruel for saying such a compliment.
"You've only told me twenty times already,"
I muttered my fingers prancing around the keys preoccupied with changing the
She continued, ignoring me, "that you waste,
Aranel. You could be the best pianist in all of Neopia but you become obsessed
with your own way, never even giving a thought to why the piece was written.
This isn't just me you're ignoring, Aranel, but all the great pianists of the
past." Her face was scrunched and funny looking to me back then but now I only
felt pity for her. Her eyelids fluttered and then drooped. Her wrinkles seemed
to have been carelessly drawn by a child's large crayon, so deep and strong
Had I done that?
"Who are you to say? You can't even play
properly; your fingers are lame. You have to show me with diagrams. You keep
on critiquing me for something you can't do yourself and never will. There is
a reason that the people of the past are in the past and not the future."
I shuddered at my own words. I was so cold
and cruel, but there was one last line, one dreadful line that would seal my
fate as a professional musician forever. "And you, Miss Sonora, are part of
the past; may Fyora make you friendless alone. I am the future."
I had to get out of this memory; I tried with
all of my might to tug myself out of the mirror. But when I came back to the
present I only remembered what happened afterwards.
Sonora had left me and promised to ruin my career
forever, and she had. I had been denied entrance to every performance hall in
all of Neopia, even the dingy one in the Haunted Woods. That was my first lost
dream, my first failure.
I had expected monsters, or perhaps even a cliché
evil villain, but this was most terrifying thing I had ever experienced, myself.
The door behind me was locked, and there was
one on the other side that was wide open. I tread foreword into the next room
heavily, the floor shuddering with my every step.
I refused to look up; I assured myself I could
walk across the room without looking at the walls. I jumped as I thought I heard
footsteps. The floor trembled like a harp string strung too tightly. I whispered
to myself a thousand nothings, promises that nothing was wrong. There was no
The floor creaked again but I still didn't look
up. I could felt the hot breath of whatever it was against my neck, my fur tingled.
'Whatever it was, it was so close. But maybe if I don't look up', I thought,
'it won't really be there.'
"Such a beautiful house."
To be continued...