A Strange Party….

 

You’ve been invited to a very exclusive party by a rich friend of a friend. At first you don’t want to attend, yet your friend assures you it is the chance of a lifetime. The host of the party has a reputation for generosity. When your friend gushed about how great you are and how you could use a guiding hand (with maybe funding to back it up) to accomplish your dream. Intrigued, the host immediately extended an invitation. Nervously, you RSVPed as attending.

A heavy cream envelope was sent in response to your RSVP that included a thank you note for accepting the invitation, as well as an offer of a limo to pick you up and take you to the party. So, here you are, in the back of what is a very nice limo, feeling apprehensive about this hush hush party and mysterious host.

After a drive of about an hour, you look out the window and see a tall set of gates ahead. The limo slows, then the gates part. The limo continues, slowly, up a gravel drive to a huge mansion. A little voice in the back of your head says this is way too much like a movie to be real. But, it is still late afternoon, and the sun is still in the sky. While it will be evening soon, you are grateful that you have not approached the house in full dark.

In a moment, the limo stops in front of a grand set of stairs leading to the front porch. The driver gets out and silently opens the door for you. You step out and get a full look at the front of the mansion. It strikes you that while it looks very beautiful, it looks sterile, as if cut out of a template. No one comes out to greet you, and you turn back to the driver. “Are you sure this is the place?” The limo driver simply nods and gets back in the car. Before you can blink, the limo pulls off back down the driveway. “Huh,” you say to yourself.

Not having any other options, you head up the front steps. The door opens easily, make almost no sound as it swings open. “Hello?” You call out, but there is no answer. You step inside a well lit foyer, its marble floor gleaming. Although there isn’t anything overtly spooky about the place, you get a definite sense that it’s empty. Like whoever lives there has stepped out for a moment.

Then, a slight sound comes from off to your left. Straight ahead is a huge grand staircase, again, just like in the movies. Gone With The Wind, you think. The sound has come from a room off of the hallway next to the stairs. Cautiously, you head that way.

As you get closer, you realize that the first room off of the hallway has the door open. You get to the doorway and look inside. You see a room with a cheery fireplace, the slight pop of the wood you now realize is what you heard.

You step inside and see a couch (or should you call it a settee?) and an armchair pulled up in front of the fire. The walls of the room are lined with bookcases from floor to ceiling. You step back to the door and look up and down the hallway. Expecting a director to call “CUT!” at any minute, you turn back around to the room. Scanning the walls it looks like exactly what you see. Even though with every passing moment it feels more and more surreal.

Shrugging your shoulders, you decide to get closer to the fire. As you approach the chair, you see that there is a small table next to it. On the table is an old fashioned looking phone, although it does have buttons, not a rotary dial. There is also a piece of paper on the table next to the phone.

The paper turns out to be a letter, addressed to you.

I apologize for not being here to meet you. I have been delayed, but expect to return shortly. In my absence, please make yourself at home. Dinner will be served at 7pm sharp. I expect to be back before then, but if not, please do not wait. Feel free to read any of the books in the library. If you need anything, you have only to lift the phone and dial 0, and someone will be with you in a moment.

The letter is unsigned, but is clearly from the host of the “party” you are supposed to be attending. Wondering how a gathering of one person, in a house with no one in it can be considered a party, you take a seat on the armchair. Finding it surprisingly comfortable, you read the letter over again. Any of the books, huh? You look over at the bookshelves and scan the whole room once again. Other than the bookshelves, the couch, chair, table, and fire, there are no other furnishings, or anything in the room. Once again you are struck that it all is beautiful, but sterile. Even the books all look perfect and neat. Not a cracked spine, or frayed flyleaf among them. Does anyone live here? You wonder, not for the first time.

Glancing at your watch, you realize it is just past 5pm. Dinner will not be for another two hours. This whole setup is so weird that you wonder if it wouldn’t be better to just call off the whole thing. After all, you didn’t really want to come in the first place. But, then again, your friend would be disappointed if you left now. The phone does have a dial tone, and you have no doubt that you could call out for a ride. Or, if you dial 0, you may get the limo driver again.

The closest book to you appears to be one of short stories.

Do you stay and read the book? If so, choose a story from the table of contents.

Or do you pick up the phone and call for a ride? If so, then return to the main dragnmuse.com site.

Fire in the Fireplace
Creative Commons License photo credit: slgckgc