So, it's eleven pm and I get this urge to write. I try to ignore it but find I'm unable to. This is the first time that's happened. This moment has to be significant in some way.

Edited July 11, 2010 with the help of my lovely reviewers.


Curtains hung around the wide hallway, masking the bright sunshine from outside the windows and the heavy wooden doors. The rich colors and royal hues gave the whole place a very fantastical, Victorian feel. The furniture stood near the cream-colored walls, abandoned yet still in pristine condition. The whole thing looked horribly lonely, and for a moment I felt so bad for it that I didn't notice the music.

Creeping forward, I peered around the doorway.

Yes, it was music. Singing.

And that meant people.

I ran towards it, wondering who these people were, wondering if they could tell me where I was or how I had gotten here. The singing kept getting louder and soon my pounding footsteps were drowned out by the sound.

I skidded to a halt after jumping into another Victorian-style room, breathing hard.

They all wore the same face. Different hairstyles, different builds, but the same black clothes and masks. And all one voice.

They noticed me, and the song stopped. We all stood there, waiting for the other to do something.

"Who's she?" Everyone seemed to release the breath they'd been holding when one girl took liberty to point and ask that simple question in her clear voice. People began to whisper and steal sidelong glances at me, not really sure what to think.

"Now, now, people, people!" one boy's voice rang above the others'. "Is this any way to behave when faced with a guest?" Several of the masked people looked confused. The boy continued.

"What we have here is an innocent girl who wishes to join in on the fun," he stated, and then he turned to me. "Right?"

I was still a bit in a state of shock, my mouth open into a round "o", my eyes wider than usual, and it took a few seconds for me to react.

"Huh?" was all I could say. It was sad. I felt that these people, these strange, unified people, deserved a bit more than that.

"You want to join in the masquerade?" one girl asked, smiling. Everyone seemed to think this was a good idea and started talking to each other, murmuring in agreement.

"So it is settled," the same boy spoke again in his loud voice that seemed to make everyone shush. "She will join in the masquerade! Miss…" He turned to me, and I answered just a bit quicker this time.

"Madeline."

"All right, Emily, go get Miss Madeline her costume."

Emily, I thought. I knew of a million girls named Emily. Most of them were blonde, too. This girl could be any one of them. Did this girl go to my school? Did she have the same lunch block as I did? Who were these people?

Emily snatched a dress from a nearby chair (I've no idea how it got there; this whole thing was getting more and more unreal), and threw it over my head. The loose garment shrugged over my clothes. Emily strapped a mask on my head faster than I could comprehend. I blinked, my mind hazy.

"Everybody ready?" it was that same boy again, "Good. A one and a two and a three…"

"Wait!" I protested, but everyone was singing again.

"Stop!" I said, but no one seemed to hear me. Lost in the crowd of people that were bigger and taller than me, I couldn't see what was beyond them. I began to panic. Finally I stumbled out of the otherwise-orderly formation. Everybody stopped again.

"What's the matter, Madeline?" asked the boy-in-charge, who seemed to be directing everybody else. He even had a baton in his hand.

"I don't like this!" I said, once again kicking myself for not thinking of a more refined way of presenting myself. But then again, there wasn't much else to say. The boy looked at me, expression hidden.

"What else are you going to do?" he asked.

"You'll learn the words," said a girl from the crowd.

"We'll teach you!" cried another voice.

"Shut up!" I snapped. "I hate dancing, anyway." And with that, I stormed out of the room, no longer caring about looking mannerly.

"Where are you going?" someone shouted.

"Wherever I want to!" I replied.