To: Lost House Participants

From: Lost House Master Administrator

Subj: Let the Games Begin

~*~

Brave souls,

Welcome to Lost House, the first ARG for urban explorers. This is truly an opportunity for you, whether your forte is photography, sketching, poetry, or just the thrill of the game, exploring for exploring's sake.

This is the first game of it's kind, and you lucky thirteen have been chosen to participate based on your resumes, personal email interviews, as well as luck. Thank whatever gods you believe in, you have been selected for a dream come true.

Pack what you wish; nothing will be provided for you. There is no food in the kitchen, running water is a rare and celebrated event, and cell phone reception seems to come and go, much like the spirits that are said to fester within the brick and mortar of the house; be wary of them. This is a game, but it is not a joke. Make sure you have what you need to survive for three solid days, as well as everything you will need to perform your art, whatever that may be.

Once again, congratulations on selected for Lost House.

Your friend,

Master Administrator.

~*~

Nona stared at her email, disbelieving. She had actually gotten a spot in Lost House. She had been an urban explorer for less than a year, but had immediately fallen in love with the adventure, not just of the adrenaline rush of the illegality of it, but of discovering things people hadn't seen in years. She loved the chance to take photographs of dark, dusty places that somehow seemed so ethereal, so beautiful if the sun hit the windows just right, or if old furniture had been left alone, perfectly recreating scenes of everyday life, long outlasting the people who had set up those scenes by dozens, sometimes hundreds of years.

She had no real resume to speak of, her emails had been short and succinct, and her whole entire technique was stating over and over again what an opportunity this would be for her, since urban exploration had opened up her mind in the most beautiful ways, spiritually and artistically. Looking back on it, it all sounded like pointless fluff, but it must have worked. She was going to Lost House.

Nona stood up from her desk and put her small hands on the back of her head, almost nervously curling her long black hair up into her fingers. The house was supposed to be haunted, but she didn't believe that. It was a game after all, and it probably added to the mystique of the location, especially for those explorers who had applied, hoping to get pictures of ghosts or spirits or what have you. She just want to see the place with her own eyes. It was supposed to be huge, nearly rivaling the Winchester Mansion in California, a nearly 200-roomed palace of a house, build with strange amenities like stairways to nowhere, doors to solid walls and rooms that could only be entered from one direction and only could be left through a completely different door. Lost House was not as large, but it was as odd.

Or so she had heard. In her reeling, overexcited mind, Nona hoped that it wasn't all bogus. That it wasn't all just a game. The house had it's roots in the eighteen hundreds, that was indisputable. But Nona hoped that whoever was in charge of this game hadn't completely turned it into an attraction. There were no pictures of Lost House on the internet, but that was part of the ARG - each of the thirteen explorers would be given clues, some online, some in the real world by means of phone calls, letters, she'd even heard of people in different games having to meet some of the game masters in strange places to be handed a cryptic map which they would have to decipher. And that was all just to begin the game.

All she could do was wait. Wait to receive more information, a clue, anything. The game was set to begin exactly a week from the dispersal date of the email. So Nona began to pack, and she began to wait.