The Lighthouse Roses
I can hear the crashing water as it collides with the rocks. From the way the moon cannot be seen through the window, I am guessing it is around eleven in the evening. The seagulls are no longer squawking, and my surroundings seem to be at peace. The autumn, misty air sweeps through my lungs as I attempt to take deep breaths and figure out what is going on. I can't remember much besides the fact that it is 1992, and earlier today I was kidnapped by two men named Blair and Emerson. From what I can remember, Blair seemed to be the leader of the two and also older, probably around the age of twenty-four. He had large eyes as dark as the midnight sky. His black hair was short and straight, along with fair skin. He was tall and had an athletic build. Emerson, on the other hand, seemed to be around my age of twenty-two. He had almond-shaped gray blue eyes. He had short, curly blonde hair and pale skin. He was average sized and also skinny. They had mentioned something about going to a lighthouse, so I assume that is where I am now.
I try to adjust my eyes in order to investigate for clues, but it is as pitch black as coal in here. I suddenly remember the few matches I have left in my worn-out pocket and quickly light one. I'm able to illuminate only small portions of every wall and realize a liquid is seeping down in more than one area and creating splashes as it glides to the ground. It is as deep red as a rose that is near death, and I know right away that it's blood.
The thought of roses makes me think of Gabrielle, for that is her middle name. Or shall I say 'was' her middle name. She was with me earlier today. I remember seeing the desperate plea in her eyes as she screamed, "Iris! Iris! Call for help!" But her shouting was soon muffled by the strange looking handkerchief that covered her mouth. It had a symbol of some type of animal on it, but as for the colors I couldn't recall. An identical one was then strapped over my mouth, and we were both helpless as the kidnappers vigorously tied both of our hands together. Everything after that is a blur…
But now I, Iris Williams, am alone in this dark, desolate room. I have a feeling that Gabrielle is dead, and any hope of her still being alive is completely crushed. The thought that I will never see my best friend again can't even cross my mind. I know that I am going to have to use strength and wit to find my way out of here.
I lift my tall, lean body off the floor. I tie my long, wavy chestnut hair into a pony tail so it won't get in my way. My warm hazel eyes scan the room so I can get a better idea as to where I am. It's pretty bland in here, and I have a feeling that this place is regularly used or it wouldn't be so clean. I want to get out of this creepy room, but I'm not sure how. I can't see any visible sign of a door, so my best bet is that the only ways out are through a trapped door, or if I want to risk my life going through the window.
I start looking around with my tiny match that's bound to go out at any minute. The walls are a creamish color, minus the blood that I'm still managing to discover. A few boxes are stacked on top of each other and form what looks like could be the border of a door. And there, lying right in front of it, is a rose. I walk over and carefully pick it up, for the thorns had not yet been removed from the stem. I thoroughly examine the wall and see a slight indentation of a small square; so small that even with eyes like a hawk, I almost missed it. I lift up my small, right hand and push on the square. All of a sudden, the wall slides to the left, and a gush of bitter, sharp wind blows out my match and almost manages to knock me over.
The room in front of me looks somewhat like a tunnel you would find in a scary movie. There's a spiral staircase that goes down for quite awhile. The walls are lit up by torches that hang adjacent to paintings of people whom I assume used to belong to royal families. I start to descend down the stairs, but quickly stop dead in my tracks. "Iris… Iris…" The voice calling my name sounds like that of a ghost's and it sends a shiver down my spine. I'm breathing rather frantically, and I can see the clouds my breath is creating in the frigid air. I continue walking and find yet another rose lying on the stair, this one a few shades darker than the first one I had taken with me. I pick this one up too, and realize it's probably just going to be one of many. I stand up facing the wall and jump backwards with a shriek of terror. The painting before me is of a middle aged woman, except her eyes were bright red until I blinked in that moment of fear, and now they're normal again. There's a note below, so I begin reading.
"As you may have realized, your friend Gabrielle is no longer with you. If you ever wish to see her again, proceed to the house at the end of this stairwell and inside, find the door with the rose handle.
- B & E"
I am beyond frightened, but I have no other choice. I am either leaving here with or without Gabrielle, depending on if she is dead or alive, but I am going to find her no matter what. I always walk with a purpose, and I am not going to let fear grab a hold of my life or the chance of finding my best friend.
I'm still walking down the stairs, and I eventually see the door. With my shaking hands and chattering teeth, I turn the doorknob. Before me is a path of roses; the bright red ones next to my feet gradually get shades darker, and they lead to a door where black roses lie. I decide to place my two along with the rest so my hands are free, just in case. There's candles everywhere, but those are the only lights in this mysterious house. A smell of rose garden incense burns through the atmosphere; so strong that I wouldn't doubt there is actual roses being burnt somewhere in this lonely building. But yet, it doesn't feel so lonely. It feels as though death is creeping around every corner and waiting for me behind every closed door. The ceilings are high, and this first room seems to be the only big, open space. Behind a few statues of animals and some gargoyles, I see two doors; one that seems to be the exit, and the other has a handle shaped like a rose, and this is the door that the flowers and my instinct led to.
I begin making my way to the door with the rose handle, but only gradually. The tiles beneath my feet look as if they could fall out from under me at any given second. I'm almost to the door, but I halt and jump back yet again as the three tiles in front of me give way. My heart is racing and pounding so harshly it feels like it could come right out of my chest. I continue and finally find myself staring at the entrance to what could be my biggest mistake. But I've already come this far, if one could even consider this to be "far", for I feel I could've done all this without instruction from Blair and Emerson.
I turn this handle with more ease and push the heavy door with all my might. All that stands before me this time is one long, never ending hallway. On both sides is an innumerous amount of doors, each containing a symbol identical to the ones before and after it. The symbol was that of an eagle surrounded by flames, but the colors were different on each individual door. For some reason, this symbol sends a little red flag up in my memory, but I still can't pin point where I know it from. I am going to have to check every single room because I have no better leads. I start with the red eagle and blue flames, and embrace myself for the long journey ahead of me.
I enter the room and it appears to be a mere living room. The name of this room is actually quite ironic for it looks as though no one has been in here for quite some time, and death seemed to be more apparent than anything actually surviving in here. I decide to shut the door because other than some dusty furniture, the room is empty. Next I go for the door straight across that has a green eagle with orange flames. This room seems to be more modern, containing actual lights and up to date furniture. I look to my right and see a closet. Even though I am completely scared to open it, I do so anyway. Inside, lying on the floor is a skeleton, and cockroaches are crawling all over and through it. I quickly slam the closet door shut and sprint out of the room.
I'm on the left side again, and I open the door with a brown eagle and black flames. I find what looks like an ordinary bathroom, but looks can always be deceiving. I hear the rustling shower curtain and also the sound of running water. The faucet in the sink isn't on, so I assume the running liquid is coming from the shower. I strip back the shower curtain only to find a dead body covered in blood that is shooting out from the shower head. I quickly examine the female to make sure it isn't Gabrielle, and thank God when it turns out to be a woman that I have never seen before. Just when I think it can't get any worse, the eyes of the "dead" woman spring open, and that is enough to make me run out of yet another room.
All these trials and errors make me want to give up that much more, but I know I can't. There's still so many doors left, and I've only tried opening three of them. I continue this process of elimination until I finally stumble upon a room with a purple eagle and yellow flames. All of a sudden, I realize this is the room. Those are the colors of the eagle and the flames that were on the handkerchiefs from earlier today. If I had not blacked out, I probably would've remembered the colors and saved myself from all this trouble. But I believe now that that is Blair and Emerson's intention; to have me blackout and forget so it would force me to go into every room. They thought that I would get too scared to continue looking for Gabrielle and just give up. They would be able to add her to the list of people they've killed, but they're wrong.
Yet when I open the door and see my best friend on the ground, they are, in fact, right. There, in the middle of this completely white room, is one pale, blood covered girl who goes by the name of Gabrielle Rose. The handkerchief with the purple eagle and yellow flames is covering her mouth, and her clothes are ripped to shreds just like my heart is at the sight of this gruesome murder. Surrounding her are thousands and thousands of red roses, but in her hands lies one single black rose. I try to look away, but my eyes are glued to that lonely rose, and my innocent best friend that clings to it. I remember the door from when I first entered this house, the one that will allow me to leave and never come back. I think of running to that door… running to my freedom. But will I really ever be free? My soul has gone with Gabrielle, and a part of me will always remain here in this room. But that is my only choice. I am the only lucky one that will survive.
I feel like this is a dream, and as I make my way back to that door, I'll somehow wake up. But this isn't a dream, and I close the door to my dead best friend. As I turn around, I am suddenly face to face with death. Blair and Emerson grab a hold of me, and my name is soon added under Gabrielle's to their list of unlucky victims.