It was such a contrast to the rest of the house. The garden was bright and beautiful. There was fresh grass and flowers blooming from bushes. In the center was a fountain with a very large stone statue in the middle of it. The entire scenery made it look like they were outside, but they weren't. The gate at the end made it clear that they were still inside the mansion, but it was hard to believe. The garden seemed so pure, although that didn't last long.
Suddenly, the statue started moving. It was hard to make out what it was supposed to be a statue of. It had human features, but it wasn't a person. There was no way to be certain. There was only one thing to be sure of: it was looking to kill.
It charged at the girls, who had both had enough of splitting up. They both ran away from it together. Unfortunately with the size of its legs, it wasn't long until the giant statue caught up to them.
Lindsey tried to fend it off with her sword, but the blade had no effect on the stone.
Unphased, the statue reached down and picked up Zoey. She knew she was small, but she felt even tinier. She almost completely fit in the statue's fist. She squirmed around, but it did no good. The statue had her in a tight grip. She felt trapped and helpless.
"Let her go!" Lindsey demanded. She furiously kicked at the statue's ankle (which was about all she could reach). Instead of having it focus on her, like she had hoped, the statue ignored her. It wanted to focus on its captive at hand; literally.
The statue squeezed its fingers together, forcing Zoey's last breath out of her. It then dropped her lifeless body to the ground next to Lindsey, who panicked at the sight.
She closed her eyes. She didn't want any of this to be real. She desperately wished that this could have all just been some horrible nightmare that she would wake up from. She wanted to believe that her friends weren't really dead, but they were. Even though "A" was still with her, she felt alone.
"Lindsey, run," "A" called to her. She quickly moved to the right, just barely missing the statue's giant hand. She then ran towards the gate, but stopped right before the entrance. She didn't think the statue was going to kill her.
She remembered the notes: There is only one person who will survive this nightmare factory. The winner will never leave the mansion.
She had been so hung up on how unfair that the whole game was, she didn't even think about what it would be like to be the last one left.
Winner, yeah right. Nobody won this game.
The gate swung open and she felt something tug her inside.
"Close your eyes," a voice advised.
Normally, she liked to be defiant, but she heard screaming, cries for help, moaning, and gasps of pain. She didn't want to see what was going on.
"I'll explain," the voice continued. It was a lower pitch, but it still obviously belonged to a girl. "I'm 'M'."
"You're the one who's been writing the notes," Lindsey realized, feeling angrier.
"Yes," "M" responded. "Along with 'A' and the first winner of this game."
"Who was that?" Lindsey asked.
"I don't know," "M" said indifferently. "I never met them. They became the house when they died."
How could she take this so calmly? Lindsey wondered. She had basically just said that they were inside a dead person. "So what happens next?" she asked uncertainly.
"The game continues," "M" replied. "Since your session failed-"
"How?" Lindsey interrupted.
"How didn't you guys fail," "M" snapped. She tried to compose herself so she could continue explaining. "At the beginning, one person is chosen as the 'pure of heart'. The only way the game can be won is if that person is the last one left. You weren't that person." "M" pointed out.
"Well of course," Lindsey stated the obvious. There was no way she would even be considered to be the "pure of heart", she thought to herself. "So….who was it?" she asked quietly.
"That one boy who told you to drink the antidote," "M" answered disinterested. The one time she actually does what somebody tells her to do, she thought bitterly.
Lindsey folded her arms. "He has a name," she replied, hurt.
"M" couldn't have cared less. She continued leading her down the hallway. More terrorized screams rang throughout the hallway.
"What are those?" Lindsey finally built up the courage to ask.
"Those are all of the deaths," "M" said simply.
The walls were filled with large picture frames, except the people in the pictures were moving. Each one showed a specific death. The first group's were at the beginning and the grew more recent as they advanced down the hallway.
Lindsey heard a loud, unpleasant popping sound.
"Was that a gun?" she asked confused.
"Oh yeah," "M" replied. "That was me. I shot this one girl."
"What? Why?" Lindsey asked, mortified. "M" didn't sound remorseful about it at all. Her already low comfort level with this girl dropped considerably.
"The rules were: we had to kill someone, and that was the only weapon I had," she stated. "Some people actually follow rules," she added.
"Some people don't wanna kill innocent people," Lindsey shot back.
"Some people care more about surviving than being nice!"
"Some people have friends that they wanted to survive too!"
"Well, did they?"
It was deadly quiet. Lindsey couldn't think a response. She started to recognize some of the voices. They were now on her session. She heard her friends scream in pain. She heard the hiss of the snake prince. She didn't think anyone died in there, but then she realized that was probably when Miguel died and the imposter took over. She heard Dallas begging for his life. She heard wincing and an awful choking took a couple of seconds for that to sink in. "No," she gasped. "No, no, no." Tears were streaming down her face.
Oh God, "M" thought. She hated emotional people.
Lindsey tried to cover her ears, but she couldn't block out the noise. "No," she repeated. "Shut up, make it stop."
"M" grabbed her arm and dragged her through a doorway. "You can open your eyes now," she told her.
Lindsey wiped her eyes before opening them. The room she was in was completely white, except for numerous TV screens that showed every room in the house.
She turned around to see "M". She was a girl about her age with a bigger frame and a smaller height. She had short black hair and dark eyes.
"Wait for me!" "A" called. "M" held the door open for him as he came running in.
"Have you explained everything to her," he asked.
"Pretty much," "M" shrugged.
Lindsey felt that was a very inadequate answer. There was still one big thing that she had no clue about.
"Why am I here?" she asked.
"This is the white room," "M" explained. "It's where the winners wait. Get used to it. You're gonna be here for the next three years until the new session."
"Why do I have to wait here," Lindsey complained. "What do I have to do with the next session?"
"Everything," "M" replied. "As each session is played, the people for each role cycle in and out. Now Allen has nothing to do except watch. I'll have to take his place and go out and help the players, and you, well, you're the new 'M'."