The door closes behind you, and you’re in near darkness, the only light flickering from a fast disintegrating candle. Behind the girl, a rickety staircase ascends into darkness, and the floor is blanketed in an elaborately designed rug, the colors dancing and blending together.
The tabby appears and rubs on the spindly legs of the girl. The girl motions to you to follow her down the hall, and you do. You pause by an ornate looking living room boasting shabby couches and dusty oil paintings. Along the walls, paintings of long dead relatives glare formidably at you. You hurry on.
Soon, you pass a kitchen with oak pigmented cabinets, intricately carved with what looks like vines. A grand cedar table stands in one corner, ringed with tremendous hand carved chairs, their plush seats frayed from years of use. You can smell something sweet in here, but not like before. You think it’s cinnamon, maybe. Why can’t you place scents today?
The girl allows for your interruptions, patiently pets the tabby, then carries on when you’re ready. You notice a grandfather clock ticking from somewhere within the bowels of the house, but you’re not sure where it’s coming from.
You follow her down corridors, around corners and past closed doors and trinkets of indeterminate age. Your feet make no sound on the mossy carpet. Silence, save the ominous tick of the clock, which appears to be creeping closer to you.
She stops before a door, grander than the others, lined with what looks like tiny emeralds, but you can’t really tell. It’s too dark in here. She knocks three times, pauses, knocks once more. The tabby rubs against your legs, now, and you notice how big he is.
How did you not notice before? He’s the size of a small dog, at least forty pounds. His back reaches your knees and his snake like tail, at least two feet long, twists around your leg as he stares up at you. Such big, verdant eyes, like saucers, like mirrors. Eyes that could swallow you.
No voice answers, but the girl gets three sharp knocks in return. The girl twists the knob for you, pushes the door inward and stands aside. You are torn from your trance as the tabby meanders into the dim room. You can’t see much, but like before, you take a breath and step over the threshold.