Okay, well that sounded just a little bit ominous and a little bit creepy I think to myself as the intonation of her voice plays back through my mind again; my body pressed against the rattling door to stop her from getting in. The thrashing stops and I stand there in quiet worry again, wondering what’s going to happen now. Did she give up? Should I make a run for it?
A run for it to where, exactly?
I look back up the incline behind me, towards the monument and realize I have made a critical error in judgment. The secret-passage doesn’t open unless the braziers are lit. I don’t have fire-magic, this body isn’t a caster. I’m just a guy with a knife and impeccable fashion sense. A small metal clinking grabs my attention and I look down to the handle of the door that is now shaking and becoming loose as it separates from the wooden frame. Oh no. She’s not just picking the lock, she’s removing the entire mechanism.
I feel like that won’t make much of a difference as long as I keep pressing against the door, but then I realize the error of my thoughts. As soon as she makes a hole in it she can easily press that dagger of hers into my body as I hold it shut. Shoot an arrow through the hole. She’ll get me one way or the other.
“Could you not?” I ask. She doesn’t respond, the metal keeps rattling, now more frantically. Dang it. Why did I come into this room again? I could have gone literally anywhere else in the stronghold, heck, I should have just ran up the real stairs! Then again again, I guess she would have caught me first. Wait, home?
There’s that word again, having found its way into my thoughts once more. Some subconscious wish born of this body, of this soul to simply go home. I sympathize in a sense, the first me. But then I remind myself, I remind this body that there is one truth to the dungeon. That none of us ever go back home. This place, this thing. This is our home. It’s everything, the dungeon is the only thing we live for. The only reason we exist is because of the dungeon. We are nothing without it and it’s nothing without us.
We serve at the pleasure of the dark-lord above, just as nature intended. He watches us. Always.
The metal handle jangles down and falls off, clanking loudly as it strikes the stone floor below. I see a single eye stare through the gap, stare at me. A single glowing eye, the skin around it taught, the pupil wide and dilated.
“Just let me in, I’ll make it quick. I’ll always make it quick for you!” she says, her voice cracking in a strange warped way as her pitch grows higher. There is a tone to it I can’t place, something… something old. Something that has gone rotten, some old feeling twisted and warped into this… expression I see in the darkness behind the keyhole. Like a demon’s smile, there is something behind it. Something is not as it once was.
“Let me in” croons the soft voice from the other side with a tone that almost makes me uncomfortable. A soft, seducing intonation that just feels wrong. Unnatural.
“Stop being selfish, I’m doing this for you after all!” she complains, her voice shifting now to a completely different whine like that of a spoiled child.
There is a sudden laugh from behind the door, a sharp cackle that makes me jump. A wretched, echoing laugh that sends a shiver up my back. As if I had heard a witch’s cry at midnight as I lay in my cot. There is a rot behind it, something that makes me nauseous. Like listening to a person who had never learned how to laugh and was just mimicking what they had seen someone else do. It’s fake. A copy. It’s… not natural, not normal. Corrupted. Wrong. Every sentence she says has a different tone to it, like she was going through a range of emotions not because she was actually feeling them, but as if she was testing me, seeing which words I react to. Which tones and sounds I react to.
As if she was sensing the vibrations, tentacles slathered and slapping against the door as they feel for me. As they feel me out and reach. Reach for my eyes.
Listening to her was my mistake. I wasn’t paying attention, I was too unnerved by her… communication. I wasn’t ready when she suddenly kicked the door open with surprising force sending me flying back a foot, just long enough for her to press it open. Just long enough for me to see her standing in the doorway, covered in blood. Her face covered in red, her eyes covered in red. Red dribbling down her lip which has clear bite-marks on the inside edge even I can see as I fly backwards to the stone floor. The expression in her eyes one of lunacy, of happiness and of something… something twisted. Hungry.
In that second just before I land my instincts take over and I open my menu just before impact. The large glass pane pops up and blocks the door. A pane I don’t remember ever seeing in my own menu, but one I remember from hers.
Time returns to a normal flow and I land on the stone floor on my rear, staring up in a strange fear of the small, fragile silhouette standing behind the glass pane that separates us. I fear. I don’t stand up, I crawl backwards, my feet and my hands pushing me backwards away from the silhouette behind the dark-glass window.
She laughs again in that strange, fake laugh. But now silently, as if it was a laugh more out of excitement than out of humor. Like an animal playing with its food, there is a sadistic nature to it. A joy. No, it’s more than that I realize as I stare into her wide, blood-shot gaze. Sicker than that. It’s not a joy at the hunt, its…
She presses her body against the glass menu and stares out through it, staring at me. Her palms spread wide on both sides of the window as she presses her face against it. Her laugh turns into a strange high-pitched moan as her fingers run along the sleek surface of the thing, smearing blood and spittle along the surface of the hero’s menu.
“Ahh! Our menus have the same color! Remember? Remember when we decided on that?! Are you finally going to add me to your list? It’s okay! I won’t tell. I’ll never tell if its you!” she says, red dribbling down the corner of her mouth.
As I stare into the eyes shining out beneath the hood, at the wide, frenzied eyes staring out beneath the cover I realize that she hasn’t blinked once this entire time. That her gaze has never left me once this entire time. Blood and saliva leak from the corners of her mouth as she is biting her tongue, biting her lip.
“You can come find me then! I won’t always have to find you, you can come and find me!” she laughs again, her face pressing against the glass. Her tongue pressing against the glass. Her eyes pressing against the glass.
“You just have to promise to never leave! You can never leave! You can never try to leave again!” she laughs happily, her expression wildly inconsistent with her sharp tone of voice. Her face looking as if she had found some grand solution. As if she had figured the meaning of life itself and was just waiting to share it with everyone else, there was something behind those twisted eyes. Those eyes always wide and feral, as if they had gazed upon some ancient cosmic truth. As if there was nothing human left behind them.
“Are you bored? Is that why you want to leave? Leave us? Leave me?! I get it! I bet it’s terrible being some of those disgusting things you have to be! Spending your life with those disgusting things here! But I can help!” She lifts her shirt and presses her bare midriff against the glass.
“I can help! We can have fun together! Forever! I don’t have to kill you if you promise to stay! It doesn’t matter if you’re a human, a rat, a minotaur. You can have me if you promise to stay. Stay! STAY!”
“STAY FOREVER” she screams, smashing her fists against the glass, smashing her head against the glass as her expression shifts to one of rage. Spit flying from her mouth.
There is a crack in the menu.