Chapter 3:

The Rooms of Threadbare Manor

I'm Engaged! ...To Death's Designated Thread Cutter

"Not here," I say aloud.  I open one of the doors as I run through the seemingly never-ending hallway.  Another door.  "Not here...again."  Another...  "Not here either." ...door.  "Nope!"  "Nope!"  "Damnit."

Every explative I could utter was marked by the opening and shutting of a door that I faced along my path.  It was a cliche scene.  A scene like many I'd known before on lonely nights curled up on my couch with a bowl of popcorn so big that it was fit to be shared...but never was.  But enough with depressing reminiscences of my petty life shouting at a TV that I could write "a bajillion times better" than a trained professional screenwriter, I have a man (or a boy or entity or whatever) with crazy eyes to find.  And find him I shall, God and fate willing.

"I just..."

Open.  Close.

"...have to..."

Open.  Close.


Open.  Close.

"Dang it!  Where is he?!"

I place my fingers along the bridge of my nose and squeeze.  I breathe in and breathe out.  I don't know where I am right now exactly, but it seems that some things simply will never change.  The need to calm my heart when it is in the throws of frustration must seem to be a given on any dimensional plane.

Breathe in.  Breathe out.

I start to look around my surroundings.  I have yet to leave the large ever-stretching hallways of endless rooms and occasional corner turns.  Where once the light that bled into the manor, Threadbare Manor apparently, once uplifted my mood, now it only stood to tease me.  The hint of a world beyond.  A world bathed in a glow like the sun and yet here I remained, all dressed up but with...

"There is nowhere to go.  Why did that damn butler give me this dress to walk around a hall of never-changing dark rooms?"

I lean my back against the nearest recently slammed door and slink my body down to the floor.  My dress crinkles a bit so I adjust it.  I am not so mad that I would dare mess with the perfection that is this dress of captured sunlight.  

I pull the note that the butler had left out of my dress pocket.  I had folded it very neatly just in case I'd have to use it as a badge of permission around here.

I read it again, searching for a sort of hidden message among his writing.  Honestly, I'm happy I didn't find one.  The last thing I want is the knowledge that I am held captive by a merry band of riddlers and ambiguous smart ass gaslighters.

I come to the last sentence on the paper: "Please please please please please mind the signs."

I'll admit that was certainly an awful lot of "pleases."  Not nearly the quantity of the master's "sorrys," but definitely enough to get the message across and then some.  I certainly must mind these signs.  Great.  Yep.  What signs?!  I have been walking all along these halls, have opened door upon door upon door, and I have not seen a single hint of a sign.


Wait.  No.  That's actually not true.  This is embarrassing.  I think I know what he was talking about.  Each of the doors that I had mercilessly pushed open had a small sign on the front of them.  Just a little strip of white about 3/4 of the way up the door's length like that you would see on bathroom doors separated by gender.  I'm guessing that those have to be it, right?  I haven't seen anything else.  If so, that is not what I expected.  If I had to put words to what I expected I guess I was expecting to see some directional signs here and there, like arrows or large signs that emphasized restricted areas.  Honestly, I didn't even really consider something like these little door name-tags that I had mercillessly pushed through to be anything worthy of the name "sign."  But, signs they are.  And I really really really really reallly did not MIND them.  That being said, it seems like there was ultimately no consequences for doing so.

Or were there?  Were they consequences that I could not see?  Damnit, why didn't the butler explain anything?  No, I can't blame him.  He gave me a simple directive and I just didn't follow through with it.  At least, that's what I'm going to tell myself.

I stand up, straighten my dress out, and turn to the door that I had just closed.  I opened it again.  There was nothing but darkness inside.  I say:

"Hello!  Anyone in there?!"

My words echo.  No one is in there.  I close the door.  

This time, I read the sign.  I read it aloud, questioningly, confused by the very strange series of words that pass my lips:

"Trampoline Piano Room.  Wh--?"

The moment that I pull the door open, a series of very odd sounds assaults my eardrums.  The sounds of whatever a Trampoline Piano Room is.  The door opens all the way and I can see that the floor is entirely constructed out of trampolines like one of those businesses that make a living out of having bouncy floors.  What makes it the most different though is the fact that bouncing on the trampolines is a series of like 10 large concert grand pianos.

I rub my eyes with my fists real quick just to make sure that what I am seeing is really there.  It is.  I don't get how, but it is.

It's an absolutely crazy site.  Each of the pianos seem to be emanating a tune as they bounce.  Not different tunes, but the exact same tune.  Otherwise, the noise on the inside would be unbearably nonsensical and obnoxious.  Now it was just loud.  Really really loud.  

I wouldn't say it's bothering me though.  I can tell how awfully loud it is, that it is a type of loud that could damage my hearing, but I still feel nothing.  I suppose that is further proof of me being some kind of spirit or something.  Oh well, this was certainly an interesting site, but I definitely should not set foot in here.  If I did, I'd probably d--


Suddenly, the door that I just opened slammed shut behind me, knocking me into the room.

Crap crap crap crap crap crap crap.

My back hits off the trampoline floor and I am flung back into the air.  I don't even have any time to catch my bearings.  I have to adapt to this inconceivable situation immediately.  Suddenly, one of the pianos comes ambling my way, bouncing to an awkward rhythm.  If I didn't no any better, I'd say he was charging toward me, but what do I know.  Exactly what logic does this Manor run off of?  Obviously, I cannot turn myself midair so I make probably one of the quickest desicions I have ever made in my life.  I grab the top of the piano and cling to it.  Hopefully, at some point the piano will hop its way back to the door and I can jump quickly off and try to open it back up.

It wasn't an odd plan, but what could be considered a good or bad plan in such a situation.  However, the plan quickly became something that one could definitely assume was inoperable.  The piano quickly flipped itself over, almost on cue, and started to plummet down onto the trampoline, headfirst.  

"Holy sh--"

I jumped off, in whatever direction that I could jump to, silently hoping that it wasn't in the path of another piano.  Miraculously--


--it was in the path of the door, which my body slammed itself against hard.

It almost felt like I was stuck to the door like in those cartoons, but soon I started to fall off.  Before that happened, I turned the doorknob in every direction imaginable.  I pushed the door, I pulled the door.  Nothing.  The door would not open.  I falled back down toward the trampoline, but instead of hitting the trampoline--


--the lower portion of my back.  The part that nearly meets the butt, hits the piano keys hard.  The pain is jarring and shoots all the way up my spine.  I fall onto the trampoline.

Somehow amid the seering agony I am able to maintain enough of my wits to notice something interesting.  After I had hit the piano keys of that one ambling piano, laying down whatever random series of notes that my butt so chose in that moment, the piano seemed to not be bouncing nearly as irratically.  If anything, it was bouncing abnormally slowly.  Like, one small constrained bounce every few seconds.  Like a small child just learning how to skip.  

My eyes start to grow blurry.  I think I am about to pass out.  No.  No I can''t.  What will become of me after?  A second death, assuming this is already the first death, which it has to be.  No.

I try to get up, but my body won't let me.  For a body that is presumably just that of a semi-inatimate spirit, I sure am feeling quite a large amount of pain.  I can't let it stop me from moving though.  I think I know what I need to do.  This might be a long shot, but I think that the pianos bounce in tune to the tune played on their keys, in conjunction with that tune's rhythm.  Since I landed on the piano keys and made one loud awkward sound, it seems to jump once every four beats or four seconds.  So I just need to...

I collapse forward after trying to get up.  Even though I know, or believe to know, the solution to the problem, I don't think I can make myself bounce on top of any of the pianos in the way that I am now.  There just isn't any way.

Resigning myself to a fate of being trampled by pianos ( a sentece I never thought I would hear) I fall forward, allowing my body to be bounced slightly over and over again by the trampoline's constant bouncing.  I look forward and see that another piano is coming my way.  I don't know what tune it is playing, but its bouncing rhythm is really all over the place.  It is second death eager to crush me.  

Whether it is from fear or simple tiredness I start to lose consciousness.  My eyes become blurry and I start to hope that I drift off to sleep before I am crushed.  That hope is dashed however by the sound of a large thud and the distinct sound of strung piano keys being smashed to pieces.  My eyes open wide, and although still blurry, in my line of sight, just a little to the left, I see the piano that was coming my way, impaled against the wall by what looked like an unbelievably knife?  

"Hey!  You!  What are you doing in 'ere!"

A voice calls out.  A really rough voice.  


I hear the voice again.  It is louder.  Closer.  I feel hands touching my body, flipping me over and making me look toward the ceiling.  Instead of the ceiling though, I see a face.  It is a young face but with old features.  Gray hair, really thick gray eyebrows, and a foo man choo.  Okay, I clearly must be hallucinating.  Okay.  Okay.  Good night.

"Hey!  Don't tell me you're--"

I black out.