The Hallway

Hello. I will be your guide for this part of the tour. Be careful where you walk, and please, don't step off the path.

Inside there is a long, dim hallway, reminiscent of institutions and psychiatric wards, with cold dusty gray walls and harsh, tiled floors that click underfoot. The doors are metal and some have bars across the little observation window of heavy glass, others have thick mesh or only broken shards.

You open one of these doors and look in. Inside is a filthy room with padded walls stained with blood and bile and other bodily fluids. . . a slightly musty odor pervades. Under a wooden table reinforced with metal and bolted to the floor crouches a shivering, dirty figure. She is nearly naked and her long hair, whose color is in distinguishable due to the filth she is covered in, is ratted and knotted beyond repair. She drools and gibbers in fright at you, and a low wailing whimper escapes her throat. Tear tracks and saliva can be seen by the marks they make in the grime. Underneath the dirt there is the fading yellow of old bruises and the rich, tropical purple of new ones. No, she can't answer you. I doubt she would if she could, but she can't. Not yet, anyway. She used to be worse, you know. Hard to imagine, isn't it? We call her Shard, although it's possibly she has some actual name. She's never spoken enough to tell us. She doesn't scream anymore, at least. I suppose that is an improvement. Why is she here? Because, one of these days, or years, whichever, we think she may be fit to begin to heal. From what, the gods and the dark Lords below only know.

If you walk further down the hallway you will find an open door and, peering in, see a young child playing with paper figures. She doesn't see you, and it's best that way, trust me. She wouldn't like it if she did, and mostly likely neither would you. She sings in a high, sweet voice, but the words you catch are anything but sweet.

Peering into another cell, you see something dark, like a smear of shadow against the light, and then it rushes towards you dizzyingly, crashing headlong into the door. You stumble back, dazed. Oh, now, that was a silly thing to do, wasn't it?

There are more rooms along the corridor, but you walk past them to the door at the end, a thick re-enforced steel door. You open it and are momentarily swallowed by darkness, more quickly then you can cry out.

When you look around you find yourself in a cheery meadow, with green grass and tress, and a sun shining down overhead. The sky is a pale blue, and the wind is refreshing and full of the scent of woods and flowers. The trees promise shade and rest underneath them, and from far away you catch the sound of laughter.