It’s a large house in… New York City? It’s mansion-sized. Whatever the city is, it’s a large city. You don’t live here, you’re just visiting. But you also haven’t come to this house as a tourist. You’re not sure why you’re here, but you know as you assume your position in the line that you need to be here. The tour guide arrives not long after that and starts explaining the history of the house. Along the Gothic wrought iron fence are bronze plaques — at least a dozen of them. Each plaque has an embossed portrait and a brief description. You don’t have time to read each one, as the tour guide starts the line moving. She explains that each plaque is there to commemorate a victim of the house. The first two victims were the first two murders, and the third was the suicide of the original murderer. The rest are all unexplained.
You enter the house and she ushers all of you onto an enclosed platform. Once everyone is aboard, she shuts the door and the platform begins to move. (What kind of Disney-fied Haunted Mansion crap is this? you wonder.) She goes on with her explanation. Somehow the platform maneuvers through the house’s many tiny rooms. You don’t notice it, but at some point you approach a staircase and it’s as though the entire geometry of the house changes. Suddenly everything is much larger. You enter a humongous foyer. Above you, the tour guide explains, all over the ceiling is a long-ago ruined mosaic or fresco (no one is sure) that was an eighteenth-century equivalent to an autostereogram. You stare at the ceiling as the platform descends. And you start to make out dots and lines. They’re not quite images, but they’re definitely patterns. And you start to feel yourself drawn upward, even as the platform descends.
About Rob FrieselSoftware engineer by day, science fiction writer by night. Author of The PhantomJS Cookbook and a short story in Please Do Not Remove. View all posts by Rob Friesel →
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