Victoria’s Mansion: Chapter 4
Two hours of searching later and the girls hadn’t turned up anything useful. Marie and the others were checking every hallway, searching each room they came across, but the mansion didn’t seem to end. Mac peered around the corner and saw the hallway continuing on to the left, nothing unusual in sight. Behind her Katie opened the last door on the left, discovering nothing but another bare bedroom.
“How the hell can this house have so many rooms and not a single useful thing to escape?” Katie joined Mac around the corner, the chubby girl only shrugging.
“Well this place is haunted. I doubt the ghosts are just going to leave helpful tools lying around.”
“I know but still. There has to be something they missed.” Katie glanced at the left wall and blinked in surprise at a window, giving a view of the dark forest beyond with the full moon perched in the sky. Katie took the few steps back to the corner and saw the open door leading out into the room. “God dammit how the hell can there be an outside window when there’s a room right there! Can this place at least stay fucking consistent?”
Marie and Rose came running over to them, asking excitedly what happened. Katie was fuming and punching the wall, Mac shaking her head.
“There’s a glitch in the matrix and Katie’s losing it.” With hope in her eyes she asked “Did you have any luck finding anything?”
They turned away, shuffling their feet awkwardly. Mac sighed and let the hope flicker out. Marie hadn’t found anything of use and she didn’t want to admit it but the constantly shifting hallways and rooms of the house were getting to her too. The only unusual thing she and Rose had discovered was a sitting room decorated with richly textured oil paintings, portraying women posing in robes or nothing at all. The figures were playing with themselves in the frames, faces blushing and inviting. Rose hadn’t been able to slam the door shut fast enough.
Marie shivered again at the memory of the gallery, her body still hot and crying out for attention. She’d been horny ever since the incident in the ballroom, two hours without relief was starting to take its toll. If they had talked about it Marie wasn’t certain how she could explain what she was feeling without her friends thinking she would be at risk from the ghosts. Thankfully no one was eager to bring up.
After almost being taken the girls had decided the best option was to remain as a single group, working together to face whatever the ghosts threw at them. Of course the only thing they hadn’t expected to face was nothing at all. Every room they checked was devoid of witches, no invisible lesbians sneaking behind them with ball gags and blindfolds ready to strike. In fact aside from the constantly shifting layout and the still indestructible windows and doors there wasn’t any sign of Sapphic supernatural activity.
“They’ve got to be setting us up for something,” Katie muttered, still on guard.
“Of course they’re plotting,” Rose replied, “I doubt they’re going to open the doors and say it was all a misunderstanding.” She and Katie opened a door to their right but saw nothing but an old couch and a broken television set, one of those old clunkers from the seventies.
The tough blonde fell back on the wall, rubbing her temples and trying to relax. “Then why don’t they just come out and get it over with? What are they waiting for?”
“This. They want us to wear ourselves out,” Rose said as she put her hand on Katie’s shoulder, trying to reassure her. “If we see something weird we’ll fight it with everything we’ve got. But they’ve got us wandering this place jumping at shadows. We’re getting lost in our own heads, letting the stress get to us.”
Moaning with aggravation Katie hugged her friend tight. “We have to get out of here. Find some way to fix Hillary and never come back.”
“Don’t worry, we’ll think of something,” Rose said cheerily, thankful that with Katie’s head on her shoulder the other girl couldn’t see the hopelessness on her face. It was simple enough to say, but she wasn’t good enough of an actor to pull it off convincingly. All they needed was a break, something that could give them an edge.
Her eyes happened to settle on the scrap of paper, jutting out from under the couch cushions. Pulling herself away from Katie the nerdy writer approached the couch suspiciously, extracting the piece of paper as delicately as if it were set to blow. It was a wide sheet of paper, yellowed with age and corners crumbling. The thick ink lines were scratched wildly, but slowly as the girls studied it they saw the patterns and realized what it meant, the lines at the edges of the picture matching up with what they had seen outside the mansion.
“It’s a map,” Rose whispered, barely able to believe it. Katie gasped, pushing in closer to see. But that’s precisely what it was, multi-tiered to show the different floors of the house. They recognized the living room they’d entered with the kitchen and pantry attached. There were the stairs and the room Rose had sat in to write, where the ghosts had first tried to take her.
Suddenly one of the hallways on the paper shifted, the ink coming to life as the portrait began to swell and shift, rooms rearranging themselves in a precise movement. Rose and Katie backed away, holding the paper out at arm’s length. Staring at the flowing lines Rose tried to understand what it could mean, what kind of magic must have been behind it. But why would someone draw diagrams that rearranged themselves?
“The rooms are moving around,” Katie said in disbelief. “Like what the house is doing.”
Rose grinned suddenly, surprised she hadn’t thought of it instantly. “Of course, for a magic labyrinth you need a magic map to navigate it! If we just keep following the map we can see which parts are changing and manage to get out of here.”
“Who put it here then?” Katie cast an eye at the paper, not wanting to trust any kind of magic.
“It could be a trap,” Rose admitted, her enthusiasm waning. “Or maybe there was somebody else trapped here who found it. They could have stashed it to hide from the ghosts, so someone in the future can use it.”
“Well if that’s true then the ghosts must have got her even if she was using it. Doesn’t exactly put confidence in the map saving us.”
“That’s true, but at least it’s something.” Giving her a stern look Rose added “And right now we don’t have anything to go on.” Katie nodded, willing to hazard a try on anything at this point. They held the map between them, eyes scanning the swirling ink lines and trying to find some point of reference.
“Alright so we’ve got our very own Marauder’s Map. All we’ve got to do is figure out where we are so we’ll be able to work our way back.”
But that was easier said than done, they realized, as they could have wandered onto any floor of the mansion by now. Their search had taken them through brick layered walkways, water dripping from cracks in the ceilings as if they were deep underground, and back up to turreted outlooks at least six stories high despite the fact that the house only had three floors. The map showed them endless hallways, different floors and sections of the mansion forming among the flowing black ink, layouts and designs flashing in and out of the mess too rapidly for them to catch on.
They peered closer, diving into the storm of ink trying to follow the different passages deeper into the house, mentally traveling down staircases as the black lines of the page transformed faster and faster. It’s as though the map opened up before, no longer a flat surface but enchanting itself so that the ink lines ran deeper, running over each other as though saw the transforming house take shape in the black lines.
Rose and Katie blocked out everything else, had to focus on the map and find the way out, filling their heads with the visions shown in the black ink. It was working, they could practically feel themselves entering the framework of the house. Able to sense every room, every dark corner where the ghosts were waiting for them. So much space, so many women haunting the house and coming for them. Traps meant to enslave them lying everywhere, and they had to study them all. It was the only way.
Marie wandered down the hallway, surprised to find that Rose and Katie weren’t behind her. Well, surprise was a weak word. Her heart was clawing to escape her chest from the panic and worry that hit her. She peered into a cracked doorway and finally saw her friends, perfectly safe.
“They’re here, Mac,” Marie called back. As Mac hurried after her Marie entered the room, ready to laugh it off. Then she saw their faces, eyes dilated and empty. And between them was a piece of paper with a black whirlpool flowing over its surface. Only glancing at that black center made Marie feel herself pulled forward, able to make out only a little of the vast distance that stretched into the spiral. She pulled herself away, mind ringing with flashes of strange shapes and images she had glimpsed in the vortex. Somehow Marie was compelled to look back, could sense some great secret hidden in the blackness and if she only stared at the shapes they would form into the answer to all of her problems.
And while she was turned away safe her friends were still staring, still being drawn in. Marie steeled herself and reached out, trying to blindly swat the paper from their hands. Luckily she made contact, grabbing the cursed paper and yanking but it was held solidly in place. She realized with horror it was Rose and Katie, gripping the paper and stopping her from pulling it away. Straining to rip it out of their hands Marie’s eyes opened in the slightest and she saw the black hole again, pulling with such impossible force and promising so many things.
Shapes and figures danced in the swirling black funnel, coming into clarity the longer Marie stared. Suddenly against the mouth of the vortex ink lines were scratched into sight, slowly forming a word that penetrated deep into their minds. Obey.
The word knocked Marie free of its current, reminding her that she should fight. Turning her head away she saw her friends smiling absently, wet lips slowly repeating the word.
“NO!” Marie charged forward and knocked their limp bodies to the floor, snatching the paper from them. She expected her friends to round on her, still as fixated in surrendering as she had been in the ballroom. But instead they remained where they fell, nothing but two life-like dolls instead of her sorority sisters. Marie was on the verge of tears, knowing that she was weak and if she hadn’t hesitated her friends might be-
Rose groaned, blinking rapidly as her eyes filled with life, and Katie not far behind her. Marie sobbed with relief, dropping to her knees and hugging them tight.
“I thought I lost you girls.”
Katie was disoriented but knew when her friend needed comforting, hugging her tight. “Don’t worry, Marie. ’m just a lil’ swimmy.”
“Me too. We would’ve been…lost in there…but you saved us.”
Mac appeared in the doorway, surprised to find the girls hugging and crying on the floor. “Um, I miss anything?”
“Be glad you did,” Rose sniffled. “Almost got hypnotized by some stupid map.”
Marie remembered that she was still holding the paper, folded in half in her hand. But somehow she could sense the change in it, the thing cold and lifeless now, devoid of any power. Slowly she unfolded it, surprised to find that the long sheet of paper was a pullout nude poster of a blonde bombshell from some old porno magazine. Disgusted Marie tossed it behind the couch.
“I’m really starting to hate this house.”
After a much needed break to compose themselves the girls began wandering the strange hallways again, not knowing if it would be hours before they discovered anything. But almost immediately they found themselves walking into a smooth stone walkway, ornate doors inviting them into an enormous greenhouse. The wooden skeletons of bushes lined the aisles of the room, limp or dying plants of an endless variety scattered about randomly. It was the walls that caught their attention, a pattern of glass sheets making up the other three walls and the ceiling.
“What do you think? Should we check it out?”
Marie shrugged, knowing they didn’t have much choice. “It’s the closest we’ve been to getting outside. Probably the best chance we’ve run across so far.”
“Exactly, that’s what makes it the perfect trap,” Rose warned, uneasily assessing the abandoned foliage.
“Every fucking thing in this place is a trap.” Katie threw up her hands in exasperation and marched into the greenhouse, turning to get a view of everything. “No point trying to run from it.” With no real way to argue against that the others followed her in, thankful the stained glass doors didn’t slam shut behind them menacingly.
Despite her bravado Katie hugged the walls, keeping clear of the wilting plants and dead shrubs. Mac took Rose’s hand for support as they trailed after, Marie keeping watch behind them. It almost surprised them to make it to the glass wall without any trouble.
Face pressed against the glass Katie sighed, fogging the window. The outside world was right there, so freaking close she could practically touch it. Sure it was dead of night and the woods were covered in mist straight out of horror movie special effects, but she’d take any creepy place over this damn house.
“Well at least the windows are normal. Depends on if they’re as indestructible as the others.”
Rose stifled a cry, getting their attention. She was staring between her digital watch and the windows with tears in her eyes.
“What is it?”
“I don’t think we’ll be able to get out this way. It’s enchanted like the rest of the house.”
“How do you know?” Mac protested, so desperate to get to freedom and escape.
“Because I’ve been keeping track of time. It should be about 5:30 by now. And sunrise is at 5:00 this time of year.”
They spun and studied the world outside the green house, sky an endless sea of jet black with the full moon floating above them imposingly. “So it’s all just an illusion then,” Marie said, defeated.
“Fuck that!” Katie suddenly snatched up a rusty chair, skirt flying as she whirled in a circle and heaved it at the glass. So what if it didn’t do anything? She had to take out this frustration somehow. The steel chair hit the window and crashed through, blinding golden light bursting into the greenhouse.
The girls actually stumbled back in surprise, taking in the impossible sight of the sun rising over the trees. Marie did a double take at the other windows, all showing the same dark night sky with only the broken pane revealing the morning light. It was practically like a portal into another dimension. It hurt her mind just trying to process the two images. But that didn’t matter anymore.
“We can leave,” Rose said giddily, clapping her hands. Disbelief clear on her face Katie cautiously put her hand out, feeling the warm sunlight on her skin as her head went outside the mansion.
“Holy crap, we really did it.”
Marie was about to go running for her life, ready to cartwheel over the front lawn of the house, but she realized she couldn’t go. Not yet.
“Hilary,” she said quietly, making the girls all stop jumping for joy. “I have to go back and get her. I can’t leave her alone with these twisted ghosts.”
“Marie, nobody wants that for her,” Rose replied. “But we’d have to somehow survive going back through the house, with her fighting us the entire way this time.”
“Who knows if we’d even be able to find our way back here? Do you think they’d slip up and give us another chance to escape?”
“We don’t have a choice,” Mac added grimly. “I love Hillary but she’d want us to be able to escape. That’s what the old her would have wanted anyway.”
“I’m not asking you to stay,” Marie said determined. “You girls get out of here, get help. I’m going after Hillary. She wouldn’t be like this if I hadn’t let them manipulate me. It’s my responsibility to get her back.”
Katie stared out the broken window, conflicted. Her brain was screaming for her to be smart and escape, while her heart told her not to be a coward. Was she really just going to turn her back on her friends?
“Mac. Rose. You two head out of here. I’m going with Marie.”
“Are you sure, Katie? If you go back in there with me, you might not make it out.”
The blonde simply laughed and clapped Marie on the back. “You know I’m stupid enough to always stick with my sisters. Plus I still owe those ghosts some punishment for putting us through this fucking mess.” They nodded to each other, determined not to give up.
Rose and Mac hugged them quickly.
“Be safe you guys. Get Hillary if you can but if you can’t just make sure you make it out as yourselves.”
“Don’t worry, we won’t be that easy to get rid of.” Katie stood triumphantly, an amazon warrior ready for battle. “Those stupid ghosts will have to do a lot worse to scare me.”
Katie sensed it by instinct, ducking just in time to dodge the attack from behind. She flipped her hair out of her eyes and saw what had lunged at her, the same rusted chair she had hurled outside. Someone had thrown it back in at them. Whirling on the broken window she screamed in frustration as she saw the shards of glass rise in the air, flying right for her. But instead of attacking they froze in place before Katie and the others, turning and positioning themselves in midair so they stuck back into the space between the frame.
Each sliver of pitch black glass arranged themselves in the air by some unseen pattern. Staring through them the girls could see the woods beyond transformed back into the night view the rest of the greenhouse gave, blocking out the golden light of the sun piece by piece. Katie ran forward to try and break them apart but her friends held her back, afraid she’d just be cut up and injured. The shards continued to fly into place, fitting together like a puzzle that blocked their only hope of escape as the window reformed before them. With the last piece falling into place the cracks ran backwards, sealing as the damage was repaired. Slowly the web of cracked glass shrank back in on itself with an awful ringing before it was gone for good, the window completely fixed and revealing no hint of sunlight, only the pale full moon against the velvet sky.
Katie finally broke away and kicked the window with everything she had, but it was supernaturally resistant just like every other way out. “God dammit!”
“We ruined it,” Mac said quietly. “We had a chance to escape and we wasted it.”
Rose put a hand on her shoulder, shaking her head. “No, the glass would have done that the second we moved to escape. It was just another way of them messing with us.” Staring at the array of windows, taking in the unnatural night sky surrounding them, the girls truly felt hopeless.
“Come on,” Marie finally said. “No point in staying here crying. Gotta keep moving to find a way out.” They heard the defeat in her voice, but there was no point arguing.
Rose started walking forward but slowed, eying the plants on the row in front of them. The flat palm leaves were brown at the edges, a stream of vines splayed out across the bench around each pot.
“What is it, Rose?”
“I didn’t see anything, but I wouldn’t go near the plants with the vines. I’ve seen enough hentai videos to know how that’s bound to end up.”
“Hentai?” Mac said confused. “What’s that?”
“Isn’t that those Japanese cartoons of schoolgirls getting raped by tentacles?” Marie replied.
“Well among other stuff, yeah,” Rose answered.
“So, you watch stuff like that?”
Rose instantly blushed, turning away. “N-no. I mean, I’ve seen some of it before. But it’s not like…you know.”
A voice flowed over the girls, powerful and sultry. “You really should tell them the truth Rose. All those lovely videos and graphic pictures on your computer. Mhm, you have so many delicious fantasies hidden away.”
Slowly a figure walked into view, appearing between two rows of dying plants. Her gown shone as if it were cut from creamy jade, sparkling in the moonlight. Her long hair was thrown over one shoulder, hiding her right eye from view. But the sight of only her green left eye was enough to send chills of desire through them. They recognized her instantly from the painting.
“Victoria,” they all growled at once.
“I’m flattered you girls figured out my name so soon. But I much prefer being called Mistress,” she giggled. “You’ll learn that quickly enough.”
Katie stepped forward bravely, kicking over a table of dead plants so their pots shattered on the floor. “First, give us our friend back. Second, let us the hell out of here. And third but most importantly, go fuck yourself!”
“My, you are feisty, Hillary certainly wasn’t lying there. But I’m afraid she doesn’t want to leave anymore. She’s grown to love our ways so much, all the exquisite pleasure we can give her. Hillary would much prefer that she gets to stay in the mansion with you girls joining her as my slaves.”
“No chance in hell that’s going to happen,” Marie snapped. Whatever mind games the witch was going to throw at them she was ready. No more tricks or making her slip up.
“Yes, I can see that I’ve underestimated you. Our usual traps nearly caught your minds, so close sometimes. But instead you’ve managed to resist and it appears our attempts have only made you more determined.” She grinned proudly, clapping enthusiastically. “I must applaud you girls, you’re making this the most fun I’ve had in decades.”
“This isn’t some game,” Rose pleaded. “You’re playing with our lives!”
“Of course, if your very souls weren’t on the line then where would the fun be?” Victoria spread her hands out, petting a dead plant on either side of her. Instantly her touch made them rise, color returning magically as flowers and fresh leaves bloomed under her fingers. Marie and the others stepped back, no clue what the witch ghost had planned for them.
“This entire house is under my control, dears. I possess power you can’t even begin to comprehend. What we’ve shown you so far is merely foreplay, cheap spells meant to entice and titillate. I’ll have you know that everything under my roof is a plaything for me to use. Including you girls.” Victoria ran her hands over the branches of a long dead bush, making the twigs snap back as she walked past. The swaying branches burst with life, green leaves sprouting and spreading like an infection, consuming the branches until the enormous bush was lush and fresh. But it didn’t stop there as the plant only grew, shifting in size and spreading into three rising towers of fresh leaves, slowly taking the shape of three feminine bodies. Wide hips and plump green breasts, arms and legs posed seductively. Even the abstract shape of faces seemed impossibly detailed among the leaves, the lust clear in the eyes of the landscaped statues.
Victoria gave a high laugh, enjoying the frightened faces on the girls as they took in what her powers could do. It was a fun trick like always, but hardly useful. Except as a distraction of course.
Katie yelped in surprise as her feet were pulled out from under her, dragged across the ground by a tangled mess of thick branches wrapped around her ankles. The others ran to help her but shrank back as the atmosphere of the entire greenhouse seemed to become charged. Bright dots of color burst among a sea of green swelling into view, every dead plant coming to life again under their Mistress’ command.
Sliding across the floor towards the witch Katie clawed at the branches and tore them apart, kicking her legs free. Before she could get to her feet however strong hands clutched her, digging into her skin painfully with long wooden fingers. The bush sculptures of the women had come to life as well, reaching down and taking hold of the struggling girl. Katie kicked and fought but against the sturdy wooden branches she didn’t have a chance. The green women laughed, forming around her as Katie screamed for help.
Marie, Rose and Mac were only able to watch helplessly as an army of branches and vines slithered over Katie, sliding into her clothes. Then the three plant women dove upon her, morphing together and hiding their friend from sight. But they could still hear cries of pleasure and anguish, able to picture all too vividly what was happening.
Victoria laughed happily and ran her hand over the outside of the bush, making it shake happily with appreciation. “That’s one more girl down. And the most problematic for certain.” Her striking eyes flashed over the girls, pleasure coursing over them despite their complete fear. “Now which of you shall be lucky enough to go next?”