And then she found herself in front of a pretty neat table, with various forks and spoon and knives. The room was very bright and she could see the rest of the room was also very well taken care of. However, there was something that made her feel uneasy: she couldn’t move.
Betty felt she was tied to the chair, arms and legs. She fought with it for a couple of minutes until she felt suddenly freed and fell to the ground. The chair also fell but instead of a loud noise it didn’t almost make a sound. Betty wondered why that was but she decided it was better to know where she was.
The last thing she remembered before appearing in that strangely perfect room was thinking about her problems paying her tuition at college and paying the rent and paying every single thing she had to pay. She was in a lot of debt and didn’t know for how much time she would have to keep juggling it all. So that room she had suddenly appeared in, had nothing to do what the problems she had. In fact, she had never been there before.
She realized that, despite the bright light, there didn’t seem to be anyone else there with her. She got near to one of the wall to hear if someone was coming from outside and discovered the wall were hollow, like made from plastic or something like that. That feeling made her nervous so she decided to try and not touch any of the stuff anymore. She put her hands on the back of her body, one hand holding the other and walked around the room to see if she recognized something.
But there was nothing to recognize. Inside a big cupboard there were many cups for serving tea and coffee and also very cute plates with amazing floral and animal designs. She wanted to take them out and see them closely but remembered she promised herself not to touch anything. She just put her nose against the glass and saw every single little thing. Nothing. Nothing made a memory appear or made any connection to anything she knew.
She kept looking at the small paintings depicting flowers and landscapes and realized the room was almost prepared for a dinner party of sorts but there was no food or other people there.
Then, a clicking sound made her flinch for a moment. It had been the room’s door, which she hadn’t seen before, that had suddenly opened. Immediately, she walked towards it and pushed it. Again, there was a feeling that the door was not real, was something like a toy, a fake. She put her hands back to where she had kept them and slowly walked past the doorframe to the next room.
It was really beautiful but it was then that she realized that something didn’t really make any sense. It was a ballroom, with what seemed like woodcarvings all around. It had been painted in pastel colors as well as some touches of gold and silver and bronze. It was beautiful and, for a moment, Betty forgot that she was scared and imagined that this room would have been were a beautiful princess would have danced with her lover whoever that may have been.
She wanted to touch the perfect vases apparently made of glass and painted by hand; she wanted to get closer to the many mirrors surrounding the room. But she didn’t. She controlled herself and, instead, decided to just sit on the floor, in the middle of the room, and try to be objective. She really liked the place but Betty knew she didn’t belong there. She had never been in a palace like this. Every single house, mansion or palace with such rooms was many kilometers away from where she lived. How was it that she was suddenly there?
Betty forced herself to remember. She crossed her legs and closed her eyes and tried to remember every single little thing she could. She had been worrying about money… But, what about it? Did she do something about it? Or was she waiting some kind of help or at least some clue to how to get away from all the problems she had?
The fact was, she couldn’t remember. And suddenly, a strange thing happened. It was as if she felt compelled to stand up, open her eyes and dance around the room as if she had a big gown and was accompanied by the prince. But Betty didn’t want to dance: she wanted to remember. Yet, there she went, gliding gracefully all around the room, doing nice turns and beautiful gestures with her hands.
But she didn’t want to, so she started crying and kept on dancing. It was a very awful thing to see, like a doll movie around without any will of her own. And then, in one of those turns, Betty saw that mirrors were very close and then she realized something she hadn’t really seen before: her image in the glass was different. She wasn’t looking her reflection but some deformed face. She screamed and moved away but then she tripped and felt backwards.
She felt herself fall and fall. Betty didn’t open her eyes until it felt safe. When she finally did, she realized she had somehow arrived to the kitchen. But it wasn’t a modern kitchen like the ones she knew. It was a kitchen made for a house with ballroom full of mirrors and a dining room filled only with tiny cups and utensils no one was ever going to handle. It was scary.
She stood up and decided to sit down in a small stool near a fireplace that seemed to be on but didn’t produce any heat. Betty suddenly felt very cold and then tried to remember, again, what it was that she was doing before she had arrived to this place. But her memory was blank, as if it had been erased by hand. She even tried remembering something else but she couldn’t. Betty only knew her name and random words and that was it.
In a sudden move, she touched her throat. She had just realized she wasn’t able to speak. Everything she thought she had said out loud had simply not produced any sound. She had just thought about it. So Betty started crying because she felt miserable and was sure she didn’t belong to this place. After all, people belong to where other people are, right? Why weren’t there any other people around this place? Why was she the only one?
Like an answer to her question, a door she had not seen by the cupboard had opened and a girl, maybe a bit younger than her, entered. She was wearing a dress that was a little bit more in tune with the room. She walked very slowly but did so towards Betty. When she was close enough, she sat down in another stool and just stayed there. She was very beautiful but sad. Betty wondered if she looked like her.
Suddenly, she almost fell of the stool. She had heard a voice. She looked one way, then the other. And then towards the girl, who was looking at her with her big eyes. She then understood it was her who talked. Somehow, without moving their lips, they were having a conversation. The first thing Betty asked was if they could walk out of that place. But the other girl didn’t even answer.
She only said her name was Norma and that she didn’t even remember there was somewhere else to be. She had also appeared there one day and, in time, she had gotten that outfit. She didn’t really moved anymore. It was hard for her to explain but, although she did walked all around the house, it wasn’t her who made her legs move.
Betty got stuck on the word “house”. For a moment, she was master of her own body again, standing up and running towards a nearby window. But she suddenly tripped and fell hard to the ground. Her feet had stopped responding. She slowly got up and returned to the stool, with no will of her own.
- What is this Norma? Where are we?
But Norma didn’t answer. It was a voice, coming from every single side, which answered: “This house is now your house”.
Betty begged for all of it to be just a nightmare.