I’m in this beautiful house. It looks antiquated and preserved but everything’s in black and white. I’m in the living room; there’re cushioned seats and a polished wood table over a foreign rug. To my left, there’s a man in the dining room walking from wall to far wall. He looks like he’s doing something, like he’s picking something up. It looks heavy; his pace is slower to the far side of the room. He throws nothing onto the wood panels, heaves a sigh, and walks back to the other end to do it all over again.
There’s music. I know it from somewhere … Chopin?
It’s so familiar to me. I know it.
I lose focus of the man and look straight ahead into the open parlor; there’s a piano in the corner with a little girl sitting on the stool. She stops playing and looks at me, takes something off the top of the piano, and walks towards me in the center of the room.
“Take this, it’s yours.”
It looks something like a can opener, wrench, and knife; there’s a shine to it, some weight. I study it for a few seconds, turning it in my hands, and start to walk past a bookshelf and down a hallway. There’s a curtained pantry and a closed door opposite. The baroque wallpaper makes me claustrophobic, but the large kitchen is close. I’m walking slow, and almost make it through when a loud whisper from above stops me
To see the truth, look beyond what you see.
Immediately things change. Color. The kitchen looks decayed, the walls are torn. Floorboards creak as I fumble my way back into the parlor, the little girl still standing, still watching me. Her sundress is old, dirty, and worn; her face is pale. She looks like an atticed porcelain doll. The piano is dusty and neglected; a rat watches me from the corner. I’m scared but I walk dizzy back into the living room over the oxblood and gold patterned rug; stains and rat shit ruin the only thing keeping me from regretting seeing black and white. In the dining room the man is walking without struggle back to one end of the room, and though a table is between us, I can see two piles: one by each wall. He reaches down and hoists a dead body over his shoulder and begins his crawl to the other end.
I’m numb, I feel like I’m going into shock. My grip on the tool is the only thing I can feel and I run back into the parlor.
“Your tool. You need it.” She points to my left hand.
“It’s yours.” A frown comes over her emotionless face.
My grip becomes wet. I look down and red blood is dripping to the floor. The top of the tool is covered with it. It’s on my hands, the handle. I hear the man in the other room walk towards me. I run into the hallway and get near the kitchen but I’m stopped. I feel like I can’t get in there. Not a physical barrier, but something inside stopping me from going inside.
I throw aside the curtains and hide in the cramped pantry. I watch his blur pass me though the slit between linen and sigh a bit. Before I can move, two hands throw open the curtains and stare at me. I don’t get a long look at his face; he’s white, has unwashed black hair, and looks to be in his 50s. His green eyes are a mixture of sadness and anger. Everything goes black. I wake up.