Of my state of consciousness, I was uncertain. The fact was that it didn’t matter at the time. I had to see what was beyond the threshold. The heavy price I paid for that natural curiosity was eternal damnation. In this nightmarish limbo of lost souls that I dwell; I have cursed my fatal impulse a thousand times. About the only consolation I have left is that I may be able to help others avoid my fate. If you are reading this warning, it is you that I wish to save.
I staggered across the cool stream with hopes it would shock me awake; but I had no such luck. Once I stood upon the other bank, I was but a stone toss from the front door. The ominous structure bore the illusion of solidity but there were hints to the contrary. An occasional glimmer of moonlight shined through the walls to betray its spectral status. I could feel the hair on my neck stand on end as I sought the courage to step forward. A chilling wind at my back seemed to propel me toward it.
After an eternity of indecision, I stepped up to the door and turned the rustic knob. It offered no resistance to my intrusion. In my nervous stupor, I failed to recognize the implicitly accommodating mechanism of a trap. Although I didn’t know it at the time, my fate was sealed forever when the door closed behind me.
Once inside, I had a surreal feeling that the outside world I came from, no longer mattered. Reality began to slip away. Time itself held little meaning. The only thing that separated me from my freedom was just three inches of resistant wood and yet, I didn’t care. Strange feelings compelled to explore the mysteries of the upper floor. I marveled at how solid the banister felt as I walked up the spiral staircase of the damned. It was as if I was floating in a vivid, ethereal dream.
Each step creaked of aged timber but the expected echo of my footfalls was curiously absent. In retrospect; I realized the walls were not solid enough to produce an audible reflection. ‘Ghost houses’ have ‘ghost walls’; I reminded myself. The stairs creaked not because of my weight. They creaked because my solid body intruded upon it’s semi-solid mass.
In a large room upstairs, I found the glorious treasure of ten kingdoms scattered from the floor to the rafters. It was only awaiting a fool to happen along and claim it all. I’m ashamed to admit that I became that greed-intoxicated fool.
The trove of riches sparkled in the moonlight with an alluring glint. There were golden goblets and ornate pieces of jewelry littering the floor in waist heigh piles; along with precious gems as large as a man’s fist. I stuffed my bulging pockets until they were spilling over. Then I hung a dozen golden chains around my neck to flee the phantom house with as much booty as I could escape with. In all the chaos and monetary lust, I was in deep denial about my fate.