RECAP OF PARTS 1 AND 2:
It’s the quintessential dark, stormy night. You’re at a dinner party hosted by a prestigious couple whom you’ve never met. Currently, you’re sitting in the dining room accompanied by Betty Cronk (whose voice sounds like a hen) and her husband. Just a moment ago, lightning flashed, and the lights went out. As Betty declared her desire to leave, a deep, unfamiliar voice explained that the party has not yet begun. You decided to remain seated and wait for the new voice to introduce himself.
THE STORY CONTINUES:
“I don’t care!” Betty’s voice quivers. “Let’s go Walter…”
“I’m sorry you feel that way…”
Chills drip down your neck as the mysterious voice moves away.
It continues, “Mr. Parsley is nothing if not accommodating.”
Before another word is spoken, glass breaks. There’s a heavy thud like that of wood hitting the floor. Betty’s muffled squawk approaches your chair as you see the shadow of a man hauling her away.
You rise, throwing your chair aside. “What are you doing? Let her go!” you shout. The assailant gives no heed to your demand. Heart pounding, you follow the shadows out of the room, losing their presence in a pitch-black hallway.
“Hello? Betty?” you call. Taking a step forward, you trip on what feels like the edge of a runner rug. You hadn’t noticed it on the way in, and although the rug prompted your fall, you’re thankful it softened an otherwise hard landing.
Lightning flashes, illuminating the entryway for a fleeting moment. Where are the other guests? You know they arrived–you heard their voices before the lights went out.
You shake your head. “This is ridiculous,” you mutter. “I’m out of here!” Rising to your feet, you reach out and touch the wall, ready to scoot your way to the front door. A warm hand touches the back of your shoulder.
“Ahh!” you shriek, half embarrassed when you realize it’s only Walter.
“Don’t be alarmed. It’s me!” he whispers. “Where’s my wife? We must find my wife!” Although lacking the overt, wild sense of urgency you’d expect from a man whose spouse was just dragged off by a spooky guy into a powerless mansion, you believe his concern.
“How would I know?” you snap. “I’ve never even met the Parsleys! I shouldn’t be here.”
“Whoa!” Walter grabs the back of your shirt.
You twist free. “What are you doing?”
“I’m sorry,” the man begins. “My intent was to reach your arm.”
“Please, she’s my wife—at least help me find her! Without you, I could be next!” his voice starts cracking. “She’s always been the feistier one of the two of us. I was strong once, but now my strength is more of mind than brawn. Please…will you help me?”
You think. After a minute that seems like an hour, you pat Walter on the back, mistakenly tapping his head once first. “I…”
Footsteps on a staircase interrupt your answer. You can’t tell if they’re ascending or descending. Without delay, you grasp Walter’s hand and run towards the front door. It’s locked. You turn around as thunder cracks. The footsteps continue.
You pull Walter back down the hall and rush into the dining room as lightning reveals the opened corner window.
“Over there…through the window,” you instruct.
You feel resistance as Walter pulls away. The footsteps grow louder. They sound like they’re coming down the hall.
“I don’t think so,” Walter objects, continuing to pull back.
The steps are approaching the door.
You insist: “We have to go! Come on!”
“…but I’m not that flexible,” explains Walter.
Realizing there’s no time to argue, you sprint toward the window. “Hide!” you plead in a shouting whisper. Within seconds, you kick the screen and climb outside.
The footsteps cease as a candle appears in the dining room doorway. Its flame casts a light on the mouth of the holder.
“Madam, it appears our guests have stepped away.”
It’s the voice. You’re certain. That is the man who took Betty. You try to see if someone’s with him, but it’s still too dark to know for sure.
“Where do you suppose they’ve gone?” the voice continues.
Slowly, the candle begins to move, followed closely by the half-lit face. You continue peering through the window, attempting to discover Walter’s hiding place. You remain squatted in the grass as your eyes search the room.
After circling the table, the candle pauses back at the doorway. As you anxiously wait for it to leave, your back is tickled by slimy fingers. You try to shake them off as a lizard slithers atop your head.
“Eww!” you cry, covering your mouth as the sound escapes.
The illuminated chin turns towards the window. “Well, isn’t that nice,” he says. The flame goes out as you hear his footsteps heading your way.
WHAT DO YOU DO?
Option A: Close the window and hide. You need to go back inside for the others.
Option B: Run and explore the rest of the property. Betty must be around here somewhere!
Option C: Wait for the man and have a showdown. He’s not so scary!
Please cast your vote in the comments section below by midnight on Sunday, July 8, 2018. You can also vote on the Facebook post. The majority answer will dictate where the story resumes next time!