Note: I wrote this story in 1996. It was inspired by the many ghost house levels in Super Mario World. I’m talking old school Super Mario World for the SNES. The ghost houses always had so many doors and maze-like passages, and I ALWAYS got lost in them!!

My mother told me never to open the door at the end of the looong hallway. But one day I lost my self-control and opened it…and was gobbled up by a huge green monster with claws like chisels and teeth like helicopter blades, never to be seen again on the face of the Earth.

NOT!!!

See, we live in a castle. That’s kind of odd, ’cause it’s just the three of us: Mom, Dad and me. Both of my parents spend their days sitting around in their rooms eating caviar and reading Webster’s College Dictionary. They don’t even come out anymore. So I’ve had to fend for myself practically all my life in this huge castle, cooking my own meals and coming up with ways to entertain myself.

This story was inspired by being lost in Ghost Houses like this. Photo Courtesy of Video Game Critic

This story was inspired by being lost in Ghost Houses like this. Photo Courtesy of Video Game Critic

There’s this looong hallway in our castle that is quite different from the others. Well, it’s identical to the rest of the halls, with ten brown, wooden doors on either side (sort of looks like two opposing teams facing each other). But one thing the looong hallway has that the others don’t is an extra door at the end of it, and this door looks like it was painted red. THAT’S the door I was talkng about earlier, the one my mother told me never to open. All my life, since I was young I’ve wondered, dreamed and imagined what could be behind that red door. I remember a long time ago when I was 5. My mother (before she and Dad became hermits) caught me in the act of attempting to open the door. “There are hundreds of other doors in this castle. Why do you worry about THAT one so much?” she asked me. So for a while, I just forgot about the door. Until now.

One night, when I was sure my parents were fast asleep, I made my way into the looong hallway, and started walking straight toward the red door. When I reached it, I paused and looked arund. No one approaching. Slowly, I reached my hand out and grasped the knob. I turned it, preparing to scream if I had to…

…SURPRISED was I, when I saw what was behind that door. I smiled, sighing with relief. It was a beautiful, cozy looking little room!! A roaring fire in the fireplace, comfy sofas and even a small kitchen in one corner! As I entered the room, amazed, the door I came through slammed shut. For a moment I was terrified! All of the castle doors can only be opened from the inside if you have the key! This is because the people who built the castle screwed up and put the doors on backwards, and I’d left my key in my room.

Just when I was about to panic, I noticed an open brown door smack in the middle of the wall to my left. Such a queer place for a door, I thought as I made my way out of it. Now I was in a hallway identical to the looong one. Thinking I was back where I started, I smiled. “Mom, there is nothing scary behind that red door,” I said aloud.

A minute later, I wasn’t smiling. When I opened the brown door that would lead me out of this hallway, I wound up in a little room identical to the one I was just in. Weird, I told myself. How many little rooms are there in this castle? Thinking that I must have gone through the wrong door, I exited out of the brown door in the middle of the wall and was back into the hallway. “This is getting confusing!” I yelled, begining to feel hysterical. I ran all the way to the opposite end of the hallway, through the brown door — and was back into the little room.

Okay, there must be another door that can lead me back to the hall I started in, the looong hall. So I searched and searched the little room but found nothing. The only doors in the room were the open brown door and the red door. I couldn’t even access the red door because it was locked and I didn’t have the key to open it. WHY did those builders put the doors on wrong?!

Levels like this one are sooo easy to get lost in. Picture courtesy of Ian-Albert.com

Levels like this one are sooo easy to get lost in. Picture courtesy of Ian-Albert.com

Oh, I’m trapped, I told myself as I sat down in one of the sofas in the little room. I’ve got to think of a way out of here. For three years, I came up with plan after plan, idea after idea. Each one failed. I grew more and more restless after trying each unsuccessful plan, which is probably why I didn’t quit for so long.

I gave up on trying to get out of this maze of doors. Instead, I sat down in one of the sofas in the little room, found some paper and a pen, and began writing about my experience, which you have just finished reading.

Now I’m twenty-four years old. Yep, that’s about right. I’ve been keeping track of the seasons by the temperature in this little roo. In winter it’s dry and chilly, in the summer it’s hot and humid. I go out in the hall to get fresh air, and I live off of grapes, cherries and water. The fruits grow from a vine I found that was coming out of one of the 10 doors in the hallway (they’re all locked, I’ve BEEN tried to open them, don’t worry). The water comes from the sink in the little room (I just hope the pipes don’t give out).

Oh! I have one more theory about how to get out of here! I’m going to use an object from the little room, like the fireplace poker, and try to pry open one of the hallway doors with it. Why didn’t I think of that earlier? Pray that it works. If it does, as soon as I’m free, I’ll seal that red door up good and hard with brick and cement.

If the plan DOESN’T work…well…I guess I’ll have two options: 1) continue to come up with ways to escape this trap; 2) sit around and wait to die. Oh, well. I’m tired now. I’ll just sketch my last plan out and try it. If it fails, then I guess option two is the only thing left to do, huh? I mean, it’s not like I really WANT to consider that option or anything. No, I have full faith in my final plan. But if it fails, then what else CAN I do? I don’t really have much of a choice, do I?