At first, she was too distracted by the ornate furniture to sense she was being watched. Eventually, the ominous silence of a large house began swallowing her whole. There were too many rooms to count, yet she became determined to search them all. No doors were shut, but there were plenty of corners someone could hide.
Someone was there. Someone was watching.
She felt more positive about that than anything. She ran through the house, losing more of her breath with every step. Yet, room after room, she found no one.
She refused to question herself. She wanted so badly to deem it paranoia, then bury herself beneath a blanket to fall asleep. However, she could not shake the weight upon her spine, the hairs standing at the back of her neck, and her heart thumping within her chest.
Someone was watching.
She had checked all the rooms, so how? Was there one she had forgotten? Or…
She looked out, and saw only darkness against her own reflection. If someone was on the other side, she could not see them.
She closed the curtains. All of them. In every room and every corner, she shut them all. She stood still after the last of the windows, panting heavily as she absorbed the air around her.
It didn’t work. Someone was still watching.
If there was no one in the house, and all the curtains shut, how could someone be watching? She thought and thought, the wheels in her head spinning as fast as the thumping of her heart.
She began to panic, glancing at every corner of the ceiling. Where would they be? She threw books off shelves and paintings off walls. She checked for bulbs in every lamp and broke every figurine. With every chair turned and every rug lifted, she became more and more aware of her madness.
She collapsed in the center of the main room, where two large seats sat opposite a fireplace. The fireplace was cold with ashes and the chandelier that provided light was eerily still. The only sign of movement was the flickering of a candle on the mantel. For some reason, the light being on frightened her even more.
She switched it off.
For a moment, the darkness seemed to make it all go away. The silence was almost calming and the beat of her heart was quieter.
Then, she spotted something behind the candle’s flickering light. Could it be? Yes, it was. How did she not see it before?
She inched towards the candle, forcing her eyes to make out what her mind believed.
There it was. A face. A face etched in the wall, made of stone. The white, stone walls were divided into tiles, and here, one had been carved into a face.
No, two. Just a few tiles above the first, was another.
As she began to look deeper, more and more faces appeared upon the walls.
They were watching. Watching. With no sense of shame at all, they stared. She willed them to stop, but they refused to blink.
Their stillness was enough to make her victim to her frenzy.
She rushed towards the door, only to find it gone. The windows had disappeared. In their place were nothing but white, stone walls, and the many faces staring back.
She screamed. Her hand flipped the light switch, but it only made the walls grow towards the center.
Who was behind them? Who was watching?
She would break the walls. She grabbed a fire iron, but the metal turned to dust in her hands. Silence became a ringing in her ears, and as she stared back at the first face discovered, the flickering of the flame shrunk into darkness.