Twins Ellie and Ayesha Sawyer stepped onto the crowded sidewalk in front of the Witches Gallow manor. Ellie grinned behind her halloween mask, giddy with excitement.
“Ayesha, I’m so excited!” Ellie squealed. “Aren’t you?”
“Uh,” Ayesha murmured. “I’m a little scared.” Ellie harshly rolled her eyes at her skittish twin.
“Don’t be a pansy, Ayesha! I swear, nothing bad is going to happen. I’ll be right here.” Ellie assured her, squeezing Ayesha’s sweaty hand. Unknown by either of the sisters, both of Ellie’s promises would be broken.
The twins ascended the disintegrating steps, mingling with the other costumed party guests. Some were dressed as witches or zombies-like Ellie, and some were dressed as cute dogs or cats-like Ayesha. The monstrous obsidian-colored double doors were wide open, letting in the unpleasant gusts of chilly October air.
Ellie gaped at the colossal room they shuffled into. Imitation cobwebs dangled in every corner of the room, some with gigantic black spiders nesting in them. Creepy statues and looming figures crowded the room, blending in with the masked partiers. Tables of luscious treats and eerie snacks lined the walls, making way for the dancing crowd.
Ellie scanned the room, amazed. Then she spotted an entranceway to a cobweb-covered door. Above it, there was a black banner with red ooze painted on it. It read, in sloppy letters, Enter if you dare. Ellie grinned, deciding to accept the challenge. Dragging a frightened Ayesha with her, Ellie ducked through the crowd, making a beeline for the haunted hallway.
“Ellie, where are we going?” Ayesha inquired apprehensively. “We aren’t going in there, are we?!” She asked incredulously, motioning to the doorway.
“I am!” Ellie huffed, watching some of her friends run towards the pitch black door frame.
“You promised you wouldn’t leave me!” Ayesha whined breathlessly. Ellie moaned as her friends ran through the doorway.
“Just stay right here, and I’ll be back soon! Please?” Ellie said hurriedly. She really wanted to catch up to her friends.
“Ok,” Ayesha mumbled reluctantly.
“Thanksbyeyou’rethebest!” Ellie tore off into the haunted corridor, not glancing back once at her twin sister.
Ayesha fearfully watched her sister excitedly run into the spooky hallway. She spun in a slow circle, wishing she’d stayed home. Terrifying sculptures loomed over her, as if they were going to pounce and dig their serrated talons into her flesh. Ayesha shivered. Sometimes I wish I didn’t have such a vivid imagination she thought.
A few minutes later, Ayesha made a decision. Probably the worst decision of her life. She followed Ellie into the haunted hallway.
“Leo, where are you going? Hey! STOP!” Ellie screamed as her friend smashed right into a mirror. She doubled over in laughter. Leo sat up and rubbed his forehead.
“Ouch!” He groaned.
“You don’t really get the concept of a mirror maze, do you Leo?” Milly teased. “You’re not supposed to run into the walls!”
“Thanks, Milly,” Leo griped.
“Guys, I think we go this way,” Caroline said, pointing down a damp hallway.
“Yes! We should go down the hallway that has absolutely no torches!” Leo muttered sarcastically. Ellie punched him in the shoulder playfully.
“That’s the fun of it, isn’t it?” She asked. Caroline led them down the narrow passageway. Suddenly, a fluorescent green light lit up their faces. They turned and saw a dirty, scuffed up mummy barreling towards them. Ellie, Caroline, Milly, and Leo shrieked as the creature came so close to smashing them against the wall. Then it completely disappeared. The four of them gazed around in utter bewilderment. Then Milly started laughing.
“Guys, that was a mirage!” She breathlessly explained. The tension of the clique relaxed and they went on their way.
Suddenly, a bloodcurdling scream erupted from one of the hallways. Caroline, Milly, and Leo giggled, assuming someone was about to figure out that they were terrified of a simple mirage. But Ellie knew that voice.
“Ayesha!” She yelled in surprise. “Sorry guys, I have to go find my sister!” And she tore off down the hallway towards the noise.
Ayesha shrieked in pure terror as swirls of crimson light swirls enveloped her entire body. She could’ve sworn she heard Ellie call her name, but she figured she was just hoping. Ayesha screamed again. Suddenly, Ellie’s face appeared at the end of the hallway.
“Ayesha?” she asked uncertaintly.
“Ellie? Help! I want to go home!” she wailed. Ellie strutted over to her sister, frowning.
“What’s going on? What is happening to you?” She asked, unsure if it truly was just a halloween haunted hallway trick.
“I don’t know! JUST GET ME OUTTA HERE!” Ayesha panicked. Ellie reached out a hand to comfort her sister. Then both their worlds went black.
Ellie opened her eyes, indecisive of her surroundings. Ayesha laid next to her, unmoving. Ellie decided they were in the main entrance room. But it looked so different! Instead of the halloween decorations, it simply looked like someone’s living room, with dated furniture and wall hangings. The bricks were still moist and crumbling, but less so. The arches were all identical, and the barred windows were still intact. The thing that bothered Ellie the most was what she saw outside. The sun was high in the sky. Hadn’t it been nighttime at the party? She pondered.
Ayesha stirred, moaning.
“Where am I?” she groaned. “Ellie?” she asked, groggily gazing at her sister.
“I’m here,” Ellie assured her. “Not that I really know where ‘here’ is,” she muttered. Suddenly, footsteps broke their concentration.
“I want my soup now, servant,” A cruel voice sounded from the hallway. “Fetch it for me and bring it here!” Ellie dragged a still-groggy Ayesha behind the big, cracking sofa. Just in time, as a tall, bony woman strutted into the room. She had her graying hair in a severe bun. Velvety-black sleeves coated her thin, bony arms. Enormously puffed shoulder sleeves made Ellie want to burst out laughing. The woman’s thin waist was corseted, and her gown billowed out behind her.
Ayesha made a little gasping noise when she looked up.
“Ellie, I know who that is!” She whispered fearfully. “She’s the occupant of this house!”
“Who, like, the stateswoman or something?” Ellie asked.
“No! She’s Cruella Starling!” Ayesha looked expectantly at her sister, then sighed impatiently.
“Don’t you see, Ellie? We’ve traveled back in time! This is the house in the middle ages! And Cruella...”
“Yes, dearie?” A cold voice sounded from above. To their horror, Ellie and Ayesha looked up to see Mrs. Starling glaring down at them over the sofa.
Both girls held onto each other tight, terrified for their lives.