This dream occurred on the evening of March 26th, 2011. It tells the story of a boy having to spend an evening at a family friend’s extravagant mansion home… Which is not quite all that it seems.
As I sit in the back seat of the car, head against the window, watching my reflection flying across the forest of trees outside, I think, “Why the hell do I have to go to this dinner?” My family has been invited to have dinner at my Aunt’s boss’ house, which just happens to be in the middle of a giant forest up on Prune Hill. Who chooses to live way out here? There is nothing to do out here but stay in your house all day long. I suppose you could go out and walk around in the forest, there is somewhat of an “outdoors-y” appeal to that, but this forest is so dense I would be worried I would get lost. I know I would definitely rather live in the hustle and bustle of city life than out here where your closest place for interaction is your neighbors, who happen to live a mile down the winding road. This is of course all just my opinion though, if these people want to live out in the forest that is their prerogative.
After the hour drive through the woods we finally arrive at the house of my Aunt’s Boss, Champagne. I perk up a little bit as we pull into the rounded driveway. The house is gigantic. It extends off to the right into the forest and goes up three stories. The gardens off to the left are ornate and lush, not a flower out of place. The hedges are perfectly trimmed and the fountains are very well maintained. I begin to wonder how it is that these people can afford something like this, my aunt says that they aren’t doing too well at work, and yet this house, or mansion more like it, is absolutely wonderful.
We walk up to the large double doors at the front and ring the doorbell. The doors open wide for us to enter and the giant chandelier on the roof immediately catches my eye. Hundreds of little light bulbs illuminate the crystalline chandelier. Once again, how can these people afford this stuff? We remove our shoes and place them off to the side of the door on the marble entryway. As we walk towards the kitchen I glance to the two rooms off to the side of the entry. To the right is an elegant little sitting room, decorated almost entirely in white. To the left is a living room with a large flat screen on the wall and couches which look wonderfully plump. This room doesn’t look quite as clean as the sitting room; clearly this room is used much more. Walking into the kitchen we see Champagne pouring herself a glass of wine. She turns around and is delighted to see us.
“Hey guys!” she shouts, “anybody want a drink? I’m buying!” chuckling at her own joke. Clearly these people are not quite as elegant as their house would suggest.
As she pours my aunt a glass of the same wine she is having, my uncle grabs a beer out of the refrigerator. I go to the fridge to look for something a little less… intoxicating for my mom, my cousin, my sister and me. I find bottled water for my mom and some Jones sodas for the three of us under 21. I stand in the kitchen sipping my soda quietly as I watch the conversation occurring between the adults.
“So, how was the drive up here?” Champagne says.
“Well, it was pretty long, but there weren’t any problems.” My Uncle Ian said after taking a swig of his cold beer.
“Did the neighbors give you any trouble along the way?” Champagne asked.
“No, I don’t think I even saw their house actually… Where were they?” My Aunt Knicole wondered.
“Really? You didn’t see their damn rainbow pride flag flying in the wind? They have that damn thing out all the time, I can’t stand it.” With this comment I stood straight up and practically spilled my soda that was sitting on the counter. I couldn’t believe she had just made such an insulting comment. I was just about to go off on this bitch when my mom interjects
“Hey now, we won’t tolerate any gay bashing while were around. If you don’t approve of that lifestyle that’s your opinion, but when we are around we won’t have it. If that is going to continue we can leave right now. My son is gay and we all support him in that, we wont have that kind of intolerance while we are around.” I love that my mom stands up for me like that. Sometimes I wish she wouldn’t, I can fight my own battles, but I know that if she didn’t first I would do it, and it probably wouldn’t end as peacefully as it would when she says something.
“Oh no, I apologize, I didn’t mean it like that. I have no problem with people being gay, I just wish they wouldn’t show it off and wave it in the faces of others.” Champagne retorts, quickly defending herself.
“Alright, well we are just making sure. That is a sensitive issue with us.” My mom says. I wish this night would just end, I’m so done with this already.
“So where is Victor?” My aunt says, urgent to change the subject. Victor is Champagne’s father who lives with them. From what I hear he is a little “off-his-rocker,” if you catch my drift.
“Oh, he is upstairs in his study. I thought I smelled him cooking something up there a little earlier, but I haven’t heard a word from him.” Champagne explains reluctantly. I think I might go pay him I visit. Whatever he is doing up there is bound to be more interesting than the banter going on in here. I pick up my drink from the counter and say “I’m gonna go upstairs.”
I walk through the indoor garden that is off to the right of the kitchen. A very large stone statue is the centerpiece here. It looks very old and has small amounts of moss growing on it. I guess they don’t care to clean it as much as they do the rest of the house. The statue is of a woman holding a harp in one hand and a coiled whip in the other. She is dressed in robes, reminiscent of those worn in ancient Greece. As I look up to the top of the statue, which is about two and a half stories tall, I notice smoke coming out of a second-story room. That must be where Victor is, crazy old man… I head through the garden to a room in, what I assume to be, the middle of the house. A grand spiral staircase leads up to the second floor. I reach the top of the staircase and back to the right I see the room that overlooked the garden. Inside is a little old man in long, bulky black robes crouched over a smoking cauldron. I walk towards him and ask “Victor?” The old man backs away and looks up at me, a little startled.
“Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you. I’m Knicole’s nephew, Mark.” As I say this, Victor tilts his head to the side slightly, just like a dog does when they are confused. It’s kind of adorable, but I don’t think he would like to be called adorable. “You know Knicole right?” I ask, but he shakes his head. “She works with your daughter, and I am her nephew.” Victor relaxes slightly and pulls the robes back from off his head. As he does so I finally see his face. He is bone thin and extremely pale, like he hasn’t seen the sun in at least 5 years. The skin on his face sags in wrinkles and his scalp shows signs that he has balded many years ago, with little patches of hair sprouting up. He really needs to just get his head shaved, but I’m sure Champagne has the same worry as me, that his skin is to saggy to be able to be shaved. The skin might just come off along with the hair.
The old man then nods to me, an acknowledgement that he trusts me enough to not be scared. He then gets back to his work making whatever kind of potion or soup or whatever it is in that huge pot of his. I walk closer to the cauldron and see some kind of dark green, bubbling liquid inside.
“What are you making?” I ask him, but he doesn’t answer. He is just kind of mumbling to himself the words of an old man gone senile. Shuffling across the floor in a sort of crouch he is finding ingredients off the shelves in the room to add to his cauldron. I shrug my shoulders, realizing I’m not going to get anything out of this crazy old man, and walk to the balcony in the room that overlooks the indoor garden. At this height I’m about to the neck of the large statue of the woman, her giant whip right in front of my face.
As I look at it and the garden below, Victor comes up really quickly behind me rambling in some language that is completely beyond my comprehension and shoves me off to the side. I watch him as he grabs the statue’s arm and easily pulls it towards himself, the stone it’s made of suddenly flexible. He looks under the woman’s arm and I notice a message carved into the statue. As he reads the scrawled message he recites the to me. “’Mission 02156: Mikon.’ Remember that Mark, it’s very important.” Victor lets the hang go and sulks back to his cauldron to work on his recipe as if nothing had happened. I start to walk toward him to ask him what in the world that means, but I hear a noise coming from the garden that stops me. I quickly snap my head around and see the statue shaking back and forth. It rocks once, twice, three times and crashes forward to the ground, breaking in half at the woman’s mid-section. I run to the balcony to observe the wreckage that has just happened. Everyone in the kitchen heard the ruckus as well and runs to the garden to see what happened. They look at the statue laying on the ground and then up to the balcony that I am standing at, immediately placing the blame on me.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to, you didn’t have to show me the message, it’s my fault.” I say, turning to Victor. He shakes his head and makes a gesture towards me to calm down, as if saying it wasn’t my fault. He comes to the balcony beside me and shouts to the onlookers below.
“Don’t worry, I can fix it, the boy didn’t do it, don’t blame him. I can fix it, relax.” Everyone below is clearly worried and is thinking this old man is nuts. They head back to the kitchen shocked, but knowing that it will be fixed. Victor heads out of the room and shuffles to the other end of the second floor, unphased by what just occurred. I stand on the balcony; eyes and mouth wide open, not quite understanding what just happened. I just tell myself to get over it though and decide to head back downstairs to join the others in the kitchen.
As I reenter the kitchen downstairs to join the rest of the party, I see that everyone has decided to take what they call “cake shots.” Cake shots involve drinking down cheesecake out of one shot glass, and then drinking some kind of red alcohol out of another shot glass. All the adults, except my mom who doesn’t drink of course, take their shots. My sister is then offered one and does it no problem. When it comes to my cousin, Graham, to take his, he takes a sip of the red stuff first. First of all, that is clearly the wrong order, and second of all, he doesn’t like the taste of the stuff so he decides to pass on his. I think “why not?” and grab Graham’s cake and throw it down. The cake is delicious, so I’m thinking the red stuff must make it even better! I grab the other shot glass and down it. This one is not as tasty; in fact it pretty much sucks. Knicole asks me how it was and I say “The cake was great, but the alcohol kinda ruined it.” All the adults laugh and Knicole turns around to Champagne shaking her head and laughing. I’m like “screw this” and leave the kitchen back through the garden to check out the rest of the house.
As I walk through the garden I notice that Victor is putting some kind of floating patch onto the statue that holds the two pieces of it together like stitches. With a big toothy grin, and by toothy I mean he only has about 5 teeth left in his mouth when he smiles, he looks at me and waves as he mends the statue. I walk past him and go through the room with the spiral staircase into a foyer type area with, yet again, white carpet. I do not understand how these people keep their house clean. As I look up though, I see that the room towards the back of the house is a huge dining room with hundreds of people in it eating dinner. There are two more of these same types of dining rooms on either side of the first one. “Weren’t we supposed to be the only people over tonight?” I think. This is definitely really weird, and even weirder is the fact that no one in the rooms seems to notice that I am even standing here. As I stand there watching the people go about their dinner, I get a feeling of Déjà vu, like this has happened before.
I start to get freaked out when all of the sudden a giant metal door comes up from the ground in between my room and the dining rooms, completely obscuring my view of that room. I back away quickly, getting really scared and worried by this point. I then hear two more of the giant metal doors scraping up from the floor, closing off my way back to the garden and to the room on my right side. I realize I need to get out of here or I may be stuck inside. Guards clad in black tuxedos then come into the room to try and grab me; I know I need to get away now. I turn around towards the front of the house and see the sitting room I first saw when I got here. I run towards it when another giant metal doors screams up from the floor, about to close off my last chance for escape. I jump on top of the door and squeeze through just in time to make it out of the foyer and into the sitting room before I’m squished against the ceiling.
By this point, there is no exit from this room except the large window to the front yard. Luckily I am alone in this room, so I have time to think, but I have no idea how I am going to escape from this. I start to pace the room to think of something I can do to get out of here, but then I realize my family may be in the same situation. I left them in the kitchen and I don’t know what is happening to them right now. Have they been captured already? Are they trapped liked me, unaware of what is happening? Are they dead? No, I can’t think that, they’re alive; I have to tell myself that. I could jump out the front window, but that would make a really loud noise, not to mention the fact that the glass would probably cut me pretty badly. I continue to pace the floor back and forth, back and forth, and back and forth… Then I hear a sound coming front the ceiling in the corner of the room. I start to walk towards it when a girl drops from a hole in the ceiling. I back away, worried that this is the end, she is here to capture me and there isn’t anything I can do about it.
“Wait, don’t worry, I’m here to help you.” She says, “My grandfather sent me to help you”
“Your, your… Grandfather?” I manage to blurt out in between deep breaths.
“Yes, Victor, he is my grandfather. I don’t have time to explain, just come with me.” She says urgently. She walks up to me and hands me two black keys on key chains, “Keep these, you’ll need them. We need to get out of here first, then we need to get a car.” I nod, really not sure what is happening right now, but feeling that I can trust this girl. She heads towards the door and stops just short of touching it saying, “My name is Stefani by the way.” She pushes on the right side of the metal door and it opens outward with ease, just like any door should. I see a guard standing at the front door blocking any entry or exit. Stefani and me walk up to the guard and he is not keen on letting us out. Stefani mouths out the words “The key” to me and jerks her head towards the guard. I pull out one of the keys and show it to the guard and he says “Oh!” and backs to the side of the door. Stefani grabs his arm from behind, twists, and the guard falls to the floor.
“Go!” she says and I run out of the front door, Stefani following closely behind. She catches up to me as we run in front of the house off to the right.
“Where are we supposed to get a car?” I yell to her.
“My dads garage, he has tons of cars there. Follow me!” She says as she starts to run ahead of me. When we finally reach the end of the ginormous house I see a large shop a small distance away. This must be the garage. We walk inside and there must be at least 50 cars inside, of all models and makes. The garage itself is two-stories tall, the lower on for cars and the upper one for… who knows what. The right side of the garage has a waiting area for people and, what I assume to be, a large bathroom and a shop. The interior of the shop is completely different than that of the house, made mostly of wood and looking a lot like a barn. At the back is a second set of garage doors that all the cars are facing towards, ready to be taken out for a spin. I ask Stefani “Which car do we take?”
“That one,” she says, pointing to and old black Mustang with Red pin striping in the center of the garage, pretty close to where we came in. “That’s the one you have the key for. We have to enter the race to be able to get it though. You have money?” She asks me.
“Yeah, a little.” I say apprehensively.
“Good, lets talk to the race manager then. Act casual.”
We walk up to a man sitting at a really tall desk in the front corner of the garage sitting in front of a very large book, presumably to write down all the racers and their names.
“How much for a race?” Stefani asks the man, bringing me out of my daze of amazement at how huge this garage is.
“30 dollars” says the man, not looking at either of us. Stefani looks at me, as if saying, “That’s your cue.” I look in my wallet for the money and find a $20 bill and a $30 cashiers check.
“Will this do?” I ask the man, giving him the money.
“Yeah, sure, whatever.” He says taking the money. We start to walk away when he says, “Wait, this isn’t enough. It’s $50 entry.” We head back to him, not too happy about how much it costs for this race. I look for some more money in my wallet when he says
“What are you doing, you gave me too much, the race only costs $15.” Stefani and me look at each other, both thinking “This guy is nuts,” but we take the change that the man gives us and quickly walk away to go to the car.
Once we finally weave our way through the maze of cars in the garage to get to ours, we notice a guy sitting in the passengers seat.
“Don’t worry, he’s on our side” Stefani says opening the drivers side door. She gets in and sits on the middle console. I follow her lead and sit in the drivers seat. As soon as I turn the car on the giant doors at the back of the garage open up, revealing a racetrack carved through the forest behind the house. All the cars start to enter the racetrack and I get a little worried, I’ve never raced before. Then I also realize that I’m used to driving my car, which not only is a stick but also is likely totally different than this car. I try to reach over to grab the stick shift but Stefani is in the way. I ask her
“Is this car an automatic?”