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Madame Mirage's Game of Terror or Treasure

You're in charge of this interactive story. What will you decide?

“Welcome friend and congratulations. You have been selected to partake in Madame Mirage’s Game of Terror or Treasure. The rules are quite simple. You will enter the portal and seek out a series of challenges. Depending on your wit, courage, and desires, your response to each challenge will secure your fate towards terror or treasure.

What will you decide?”

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Challenge One

You enter the portal. You take a moment to observe your surroundings.

Spider webs, luminous rods and dust coat the furniture of this strange living room, with elaborate rugs and detailed tapestries as the usual décor. You notice a red envelope fastened with a golden seal sitting on top of a broken computer. You take the envelope and pull out a note handwritten with sublime swirls. You read:

"Space with many rooms, you may use me for play or for doom. What am I?"

You carefully scan the room again hoping that it would inspire your answer. Your eyes widen as you notice:

The bowl of red mushrooms (go to challenge two).

or

The antique dolls’ house (go to challenge four).

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Challenge Two

You can’t take your eyes off the bowl full of red mushrooms that is sitting on a low-rise wooden table. You realise that mushroom is the answer.

Eagerly, you make your way to the bowl of mushrooms and in your haste you trip over, causing the entire room to tremble and the mushrooms to spill. Inside the bowl you spot a pen case. You climb back onto your feet and make your way towards it. You pick up the pen case and open it.

Inside is a silver pen and a folded note. You pull out the note and read:

"Take this pen and when the time is right do not hesitate to write down twenty thousand."

You're not sure what this means however you obey the note’s instruction and place the pen safely inside your back pocket. A new portal appears.

You enter it and arrive at a fork in a dingy hallway. Growing darkness greets you from your left, and a delicate smell of bread baking wafts from the right. You choose to:

Turn right (go to challenge three)

or

Turn left (go to challenge five).

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Challenge Three

The smell of bread baking irresistibly overwhelms you. With glee, you practically glide towards the right and down the rest of the hallway until you arrive in the middle of a small kitchen.

You’re immediately struck with a strong stench of rotting food. You tightly cup your mouth and nose in a desperate attempt to reduce the nausea. As you spin around in an effort to search for your next challenge you notice a sink, an oven, the counter, a backpack - BACKPACK! You run towards it and frantically tug the zip open.

You scream and slap the backpack as far away from you as possible. It slides across the counter and on to the floor. Spiders. Hundreds, maybe even thousands of tiny black spiders scurry out of the bag. Your fight or flight response kicks in. You decide to:

Run back to the fork in the hallway and turn left instead (go to challenge five).

or

Wait for the spiders to scatter and look inside the backpack (go to challenge six).

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Challenge Four

You can’t take your eyes off the antique dolls’ house pressed against the wall. The stunning structure is about the same size as you. You realise that the dolls’ house is the answer. You approach it and trace your fingers around the roof. The antique dolls’ house is coated in powder-blue paint with a black front door and artistic ivy weaving along the white windows frames.

The dolls’ house is unhinged. You carefully pull it open and immediately notice a metal case in the bedroom. It does not fit the antique’s general aesthetic. You pick up the metal chest and open it.

There is a small rusty key inside with a folded note underneath it. You take out the note, fumble it open and read:

“Keep this key safe as you might find it useful later.”

You set the note down in the bedroom, pick up the rusty key and place it in your back pocket. You return the metal chest and close the dolls’ house. A new portal appears.

You enter it and arrive at a fork in a dingy hallway. Growing darkness greets you from the left, and a delicate smell of bread baking wafts from the right. You choose to:

Turn right (go to challenge three).

or

Turn left (go to challenge five).

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Challenge Five

You wander deeper into the darkness and nervously trace your hands along the narrow walls. You swallow your anxiety and walk for what seems like an eternity before you catch the faint sound of rushing water. You break into a sprint and smile as light begins to pierce through the darkness.

You’re glad to be outside. The sky is full of stars, planets, moons and meteors. In front of you is a breathtakingly beautiful waterfall pouring into a pool surrounded by moss-coated rocks and flora. The scenery demands your full attention.

As you walk closer towards the pool you spot a small black notebook balancing on a rock. You pick it up and study it. The notebook’s cover is hard with rounded corners and emits an aura of elegance and sophistication. While you inspect the key-lock fastened to its side, you suddenly remember the item you found in the first room. You reach into your back pocket and take out:

The rusty key (go to challenge seven).

or

The silver pen (go to challenge eight).

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Challenge Six

You remain still and watch the spiders scurry into the dark crevices of the kitchen. You cautiously approach the backpack and reach inside. There is a decorative hand mirror, and someone has written on it.

“Are you in control of your fate?”

You shiver at this question and return the mirror back into the backpack. No portal appears. Fear replaces confusion and your breathing becomes erratic as you reanalyse your surroundings.

You find a trap door covered in dirt in the corner of the kitchen and when open, a staircase leading into darkness is revealed. You have no choice:

Enter the darkness (go to challenge five).

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Challenge Seven

You pull out the rusty key, place it in the key-lock and give a twist. It opens. As you caress the crisp ivory pages, a note falls out. You pick up the note and inspect the rich design. There is a message encapsulated within a border of materialistic imagery; houses and mirrors. The border is traced in ruby ink and is vibrant with the most excellent colours. The message also detailed in ruby reads:

“Throughout the centuries, thoughtful thinkers and ambitious artists have witnessed a single number to aid their extraordinary journeys. For better or for worse, a blessing or a curse, you are now the successor of this legendary notebook and your destiny has been forever decided by the Coordinator of Celestial Fortune and Regulation, Madame Mirage. Hurry! Reveal this number within my pages and leave me here, then go to the pool and submerge your entire being into the icy water.”

You feverishly flick through the pages and soon find a scribbled number - twenty thousand.

You’re unsure what this means but you hope it’s something good as you abandon the key and the small black notebook. You race towards the pool and set yourself backwards into the freezing cold water. You close your eyes and feel a wave of apprehension as you lay completely submerged. Suddenly something forceful pulls you straight back out. Soaked and terrified you’re dragged by the arm. You’re about to topple out of the pool and straight towards the ground hard, but not before you catch a glimpse of the culprit - Madame Mirage?

Everything goes dark.

Epilogue

You wake up in the bedroom of your New York apartment. You groan in drowsy frustration then bolt upright - you remember everything. You fall back into your bed, turn to your side and stare at something unfamiliar. It takes you a moment to understand what you’re looking at - money. You breathe deeply and greedily count your unexpected spoils - twenty thousand dollars.

As soon as you finish counting, the money disintegrates and vanishes right before you. You frown in complete perplexity - is this a sensory hologram?

You convince yourself that you’re still half asleep. You make your way to the bathroom and reach for the tap. You look into the sink and feel alarm overwhelm you as you stare at twenty thousand dollars soaking inside. You close the tap and attempt to touch the money. It disintegrates and vanishes - again. You turn to leave the bathroom and stop in complete defeat as you spot the money blocking the entrance. You were so close. You exhale heavily knowing that twenty thousand dollars will follow you for the rest of your life, but you will never have it.

Accept your fate? (this is the end).

or

Try again? (go to challenge one).

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Challenge Eight

You pull out the silver pen and immediately feel ridiculous - what use is a pen if you can’t even open the notebook? Suddenly, as if you willed it by magic, the key-lock disintegrates into nothingness and you are able to open the small black notebook. You are astounded by what is happening as you caress the crisp ivory pages. A note falls out. You pick up the note and inspect the rich design. There is a message encapsulated within a border of naturalistic imagery; mushrooms and stars. The border is traced in emerald ink and is vibrant with the most excellent colours. The message also detailed in emerald reads:

“Throughout the centuries, thoughtful thinkers and ambitious artists have witnessed a single number to aid their extraordinary journeys. For better or for worse, a blessing or a curse, you are now the successor of this legendary notebook and your destiny has been forever decided by the Coordinator of Celestial Fortune and Regulation, Madame Mirage. Hurry! Reveal this number within my pages and leave me here, then go to the pool and submerge your entire being into the icy water.”

There is only one number that populates your mind - twenty thousand.

You are full of resolve as you carefully write this before abandoning the pen and small black notebook. You race towards the pool and set yourself backwards into the freezing cold water. You close your eyes and feel a wave of tranquillity as you lay completely submerged. Suddenly something forceful pulls you straight back out. Soaked and terrified you’re dragged by the arm. You’re about to topple out of the pool and straight towards the ground hard, but not before you catch a glimpse of the culprit - Madame Mirage?

Everything goes dark.

Epilogue

You wake up in the bedroom of your New York apartment. You groan in drowsy frustration then bolt upright - you remember everything. You fall back into your bed, turn to your side and stare at something unfamiliar. It takes you a moment to understand what you’re looking at - money. Your hands shake as you carefully count your blessings - twenty thousand dollars.

You roar in achievement. You did it! Your heart feels full knowing that this unexpected gift will make your dream come true.

End.

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Credit for original images in order of appearance: Anton Darius (Unsplash), Videoleap (Videoleap), Markus Spiske (Unsplash), Christelle Bourgeois (Unsplash), NeOnbrand (Unsplash), Everyday Basics (Unsplash), Christelle Bourgeois (Unsplash), Yoad Shejtman (Unsplash), Mak (Unsplash), Alexander Mils (Unsplash)

fiction
Fiona Teddy-Jimoh
Fiona Teddy-Jimoh
Read next: I See You
Fiona Teddy-Jimoh

I love to close my eyes and make up stories in my head. Stories of love, or war, or magical lives people have led. Stories to make you laugh, or cry, or drift off to in bed.

My name is Fiona and welcome to my world.

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