The open door of The Phobia Box filled my vision. The idea that I could fall into the damn thing occurred to me, and I stepped back from it.
“Please…” I muttered again.
I knew it was pointless to ask, though. It wasn’t going to stop. Stuff like this didn’t just stop.
My gaze darted around the room, looking for what this new symbol could mean. The last one had been obvious. Bugs. But this one was a ghost, maybe. A specter? How would that work?
It only occurred to me then how quickly the shift had been. I’ve read a lot of horror stories; it was one of the reasons that Unspeakably Scary Things appealed to me in the first place. But I never believed them. I wasn’t one of those people who ended up looking over their shoulder for hours after reading a story about a creeping monster.
But now, after the bugs went down my eye sockets, I was on board completely. Not a hint of skepticism. I didn’t think I was hallucinating, having a breakdown, or it was some sort of gas leaking out of the box. I knew it was magic, that it was evil, and that this was a supernatural game.
Calling the police almost assuredly wouldn’t work. I basically discarded the idea on trope awareness alone. They’d see a box on a table. Something magical would probably alter their memories. If I wanted anyone to believe me, I probably would need to have something bad happen right as someone else was looking.
So, I tried to leave. Tried. When I opened the door, I blinked. Then glanced behind me. My room was behind me, as it had been. It was also in front of me.
For a scant, hopeful second, I assumed I was looking at a mirror someone had erected in front of my apartment door. Some sort of prank. But, if that were true, then I would’ve been in the reflection.
And I wouldn’t have been able to walk into it.
My mirrored living room was the same, with no obvious differences. Even the temperature was identical. I glanced at the ceiling.
An idea occurred to me.
“HEY! HOW’S THE GAME GOING?”
The response from my neighbor was mostly confusion and instructions to stop yelling. I promised myself that I would do something to make it up to him, but I’d achieved my goal. My neighbor’s response had echoed. It was from above me and behind me.
I glanced at my second, copied bedroom door and wondered what would happen if I opened it. Was the trapping effect only between the exits? Were my bedroom doors linked somehow? Or were the rest simply mirrored images, like two dollhouses facing each other?
Could I find another me in one of those rooms?
I decided I didn’t want to make this situation worse than it already was. I just stayed in my second living room for a moment and looked around.
The perfect reversal of everything was making me dizzy, though. It was also freaking me out. My kitchen chair faced the exact opposite of where it had been. A slight stain on the carpet from when I dropped an entire pizza was an arrow pointing opposite to its correct orientation. There were even two Phobia Boxes now. The new one was set to the same challenge.
I walked back into my original room, hoping it was the safer option. Or at least that the dizziness would stop.
I did physically feel a little better, but it wasn’t safer there.
I spotted them almost immediately. A figure standing in the corner. An adult-height person wearing a Halloween costume staple: a sheet over their head and two dots for eyes.
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