Chapter One: The Strange Cell
Disclaimer: I owe nothing of Amnesia. But I owe the new characters you're gonna read.
The black realm was engulfed by light peering behind rows of red curtains. It drew her out of a daze, her mind barely registering. It wasn't odd that she felt at ease at being where she stood: the backstage of some theatre – spying the many props and equipment around her.
However, strangely enough, she was all alone. No prop handlers, no actors, no musicians.
Before she had a chance to question, even holler out to maybe a bypasser from somewhere, the clapping of hands applauded ferociously as the huge curtains pulled apart. At first, the stage lights blinded her but she forced herself to adjust her eyes properly.
The audience before her was shrouded in the darkness but she could make out the outlines. Three men at the second row and a few strangers somewhere behind, scattered like dots. Their expressions were completely melded into the dark, making her wonder if they were either eager or impatient to hear her perform.
She tightened her grip with slight nervousness and it was only then did she feel something in her hands. She brought them up to her eye level, seeing a swan-billed bow in her left and a well-maintained, red-brown varnished violin in another.
Right...she was a musician. A prodigy.
Ex-prodigy, actually. But did that matter?
It wasn't a full house. If it had been, she'd surely flee. Her body sometimes had trouble listening to her mind in front of a large audience. She would welcome solitude with open arms to spend her time practising her music.
It calmed her soul. It invigorated her passion. It shattered her fear. It empowered her courage. The immediate moment the notes danced from every precise swing of the bow on the strings to her sensitive ears, her worries and suffocation were washed away and the thousands of people in their seats before her would never exist in her sphere of security.
For now, there were only a few so that was good.
She rested her chin on the chin seat and gently raised her bow to the violin, ready to play...
Why couldn't she remember any of her songs?
She lowered her bow once she realized another piece of information lost from her mind. It instantly terrified her to the core when she asked one question to herself.
'What's my name?'
Her mind was blank.
Why was it a blank?
She didn't know...
She shot her glance up. The roof of the stage seemed to break apart, the cracks forming out like huge demonic hands wishing to take hold of her. They darted down the sides and slithered across the floor, wood rupturing like stone.
This cannot be happening.
The fractures split on and on. She fearfully stepped away but they were swift to move under her feet. She halted, fearing that if she were to budge, the floor would secede like glass.
It was hopeless, however, regardless of what she did.
Then she fell.
...down into the dark abyss below with everything around her collapsing with a thunderous earthbound noise.
To where? The ground? There was nothing. So when would it end?
All she knew was that she was falling.
She instantly opened her eyes.
Heavily gasping with a thumping heart, she stared up to what seemed like the dirty ripped canopy of a bed.
Eventually, the prickling terror was replaced by the heavy fog in her mind, luggage from her dream.
She struggled to clear it away, feeling herself terribly sluggish, as if she was awakening after a long slumber. Tired to even lose control, she slowly sat up and rolled to the side. Feet touched polished wooden planks, no cracking like in her dream. However, that was the least of her worries. She didn't care where she was at the moment.
She rattled her mind to make sense. To search deep within the belly of her memories for a name. Anything.
And yet, it was difficult. Something dark seemed to obscure her recollection.
It was on the tip of her tongue. One word that meant something her...beginning with an E.
"Come now," she pleaded to herself. "You have to remember... My name..."
She sunk her head into her hands. Struggling. She could not give up. It was the most important thing for a person. Not remembering a name was...surely maddening, let alone anything else.
"My name... It's right there."
Flashes slowly tore through the fog. A voice spoke, her heart remembering the owner but her mind couldn't piece who that was.
"My name... My name is..."
The voice whispered her name.
She had stood up from the bed with a bolt. A smile stretched softly across her rosy cheeks.
That was her name.
"I'm Evelina. I am a musician from Bayswater, London. I enjoy playing the violin, of course. I like sweet delights and mystery novels. But most of all, I..."
She stopped, her smile fading. There were still a lot more holes in her head, her reminiscence symbolizing Swiss cheese.
She heaved a deep sigh, calming herself down. One step at a time. At least she knew she could recall some details, she thought to herself. So for now, remembering the name was a success.
She then examined her surroundings. Maybe the room she was in could shine some answers.
It was like any bedroom, stylized for a woman. Glorious furnishings were placed neatly and orderly in such a small space. But sadly, nothing immediately sparked any familiarity for her. It was just a stranger to her.
A second look made her realize something was wrong.
The only greeting was the light of the candlesticks, illuminated the room. That was because no light was dazing out the glass window. Not the sun rays, not even the moonlight. She approached it, noting that outside was earth. Nothing but earth.
As if someone outrageously buried the room under feet of soil.
Another outrageous sight was the ceiling, with metal tubes anchored in and out of the room. In one corner, one of the pipes was funnelled out of a cone, too high up for her to even reach.
From the window to the ceiling and down, she cast her sight to the door. It was no highly-crafted door with a decorative handle. It was a thick, grimy door with a small barred window. Alarmed, she rushed up, hands around the bar to see a lit stone hallway outside. She gave the stilted handle several tugs. It became more disturbing once she noticed there was not even a keyhole, only some odd mechanism at where the opening was, double reinforcing the door tight.
This fancy bedroom was a deceit.
It was a garbed up cell.
"Hello?" she cried out through the window. "Can anyone hear me?"
Not even the squeaks of a lone rat.
She tried to open by the handle. Locked. She gave a shove at the door. Pointless, for a small woman like her to budge it open.
Why was she even here?
Evelina wheeled around, with a scared skip. The disembodied voice sounded as if it was right behind her.
"How are you, ma petite loir? Had a pleasant sleep?"
She glanced up to the cone. The woman's voice vibrated out of it as loud as sounding like she was in the room with her.
It also struck at her, sounding rather familiar. Rather... unpromising. She cautiously neared the speaking tube. Was this person the one who locked her in the strange prison cell?
"Who are you?" Evelina asked.
"Hm," the voice droned with amusement. "You don't remember me, dear Evelina? Perhaps I've used too much lithium in the mixture." A strange soft laughter echoed. "This will be very interesting."
Evelina bit her lips. A part of her was terrified, begging the voice to be quiet and leave her alone. She stilled it with as much courage as she could gather. "Are you the one who put me here?"
"Would it matter who put you there? The only thing that is important is why you are here," the voice riddled. "I bid you welcome to my expanded cabinet of perturbation. It is my study of the human psyche. I had previously used it on myself in my last edition... And now it is your time."
Evelina furrowed her eyebrows. "What?"
"Ma petite loir, this is a test of your psyche. My birthday present to you. It is up to you to figure out what elements are important to you and you alone. Whether you pass or not is irrelevant."
So basically, she was a mouse thrown in a maze. Was this person insane? "What do you want from me?" she demanded.
"Ah, ah, ah. It will not serve you any purpose to ask me for the answers, Evelina. It would just be too easy. This test will start once I open your cell door and from here on, a set of recordings and documents will chaperone you through the floors ahead," the voice said. "All I can do is give you these words, mon amie. They can all be saved, there is always a way."
"Who can be saved?" Evelina repeated.
Silence. She could faintly hear the sounds of soft laughter and footsteps walking away.
"Wait! Come back! Tell me! Who are you! ? Answer me!"
Laughter again. The person was mocking her!
"You'll know soon enough, ma petite loir. I'll be waiting at the end of this study."
Evelina wheeled round, seeing the small cogs in the odd mechanism turn. The prison door gapped open with a loud clank.
"Salut, ma petite loir."
And that was the end of the conversation, the voice gone from the other end.
Evelina tightened her fists and frowned, unsure of what to do. She nervously reached out and pushed the door wider.
Freedom but she was wary. Even salvation can be a lie.
...Sod it! Might as well take the chance. She wasn't going to just doss around here forever.
Evelina flung the prison door open and scurried down the hall.
"Ahh!" she cried as she felt her ankle twist. Hands grazed against tiny rough, gritty teeth but she pushed forth, ignoring the burning sensation and the odd walking with a higher leg. Her panic escalated at sight of another prison door.
She gritted her teeth, foolishly banging her scraped hands on the door with the pain as repeated punishment. Registering the prickling feeling was second priority as she firstly wondered if that voice was just playing her.
Evelina settled down the emotional conflict inside of her. This wasn't the way of a trimmed, well-mannered woman but then again, chivalry would be immediately thrown out in dark times.
Something then perked her attention. She cast her eyes up, noting a strange line of ropes, cogs and other small instruments together hidden in the corner of the ceiling. The end was to the prison's modified lock. The start went back into her 'guest room'.
Peculiar. Doors that needed no key, gears behind stone bricks and strange apparatus that stood out in such an environment?
Evelina thought carefully. Her first door, no one opened it with any tools. It simply just opened by itself. Were the doors controlled remotely and by the person's command?
A baffling, crazy idea. But it wasn't impossible. The craziest possibilities were meant to break through scepticism. If that was the case, then the second door was also distantly manipulated. And the key in its keyhole was in her room.
She trailed after the line, seeing it weaved pass the cabinet, the bed, the bookshelf and down to one piece of furniture inside.
She glared at it suspiciously as it now caught her eye... Above the dressing table was supposed to be a mirror but the glass was taken away, leaving behind just an empty frame. She recalled that minutes ago but like a ghost, something eerily slipped into the frame.
It was a painting, of a young woman who hasn't gone passed adulthood but held the maturity stiff in the portrait. Sadly, her wavy dark auburn hair didn't have the same opinion, never surrendering to the typical hairstyle of curls, buns and rolls. In her arms cradled a violin, the exact one she had held in her dream. To any speculator, they'd observe her as a beautiful performer with beaming eyes but if they truly knew, there was no such gleeful emotion behind those soft green orbs.
It was discomfort. An overwhelming fearful hand on her heart.
To the painter? No, someone else. Someone standing behind the French connoisseur. The smog in her skull obscured that person's identity but for certain, the lavish rogue-painted lips curled into a lenient grin.
Like a cat prying steadily on her prey.
Evelina knew one thing however. The young woman in the picture was herself.
She wasn't flattered to see this painting again. In fact, she was more insulted. It was teasing her, just as the voice in the speaking tube was.
The more her frustration vented, the more her vision grew hazy and her mind fogged once more. It was as if a new, yet somehow also old, feeling was slowly suffocating her from the inside. She had to immediately steady herself, hands on the dresser.
No, now wasn't the time for a panic attack. This wasn't the stage. She was in grave danger, for goodness' sake.
She swallowed. Straightened herself up. She held back her anger – ladylike. Once the internal storm had settled, she glanced back up to the painting, only to be aware that the line ended at the painting. With steady light fingers, she traced them across the frame.
The wall seemed to secure the painting firmly tight. She couldn't even pull it right off its nail. Except...
The grinding of stone and metal applauded out the moment the lady turned the painting forty degrees left. But of course, a riddle behind walls. Like those she had read in her mystery novels.
She wheeled around just in time to a transformation take place in her jail. To the lay man, it would have been the thought of a ghost rummaging through the room. A locked redwood dresser next to the bed flipped open to reveal a lantern and a handful of tinkerboxes prepared while the wardrobe's doors creaked eerily; a satchel bag hanging up a hook.
Click! peeped from down the hall, followed the muffled howling of the prison door's swing.
She took a deep breath in. Whatever was beyond this point was uncharted territory. What awaited after that door, only God knew and she didn't.
She pinched herself.
First one, a little squeeze. The second, harder. And they both hurt.
This was definitely no dream, continued from her last. This was real and there was nothing for her to support her denial.
Her heart was pounding. That was real. Her mind was half-empty. That was real. And her being trapped in what seemed to be an underground bedroom cell? Yes, it was real too. She had to do something and there was only one choice. She had no other choice to defy it.
"Remember this, Evelina," a husky yet kind voice, the beholder she too couldn't remember, reminded her. "Fear is something we cannot escape. But never let it blind you. And those monsters under your bed will not harm you, my dear."
An eccentric philosophy to be remembering, but it settled down her tortured soul.
"Fine," Evelina whispered. "If it's a test you want, then I'll play your little game."
It would be draft to leave with nothing. An explorer shipwrecked would be naked without any tools of the trade. For all she knew, that woman at the other end might just be expecting that; Evelina waltzing out without anything and to clumsily fall into whatever awaited her.
She first searched what she had on herself, which were a morning dress, a cuffed lace blouse and now-broken lovely embroidered pumps, both horribly filthy. How, she couldn't recall.
Oh, and a corset.
No wonder she was having difficulty in her lungs. The blasted thing... She could never understand why women must be forced into such suffocating tubes.
Now wasn't the time to complain, however. Or even the time to impishly take it off.
She turned her attention back to the satchel bag and lantern. She immediately darted to the sack but halted before her fingers brushed the leather.
The feel and the look were both familiar to her skin and eyes. Arresting it, she examined two brown letters burned into the material.
"...J.G.," she whispered the initials and like a flash, Evelina recalled.
The ink-stained, wood-scented sack, it carried many memories before it was given to her from someone dear.
She bit her lips anxiously.
Her eyes darted nervously. Yes, she could never forget about her father, her beloved parent. Most of her childhood was coming back to her mind, except for recent events. Those were sadly still obscured.
But a fearful thought came too.
Where was he?
Could he be in a similar predicament like she was in?
Locked away somewhere by that terrible voice, having no choice but to succumb to that woman's riddling commands like a pet?
Maybe not. He could be looking for her right now, worried sick that his daughter was missing.
She prayed deeply for that possibility.
Evelina then opened the satchel bag at the immediate feeling of something inside. Inside was a book, its leather bound looking acquainted to her eyes.
It was all too good to be true.
She instantly unfastened the skin belt and flipped the book open.
The first many written leaves inside were gone.
"But of course." She sighed. She supposed it would've been too easy to recall all her memories with a full journal. She wouldn't crossed it off that the voice had something to do with the pages.
However, that meant the pages could be somewhere. Perhaps she could look out for them, any paper to dispel the black fog in her head and fill in the holes for her. That would be her secondary objective. Her primary; her father.
She skimmed through the remaining pages, all of them blank. They could benefit her to jot down notes for later so it was not a complete loss.
Evelina slipped the book back into the satchel and roped the bag over her shoulder. She then seized the lantern, catching a strong putrid aroma of kerosene from it.
She checked. Half-filled. Hopefully, enough until she could find more kerosene.
The final preparation was her footing. The heel of her pump was broken off; the other an annoyance. She gave it a quiver before breaking it off. And sighed with relief, for she was comfortable now.
There was nothing else eye-catching in the room for usefulness, other than two more tinderboxes she dug out from another dresser. Evelina left the room once her interest was satisfied. She warily walked down the short hall, seeing the thin gap of the second prison door. It took much of her strength to pull the thick door further.
She took a slow deep breath, the smell of dirt and dust whiffing into her nose. It barely did anything to calm the nerves.
But she had no choice.
And so stepped out the poor, oblivious and unfortunate young lady, entering into an unknown and dark world.
Vickie: Looks like a brand new adventure for us Amnesia lovers, eh?
So here is our main protagonist: Evelina. There's really more about this young eighteen-year old (Thanks to my friend, JC, for clearing up what age is the coming of age) British woman you'll learn in the later chapter. And yes, we need Amnesia cuz, hey, IT'S AMNESIA! Would kinda defeat the purpose.
One thing is she won't be a Daniel duplicate. She and Daniel are what I'd say two totally different world (and he was insane to begin with). But I do hope she will grow on ya and she is a good character as the story progresses.
Anyhow, hope the first chapter is up to your taste (even if this is just starting). Enjoy, please review (feedback makes me happy and helps me improve) and look forward to the next chap! :D
PS. Yes, I also noticed this is sounding like an Amnesia version of Alice in Wonderland when I was writing this. XD