This was just a little bit of fun, a random idea that crossed my mind, so I jotted it down.

"Hello," I called out as I entered the dark mansion. No one had greeted me at the door. I pulled out the invitation and reread it under the light of the full moon.

Dear Mr. Renick,

Please do me the honor of joining me for a drink on Tuesday, the 22nd at 10 minutes of midnight. I understand that my request is strange, but I guarantee you, your life will never be the same.

Lady Malin

I had the date and time correct, but Lady Malin was no where to be found. I was new to these parts and from what I gathered, Lady Malin was not a woman you refused and I couldn't afford to make an enemy. So here I was, now exploring her exquisite home. Eventually, I found myself standing in a gallery. Whispers echoed around me, beckoning to me, seductively drawing me toward them. I began wandering down the vacant hallway, my steps resounding on the marble floors. Paintings lined the walls, each a spectre of lives long since extinguished. Their eyes seemed to follow my path waiting expectantly for my arrival at the other end. The whispers grew more excited as I made my way. There was no resisting their pull. As I came to the end, I was met with an empty black canvas wrapped in an ornate gilded frame set aglow by lit candles on either side. The way the flames danced across its surface was spellbinding. I reached out to touch it, inciting the whispers to a deafening volume. I couldn't think. All I knew was that I had to touch it. The clock struck midnight as my fingers came into contact with the canvas and heat rose up my arm. The space around me warped, the disorienting feeling causing me to to lose sight of where I was. Tightly, I closed my eyes in an effort to regain my senses. The feeling slowly passed and I felt well enough to open them once more.

To my utter shock, my perspective of the room had changed. I was no longer looking at the painting, but was now staring down the hall from whence I came. I struggled to look around me, but my immediate surroundings were black and the candlelight was making it difficult to see. The whispers came back, but this time I could make out what they were saying. "Welcome. Welcome. Welcome," they chimed in a cacophony. I didn't understand. That's when I saw a woman come toward me. I tried to call out, but my voice was lost. She looked at me and smiled. "Mr. Renick, you are a handsome specimen", she cooed and lightly ran her fingers down my cheek. I shuttered at the contact, but was unable to pull away. Her stare finally left my face and I felt myself shift. All I could see was the woman's dark blouse. "I have the perfect spot for you," I heard her say in a pleased tone. I felt a jostling as I knocked against something hard.

The blackness of her blouse no longer obscured my view and I could see the satisfactory look in her eyes right before she turned and walked away. My new vantage point afforded me a view of where I was. I could see the paintings on the wall. They all looked more lifelike now. I could see fear in their eyes and pity as they looked at me. As I heard the receding footsteps of the mysterious woman, who I now understood to be Lady Malin, the horrific truth of my situation settled upon me. I desperately tried to call for help, but I could not. The gallery that I had passed, as I unknowingly walked toward my doom, was now my prison.