27. Welcome to Stephenson Hall

Amy steps through the double doors into a vast, darkened hallway. She feels a quick rush of air as the doors she entered through slam closed. Amy turns around and rushes back to the door. It's locked tight. Amy pauses to asses her situation. Having worked so hard to get into this mansion, she now has to both find her friend and find a way out. She turns back to the room and tries to decipher its contours with the narrow beam of her flashlight. Amy wishes she had brought something more powerful, like an electric lantern. At any moment, something could leap out and grab her and she would have no idea it was coming until it was too late. Amy walks to the middle of the room and is suddenly blinded when every light source in the room comes on at once; candelabras, chandeliers, even, in the corner, a few torches in wall sconces. She shields her eyes for a few moments while her pupils adjust to the light, then surveys the room.

Amy stands in a grand entrance hallway. Everything is in a state of decay, but was clearly once rather elegant. Portraits of various dignified people in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century attire hang on the wall. Amy doesn't recognize any of them. The left wall is dominated by a large equestrian portrait, probably eight feet high, of a very pale, brooding gentleman wearing a long riding coat astride a black horse. Beneath the painting is the legend "The Honorable Geoffrey Stephenson, Esq." Though apparently in his late twenties or early thirties, Amy senses a strange age in the man's eyes. He looks very cold. Matching side tables stand against the left and right walls. They are decorated with matching vases, each vase filed with dead flowers. On the left side of the room, offset a few feet from the wall, is a table on which sits a large brass urn. Amy thinks she hears a hissing sound coming from it and decides it would be best to leave it alone.

Directly in front of Amy a large staircase emerges from the middle of the floor, the edges sweeping inward toward the middle of the stairs, then outward again as the stairs reach a balcony on the second floor. The balcony runs around the perimeter of the room, and Amy sees further lights and portraits upstairs. A gigantic crystal chandelier, lit with what seems like a hundred candles, hangs from the ceiling in the center of the hallway.

Amy turns her eyes to the ground floor. A pair of oak doors are set in the left and right walls, at the side closest to the wall with the entrance. A glass door is set in the right wall at the far end of the hall; in the same position on the left wall is a heavy metal door. A small door is set in the middle of the left wall. In the back of the room, behind the staircase, is a large open doorway flanked by a pair of suits of armor.

Amy straightens her clothes, hitches up her backpack and sets out. Time to find Shannon and get out of here.

Where should Amy go?

Up the stairs

The wooden door on the left wall

The wooden door on the right wall

The small door in the middle of the left wall

The large doorway under the stairs

The metal door in the back of the room

The glass door in the back of the room