63. The Balcony

Amy decides to explore the second floor. She cautiously mounts the staircase. She turns around and walks backward, trying to take in everything. Two giant portraits dominate the walls on the second floor. They appear to be a matched set, each one about twelve feet high. On the left wall, a larger-than-life portrait of a brooding gentleman in a dark green suit. He stares straight outward, and his eyes appear to follow Amy as she walks around the room. The man's stare seems to pierce to her soul and she feels uneasy just knowing the painting hangs there, watching her. With some effort she tears her eyes away and turns her attention to the other portrait.

On the right wall is a similarly large portrait, this one of an elegant woman in a burgundy dress wearing matching opera-length gloves. Her expression is similarly cold and her eyes also seem to track her, but she feels somehow less threatening. For just a moment, Amy thinks she sees the woman's lips turn up into a brief smile, but when she focuses on it the face is back to looking grim. Amy finds herself captivated by the woman. Something about her seems strange, yet familiar... After a moment it dawns on her. The woman's complexion is paler, her hair in a different style, her face more made-up, but she looks astoundingly like Amy. The same blue eyes, the same forehead, the same cheekbones. When this realization strikes, Amy's fascination turns to a vague sense of unease. "Who is this woman," thinks Amy, “and why does she look like me?" Amy shakes her head and tries to snap out of her reverie. She needs to find Shannon.

Turning back to the task at hand, she looks around the balcony. No doors except a set of double doors on the far side of the room, directly over the mansion's entrance. Amy startles as she notices a man standing in front of the door. Tall and gaunt, with thin gray hair and a beak-like face, the man wears formal attire. He stares into space, seeming not to have noticed Amy. He doesn't look too friendly, but that door seems to be the only way for Amy to progress through this house.

What should Amy do?

Talk to the strange man

Sneak past the strange man