Wednesday, October 18, 2023

A Weekend At Munson Manor -- Episode 11: A Secret Passage

A Weekend at
Munson Manor

A Weekend at Munson Manor
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A Weekend at Munson Manor

A Weekend at Munson Manor is an interactive Choose Your Own Path story. Each episode, readers vote for the path they would like to take. Together, we will follow the path with the most votes.

A Weekend at Munson Manor

There is a gaping hole behind the dresser. What is on the other side?

  • Another bedroom
  • A secret passage

The secret passage reminds you of every mystery movie you’ve ever seen. The only light comes from your bedroom and you and the wardrobe are blocking most of it. You can’t see very far, but what you do see looks unfinished. The backside of the walls to your bedroom and your neighbor’s, punctuated at regular intervals by wood framing.

You glance between the passage and the door a few times. The detective told you to stay in your room. But when in your life will you ever again encounter a real secret passage? You don’t really have a choice.

Grabbing your phone from the desk, you step through the hole in the wall. But the threshold is a little higher than you expect. Losing your balance, you reach out to grab the closest beam. As your hand wraps around it, you feel something push against your palm.

Before you can regain your balance, you hear a quiet scraping sound behind you. The limited light is growing weaker. You turn to your bedroom in time to see the wardrobe swing closed.

Good thing you thought to grab your phone. As you unlock it, you realize you don’t need the full flashlight. The glow from the screen is bright enough at the moment.

You hold the phone near the beam you grabbed for support a moment ago. What did your hand press?

Apparently, a round button, not much larger than your thumbnail. When you press it, the wardrobe again swings open. Perfect.

You’re about to press it again when you realize someone may come looking for you. You don’t intend to be in the passage for long, but maybe you should lock the bedroom door just in case.

A moment later, you’re back in the passage. As you close the wardrobe, you smile to yourself. Now you can explore without worrying that someone else will learn about your secret passage.

The passage extends in both directions. Switching the phone to flashlight mode, you turn to your right. You can’t go far, only a few paces, before you hit a dead end. But there is a small hole in the wall, near eye level. Switching off your light, you look out.

You’re looking into the upstairs corridor. Not that you can see much. Before you is a grandfather clock. Well, that’s no help. You’ve lost count of how many clocks you’ve seen tonight.

“I want to see my wife!”

The booming voice is only slightly muffled. Straining, you glance to your right, spying the main staircase. Mr. Giles is coming up the stairs, trailed by that officer that escorted you to your room.

“She’ll be done soon.” The officer sounds like he’s losing his patience. “Now, can you show me to your room?”

With a huff, Mr. Giles stomps around the staircase and directly toward you. For a moment, he seems to be looking right at you. But, he doesn’t notice you. He turns to the door on your left.

The officer follows him inside. “Just making sure it’s empty. You’re to remain here for the evening.”

“But my wife—”

The officer returns to the hall. “Will be upstairs shortly. Now stay here. I will be checking on you.”

As Mr. Giles closes the door, you watch the officer. He doesn’t return downstairs. As he passes the staircase, you realize where he’s going.

As quietly as possible, you return to your room. Where was that button? You should have tied a ribbon or something to it.

But with the help of your phone, you find it quickly enough. As the wardrobe swings open, you hear the officer knocking.

“Dr. Poole? Are you there?”

“Yes. Just a minute.”

The wardrobe moves almost effortlessly. You open the door to glance in the mirror. You expect to be covered in dust and grime, but you wear no signs of your adventure. With a self-satisfied nod, you hurry to open your door.


The officer is glancing toward Mr. Giles’ room. He quickly returns his attention to you. “Is everything okay? It took you a moment to respond.”

“I was in the bathroom. Is that a crime now?”

The officer’s face turns red. “No. Sorry to have bothered you.”

You gesture behind you. “Since I’m not allowed to leave, I’m going to go to bed now. So, can you try not to knock unless it’s an emergency?”

The officer nods. “Yeah. Sure. Sorry to bother you.”

As you close and lock the door, you feel a little guilty about being so rude. But you just bought yourself the rest of the evening to explore your secret passage.

After closing the wardrobe behind you, you decide to turn left this time. Passing your flashlight up and down the walls, you look for more peepholes. Instead, after a few paces, you find another button. Beside it is a hole large enough for you to pass through. It is blocked by something hard and cold. If you had to guess, it’s probably another wardrobe. Since the hole is on the opposite wall as yours, you’re pretty certain it leads to Mr. and Mrs. Giles’s bedroom. Good thing you know Mr. Giles is in there. You’ll have to explore that when you know the room is empty.

At the end of the corridor, you see another peephole. You look through it, but it takes a moment for your eyes to focus. The room is dark. You can make out a desk and armchair. It almost looks like the ones in your room, except for the dark fabrics.

No, wait. That is your room. The fabrics aren’t dark. You’re looking through a dark filter.

The photographs above your bed! They were all in glass frames, but what if one of them was really fabric and had no backing? You could look into the room.

Excited at the thought, you scan the opposite wall. Maybe you can find a similar peephole on the opposite wall.

The corridor continues around a corner to your right. Just after turning, you find the peephole. The bedroom is much larger than yours, with both an overstuffed armchair and a settee. They are a garish white with navy hunting scenes dancing along them, matching the fabrics on both the bedspread and the lampshade sitting on the desk.

Mr. Giles is sitting on the bed, scrolling on his phone. You wish you could see what he is doing, but even if you could see, you wouldn’t want to look over his shoulder. Even just looking into the room feels like an invasion of his privacy.

Backing away from the wall, you continue down the corridor. It’s not far before you reach a door. It’s nothing fancy. It looks like the kind you would find on a closet. Even the knob is simple and round, dark and unpolished. Turning the knob, you hold your breath and close your eyes.

Thankfully, the door doesn’t squeak. It swings open easily. You cross the threshold, finding yourself in a stairwell. Closing the door behind you, you are faced with a decision. Which stairs should you take?

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