12-01-2010 10:37 PM
Isn’t it funny how something can seem so beautiful at first until, after a few incidents, you begin to view it dreadfully? For example, a person may seem beautiful with their perfect skin, hair and body, but after spending more time with them you begin to see the ugly spill out of them like venom. Or a remote area may seem delightful with its blossoming scenery, then suddenly everything changes to a hostile, dreary and terrifying environment. At least, that was the experience of these six unsuspecting friends.
* * *
"I’m so excited!" Brooke squealed. The bright, glossy pages of Seventeen magazine laid open on her lap. She was sitting in a limo along with Murielle, Brandon, Patrick, Clip and Kristen.
"I know, me too! I’m going to be on TV. I mean it’s TV," Clip exclaimed, his blue eyes widening.
"I always knew my first television debut would be on a reality TV show," Kristen said, examining her perfect, freshly manicured nails. Her pink nail filer was poised; ready to file anything that looked the least bit uneven.
"…I’m going to be that cool dude on the TV. And people will be like, Hey, you’re that cool dude on the TV!" Clip continued, gesturing profusely with a half chewed straw in his hand.
Brandon ran the palms of his hands down the sides of his face. "I hope they get my good side. Wait, what am I saying? I only have good sides."
"…Then they'll ask me for my autograph and then I’ll be all, ‘Not before I get my latte’ and they’ll follow me on Twitter…" Clip continued.
"You might be the cool dude, but I’ll be the fine brotha!" Brandon said, pulling up the collars of his shirt.
"…And the chicks will go crazy. And you know why?" Clip asked.
"Because you’re that cool dude on TV," Patrick answered, hearing Clip’s babbles seep through the earphones of his iPod..
"Exactly!" Clip whooped.
"It’s so beautiful up here," Murielle said, looking out the window dreamily.
Brooke glanced up from her magazine and looked out the window. "Wow, it really is."
"The pure, blue lake is covered with millions of glistening crystals that jump and dance as the waves gently lap against the shore. And the soft breeze caresses the leaves in nearby trees…" Murielle noticed the sudden silence in the limo. She looked back at everyone. They were all staring at her. "What?"
"Dude, that was beautiful," Clip said.
"Thanks." Murielle smiled.
"I agree with all that poetic stuff, but where are all the shopping malls?" Brooke asked. "I’m feeling the urge to buy a new pair of sandals right about now."
"Typical, Brooke. Only cares about herself," Kristen muttered.
"Please, when is it never about me?" Brooke asked.
"Do you see what I’m talking about?" Kristen asked her friends. "You see what kind of selfish person I had to put up with?"
"I was only kidding, geez. You lost your boyfriend. Did you lose your sense of humour too?" Brooke shot back.
"Oh my god, you do not want to go there!" Kristen said, holding her pink nail filer up as if it were a weapon.
"What are you going to do? File me to death? So scared," Brooke said.
Patrick looked up through the dark blond wisps of hair that fell over his eyes. "You guys have managed to keep from fighting this whole drive here. Don’t start now," he said.
"Yeah. Shouldn’t this wonderful environment encourage us all to be peaceful and mellow?" Murielle asked.
"Tell her!" Kristen said, gesturing to Brooke. "She keeps provoking me."
"Just breathe," Murielle encouraged, as she took in a deep breath herself.
The limo jerked gently as it turned onto a rocky road, weaving in between the collection of trees. Dark shadows of tree branches moved across everyone’s faces, onto their bodies and disappeared only to be followed by more.
"Pro…voke?" Clip repeated the word to himself. "Watch out. Kristen’s making up fancy words now."
"It’s a real word, Clip," Patrick said.
"Maybe if you read a book once in a while you would know," Brandon teased.
"Hey, I read…stuff," Clip said.
The forest of dark trees ended, the sun shone dimly and the limo stopped.
Murielle gasped. "I think we’re finally here!"
Everyone’s head shot up and their eyes darted out the windows. On one side laid a blue-green lake that stretched out to meet the horizon. On the other side sat a cozy brick house amidst a cluster of trees with dangling baby leaves. Orange-yellow tulips lined the front of the house stopping where the bright blood-red door greeted its guests.
The chauffeur opened the limo door and Kristen stepped out in her gorgeous pink heels. She flung her blond hair over her shoulders as she slid her gigantic white framed sunglasses over her eyes. Murielle climbed out next. Her dark brown eyes jumped around excitedly and her bouncy wavy black hair seemed to be doing the same. Brooke stepped out gently tugging on her denim miniskirt. She blew a big pink bubble with her huge wad of bubblegum before loudly popping it.
Patrick, Clip and Brandon all slid out of the limo. Everyone stood together looking around.
"It’s so much smaller than I had imagined. I thought it was going to be a mansion like the one on Top Model," Kristen commented.
Murielle shrugged "Size doesn’t matter."
Brandon nudged Clip. "You hear that?"
"Dude!" Clip gave Brandon a shove.
"It looks nice and cozy. And look at the scenery," Murielle said admiringly.
The chauffer began unloading a plethora of pink luggage from the limo.
Clip picked up a traveling bag. "Whoa, Brooke. Why is your luggage so pink? And heavy!"
"Because I have a lot of stuff," she briefly explained. She took a closer look at it. "Wait, this isn’t mine. It’s hers." She jabbed her thumb in Kristen’s direction.
Clip struggled with the bag, taking two steps then finally setting it down. "Kristen, here. Your bag’s sucking out all of my energy."
Kristen tousled her hair. "Oh, can you bring that in for me please? It’s too heavy. And there are three more cases in the limo."
"Don’t let her boss you around, Clip. You don’t have to carry her stuff," Brooke said, taking out her own luggage.
"Clip is a gentleman. He doesn’t mind," Kristen countered.
"It’s just like you to take advantage of people, isn’t it?"
"Look who’s talking. You’re the selfish one-"
"Guys, don’t start," Murielle said. "Take in a cleansing breath."
"Well, I’m volunteering to bring in Clip’s luggage," Kristen said. "Where is it?"
Clip still struggled over the weight of Kristen’s luggage. "It’s that backpack over there," he said, stopping a second to jerk his head over in the direction of the limo’s trunk.
Kristen peeked into the trunk that was empty except for a deflated backpack. "That’s all you brought?" Kristen exclaimed.
"Yeah." Clip rested the bag down and wiped tiny beads of sweat from off his forehead. "All I really need is an extra underwear. For in case mine gets dirty."
"Gross," Brooke said. "Clip, too much information."
The chauffer went up to Clip, picked up Kristen’s case without much effort and walked over to the house. Clip stood there dumbfounded. "Dude…" was all he could say.
Patrick had already unloaded most of his things. He pulled out his remaining items, including his guitar, from the seats.
"Can’t wait to hear some of your songs!" Kristen grinned at Patrick. "Wrote any about anyone special lately?"
Patrick looked down and smiled. "Maybe."
The chauffer nodded a farewell to everyone before leaving in the limo.
"Thank you Mr. Limo Driver!" Clip called out. He turned to Murielle. "That’s a pretty sweet job. Need help with your bags?"
"These two are the last ones. And don’t worry, they’re not heavy," Murielle added with a giggle.
Clip flexed his muscles. "What are you talking about?" he joked. "Hey, wanna check out inside the house before anyone else?"
"Let’s do it!" Murielle and Clip hurried with her cheetah print suitcases to the front door of the house.
Clip rested the bag down and tried the door. "It’s locked."
"Check under the mat," Murielle said.
Clip lifted up the entire mat. "Nope. Nothing."
Brandon and Brooke brought up the last of their bags.
"What are you guys looking for?" Brandon asked.
"The key," Murielle replied. She peeked inside the mailbox. "Bingo!" She pulled out a white envelope and slid out a white card. Murielle read the chunky black words printed across it.
"Welcome to your humble abode; Your key is found inside this code.
Murielle paused. "Huh?"
Everyone hovered over the card trying to catch a glimpse of what it said. Brandon read it over again out loud.
"Okay that made even less sense than it did when Murielle read it," Clip said.
"No, it doesn’t," Brooke interjected. "Get it? It’s all related. The house. This envelope. Inside something red is buried...behind...umm..."
"Patrick!" Clip called. "We need your brain for a second!"
Kristen was still talking to Patrick as they slowly made their way to the house with their baggage. She looked slightly annoyed that their conversation was interrupted.
"Time to get your head in the game, guys!" Brooke said to Patrick and Kristen. "We got our first riddle. And we can’t get inside the house if we don’t solve it."
Patrick read the card from over Murielle’s shoulder. At 6’1", he stood taller than everyone else and had quite a lean figure. Dressed frequently in dark coloured clothing, he was often like a lurking shadow. "Hmm...it’s a very choppy sentence."
"More like a scrambled sentence," Kristen added.
"That’s it!" Murielle shrieked. "We have to unscramble the sentence!"
Clip gasped. "Way to go Murielle!"
Everyone seemed to move in closer, muttering the sentence forwards, backwards and inside out. They kept mulling and chewing on these words and, every so often, spat them out as twisted phrases.
"How about, ‘The house is buried inside this red envelope,’ Clip offered.
"That makes no sense. This envelope’s white," Brooke snapped.
Brandon gave it a try. "Or, The red envelope is buried inside this house!’
"Oh my god, you got it!" Kristen squealed.
"Except there is no ‘is’ in this sentence," Patrick said. "And you left out the word behind."
"Okay, no changing words," Brooke muttered.
Murielle tilted her head and chewed on the very tips of her long black hair as she examined the card. A drop of water hit her cheek and she wiped it off, only to feel another. "Guys, I think it’s starting to rain." She looked up at the darkened clouds.
"Oh my god. We need to figure this out before my suitcases – our suitcases – get all wet!" Kristen cried.
A couple more minutes of silence followed as they mentally rearranged the words.
"I got it," Patrick finally announced. "Behind the red envelope buried inside this house."
Another minute of silence followed as everyone came to the same conclusion.
"You’re a genius!" Brandon exclaimed.
Brooke let out a sigh. Murielle laughed.
"Good job!" Kristen said, giving Patrick a high five.
"Wait. But how are we supposed to get inside the house without a key?" Clip asked.
Brooke’s shoulders dropped. "Here we go again."
"Ugh." Clip rubbed his temples. "More brain use? I’m tired of thinking."
Kristen laughed. "The game is all about riddles and it just started, Clip!"
"We’ll just try everything," Murielle said. "Windows, back doors..."
"Or knocking," Patrick added.
"Yes. I’m liking that idea," Brandon said.
"I’ll knock," Brooke said.
Everyone turned to face the blood red door. Brooke raised her fist and gave the door a powerful knock.
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