House across the street from Nana’s & Tata’s, but wasn’t Nini & Sam’s. Big window in “Brittany & Amanda’s room” (although the room itself was smaller) looked yellow and tinted, like an old photograph. Through it, you could look out at Nana’s & Tata’s but see, basically, into some weirdo 1970s/early 80s time bubble. There was a second garage where the “front” steps ought to have been and the yard was bigger, disconnecting that second garage from the house. On top of this garage which was mostly street level, was more of the yard and something of a grassy mound and what I kept referring to as a mausoleum, but looked kind of like a cross between a crypt and a just-bigger-than-mini-golf sized witch’s cottage from a faerie tale. I also mentioned it being “that Snow White looking motherfucker” or something.
House across the street was sort of off-limits because it was supposed to be haunted or just weird. People had disappeared, never to be seen again, in it. But I guess there were rumours of the 1970s time bubble window and/or pictures through it, where you could (or, at least, I could) see this second “garage”/crypt structure. No one else thought it was as cool as I did or cared because, present day, it looked like it does IRL and that was enough for my stupid, unimaginative cousins.
For unknown reasons, I was babysitting three little girls and the implication was that two of them were a younger Tori and Mia. And I think Mia was a little older than Tori, moreso than she really is, IRL. The third was a friend of Tori’s, I think. The reasons unknown part comes in with being at this off-limits house across the street. But there was a good reason for it. I think, maybe, the little girl friend of theirs lived there. Or something. Because she seemed to be the instigator of coming to wake Mia and Tori up, who were asleep in a bed with me, and tell them, essentially, “Let’s go exploring.” Tori seemed to know what the other girl meant, like they’d done this - even though they weren’t allowed to - before. Mia may have felt left out or just bratty, but followed, also, and Tori and her friend had…these two stickers or beads or something to signify…the order of something, in this forbidden, rumoured weird part of the house, or protection or something. I don’t remember. But I do remember Mariah switching the girl’s and Tori’s, so that Tori had something different than she thought, behind their backs, when they were walking over to a panel of a wall, wallpapered in pink and lower-half wood panelling in a Victorian sort of way but maybe not, that actually happened to be a hidden door into this weirdo half of the house that I could tell they’d been sneaking into, even though they knew they shouldn’t since that’s how you could get LOST.
I followed them, first without them knowing, but then as part of their little expedition. Their little friend and Tori were talking about all the strange rooms they wanted to go into, but the only one I could remember them mentioning was “the cold, snow room”. The little friend also mentioned something about “creating a boy and a girl” and wondering…what they’d do or where they were or something like that. The girls didn’t think much of it, but that mention scared the crap out of me. Especially when they were all like, “I wonder what else to create!”
This forbidden part of the house looked a lot like the rest of the house - which, for the most part, really didn’t look anything like Nini & Sam’s does IRL - but less furnished and more…not even really abandoned, but very obviously unused. Like, maybe once upon a time, this wasn’t hidden off from the rest of the house, but things got weird, so everyone kind of dropped what they were doing and left it without finishing? The hallways seemed a little tighter, here, and looked like they might have a staircase that could be a cross between Julie’s back staircase and the one at Nini’s & Sam’s. In fact, this area did sort of look a bit like Julie’s brother’s house. Irrelevant, though.
Passing through the panel-door into the hallway, further down the hall, there was what my brain is telling me might have been some sort of sliding door (closet?) on a room, that was partially opened into black. That, I wondered, might have been where this fabled “created” boy and girl were. Shivers. Gross. But we went a little further to the left, the opposite direction of that room, which would be - if it was Nini and Sam’s - sort of where the master bedroom is, next to the staircase? Anyway. The room we ended up going into was the “snow room”. Not big enough, I didn’t think, to be a bedroom, but maybe a playroom or office or something. Didn’t matter. Inside, it was - sort of - as advertised. Across from the door, there was a small, high-up window, but no other real light source. Floor to ceiling flowerly blue-and-white wallpaper. Office-ish, cream-coloured carpet. Or was it grey/blue? It doesn’t matter, maybe. The room was definitely…not freezing, but significantly cooler than, so far, everything else. Like someone had turned up the A/C really high, maybe. But there were no vents. And, from no real origin but the ceiling, snow was…technically falling. I remember thinking it really seemed like fake snow, like a trick they’d use at Disney or Universal, but it felt cold enough when it touched that maybe it WAS real. And I liked it, either way, so we danced around in that room for a while.
That may have been “Candice & Melissa’s room”. We went into another room, that was where B&A’s would have been, with the window. In here, the little friend was like, “What if the other kids come in and play?” or “We should get the others!” and while I was hesitant about this summoning, the girls were seemingly excited (maybe Mia wasn’t) and, while we sat on the floor in a circle, maybe preparing to play a game, two kids…who sort of seemed like older teenagers came in to join us, a boy and a girl. I guess they sort of reminded me of Cass and Chris, except that the girl seemed more delicate and calm and sad than Cass and the boy seemed a little more friendly and outgoing than Chris. Her hair was long and strawberry blond, his was darker brown in a bowl cut. They both looked vaguely 1970sish. They both wore masks, the boy’s hanging around his neck and the girl’s pushed back on her head, that both had yellow and turquoise as the predominant colours. Painted to look…sort of Kabuki-ish? But not terribly specifically. Those made me nervous, too.
When they came in, I felt sort of weird and the girls, I could tell, also were kind of nervous, even though it seemed like they’d played with these kids before. The girl sat down next to Mia, who was on my left, and the boy sat across from me in the circle and I, at least, felt tense until the girl pulled out a piece of cardboard and put it over her mouth because it was shaped sort of like a goofy smile. The little girls laughed and, somehow, this made me feel relieved. Neither the boy or the girl talked much. Nor really even emoted. But they were friendly and seemed to want to play with the girls and I had a feeling these were not the “created” things the friend had mentioned. These might have been kids who had gotten lost in the house, too. Did that mean we were lost in the house, also?
Regardless, we played with them for a while, until for some reason in whatever we were doing, the boy gave me his mask to hold up to my face. I hesitated because I couldn’t figure out why I needed to and, if I did, would it attack me? Would he attack me? Would something really bad happen? But I didn’t want to be rude or tip anyone off, so I sort of just…held it up and shrugged and nothing happened, except that the boy smiled and took it back. Kind in a “See, that wasn’t so bad,” sort of way.
Then, he and I got up and were looking out the big time bubble window and I was explaining how I’d always wanted to see this and goddamn, look at that fucking great mausoleum that my grandparents used to have. And I remember him asking me what I was talking about, so I pointed to it and that was when, I think, I called it the Snow White house looking thing, it’s a crypt. I might have had some other name for it, too, inferring that it wasn’t just a crypt, but I don’t remember that. And I told him that it was too bad the window was just showing us what it looked like and that we couldn’t use it to go exploring in that little bubble so that I could see what the fuck was up with that crypt and why no one else ever seemed to care about it.
We both opened either side of the window and hung out of it and the photography look went away, seemingly implying that maybe there was no “bubble”, it was just the window, but everything still looked…sort of like it had through the window. And when I looked down, my parents and a bunch of our relatives were piling into a station wagon to…go…I don’t know where. So I yelled down, “UH, BYE THEN,” to my parents who hadn’t made any mention of going anywhere and my mom looked around like she almost heard me, but didn’t say anything back. My dad, in the passenger seat, though, did say bye to me and wave. And eventually my mom waved, too. And then the idea seemed that maybe I sort of was lost in the house. But that mausoleum was still at Nana’s & Tata’s and I needed to go fucking check it out because how fucking cool would that have been.
And that’s all I really remember.