"Jesus Vic! Nobody's interested in your every detail of your life." Deborah exclaimed. Clearly, their predicament was taking its toll on her patience.
"What's the problem?" Vic asked as he looked up from his cell phone after finishing a tweet.
"Well, I don't know if you can tell," Deborah said with disgust, "but we're lost in a huge mansion with absolutely no way to get out!"
"Chill, Deborah." Rick said, leaning against the wall and watching the scene. He patted down his pocket, but he realized he was missing his cigarettes. With his firm build, broad shoulders and cowboy boots he looked like some cheap cigarette-less Marlboro Man knock off. As the starting tight end for State he had a gladiator's body and he was one of those few jocks that didn't rub it people's faces or refuses to hang out with certain people. "Break it down. This is nothing more than a big house. We'll get out if we just find the right door or stairway."
Nearing her wit's end, Deborah pushed her headband back further into her dirty blonde tresses. Deborah wanted to say 'Duh, ' and yet she couldn't say it. She wasn't sure why but she was having trouble speaking her mind.
"Part of me is still very impressed that I can get internet service in here. Can't seem to make a call, but I have no problem reaching the net ... very strange if you ask me." Vic commented, to no one in particular.
The three college sophomores were friends in the loosest definition. They had attended the same high school. They'd ended up going to the same college and they'd been assigned to the same dorm hall. They had exchanged pleasantries often over the first year but had barely spoken in the past six months.
Vic adjusted his glasses and tried to call up his GPS locator. Maybe his tech savvy would be just the ticket to get the three of them out of here. As he stared at his phone, watching the progress bar slowly fill, he felt it vibrate. The new message icon lit up.
Vic called up the message. It was a direct message to his last tweet about being lost. He read it the message to himself: VIC — Don't be pushed around, convince Deb she's unhappy w/School - get map with escape route!
Vic shook his head. The message made no sense. He knew Deborah was a Type A go-getter. Grades were important to her. Finishing in the top 5% was the next life achievement to cross off her list. Rather than be scorned for listening to the words of one of his Internet buddies, Vic decided not to tell the other members of his party about the message.
Deborah led the group down another moldy hallway. The red rug underneath their feet was obviously old and water damaged. "We're never going to get out of here." She whispered to herself. Rick patted her on the back to try to calm her down and then pointed down the long hallway.
"Look!" Rick shouted. The others struggled to see what he was pointing at.
At the end of the hall was a bunch of lighted tiles on the wall; it resembled a Wheel of Fortune game board. The three students took off running like a track meet to the end of the hallway. Deborah and Vic held up a few feet from the lighted wall but Rick was tripped by something on the floor. The athlete prevented himself from doing a face plant and instead turned it into a somersault.
"What the hell?" He asked, craning his neck to see the item that tripped him.
Deborah looked down and saw a bronze plague, small and engraved. It read simply: Housewife, synonym.
"Ok, someone tell me if I'm just stupid, but I don't get it." Deborah said simply.
Rick and Vic read the plague for themselves. For a small moment, Vic thought back to the strange message on his twitter. He said nothing, but it felt like he had let a golden moment slip through his fingers.
"What do we do?" Rick asked staring at the wall. It had 16 blocks with 15 illuminating a bright white light. The pattern was eight lit boxes, one unlit, seven more lit.
Strangely enough, it wasn't the two over achievers that deduced the idea of game, but the simple jock.
Rick spoke, "It looks like a game of Wheel of Fortune or something."
Vic's eyes lit up. "The plaque! It's a clue! A hint!"
Instantly, the men in the group felt better, like their world was coming together. Deborah on the other hand was angry that she couldn't have thought of all of that on her own. Rick took charge of the situation. "Ok, who here watches Wheel of Fortune? Game Show Network? Anyone?" His questions were met with blank stares.
"Ummm ... R?" Vic chirped to the wall.
They all waited. Nothing. No buzzer sound. No lights.
Deborah shook her head as she tried to concentrate. "How about ... V?"
The two boys turned slowly back to Deborah. "What?" they asked in unison.
"V?" She repeated sheepishly, losing more confidence.
It was too good to be true. Vic thought back to his message. "Deborah, honestly a V? Of all the letters a V? I can't believe a smart girl like you would guess that."
Rick was taken back with Vic's snappiness. He wasn't off base at all, but it was unusually aggressive for him. Deborah looked hurt, but she looked even more confused. Rick told himself to keep an eye on the situation. "S?" He spoke with confidence.
Three tiles lit up brighter and "S" characters slowly revealed themselves. "Wow, Rick. You're, like, smart."
Immediately Deborah covered her mouth with her hand. Did she just say 'like'? She didn't say that. Ever. Her brain swirled like she was trying to get her bearings in a spinning tea cup ride. She felt a little sick and more than a little worried.
Rick responded, "Umm ... thanks, Deborah."
Vic asked, "Is everything alright Deb?"
Rather than verbalize something else embarrassing, she merely nodded. Her hand never moved from her mouth.
The three turned back to the lighted wall.
Vic piped up with, "E?"
Two tiles on the wall lit up. It now read:E S E S S
Deborah puzzled hard. She knew somewhere down deep that there were a set of letters she should guess, but she was distracted by the clouds in her brain and the definition of Rick's muscles. Rick isn't an unattractive guy, she thought. He wasn't her usual type, but then her usual type of sweet, unassuming nerds hadn't provided her with much excitement or a lasting relationship.
At her wits end she thought of the first letter in her name. "D?"
Vic sat confused having done the calculations on the probability of D being the correct letter; he had gotten a low figure.
Much to his chagrin, three tiles lit up in front of the group. The words were become clearer.
Rick thought out loud, "How many words can go space space D D E S S?"
Vic tried to pull up a scrabble assistance program on his phone. Deborah was jumping up and down clapping her hands at her success.
Vic saw her excited state, "Congrats, Deborah. You guessed right. You're a regular genius. Hail, Queen Deborah! Goddess of the Letters!" The sarcasm practically drooled out of his mouth.
The light bulb went off in Rick's head. "G?" The first tile on the second word lit up. "O?" Two tiles lit up, but most importantly the second word was revealed. Goddess.
Deborah, without much thought at all, stepped towards Rick and gave him a kiss on the cheek. "We're so close! Thanks Rick!" She batted her unkempt eyelashes bashfully.
The first words blanks still left: D O E S
Vic guessed a string of letters from his program, N, L, and P. No tiles glowed.
With each incorrect letter Deborah felt as if her IQ was dropping, and strangely enough, with every drop, she seemed to drip more and more into her previously dry panties. Deborah considered herself a normal enough girl. She masturbated, not obsessively ... once or twice a month. That was normal, right, but in her current state, she was finding the male scent of Rick, and even Vic, more and more alluring.
Rick held up his hand and Vic stopped. Rick guessed, "M?"
A tile lit up. That's when Vic looked back to plaque and the moment of true clarity hit him. "T! I! C! Domestic Goddess!"
All of the tiles glowed the words burned into Deborah mind. A moment later the wall shook like thunder and a panel spun below the two words. A small ledge, no bigger than a foot, had a small object on it.
Rick saw it, "A key!"
Deborah should have been excited that the key had been giving to the lost trio, but instead she was torn. Vic was smart, Rick was hot. She caught her wandering hand before it sank into her jeans. She placed it against the nearby wall, but quickly recoiled. Man, this place is dusty! She looked at her hand with the smudges of dust and grime. She reminded herself to clean it later. After reminding herself, she was horrified ... and just a tad bit hotter. The thought of herself cleaning, it was so ... so hot!
Vic asked, "Well? What is it a key to?"
Rick walked up and grabbed the key, like a kid crossing the street he looked left then right. On the right a golden door stood tall and imposing.
"Did anybody else see that there before?" the puzzled jock inquired.
Vic shook his head and Deborah put her hands up.
Deborah and Vic got behind Rick as he tried the key in the door. He sniffed the air before turning the knob. Something smelled good ... familiar.
The door creaked open and revealed a large kitchen. It was the kitchen of a stately manor home of the late 19th century. On hooks brass pans and pots hung. There were large kilns and ovens. Huge utensils were scattered all around the room. Vic whistled his amazement and Deborah felt calm for the first time in quite a while. It was like she was comfortable ... warm ... home.
.... There is more of this story ...