For Part I, click here.
L skips up to the glass case.
“Hut, hut! Turn your back to the forest and your fron—“
I run up behind her and clasp a hand over her mouth.
She jerks away and stares at me, wide eyed.
“What the hell is wrong with you?”
I look at the hut. Then at a babushka guarding the door. The Babushka is smiling. I feel a sick sinking feeling in my stomach. I’ve never seen a babushka smile. I want to vomit.
“Just, please, trust me,” I manage.
L turns and walks off to the wall to read the plaque below the phantom hand. I step up behind her. I read the plaque:
In Slavic folklore, Baba Yaga is a supernatural being (or one of a trio of sisters of the same name) who appears as a deformed and/or ferocious-looking witch. Baba Yaga flies around in a mortar, wields a pestle, and dwells deep in the forest in a hut usually described as standing on chicken legs.
L frowns at the plaque.
“That sounds like it’s copied straight from Wikipedia,” she says.
I nod, unaware of what I am agreeing to.
“Can we get out of this room?”
L sighs, “sure, scared-y-cat.”
She walks off through a door. I follow. I take a breath of fresh air, feeling the fear subside a little.
L turns. “Okay, emperors or other stuff?”
“I don’t care,” I think.
L nods, “right, this way.”
I follow her, not looking back. We past a whole slew of various classic paintings. I don’t recognize them, but occasionally L will stop at one and tell me some of its history. The Babushkas are less ubiquitous the further we get and even a few of them are sleeping. I begin to feel more calm. I even begin enjoying myself.
We find ourselves in a room connecting halls of paintings. This room is decked out in case after case of various medieval armor and weapons. In the center of the room, five nights on horses are frozen in mid-gallop. Three gray, one white and one red. They look fierce.
L points to the toes.
“You can tell how prestigious a family they came from based on how wide their toes are,” she says, pointing at the different boots.
“See, here, this guy wasn’t very well respected.”
I look at the toes, they are thick, wide, fat.
“But these,” she motions to the knight in black armor. I look at his toes. They come to a sickening point.
“He must have been from a royal family.”
I look up at the knight. I look down at its foot. It twitches, ever so slightly. I jump away.
“You alright?” L asks. I nod, moving around the blood that has recently returned to my face.
“I’m going to find a bathroom, will you wait here?”
“What?” I turn. She is already walking away. I look back up at the black knight. I back away slowly toward the knight with big flat poor-man’s feet. I hear a scraping of metal behind me. I turn in time to see the suit of poor-man’s armor open wide and suck me in.
Everything is dark.
“Hey there,” a cold voice whispers in my ear. I pass out.
TO BE CONTINUED…