Jordane felt herself falling into an endless drop, but she paid it no mind: a sense of fulfillment had taken hold, sweeping away the icy hands of fear as she saw her mortal shell drift away, perhaps forever. Nothing mattered anymore, nothing else existed except this sweet contentment. The pain in her throat had vanished. Her wounds on her wrists, her ankles, and the rest of her body had disappeared. Her worries, her fears, her anxieties: all gone. She had no body, and no longer a brain. She felt like she was everything, and yet nothing at all. She was insignificant in this infinite space, but at the same time, the space was her.

She continued to sink, plunging into God knows where, but she couldn't see where she was going, if she was going anywhere at all. Not darkness, nor even complete blackness, but just, nothingness. Nothing.

Although, maybe something.

A shape, slowly appearing. But at the same time, not quite real: she had to look at it, focus on it to materialize it.

It was a letter. A green plastic letter. Like the ones you stick on a fridge. It was the letter D.

Jordane watched it come to life, becoming more and more real. Emotions came before sight: she felt that this little piece of plastic with a magnet underneath had been placed and moved by many hands. Small hands full of terror. The fear of making a mistake, the tearing anguish of having done something wrong. Of being something wrong.

Other letters began to appear, each more colorful than the last. A proud and upright I, an E with its little legs so perfectly parallel, and a U, with its beautiful round belly. As Jordane admired one letter, the next gradually materialized, as if a universe was being created by the mere movement of her eyes - and she had no eyes.

A world was created more and more quickly, as if she had opened the floodgates of the torrent of creation, and the plastic letters forming the phrase “GOD IS GREAT, GOD SAVES” were now clumsily placed on a large white board. Now that she saw the board, the entire wall was there, as if it had always been there, just waiting to be acknowledged. It was covered in children's drawings, poems, and printed texts. Then, like a cosmic sneeze, the rest of the room colored in with incredible speed: the green linoleum floor, the wooden chairs forming a perfect circle, a large desk scattered with loose papers, an area filled with children's games.

Jordane's gaze fell on one of the empty chairs, and she realized that it actually had an occupant: a man in his forties. Thick, brown hair. Horn-rimmed glasses, firmly perched on a broad nose and large ears. The man wore a flannel shirt and brown trousers. He held a book in his hand, rather as if it were fused to his hand, titled “The Bible” in golden letters. He had gentle eyes, a reassuring smile, but Jordane felt no compassion. No happiness. She felt coldness. The man wore a mask, and what lay beneath it was more abominable than the worst horror stories.

“Well, well!” exclaimed the man in a falsely beaming voice, “who sent us such a grumpy girl? Here we are among friends, and there are only happy people! So dry those nasty tears and show me your best smile!”

Jordane had no heart to leap in her chest. No throat to dry up, nor hair to bristle. She simply turned around, observing the chair next to her, and there she discovered a thirteen-year-old girl, sniffling loudly while looking at her shoes. The rest of her attire was just a thick pajama. She had long, light brown hair and green eyes blurred with tears. Jordane was overwhelmed by a deep confusion: this little girl didn't know where she was, or why. She was also very scared, not knowing what would happen to her. She wanted to go back home, back to her bed, hoping she was living a nightmare.

“Listen,” continued the man, “none of this is your fault, it's the devil controlling you, and your parents sent you here to be freed, to be fixed. And your parents only want your happiness, right?”

Jordane watched the little girl lift her head: she slowly realized that her parents knew where she was. Worse, that her parents might even be behind all this.

The man laid his hand on her shoulder, and Jordane felt intense disgust, realizing it came from her, but also from the little girl. He resumed speaking:

“...Jordane, is that it? Trust me, my little one, everything will be alright.”

Jordane wanted to close her eyes, escape from this room. She knew what was going to happen, everything she was going to endure. It was at this moment in her life that she decided never to trust an adult again, never to be weak again. She wanted to back away, look elsewhere, but she couldn't control any of it. She tried to focus on something else, imagine a completely different place, more pleasant; but when the scene before her blurred, the one that followed was anything but pleasant.

She found herself in the same room, but at another time. Several weeks later. The room hadn't changed, but all the chairs were occupied: a dozen children, some older than little Jordane, sat in a circle, looking at their feet or far ahead of them. Father Donovan presided over the assembly, having traded his Bible for a thick notebook. His legs were crossed, his shoulders open, but his gaze was piercing under his thick-lensed glasses.

“Lucille, would you like to speak, please?”

Another girl, maybe sixteen years old, stood up quickly before the man could fix her over his horn-rimmed glasses, almost knocking over her chair. She had black hair tied in a ponytail, and her hazel eyes looked like those of a frightened deer. Her large sweater couldn't hide her frail body, on the verge of anorexia.

“Lucille,” he continued, “what are you grateful for today?”

As Jordane observed the teenager, a wave of terror enveloped her. She listened to her speak like a robot reciting a script, but she thought that robots didn't have trembling legs and tears in their eyes:

“Today I am grateful to have a family that sacrifices to take care of me. Even though I was wrong, even though I was blind, even though I disrespected them and embarrassed them, they never stopped finding solutions to cure me. From now on, I can walk the straight path and make them proud of me.”

“That's good, Lucille. You talk about healing, would you describe your illness for us?”

“I fell victim to the devil's call,” she continued as if reading from a teleprompter. “He whispered ideas into my head to stray me from the right path, to get lost and leave my family behind when they go to heaven without me.”

“And what kind of ideas did he whisper to you?”

Lucille answered in a whisper so faint that no one could hear her. She was on the verge of bursting into tears.

“Nobody hears you, Lucille,” Donovan said coldly.

She took a staggered breath and managed to repeat, barely louder:

“He told me that I liked women.”

No one in the room reacted, as if all the children had retreated far, far into their imaginations. Jordane felt Lucille's shame and infinite sadness, and each child around her tried to shrink, to go unnoticed, hoping the session would pass. Only Donovan nodded solemnly.

“And you made the mistake of succumbing to its words,” he said. “Can two women join in the sacred bond of marriage?”

“No,” Lucille whispered, looking at her feet.

“Who says so?”

“The holy book.”


She stood hesitantly for a moment, then Donovan casually waved her back to her seat.

“And let everyone know that our dear Lucille has conquered her demons with strength and grace. Our savior, the father, always grants a second chance to lost lambs. She can finally go home, completely cured, ready for a legitimate marriage in the eyes of God the Father.”

He scanned the assembly: all the children did their best to avoid his piercing gaze. Some curled up to take up less space in this electric atmosphere. Jordane could almost see the aura of fear preceding Donovan's circular gaze. Until it met that of little Jordane.

“Jordane,” he murmured softly. “A month and a half with us, and you haven't spoken once. Some might think you're being uncooperative.”

All the other children relaxed, seemingly relieved: the predator had found its prey, and it wasn't them.

“I have nothing to say,” she grumbled.

“You know it's the demon speaking right now, not you, don't you?”

She just held his gaze.

“The demon can wear many disguises to reach you, but it's always him rotting you from the inside. Why don't you start by telling us how you feel?”

She forced herself to look only at Father Donovan, fixating on his cold eyes, knowing everyone else's were on her. She held out, remaining silent as an act of defiance.

“I see,” Donovan lamented, opening his notebook, “perhaps I can start you off on a particular topic.”

He rummaged through his notes, and little Jordane's eyes widened: Astral Jordane was struck full force by the pure aura of terror that exploded from the little girl like icy needles.

“For example,” he continued monotonously, “why don't you tell us about your dreams?”

“No... no...” she lamented.

Jordane felt waves of fear intensifying further. Donovan seemed to reread his notes, then he resumed:

“You could elaborate on your dreams, where you see the so-called monster coming out from under your bed.”

“You have no right... You said it would stay between us!”

“You told me,” he ignored her, “that you wet your bed when you wake up, even to this day?”

“No, it's not true!” she protested, shouting, “you promised it would stay a secret! You told me to trust you!”

The other children started to snicker around her, pointing fingers, calling her a baby. Even Lucille joined in, laughing in unison with the group. Little Jordane began to cry, hiding her face between her arms as Donovan savored the scene with a smug smile. Astral Jordane watched the children mock her younger self, but she felt no joy or malice in them; just immense relief. They were all relieved not to be the victim this time, and that for a brief moment, someone was more miserable than them.

If Astral Jordane could have felt anger, she would have. A muted rage directed at Donovan, abusing his power; but in this world, she was nothing. Nothing more than an observer, reliving her past. And, as the scene blurred and she began to fall into another universe, she could only let herself be carried away.

She arrived in a large communal bathroom, the kind you find in sports locker rooms. She recognized the small navy blue and white tiled floor, the shower cubicles without doors, lined up against a wall. A simple stainless steel push button spat water from the high-mounted shower head, regardless of the water temperature in the system. She remembered taking scalding showers in the summer and freezing ones in the winter.

She saw herself showering, as were the eight other girls in the room, each in her cubicle. Her lips were blue, and she trembled like a leaf under the jet of water so cold it burned. A shadow loomed in the cubicle like a solar eclipse, and Jordane saw the school nurse, Martha, watching her with crossed arms. She was a huge woman, the kind who had worked on a farm all her youth. She wore a white uniform and rubber sandals to move around the slippery locker room floor. As with every shower session, which was once every three days, she paced back and forth along the cubicles to monitor the girls. No time to daydream, no way to recharge: privacy and time for oneself had been taken from her when she left home. The woman lingered for a moment observing the little girl until Jordane felt her discomfort.

“I need to go to the bathroom,” she said.

“You're joking, right?” growled the ogre. “You just started washing.”

“Sorry, but it's urgent,” she lied.

The woman huffed loudly, like a bull ready to charge, and stepped aside:

“Then hurry up, and make it quick.”

Little Jordane left the shower, grabbed her towel, and roughly dried herself before slipping into her pajamas, leaving the other girls to finish their ritual. Once out of sight of the minotaur, she ran down the corridor and locked herself in the bathroom. She sat on the toilet without even lifting the lid or removing her pants, simply savoring the silence and privacy. The cabin was impeccably clean - carefully washed by one of the children, as usual chores - but there was no toilet paper roll: only two small sheets placed on a plywood ledge. To get more, one had to ask an adult, and each child was only allowed one request per day. However, Jordane had only sought refuge here because she couldn't take it anymore and needed privacy. She showered in open cubicles with Martha watching, she ate with everyone in the canteen with Donovan, and god, how he hated noise when he ate! A simple scrape of a fork could drive him mad. She had her group sessions, her group workshops, and at night, she slept in a dormitory with the other girls, the door always kept open. But for these five minutes, she could finally breathe. Finally be a bit alone. Well, not really: Astral Jordane knew what was coming.


The little girl jumped at the voice on the other side of the locked door.

“Yes?” she replied reluctantly.

“It's me, Isa.”

The other girl seemed hesitant, then she continued:

“Martha asked me to keep you company. It's not good to be alone, you know that?”

Little Jordane mimed a scream and pulled her hair, on the verge of despair.

“She told me I had to read the texts to you,” Isa continued, “it would do you good.”

While the other girl began to recite passages from the Bible in a loud voice, perhaps to ensure the little one could hear through the door, or rather to make sure Martha heard her obeying the orders, Jordan from the Astral world watched herself cry in frustration, seated on the toilet. She wanted to embrace her, to console her; but already, she felt herself losing grip, and the scene dissolved into an explosion of colors. She traveled like a leaf caught in the wind's breath, and a new world opened to her. A new memory.

She was now in another room, a rather narrow office, but very dark. The window curtains were drawn, and one could barely make out the silhouettes of several people. There were six people sitting on chairs arranged in a circle. At the center, little Jordan was also seated. Among the crowd surrounding her, two teenagers and three schoolgirls were barely distinguishable, along with Donovan, his gold-rimmed glasses gleaming in the dark room.

The atmosphere was incredibly tense; Jordan almost choked: pure terror in everyone; except Donovan, who radiated a bland desire for control, his eyes hidden behind thick lenses. Little Jordan was upright and impassive, staring fixedly at an imaginary point far in front of her.

“Begin,” Donovan simply said.

At first, no one dared to move. None wanted to break the group dynamic. Then, Donovan's gaze fell on one of the children - Jordan saw the gold reflection in his glasses shift - and the boy, so scared, began:

“Bitch!” he blurted out at little Jordan.

The insult seemed to have escaped him, as if he'd forced himself to say something. The little girl didn't move, unflappable. The boy, his face barely visible, emitted an unpleasant smell of fear.

“Go to hell!” someone else shouted from across the circle, still aimed at the girl in the middle.

“You're just crazy! God hates you! You'd be better off dead!”

Little Jordan remained stoic in the face of these insults, focusing her entire being on that distant point only she could see.

“Keep going!” Donovan growled, “This exercise is very important! Don't stop!”

Then, like a rallying signal for a pack, everyone started barking out insults. The children spat their abuses, absolutely terrified of breaking away from the group, of straying from the pack. Petrified at the thought that next week, it could be them on that chair. The little girl didn't flinch throughout, motionless as a statue, even as the spittle hit her face.






The insults swirled and echoed in the small room. The noise became unbearable, the shadows moved, growing as the children stood up and flailed their arms in all directions. Jordan drowned in this aura of pure violence, but what horrified her wasn't that: it was the absolute emptiness emanating from the little girl at the center of the circle, absorbing all the violence around her. Jordan tried to reach out to her, but it was in vain: her soul had no body, and the room turned over, hurling her violently into other abysses.

After a long moment alone with the bitter taste of emptiness that had filled her being so many years ago, she arrived in a larger room, recognized as Donovan's office. She remembered this scene: it was her last day at the school. After a year there. Donovan was at his desk, dressed in a dull blue suit, filling out a paper. Little Jordan was sitting opposite him, her mouth slightly open and her eyes lost in the void.

“It seems you're doing better now,” he observed.

“Yes...” she replied as if sleepwalking.

“It seems the medications are working.”


“What do you think about your behavior before you came here? Your obsession with the devil and all these horrors?”

“It was wrong. It's over now.”

“How do you feel about your parents?”

“I'm grateful. They helped me heal. I want to see them again.”

“Good,” he finally commented.

He waved his hand to sign his paper and finally looked up at her:

“It seems you are indeed cured. I think if you continue your treatment, you should be able to go home. Isn’t that good news?”

“Isn’t that good news?” echoed in Jordan's ears as the entire room disintegrated before her. The floor fell away beneath her, all shapes whirling in a hellish dance. She fell one last time and landed harshly in her childhood bedroom.

It was dark, the shutters closed, little Jordan sleeping soundly in her bed.

She saw the quilt rise slowly with her breath. She turned her head: a very faint light appeared under the door. She approached, and she began to hear whispers coming from the downstairs. She recognized her parents talking to a stranger in the middle of the night.

“I swear, we've tried everything,” her mother sobbed.

“I know,” a muffled voice replied.

“We tried taking her to church, seeing a priest, but she doesn't react to anything. Not even the sermons, not even the punishments...”

“The devil can have an extremely powerful grip,” the voice answered, “no conventional method will work. Except mine.”

“But,” her father interjected, “do you have to proceed like this? Isn't it a bit extreme? She clearly said she didn't want to go to that school.”

“I understand your concern, believe me. You are well-intentioned parents who only want the best for your daughter. But extreme problems may require methods that can seem extreme. But don't worry, everything we do is validated by experts and psychological studies. Not to mention the Church, which supports us one hundred percent.”

“How long will it take?” the mother asked.

“Hard to say,” said the voice, “I'll know more after her first evaluation. You have to be prepared for it to last several months. But when she comes back to you, she'll have no trace of the devil in her, and you'll have your little girl back just as you've always known her.”

Jordan heard her mother burst into sobs and her father trying to reassure her. The little girl in the bed was still sleeping.

“Go ahead,” her father said, “do what you have to do. We trust you.”

“Your daughter will be in good hands, I promise,” said the voice Jordan recognized as Donovan's. “With the help of our almighty lord, your daughter will be returned to you healed.”

Then, she heard him give an order, and the sound of footsteps began echoing on the stairs: Jordan knew what was going to happen, and she tried to reach the little girl, to wake her up. She had to warn her, tell her to flee through the window before the men arrived. That she should escape and never come back. But she couldn't move. She couldn't scream. She could only remain powerless as the door to her room burst open. Two men dressed in white uniforms burst into the room. She saw the little girl wake up with a start and scream at the top of her lungs at the sight of two strangers rushing at her. They grabbed her by the wrists and lifted her out of bed. The little girl was terrified, kicking her legs in the air, trying to struggle or kick. The two men went down the stairs, carrying her as if it was nothing. Jordan saw them disappear from her view, her parents shouting desperately: “It's for your own good, Jordan! It's for your own good!”

The little girl's screams were muffled as Jordan heard the doors of a truck open and close, then disappear into the night along with the vehicle. Her parents were at the bottom of the stairs. Her father covered his face with his hands, slowly shaking his head. Her mother was talking to herself, leaning against the wall:

“It was for her own good, we had no choice. She left us no choice, we had to do it. For her.”

They were far from her, but Jordan felt their shame and regret from there.

“What sadness,” lamented a voice behind her.

She turned around, discovering a man who wasn't there a few seconds ago. He was in his fifties, with silver hair plastered on the top of his skull, worn skin, and a predatory smile he could barely hide behind his sorry look. She had seen him in flesh and blood, in her dreams, but now he had come to haunt her even in another world.

“Oswald,” she said in a toneless voice.

He stood there, arms crossed behind his back. He tried to appear empathetic, as if he was on her side, but Jordan couldn't read him. The emotions emanating from him seemed scrambled, or non-existent. She looked at the ground, and she saw that she had regained her feet, her legs, and even her whole body.

“I'm sorry you had to experience that,” he said.

“The monsters Inès talks about... They are real, aren't they? You're behind all this?”

He laughed hollowly at the accusation:

“Yes, they are. But I am nothing more than their servant...”

“What do they want?” she asked.

“To feast, simply. Sometimes, hunger awakens them, and nothing will stop them until they are satiated.”

“The opening of the park... That was it, wasn't it? They devour the inhabitants of this town in waves. And this has been happening since the mine accident, or even before, right?”

“Yes,” he replied. “I had no choice but to open the park when they came to me. I had no choice but to obey them and give them what they wanted. But their plan failed ten years ago. You saw it, didn't you? So today they are back, and this time they will get what they came for.”

“What do you mean?” she panicked. “What's happening tonight?”

“You will know soon enough,” he simply replied.

“Inès was right... the inhabitants are in danger! We have to do something, fight or warn them! Help me save them, Oswald!”

He burst into sinister, grating laughter.

“They would tear me apart!” he exclaimed. “They would kill me and I would be trapped in this hell until the end of time! Reliving my death over and over! There's no way! If I do what they say, they will let me go. There's no other alternative.”

“How many are there?”

“In this town?” he said. “More than you can imagine. There's only one way: to give them what they want.”

“And what do they want?”


She looked him in the eyes: he seemed sincere. He seemed resigned, as if he had accepted his defeat. As if he had sold his soul to the devil, if you will. Hundreds of people were in danger, and he, he had put his own self first, and had decided that the sacrifice of all these souls was much more attractive than the simple idea of fighting.

“If you're too scared to fight, then give me a way to do it. Tell me how to get back into my body, and I'll save everyone.”

He shook his head, visibly dismayed.

“You won't give up, will you?”

Her determined look gave him the answer.

“Very well,” he capitulated. “If you think you can make it. Without your thread of Ariadne, you're going to have a hard time getting back. But as they say, mirrors are powerful objects. They can transcend worlds, like occult doors. I would take a look in the bathroom if I were you.”

He began to back away; or rather, he stayed in place, but his side of the room gradually receded, disappearing into the darkness. She saw his silhouette merge with the shadows, until only his silver eyes remained, staring at her.

“By the way,” he continued, but this time his voice seemed to come from everywhere at once. “Do you want to know the cause of all this? The very little thing that triggered this whole cascade of events, leading you to this school? Leading you to me? Get into this bed, dive under the covers, and you will know. You will discover the little thing that shaped your whole life.”

His voice became more distant, and it disappeared along with any trace of him in the room.


Jordan settled into her childhood bed. The sensation was indescribable: she felt a mix of nostalgia for her little girl's universe, her room, her toys, her duvet. And there was also something like apprehension: the fact of being here again, reliving all the events of her adolescence. That night marked the beginning of a completely different life. The end of her childhood. And all for what? Because her parents couldn't bear that she didn't believe in God. No, it was more than that: they didn't like that she was different. She read comics, dressed differently. She was drawn to the world of horror. They, in their ignorance, took it for Satanism. This whole story had started because of an incident. It seemed to her that it was something like a shooting. Everyone was scared. Yes. But... Before that, there had been something, hadn't there? There had been an event, and she was almost certain she had dreamed of it. That it had something to do with it, but she didn't know. Why was she fascinated by the macabre?

She heard a scratching under the bed, but paid no attention to it.

She had always been like that, hadn't she? It was just a passion.

“Really?” a voice in her head said.

Was there a cause? Had she become like this?

Another, louder scratching.

“What's that, I want to sleep,” she thought.

Was it coming from outside? Her window was open, it was warm. It must have been a noise outside.

There was a low growl, almost imperceptible, just below her.

“What's that, a dog outside? I have school, I need to sleep!”

She heard a knock against one of the slats, and felt something press on the mattress from under her bed. She opened her eyes.

Jordan discovered small hands, and a tiny body in a colorful pajama. Her room didn't yet have all the biblical posters, texts, and religious magazines imposed by her parents. Nor even her array of horror movie posters and esoteric symbols, which they had torn down and thrown away just before replacing them. Her room, lit by the moonlight, was still full of children's toys. Jordan was six years old again, still the perfect little girl in her parents' eyes.

And something was hidden under her bed.

She heard another muffled growl, and scraping against the carpet. She began to feel scared: she lifted her duvet and got out of bed, taking refuge near her dollhouse. She was fully living the scene, and at the same time, she knew it was a memory. That all this had really happened when she was six years old, simply hidden somewhere in her head.

Little Jordan gathered her courage and approached the bed. There was no more noise, the mattress no longer moved. So she knelt down, and laid her head on the floor to look underneath. The man returned her frightened gaze, eyes wide open. Jordan jumped back, hitting her head on the floor. She wanted to scream, she felt her scream rising, it was coming, but the man rushed to get out of his hiding place, shaking the bed in all directions as he extricated himself:

“Wait, wait, wait,” he pleaded in a whisper.

He crawled towards her and pressed his hand over her mouth, miming a “shh” with his other hand, a finger to his lips. Jordan was paralyzed in front of this stranger, an adult in his thirties with a thin body and big bulging eyes.

“Please, don't scream, I beg you. Don't make noise, please!”

He seemed as panicked as she was. He had closely cropped hair, a wide skull, and a small chin.

“Damn cramp, damn,” he whispered.

He looked at Jordan with his big eyes, seeming to lose control of the situation.

“You're not going to scream, are you? Especially don't scream. I'm... Uh... I'm a nice monster, yeah! I hide under your bed to protect you from the bad monsters. I like being close to you, listening to you sleep, and feeling you move in your sleep. But I'm a nice monster, right? I'll never hurt you, I promise! But most importantly, this must remain a secret between us two, okay? Don't tell your parents, it's our little secret. Okay?”

Jordan was terrified, so she simply responded what he expected, nodding her head, his large hand still covering her mouth.

“Okay, great! That's great!” he said still in a low voice, but now reassured. “Listen, I love being under your bed while you sleep, watching over you, but I'm going to have to leave for a while. Especially, don't say anything to your parents, otherwise I won't be able to come back, okay? Uh... maybe I'll come back if you're good, okay? Or... yeah, that's it.”

The man released his grip on Jordan and stood up, cracking his knees in the process, and he backed towards the window of the room, his eyes still fixed on her. He contorted to get his legs over the ledge, grimacing as his cramp flared up again, and he climbed down the wall. Jordan heard him land on the ground, then he started running down the street, his footsteps on the asphalt gradually disappearing into the night.


“Mom?” Jordane said, shaking her mother.

“What?” she replied with a start, panicked. Then, realizing it was her daughter, her tone became irritated: “What do you want? It's the middle of the night, you have school tomorrow!”

“There's a monster in my room.”

“Stop your nonsense, and go back to bed! Monsters don't exist.”

“But they do, Mom,” she insisted, “I saw it, I talked to it. It was under my bed.”

“You dreamed, sweetheart, there's nothing under your bed!”

“But Mom, I swear!”

Her mother jumped up and began to shout, waking her father:

“Jordane! Stop lying! There's no monster under your bed, don't be a baby! Go back to bed right now, or you'll be punished!”

“But Mom,” she insisted, “I'm not lying, I swear!”

“What's going on here!” now her father growled. “Do you want me to check? Because if I go there and there's nothing, you'll get a spanking! If I wake up late for work tomorrow, you'll really be in trouble!”

Jordane fell silent. She became aware of herself: she felt fear. She was terrified of her nocturnal encounter and did not feel safe. Even if she closed the window, she couldn't erase the image of the monster she had seen under her bed. What if it came back? But more importantly, what she felt, which was harder to recognize, was anger. Yes, she was angry. Because she was being accused of lying. She had been unjustly accused of lying by her parents. Just as she had been unjustly accused of smoking at school, resulting in a suspension. She had been unjustly accused of being a satanist, of being ready to kill her classmates with a weapon.

“YOU ARE UNFAIR!!!” she screamed.

But her parents didn't react. In fact, their bed was empty. And she, she had become a lost soul again; but the anger, it was still there. Everyone had been unfair to her, right? And to Inès too. She had been unjustly called crazy, to be like her mother, when there really were monsters in this city. That's why she had to help her. And the townspeople, they hadn't asked for anything. They were going to be slaughtered just to satisfy monsters. She had to right this injustice.

So, she went to the upstairs bathroom.


The room she had seen for the last time a decade ago, before leaving for good, was still different from her memories: in this one, her parents hadn't redone the wallpaper yet. The monstrously warped and blackened wallpaper above the bathtub still awaited its removal. The sink cabinet, however, was impeccably tidy, not yet overflowing with all the beauty products she had started to collect at fifteen. Her childhood clothes were neatly folded on a small shelf, ready to be worn the next morning. However, Jordane saw none of this. Her eyes were fixed above the sink, lost in another world. The one where she had left her body.

In a mirror where she should have seen her reflection, she watched a crowd move among the park's attractions. She was surprised to see it so lively, she who had left it still deserted a few minutes - or centuries? - earlier. Oswald had told her they were all in mortal danger, but apparently, no one seemed aware of it: everyone was smiling and their faces full of excitement. Even worse: the visitors all seemed to converge in the same place. She heard some talk of a “show,” others saying “it looks like something's happening over there.” She focused on her surroundings: on the other side of the mirror, she saw what looked like the entrance of a tent. Around the opening, two silky red curtains were hung with a golden chain. It looked like she was inside a circus tent. On the other side, outside, she recognized the barely visible pink cobblestone alley under the feet of the crowd jostling to get there first. She was in front of another attraction she hadn't yet seen, a sort of kaleidoscope facade. And apart from that, she had no other information. She banged on the bathroom mirror in frustration, and something strange happened: someone turned towards her and met her gaze. She knocked several times, confused, and saw the man point at her, his other hand intertwined with his wife's.

“What is that?” she read on his lips.

She began to call out to him, screaming alone in her parents' bathroom. The man seemed worried and left the crowd to join her, dragging his better half with him.

He passed through the entrance with silky curtains and replied:

“Are you okay, little one, do you need help?”

Jordane felt a wave of relief, finally, she could warn them:

“You need to get out of here!” she yelled. “Something horrible is going to happen! You're all in danger!”

“What?” the man said, stepping back, now troubled. “Where are your parents?”

“What is she talking about, that one?” added the woman.

“Quick!” Jordane continued. “Run before it's too late! You all have to leave! They're going to kill you all!”

A shadow passed over the man's face, and he was about to panic. Then, his face lit up, and he laughed:

“Ha! She's an actress! I told you, honey, there had to be someone here!”

“No, you don't understand!” she pleaded, pounding on the mirror. “You're in mortal danger!”

“Is it a special event? Some kind of surprise, with all these Halloween decorations? Is that why everyone's gathering at the back of the park?”

“NO!!” she screamed back. “Don't go there, the monsters will kill you all! You have to flee!”

Tears welled up in her eyes, making the man uncomfortable; but he forced a smile, his mind probably telling him it was all a ruse.

“Yeah yeah, you're a good actress! Where are the others? Can we start the attractions already? No, we're going to see the famous show, everyone's going there...”

“NO! Listen to me, please! You have to believe me, I beg you! There are monsters everywhere, they're going to devour you!”

The man burst into forced laughter, but his wife was already pulling him by the arm:

“Come on, let's go, let's see what else is there...”

“Alright, alright, looks like they're pulling out all the stops for this show!”

They rejoined the crowd, while Jordane screamed for them to stop, to listen to her. She begged passersby to turn around, to heed her warning, but all those whose attention she could capture simply looked away with embarrassment. While she was screaming from another world, in the park, the show finally began.