“Follow me.” Mara beckoned, and Evie and I walked behind as she went downstairs to the main level, and then turned and opened the basement door.  We followed her down into the dim interior, the only light from small windows along the ceiling.

            Mara led us to the playroom as if she’d been there a million times.  In one corner was a table, and she stood by it.  We stood beside her.

            “Ethan and I built this,” I told my sister.  “Before he went back to school.”

            We looked down on our Lego city.  There were forests around it, but the city itself was populated with a mixture of people.  We’d used spacemen, pirates, Robin Hood’s men, and built a ramshackle town.  Outside were the knights, attacking.  The city was using space guns and bows and arrows to defend itself.   I think we’d used nearly all the Lego in the house to build the massive scene.

            “Recognize anything?” Mara said, chuckling.

            Genevieve and I kept staring.  There was a hole in one wall of the fortress city, with the fight spilling through the gap, the pirates and astronauts entangled with knights on horseback.

            “Oh shit,” I said.

We retreated to the bright living room.  I wasn’t willing to talk about my thoughts in the dark basement.  It was too chilling.

            “I don’t get it.”  Evie looked at both of us.

            “The city, one wall was destroyed.  It let the invaders in, and they killed everyone,” I whispered.  “Everyone died, except us.”

            “It was a game, Gwen.”  Genevieve raised an eyebrow.

            “NO!  It’s still a game.  This has all happened before!”  I shook, my fingers clenching.  “Lancelot fought Arthur, and this time Gawain killed him.  The city was ruined.  Oh, this is creeping me out.”

            I shivered, sitting down on the couch.  I didn’t want to think about this.

            “What?” Genevieve asked, concerned.

            “You’d better tell her,” Mara said quietly.

            “I can’t,” I moaned.

            “Tell me what?”  Evie asked.

            “The Seven Deadly Sins…. he’s going to kill Jason and Neal.  Sloth and Pride.  Oh shit, oh shit…”

            “Gwen?  What is it?  Tell me.”

            “Ethan’s stories.  His favourite books.  His movies.  They’re all becoming real.  It’s like, it’s like…”  I couldn’t stand it.

            Mara handed me a book, and I guess she found it in the pile on Ethan’s bed when I wasn’t looking.  I stared at the cover.

            Alice through the Looking Glass.

            “It’s like the Red King,” Mara told me.  “Who’s dream was it, Gwen?  His or Alice’s?”

            “What is going on?” Genevieve said.  “Somebody better tell me.”

            “It was a game that we played.  They were just stories that he wrote.  How is this happening?”  I asked Mara.  “He built the city, and he destroyed it.  How?”

            “It’s all chess.  You tell me.”

            I screamed.  My ears and throat hurt, and I fell to the floor.  I covered my eyes with my fists.

            Genevieve’s arms were around me, hugging me tight until I stopped.  I cradled my head in her shoulder, trying to breathe.

            “What does she mean, chess?”  Evie whispered.

            “Ethan is playing both sides.  Dan was a knight, Evan and Jason the bishops, Owen and Alex the rooks.  Alex castled Neal, to become your consort.  But they’re all really pawns.  It’s a game, and he’s playing against himself.  The Red King dreams it all, and Alice just has to survive the story.  But it’s really Lewis Carroll’s dream, and he was imagined by Reverend Dodgson…”

            I whispered these words to her, knowing she probably didn’t understand.  My voice was hoarse.  My eyes watered.

            “Ethan is fighting himself, and all he has to do is stop, and the game can end.”

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