Theo was greeted with green. The colour felt friendly to his eyes, and so he felt calmer and more comfortable here. There were four paintings lining the wall in front of him. They all seemed to be of insects. He was thankful that he wasn't afraid of bugs. Theo also noticed that the hallways seemed to be much, much longer, and went both north and east. Great, Theo thought, another choice.
North seemed to be nicest. However, before he even started walking, a little black dot on the floor by the paintings caught his attention. He knelt down next to it. An ant. Why would an ant be running around here? Looking around to make sure no one was there, Theo leaned in and mumbled.
"Hello..." he muttered.
"Hi!" The ant's voice was loud and clear. Theo blinked several times, leaning back momentarily.
"You're an... ant. You can talk." Theo had to say to himself, just to understand that he isn't mad. "I'm Theo."
"I'm an ant!"
"What's your name?"
"I'm an ant!"
"So... you don't have a name?"
"I'm an ant!"
It didn't seem that the dot was going to say much else. Theo stood up, leaving the ant to jump around in joy, and approached the northward hallway. There was a sign on the wall. "Stay in the middle?" Theo read aloud, peeking at the hallway. "What's so wrong about the sides?" Considering the past happenings, Theo assumed that standing in the middle would be a trap. He wasn't going to trust anything this place was going to tell him.
As Theo walked, he traced his hand across the wall, taking careful steps. He thought he was being clever by not going by the sign's 'advice'. Just as he was so, so sure of himself, a harsh, sharp hand shot from the wall and straight into him.
Theo jumped out of the way, hand tightly holding his shoulder. The sharp fingers of the branch-like arm had scratched through his jacket and shirt, straight into his arm. He hissed in pain, but stopped and gasped. A green petal landed on the floor.
"No, no, no, no..." Theo's knees trembled as he knelt down, picking the petal up between his fingers. He pressed it into the bulb of the rose, hoping for it to reattach, but it just fell back to the floor. Now he finally realised what this rose was about as he glanced from his shoulder to the flower. "Could this be my health..?"
Standing up again, Theo knew it would be a good idea to stick to the middle. He wouldn't risk losing any more petals. Does this mean that... if it loses all its petals, then I'll...? Theo tried to wipe the idea away. If that was the case, and considering all the traps in this place, Theo didn't know how long he'd survive. He had never had such a tight hold on something in his life. This flower was his heart. If something were to happen to the rose... No more thinking, Theo.
Another door and another book were at the end. Quickly scribbling his name down and placing the fountain pen back in its the ink pot, Theo approached the lime green door. Please, please open. Twisting the doorknob in his grasp, Theo sighed with shuddery breath. Locked.
He pressed a trembling palm against the smooth wood of the door. Theo needed a rest. He hadn't been here for exactly long, but it felt like he'd been here for hours. Theo leaned forward, his forehead against the door. His knees felt weak, he felt lightheaded, and his stomach ached. The boy turned around and leaned against the door, sliding down to the ground. Just a rest, Theo pleaded. Please, I'm tired.
"I'm an ant!"
"Wh..?" Theo cracked open an eyelid, rubbing it with the back of his hand.
"I'm an ant!" Theo saw the same dot jumping around in front of him, and he couldn't help but smile. "I'm an ant!"
"I know you are," Theo mumbled, shuffling around with a groan before forcing himself up. He seemed to have napped, for how long he wouldn't know. In some way, Theo felt worse. He felt heavy and ill, but it felt like the ant gave Theo some encouragement. "Thank you for waking me up..."
"It's okay!" The ant replied, causing Theo to blink a few times like earlier. "I'm an ant!"
Before he could even remark on that, Theo found himself tripping over his own feet due to weariness and hitting the painting on the wall.
"Uwagh--!" Theo squeezed his eyes shut, bracing for impact, but it merely fell to the ground next to him. "Oh no..." The boy picked up the painting, briefly taking note of what it was. "Look, ant, it's an ant!"
"It's me! It's me! I'm an ant!" The ant seemed happy enough, bouncing higher and higher. Theo let out a small laugh before taking another look at the painting.
"I think I'll keep hold of this," Theo held the painting between his arm and his torso, ready to make his way back to the other hallway. "Are you coming?"
"I'm an ant!" the ant announced once again, jumping after Theo.
AN: The third chapter's here! (Jeez, I'm updating this one fast-) This was kind of rushed, and it's only half an area! I'll try and get another chapter up today since there's literally nothing else to do in the Easter holidays. Please enjoy! c;