The portal opened and the glamour hit me like a cloud of sickly-sweet incense. Glitter flew in like golden dust. Whoever, or whatever, was on the other side had some serious powers of illusion....we're talking about virtual reality without headsets to give the illusion away! Trust nothing, take nothing, and DON'T poke your nose through the portal! With one's senses under siege, one can't believe in anything! I had set up cameras and wondered if they would capture the reality or the illusions. Cameras shouldn't be affected by illusions but this was STRONG!
I shrugged. It didn't matter, not until the portal closed. Right now, I had to survive whatever was coming. I wondered if I would see it coming....not a chance. This stuff was so thick, it was unlikely the creator would need to shut it down before acting. It seemed effortless and smothering.
I looked out on the most charming scene imaginable. Tiny doll-like dancers spun around merrily in perfect time. The music tinkled and they gazed adoringly in each other's eyes, as they whirled around. So sweet and innocent, so romantic and whimsical, so tiny and delicate, they were perfectly precious! I was enchanted on the surface but chilled in horror at my core. My surface mind was feeling the effects of the glamour, delighted by the sugar-spun romance. My inner self was hitting the panic button, shrieking that anything that put so much power into looking so tiny and delicate, so harmless...was anything BUT! The charm was contrived to lure me out. The glamour insisted I was among friends who could not hurt me even if they wanted to....which they so clearly didn't. Right! I was ankle deep in fairy dust and that was just the dust that had fallen off me!
"Oh, how prettty you are!" cooed a delicate baby voice. I looked down and saw that a pair of dancers had broken off their dance to talk to me. "Won't you join our dance?"
"Oh, but I'm too big!" I protested, trying to hide the dismay I felt at being spotted. Yes, it was obvious from the intensity of the glamour that I had been spotted the instant the portal opened, but a girl can hope. "Your dancing is so pretty that I would only be in the way and spoil it. Besides, I don't have a partner. No, it's all so very beautiful that I would prefer to stay right here and watch." My innermost self was warning me not to even shuffle my feet! The fairy dust hadn't gotten under my feet yet, and one part of me had to stay sane. Feet stay rooted to the floor! Knees lock in place!
"You don't need a partner to dance!" the dancers said. "Just look!"
I looked where the dancer pointed and saw a tiny white tiger dancing comically in and among the other dancers, just barely evading collisions. It was so cuddly and charming.....but tigers are carnivores. Just a pinprick of warning of what could be under the illusion, a warning to heed.
I smiled at them and babbled, "I'm too big! I'm afraid I might step on someone. I'm happy just watching the dancing. Don't let me keep you from enjoying yourselves. I'm sure you must be eager to return to the party. What a wonderful sight!" My sense of self-preservation, my suspicions, were being wrapped up in layers of too-bright sunshine, shimmering soap bubbles, and gossamer good will. My mouth merrily succumbed to the glamour and flattered the dancers but my feet clung to the floor. I could not tear my eyes away from the dancers and I could not move to close the portal. I knew I should but I couldn't bring myself even to try! I would have to move my feet to do that and they were all that were keeping me anchored. One single step and the law of gravity would be repealed.
"Oh, do come dance with us!" the dancers warbled. I looked at them, noticing that there were now four on the rim of the portal. I wonder how such tiny beings had managed to climb up a cliff-face some six to ten times their height. (No stairs, no elevator, and no ladder!) Of course, size being relative, they could be much bigger than I am. Perhaps they were so large they couldn't come through the portal but had to coax me outside?
"Oh, how I wish!" I said, and really meant it....except for the part of me that suspected they would turn into ravenous monsters if I did. My knees started to tremble. Feet stay rooted! I babbled on about how beautiful the dancers were, how graceful the dancing was, how colourful the flowers, how sweetly shone the sun....etc. etc. etc.
"Food!" the six dancers said. "It's time to eat! Smell the roasts and the vegetables, breads and pastries, cakes and candies, everything fresh and sweet. Come join us! There is plenty for everyone! We will all feast!"
"You go ahead," I urged, fighting temptation with awe. Visual and audible illusions were impressive but olfactory illusions are off-the-scale hard! Yet, I could smell a mouth-watering meal! I tried considering how fat I would get if the dancers were telling the truth, as well as that I would be the main course if they were lying. "I'm not hungry," I said, which was promptly contradicted by the rumbling of my stomach...the traitor.
"But you need to come!" the eight dancers pouted with the first sign of annoyance they had shown. "We want you to come! You are our guest and we want you to be happy! You know you're hungry. Don't you like us? We're hungry and we want to eat but we can't without you! Come and eat with us!"
My mouth opened and words fell out. "It's scrumptious, delicious, your meal and you are all so beautiful and my ever dearest friends!"
My knees were wobbling now, making it hard to balance. My feet remained planted on the floor. My stubborn core refused to yield this one point, much as my giddy surface brain danced around it in circles of besotted wonder.
"Wants to come. Doesn't come," the twelve dancers chorused as one. "Means Can't come!" They looked at me speculatively. "She is big but we are many! We can carry her!."
They started jumping down from the rim. It was a big drop for them but none of them hesistated for an instant. As one dropped, his/her place on the rim was taken by another dancer. My surface brain worried that they might hurt themselves. My inner core wondered if I would also worry that they might hurt their dainty teeth on my bones.
A blast of darkness hit me. I don't know how else to describe it. I found myself flat on my rear, knocked down by the force of it. Suddenly, it was night on the other side of the portal. "Cooked is better but, when young and tender, raw is sweet. We are so very hungry!" hissed a voice that didn't belong to any of the dancers.
The glamour shifted. Instead of persuading me that everything was wonderful and I should come out, it focused on holding me in place.
Now my outer and inner selves were aligned in seeing the tiny dancers, streaming towards me in an unrelenting wave, as a threat. It didn't do me much good as my outer brain was now numb and so were my limbs.
Instead of concentrating on keeping my feet planted on the floor, I threw all my will into my mouth. I managed to yell "Close Portal!"
Much to my surprise, it worked! The portal snapped shut and the interface was lost. The heavy glamour holding me in place vanished completely in the blink of an eye. I looked down and the floor was covered in dolls and glitter. The girls were still mostly standing but almost all the boys had fallen over. Right, the girls had a wider base with their long, full skirts. I picked one up and turned it over. It was solid plastic. Yet, I had seen them walk, dance, and talk...their painted-on mouths moving as they shaped words. Wow!