It was just another day in the life of nineteen-year-old Alex Russo. Wake up, wash, clean, dress then travel to Italy and stop her evil clone in Italy from taking over the world. It was all fairly routine for a young female wizard with inherent abilities and a proclivity to practice the science known as magic. Somewhere around a quarter to a third of the planet were magic-users… wizards, sorcerers, witches, warlocks… and Alex was among them. Not only was she now a recognized wizard in the magic community, but she was also the resident wizard in her family besides her brother who was now off teaching his knowledge of the world's magic to other future young wizard-users at a school in Germany, one of several in the world. She supposed that meant now that the Russo family now had two wizards in the family that the previous one-wizard rule was now out-dated, and she and her brother could stop looking embarrassed when wizards from England and Canada smirked at them and began chuckling at them. She did feel bad for her little brother though who had lost his magic, but he did once claim he wanted to run the family sub shop when he grew up.
Turning over in her bed, Alex pulled her sheets and blankets up and tried drifting back to sleep. She closed her eyes once more and tried to force back a yawn from her lips. Not ready to wake, she picked and rubbed away the crystals of dried tears from her eyes and once again sunk deep beneath her covers trying to stay asleep, but her brain was awake and reminding her to get up.
"You're no longer the lazy irresponsible Alex anymore." It reminded her. "You got rid of that part of yourself. It's time to get up and make a life for yourself."
Not only that, but she found herself wanting scrambled eggs and bacon for breakfast.
Finally opening her big brown eyes and hoisting herself on her arms to sit up, Alex sat up in bed and found herself yawning once more. She blinked her eyes several times trying to focus then looked again across the room as her cotton woven sheets slipped off her form and her blankets peeled back like a blossom flower to her body erupting from bed.
This was not her bedroom.
Briefly taking all of a second to realize her strange surroundings, she felt her lips part in shock and looked around the room. It was large and grand, decorated a bit bland and austere, but it was not her room. Her bedroom was a large pink-shag lined room on the third floor over her parent's sandwich shop on Waverly Place in Lower Manhattan. She should have realized she was in an odd place when she realized she didn't hear all the sounds of traffic, pedestrians and distant police sirens. This room didn't even have a window. Her head bobbing around surprised and a bit scared with her long brunette tresses flitting around, Alex pushed her blankets and wraps off and poked her dainty toes to the floor where they landed on a clean blue-gray Seventies-style carpet stretching over the room. To her left, she realized she had her own bathroom with two sinks and two toilets in a lime-green and eggshell colored bathroom painted with yellow trim. Outside the bathroom doors in the bedroom was a bureau and upper cabinet built into a wall egress and on the other side of the bathroom was a closet with French doors. The furniture consisted of two chairs flanked by a small round table under a boring Isaac Worthington painting of kids playing in snow surrounded by wintry surroundings. By the door from the room, the dual bedroom doors descended down a few steps into the outer room.
"Mom? Dad?" Alex called ahead. "Justin, did you do this to me? Where am I?" She had the impression she was in a hotel. This place was certainly not laid out like someone's home with a kitchen and family room. The exterior room opened up into a room with striped wallpaper and a fireplace in the far wall and a sitting area in the center of the room. The chairs were lavender in color, and the lamps had yellow covers atop a blue-green carpet pattern. It all looked like a bad Seventies nightmare. By her left was a writing desk against the wall and a table with flowers on it by her right. The room possessed some sort of elegance, possibly best prepared for guests with means. Alex treaded forward lightly, listening carefully as she crossed the room. She was expecting her mother or Justin to enter the room looking for her. It was sure this was not one of the guest quarters at the Mecklenburg Academy, affectionately known as Wiz-Tech by her students, where Justin was now headmaster. The school was placed in an old Bavarian Castle with a mix of German, Celtic and Swiss furnishings. This place was all American from its furniture, décor and drapes.
Alex suddenly saw another figure out the corner of her eye and whirled around to see her reflection in the mirror on the door. The suite had a small foyer to the hall, and the doors to it were mirrored, and one of them was open to the room. Realizing she had just seen her reflection, she looked again and realized just how sheer her nightgown really was. It was practically transparent as the light in the room showed the shadow of her body through it and left nothing to the imagination. Reacting from the impropriety, Alex realized she was practically walking around nude and dashed back to the bedroom, attacking the nightstand and the bed looking for her wand. The nightstand by her side of the bed was empty, and so was the other. Just who dressed her in this sheer nearly transparent nightgown? Without her wand, it was going to be difficult to do a spell to change her attire. She was going to have to try it without it. Waving her hands over her head, nothing happened. She tried again. Nothing.
"Where's my magic?!" Alex was freaking. She'd have to dress the regular way. Whoever owned this room, she just had to hope they had left some clothes for her. Closest to the bureau, she pulled the first drawer she found and discovered underwear and undergarments. Whoever owned this stuff would just have to understand. In the closet, the wardrobe was limited to white sweaters and white slacks. It looked like the hotel uniform. Each sweater had an "H" and "O" embroidered over the heart in bold dark blue over-lapping cursive letters. It was just going to have to do for now. Ducking into the bathroom, she dressed and freshened herself with a blast of water to her face. She briefly brushed her long dark tresses and walked out of Room 358 a few minutes later wearing the clothes she had found in the room.
First thing she did was knock at the door of the room across from her suite. Getting no response, she peeked inside and found a smaller empty room with a bed and no window either. No one was in it to give her answers.
"Mom? Dad?" Alex treaded the Native American pattern in the hallway carpet. "Justin?" She was not getting any responses. "Very funny, but I want to go home now." She noticed elevators midway down the hall. Hitting the button for the elevator, she mentally cheered to know it was working, but when it opened its red doors, she paused. She did not want to be trapped in this thing between floors. Looking back the way she had come, she looked down the hall leading from the elevators to the third direction toward a large steel door marked for employees. There was an arch down there. It had to be for a stairway. When the elevator closed behind her, Alex opted for the alternative and marched toward the opening. It actually opened up into a large upper balcony area, and it did have access to a stairway.
Stretching wide across from her underneath was a large lounge with a giant grand fireplace with large dangling iron faux candle light fixtures. Decorated in a Native American motif with Navaho and Pueblo tapestries, it looked like the room where hotel guests would come and gather or enjoy a musical serenade. Her hair bobbing on her shoulders, Alex looked around for signs of life in this place. The stairs were carpeted in warm brown and split left and right at the bottom. The right half headed to the elevators arriving from the second floor without her, but the left half headed down toward tall windows reaching twenty-five feet over her head. There were five tall windows like this supported by thick adobe columns along the length of the room to the far end where another second floor balcony was supported high atop by arches. Each space under each window had its own sitting area of the snow-filled view beyond the place. The room itself had a hardwood floor with numerous carpets exploiting Native American designs and walls adorned in a multitude of flags and tapestries. From the windows, Alex could see tall pines in the distance lightly bending in the wind and beyond those tall snow-topped mountains in the distance. Was this place once a ski resort?
Where the hell was she?
The room itself was full of tables and chairs. The tables were long and the seating arrangements varied from straight-back wood chairs to easy chairs and long leather sofas. Long wooden beams cut from ancient redwoods held up the ceiling above. At the bottom of the stairs, was a grand piano replete with a bench and a glass snifter for tips.
"If this is a dream, it's the most elaborate dream I've ever had." Alex briefly played a few piano keys then heard child-like giggling from behind her. Her head turned left to the fleeting images of two young girls vanishing under the balcony.
"Hey!" She turned and chased after them into the pale green employee's access corridor in the alcove under the balcony. It ran the length of the lounge behind the elevators and grand fireplace, past wood doors heading back out and through another set of doors into another access corridor running the length of the hotel. She never caught a good sight of those young girls, but they looked to be twins with brown hair about eight to ten years in age dressed in powder blue dresses. They had vanished on her, but they did lead Alex to the main lobby of the hotel. It was empty and deserted.
"Where are you little brats?" Alex hissed. "Why are you hiding from me?" She whirled around looking for them. The lobby was darkened and deserted. It was colored in tan and dark brown with red square columns and Old West iron chandeliers. Sections of the lobby were separated into square sitting areas shaped by chairs and benches. A photograph-filled hallway with multiple glass entries lined one side, and the far end ended with a short corridor leading past elevators to an adobe-style winding staircase to the second floor. To one side, she recognized the hotel check-in area abandoned and deserted; its offices and adjacent rooms were dark and deserted. Filling the length of the front of the lobby with dull gray light struggling to illuminate the room, Alex saw snow piled four feet high against the entry way. Standing confused and unsure to just what had happened to her, she realized she was trapped in this place for the winter without her magic.
"Submitted for your approval…" The invisible observer to these events nervously postured with his cigarette. "Miss Alexandra Esmerelda Russo, a young and attractive practitioner to that field of bizarre and mysterious science known as magic. For all her life, Alex has always known what was going on in her life, but for perhaps the first time, her innate abilities have left her and she is stranded with nothing but questions. Alex now has to think and use her mind to save herself from her escape-proof prison and make it back to her own world, but she is going to discover first that this is no ordinary place. For this place is a presence of its own because every brick, every beam, every fixture, pipe, knickknack and piece of furniture comes directly to you from… The Twilight Zone…"