James and Janice, two ten-year-old twins, had lost their parents in a plane crash 3 months ago. Now, most people would think that that's a tragedy, but the twins were not completely devastated when the accident happened. They were not especially close to their parents, and they rarely saw their mother and father. The twins saw them perhaps once a year, during Christmas, when they would come home from boarding school, and Mr. and Mrs. Woodrow would come home from wherever in the world they were in order to see their children. They were not exactly normal parents - they were very formal and had the children call them by their first names, John and Anne, instead of the usual "Mom" and "Dad". James and Janice never really knew their parents because Mr. and Mrs. Woodrow sent them to an expensive boarding school in London, and, even when they come home to Los Angeles, their parents were never around.

Mr. and Mrs. Woodrow worked as agents for the CIA under top-secret, confidential missions. They were away most of the time, performing spy work around the world, which took up most of their time. In fact, they finally ended their lives one day, while they were boarding a plane to Russia to do some work for the CIA.

Thus, James and Janice became orphans with no one to take care of them except for their rich grandfather who adopted the twins. Soon, in the summer, James and Janice found themselves wandering their grandfather's empty mansion out of sheer boredom.

*~*

"I'm bored," said Janice, sitting on the grand wooden staircase that occupied a great amount of space in the vast hallway.

"You always say that after breakfast," said James, sliding down the banisters.

This was the twins' third week in their grandfather's mansion, and they had nothing to do but to explore. The servants rarely talked to them except when they ask the twins if they had everything they need. The twins also had a nurse who only came to clean and feed them, and disappeared for the most part of the day. Their Grandfather Vincent was away most of the time, attending conferences and all sorts of meetings for his company. In short, the twins were very lonely.

"What d'you want to do James?" asked Janice, standing up walking around the hallway.

"I don't know," said James jumping off the banisters and landing smoothly on the polished floor. "Maybe we should go exploring - look at all the rooms"

"I'm not sure if that's such a good idea. They might get mad at us."

"Who's they?" James challenged, "The servants? Why, they don't even talk to us!"

"Yes, but we never really annoyed them," said Janice anxiously.

"Well, fine then. If you're too scared to go, then I'll do it myself." James, knowing that his sister would soon be lonely, pretended to walk up the stairs in search of some unknown room that would lead to adventure.

Janice, feeling lost and lonely, ran after her brother shouting: "Wait! Stop! I'll go with you. There's nothing to do anyway."

And the two young explorers set off to find adventure in this huge, desolate mansion.

*~*

The twins did not find their exploring as exciting as they thought it would be. They walked through dark, chilly hallways and peeked into rooms that mostly had servants in it, cleaning. The rooms that didn't have servants in it were fancy but desolate, just like the whole mansion itself. Finally, at about lunchtime, the two sat down on the floor, exhausted and exasperated. They did not find anything interesting at all!

"I'm sick of this place," said Janice, sighing.

"Me too," said James, "I wish there were some other kids to play with."

"I'll play with you," said Janice in the hopes of comforting her brother.

"What shall we play?"

"What about hide-and-seek?" asked Janice, eagerly jumping up, "you count and I'll hide."

"Why do I have to count?"

"Because I suggested the idea," said Janice beginning to run, "Start counting!"

Janice ran up a set of stairs, down the chilly hallway, and up another set of stairs before she decided to catch her breath and rest for a little. As she looked around, she found that she was in a hallway that was different from the rest. This hallway was not empty, and there were pictures lining the walls. The temperature here was rather warm - the kind of warm that seems welcoming and homely. Yet, there was a strangeness about the place that made Janice feel as if she shouldn't be here. However, curiosity got the better of her, and she walked down the hallway, looking at the pictures on the wall.

The pictures seemed strange to her at first, but as she walked on, she noticed that they almost seemed identical. That is, the pictures seemed to be telling a story. The first picture, for example, showed a beautiful lady with golden hair and dressed in a lovely turquoise dress standing in what seemed to be a garden full of roses, daisies, and all sorts of flowers and trees. The picture next to that was in the same place, except that the bright blue sky in the previous picture was now dark and cloudy with traces of lightning in it, and the lady had her hands on the side of her face and seemed to be shrieking. The next picture showed a person draped in a long black cloak that hid his face, who was grabbing the lady and running away. Then, the picture next to that showed the same cloaked man and the lady in what seemed to be a cottage, where a fire burned merrily in the background, and the woman was tied to the chair in ropes, while the man threw logs in the fire.

Why, Janice thought, the pictures look like they're moving!

All of a sudden, James grabbed her from behind and screamed in her ear. Janice was terribly frightened.

"James!" she gasped, "Don't you ever do that again!"

"Ha! You're scared aren't ya?" said James, dancing around in circles, evidently pleased that he scared his sister.

"It's not funny. Come and look at these," said Janice grabbing his hand and showing him the pictures.

"Wow!" said James in amazement after he had taken a look at the pictures. "This is so weird - d'you think that these people really existed?"

"Of course not you twit," said Janice, "the artist probably painted them because he wanted to tell a story"

"I don't know," said James, "it sort of gives you a weird feeling - like they're moving or something"

"Don't be ridiculous," said Janice, who didn't want to believe it because she knew that she would be too scared, "pictures don't move!"

James didn't answer, but seemed to be driven by a strong impulse to.

.and you guys will find out what happens next if you send reviews. and don't be harsh - this is just the first chapter - it'll get more exciting. I promise!