3 comments

Submitted on 02/26/2020

Categories: Mystery

I am writing this at great personal risk. Some things should never be told. Better to lock them away. I read something once about how acknowledging evil opens a conduit. A doorway. So yes, better to keep some things in the dark where they will wither and die, except some things thrive in darkness and may grow teeth. That’s why you’re reading this now. I locked it away, or tried to, and now it’s chewing it’s way out with maturing, malignant fangs. May as well open the door while there may still be enough left to hide behind as it escapes.

The door. That’s how it started. I always had a weakness for imagining ways out of unpleasant situations. Stuck on a boring ride? Imagine slipping away to someplace else. A beach. A jungle. Some exciting adventure. Having relationship problems? Step into the perfect romance. Living in a fucked up world you hate? Easy. Open the door to a world where you’re king and the weather is yours to command and animals talk. You can fly, breathe under water. It’s whatever you want. The trouble is that it doesn’t fix anything bec it’s not real and eventually you always come back, are dragged back kicking and screaming, through the door to reality. Bummer.

My life really wasn’t much difernet than most people’s. My problems were your problems. Unsatisfying job, less than perfect girlfriend, your basic boring existence, but not horrible. The real problem was that I’d had a great imagination since practically the time I could think. To begin with it was only a slight defeat seen mostly as a harmless, childish habit that would soon be outgrown. It caused my grades to fluctuate got me labeled a daydreamer. Then, as a teen, it got me drug tested which was pretty funny since I was always sky high but never touched a thing. After that it got me medicated, which really was a riot considering that it came about because of suspicion of drug use. Irony is taking a person not on drugs and putting them on drugs so they seem sober, right? Well the drugs “worked”. I was alert. I was attentive. I was miserable.

My life was progressing well. Accounting job paid for a small nice house. A dependable and respectable car and the dependable and respectable girlfriend waiting the socially acceptable time to expect the ring and kids. Golf with the guys from work. Dinners with the neighbors and relatives. Normal. Boring. See also depressing.

I dropped the meds. There was no conscious decision that I can recall. If there was it occurred around the time I started thinking about stepping out of this humdrum through the permanent door. At first nothing happened. No big change and no odd questions about pill counts and no relief either. Then things began to change. I found my secret passageway and I could leave again! Still no one noticed, not even the dependable, respectable girlfriend. You have to understand that the pills had never really changed me, they just closed the door. I was also careful, only slipping away when no one was around, like in my office, or the shower, or in front of the T.V. Nothing changed except everything changed for me. I felt like a prisoner who got parole or maybe day passes. Everything was better because of my side trips and my life stayed intact. I avoided detection and my life went smoothly on.

I wrecked my car. Without noticing I had started sliding through that door in traffic. I would slip through and come back to find that while I was building that sand castle on that tropical beach, I suddenly arrived at work with no memory of having driven there. At first I fought it, but after a few visits with no trouble I just gave in. The door was getting easier to find and all the more attractive as time passed. So imagine my surprise when one fine Tuesday ( or was it Thursday? Days no longer seemed to matter much) I was snatched back with a thump to my head through the door to find that my dependable and respectable car was almost windshield deep in the ass end of a minivan. In those dazed minutes all I could think about was how my head hit the door jamb. Not the steering wheel, the belt prevented that and my airbag somehow was a dud, but the door jamb of my imaginary passageway! As I looked around feeling a creeping terror and confusion, not noticing the bloody woman screaming about her baby or the people running past my car to help her, I could see it. I could actually SEE that doorway! It was like looking through a cracked open door from almost a one hundred eighty degree angle. I could see nothing through that slit of open door except bright light and vague colors. I touched my forehead and felt the knot there, already painful and puffing, and I was really “ in the real” as I called it, but I could still see the door. I became terrified, not because there was a very pissed off cop at each front window demanding I get out, or because I finally noticed the blood covered woman holding the infant in her arms, the blue blanket splotched and smudged with what I vaguely began to hope was her blood, but because I could feel a suction-like sensation trying to pull me through toward that door. As I fought to focus on this new hellish reality I felt that undertow like pull fade.

I didn’t go to jail. The mother was only slightly hurt and her son not at all, but I paid a hell of a lot more than $200 and I collected a dismissal notice from my company, apparently my side trips had affected my performance enough so that they no longer needed my services. I also collected a note from my girlfriend who was once dependable claiming that that trait I had worn out and she was too respectable to stay with someone like me now. I found myself unemployed and , much worse , uninsured. I couldn’t get back on my medication and I could sense that door waiting for my focus to slip. I would be waiting for interviews or filling out applications and that undertow would begin and I would panic and claw my way back to reality. I couldn’t let myself go back through that passageway. I knew I’d never make it back. Also I had begun to suspect that if I did go back through I’d find my fairytale land and been replaced by a world of horrors or a void and they’d stick the screaming shell of me, all that would be left of me, in some cell.

I sold the house. I got my meds. I found a job and an apartment and even a slightly less dependable and respectable car ( big, ugly P.O.S. to tell the truth) but something isn’t right. Despite the pills, and a dosage increase, that door is still there. For years now it’s been there gaining strength. So now here we are. I’ll be gone soon. The undertow is irresistible now. I should have left well enough alone but as Nietzsche once warned , I’ve looked long into that void and now it’s looking not through me, but at me hungrily. The void a secret passageway, or a door, or maybe just the fang-lined mouth of a monster better left alone. It’s calling me now. I’ll see you on the other side, maybe during your next company meeting, maybe your next plane or sub ride. Just come on in, the door will be open, it never closes and there’s no where to hide, the door opens IN.

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3 comments

Anthony Neal
19:07 Mar 05, 2020

What a gripping opening! Very dark, tense and poetic. Great job - loved it.

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Roland Aucoin
01:37 Mar 05, 2020

The deepening sense of drift of, to, then through the door is so smooth, you can feel it. "Way Cool!" I especially like your description of the driftings and the ending with its welcoming to 'come on in!'. Delightful.

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03:01 Mar 02, 2020

This story keeps you In suspense following as you journey paragraph by paragraph.

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