Archive for November, 2018

The unopened door, part 15

Friday, November 16th, 2018

The interior of the house was empty. Not merely empty, but barren of all furniture, or any evidence of inhabitation for that matter. It was a dark and empty cadaver of an interior, devoid of any sign of life.

What I saw before me was merely a hollow and empty shell, as though the house had never been inhabited at all. Long I remained there, gazing with wondering eyes, trying to reconcile the sight before me with my still vivid memories of the last several hours.

At last, having satisfied myself that there was nothing here to see, I relaxed my grip upon the window sill, and allowed myself to drop unto the ground below. To my great relief, I found the earth to be soft beneath my feet, a quality which served well to cushion my fall.

In a daze, I staggered away from the house, my mind filled with a tangle of contradictory thoughts. I knew in that moment that this mysterious dwelling held no more fascination for me, and my only clear desire was to escape this place of madness.

I managed to walk twenty paces from the house, when I espied a small object upon the ground. Curious, I knelt down to gain a closer vantage point.

The unopened door, part 14

Thursday, November 15th, 2018

My fingertips made contact with the edge of the window sill, mere moments before my body felt a corresponding yet rather more forceful contact with the wall below. Despite the sudden physical shock, I hung on with extreme tenacity, maintaining my precarious grip upon the sill through sheer force of will.

After I had established to my satisfaction that I was indeed clinging securely to the side of the building, and the beating of my heart had been restored to a semblance of its usual rate, I took stock of my situation. I saw that my perch, precarious to begin with, was also rather high up in the air.

Stealing a single nervous glance downward, I felt a momentary lurch in my stomach, as I at last ascertained the rather significant distance between my two dangling feet and the ground below.

With a focused concentration of will, I managed to pull myself up by the force of my arms. At last I could nearly see into the house — just a few more inches to go.

With one final effort, I was able to lift myself to a sufficient height above the window sill so as to allow my eyes an unobstructed view of the interior of the abode. What I saw there caused me to gasp out loud in astonishment.

The unopened door, part 13

Wednesday, November 14th, 2018

I looked toward the house, seeking clues as to a way inward. Thereupon, I made a startling discovery. The window shutters, which had heretofore been firmly shut, were now wide open.

I immediately resolved to look inside, but quickly realized that this would not be easy. The house was of that older variety, of which it is the custom to attach a short flight of stairs leading up to the main entranceway.

I had paid these stairs no mind before, and in fact had both ascended and descended the stairs without having given them a moment’s thought. But now they assumed a renewed significance.

For the high placement of the door ensured that the windows too were located at a considerable distance above the outside ground. I would need to raise myself up to that level in order to peer inside.

I searched for a suitable perch, which would afford me the requisite adjustment in height. Yet my search, alas, was in vain, for there was no such suitable object to be found.

Bracing myself for the inevitable, I stood some distance away from the house, and began to run toward the window as fleetly as my legs could carry me. At a well timed moment, I leapt summarily into the air, simultaneously reaching for the waiting protrusion of the window sill.

In truth, I knew the outcome would be uncertain. Either my fingers would land correctly or they would miss the mark, in which instance I would fall to the ground with an ignominious thud.

Such were my thoughts during that one endless moment in which I hung, suspended, in midair.

The unopened door, part 12

Tuesday, November 13th, 2018

I felt confident in my hard-won knowledge of the house and its mysterious ways. Now that I knew the path inward, I felt certain I would be able to master its strange magic, with the power to arrive and depart whenever I might wish.

I walked confidently to the path over at the side of the house. I looked forward to once again traversing its magical stones — for I now understood that this was no mere mortal abode.

Yet I now found the path transformed. The formerly perfect alignment of the stones had been altered beyond all recognition. Where once they had fit one to another like the intricate pieces of a well-wrought puzzle, now there were jagged gaps. All here was randomness, without the slightest hint of rhyme or reason.

Quickly I hastened to the garden, for I was eager to reenter through the little side door and be reunited with my bride. Yet the garden was not to be found!

Surely there must be some error. Perhaps the path had split in two, and I, unawares, had veered away from the house. Yet by and by I came to the rear corner of the house. What madness was this?

Stifling a growing sense of panic, I turned the corner and continued around. There were brambles and stray tree limbs in my way at every step, yet impatiently I pushed through these obstacles. At long last I came to a familiar sight. My blood ran cold as I realized I was back at the front of the house. I had arrived where I had started — at the unopened door!

This was indeed a strange occurrence. Yet what happened next was even stranger.

The unopened door, part 11

Monday, November 12th, 2018

Filled with a sudden sense of purpose and adventure, I sprung up from my seat. I found myself filled with curiosity concerning what strange visions might now lie just on the other side of that door.

“Whatever is the matter, dear?” was the question from my perplexed bride.

“I have a sudden urge,” I replied, “to open the front door.”

Was it merely my imagination, or did her lovely features distort and take on an oddly demonic aspect, for just a moment? Surely it was merely my overwrought imagination at work, for in another moment I perceived that all was as it had been — my beloved’s usual cheerful countenance and demeanor had been fully restored.

“There is no need,” she admonished. “It is cozy right here, is it not? Just the two of us alone, with all the time in the world together.”

At those words I felt an odd sense of foreboding, as though some terrible thought were trying to intrude upon my brain, hovering just barely beyond conscious reach. “I think,” I replied slowly, “that it would be pleasant to have a bit of air.”

Before she could object, I had walked over to the unopened door, and on an impulse had flung the bolt and stepped through the portal. Once outside, I looked around me in some surprise.

The scene before me was precisely as it had been when I had first approached the house. For some reason, this was not at all what I had expected. As I peered around, examining my surroundings, I felt a rush of air, and could hear the door slam shut behind me.

“Ah!” I replied, “it must be the wind.” I turned around and tried the doorknob, but the door would not move — not even an inch.

I was rather more amused than concerned at this sudden development. For now I knew something I had not known before — the way back in.

The unopened door, part 10

Sunday, November 11th, 2018

It was the door. Not the side door through which I had entered, but the one in the very front of the house — the unopened door.

In my mind I traced our route through the house, starting from the location of my ingress, and realized that the door before me was located precisely at the point from which I had first approached the dwelling. The difference was that now I was seeing it from the other side.

At first I regarded the door as a mere curiosity. After all, I already knew that it could not be opened. And what is a door that cannot be opened, I mused, but a particularly ornamental section of wall?

But then, upon further examination, I espied a small yet crucial detail. From my current vantage point, I could perceive at last that which could never have been seen from without: The door was bolted from the inside.

Of course! In a moment I understood the situation in its entirety. The lovely companion sitting beside me, my own beloved brought magically back to life, must have drawn the bolt as a sensible precaution against visitations from unwanted strangers.

I felt a thrill of delight at this realization. How wonderful it would be for the two of us to simply step through that portal hand in hand, and at last enjoy the happy life together which cruel fate had once denied us.

The unopened door, part 9

Saturday, November 10th, 2018

In this moment, I questioned my very sanity. Had I gone mad, or was this all a dream? The latter explanation seemed implausible, for the experience of my senses appeared far more real, more vivid, than any mere dream could ever be.

Yet madness seemed an entirely inadequate explanation. For if I were truly mad, would I have retained the presence of mind to question my own sanity? My thoughts in this regard were suddenly interrupted, in a most agreeable manner.

For the apparition of my beloved leaned forward again and bestowed another kiss upon my lips. And in that moment I was lost. I returned the kiss, and gave myself over completely to the reality of the situation.

“A ghost?” I heard myself reply, as though nothing out of the ordinary had transpired, “I understand such apparitions to be invisible. That fact alone would render them extremely difficult to see.”

“True,” she laughed, and with the sound of her laughter I felt a great burden lift from my soul. “Now that you have returned to yourself,” she said, “perhaps I can put on the kettle.”

“A spot of tea would be wonderful, my love,” I agreed. We retired to the living room, which seemed to be just as I had remembered it, and soon we were lost in conversation.

Yet there was something about the room that was not quite as I remembered. As our pleasant conversation continued, this discrepancy began to gnaw at me, distantly at first, then gradually with greater urgency.

What, exactly, was amiss? I found myself furtively scanning the room, examining it for details. And then, all at once, I had it.

The unopened door, part 8

Friday, November 9th, 2018

Long I stood there, eyes closed, not daring to see into what unfathomable situation I had stepped. I could feel a soft breeze at my back, as the air from the still open doorway behind me wafted gently in from the garden within which I had lingered merely moments before.

I took this occasion of temporary self-imposed darkness to listen carefully, taking in the sounds all around me. Off at some distance I could hear the uncertain rustling of the trees outside the house. Yet here within there were other sounds, sounds that seemed oddly familiar.

For example, I could make out the steady muffled ticking of a clock. It seemed to me that I had heard this particular clock before, although I could not, at the moment, place the memory.

Then I heard another sound that was far more surprising in its nature. It sounded for all the world like footsteps approaching. Yet surely this was impossible, for I knew the house to be abandoned.

My eyes remained tightly closed, now more out of fright than from any act of will on my part. While I stood there, still as a statue, my head was filled with a million thoughts. What manner of creature approached? Was I in mortal danger? Were these to be my last moments upon this earth?

And then I felt something completely unexpected — the touch of lips upon my lips. A kiss, warm wonderful and wholly familiar.

Startled, I opened my eyes wide. Standing there before me, with not a hair out of place, was my deceased bride.

“You are home early,” she said brightly. Then she peered more closely into my face, which in that moment had undoubtedly turned the color of alabaster.

“Darling,” she said, “you look as though you’ve seen a ghost.”

The unopened door, part 7

Thursday, November 8th, 2018

“Perhaps,” I thought to myself, “this is my long sought for passageway into the house.” It might have been wise, I shall admit, to exhibit prudence, given the eerie and inexplicable events that had attended my arrival.

Yet I found myself becoming oddly impatient. A touch of that strange madness which had earlier overtaken me now appeared once again to possess my will. Determined to tarry no longer, I felt in the moment that I must gain entry into this accursed abode, whatever the cost.

In a headlong rush, I proceeded through the garden in the direction of the little side door. Surely the answers to these mysteries would be found on the other side of that unassuming portal.

But then the oddest thing happened. As I continued to approach the door, it appeared to recede before my eyes. With every step forward, the little doorway seemed to become only smaller and farther away.

“It is but an illusion,” I said under my breath, and in that very moment I was struck with sudden inspiration. I closed my eyes and proceeded blindly onward, reaching out one hand as I walked forward in self-imposed darkness.

In moments my outstretched hand had closed upon a doorknob. Turning the knob, and taking care not to open my eyes until the deed was done, I flung wide the door, and stepped resolutely through the now open portal. At last I had entered the house!

The unopened door, part 6

Wednesday, November 7th, 2018

The revelations of the last several minutes had been so oddly unexpected, so deeply disturbing in their very nature, that some part of my mind wished to cease, then and there, any further exploration of this no doubt accursed abode. Yet there was, in another and perhaps darker portion of my soul, a craving toward the opposite outcome.

For the very madness of this situation, its sheer illogical perversity, had the inexorable effect of compelling some stubborn part of my being to continue in its explorations. Surely, I told myself, hoping to find a rational basis for my own inexplicable desire to continue, it is one’s obligation to seek a logical explanation for such an impossible place.

Perhaps this was all the work of some poor bedlamite, a hopelessly deranged yet undoubtedly talented charlatan, who had suffered a tragedy of his own, parallel to mine in one aspect or another. For this unfortunate individual, perchance my own bereavement had become a kind of mirror by which to illuminate his own grief twisted soul.

Toward this end, perceiving my interest in this singular dwelling, could such an individual have fashioned an elaborate facsimile of that wondrous garden which was held so dear by my late lamented beloved? All of this which I now saw about me, might it be the result of the workings of an insane yet unusually meticulous mind?

I was in the midst of pondering these odd yet strangely compelling possibilities when I perceived, at the end of a narrow path leading from the garden to one side of the house, a small door.