The unopened door, part 19

Gradually I managed to quiet my mind, with an aim to focus only upon the thoughts that seemed to be emanating from this tiny being hovering in the air before me. It was a strange sensation, I must say, to listen not with my ears but rather with my mind.

Slowly but surely, the thoughts from the strange little being began to form themselves in my head. At first I sensed only sadness — no, not sadness — loneliness. There had been a long journey, traveled over an unfathomably large distance, with terrible losses suffered along the way.

I came to understand that the creature I beheld was a voyage, but not just any voyager. The journey it had undertaken was unlike any known to humankind. My mind had difficulty encompassing the vastness of its odyssey. I simply had no point of reference for such a thing.

Yet there was more. There had been another, very much beloved, now lost to time. I was beginning to understand — there was a pattern here.

I cannot say for certain whether the creature was learning to understand the workings of my human mind, or whether my mind was managing to learn an alien way of thinking.

Yet in the end it did not matter at all. I saw now that my path was clear.

The unopened door, part 18

We stared at each other, the strange little flying creature and I, for how long I cannot say. Time began to drift, as though reality itself had entered another dimension.

At some point I began to become consciously aware of another sensation entirely. I realized that my unconscious mind had been trying to inform me of this new sensation for quite some time. This knowledge had in fact been hovering just out of the range of my awareness.

Gradually the sensation began to change, to evolve, acquiring a new level of vividness and urgency. It was almost as though a voice was speaking to me.

I felt the presence of this uncanny voice not from without, but from within, inside of my own mind, although I knew such a thing to be impossible. Yet what is the impossible, but a possibility that has yet to be encountered?

I cannot pinpoint the precise moment when I realized that the little creature was trying to speak to me. The communication in question was not in words precisely, but in some form of expression that was far deeper and more primal, yet not any the less articulate for that.

But what was it trying to say?

The unopened door, part 17

Whatever the small flying thing was, it was clearly metallic in nature, and it seemed to be emitting a faint high pitched buzzing sound. I conjectured that perhaps I was gazing upon a machine of some sort.

Yet if the thing was indeed of mechanical construction, it was unlike any mechanism I had ever seen or heard of. Assuming such hypothesis to be correct, either I was witnessing the fruit of an experiment out of some clandestine laboratory, or else this was a mechanism heretofore unknown to humankind.

It came to me that if I could only catch and somehow confine the strange little apparition, I would then be able to further examine it at leisure. I swatted at the thing, trying to grab it with my free hand, but it easily darted out of the way.

At that point, I expected it to fly away, but that is not at all what happened. In fact, it did the one thing I would have least expected — it came right up to me, hovering in the air before my eyes, whereupon it appeared to be looking at me in the face.

It came to me in that moment that the two of us were engaged in highly symmetrical activities: I was earnestly examining the strange little flying apparition, and simultaneously the little apparition was earnestly examining me.

We had seemingly arrived at a standoff. Yet how, if at all, did any of this relate to the strange events of the proceeding hours? Surely the juxtaposition of two such improbable happenings could not be explained by coincidence alone. And what, I wondered, would happen next?

As it turned out, I was shortly to find out.

The unopened door, part 16

I picked up the tiny object, and examined it closely. In general proportion it was, to my surprise, rather similar to the house behind me, although of course on a greatly smaller scale. Why my mind would so leap toward an association between two objects so vastly disparate in size and purpose was a mystery even to myself.

Turning the object gently between my fingers, I saw that there was something odd about the surface material of the object. On the one hand, it appeared vaguely pearlescent in nature. Yet as I rotated the strange little object between my thumb and forefinger, the colors upon its surface appeared to move and shimmer in a way that seemed to defy the laws of optics, almost as though the surface itself were somehow alive.

As my fingers continued to rotate the curious little box — for I soon realized that its likely purpose was to serve as a container of some kind — I espied a small cavity on one side. Before I had had a proper chance to examine this cavity, I was startled by the unexpected apparition of some — thing — flying out.

The unopened door, part 15

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

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

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

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

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

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.