“Ghost Door”

Writing Prompt from thinkwritten

Prompt #27. Closed Doors: What’s behind the door? Why is it closed?

The door had been closed for as long as Evan could remember.

When his parents had first purchased the house, long before he was born, the door had been locked, and the key, missing. No one really ever spoke about it. Occasionally, someone would walk by it and swear they could see a light on in the room beyond. Once they checked again, however, it was determined that it was a trick of the light.

It never really occurred to Evan that the door should be opened. That was, until his mother and father both perished in an automobile accident one summer day. The driver in the other car swerved into them, knocking them into the guardrail. The car flipped, crashing into a canopy of trees. The branches swallowed up his mother, their finger-like claws digging into her heart, while the trunk of the tree dashed away his father’s head.

They were not pretty deaths.

Now, Evan stood before the door. He tapped his toe rhythmically on the floor as though keeping time along with some dangerous waltz. A handful of keys rested in his palms. For some reason, ever since the house was willed to him, he had to know what was behind the door. It called to him, yearning for him to open it and spill its delicious secrets. The world wanted to know, to rip it open and watch with yellow eyes and taste with diseased tongue.

That was what his life had become. Young yet, and never a good looker, Evan was alone now that his parents were dead. They had left him in the middle of college–the fool thought he could make a living as a novelist, even though he had never written a thing in his life–and they had left him poor. There had never been enough money in the house, really. Just enough to scrape by. Just enough food to keep them alive. Just enough soap to keep them clean, and enough clothing to keep them from being frozen. There were still hungry bellies and smelly feet; still cold winter days to moan about.

Ah, but now! Now this door would finally come down. Perhaps there was treasure behind it. Perhaps the previous owners had left some wonderful million dollar painting in a closet. Maybe the key to life was inside the locked away room. Maybe, maybe, maybe.

Alive with what could be inside, Evan started to fiddle with the keys. One, two, three. None fit. Growing frustrated, he slammed his fists against that stubborn door. The wood cracked slightly and some paint chipped for his efforts, but otherwise, it remained in solid, sturdy. With a grunt, he kicked at it and swore for it stubbed his toes.

“Damned thing,” he snarled. For the time being, he would wait. He would find a way in, even if he had to break the door down. He would bide his time, for a while at least. He turned away, spying a light under the door for a moment. When he turned to be certain, the light was gone again. Just a trick of the light.

Evan’s sleep that night was restless. He tossed and turned on waves of nightmares and dreams, the ocean of slumber threatening to swallow him up whole. When he awoke, he was panting, and his skin was slick with sweat. After fumbling with the bedside lamp, he finally managed to shed light upon the once inky-black room.

In the morning, he walked by the door again to get to the kitchen. He paused, studying it, trying to figure out what was different about it. Then it hit him like a train–the door was open. Just a crack, just a centimeter, but it was open. Stupefied, he stood before it with shaking hands. Just a push. Just to look inside and see, once and for all…

Slowly, as though afraid to break something, he pushed the door open to view what was inside. Dust greeted him at first, and spiderwebs the size of his torso. The darkness of the space beyond seemed to linger in his vision longer than it should have. He sneezed, and the spell was broken.

Beyond the door, a light flickered on.

Evan stepped into the room. It was painted pastel pink and cream in stripes. Through the dust he could make out hanging, framed pictures of little white rabbits and tabby orange kittens. There was an old cradle in one corner, and in another, a beautiful crib that matched the cream of the walls. A spider was making its home there, silently singing to sleep its young.

Here, the hopes and dreams of a should-have-been-mother died. The future of her child had been taken all too soon. A father wept here, knowing he could never touch his much loved and much anticipated baby girl. Together, a couple had come here, happiness in their hearts at first, only to have that joy ripped away from them.

It was not a nursery; the room was a tomb.

Slowly, Evan backed out, edging through the doorway until he could breathe again in the hall. Silently, he closed the door. There was a click, and once again, it was locked.


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