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“The curiosity gets the best of me, so with slow, shaky steps, I walk towards the door. With a gentle push it opens to reveal the ancient glory of the manor. The whispers of long passed spirits echo through the entry.” A ball would then begin, of ghosts, and some would notice the living person invading their home. Chaos would ensue, leading to the narrator/main character having to defend the world outside the manor from the spirits.
The box. The door. The crumbling brick. It begged me to enter.
I hesitated. There was no knowing what would lie beyond. Was it dangerous? Was there some kind of magical mystery hidden within?
Or was it just the broken, forgotten remains of yet another empty lonely building?
The latter was the most likely. But I couldn’t ignore the curious itch and the twitching of my fingers as my eyes remained locked on the faded painted wood.
My gaze then drifted to the dark door knob. Biting my lip, I then strode forward after taking a deep breath. My hand shook as I took the rusty knob into my grasp. I tried to turn it, but it wouldn’t budge, so I used both hands. The old metal was stubborn, but eventually gave way.
I nearly fell as the door swung open with a loud creak. Regaining my balance, I looked in. My eyes fell wide, whether in disbelief or shock, I didn’t know. However, what I did know was that what laid before my eyes wasn’t possible.
Endless fields of grass, bright sunshine, and large ancient trees met my gaze. I felt a soft, warm breeze brush past my cheeks from inside. Bobbles of light fluttered languidly, all kinds of sizes and colors. I didn’t dare move, nor could I look away. I remained transfixed.
Then there was a figure obstructing my view, coming upon me so suddenly I jumped from fright, falling back with a muffled yelp. There was a warm chuckle. I flushed in embarrassment, and again my curiosity got the better of me.
I looked up. There was a tall figure standing there, looking at me. The sun was behind them, and too bright for me to distinguish any features. It was then I noticed the large hand held towards me, patient and imploring. Then came their voice.
“Come. It is time to go.”
I couldn’t resist. There was no hesitation. No regret. No fear. Nothing but eager joy and the promise of something new, strange, and exciting.
I grabbed the hand.
The box. The door. The crumbling brick. It begged me to enter. I opened the door and stepped inside. It was dark and the building was obviously old. It was practically falling apart.
“What are you doing here?”
I jumped at the voice. I looked to where the sound had come from; a corner. Sitting in that corner was a girl. Old clothes. Messy hair. Dirty shoes. It was THE girl.
“Well? I asked you a question.”
I stumbled with my words. “The, the box. It had a note to come here. At this time. I thought… I thought you wanted to see me.”
She glared. “The box wasn’t meant for YOU. It was meant for my uncle, Patrick. The only reason you got it was because it was sent to the wrong house.”
I took a cautious step forward, the floor creaking. “Please, whatever is wrong I can help. Why did you want your uncle? I’m sure I could do something.”
She stood. “The box contained this address, and a note. Right?”
I nodded. “Right.”
“I needed his help because my food was running out. It ran out this morning.” When I didn’t show any sort of sign that I understood, she explained. “My parent’s died when I was young. My uncle took me in until I could take care of myself, but as soon as I could, he threw me out. He didn’t want me ruining his precious reputation. He still gives me money and food, but doesn’t care to talk much. I sent that box with the address and note so we could talk. I planned on telling him about my food shortage, and I was going to ask if I could live with him again. Life is hard on the streets. You wouldn’t understand. Now do you get it? You can’t ‘help.’ No one can. Only my uncle.” She turned away. “And I don’t think he will.”
I took another step closer, wanting to do SOMETHING. “Please? I WANT to help. I can tell your hurt, but that’s no reason to push people away. It’s a reason to pull them closer.” I saw a small tear trickle down her cheek. She turned to see me and walked closer, her eyes filling. Unexpectedly, she wrapped me into a tight hug.
My eyes wide, I stared down at her head, but then hugged back. “I’ll help you. I promise.”
“With trembling fingers, I grasp the doorknob and turn. The door swings open with ease on its long-rusted hinges, and I step through the doorway into a room that looks strangely familiar. In fact, the furnishings seem almost identical to a room in which I have just stood, gazing curiously at a patch of exposed brick.” Beyond the door would be an alternate universe in which the main character was never born (think a cross between “Coraline” and “It’s a Wonderful Life”). The main character would find herself stranded in this alternate world, although one thing draws her there: everybody in this alternate world feels she’s the one aspect of their life that’s been missing all this time, like she’s a missing puzzle piece. And that’s because that’s exactly what she is.
The box. The door. The crumbling brick.
It begged me to enter.
I step towards it, curiosity overwhelming, hesitation a far off thought. What could possibly be hidden behind this door? Any number of things, perhaps. There could be a whole new world out there, of forests green with growth and filled with magical creatures, or rivers cerulean blue and pure, of towns and castles, the things of dreams.
Or there could be nothing at all. Nothing but emptiness. Blank and colorless, it could be the vastness of complete nothingness.
How will I know, however, if I do not open the door?
Silently I walk forward, hand outstretched, twisting the knob, and with a deep breath, I thrust it open.
Darkness. Not a single light to be seen. I cannot see a single inch in front of me. Blindly I stumble forward, taking a single step into the depth of the complete blackness.
Suddenly something seizes my waist and I cry out in confusion and fear as I am yanked deeper into the doorway.
Behind me, the door slams shut with finality, completely encasing me in the pitch black.
And all I hear… is mad laughter.
The box. The door. The crumbling brick. It begged me to enter but how could this possibly be the right address? Why would my husband want me to come to this abandoned place on my birthday? I double-checked the note he’d left me in a prettily wrapped box on the kitchen table and silently berated him. THIS is where he was bringing me for my 40th? My eyes stung with tears. I could feel a fight brewing in my chest. I took a step forward and pushed the blue door open. Instantly, I was blinded by bright lights and heard the chorus of my friends and family’s voices yelling with joy. “Surprise!”
The box. The door. The crumbling brick. It’s begged me to enter.
“Your curiosity is going to kill you one day” the words from my mom echo in my head.
I take a step closer to the door. I brush my hand down the blue paint and feel parts of it chip off under my skin.
I reach to the golden dented door knob and turn it slowly until I hear a click.
As I open the door it creaks like my granddads old bed that I used to jump on when I went over. Those memories still marinating in the back of my brain.
I purse my lips and regain my confidence as I pull, harder then usual. Surprisingly, the door is heavy as steel.
The door opened to a large black space that spelled of mildew and old newspapers.
“A paper mill..” I say under my breath as the light shines on the large old machines through cracked and broken windows.
My eyes open wide with glee as my young writer heart pumps faster.
“This is amazing!” I yell as I walk into the room.
I run my hand over the paper press and brush off the layers of dust underneath.
Being this close to history is so exciting to me.
“Heather?” I hear faintly across the room.
I walk towards the corner that I hear the voice from.
I see a small shadow sitting in the corner.
Why is it calling my name?
“Who’s there?” I ask
“Heather!?” I hear her call again
I reach my hand down to touch the figure and I feel a jolt as I open my eyes and sit up quickly in my bed.
“Heather, it’s 12pm your class start in 30 minutes. You need to get up now” My sister says to me.
It was a dream?
I look at my hand expecting to see black marks from the dust I touched.
It all felt so real?
I get out of bed feeling deflated and slightly disappointed that it wasn’t real.
Disappointed that I wasn’t ever going to experience that in real life.
I need to find that door.
That box and the cracked brick wall.
I need to find it.
I will find it.
The box. The door. The crumbling brick. It begged me to enter…
I slowly pulled the door open, gasping as I stepped inside.
The man standing in front of a strange panel turned and smiled at me.
“Hello! I’m the Doctor.”
The box. The door. The crumbling brick. It begged me to enter. I cautiously inched the door open. The inside didn’t look much better than the outside. Finding no immediate danger, I stepped in. The cold smell of age, mold, and sawdust filled my nostrils and my lungs. With a spluttering cough, I slowly took in the aura of the little room. It had yellowed patterns on the walls, and the few pieces of furniture that remained were covered in white cloths and dust. Feeling safer indoors than out, I steeled my nerves and closed the door behind me. My heart skipped a beat with every creak the door gave. Eventually, I was enclosed in suffocating blackness. My eyes gradually became accustomed to the dark. That’s when I saw them. Two little kids, huddled in the furthest, most concealed corner of the chamber. The smallest, a girl with muddy blonde hair that stuck out in every direction raised her pale face to look at me. She couldn’t have been more then five.
“Are you the good guys? Or the bad guys?” she asked in a voice so delicate and sweet, it made my heart throb.
If only I knew the answer.
“The box. The door. The crumbling brick. It begged me to enter. I stepped towards it, deeper into the alley it was located in, away from the noise of the city in which I lived. It was foolish, I know, walking towards a door that by all logic should only open to reveal crumbling wall, rats and the smell of mold and decay. But something pushed me forward, a whisper in the back of my mind that gleefully spoke of how adventures always started out of ordinary circumstances. Such as the discovery of an old door. But yet another voice screamed to run, to run and not turn back for the whole area spoke of darkness and the air seemed even colder then it should be, even for winter.
My heart beat faster as I lay my hand on the knob. It was dusty and worn, dulled by the elements and nearly falling off the door. But, for some reason, even in the dead of winter, the knob felt warm. And that warmth made me hesitate, arguing with myself for a long moment. It was foolish to think I would be swept away into an adventure simply by opening a door leading to what looked to be an abandoned building. I would sooner finds rats or a homeless person or even a dead body then a portal into a fascinating world or supernatural happenings such as ghosts or magic. But still, I had to open the door or else be haunted by what-ifs for the rest of my life.
I grasped the knob tighter and with a final glance around me, dimly noting that the noise of the city, usually so loud was now oddly far away. It only took a gentle push for the door to swing open and I caught a glimpse of a sort of silver light within the darkness of the building. I clutched my umbrella tightly, hoping that it would be a sufficient weapon if needed, and stepped forward. The door immediately slammed shut behind me, causing me to stumble further down what appeared to be a hallway and into what felt to be a male body.
I let out an embarrassing sound, high and shrill with fear as I jumped back, eyes wide and blinking rapidly in order to try to get used to the darkness. A male voice chuckled quietly and the sound seemed to echo eerily in the hall. “Ah, I did not mean to scare you, my Lady” the voice purred. I could make out blue eyes and a lightly mocking smile before the hall suddenly exploded with light. Unlike the outside of the building, the inside was beautifully decorated and in pristine shape. Dark red carpet on the floor and a pale gold on the walls. Candles lit the area and I got my first good view of the man. Tall and slender and dressed like a butler, in a black tailcoat and crisp white gloves. The mocking smile never left his face as blue eyes twinkled with amusement.
“So the Lady of the Ruby has found her way to the House, has she?” he continued as he gave a mocking smile. “If I had only known how easy it would have been to catch you, I would have set up shop here eons ago! You were always too curious for your own good.” I took a step back, wanting to scream but unable to voice my fears. The blue eyes turned even colder and the candles flickered and suddenly shone with black flames. “No need to worry, if you hand over the jewel that is in your possession, my master will grant you a swift death.” I blindly groped behind me for the door but I couldn’t touch it. A quick look behind me revealed no door but a seemingly unending hallway with countless doors. Without a thought I began to run, not understanding and cursing myself all at once. In stories, nothing ends well for the girl that naively walks into the unknown. And I had done so anyway. And now…Now, within a blink of an eye I knew I was neck deep in something I didn’t understand. But one thought kept repeating itself in my head as I ran, hearing the sound of calm footsteps behind me.
‘Ladyof the Ruby?’
The box. The door. The crumbling bring. It begged me to enter. But to enter, I knew, would mean my downfall.
All my life I’ve grown up being the good girl. The girl who did what was expected of her. I’m tired now. Gosh, I’m tired. Is it okay to say that? To say that I don’t want to live up to any more expectations? Is it wrong of me to want to do something for me for once? But I know that once I step through that door there would be no turning back.
“Come on, Lila! It’s just a club!” Willard laughs, tugging on my arm as the rest of the group sneaks in through the desolate back door of the club. “I thought you wanted to be more edgy, prove to your parents that you are you’re own person. Was I wrong? Are you just the poster child of The Reverend?”
“No.” I puffed and let him tug me through the door.
The box. The door. The crumbling brick. It begged me to enter.
Yet, I hesitated, my hands clenched into sweaty clusters of fingers placed limply by my sides. Everything was as promised in his detailed explanation, and the anticipation of what was waiting for me could not quite mask the leveled fear that brewed deep within.
I untangled my hands, and managed a shaky breath as I inched towards the door. The box that rested at the corner of the door had my name scribbled on the top, and I immediately recognized the lazy loop of the S, the pensive halt of the H. He was here. This was for me. For us.
Impatiently, I opened the trinket to reveal a nostalgic looking key. Deep shades of faded bronze and hints of rust entwined the decorative design, and I impulsively imagined what this key signfied. My heart, my mind, my soul…
His calming voice resonated within my mind, reassuring me that there would be joy, and happiness, and bountiful love on the other end of this door. Excitement and anxiety bubble from my body in a lazy lamentation. It was now, or never.
I cautiously coaxed the key into the door, and gave a slight nudge. My eyes met an abyss of blackness as it creaked open. My senses were immediately overwhelmed by every aspect of him. His aromatic musk wafted through the air, and the welcoming essence of his being eased the goosebumps on my skin.
Again, I remembered his final words the night before. His deep, everlasting hazel eyes longingly piercing mine as he bent his head for one last kiss. The tender caress of his fingertips along my shoulder blades, the natural warmth of his body pressed against mine. His vow of love and loyalty until mournfully, we parted ways and he vanished behind the door.
Cautiously, but ever so surely, I carried his name on my lips, and ventured into the black.
The box. The door. The crumbling brick. It begged me to enter.
I was never one to follow my intuition. Mother always said curiosity killed the cat, but she was no longer here, and I wanted answers. My mom, she’s not dead. Well, at least I hope she’s not. My memories are a bit foggy but I remember she was making dinner, Spaghetti Saturdays, it was my favorite meal. I remember her voice, as soft as a whisper, telling me to come eat, but when I arrived at the dinner table she was gone.
The police report said she ran away, but I knew better. All her belongings were here; her purse, car keys, shoes. The evidence didn’t add up.
I also remember a shadow figure sitting beside me at the dinner table, but I never told the police that.
Since I was ten and was being raised by a single mother who according to police ran away. I was put into foster care. When I was fifthteen my foster parents notice I was having night terrors, and emmited me into a mental hospital. I spent two years there. Where they helped me cope with my mothers disappearance and…the shadow figures who haunts my dreams. The pills they subscribed me with help suppress my dreams about them. I don’t like the way they make me feel, but they help…it helps.
Once I turned eight teen I left my foster parents, and got a place of my own. A small studio apartment in downtown Chicago. Where on the first day of moving in, I recieved a box addressed to me, by my real name, Nathaniel Robinson, and it was from my mother. . .
Inside the box was a map, passports, tickets, money and a letter that read.
“If only you knew the lengths I went through to get this message to you. I know you must have many questions, and they will all be answered if you follow this map and open the door, but the decision is yours. It wont have a happy ending but no matter what you choose to do, I love you Nathaniel. ”
Now I’m here, in front of this door, with my curiosity screaming to see whats on the otherside. My intutition telling me to turn back, but I was already emotionally invested and I couldn’t hold together the rage inside of me that wanted to know what happened to my mother or why she left me. I had a decision to make, but if I only knew I made the wrong one. I wouldn’t had past through that door. What awaited me on the other side was a whole entire world. Not the one from fairytails, but ones made from nightmares. Where missing mothers commanded vast armies of creatures, and shadow figures kidnapped humans and ate children.
Hello, my name is Nathaniel Robinson.
My mother is part of a resistance in another world. She has recruited me for her cause.
I don’t know who you are, or where you found this letter, but this means we are losing the fight.
We need your help….
Brianna Kobylka:The box. The door. The crumbling brick. It begged me to enter. Mother was waiting for me, but that didn’t matter. I had to go in. Pushing open the decrepit door, slowly, with dust filling my mouth as I did, I looked around in awe.
All over the room, words. Covering the walls,paragraphs and papers and books. The person who had been in here last had loved words, understood their importance and the effect it could have on the world. There were quotes lining the floor, and ink stains which had remained for the longest time. I grinned in amazement.
“Where are you? I’m waiting for you!” Mother called, oblivious to the little treasure I had found.
I took one last longing glance about the room, then turned and closed the door which would lead to my utmost happiness. All those stories and ideas, what wasn’t to love?
A whisper wafted through the wood.
“Can you get me some toilet paper?”