As Alfred began to turn the door knob, this thought flashed in his mind. Is it safe to enter? He hesitated and let that thought linger. Is it safe to go into this room, if it is a room?
His fingers slid away from the door. Was it safe?
He looked down the hallway. His bedroom on the left and his office to the right, that was all the rooms that the upstairs had. Had, until this door appeared. He didn’t understand how it got there, where it came from, and where it lead.
Are you sure you’re awake? Could this be a dream, or a nightmare?
Alfred breathed deeply, and gave his arm a pinch. The pain reassured him he was awake. But that reassurance didn’t help the real issue. There was a mystery door in his house.
What if there is something on the other side? Can I defend myself?
A step back seemed to be Alfred’s answer to his own question. As a paper pusher, he wasn’t overly athletic or physically fit. No match for whatever could be waiting for him.
He looked down as he reached into his pocket for his phone.
The door knob rattled.
No. That did not just happen. The door knob did not just rattle. I’m tired. It’s late. My mind is playing tricks on me.
His bottom lip began to quiver. Logic was not helping the situation, because as true as his statements were about his feeling exhausted and the hour being late, the pain from his pinched arm reminded him of what was truer still.
A mystery door had appeared in his house. And yes, the door knob did rattle.
Alfred carefully pulled his phone out of his pocket, both eyes still fixed on the door knob. Could he ring the police without looking? Did he dare look away?
A panicked breath and Alfred looked down at his phone. 9. 1.
Alfred froze. His eyes clamped shut. Every muscle In his body locked up.
That did not just happen it. That did not just happen. The door is still closed. The door is still closed. Maybe it was the sound of your phone, he told himself trying to calm his racing heart.
It could have been your phone…but it would have made a noise when you pressed 9.
Another anxious breath, and Alfred knew that was true. That could only mean it was the door knob. Did he dare open his eyes to confirm that?
He licked his lips, trying to ease his nerves. It didn’t help. His mouth was dry from the heavy breathing. His hands however were beading with sweat. How could this be happening? And why to him? A simple guy that never bothered anyone; why would this horror plague him?
A deep gulp was the only sound he heard. Everything was still. No freaking of the door opening. No floor boards moving. Just his steady breathing and the occasional gulp. Seconds dragged on into minutes. Minutes into hours. What felt like days for Alfred passed.
I can’t keep doing this. I can’t just stand here anymore.
Alfred gathered what little courage he could muster, and began to open one eye. It was a slow and calculated move, tilting his head to the right as if to dodge an oncoming punch. The door blurred into vision.
Oh, God no.
The door was open. Just a crack. Just enough to overwhelm Alfred’s heart with dread.
Did something come out while I had my eyes shut? Is there something in my house now? Do I close the door? What if that traps it in here with me? Would it be safer for me to go in there if it’s in here? What if there is more than one? What if all this is a trap?
He winced, and turned away from the door altogether. He was starting to get a headache from the limitless possibilities. What was he going to do now? Should he just leave the house? Forget the door even exists?
That thought brought some relief to his soul. Yeah, I could just walk away from this. From this door. From this house. I could leave and never think about it.
The door creaked.
Oh no. No. No. No. No.
The labored breathing and panic was back. Alfred grabbed onto the staircase failing to brace himself. That and something to hold onto if he started to get dragged away.
Again he was left waiting, and wondering. Time slowly passed until Alfred started to loosen his grip.
Maybe there is nothing behind the door. Maybe there is no monster, no reason to fear. But reality again hit him. There was still a mystery door in his house. And it opened. By itself.
Alfred leaned heavy on the railing. A exasperated blink, and then he had decided. It was time to go through that door.
He put one foot in front of the other. For a man that was rarely curious, he wasn’t sure what to expect. Should he dare to be bold and fake some grand authority? Be the hero that he secretly wished he was?
Another step forward. Then another. His foot hit the threshold of the door. He looked down. The door was open, just enough that he had to move it to get in. It was taunting him, teasing him into pushing it wide. Who knew what would happen then?
Alfred looked straight ahead. He took one last deep breath to calm himself, and looked down. The door knob was waiting for him. He reached out his hand, and grabbed it. The cold metal handle reaffirmed that this was all real. Whatever Alfred found behind that door was just as real as his house. Just as real as he was.
He put his right foot forward, stepping into the blackness. It enveloped him. Alfred turned back to see his safe haven, but it was gone. There was nothing.
Oh, what have I done?