A day ago, reality took a nosedive, and something utterly inexplicable happened.
It was a most mundane thing that should change my life and that of my girlfriend Sue forever.
It was a door.
Not just any door, though, a door that appeared out of nowhere in our apartment.
I’d finished up work for the day and arrived back home to find Sue already back from her trip.
She’d been away for a few days, revisiting her home town and catching up with a couple of her old friends. After her father’s death, reminiscing about old times had become a big part of her life.
I was more than a bit surprised to find her back already, waiting for me in the living room.
“Babe, you’re back already! Holy shit, I missed you so much! Why didn’t you tell me anything, I’d have picked you up-”
“You’re really funny, you know that, Mike?”
“What do you mean?”
“How did you even have the time to do that?”
“Wait, what’s wrong? What are you talking about?”
“Oh come on, don’t play dumb with me,” she said, followed by a short, nervous laugh.
“Alright, Sue, what are you talking about?”
I could see how she eyed me carefully, looking for a reaction. When she didn’t get one, I saw how a mixture of fear and confusion contorted her face.
“That door! You put it there, right?”
“What door? I’ve got no idea what you’re talking-”
Without waiting for me to finish, she grabbed my arm and pulled me from the living room to the hallway.
That’s when I saw it. A wooden door on the wall of our hallway where no door should be. I blinked, closed my eyes, and looked again. It was still there.
“Come on, Mike, tell me you did this!”
Her eyes pleaded with me, wanting me to reveal that I’d put up a new door in our hallway while she was gone. Instead, I could do nothing but stare at the door.
“What the hell?” I finally brought out. Sue didn’t say a thing, she just kept staring at me.
“Seriously, I’ve got no idea what this is. How in the hell is something-”
“Mike, please,” she cut me off, “tell me you did this for whatever stupid reason!”
I shook my head. “No, that’s the first time I’ve seen this thing myself. It wasn’t here when I left for work this morning.”
We both turned to stare at the damned thing. It’s strange how something as mundane and dull as a plain wooden door can send pangs of fear and disbelief through your body.
After what felt like long minutes, I started down the hallway. It looked like any other door in our apartment. There was nothing strange about it. No ornate engravings, no rich details, no words of warning, nothing. Well, apart from the fact that it came out of freaking nowhere, that is.
Once I stood in front of it, I tapped against it with my finger. It felt real enough.
When I reached for the handle, Sue pulled my arm back in an instant.
Her eyes were wide with fear. “Don’t you dare, Mike!” she exclaimed. “We’ve got no idea what this is or where it came from, and you’re just going to open it like that?!”
I shrugged. “Well, shouldn’t it lead to Daren’s place? I mean, his apartment is on the other side of this wall, so…” I trailed off.
Sue’s eyes grew wide. “You think HE did this? Why? And I mean, how?”
I shrugged and made my way to the front door.
Daren was our next-door neighbor. He was friendly enough, but the guy was always hooked on whatever drug he could afford with his measly welfare money.
I had to ring his doorbell a full three times before he opened up.
I was greeted by an unwashed, filthy haired young man who stared at me with empty eyes for a few seconds. Then his bloodshot eyes grew wide when he recognized who I was.
“Yo, Mike, what’s up?”
“Hey, Daren, sorry to bother you, but did you notice anything strange at your place?”
Another few seconds of silence followed in which Daren seemed to think hard what the words ‘anything strange’ could mean.
“Like what, dude?”
“To be honest, I don’t even know how to explain,” I answered.
A minute later, Daren stood right next to me in the middle of the hallway. Sue gave me an annoyed look for dragging Daren into our apartment.
“Yo, so what’s this about?”
“That door! You see it, right?”
“Eh, yeah, a door, what about it?”
I explained to him what was going on, and after the third time, he seemed to finally grasp the situation.
“Yo, and you seriously have no clue where it came from?”
“None at all.”
“Shouldn’t it lead to your apartment?” Sue asked, annoyed.
For a moment, Daren stared at her blankly before he shrugged.
“Yeah, guess, you want me to check?”
Sue gave him a look of frustration that Daren somehow interpreted as a yes and made his way back to his place.
He wasn’t gone for long when we suddenly heard a low thumping from somewhere behind the door. It was soon followed by a quiet voice calling out to us. Sue cringed back in an instant and rushed from the hallway.
A minute later, Daren shuffled back into our place.
“Yo, you guys heard that?”
“Wait, that was YOU?” Sue demanded.
“Well, duh, who else would it have been?”
“What!? I thought-”
“Daren,” I cut off Sue’s outburst, “was there a door on your wall too?”
“What door? Oh, yeah. No door at all, just a wall.”
“It sounded so distant, you sure you hit the right wall? Maybe you went into the wrong room or something!”
For a moment, Daren thought about what Sue had said, then his face turned sour.
“You think I’m too stupid to figure out the right wall?”
“No, shit, man, that’s not what she meant,” I spoke up. “It’s just… this is all too weird.”
He shrugged, then his face lit up. “You wanna take a peek to see what’s behind?”
“No,” Sue exclaimed right away, crossing her arms in front of her body.
Sue’s eyes rested on me. She was so scared, basically begging me to agree with her. I sighed.
“Sorry, Sue, but maybe it’s just a plain old door with nothing but bricks and mortar behind.”
“Mike, you can’t be serious! How in the hell-”
“Yes, Sue, I am serious. Fuck, I’m as worried and scared as you are, but, I don’t know, maybe it’s a prank or something?”
“And by who? The renting company? Some crazed carpenter going around and installing random doors?”
I almost laughed, but then I saw how angry she was.
“Sorry, babe, but what do you want us to do? Put a closet or a curtain in front of it and pretend it doesn’t exist?”
“Yeah, maybe we should do exactly that, Mike! We don’t know what this is or… what might be behind!”
“It’s a damned door, so it should lead to a room, right?”
Sue just stared at Daren.
“You know Daren, why don’t you-”
Before she could even finish her sentence, I was fed up with this whole argument. I reached out for the door handle.
I took a deep breath, put down the handle, and carefully pulled the door open.
Sue shrieked up in surprise. Daren just stood there, staring at nothing.
For a moment, I expected something to happen. I didn’t know what, but I was prepared for almost anything.
Instead, nothing happened. What lay behind was an utterly ordinary room. It was small, square-shaped, and consisted of nothing but white walls and a white, wooden floor. Other than that, it was completely empty, no furniture and no evil entities.
How was there a room here? I should look right into Daren’s apartment, but this room here shouldn’t possibly exist. There was no way.
“You see this, too, right, Daren?” I asked.
“Yeah, sure, man, whatever,” Daren mumbled.
“It’s empty!” I called out to Sue.
“That’s great, no can you please shut it again?”
For a moment, I considered stepping inside, but then I closed it. Sue was right, this was not normal at all. A door on a wall was one thing, even if it came out of nowhere. A room that couldn’t physically exist; however, that was a whole different story.
“Well then,” I started turning to Daren.
For a moment, he didn’t react. Then he seemed to remember that he wasn’t in his own apartment, mumbled a “Goodbye,” and left.
The moment he’d left our apartment, Sue closed the door behind him.
It should’ve been at this point that we’d left the apartment. Hell, we should’ve left the moment we’d found that freaking door.
Yet, we didn’t. Instead, I did precisely what Sue had told me. I pushed a closet in front of it and pretended it didn’t exist.
I don’t know how we could’ve stayed so calm. I guess this whole situation was too absurd, too outlandish for our brains to comprehend. I mean, how could a door be dangerous?
So instead of leaving like we should’ve, we retreated to the living room. We followed our brains’ decision that everything was normal, put on a Netflix movie, and settled down on the couch.
Still, neither of us was able to focus on what was happening in the movie. We didn’t say much, our laughs were fake and hollow, and much too often, we glared anxiously at the door to the hallway.
Once the first movie was over, we continued with whichever Netflix suggest we should watch next. We’d barely started it when I noticed Sue dozing off next to me. It wasn’t long before I felt tired as well.
The movie was at the halfway mark when Sue jerked up. Her eyes were wide, her face a mask of terror.
“Sue? What’s up? Bad dreams?”
I got no answer. Instead, Sue rushed towards the hallway. A moment later, she was gone.
“Sue?” I called after her.
The moment I’d made it to the door, I heard the sound of something heavy being moved. It was Sue, pushing aside the closet I’d placed in front of the strange door.
A second later, she ripped it open. She gasped in shock and put her hands to her mouth.
“Sue, what are you doing? What’s going on?”
She slowly turned towards me. Her eyes were wide open, her hands were still in front of her face, frozen in shock. Tears were running down her cheeks.
“It’s dad,” she said matter-of-factly. “He’s here. I heard him call out to me and, my god, Mike, he’s right here!”
I stared at her face and the open door next to her in bewilderment. I couldn’t comprehend what was going on. The hair on my arms stood up, and a strange feeling took hold of me. No, this was wrong, this was not normal, it was dangerous, a voice screamed at me from inside my head.
In a few quick steps, I closed the distance between us and pulled her from the door. It fell shut the moment Sue let go of the handle, and for a moment, a profound misery flooded her face.
“No, dad’s,” she said, but broke up when she recognized me.
“Mike, how’s any of this even possible?”
That was it. I had no clue what had happened, but this was enough. I got my wallet, got my keys, and told Sue we had to get the hell out of that place. Sue nodded weakly, with the tears were still streaming down her cheeks.
“I swear it, he was there, and he was alive! Inside that room!” Sue explained to me once more.
I didn’t say a thing. I didn’t know what I could even say to anything like that.
It was impossible, completely, and utterly absurd, but so was a door appearing out of nowhere. My hands were clutching on to the steering wheel as I drove on in silence.
“Why don’t you say anything!?” Sue screamed at me.
“And what do you want me to say?!”
At that, Sue was quiet. Staring out the window until we pulled up at a hotel not too far from our apartment.
I explained to the young receptionist that we needed a room for the night. Within minutes Sue and I ended up in a hotel room that was much too small and much too expensive.
Sue was still not really there. I went over to her and kissed her.
“Sue, I’m sorry, but whatever it was, it’s not real. Your father’s dead. There’s no way he could’ve been in that room. Whoever, or whatever it was-”
“And how can you be so sure? How do you know it wasn’t him?”
She started crying again, her small body quivering in my arms.
“Dammit Mike, I know, I know, but, but seeing him again, hearing his voice, I just wanted to talk to him, to tell him how much I loved him and-”
“I know, Sue, I know,” I held on to her as she sobbed quietly.
Sue and her father had been close, very close. Her mother had died young when Sue was still a little girl. Her father was heartbroken, of course, but he gave his all to take care of his daughter. Sue loved the man more than anything.
Her father never told her about the cancer. Sue and I had recently moved into the city, starting our own life together. I think the old man didn’t want his daughter to worry.
She only found out months later, when she was informed about his death.
Sue broke down that day. There was pain, there was regret and worst of all, she never got to tell him how much she loved him.
That day part of her soul irrevocably broke. A wound so deep, it can never be truly healed.
And whatever was in that damned room, whatever she’d seen tonight had torn at it once more, and now it was festering again.
As I held on to her, I hated myself for the part I’d played in all this. If only we’d left the place earlier.
It was an hour before Sue finally settled down and fell asleep. As she lay there, quietly breathing, cradled in my arms, I too drifted off to sleep.
When morning came, I was alone in bed.
I called her name, checked the bathroom, but there was no trace of her.
A creeping panic slowly crawled into my mind. Oh god, Sue, don’t tell me you went back!
Panic turned to realization when I saw that my car keys were missing.
I never knew what a mixture of adrenaline and panic can do to your body. The hotel wasn’t far from our apartment, but it would still take a good twenty minutes on foot to get back there.
I made it in half of that. The whole time I had my phone in my hand, calling Sue over and over again. I screamed at the ringing phone, screamed at the voicemail that answered, but I never reached her.
The moment I made it back to our apartment, I was greeted by nothing but deep and utter silence. You never notice just how quiet a place can actually be when you never truly listen.
“Sue?” I called out once more, her name reverberating through the empty apartment.
The only answer I got was the same, deep silence. I went from one room to the next, but she was nowhere to be seen.
Finally, I tried her phone once more. Her happy ring tone cut through the silence, banishing it.
For me, however, there was nothing happy about it because the place I found her phone was right in front of that disgustingly mundane, wooden door.
For a moment, I was frozen in disbelief and terror. Then I ripped open that damned door prepared to barge into whatever room lay behind.
I almost jumped forward and crashed straight into a wall made of nothing but brick and mortar.
It was at this point that I lost it. I screamed until my throat was sore. I beat and clawed at the wall until my fists were swollen, and my fingers were an almost useless, bloody mess.
Finally, my legs gave way, and I fell to my knees as nothing but a shaking, sobbing mess. I don’t know how long I sat there.
I think Daren was at my door at one point, asking what the hell was wrong, but I didn’t react.
By now, it’s already evening. Not even a day has passed since that door appeared in our apartment, but everything has changed.
I’m still sitting in front of the door. I’ve opened countless times, but there’s nothing behind it.
Not too long ago, I started typing this all out. It’s not because I have to, not because I hope for answers.
No, it’s to kill time until that room will appear once more, and I can see Sue again.
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