The Doorway. Short Story.

The door was never opened. Shelly was living in the apartment for 3 months before she realised it. On the tour they had just gone right past it, at the time she made a mental note to check it out later, but then she completely forgot. By all accounts it didn’t make sense. The door would lead to the apartment next door if opened, but she never heard noises coming from there, nothing ever fell against it. Every now and then it would occur to her to check, but once again the thought would leave just as quickly as it came. At some point she realised that she had already decided what would be there when she opened it. Nothing, absolutely nothing. Just a solid wall. As the thoughts of the door became more frequent she always found herself shaking her head and telling herself she was being silly. The door between the two apartments was bricked up and they left the door there in case they wanted to join them again. It made sense, but it didn’t explain her reluctance to actually see it for herself. She found herself standing in front of it once or twice, that plain brown door with its brass coloured handle, the handle that she never touched. She had reached out for it, but just before her fingers could brush against it she’d stop and lower her hand, there was no point, it was locked. Of course it would be locked and she didn’t have a key.

As time went on the door started to make her feel nervous, she didn’t know why though. It wasn’t like anyone could get through, it was sealed up and locked after all. Still, the fears remained. Eventually she moved the long, thin table in front of it, telling herself it helped spruce up the place. On the table she placed a delicate glass vase and a bouquet of fake flowers, the real ones she used never seemed to last long before they wilted and died, a few days at best, obviously from the lack of sun.

Shelly woke with a start as something smashed, she rubbed her eyes and listened for a moment, there was no other noise. She sighed, Pickles, her cat, had probably knocked something into the sink again. Wouldn’t be the first time she lost a glass and wouldn’t be the last either. She glanced at her clock, she’d have to get up soon anyway, might as well deal with it before the idiot ended up cutting himself. When she stepped into the hall she saw the shattered vase. She shook her head, damn cat. It seemed to have broken into fairly large chunks at least. Shelly went back into her room and grabbed her slippers, then went back to the hall.

When it was finally clean she went into the kitchen to make herself a cup of coffee. She hadn’t seen Pickles yet, no doubt he was hiding from the noise and the scolding he knew was coming. She had never really wanted a cat, but she had taken him in after an old roommate got him. She didn’t like how Karen never looked after him, so when she was leaving he came too. Karen had mentioned once or twice about Shelly taking the cat but it still took her over a week to notice his absence. As she went back to her room she paused at the door, warm coffee in hand. She would need to get something else to go on the table. Had it moved slightly? She leaned over and looked closely at where it met the wall, she thought it had been flush with the doorframe, but now it was standing slightly out from it. Weird. She nudged it back into place, as she did so it hit the door which clicked gently as it closed. Shelly took a step back, had the door been ajar? Surely she would have noticed it. She reached out and her fingers brushed against the handle. No, she was being silly, it was just the wood of the table hitting against the door. Her fingers started to move away, then she stopped, it was better to check, even just for her own piece of mind. She grabbed the doorknob, it was colder than she expected, and twisted. The handle turned easily in her hand, she felt the door unlock. She pushed it closed then moved the table out of the way, dragging it a few feet down the hall. She put her coffee mug onto it then looked at the door, if it was unlocked she needed to know what was on the other side of it. If it opened into another apartment surely management would be quick to come back down and relock it, hell they’d probably even throw in a deadbolt for free too. She took a breath then carefully turned the knob and opened the door.

Shelly stood, staring at the doorway, mouth open. She had expected a wall, or another apartment, she hadn’t expected a gaping, black void. Her mind tried to make sense of what she was seeing, a part of her tried to convince her it was paint, that was all, what ever had been lying around or cheapest thing they could get had been painted on to cover the plaster. Another part of her screamed at her to shut the door, close it and forget about it. Neither side won. She moved closer, a deep cold emanated from it, a coldness that she had always dismissed before as a draft from somewhere else. The light from the hall didn’t shine on it, didn’t reflect, it seemed to absorb the light. Carefully she moved her hand closer, the cold became worse, just before her fingers could touch it they went numb, she pulled them back. Did it go anywhere? Was it some kind of portal? She grabbed her mug and moved it towards the blackness. Her mug hit against it with a faint clink. As she pulled it back she looked inside, the coffee had begun to freeze, only a few moments before it had been gently steaming.

Shelly closed the door, she didn’t know what it was, she didn’t want to know. She moved the table back in front of it and after a few minutes of searching found a doorstop. She wedged it under the door. Nothing would open it now. What ever it was it wasn’t good, if she ignored it maybe it would just ignore her. She turned from the door and walked away, already trying to convince herself it was just a weird dream or a trick of the eyes. By the time she was ready and dressed for work she was sure that was all it was. A weird trick of the eyes and the doorstop, well, that was just her being silly. She had wedged it in tight though, so getting it back out would be more hassle than it was worth. She closed the door of her apartment behind herself, besides, what did it matter? Her lease would be up in a month or two, she’d need to move out anyway.


About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
This entry was posted in Sci-Fi, Short Stories and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Doorway. Short Story.

  1. Cool story.
    To open or not to open. Sometimes the reality is worse than the imagination 🙂

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