The Door

November 6, 2013
I sprang up in bed, not sure if the loud thud radiated from within my own chest or originated from outside the walls of my own room. The blankets wrapped too tightly around my body, and the pitch black of the room that lulled me to sleep only hours before now carried a more sinister disposition. I swung my legs off to the side of the bed and shrugged off the blankets that encased me. My hair stood on end, but I couldn’t be sure if it was due to the chill in the air or the adrenaline flooding my veins. I stilled myself before standing, giving myself a few precious moments to assess what had happened. I was only sure of one thing, that I was awoken by a pounding; a loud echoing thud that seemed to be only in my head. Or was it?
My eyes bolted to the door. The sudden realization that someone could be lurking before my door, banging, banging, banging, crippled my mind. My legs began to deceive me. My stance was as quivering and unstable as my hands. The five steps it usually took me to reach my door now stretched out into an eternal unattainable destination. I clenched my eyes shut and summoned every bit of courage residing in my trembling body. Before having time enough to second guess myself, my legs seemed to move on their own, destination in sight. I moved silent as darkness itself, my feet barely seemed to touch the floor. My hand reached out in front of me and my heart stopped beating in my chest. The pounding, pounding, pounding sounding throughout my ears threatened to drive me to madness. I felt the cool chill of the metal handle. I paused only a second before jerking the door open with a loud unnerving groan. Nothing. The banging ceased almost as instantly as it had appeared. The luminescent glow of the small hallway lamp revealed the utter nothingness that greeted me cynically.

“Shelby,” I scolded myself aloud, “you are a total idiot.” And with that statement in mind, I dragged myself back to bed. My body seemed to melt into the mattress. The adrenaline was coaxed out of my bloodstream, and in its place came instant weariness. Though I was too fatigued to ponder the cryptic source of the thud that awoke me, it was my last thought before I was interrupted by the numbing sleep that overtook my mind without warning.

“Wake up.” I heard my mother’s voice break the trance of my dreams.

“It’s Saturday.” I pleaded hopelessly.

“It’s twelve in the afternoon. If you don’t wake up soon you will have slept through your whole weekend.” She concluded with unwavering certainty. I heard the door close as she left. Time to wake up. I walked slowly to my door, momentarily contemplating last nights endeavor, but ultimately the growling in my stomach won over my thoughts. I gave a quick “Good morning” to my little sister brushing her teeth in our bathroom. Glancing over my shoulder, I noticed my brother’s door still shut. My mouth pursed into a hard line. I suppose it was okay for him to sleep the day away, but I needed to be up early on Saturday. I felt the scowl take shape on my face.

I mindlessly stirred my cereal with my spoon, lost in my own mind. I ate sluggishly and threw my bowl into the sink, still a bit sour that I was the only one to receive a wake up call. My day continued as normal as ever. I spent a good portion of the day sitting cross legged on the couch with my laptop perched upright on my knees. My little sister Jade sat on the floor below me, reading books and taking glances at the TV. I heard the banging of pots in the kitchen. I turned around to ask my mom what was for dinner and the words got caught in my throat.

“Mom?” I questioned softly. My mother didn’t look at me, but she didn’t have to. I could see the wild look in her eyes from any angle. Her blond hair stuck up in an odd fashion around her head. I wasn’t sure if it was the lighting, or if the bones in her face protruded into hard narrow lines like someone who has gone without food. The nature of her movements appeared nearly animalistic as she scavenged through the cabinets.

“Did something happen?” I whispered to Jade. She shrugged, her eyes trained on our mother.

“I need to work.” My mom barked. “I only have one more day to finish my proposal for the company. Eat whatever you want.” She explained in a hurried tone.

“Are you okay?” I said with concern heavy in my voice.

“I’m fine, just stressed.” She answered, her tone lightening a bit. She managed a quick smile and promised that she had something fun planned for later as she slipped down the hall and into her room. I threw together some spaghetti for Jade and I to eat. I hadn’t seen my brother, Mark, all day. He probably slipped out sometime during the day to hang out with his friends. We rarely see him anymore. No doubt he wouldn’t be home until long past I was asleep, so I didn’t bother leaving a plate out for him.

I stayed up a while chatting with some friends online until I heard Jade start to yawn. Her blue eyes drooped sleepily, and then her contagious yawning got me yearning for sleep as well.

“Let’s get to bed.” I suggested. I made my way to my room, and jumped onto my bed. It took only seconds for me to relax and sink deeper into the sheets, pulling the covers over my face. Behind my sleeping eyes visions of past years danced in my head. I remember waking up to the smell of cinnamon rolls in the oven, and my mother smiling, her golden hair shining in the morning light streaming in through the blinds in the kitchen. Jade was barely able to walk then, and Mark was first at the table. He beamed at the food in front of him, he could have fooled me into thinking he was morning person. He teased me on my bed-head, and I commented on his mismatched socks, laughing heartily. Jade and my mother also laughed. My mother used to laugh a lot, but that was before dad left. Soon the laughter in my mind cut short. In its place rang a thud. A pounding so urgent, almost desperate, filled the air.
“Oh no, not again.” I thought. This time, with no second thoughts I sprung to my feet and charged to the door, the pounding radiating in my ears. I yanked the door open, and again nothing greeted me but my own familiar hallway. However, the banging continued stronger than ever. I followed the noise down the hall, my breath caught in my throat. With every step it grew louder, louder, louder. I stopped in front of Mark’s door.
“Mark!” The scream erupted from my mouth. The pounding was coming from his room; someone was banging on his door, desperately trying to escape. I pulled on the handle, but it was locked. I pulled with all my strength, but my efforts were futile. I ran to go get my mother and call for help. I ran into the living room and found the kitchen light on. My mother sat at the table, facing me.
“Don’t you hear the banging mom? It’s Mark! He needs help. Help me!” I pleaded.
“You stay away from him.” She growled. Her eyes bore into me with a heat greater than any sun.
“Wh-What?” I stuttered, taken aback.
“He’s fine. Now you go back to bed.” She ordered. My blood ran cold. Her gaze was unnatural, eerie.
“He’s not fine, he needs help!” I erupted. I dashed back down the hall, my eyes set on the door. My heart beat in time with the banging on the door. I reached again for the handle, and this time it gave under my grip. Taking me by surprise, I stumbled forward into the room through the open door. I gagged instantly. The scent of rotting flesh bombarded my nose and burned all the way down in my lungs. The smell could have only been produced by one thing, death. I turned out of disgust to the door, and saw a mess of disorderly blond hair in the doorway. I felt a stab in my chest.
“You did this. You did this. You all look so much like your father.” She hissed wildly as she slammed the door, leaving me gasping in the disgusting polluted air. I tried to scream but I choked every time I attempted it. It was too dark to look around, but I felt the warm blood dripping down my body.
“Momma, I heard banging. I’m scared.” I faintly heard Jade speak from the other side of the door. My heart dropped. I reached for the handle but it was locked from the outside.
“Come here honey, it will be ok. How about we visit Mark?” I heard my mother’s voice coon. I pounded on the door, crying out in pain. I beat harder and harder.
“Jade!” I screamed, without pausing my urgent thrashing on the door.
“I don’t hear the banging anymore mom, it must have been in my head.” Jade said sweetly. I pounded away. Why couldn’t she hear? I looked down at the knife in my chest. The searing pain had faded to numbness that overran my senses. My blood stopped running down the wound. All I could do was bang on the door, to try and warn Jade of what will soon happen to her. Mark stood next to me, his arms alongside mine pounding, pounding, pounding at the door.

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This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

Outcast4God said...
Nov. 12, 2013 at 5:15 pm
Completely eriee and mysterious. It leaves me wanting more! I love this article. You should writie a sequel to this.
StarlingFoxx replied...
Nov. 12, 2013 at 6:41 pm
Thank you :) It feels really good to hear that you liked my story. Perhaps there will be a sequel to this in the future.
Outcast4God replied...
Nov. 13, 2013 at 5:02 pm
Welcome. I thought it was amazing and emailed it to my friend!
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