Behind the Door

The darkness around you is thick and deep like a viscous liquid that weighs down upon you. The shadows are deeper than normal; they seem to be an endless abyss around your silent and almost motionless figure lying sleeplessly in bed. I can see your body moving up and down with irregular breaths. I hear a small rustle and slowly your arms move; you pull starchy covers up to your neck, just enough that your wide eyes peek out over the covers at your tightly locked door. The look of paranoid horror in your eyes makes a small creak-like laugh cackle from my mouth.


I smile at that terror. Fear and terror are what I do best.


I walk slowly up the flight of stairs near your room. I make sure that each of my steps makes a heavy thunk against soft new carpet. I can hear your heart now, pounding inside of you like a judge's gavel in a disrespectful courtroom. You know that your mind isn't running wild anymore, there's more to it. This is real. I am real.


You look up through the syrupy darkness and reach for your phone. Maybe some Instagram would make everything better, you think as your index finger hurriedly presses the home button. For a single second your phone gives off a bright red light before a small alert flashes to notify you, battery at 0%. The red light dims suddenly and your phone dies. It's a pity you didn't charge it, it's strange that you forgot to charge it tonight of all nights. You throw the phone away and your teeth clatter together in cold terror.


I'm on your level now, practically at your doorstep. A small streetlamp from outside flickers on, casting my shadow across the small hallway leading to your room. Oh but you can't see the shadow, all you see is a tiny sliver of light that peeks out from underneath your closed door. For a moment, you aren't afraid and almost work up the courage to stand and fling the door wide open. The moment passes quickly, and you courage is overtaken by your urge to shrink into a little ball and hide under the covers.


The lamp, your crazed brain triumphantly thinks, darkness can't overcome a light. You reach for the lamp on your nightstand and pull down on the cord. A small clink echoes around the room but no light emanates from the bulb. Your fingers trace the cord and find it unplugged and tangled in with your phone charger that you didn't have the sense to use. You tug on what you assume is the lamp's cord. Suddenly, the lamp tumbles and crashes to the floor. Ceramic shards of the lamp stand and clear light bulb glass glitters as they catch a tiny hint of light from underneath your door. The stillness comes back as soon as it was lost but you might as well have dropped a bomb.


You sit back in bed, sweaty beads dripping down your forehead and turning your pajama fabric swampy underneath your underarms. I can smell the salty sweat and the faint hint of tears welling in your eyes. I hear you rustle about on the sheets until you burrow deep into the covers. As if that will help.


I reach your door and stand there, letting a trace of my shadow flicker to the side where you cower. I reach up and rap on your door, letting my hand fall slowly so my nails scratch against your door. You don't move at first. I repeat the move. You slowly stand, stifling a tiny scream as shards of ceramic and glass stab into your bare feet. I knock even slower and feel a faint smile tug at my lips. What was that old idiom? Curiosity killed the cat.
You reach the door and gently, ever so gently rest your hand against its hard wood surface. Your fear-frozen fingers carefully undo the lock and you just stand there with one hand pressed against the now unlocked door.
Suddenly the streetlight, the only source of light, cuts off and clouds us in darkness. You gulp down your fears and wait in the silence. Dark blood oozes from your cut feet and absorbs into the new carpet. The silence is heavier and louder than anything you've ever known.


You grab the door handle before you can convince yourself not to. You summon your last teaspoon of courage and sigh in resolution. With sweaty palms you fling the door wide open.






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