The Doorway

By: Brice Roberts

It was raining outside, and our weary Traveler was on a gravel road, walking. With a large sack slung over his shoulder, he crept along at quite a slow pace, monotonously shifting his weight from one foot to the other. He had no cloak, and so he was drenched in the cold rain. The sky darkened and a loud clap of thunder was heard. Our Traveler desperately sought for shelter, but could find none. He walked, his boots pounding into the mud until it seemed that his feet were bare, and that someone had covered his appendages in thick, grey sludge. How our Traveler hated it. Way off in the distance, he finally saw a single light, and a small flame of hope rose up within him. He was renewed with strength to reach that light and possibly warm shelter and food, for our Traveler had not eaten for days, as his supply of rations had long ago run out. He marched along at a slightly faster pace, wanting greatly to reach the house- it was a house, our Traveler had just not recognized the outline at the present time. He trudged along for a much longer time than he had expected, for the light seemed to be up the road only a little. However, it had taken him (as he saw it) nearly three hours to reach the old house on a hill.

Our Traveler finally met the base of the hill on which sat the house. He climbed, and it was an easy climb, as the hill was neither very long, nor steep. As he approached the house, he looked back down and saw the grey snake of a road he had been traveling for a millennium. He reached for the large green copper door-knocker, and it fell off. The large noise that was not the rain startled our Traveler, but he did not stay in that state for long, and he quickly knocked on the heavy wooden door. It opened. He was greeted by a young girl of minute stature.

Our Traveler asked, “Are your parents home?” The girl made no response. “Young girl, are your parents home?” he repeated, staring down at the ice-eyed child. Still not a sound. “May I please come in? I have been traveling for quite a long time, and it is raining. Please, I implore you-”

“How goes it?” said a stem voice from behind the young girl. Our Traveler had been completely focused on the young girl and did not see a rather large man walk up behind her. He paused for a moment. He looked over the man standing behind the young girl. He was very tall and rotund, and he had a scruffy look about him.

“Well, I have been traveling, and I would like to seek refuge from the rain for a short while, if you would be so kind.”

The large man eyed him for a moment. “Very well then, you shall be welcome in our home for as long as the rain continues.”

Our Traveler was ecstatic and began to thank the tall man profusely, but the tall man cut him off abruptly. “I will show you to your room, and tonight you may dine with our family. This,” he pointed a small table with five chairs, “is our dining room, and my wife will make dinner.” They walked further into the old house and went down a single silent hall. The tall man pointed to the door at the end of the hall on the left. “That,” said he, “is your room. You may go in now if you wish to rest.”

Our Traveler eagerly went into his room, and thanked God for this shelter and these people. Inside it was rather old and plain, but not at all uncomfortable. Of course our Traveler would have liked to be home, but that was impossible. He took of his wet clothes and set them next to the small coal heater in the comer of his room. He lay on his bed and took a single deep breath.

After a fair amount of time, he put on his now dry garments once again, and a young boy (older than the girl, however) called at his door and told him that dinner had been made. He walked out of his room and to the dining table. He sat down at the fifth chair. It was only then that he realized that the table was in a pentagonal shape. It struck him as rather odd, but he did not think of it for long. The wife soon came out of the kitchen with long mousy black hair and a stained checkered dress. She looked somewhat ragged, but so did the rest of the people in this home.

She served a rather fatty beef in a small portion with thin gravy and some beans. It may not have been the most appetizing meal to you or me, but to our Traveler it was quite sufficient. After a silent meal, our Traveler began to look around the room. It was almost the same as his room-- small, plain, with old pine paneling all around. He saw the in the wall behind the tall man was a door. It was a very plain door as was everything else in the house, but for some unknown reason it struck him as odd.

“Where does that door go to?” asked our Traveler. Although the room was silent up until this remark, it seemed as though the room fell under an oppressive, crushing spell of absolute silence. The wife instantly got up and began to clean the table as if nothing happened.

The young boy began to stare off in a different direction. The ice-eyed girl stared at him, and finally the large man spoke, “That is none of your concern. You are not permitted to even attempt to touch that door.” Every syllable uttered from out his lips was laden with black contempt.

“I’m sorry,” our Traveler whispered as quietly as possible. He was not even sure he heard himself let alone the tall man. He rapidly got up and went to his room, where he soon fell asleep.

The rain continued for weeks.

Eventually the floodwaters made it so that the only land accessible was the hill, for they had risen and made a moat around the house. Each day was conducted in almost silence. Our Traveler spent his time in his room writing in his journal or sometimes he would sit at the dining table and read or stare out the windows into the rain. The monotony of this life pounded into his mind like a sledgehammer; every day when he awoke he felt melancholy settle in his bosom.

One day after dinner, after everyone else was asleep our Traveler awoke with a start and was sweating unbelievably. As if controlled by some strange power he ran as fast as allowed by human physiology to the door. He stopped and stared for a brief half-moment that seemed to last forever. It is so strange how such a small space can be stretched into a vast amount of time. He reached for the handle. It was cold. He opened the door and found nothing. It was a room completely void of everything imaginable. At first look it seemed that the walls were of the same paneling in the house, but even those melted away. He turned around suddenly and the whole family was standing in the door screaming as loudly as possible in incoherent tongues that mixed and mingled together in a writhing chorus.

The tall man slammed the door. Our Traveler ran at the door, but it was turned to mist.

Not even mist. Nothing.

Nothing existed at all within this so-called room. He sat, or so he thought he did, on what he thought was a floor and was nothing.

Ages passed. Civilizations rose and collapsed. Cities were born and decimated. Eternity passed. Another eternity came and went. He never moved. He existed in a world where he was not allowed to exist. Each of his senses was disconnected. He could see, but there was nothing to see, and his eyes could not transmit anything to the mind. He could feel, but there was nothing to feel. He could hear, but there was nothing to hear. He could smell, but there was nothing to smell. He could taste, but there was nothing to taste. He could think, but there was nothing to think of, and even his thoughts were not able to be processed by his mind. In a way his mind was not even communicating to itself. His body had needs, but it needed nothing. He thought, but thought of nothing. He wanted something, but wanted nothing. He was nothing, and the nothing was him.

Our Traveler became a disembodied person that existed and did not exist at the same time.

Forever waits beyond the Doorway.