Introduction: today’s story is a slight cheat, as here’s one I wrote earlier. I’ve got a busy Sunday between work and a wrestling show, so I’ve dipped into the archives. Rereading it, it definitely shares a thematic resemblance to The Beast Behind The Curtain which probably reveals something about me. Still, I hope it’s different enough to still give you some pleasure, enjoy.
There used to a door in my wall, a door where no door should be. Late at night, there would be a small pop, barely audible over the creaking of our old house, but I always heard it. I always knew when it had arrived.
The pop wasn’t the bad part, though. Just a pop and a door where no door should be, I could deal with that. It would be weird, but I would have rolled over, squeezed my eyes tight and forced myself back to sleep. No, it was when the door would open a crack that the problems began. For when it opened, I started to hear things.
At first, it sounded like a party. The warm, comfortable sounds that I used to hear when my parents had friends round, and I’d lie in bed listening to them as they stayed up late drinking wine and laughing. However, as I listened harder, I realised that what at first sounded happy, was anything but, there was venom in those voices. Then, people began screaming and shouting and begging for it to stop.
Even that, though, would have been alright. I could have jammed my headphones into my ears and turned my music up real loud. My Dad gave me his old Walkman when I turned five and with it a CD by a band called Reuben. None of the kids at school knew who they were, and I wasn’t even sure if I liked them, but when I listened to them, I always thought of him and felt safe. If it were only noise coming from the door, I would have been able to block it out and hide in memories of my Dad singing along in the car to music where the people would sometimes scream real loud.
But it didn’t stop there. For when I opened my eyes and peeked at the door, I could see fingers. Fingers that curled themselves around the door where no door should be. They were long fingers with the nails painted red, and they would scrape up and down the wood making a noise that sent a shiver down my spine. Even that was preferable to when they started tapping. Tap, tap, tap. It shouldn’t be an intimidating noise, but it was. It sounded like something was coming. Something was coming for me.
Fingers alone can’t hurt you, though. With my headphones on I could have hidden under my blanket with the torch my Mum gave when I was seven and read one of the books she told me she once loved. I would have dived into a world where magic ruled supreme, the Gods walked among men and death was not the end, but just another adventure before our hero saved the day. In that world, the fingers wouldn’t exist. I could have stayed there until the night ended and the sun came up and just like in the stories everything would have been alright.
Except, it didn’t stop at the fingers. It never stopped at just the fingers. I wish it had stopped at just the fingers.
Because eventually the door would be thrown open and in they’d dance. Into the room would come my Mum and Dad and they’d skip and twirl and laugh, which might sound funny, but it was them and also not them at the same time. There was too much of them, they didn’t feel real. Mum might have had blonde hair, but it wasn’t that blonde and Dad’s brown eyes were never that dark. And the laughter, the laughter wasn’t joyful. It was angry and bitter. It mocked me and bullied me, calling me a cry baby and telling me how pathetic I was for daring to be sad because they were dead.
It took a long time for the door to go away. The door where no door should be haunted my sleep for year after year, till it slowly broke me down. I became a shadow, always tired and alone. It drove me to the edge, and I’m not sure what I would have done if I’d stayed there much longer.
But then one day, I met the best people I know, and I learnt that it’s okay to not be okay. They looked out for me, and they taught me that while everything was wrong with me, so was nothing. They showed me that in that circle, with them, I was okay. Not perfect or unbreakable, but fine just as me. They helped me get help, and for the first time in a long time, I slept the night through.
However, I know the door is still there, and now and then I hear that pop and I see it out of the corner of my eye, trying to push its way back into my life. But things are different now. I’m not alone anymore. Now when it comes, I’m ready for it.