I snapped awake, all my dials turned up to the max. What day was it? What time was it?
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From somewhere in the house came a gigantic THUMP.
What the hell was going on?
I leapt to my feet as another bed-rattling THUMP shook the house. I heard someone yelling, their words torn away- as if by a strong breeze. Another gigantic THUMP, and someone screamed. It was a sound unlike any I have ever heard. As I stood, frozen, it came again- a terrible, gobbling shriek that was suddenly and cleanly cut off.
THUMP. The house shook. I flipped the light switch. Nothing. I padded over to the closet and opened up the doors; pawed through the collective junk in search of a light.
Aha! I flicked the cheap plastic switch and a bright circle appeared on the far wall. I tiptoed to the stairs, careful not to step in the places where they creaked. Slowly, I descended.
The house was quiet. I made for Leo’s room. His door was closed, and I moved to turn the knob, my heart hammering in my chest. Closer, and closer, and yet closer…
The moment before I threw his door wide, I heard something. At the time, I couldn’t identify it, but I am almost certain it was the sound of trees blowing in the wind.
I opened the door.
I cannot account for what I saw on the other side. It is beyond my reckoning. When I opened that accursed door, I saw not the room that had become familiar to me over my long years of residence in that house, but a barren, crumbling altar situated amidst grassy hills. There was a man on the altar. He his skin was pale as moonlight, and he was completely bald…I dare not guess who it was, though some part of me knows- will always know. And then-
I was looking at city made up of towering metal spires. In the middle distance, a great citadel stood, brooding like a dark and ancient god.
I saw a cemetery, sprawling and crumbled with age. Near a bank of dead trees was the silhouette of a man. I shrank back, terrified of being seen, and then-
It was the garden path, only now it was night and the moon shone through the vines overhead. There was a garden, but no woman. Where was-?
Something came hurtling through the doorway: A skinless, half-born horror with tangled black hair and gaping holes for eyes. It attacked me, flailing blindly with dirty claws, and raked a deep furrow in one of my cheeks. I kicked at it, my mind already retreating, and connected. The creature fell back, back, and into the doorway just as-
I passed out.
When I opened my eyes, it was nearly morning. I could see, from where I lay, the line of brightness on the horizon where the sun would shine in half and hour. I looked to my left and saw the door. It was closed. Something was moving beneath it. A thin, acrid mist reached my lungs.
Squelch, went something on the other side.
I leapt to my feet and ran, screaming, from my own house.
I have arranged for my house to be sold. I have also contracted a team of movers to take my possessions out of it. I will be moving far away, possibly to Florida. Wherever I go, I want it to be flat. I don’t trust mountains anymore. I will not go back into that room, though it is quiet now, and I have heard nothing more from the other side of the door. I will not sleep in this house, either. When the movers come, I will say nothing about the door. What could I say?
And if one of them should disappear without word or trace? Well, then I’ll know, won’t I?
I do not know where Leo Parish is. I do not want to know. I am leaving this town tomorrow, to find a place. Somewhere where the sun is bright, and the wind is warm, and there are no dreams.
None at all.
"Quit this world, quit the next world, quit quitting!" -Sufi proverb.