Part 4 - Get Away
Maggie leaned close and urged me, "Ignore it. You don't go in the black doors…ever, you understand?"
I looked back at Maggie and asked, "Why? What's wrong with them?"
She gripped my shirt by the hand and said, her eyes wide, "You just don't. You know I said I've seen brothers and sisters of mine? Well, after they go through a black door…they never come back."
I could tell she was serious. Her hand trembled with her grip. Slowly, she looked away and said, "So, you don't go into black doors. That's the end. No more of it."
She turned away from the door and cleared her throat. "We can go back and find the beach. It's nice. You don't even need a swimsuit. You dry instantly anyway." She gave a little laugh and started walking away from the black door. I followed her around a corner. She stopped fast and panted in front of me. I looked ahead.
There was another black door right next to the white one we'd entered through, only this one was open a crack. Just a crack. It shifted a little. The door undulated like how the bathroom door used to do when it was really windy and it was just barely open. It moved out and back. The latch clicked a little when it touched. The sound was like crunching something brittle underfoot.
Maggie took a long breath and bent her head around to me. "Stop thinking about black doors. The house takes your thoughts. Even the bad ones. You have to think good things."
I swallowed. I wasn't trying to think about black doors, but it was like trying not to think about anything. I came up with pink trees to flush the idea from my head. Maggie led me through the white door to some stairs. There were a few pink plants on the sides. She took a breath and we slowly made our way up the stairs together.
At the top of the stairs, she cried out. This time, there were two black doors before us. The doors were open about halfway, enough to see through. The interiors were even blacker than the doors. I couldn't make out if there were walls. Light didn't seem to pass through the threshold. There was a white door past the two black ones. Maggie kept her gaze on it as she pressed, "Don't even look at them…"
I kept my gaze on her, but I could feel like the twin doors were watching me as I passed, like a pair of empty eyes. Maggie clung to the knob and pushed it out. She screamed as the white door flung open. On the other side, every wall was covered in black doors and they were all open wide, like gashes. She quickly shut the door and whirled around, whispering, "Backtrack…"
As we made our way to the steps, they slowly evaporated, melding into the wall. The two black doors beside us banged open. As they slammed, they spread over all the walls. Four doors. Eight doors. Sixteen. Till they infected the white ones with blackness and left us in the middle of a room with only open, gaping holes.
Maggie gritted her teeth and screamed out, "Leave us alone! We control this place! ONLY GOOD PLACES! Good thoughts!" She clenched her eyes shut and strained. She panted. I shut my eyes and focused too. Part of me was afraid but most of me didn't want her to be upset.
I took a breath. There were no other sounds but our exertions. Slowly, the ill-feeling started to wane. I was the first to open my eyes. I gave a sigh. Maggie gave a little grunt through her teeth when she opened her eyes. There was just one door left. A black one. But it was shut.
Maggie bit her nails and murmured to herself, "Not again…please not again. Just go away. Leave us alone…"
I put a hand on her shoulder and said, "We may not have a choice. It's the only exit. If you've never gone through it…how do you know it's so bad on the other side?"
She whirled around to look at me. "Every black, fearful, and hidden bit of darkness is behind that door. The worst nightmares. The feelings that hurt the most. All the suffering. It's the worst thing we can possibly imagine. That's how it is…"
I squeezed her shoulder. "You'll have me though. We'll go together."
She shook her head violently. "No! I'll break a wall. I'll make another way! Anything but that!" She immediately kicked at a nearby wall. She punched and made a quick, fist-shaped dent in it. She groaned and shook her hand.
The spot she'd made in the wall shifted back as though it had never been there. A deep, low rumble filled the room. We looked around. The walls were moving. They pressed closer on each side. Maggie gasped and started hitting harder. They were as sturdy as stone.
The air felt close, dirty, and wet. The walls around us started to darken. I pushed too but soon there was only enough room to stand side by side. Just when it looked like it was about to hurt, they stopped. Then the floor began to shift towards the door. It sloped up, making it harder and harder to stand without falling. The rug receded and turned glossy, like plastic. Our shoes refused to grip. Maggie clawed at the walls, but they were glossy as well and, while they were close, they were just far enough apart that we couldn't brace ourselves. We held on as long as we could before we went tumbling forward to the door.
It swung open wide and we were both swallowed by it.
We landed next to each other on a floor which felt strangely wet and slick. Maggie scrambled to her feet. I could barely see her next to me as a dim shadow in the dark. I could hear her fumbling against the floor.
She muttered, "No damn lights. Nothing here. Can you even see the walls?"
I looked around. It was so dark. My vision twisted with the leftover spots of colors and light muddying what may have been there. I couldn't make out anything. The ground was decently solid at least, despite the weird feeling. I tapped it with my shoe. It squished. I followed what I could see of Maggie's shape.
We grunted, panting in the dark. I thought I lost sight of Maggie for a bit. But I soon found her familiar shape standing in one spot. The shadow of her head turned towards me and stayed there. I asked her, "What is it?"
Standing next to her, her head was locked on me. There was only enough light to see her silhouette. From far away to my right, I heard Maggie saying, "I'm just looking at the damn wall. How'd you get over there? Aren't you right next to me?"
I clenched my lips and answered, "Aren't you…aren't you standing still and staring at me?"
Maggie's voice quieted. "That's you…isn't it?"
The shadow before me looked much darker than the area around it. The face. I could make out nothing of the face. But I could imagine its eyes were large, black holes of nothingness. I tried to resist that imagining and backed away from it slowly.
It advanced, step for step. I held my hands up to protect myself and so did it. I wanted to yell out, but I feared what might emerge from its mouth. I kept backing away until I hit something. I gasped and whirled around. Maggie stood before me with her mouth open and what looked like a gloss of sweat on her cheeks.
I turned around to check. The black form was gone. Maggie panted and relayed a similar story with a shadow that looked like girl me miming her. Somehow, it seemed a little brighter by Maggie. I could barely see her features but well enough to know she wasn't a black mass. Her voice was reassuring. It wasn't the only sound I heard though.
It started slowly, at first barely more than a rustle. Before long, I couldn't ignore it. It was impossible to make sense of it. The noise was like something ever so gently grilling on a stove. Like when mom used to cook when she was well. But it wasn't just that. It also sounded wet, like something slick slipping around.
Maggie noticed it soon after me and softly asked, "What on earth is that?"
I shook my head and grabbed her hand. She tensed at first but realized it was me and clung more tightly to my grip. We moved together in the darkness, but the sound followed us, like it was everywhere. The floor still felt a little wet and slick, like someone had just taken a mop to it. It was still fine to walk on. We had no idea where we were going. Maggie gave a little growl through her teeth at the strange sound.
At least it wasn't as bad as what came next. The sensation I felt was like putting your arm under the faucet when it was slowly dripping. One little something caught me and then it was gone. I pulled my hand from Maggie's and brushed at my arm. I didn't feel anything in the place where I was touched. Maggie asked me what happened.
I explained as best I could. Then she gave a little screech and batted at herself, yelling, "Something hit me too!" She flailed and murmured, "I wish I could see…anything."
Her wish was unfortunately soon answered as the room brightened. We were able to see each other. Quickly, we looked up and immediately wished we hadn't.
The ceiling rippled and moved. It looked bloody, pus-like, and black at the same time. Little insects flew in waves and scurried with endless legs. Wet worms dripped from above like a slimy rain. And the rotting was spreading to the walls on all sides. Roaches held in place long enough for us to see them before they seemed to vanish.
We crouched, and Maggie clung tightly to my hand. She yelled at the mass on the ceiling, "Stop this! We don't want it! Stop it right now!"
I swallowed and looked up with a hand to shield my eyes.
The advance of the rot stopped. But a new crackling sound began. It sounded like my parent's old LP player when it started up. We paused to listen. The ceiling slowly swayed and hard bits started to congeal from the gore and ooze. It was more of a whisper but cranked down, like a machine running out of batteries.
The first part I could make out was Kids are playing up downstairs.
There was the sound of footsteps about us and masses began to project downwards.
He can't hang around.
It looked like a monstrous growth holding all the horrible things from the ceiling, like a droplet ready to fall.
Our house…in the middle of our street.
The words were clear. I remembered it. Something from dad's old collection he would play from time to time. It sounded so unsettling. The words repeated a few times, louder and deeper.
We backed away as far as we could go. Bugs hurried by out of the corner of my eye.
Something tells you that you've got to get away…from it.
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Bio: I'm MajorKerina and I love to collaborate creatively with a group of friends to make tales where people have their genders, identities, and very realities questioned, contorted, and turned upside-down. I like slice-of-life with a spicing of the supernatural, strange, or surreal. Reality with a scent of the impossible. You can find me on DeviantArt, Twitter, ScribbleHub, and other places.