Creative Writing Blog: The Door
Our bathroom has those door knobs that you have to push and turn to the right in order to lock them. They’re the type that, if your stupid sibling has locked themselves in to annoy you, you’ll need to find a paperclip and stick it in the tiny hole at your end of the knob to unlock it. It’s a pain and it’s not funny at all!
Anyway, my point is that you need to be inside the bathroom with the door shut in order to lock it. It’s impossible to lock it from the outside.
Imagine my surprise when I’m home alone one day, my little brother at soccer practice and my single mom dropping him off, and can’t seem to get the bathroom door open. Just having it closed is unusual in our home because we always keep it open so that we don’t get into the habit of accidentally opening it while someone is using the toilet. Having it locked is impossible because of the aforementioned lock.
Of course, when humans see something they can’t explain, they try to rationalize it any way they can, so I did. Maybe I’m just not trying hard enough.
I think 10 hard tries was more than enough. Maybe something’s caught in the door.
Nope. I checked.
Maybe our cat somehow managed to lock itself in.
One, our cat is dumb as a doorknob (pun intended) and two, the likelihood of a cat managing to reach the doorknob, push it in, and twist it to the right with considerable force is not going to work. It’s as likely as me actually succeeding in life.
Typically, I would have freaked out about this. My mind would have run wild trying to solve this mystery or I would have hightailed it out of there because someone could be in the house other than me!
I had to go to the bathroom, desperately, and I really couldn’t do my business in the woods behind our house like a boy could. I needed to get in this bathroom and free myself of the burden that bottle of soda pop had given me.
So, being the intelligent person that I was, I knocked on the door.
I gave a few hard raps, then tried the knob.
What a shocker.
Now I’m starting to get mad (remember, my mind was more focused on my bladder than the bathroom’s invader). This person, this thing, had the audacity to come into my house, into my bathroom, and lock me out of the most essential room in the house. A room that I’d been using multiple times a day for my entire life!
I would not stand for this.
I went to find a paper clip.
It took a couple minutes of scavenging but I finally managed to find one and, after pulling it apart to form a pretend lock pick, I jammed it in the lock and jiggled it around the way I’d seen mom do it. It took a lot of trial and error.
I’d yet to master the art of pretend lock picking, but I finally managed to succeed.
With a sigh of relief, I swung the door open, switched on the light to my left and saw . . . nothing.
The bathroom was empty.
Now I could just end the story here, pull off a “You just got pranked!” line like the idiots who roam the internet, but I won’t.
Because the story didn’t end here.
After checking around the bathroom for a minute, checking inside the bathtub, in the storage closet off to the right, and even inside some of the larger cupboards, I finally came to the conclusion that the lock was faulty, did my business, and went back to reading discussion forums on the ending of the final Sherlock episode. I promised myself I’d tell mom about it later and completely forgot about the adventure I’d just had.
She had someone look into it.
I don’t know if it was a master locksmith or whatever, but he or she concluded that the lock was in fine shape and shouldn’t have any issues. And it didn’t for quite a while.
I forgot about the phantom door a few days after it happened. The evil door didn’t lock me out for months. Things were going great. I was enjoying life, wasting away all of my time on the internet and generally not amounting to much. Things were going great.
Then I woke up one night feeling thirsty.
Most people I know hate drinking tap water. They say it tastes strange and that it will one day kill everyone who ever lived. I don’t think like that. I like tap water.
Because it’s closer to my bedroom than the fridge is.
So, half-asleep and annoyed at my scratchy throat, I let myself into the bathroom and took a few refreshing gulps of city water. It tasted like heaven because I was so thirsty.
Then I figured that, since I was already in the bathroom, I should use the toilet to save myself the trouble later tonight. So, my vision still blurry, I locked the door and plopped down, sighing in relief from no longer having to stand (I am a very lazy person, you see).
It was then, after I actually opened my eyes and looked around, that I saw something I hadn’t noticed before. Something I had been too sleep-deprived to notice as I drank some water.
Straight ahead of me, there was supposed to be a blank, cream-colored wall between the cupboards and the bathtub. Mom hammered a painting of fruits on the top half of the wall when we first moved in but, other than that, the wall was empty.
Somehow, from pure blindness or because I’d grown so used to seeing it that I’d ignored it, there was a small crease running vertically through the middle of the wall that I’d failed to notice after all these years. It was partially hidden by the fruit painting but, now, I could see it clearly.
Now, it was no longer a crease but a doorway. An entrance that led into a small crawl space.
A crawl space filled with the wrappers of foods we’d always kept around our house and with a few empty, glass bottles. The space looked large enough to fit one or two people and, for now, was devoid of any living being.
Fear didn’t really overtake me until I took a second to realize what this meant. Once I figured it out, then the shivers starting running down my arms and legs and my vision blurred again, this time with tears. I used my shaking limbs to stand up and back away from the hidden room, ready to escape, when I realized another thing.
If the room was empty, where was its inhabitant?
It was then, as I continued backing toward the bathroom door, that I started to hear raspy, heavy breathing just outside. It was literally inches away from my face with only the wooden door between us.
It knew I was in here.
It knew what I had found.
And it was waiting.
Graphic by Manoj Thayalan