Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Door

For the third day of Halloween week, the Blond Duck presents....The Door.

Rachel Larson was only trying to find her son.

She should have never taken him to the crowded department store on a late Saturday afternoon. This was all her fault. If she had been a good mother, a proper mother, she would have had Alex's costume sewn weeks ago like her neighbor. If she had been a good mother, she would have dragged her butt out of bed and refused to go out for her cousin's bachelorette party and wasted more than $200 on the babysitter, drinks and gift that she knew her cousin would stash in a closet somewhere until she gave it to Goodwill.

If she had been a good mother, she wouldn't have ignored Alex babbling about the door.

It was all because of the Halloween party. The second Rachel had picked Alex up for school, he had chirped, "Where's my costume, Mommy?"

"What costume?" Rachel had asked.

"My Halloween costume." Alex blinked up at her. "For the party tonight."

So Rachel had cursed, sped to the mall and dragged Alex to the costume shop. While she tried to find something that didn't cost a million dollars and wasn't Spider man, Alex tugged on her sleeve.

"Mom, look at this door. It's weird."

"Baby, hold on a minute. Mommy's busy." She didn't even look at him.

A few minutes later and another rack down, another tug on her sleeve. "Mom, there's a man crying behind the door. I can hear him."

"It's probably the TV." Rachel held up a superhero costume. It had a hole in the sleeve and cost $50. She kept looking.

Three costume rejects later, another tug. "Mom, can I go cheer him up? He's really old. He says that his son died."

"Honey, just hold on a minute. Mommy's busy." Rachel dove back into the clothes and rummaged until she found a Batman costume. Extracting her head from the bin, she looked around.


Her son was nowhere to be seen. Fear shot through Rachel's veins and wound around her nervous fingers.

"Alex?" Her voice rose as she ran through the store. Her eyes jumped from one person to another, desperately searching for her son's face.

"Can I help you?" A tattooed employee looked over at her.

"My son's missing," she babbled. "He said something about a door and an old man crying and now he's gone."

The employee shrank back from her. "Oh no," he muttered. "This is not good. This is really not good. Not again. Wait here." He dashed off towards the security hut in the mall. Rachel felt tears brimming in her eyes as she neared the brink of hysteria. Not again. The words played over and over in her mind. Not again. Not again for what?

Then she saw the door. It was hidden behind a black curtain, a blue light streaming through. She could hear the sound of a man speaking in a low voice, a high young voice answering him.


She barreled past the shoppers and threw herself into the door. A scream burrowed into her ears as she dashed through the brilliant blue light. Suddenly, she felt herself hit something cold and hard. Groaning, she opened her eyes. Alex's happy face shined down into hers.

"Alex!" she screamed, wrapping her arms around him. Showering kisses on the top of his head, she pulled him close to her. "Don't you ever run away from me again! Ever!"

"I'm sorry, Mommy," her son said, though he didn't sound sorry at all. "This is James. He's looking for his son." Rachel looked up and sucked in her scream. A frail old man with white eyes and wisps of grey hair was staring vacantly in front of him.

"How do you do?" he said, waving a trembling hand. "Your son was kind enough to talk to me. No one has talked to me in a long time."

Rachel felt a twang of sympathy, but not enough to risk her son's life. Gripping his arm, she took a step back.

"I'm sorry to hear that," Rachel said, clamping on to Alex's arm. "That's a shame."

"Do you know where he went?" the old man asked hopefully.

"Where who went?"

"My son." The old man sighed and patted his ratty vest. "I used to have a picture. But I'm afraid it's hard for me to find."

"Mom," her son tugged on her sleeve and gave her a pointed look. "Can he come over for dinner?"

"Oh no," the old man wheezed and shook his head. "No one wants me. I'm just an old man. It's all right."

Rachel stared at the old man. It was strange, but she thought there was something familiar about him. It was in his voice, in the way he gazed at them, even though she knew he couldn't see them.

"We can invite him over for dinner another time," she told Alex. "Today, you have a party to attend." She looked at the old man. "I'm afraid we'll have to issue an invitation another time."

"But I'll come talk to you," Alex blurted out. "I promise."

"Don't promise these things lightly, son," the old man said in a shaky tone. "Once the door is open, it can never close."

"Alex," Rachel muttered, pinching his arm.

"I promise you can come visit us for dinner whenever you want." Alex patted the old man's hand as his mother jerked him away. The old man waved as they ran out the door.

"Alex!" Rachel hissed. "What were you doing?"

"Being nice," her son said, scowling at her. "What did you think?"

Rachel gave her son a nice long lecture about talking to strangers as they drove back home. Alex went to the party as a lawyer, the most terrifying thing Rachel had seen since her ex-husband. After the party, she tucked him in and went downstairs to drink some wine. She picked up the metro section of the paper and turned the pages, skimming over the words and pictures. The old man's face and voice wouldn't escape from her brain. Nor would the clerk's words: Not again.

She turned the page and gasped. The old man's face was staring up at her. With her heart in her throat, she read the obituary.

"Kyle Guffman," she repeated, her voice cracking with fear. "Oh no, not him. Not him." She checked the facts and moaned as she read them aloud. "Kyle Guffman leaves behind a son, Alex, and a grandson, Alex Jr."

It couldn't be. She recoiled, pressing her fingers to her lips. Her eyes never left the picture as she compared it to the one in her head. She desperately tried to remember back twelve years ago, back when she had met her ex-husband Alex. She had only met his father once in the nursing home, she recalled. Alex's words rolled through her mind.

"He has dementia," he said. "He doesn't know anyone. He doesn't even know me. He's just crazy. Thinks everyone is someone else."

The only image she could dig up was a blind old man in a wheelchair looking small and hopeful as he spoke to the nurses.

It couldn't be him.

She heard a giggle from upstairs and bolted from the table. Taking the stairs two at a time, she raced down the hall and flung open Alex's bedroom.

The old man was sitting in Alex's desk chair, so pale she could see him through the desk. He turned and grinned.

"An open invitation," was all he said with a grin, pointing to the open closet doors. "An open invitation."

She should have never opened the door.

Stay tuned tomorrow for a spooky treat!


Lilly's Life said...

That was AMAZING!! I loved it.

And this line made me laugh out loud 'Alex went to the party as a lawyer, the most terrifying thing Rachel had seen since her ex-husband.' He he - my daughter is a lawyer but a nice one but I still laugh at lawyer jokes. Wow Cant wait to see the surprise you have in store. Well done!

Rosie said...

A great story waiting for the next instalment!!

"Mom," her son tugged on her sleeve and gave her a pointed look. "Can he come over for dinner?"

"An open invitation," was all he said with a grin, pointing to the open closet doors. "An open invitation." --- oooh spooky!!

Rosie x

Katherine Aucoin said...

This is a little more my speed so far, since I am a wimp and not into the really spooky stuff. Another great one! I have something for you at my blog.

Marjie said...


Maria said...

Wonderful writing!! Can't wait for your treat tomorrow!

Pam said...

Girl, I have chills and goosebumps. You are so good at what you do.

Lorraine E said...

Fantastic! This is my favourite story thus far, I couldn't stop because I wanted to find out what happens in the end. Well done!

The W.O.W. factor said...

Girl! You continue to amaze me! How many does this one make? in the makings?

Anonymous said...

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alexandra's kitchen said...

oh my gosh. i feel these stories in my bones. they are terrifying! I love it. cannot wait till the next chapter ... and of course for the next diner installment.

i went for a walk on the beach tonight at 6 pm. Soon after I started, a dense fog rolled in. As I walked, I noticed the patches of seaweed dotting the beach began to get bigger and bigger. I fully expected to walk straight into a beached pirate ship. It was so spooky.

I think the ducky in her pond's stories are really getting to me!

Prudy said...

Can't wait for the next chapter. Although, why am I always reading these spooky stories alone in the dark? Not smart.

jenjen said...

Wonderful story so far! It is amazing to me that you can keep all these stories in your head! And they are all so great! Hope you had a great day today!

noble pig said...

Love the dig on the lawyer, that was good, oh so good!

Marie said...

Oh gosh Duckie. This sent chills up my spine and not just because of the lawyer bit either!!! You are a word magician, waving a spell around each one of us . . . your faithful fans and readers... I hope you remember us when!!! XXOO

John said...

Now a day there is a huge increase and drastically changes in the culture of the people so Halloween costumes are now a day’s hot trend for everyone.

Anonymous said...