I had been looking for the first door since I was ten, and watched my aunt walk through a black door in the field before her house. This was only a month after my uncle had killed himself. Auntie Kelly and Uncle Rowan had been inseparable and when his lifelong depression lead him to an old gun that misfired and took half of his head off, leaving him alive for two weeks after his attempt, the whole world collapsed beneath Aunt Kelly’s feet.
I think as soon as the flat line sounded on that monitor at the hospital her mind was made up – she wouldn’t live without him.
How she found the black door, or rather summoned it, I can’t say.
I have my theories.
There are books that correspond with the doors, the books acting as keys when an actual, physical key was not found. You needed a key to open the door and enter, and words and phrases could work just as well as some small piece of strange wood or metal. Should you try or worse should you succeed in forcing the door open then friend, the horrors you would find I can only guess at.
When my aunt walked through that tall, wide black door that stood glowing in the middle of her field, she turned to me and gave a sad wave, tears in her eyes as she learned what lay beyond that frame. She walked through and as she did the door stood open for a moment and I ran forward in the hope of catching a glimpse within and managed to see a shape that looked like her within the darkness within the door as she embraced another form that could have been my uncle, then the door slammed shut on me, the glow faded and the door fell backward onto the ground where wheat had once stood. The door then sank into the ground as if into water and I ran to it and grabbed the doorknob and pulled it in the vain hope of stopping it from sinking further but the knob burned my hand and I let go as quickly as I had grabbed it and in a moment it was gone.
I dug in the dirt for a few moments afterward but it was gone as if it had never existed at all.
She followed my uncle into death, having read from The Book of Sighs. Had she used the key the door would have remained, open and calling to all who dare come to it. With a key the door would remain open until it was closed and if it was never closed, well, then you find areas like Whippoorwill, Arkansas, a place better left forgotten.
A place better left in the past.
I know of Whipporwill only because of something I found while revisiting the past.
I had spent years and years searching for doors.
I was consumed by it.
I loved my aunt and uncle, yes, but I wasn’t looking to join them. I wanted to find them. To find what they had entered.
It was an itch I could not scratch.
That needing to know.
That needing to see.
There was a world there, beyond the door, a world I wasn’t meant to see and dammit I wanted to see it.
I needed to see it.
So I looked.
I spent untold hours looking for information as I bounced from foster home to foster home, never lasting and finally booted from the system at eighteen when I went off to college.
Books were full of self help nonsense and information on how to get ahead in life but it wasn’t that sort of door which I sought.
Not at all.
I finally found something in a children’s book I found at a library set up at the bus stop in the city where my school was. The book was poking out a bit from an alcove beneath the bench so I pulled it out, drawn in by the green cover.
My Green Door was the name of the book and it was the story of a little girl who was running away from a witch of a mother and she found a small green door on a nearby beach and went through it into a whole new world. The story ended with the entry into that world but the last lines haunted me and added to the mystery.
She found something…wonderful.
And then six months later there was a poetry book that had a poem called Red Door, Red Door, What Do You Hide? The poem was short but hinted that if you were to enter the red door that you would find a way to get back at someone who wronged you. I looked for the author of both books but found none, just as there was no other printing information. It was as if they appeared.
I searched the internet and found others like me talking about books that people talked about that would take you to doors and some books that told you about them and some that served as keys and others that served as spell books to summon others through the doors.
No one had found the books though.
It was all bullshit speculation.
I had found books.
I found the third when I went out to my aunt’s farm. I had been sitting on the property, having inherited it, despite the urging of many locals to sell it.
I couldn’t sell it though because what if, what if the door was still there?
I was desperate for money and had decided to give up and sell but wanted to go through the place one last time before I turned things over to Flatston Falls Shrug and Haul, the local moving company. I wanted to see if there was anything worth keeping and, Christ, worth finding.
I had been right.
It was hiding in plain sight.
One book, black, sitting next to her bedside.
It wasn’t the book of sighs though.
This was another children’s book.
So it seemed that The Book Of Sighs was how one summoned the door, this was merely something that warned you.
I thumbed through it and saw it was different than the other book. This was first person and followed you as you grieved for a lost grandfather and how you sought to find him again and that you found a book that opened a black door.
Oh, but you had to be careful because if you didn’t have your loved one’s face in mind clearly you could call to one of the ‘lost’, someone that no one loved and who haunted the realm of the black door. And if one of those found you, well, I don’t know. The book’s last few pages were torn out. Whatever auntie had found, she didn’t want others finding it.
I looked all over and didn’t find the other book.
It was gone, probably with the door.
I did find an article though about a small town in Arkansas called Whipporwill. It was one of those ‘ghost’ towns you read about. The article talked about how one day everyone disappeared and all that was left was an open yellow door. Eventually weeds grew from near that door and the weeds devoured the town. Fire wouldn’t kill them nor would pesticide. The government had been called but before further action could be taken the door and its weeds disappeared.
My guess was someone had called a door, opened it, and had left it open.
The town was gone, the houses and barns and even the streets had been consumed by the weeds and when the weeds were gone so were those things.
I left the house and went home by train.
I had a thought in mind.
What if you made your own door?
What if you made your own door to somewhere else?
What would happen?
I didn’t have any books.
I also didn’t have any people.
I had no place in mind, I just wanted to go somewhere else.
I had been drawn to the strange and different since seeing that door and this was what I had always dreamed about – finding new places to explore.
If I could make a door into one world perhaps I’d find another door there, another and another into infinity.
That was my dream.
Every place must be connected and these doors were one connection.
I just needed to my door.
I didn’t have a key or a guide but I had a dream that showed me what to do and how to do it and it seemed so obvious.
I had never been attached to people.
I had never been close to anyone.
Not even god.
It was natural that it would take the very thing I wanted to be free of to get what I needed most.
I wasn’t sure how many I would need.
It was all guesswork so I did the best I could.
I took all three from school.
One was a townie and the other two were part of the physics program, a joke I couldn’t resist.
I wasn’t sure if they’d be missed or not.
I was beyond caring.
It was now or never.
If this didn’t work then I was out of options. I had gone too far down this road to find just a dead end.
There were answers.
There had to be.
Maybe they just weren’t for me.
As I cut the patterns seemed to develop, the door began to take shape and I realized what all artists do, that the art is within the materials and if you let it speak to you then it will tell you how to proceed.
It was long work.
By the end I was soaked through with blood but the work was done.
The pieces were cut.
I would have my door.
I cut free the meat from discarded parts and used pieces of bone as my nails and constructed the door, driving spikes into the ground and stretching out the intestines to hold it in place.
I made the doorknob out of the skull of the townie and it was done.
I made no lock.
There would be no lock for this door.
Whomever dared enter was welcome.
There would be no secrets with this door.
Whomever dared desire it would have it.
This was the door to the end.
The end of all things.
And from the end you would work your way backwards.
I would work my way backwards until I found the first door and the beginning.
And there I would find whatever had made these doors. Whatever god, or devil, or thing beyond made these things, these dreams and nightmares, I would find them I would and they would see what I have done in tribute, in defiance, and they would sit me beside them.
And if they wouldn’t…all gods must die.
The bones said this.
The bodies said this.
The blood said this.
And I said this.
Gods needed us more than we needed them.
They could make all the doors they wanted but without us to go through them they were just doors.
We were what gave them meaning.
We were what gave them power.
I stand naked and covered in blood before my door and as it swings open before me I can see the world beyond and it is beautiful and terrible and it was mine.
So soon would it all be.
All of it.