The Closed Door
by Rita Crossley
I’m in the kitchen, squeezing a teabag against the inside of my mug with a spoon when the kitchen door slams shut. I turn, shaking off the hot brown liquid that has spilt on the back of my hand. When I touch the handle of the door it feels icy cold and rigid as I try in vain to push it down.
“Who’s there?” I say hoping to hear a reply but there is silence.
I tug at the handle in desperation but there is no movement. Then the lights go out along with the background purring of the fridge. The room becomes an unfamiliar world, the glow of the street lamp casting distorted shadows around the walls. Then I jump as my mobile phone comes to life, a tiny glow vibrating along the worktop playing its version of my favourite piece of music. I shake my head and smile as I lean across and grab it in my hand.
My neighbour from upstairs speaks to me.
“Tom, it’s Becky here. My electricity’s gone off. I’ve tried to get to the power box but the lounge door seems to have jammed. It’s not my day. Can you come up and rescue me? I’m a damsel in distress.” She makes that little giggle that I find so attractive.
“Sorry, I can’t help you,” I reply, “I’m trapped in the kitchen.”
Not the best way to put it. I can hear the tremble in her voice as I explain.
“What the hell is going on?” she asks.
“It’ll be just one of those odd coincidences you hear about.”
I try the door handle again; still cold, still rigid.
Then I hear her breathing become more rapid and her voice dip to a whisper. “I can here footsteps in the hallway. There’s somebody in my flat.” She whimpers as I too hear the creaking floorboards above me, normally comforting, telling me she is at home and safe. But now the sound is menacing as it draws nearer to her lounge.
“Tom … the door,” she says.
I wish I’d oiled the hinges on it for her as I’d promised, then I wouldn’t have to hear as it creaks open.
“Oh my God, it’s horrible,” she cries. “I can see its eyes, they’re red; and the smell. Tom, help me.”
“Run,” I shout. A stupid thing to say, but I hear her move, followed by the sound of her hand hitting the window pane over and over again. She gives a loud scream, then silence. I hear her phone drop onto the floor. The sound of flesh being ripped from bone that crushes under the weight of an unimaginable vile creature. A moment later and there is a satisfied sigh.
I go to the drawer and take out the carving knife. I have to kill it but a stream of fear travels down my spine as I watch the handle on my kitchen door begin to move and the door slowly open.
Richard Edwards has a BFA in Creative Writing and Journalism from Bowling Green State University and an M.S. in Education from the University of Akron. Managing editor of Drunk Duck, poetry editor for Prairie Margins, reporter for Miscellany, Akron Journal, Lorain Journal, and The BG News. He has also worked as a professional writer and editor in the medical publishing industry for several years. For the last 15 years Richard has also taught literature and writing at the secondary and post-secondary levels. He works much of the time with at-risk students.