Behind the Door

From Fear Itself by Ed Cornaby

“Remember, Danny: don't open that door when I'm gone.” Danny’s mother said as she pointed towards the cellar door.

“But why?” Danny asked. Danny was ten years old and ever since he could remember he had longed to know what was on the other side of the door.

“I've told you a thousand times, Danny. Because there are things behind there that I do not want you to see. Terrible, horrible things and I love you too much, I wouldn't want anything to happen to you.” She puts the tray with Danny’s dinner onto his lap. “Now eat up, I expect it to be gone when I get back or you'll have the left-overs for your dinner tomorrow.”

“Is this the only thing we have to eat?” Danny asked.

“Yes it is, now eat it up. I'll be back later, mummy loves you.”

Danny’s mother left him on his own. He stared at the cellar door as he ate his meal. His gaze became more intense with each mouthful until it was broken by a scratching on the other side of the door. Danny threw his tray into the air and dived underneath a blanket on the floor. The scratching continued, it got faster and faster, interspersed with snorts and groans and then a sudden silence. Danny remained on the floor trembling, wrapped the blanket around himself tighter and cried himself to sleep.

He was awoken hours later by his mother stroking his head.

“What happened baby?”

“I heard the monster,” Danny replied

“Monster? Wha...” Danny’s mother looked puzzled and then regained her composure. “You didn't open the door did you, Danny?”

“No...but I want to see what's behind it. Will you show me mummy? The monster doesn't harm you.”

“Sorry Danny baby, it's not safe.”

“I'm going through on my own then, I don't care if it hurts me, I want to see it.” Danny bolted for the door and his mother attempted in vain to grab his shirt.

“No, Danny!”

Danny charged up the flight of stairs before the door, with his mother in pursuit. He opened the door and was struck by a blinding light that bathed him in warmth. His mother’s hurried footsteps stopped behind him and he ventured into the light. At first he was blind but his eyes soon become accustomed, he found himself in a room with a tiled floor and bowls of foods he never seen before.

The one side of the room had a square through which he could see an expanse of greenery and an infinite blue above it. He then heard the snorting monster, he turned to the direction of the sound to find a small creature with four legs, a body covered with short black and white hairs and on its rear a long thin appendage that waved to and fro as it approached him.

The creature jumped up at him, Danny recoiled and the creature started to lick his hand. Danny laughed and teased the little creature. He explored another room attached to the one he was in and the creature followed him. Upon a wall he found a rectangular shape which reflected what is in the room. Danny looked into the rectangle and saw himself, he did not look like his mother, as he had assumed. His eyes bulged far beyond their sockets, his forehead bore giants boils and scabs, and the skin that was unblemished was purely white.

“Monster,” he said.

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