The Black Door: A Tale of Personal Phobia

April 15, 2010 at 3:13 PM
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I never liked doors. There was always something about doors that freaked me out. When they were open, I felt exposed. When they were closed, I felt a bit safer, yet nervous about what was on the other side. So I often lock my doors and the doors that lead outside of my small rural house have plenty of windows. I’ve told people about this phobia, I guess you could call it that, before. They’ve rationalized it, saying “It’s like how some people aren’t afraid of the dark, but what the dark hides”. Yes, that makes sense. I guess, ever since I was a kid, I always imagined watching one open on its own and a monster would come out and get me. Even now and again into my teen years did this happen. It was always a door, never through a window, never out of a dark hallway or corner, but a door. The knob would turn, the hinges would creak and out came a creature of utter blackness and it would take me away, kill me or whatever monsters did. That is why I hated this particular door.

This door was tall, nearly eight feet tall and about three feet wide. It was black, jet black. I didn’t like it. It was big, dark, and in my bedroom. I never used this door often. I kept some old clothes behind that door on racks. Suits, ties, dress pants, just some random formal stuff I hardly used. I was just a cook so I never really needed them unless I needed a job. Luckily I was able to stay with this diner for a long time. I haven’t opened that door for five years. I often wonder why I never got rid of it. If I didn’t like it, why keep it? Well I guess because it just seemed silly. It seemed silly to get rid of a door just because of some childhood fears. I was a big boy now, I’m not supposed to be afraid of the dark or the boogeyman.

“Heh, yeah.” I rapped my knuckle against the door as I stood in front of it, “I’m not afraid of you. You’re just a big piece of wood. All you got behind you are some old clothes that probably don’t even fit me anymore.” I tried to laugh away my concern as I looked at the door. It seemed to tower over me, two small panels at the top of the door seemed to angle down at me. For a moment I felt like it was looking right at me. I tried to laugh again, but I couldn’t quite muster the humor. Instead I gave it another rap and walked off. I had things to do, get ready for work, bills to pay, and people to see. I didn’t have time to be afraid of a door.

A couple of nights went by after I ‘mocked’ the door. The feeling of being looked down on didn’t leave for the rest of the week. For some reason I just felt…watched by the door. I lay in bed one night, parallel to the door, and stared at it. The door was hidden in the darkness, with only its brass knob to let me know it never moved. I stared for some time, looking directly at it. I felt like I was in a staring contest with the door. We just looked at each other, waiting for the other to make a move. We waited until one of us broke the stare, we tried to intimidate the other. We stared for a long time before I finally blinked. When I did blink I expected the door to suddenly swing open and reveal some sort of monster. Nothing happened, the door simply stood there, looking at me, looming over me. A chill ran down my spine and I finally turned away. I went to sleep, but not after several glances back at the door.

I woke up that morning with a headache. My head pounded like a death metal drum solo. I groaned, it hurt like a son of a bitch. I pressed my hands on the bed to feel something warm dampen my hands. I opened my eyes. There on my pillow and down onto the white sheets was a pool of blood. I sat up, tearing my face away from the pillow. It was sticky from the dried blood. When I examined the sheets closer I saw drops falling from my nose. I had a bloody nose, of course. I quickly stood up from my bed and ran to the bathroom with my head up like some sort of super snob. Ya know, the kind where they even look down on God. Anyway I ran in and looked at myself in the mirror. The left half of my face, mostly the cheek and mouth area, was dark red and brown and two streams of blood still dripped from nose. I held it up again, this time feeling around the bathroom for some toilet paper. I found some and quickly plugged my nose up in a hurry. The toilet paper stopped the blood and I was able to sigh in relief. I felt dizzy though and when the crisis ended, my headache decided to take center stage again. With another groan I wandered into my bedroom and called in sick. I couldn’t go to work like this. I called my boss, and with the toilet paper in my nose, I sounded more convicting. He told me to call someone and so I called Fred, he’s a good shit.

“Hello?” Came up his voice. I must’ve just woke him up.

“Hey, Fred. It’s Josh. Listen man, I’m feeling like shit and I need you to come in for me, alright?” There was a silence on the phone. He was probably nodding. Fred had a stupid tendency to do that, like he thought the phone had video or something. Finally he responded.

“Yeah, yeah sure.” He said with a yawn.

“Thanks man, I’ll take Friday for ya, if you’d like.”

“I would like that, Josh. Thanks.”

“Yeah, I’ll talk to ya later.” I hung up. There, I had the day to get cleaned up and my head to feel better. As I laid my phone back on the base I noticed something odd. There was a sheet missing from my bed. Figuring I just kicked it off as I slept, I took a look around the bed. Nothing. Not under the bed, not behind it, not around it. I looked all over and couldn’t find it. With a sigh I sat down on the bloody bed. What a day, and I just woke up. My headache pounded as I tried to think, tried to calm down. I felt like crap, but I also felt nervous for some reason. A bloody nose and a headache then my sheet is gone. I pinched the bridge of my nose in frustration. What a fucking day. Then I looked up, intent on some aspirin…and I noticed something else. My closet door wasn’t closed all the way. I could tell because the latch rested on the outside of the frame. Now I was really freaking out.

I stood up, in nothing but my boxers and approached the door. I reached for the handle. I looked up at those two panels and again, they seemed to angle down at me, staring me dead in the eye. I hesitated and took a step back. Why was it open and why was I so scared of it? It was just a door. Nothing to be scared of…yet I was. I was absolutely terrified of this door right now. My head pounded, my nose was plugged with toilet tissues, and I was alone in my boxers. Dawn was just creeping through my window. I gripped the handle. There was nothing, absolutely nothing to be scared of. I told myself this probably a million times as my hand shook on the knob. The quaking knob made small rattling noises as the latch vibrated against the frame. Finally I took a deep breath, made a tight fist, and swung open the door.

Inside was the five jackets, dress shirts, dress pants, and two pairs of shoes I wear for interviews. They were all aligned and straight on the rack they hung on by their hangers. Just as I had left them five years ago. I looked down and there was my sheet under the coats. It was folded up neatly into a perfect square. One word raced across my mind a thousand times. How? How how how how how how? I didn’t know, and I didn’t think I wanted to know. Mustering my courage again, I reached down and grabbed the sheet then I shut the door. I must’ve used more force than usual as the door shut with a small slam. I jumped in response, but I stood my ground otherwise. I looked back up at the two panels and remained still. They looked back. They seemed to be waiting for some sort of response to my findings. Did they want praise, fear, scolding? What was I do to? Should I tell it how much it scared me and how terrible of a trick it was? I looked up at it. It looked back. I never moved from where I was until around 10 am.

The day pressed on. I was downstairs, cleaned up and my headache was gone. I was sitting on my couch watching TV. I was watching a documentary. It was about the civil war and how Sherman marched through Atlanta burning all in his path. Next to me in a chair was the sheet I found in the closet. I didn’t take the time to put them back on the bed, nor did I take the bloody sheets and pillow to be washed. I didn’t intent to sleep up there anyway. Yet it seems my venture to avoid the door was not something I was destined. As a man talked about how Sherman planned to burn Atlanta to the ground I heard something that made my blood run cold. A loud slam echoed through the emptiness of my house. It was a fierce slam, like someone who was running for their life would slam a door in front of a killer. Or like how a child looking for attention would slam their parent’s door. I jumped up from the couch and look up the stairs leading to my room. The slam echoed in my ears a few times as I gazed up, unable to move. I was not just scared anymore. I was terrified. Something was in my house, something hid behind that door. And that something wanted my attention.

“Hello?” I called out. I wasn’t sure how I was able to muster the courage to call out into the empty house. I wasn’t even sure why I thought I’d get answer. I didn’t and the house was silent once again. My nerves were not settled however. I took a few steps forward, my socks whispering on the pale carpet. I stopped and nothing continued to happen. I licked my lips, they were incredibly dry. I then jogged. I couldn’t believe how fast I decided to see the door. My body felt like on autopilot as I skipped up steps to my room. I flew past the bathroom and suddenly found myself at the doorway leading to my room. I looked around the corner. There was the door. It was shut tight, no latch left out. I stepped into my room. I stepped slowly, cautiously. Those two panels watched my every move like the eyes of a hawk, or that of a demon. I looked at them as I continued. Every few steps I paused to listen and watch. Nothing happened. Then I was at the door. I looked up at the panels again. This time something else caught my eye. It was a long streak. The door was covered with them, but this one was larger than the rest. The streak extended between the two panels and curved. It was smiling at me.

I was downstairs again. This time with a beer in my hands, the quilt over me, and my head on the arm of the couch. The time was 11:30pm. I was watching a movie. One of the Die Hards I think it was. I sat, my eyes blank and my body cold. I was very cold now. I even wore my jacket under the quilt and I was still shivering. I was probably actually very scared, yet I didn’t feel all that scared. Just cold. I watched as explosions came off the screen, as gunfire was passed back and forth between Bruce Willis and some terrorists. I watched, my body shivering yet still. I took a drink of the beer only every ten minutes, on the minute. I watched…and waited. I knew I was waiting for something. For the door to do something, yet I couldn’t leave. I didn’t feel the need yet. I felt distant, actually. I felt like I was watching myself watch TV. I only ever came back to the present whenever the ten minutes came up. I watched TV and kept an ear out for something.

At 12:00 midnight, just as I drank my beer I heard what I was waiting for. The walls shook, the ground quaked, and my heart stopped. There was another loud slam, oh, but it wasn’t over yet. That slam was followed by another, and another, and another. The pace was slow at first, but it picked up quickly. It was almost like listening to a giant smash against a wall over and over again. My body moved faster than I ever thought I could, yet I remember every moment. My hair standing up, my legs kicking off the quilt, my hands grabbing the keys to my car. My head turning to the stairs. The slamming continued throughout the process. I ran out the door, I ran to my car. Then I drove away. I drove so fast, so fast to get away from the slamming. It continued in my head. Pounding, over and over and over again. It just wouldn’t stop. I couldn’t concentrate. I just heard the slamming of my closet door over and over again, like a jackhammer. It pierced my mind and broke my sanity. I began to laugh and laughed even louder as I watched a pair of headlights rush into my car.


Credited to Eman.

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