“Your job…your sole life responsibility for the rest of your natural life is to keep that door shut….always! The house is yours…you can do what you want with it regarding restoration or upgrades. But, you need to live here until the day you die. I inherited it from my grandfather. He told me the same thing. When your time comes, you will need to pass the house onto family or someone close that you can trust. It’s been in our family for over 260 years. It was built on these hallowed grounds in 1748.”
“I know you’ve seen the door when you were snooping around my basement when you were a kid. You and your cousins would go poking around when you were youngin’s. I know you were curious back then as you are now.”
“Hah yeah, we saw the door, we always thought it was a room full of gold and treasure when we were real young. Then when we were teenagers we’d sneak down to your basement to smoke cigarettes and look thru your stash of Playboys….huh…geesh…I can remember one time when Cousin Marc said that behind that door was your Sex Room. Haha-ha…..”
“Crazy stupid kids you were back then.”
“Guilty as charged!”
“Bruce, that oak door must never be opened. Understand?”
“Uncle Armand, what’s behind it? I deserve to know.”
“Nothing…absolutely nothing. That’s all you need to know.”
“So, you’ve seen what’s on the other side?”
“Yes, it’s void. It’s a room of darkness with no dimensions. It’s absolute nothingness. You don’t need to know anything more than that!”
“Why aren’t you telling me everything? Why is it such a big deal?”
“Bruce, all I can tell you is it’s based on legends, myths that I have heard from my grandfather who owned the house from 1920 to 1977. These stories have been handed down from generation to generation. I don’t exactly believe in any of them, but I have kept up my commitment for the last thirty-three years. Now, soon I will pass, and you will be caretaker of the house, this basement and most importantly The Door.”
Uncle Armand continued, “Now, regarding the door, there’s another thing you need to know. The wood is special; it cannot be replaced or reinforced in any way. It’s Wurttemberg Oak from The Black Forest located in the Rhine Valley of Western Germany. It is six inches thick and is said to last a thousand years. Its currently a little over three hundred years old and is solid as anything I’ve ever seen. You can replace the metal hinges and dead bolts but don’t mess with the wooden door itself.”
“Why is it so secret? Why the all the mystique? Come on….like what? What’s in that room?”
Uncle Armand paused, looked down at his dusty basement floor. Then said,
“A gateway to what?”
“Nothing that this world needs to know about. Just let it go Bruce.”
“From what my granddad told me there are six other gateway doors in this world. Known to just a handful of people. Each with a guardian, you’ll be the guardian of this one. Nobody else knows where the other ones are, just like the other guardians do not know where this door is. Anyways, my granddad said that each oak door has been blessed by Pope Benedict the 14th in 1740. They are truly sacred and cannot be replaced….ever.” ”
“Uncle Armand, did my dad know about the door?”
“Of course, your dad knew about the door. He helped me reinforce the door hinges back in ‘81. Your dad and I talked about the door many times while sharing a bottle of Canadian Club.”
“There was one time….we were drunk as skunks, ‘bout twenty years ago or so that we opened it to take a quick look. Door was opened probably thirty seconds. We quickly closed it and locked it back up.”
“What did you see Uncle Armand?”
“Bruce……..nothing is in there! Just…..nothing. Void.”
That uncle/nephew conversation took place two years ago as Armand Worthington was talking to his nephew Bruce Worthington. Uncle Armand had passed three weeks later from stage 4 bladder cancer. Bruce inherited the house from his uncle who had never married and never fathered children. Bruce’s father, William, Armand’s older brother, passed tragically five years ago in a drunk driving automobile accident. He was the drunk driver. Bruce is single and thirty-two years old working from home as a free-lance architectural designer. Bruce inherited his dad’s passion for alcohol but gave up drinking at the bar scene fearing he would end up with his father’s fate. Now he spends his weekends alone bingeing both booze and Netflix. But there are times, every once in a while, when he’d go down to the basement, bring a folding lawn chair and sit down in front of the door with a tall glass, a two-liter bottle of Coca-Cola and a bottle of Jim Beam and just drink and stare at the door. Once the whiskey bottle was empty, he’d stagger upstairs, eventually finding his bed and crashing hard.
One drunken Friday night, Bruce sat on a lawn chair in front of the door with a drink in hand and a bag of Cheetos in tow.
“Void. Void? What the fuck is void Uncle Armand??”, mumbled Bruce while licking his orange-tainted fingers.
“How the fuck can a room be a void?” Now Bruce does his best Uncle Armand impression by lowering his voice a couple octaves slurring out the words, “Bruce, it’s nothing…its nothing…..just nothing”
Bruce woke up groggily the next morning in the basement sitting in his lawn chair noticing orange Cheeto crumbs had littered his yellowed, sweat stained white tee shirt. His eyes were blurry, and his mouth was dry while rumbling thunder clouds rolled through his achy head. He looked up from his tee shirt and saw that the door had been opened. The door was open. He reflexively rubbed his red-rimmed eyes to clear his vision in an attempt verify what he saw.
“What the fuck happened??”
Bruce jumped off the chair and threw his body against the thick oak door and pushed it shut as the heavy-duty rusty hinges groaned from age. He secured the upper and lower reinforced dead bolts. Then turned his back to the door and slowly slid down to the dusty floor of Uncle Armand’s basement. Sweat, partly from the last night’s whiskey and mostly from fear, poured down his forehead. He felt faint.
The next few days Bruce tested sobriety but eventually Jim Beam won him over. During this brief dry period, he tried obsessively to figure out what he had done and what dark and evil secrets might’ve been released by opening the door. He cursed himself relentlessly for getting so drunk that he opened the “gateway” and for lacking the mental capacity of remembering a thing during this drunken stupor.
His anxiety and fear receded over the next couple weeks with the help of booze playing the role of therapist. The booze told him nothing was released from what he now called “The Nothing Room”. Just like it was perfectly safe when his uncle and father opened it for thirty seconds over twenty years ago. Why not take another peek right? Maybe for sixty seconds this time…..just out of curiosity right? His therapist was persistent on this especially after he went from cocktail number four to number five. Where’s the harm? Old Uncle Armand exaggerated right? It’s probably just an old, dank storage room for canning goods back in the day. Can’t hurt to take a peek, Bruce. You’re not a pussy right? These thoughts continued to pound on his door of reason every night.
Two weeks later, at 10:35 on a Saturday night, an inebriated Bruce Worthington, stumbled down the creaky basement stairs this time carrying a large Mag-Lite flashlight instead of a lawn chair. In his other hand was Jim Beam on the rocks. He teetered momentarily on his sixth step down but managed to arrive at the basement floor fully intact.
There, standing three feet in front of the oak door, Bruce catatonically swayed left to right for a full two minutes; his therapist, Jim Beam, subconsciously nudging him closer to the forbidden door. The glass fell from his lifeless left hand smashing its contents onto the concrete basement floor. He reached for the top dead bolt and slid it inward, repeating this with the lower dead bolt. He pulled on the door handle opening the door partially as the basement suddenly went completely silent as if all sound was sucked out like the vacuum of a black hole. He opened the door fully.
The first thing Bruce noticed as he looked into the darkness of the room was a change in air pressure. Both his ear canals instantly plugged up as if he was a passenger traveling on a plane that was descending too rapidly. The room refused to allow the fluorescent basement lights from entering as if the darkness itself consumed all photonic wavelengths of the bright basement. Bruce, standing in the doorway, switched on the powerful Mag-Lite beam and shown it into the pitch-black room. The blackness absorbed the light from the flashlight without reflection. The smell of decaying filth corrupted his nostrils so much Bruce grabbed a wood-sanding mask hung from Uncle Armand’s workbench. The pungent rot still permeated the mask making Bruce’s eyes water. Bruce looked deep into the dimensionless room then glanced right and left seeing nothing but blackness. He was unsure if there was even a floor. The term, void, used by Uncle Armand many times entered his thoughts as his flashlight beam got swallowed up by the darkness. His ears hurt from the pressure change. Giving himself the sixty seconds that he agreed to with his therapist, he pushed the weighty timber door closed and secured the locks.
Waking the next morning in his clothes, Bruce sported a piercing headache along with ears still plugged up from the night before. It was going to be another lonely, grey Sunday morning where soon, just after noon, Bruce will have his first drink of the day. He tried to keep busy by doing some design work on his latest architectural project; a project already three months past due. He felt the need to keep his mind occupied to stop the haunting thoughts of The Door. He was obsessed with it and the thirst of his curiosity needed to be quenched. What is it? Why does it need to be closed? Later that day, while swigging down his third Captain & Coke, his ear ways finally decompressed with a pop.
After finding nothing to watch on Netflix, Bruce poured himself another one and made his way down to Uncle Armand’s basement. Without any trepidation this time, Bruce marched right to the door, unlatched it and opened it fully. The pressure change plugged his ears once again. The smell repulsed him only slightly this time as if maybe in some way, he was getting used to it. With the door fully opened, Bruce noticed there was a thick tar-like black resin spattered all over the inside of the great oak door, looking as though it may have been sprayed or secreted onto the door. By whom? By what?
Bruce then grabbed a roofing hammer off the workbench pegboard and walked back to the thick blackness and tossed it into the room as he leaned in to try to hear it hit bottom in an effort to determine the depth of this apparent abyss. Five, ten, thirty seconds passed without a clink from the hammer hitting anything. He grabbed a few old golf balls that Uncle Armand kept in a coffee can near his basement workbench. Bruce wound up and chucked a golf ball straight into the room with the intention of hitting the opposite wall. There was no sound. He next pivoted left and threw another golf ball in a futile attempt to locate a left wall in the room. There was no sound of the golf ball hitting anything. He pivoted right and threw another one to find a wall to the right. No sound.
When he released the last golf ball, his throwing motion propelled his right arm past the door frame and into the darkness of the void. His arm disappeared into the blackness as if it was severed by the darkness, only to reappear fully attached to his shoulder once he pulled his arm back. He stood there in the doorway and slowly stuck his arm out until his fingers entered the void, disappearing like some magical act. He pulled his fingers back in, flexing them as if trying to prove to himself they were really his fingers. Bruce took a step closer, leaned forward and stretched his entire right arm into the room. It disappeared as if cleaved off from his shoulder. He pulled back his arm and took an unsteadied step back.
Next, Bruce took an old battery-powered transistor radio that his uncle had on his workbench. He turned on the power, extended the antenna and tuned into Classic Rock 102.5 where The Rolling Stones were midway through Brown Sugar. He turned the volume knob to the max of ten; Mick Jagger’s voice made its way to Bruce’s plugged up ear ways. He walked to the door opening and with the song blaring, Bruce held the radio out in front of him and into the dead ink of the void where every vibrating sound molecule was instantly absorbed. He pulled the radio back in, hearing Jagger belt out, “..how come you dance so good…” then extended back into the abyss only to be silenced again then pulled back into the land of the living where Bruce’s ears were met with, …”just like a young girl should”.
“What the fuck is this? No floor, no walls, no light allowed, no sound allowed. Dimensionless like a freakin’ black hole”, slurred Bruce out loud.
Three days later Bruce returned to the basement with a metal pail and two hundred foot of rope from the local True Value hardware store. He also picked up a few good size stones from his backyard. Thinking that this void was just an old mining shaft Bruce was determined to find out the depth and if there was water at the bottom. He opened the door allowing the basement to hum at a strange frequency. The pressure change and smell he was used to, this was new. Bruce tied the end of the rope to the pail handle then loaded a few large stones into the bucket for added weight. He lowered the pail down into the opaque nothingness whiling hanging onto the rope with both hands. The humming from the darkness began to pulse. After some time, Bruce noticed he only had about ten feet left of the two hundred foot rope. He let out a couple more lengths of rope then stopped. Two hundred feet down and still no bottom, he thought to himself.
Without warning the rope became taut, Bruce held firm his end of the rope. The next instant the rope got ripped out of Bruce’s two hands leaving red tracks of rope burn across his palms. As Bruce looked at his palms, he heard a beastly scream erupting from down in the bowels of this dark and evil place. It screeched again, this time closer, vibrating every molecule of dead air in the basement like a concussion from a sonic shockwave. Bruce instinctively covered his ears with his bloody palms. The humming continued as the screaming grew in amplitude and intensity. Something was coming up from the bottom.
The tip of a long black appendage slithered up and through the opening, making its way into the doorway of Uncle Armand’s basement. Black coarse hair and sharp barbs covered its oily skin. A second appendage appeared securing itself around the door jamb in an effort of pulling up whatever was attached to these black feelers. Bruce took two steps back, shaking off the shock, he cleared his head and knew he could not let this monstrosity into this world. He quickly moved behind the door and put all his body weight against the oak door and with adrenalized force, shoved the door closed. The shearing force of the sharp-edged door pinched one of the unholy feelers between the door and door frame. Bruce quickly latched both heavy duty bolts. The pinched tip squirmed like a worm on a hook. There was a maddening shriek on the other side of the great oak door as the hairy, barbed appendage tip got severed and fell to the basement floor. Bruce backed away from the door staring at the severed tip while stumbling over a stool. Bruce’s cloudy world came into complete focus of total sobriety. Now clearheaded, he knew at that moment he messed around with something unearthly and realized how close he came from unleashing this demon into the world. The humming stopped, his ears decompressed and the smell dissipated; lucidity soon followed. Bruce knew in that frightening moment that he needed to fire his therapist and begin a life of being clean and sober. He vowed, right there lying on the basement floor, that he’ll never open The Nothing Room door again. “I am so sorry Uncle Armand”, uttered a regretful Bruce under his calming breath.
Bruce stood up and looked down at the black barbed and spiny severed appendage of whatever beast was clawing its way up from its subterranean prison. It was the size of cat’s tail, short in length, maybe six inches long. Viscous white fluid flowed out of its sheared tip, puddling up on the floor. He went upstairs to get paper towels, latex gloves, salad tongs and a mason jar with lid. Bruce used the salad tongs to pick up the beastly feeler tip and placed it into the mason jar securing the lid. Wearing the latex gloves, he wiped up the thick white fluid on the basement floor with the paper towels.
Bruce went upstairs to throw the gloves and paper towels in the kitchen garbage then proceeded to pour every ounce of booze out of every bottle he had in his stock down the kitchen sink. He brought the mason jar to his bedroom, placing it on top of his dresser with every intention of burying it the next morning. For the first time in three years Bruce didn’t go to bed drunk; his head was clear and his mouth wasn’t arid as a desert. He was actually looking forward to a life of sobriety. From here on out he would honor his word to Uncle Armand. Despite what he just went through, Bruce was able to fall into a deep slumber within minutes.
The black tendril in the jar moved.
It pulsed with life just once. Inflated itself like a puff into child’s balloon then contracted. Two minutes later it heaved as if taking another breath then collapsed. This freakish pulsing cycle continued as life slowly entered the severed tip. It grew, now seven inches long curling up in the mason jar like a coiled rattlesnake. It grew in girth too, now over an inch in diameter. The pulsing black skin was glistening as the hair-like cilia extended and the sharp barbs flexed in a curling fashion as if going through a stretching exercise.
The glass side wall of the mason jar cracked.
The slinking appendage tip, now a full eight inches long and over two inches in diameter, moved in two-inch increments, mimicking the movement of an inch worm, is now on Bruce’s bedspread near his feet. The barbs at the severed end dug into the fabric of his bedspread while the slimy and prickly mid-section arched up. The front tip pulled forward gripping the bedspread with its sharp barbs propelling it forward. The two-inch worth of distance covered by each crawl cycle was slow and methodical. With Bruce’s mouth agape from snoring, the destination of the crawling tendril was clear.
The crawling tip reached Bruce’s mouth and funneled itself in using its sharp barbs to grip the inside walls of Bruce’s mouth. Bruce awoke in extreme pain with blood pouring out of his mouth. His head was still fuzzy from deep sleep, so he needed a couple seconds to process what was happening in his mouth. Bruce reached up to his mouth a second too late as the tendril slipped out of his fingertips and plowed straight toward his throat. The saliva in Bruce’s mouth facilitated the slick movement of the beast part. This is when the choking and body convulsions started. Bruce’s legs kicked furiously. The body’s natural response of vomiting up an obstruction stuck deep in the throat was futile as the appendage tip dug in deep with its barbs preventing its own jettisoning. Bruce hacked and tried to cough it up knowing full well that his air supply was dwindling. His hands tore at his mouth and throat in a desperate effort to rip this unholy intruder out of his esophagus. Tears streamed down his eyes as his body convulsed one last time before falling still. The hairy slug-like creature wiggled down the esophagus and into Bruce’s stomach where it split itself lengthwise and released white mucous-like fluid into Bruce’s stomach. The viscous fluid broke down and wept through the stomach lining where it entered Bruce’s bloodstream circulating its poison seed throughout his body.
Two weeks later the metamorphosis was nearly complete. After the second day of gestation, Bruce’s body started to turn a bruised purple-blue color throughout. The bloating came next with Bruce’s purplish skin blistering and peeling off in layers, replaced with a veiny, pulsating black skin covered with dark bristle hair and razor-sharp barbs. A second set of arms, infantile arms, located at the sides of his waist grew and showed signs of exhibiting pinchers. Budding early-stage wings bulged the skin of its back. The new eye lids fluttered like butterfly wings. Small talons were starting to bud at the end of each long finger. The creature controlled the body of the host with ease, regenerating the brain and absorbing the human intelligence through some evil form of osmosis.
Lying face up in Bruce’s bed, surrounded by bed sheets soaked with brown fluid and dry human skin, the beast opened its eyes to test its vision. While still lying prone it moved its arms and legs; testing them. The creature knew it needed vision and motor skills to fulfill its only purpose in this foreign new world; open the door. But it needed more time to develop.
One week later the beast gingerly arose out of bed, stood and took its first steps. Its vision had vastly improved but the muscle strength in the legs was lagging, coupled with some electrical misfired communications between brain and legs, had made the demon very unsteady when upright. Three days later the humanoid from hell carefully walked out of the bedroom going toward the basement door off the kitchen. Its pace was slow and unstable. It opened the door and ascended the stairs. On the fourth step down a knee buckled and the creature tumbled down the stairs. It gave up on walking and started crawling toward the thick oak door. From the floor it unlatched the lower bolt then slithered upright to slide the top deadbolt. It pulled the door completely open and staggered into the door frame opening of the dark abyss. It lowered its head into the blackness where it contorted and convulsed as it transformed from a semi-human head to more that of an insect. The beak-shaped mouth became unhinged and dropped wide open. An eternally long wail bellowed out sending acoustic shock waves down into the abyss. Stirrings and hellish noises were heard from down below. The sounds grew in intensity building into a tsunami of blackness, death and evil. The tidal wave of evil finally poured through the opened door revealing unspeakable ghouls, undead entities, spirits and malevolent souls from hell along with great cannibal beasts and horrid, malformed demons. The pressure of this evil release was so powerful that it blew Bruce’s house outwards like a natural gas explosion. Growing exponentially, the horde from hell soon enveloped local towns and cities and every community in between. A black cloud of plague sprawled outwards, unrestrained, it rolled across America with uncanny speed, leaving indiscriminate carnage in its wicked path and offering no end in sight.
Three days later the resurrected demons from Bruce’s door found the other six gateway doors, killed their guardians and opened each door releasing more evil and vile filth into the world.
And Hell emptied onto Earth.
And mankind was no more.
Credit: G.H. Appleby
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