On the Road to Nowhere: Short Story response to a Challenge; Taking advantage & opening doors

Challenge

The Door to Nowhere
The Door to Nowhere | Source

The Challenge

This is Bill Holland’s challenge. You’ll find it at http://billybuc.hubpages.com/hub/A-Writing-Challenge-The-Door-to-Nowhere .

In a nutshell it’s this:

Your prompt is a visual one. The picture above is the Door to Nowhere. Yes, you may use the picture with your essay/story. Also, as part of your prompt, you have to begin your challenge with the following sentence:

Was it really only yesterday?


What's behind the Door?

Will you venture outside?  What will await you....?
Will you venture outside? What will await you....? | Source

Opening Doors

We go through many doors in our lifetime. We see even more and then have to choose whether or not to open them. Where will they lead us? What's on the other side? Will it be good or bad? Should we take a chance? Should we answer the urge to satisfy our own curiosity?

They can be physical doors which give us access to a building, to rooms, or there are doors to our future, opportunities to explore, be they physical or spiritual, to obtain a job or to test ourselves in some way. Some open onto misfortune. Some we should never consider opening.

This is a story of someone who opened a door and found more than he bargained for.


The Premise

Is it true that events sometimes shake people into following a different path? Do experiences impact on people’s lives? Are there such things as life-changing moments? An old boy told me a story once. Didn’t know whether to believe him or not but I’ll pass it on to you. This is his story.


On the Road to Nowhere

Was it really only yesterday? ‘Spose it must be. I know I stood in this stinking alley, looking up at that door just there, wondering if it was locked and if there was enough inside to make it worth my while breaking in.

I’d even hung around the night before, to do a recky for any signs of life, occupation, pets. Not even a mangy moggy poked its scrawny neck above the window-sill or scratched at the door. No disease-ridden dog barked, no pesky parrot screeched its presence. Only the rats rattled the bin lids and scurried in and out the shadows. Only sad neons lit the roofs and bounced off dirty window panes.

So, I reckoned it was safe to have a go. Even if the pickings were scarce, at least it’d be a night’s shelter. Up I went, cowering at each echo as my boots hit the rungs; don’t know why ‘cos the city noises blanketed even the humdrum shrieks of those who were battered, stabbed or needled every night.


Access

At the top of the fire escape, a furtive glance up and down the alley told me that, for the moment, I remained unnoticed. I patted my loyal array of lock-picks in my tattered pocket, next to the Swiss army knife (there purely for chopping food you understand), just in case. I tried the door handle.

Saints be praised! No need to force my way; I was invited into this humble abode. Polite as ever, I wiped my heel-worn, well-aired boots and shut the door behind me with barely a click.


Doorway to......?

Another space
Another space | Source

Nothing

Another pocket surrendered a torch. Keeping it angled to the floor, I let the beam search the room. Floorboards revealed..... floorboards. No table, no chairs, no cupboards, this room offered no clue to its identity. The torch explored the walls for pictures; nothing. I expected maybe an old sleeping bag some old tramp might’ve left or crumbs of food gone moldy or a broken light bulb.

There was no dust, no cobwebs, no smell. Now that was strange; everywhere has a smell doesn’t it? Pee or vomit or dried blood or rotting flesh (it’s ok, only rats); something to make me feel at home. The absence of any made me wary.

A doorway loomed. I ventured across the threshold to find... more floorboards. The city lights encroached from a small window, revealing another empty room, equally dust free. A survey of the walls confirmed that I was on a wasted errand, a hiding to nowhere. Nothing to nick, I’d taken a risk for zilch.


We're Watching You!

Now I was getting mad. I turned in a hurry to regain the ladder, my torn sole caught a jagged board, I tripped and plunged to the floor which stroked the side of my head with a thousand splinters. On the way down I had a nasty sensation of being watched.

As I made my graceful landing, the torch, still in my hand, stopped its rapid skim of the premises and came to rest beaming upwards. I screamed.

I was being watched. Eyes stared down from an endless ceiling. The eyes of the world; any shape, size, colour you care to imagine, they were all there, looking down, deep down into my soul. I screamed again. Who cared if someone heard? Who was going to nick me for burgling an open empty apartment, a free-for-all night’s kip? In fact, come and nick me, please, get me out of this living nightmare!


Malevolence & Disdain

Source
Source

Escape

I switched off the torch. In the dark, the eyes were a faint glow, less threatening, and I remembered to breathe. I heard my own desperate intake of air. I located the door I’d entered a lifetime ago and crawled towards it. My foot hurt, my head throbbed and my back was sore. My arms were stiff.

The doorway beckoned. I pulled myself up, leant heavily on the window-sill and wondered if I’d been dreaming. I looked up. The torch remained in my grasp and I couldn’t stop myself. Yes, I switched it back on. Just a quick look then I’d be off.


Getaway

The beam of light rested on those eyes, those eyes still looking at the floor. Then one, in a swift, mesmerising movement, immobilising my limbs, turned its malevolence to hold my gaze. Its icy blue froze my heart. Another followed its example, its dirty brown pulling me hell-wards into a murky mud pool; another, with an amused twinkle, shed such disdain that fear strangled my throat. Soon, all were facing me, all burned into my being, saturated me with disgrace, fear, loathing and dismissal. Then they switched off.

No, my torch was still on; the eyes switched off. My body surged into action. I don’t remember touching the railings or the rungs. I don’t even remember running but this morning found me curled up in heap of rubbish at the end of the alley, sore, aching and confused. I swear I didn’t touch a drop nor inhale a wisp. All I know is that last night is etched on every fibre of my being, for ever.


Now what?

I’ve just walked back to the bottom of the ladder. I’m gazing up at that door, that unlocked door to nothing, to nowhere. Well, nowhere but a universe of piercing eyes.

I can’t shake off the fear. I can’t erase that image. Next time I’ll think twice about entering without an invitation. Next time? Think twice? There won’t be a next time. I won’t be thinking even once about such things. But what’s my alternative? Look at me. No decent clothes, no money, no life worth anything.


A Road to Somewhere?

Saw you yesterday, didn’t I, lady? Tried to get me to go to the Soup Kitchen, didn’t ya? Don’t want no charity, I told ya. Could sure do with a spoonful of soup now though.

Maybe I’ll give it a go. Ok, I'm a bit cold, I’ll try your soup, see if it’s up to my standards. Know anyone who needs a hand with a bit of repairing? I can turn my hand to a few things. My old man taught me carpentry once, long ago, in a different world.

Hey, this place is warm enough. That table needs mending though. Want me to fix it? No, nowhere to stay. I’ll find something. Spare room down the road? Can’t pay for it, can I? Work for it? Mending for keep? Well, ok then, we’ll give it a go. Can’t promise anything though. Bit of a wanderer, me. Can’t tie me down. Hey, those cupboards are hanging a bit loose, that chair needs a bit of foam to cushion that old boy’s bones.

What you doin’ here, mate? Give me a hand, can ya? Well, ok, we’ll see how good y’are and maybe you’ll do for a chippy’s mate. Might take you on.

Gettin’ late. Bit of shut-eye, then we’ll get going on these repairs in the mornin’, eh? Yeah.


Soup Kitchen

Source

Can Events Change your Life?

What's changed your life?

  • An event
  • A person
  • A paranormal event
  • A place
  • Someone's action
  • An animal
  • A journey
  • Other (please
See results without voting

More by this Author


Comments 48 comments

annart profile image

annart 21 months ago from SW England Author

B.Leekley: Thanks for your two visits today; much appreciated. Glad you found this scary! I know what you mean about the eye.

Ann


B. Leekley profile image

B. Leekley 21 months ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

This is a very effective scary story. It reminded me of times when I was a child when I imagined God looking at me and into me with one big eye, like on the US dollar bill.


annart profile image

annart 21 months ago from SW England Author

Thanks, Kevin, for reading and voting. I'm glad you found it different; that's what I'd aimed for.

Good to see you! I appreciate your support.

Ann


The Examiner-1 profile image

The Examiner-1 21 months ago

That was really what I call a different view on this challenge Ann. I voted it up and pinned it.

Kevin


annart profile image

annart 21 months ago from SW England Author

Thanks, Mel, I'm glad you liked it. Loved your contribution.

Good to see you. Hope you have a great weekend.

Ann


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 22 months ago from San Diego California

Very engaging story with a nice twist. Great hub!


annart profile image

annart 22 months ago from SW England Author

Thanks for a great comment, Chris! I had a bit of fun with this one.

Ann


annart profile image

annart 22 months ago from SW England Author

Thanks for your kind comments, Linda. Glad you liked this.

Ann


cam8510 profile image

cam8510 22 months ago from Columbus, Georgia until the end of November 2016.

Ann, I loved the voice of your character. Lots of personality came through. This was a very enjoyable story. Thanks for sharing.


liesl5858 profile image

liesl5858 22 months ago from United Kingdom

Ann, you have done justice to the challenge and well done. Interesting story and very mysterious.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 22 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

This is an entertaining and creative story, Ann. I love your contribution to the challenge.


annart profile image

annart 22 months ago from SW England Author

Thanks, Dora. Glad you enjoyed it. I loved writing it, even though it was out of my comfort zone!

Ann


MsDora profile image

MsDora 22 months ago from The Caribbean

Original, suspenseful and with a pleasant ending. Great narrative response to the challenge.


annart profile image

annart 22 months ago from SW England Author

Emese Fromm: Thank you for your lovely comment and compliment. I'm glad you enjoyed this. Thanks too for following me; I'm off to look at your profile!

Ann


Emese Fromm profile image

Emese Fromm 22 months ago from The Desert

I enjoyed this story. It was different, unexpected, suspenseful.... I loved the ending. Great writing!


annart profile image

annart 22 months ago from SW England Author

Hi Nell! Thanks for your kind comment. You never know how life is going to veer off course, do you? Sometimes for the better but all adding to experience. Good to see you today.

Ann


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 22 months ago from England

Hi Ann, loved your take on the challenge, and the scary story of the old guy too, a lot has changed my way of life, totally! too much to say here, but I do sometimes think, how the heck did I get so far from my goals?


annart profile image

annart 22 months ago from SW England Author

Thanks, manatita, for your input and kind comments and I appreciate your appraisal. Life-changing moments take so many forms.

Good to see you today.

Ann


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 22 months ago from london

Great effort Ann. Stronger for me in the first half but still 'cool' at the end.

What changed my life?

I read a book in 1982 and I became totally transformed. It's described beautifully in my book: My Guru, Sri Chinmoy: Life and Teachings, in Chapter one. That was 32 yrs ago, and I'm still going strong, Grace of the Supreme, of course. Who else? Excellent Hub.


annart profile image

annart 22 months ago from SW England Author

Thanks, Frank. Paranormal maybe, or was it the effects of the neon lights and stress?! Who knows! Thanks for your welcome visit.

Ann


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 22 months ago from Shelton

what a different way to take on a challenge and it worked for you.. roads are paved by events, people, trauma et al... I am skeptical though about anything paranormal.. the story from that good ole boy was entertaining and well worth the read bless you


annart profile image

annart 22 months ago from SW England Author

Marilyn, thank you so much. Yes, lots of different takes and I tried to find a change of tack too. I love that everyone's so supportive of each other. Your response to the challenge was something else!

Great to see you here.

Ann


MDavisatTIERS profile image

MDavisatTIERS 22 months ago from Georgia

Good morning, Ann; what an interesting take on the photos. I like that all of us who took the challenge found such varied approaches. And it was a "doozy" as Billy says, you like, and I reiterate. ~Marilyn


annart profile image

annart 22 months ago from SW England Author

Paula, thank you so much. I'm glad you think this is different as that's what I wanted. Thanks, too, for the votes. I loved your response; one of the best in my opinion.

Ann


annart profile image

annart 22 months ago from SW England Author

Thank you, Sally! I like your response. I went a bit mad with this one because I wanted to have a different approach. It was fun to write. I'm glad you recognised some humour in it, as I intended!

Thanks for reading; much appreciated.

Ann


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 22 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

annart.......Extremely well done. This is different, interesting and very creative. The challenge responses have been so varied. I must say this is truly excellent!....UP+++


sallybea profile image

sallybea 22 months ago from Norfolk

Well, well, well, that was an interesting, scary, entertaining and at amusing at at the same time. I really enjoyed your take on this challenge. It certainly has shown a different side to many of the writers who took this challenge. Well done Ann.

Sally


annart profile image

annart 22 months ago from SW England Author

Thanks, ps, for your interesting personal input. Yes, the doors are there to open if we wish. Lovely to see you and thanks for your visit today.

Ann


annart profile image

annart 22 months ago from SW England Author

Thanks, Devika, for your kind comments. Glad you liked it.

Ann


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 22 months ago from sunny Florida

It seems all doors do lead to somewhere after all. Many times it is how we navigate through that will determine the outcome.

Such a journey many have taken ...when I was a parent advocate for a school system here in Florida I was invited into the world you described by those who wanted out but had not opened the door that lead to freedom.

Angels are on the way to you this morning ps


DDE profile image

DDE 22 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Hi Ann , you have taken on a challenge to share your great mind and that is exactly what you have accomplished. A wonderful story told and with perfection.


DDE profile image

DDE 22 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Hi Ann , youhave taken on a challenge to share your great mind and that is exactly what you have accomplished. A wonderful story told and with perfection.


annart profile image

annart 22 months ago from SW England Author

Thanks, Flourish. Glad you like it. I love Dean Koontz' writing. Very flattered to be compared with him but I'm some way off that quality. It's something I haven't tried before and that's a good thing about these challenges; they push the boundaries!

Good to see you today.

Ann


annart profile image

annart 22 months ago from SW England Author

Rachael: Yes, there are some great responses, most a lot deeper than this one and a couple are absolutely amazing. As you say, it brings out such variety. Glad you enjoyed this. Good to see you today.

Ann


annart profile image

annart 22 months ago from SW England Author

Thank you, Audrey, for your lovely comments and for the votes etc. Much appreciated and I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Ann


annart profile image

annart 22 months ago from SW England Author

Well, Theresa, happy belated birthday! Hope it was a good one.

Yes, I did think about the 'ascertain', you're right that it isn't quite in character; I might rejig it. Thanks for the votes & sharing; you're always so supportive and kind.

Hope your weekend is wonderful too and I wish you many happy returns for your birthday.

Lovely to see you today!

Ann

PS Just edited that word!


annart profile image

annart 22 months ago from SW England Author

Thanks, Eric. Not sure that I know what was going on either!

Glad you enjoyed it and thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

Ann


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 22 months ago from USA

What a great surprise the way you took this prompt and created this spooky tale. I think Biil has it right with his Dean Koontz comment. An apt comparison. Reminds me of the Odd Thomas writings. Well written!


RachaelOhalloran profile image

RachaelOhalloran 22 months ago from United States

I am in awe of the great spins each writer is putting on Bill's challenge. Ann, I enjoyed this very much.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 22 months ago from Nashville Tn.

On The Road To Knowhere found you at somewhere's door with this engaging, suspenseful story. Great writing!

Voted up and more and will be sharing as well. Thanks Ann.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 22 months ago from southern USA

Whoa, dear Ann! What a great sci-fi here with the eyes ... creepy indeed ... I know I sure would change my behavior if I knew those eyes were on me watching. You have surpassed the challenge and then some with this wonderful creative piece here. I wouldn't have thought this character to use the word "ascertain" but rather something along the lines of, "figure out" LOL. That is scary to think it was told to you as a true account of happenings. Eeks!

After I was healed of breast cancer in 2011, I do appreciate each year I am still here so much more. I just had a birthday yesterday and they mean so much more now. I look back over the past year and think about what all I would have missed if I were no longer here. So, now I embrace each birthday, no matter what age ...

Up ++ tweeting, pinning, G+ and sharing

I do hope you have a most peaceful and lovely weekend ahead.


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 22 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

Well you did it; left me wanting more and more! Excellent go at the challenge. I want to go back and find out what is going on.

Thanks for a great read.


annart profile image

annart 22 months ago from SW England Author

Thank you, Ruby. Glad you liked it. Yes, a drifter but maybe drifting to the right place.

Thanks for a lovely comment.

Ann


always exploring profile image

always exploring 22 months ago from Southern Illinois

Wonderful story, packed with suspense and some mystery. I think it changed his life, even though he was a drifter, his thinking changed. I liked his story, and you wrote it beautifully. Another direction for Bill's challenge. I love this community of writers in this place I like to call Hubville..


annart profile image

annart 22 months ago from SW England Author

Thanks, Jo. Yes, I think he might have! At least it made him take stock.

Good to see you and thanks for reading.

Ann


tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 22 months ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

Ann, I think your friend may have knocked back one too many on that faithful night. Great writing, very vivid imagery and a brilliant response to the challenge.


annart profile image

annart 22 months ago from SW England Author

I just put the blame on you! Of course it's a true story! What else?

I love the word 'doozy' though I'm not really sure what it means!

Thanks, bill, this was a great challenge. I just wanted a different approach.

Ann :))


billybuc profile image

billybuc 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

I think Dean Koontz better be concerned. There's a new fright writer and her name is Ann!!!

Thanks for the journey inside your head. A bit scary in there, but entertaining nonetheless. I always loved horror movies as a kid...so it's only natural that I loved every spine-tingling sentence of this story.

True story you say? Well my goodness. :)

Thank you for taking the challenge. This was a doozy!

bill

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