The Creaking Door
The Uninvited Come to Visit
Few sounds, so completely normal, sound so completely unnatural as a creaking door. Ominous. Foreboding. Eerie.
Here is the scenario; a man is working alone late at night when, for no apparent reason the door slowly creaks open. No one enters the room, there is no obvious physical cause that presents itself to explain how it happened. It just happened. I was that man and what happened afterward has forever blurred the distinction in my mind between the natural word and the unseen. A seemingly innocuous event would have not arrested my attention as this but this was no ordinary happening.
I suppose to a rational mind this would appear to be no conundrum, no dark sinister event but instead a simply explainable one. Before this night I thought myself to be such a person, not given to imagination or superstition but instead a possessor of a skeptical mind that investigated any apparent anomaly before flying off to a myriad of hasty conclusions. You see, I believe that in the physical universe every cause has effect, every action - reaction; but I have since learned that in the dimensionless realm of the non-physical, exist things which have no cause or explanation - only phenomenon.
I fancy myself to be a scientific man and logical. Surrounding myself with laws of physics which admittedly do not always function as I expect. I take refuge in the thoughts of men smarter than I. Tonight the theories and textbooks are no refuge. Hiding behind books and theories and a vocabulary of scientific terms, these primal fears still lurk under my bed or dwell in my closet. I thought I had evicted him a long time ago but beneath the facade of the rational, fear still resides as a tenant that refuse to leave, in some deep dark corner of my thoughts.
Only two hours before, all was bright. The world was a logical place. Then streaks of pastel hues slowly gave way to darkened skies. At first I watched as the twilight fell, the sun hung suspended between day and night. The sun locked in struggle between light and dark lay slowly dying. Struggling, it succumbed to the inevitable overwhelming, smothering blanket of night that soon will grip the planet under its cloak of blackness. Only slivers of light reflected off the moon's surface prevent the entire earth from sinking into the empty black sea of night. The last stabs of light racing from 97 million miles away careen off the hemispherical horizon across a twilight canopy and then... darkness has fallen. Outside a dog barks in the distance. Leafless trees, like suspects apprehended in individual acts of felony; throw up their limbs as arms in surrender, against the spot light of the waning moon.
Of every sensation I've encountered, the sound of a door turning on un-oiled hinges as it slowly creaks open seems an invite, a portal into the unknown. I fear my door has become an unguarded passageway into the world of flesh and blood I inhabit, where visitors cross over to co-habitate my world.
Seemingly this coinciding of day and night has opened the door to a host of the dark domain to visit. Enter the denizens of the dark; under the canopy of inky blackness they are now free to flit about from shadow to shadow, stalking and lurking to their dark hearts content. These animate non-entities feed off fear, mocking the palisades of logic we hastily throw up in defense and then cower behind. Shapeless visitors roam and walk about at will. Tonight the world is their playground, we are their zoo as they stare and gawk and laugh. Most are mildly curious, content to be spectators watching, observing their pitiful counterparts of flesh and blood as we dawdle about. Some are a bit more mischievous, preying on jangled nerves. Others unleash sheer moments of unbridled terror from random, unexplained events; knocking things over, objects falling, creaking steps, the clack of shutters banging, curtains flailing wildly from an open window. These are the physical entities they can control; the tools of their trade of terror. Outside I hear the wind moan and howl as gusts hurtle leaves wildly about as projectiles, dashing them against bricks or scraping them loudly against the concrete.
Working late at night, alone in a room with no one but a vivid imagination only elevates the feeling of dread that I am not alone; someone or something unseen has entered the room, is there with me. But who ..or what? And what is the intent of the visitor? Evil or malicious? Perhaps merely to frighten? My skin crawls, starting with a tingling up the back like a thousand tiny ants marching up my spine. Hair follicles stand erect. Shallow heavy breaths flee my pounding chest... for a moment the entire universe freezes in suspense. pupils strain to see the invisible as my eyes dart rapidly back and forth... still nothing. But is it nothing ...or some thing that light does not reflect? Fear grips my mind, The suspense of the unknown & the untouchable is palpable, akin to a thousand pin pricks prickling the skin, spreading from head to toe. As if an unseen visitor has entered the room; my heart stops, my ears lock-in to the faintest sound. my neck cranes, my head turns, and wide eyes stare to see ...nothing. There is nothing there! Instead of providing relief, a pervading sense of indescribable fear replaces it, makes it seems all the more foreboding. A visible foe no matter how formidable is not nearly so fearful as one unseen. Has someone come to join me tonight?
I tell myself, this is not the case. Frantically, the rational mind searches for a rational answer. I too began searching but soon gave way to a desperate...groping; grasping at straws of logic. The obvious conclusion is the wind blew it open. Isn't it? My conscious mind has a logical explanation for everything; yet my subconscious seems to perceive a different reality. On a level I am consciously unaware of, my subconscious knows a multi-faceted level of reality that my rational mind refuses to accept.
Inside my room, the opened door half ajar leaves a gaping hole of uncertainty. A long pregnant pause followed suddenly by a burst of noise; the sound of wildly flailing, thrashing, and banging erupt from inside the hallway! My heart races wildly beating in response before I recognize the sound of shutters and curtains driven by the wind. It is a long time before I return to a semblance of normality. I grin nervously, feeling infinitely foolish as I concede to myself that I'm a bit too skittish.
And then I see the intruder inside my office. How I had not noticed him sooner?!! There inside my room, a light burns but outside my reflection stops short at the window pane. A ghostly apparition that resemble my self stares back at me in dread; as if a soulless entity masquerading as me glares back at me a like a sullen spectator. I stare at myself staring back at me. I cannot see out, whoever is out there can easily see inside. Perhaps even now is watching me as I slink in silent fear. Is it my reflection ...or my uninvited guest?!!
What does this mean? Am I afraid of my self; a dark, inner existence of a baser, lower form of me that lurks within waiting to wrest free, as a modern day Mr. Hyde and overpower my conscious self? Or is it a fear of another creature that masquerades as me? Behind the facade of normalcy might be a malignant malovent being that maquerades much like a virus cloaks itself in the cells of it's host? Who can tell?
I can only wait until the morning comes, when reason returns, and day prevails.
© 2011 Jim Henderson