Reads: 100  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: March 03, 2018

A A A | A A A

Submitted: March 03, 2018




A man finds himself one day standing in front of a locked door. Traces of footsteps on the path show others before him had found this same gate. Some trail further down another path, away from the door. Not understanding the entryway, he carefully inspects every square inch.Moving his gaze first from the top down, looking for a weakness.Upon discovering a set of hinges he sets himself to discovering their secret.

Now he moves to the lock. Tests it first with his hands, then moving more drastically to kicking and flailing at the stubborn door. All to no avail.

For days he beats and scratches, pounds and pries at the door. Defeated, he lays his head down, unable to understand the seemingly impenetrable doorway.

His head, on its way down, suddenly finds its way to not the cool dirt, but to a stack of papers and drawings. Laid neatly next to the entrance. Grabbing hold of them shows illustrations, drawn not by a single artist, but multiple and countless hands. Hands that have each penned different parts of the lock, until a complete picture could be drawn. He finds sets of instructions on the lock. Exposing its weaknesses and highlighting its strengths. Written also by untold numbers of authors. Some portions written one or two words at a time by a single author. Others in multiple paragraphs. At the bottom of the stacks of papers he finds a notebook and a pen.

He know his duty and writes of his experience with the seemingly impossible lock. Ending his contribution with the advice to others after him to do the same. For even after the lock had been drawn in entirety, it still existed for everyone else. To each of them it was an entirely new experience. To be documented and learned from.

Knowing the door’s susceptibilities he could now exploit the lock and open the door. Upon hitting it in just the right spot with exactly the correct amount of pressure the door freely swings open on its well oiled hinges.

Stepping inside the room it led to, the man is greeted by beauty. Piles of treasures. Indescribable as they glistened from the sunlight beaming through the now open doorway. Each jewel alight from the power of light breaching their core. Illuminating this once dark room in a spectrum of every color.

Glancing around the room he notices a series of corridors, each with similar doors to the one he had opened moments ago. Each with a pile of scraps of paper next to them. He sees them now, after knowing to look for them.

He could stay in this room forever. Awash the glistening light of his treasures. Finding beauty in every facet of every crystal surface as it throws its recieved light to the surrounding walls.He could bring his treasure back to the plain simple lockless world he departed from. To utilize them as a means for his survival. To retire on his new inheritance. He also knows he can return to this room anytime he wants. Now having the complete knowledge of the door and the lock guarding it, it yields easily to his hand.His last option is to inspect the other gateways in this room. To learn their secrets, to unlock more and more doors. To assert his knowledge, and of others, onto these unforgiving, formidable blockades.

Above all it was his curiosity that opened the first door for him. His first step was to not understand the door. Rather than to walk away he chose to inspect and to inquire. Again his thirst for knowledge and curiosity takes hold as he ventures onward to the nearest door. Never forgetting the weakness of the first. How easily it was pushed aside when he knew and understood it’s secret. The remaining locks, he did not understand. True, they shared many similarities to the first lock. He now knew to search first for the knowledge left by others and to use it as a ladder on which to climb to the understanding of the challenge.

He was to spend years here opening different locks. Learning and reading about them. Each door different, each adjoining room different.His following sunlight always alighting the room in its undiscovered splendor as the door creaked open.He continued to search these rooms and he discovered that they were all in fact connected to one another. In a large grid.In a way that some doors he opened, went to rooms he had already visited. He recognized the treasure laying within.Some of the treasures themselves were less grand than others. Some rooms filled to the ceiling with gold and silver and platinum. While others only absorbed the sun’s radiant light as simple iron and lead. He treasured never one above another however. To him they were all as beautiful as they were unique. Each something new for him to experience and document, and he loved them all dearly.

He discovered also, with an odd feeling of understanding,that as he would unlock these doors to rooms he had already entered, the treasures shone more brightly depending on which doorways he had unlocked in what order. Seeing the sunlight reflect off the surface of pure silver in one room, would make the silvery accents of the next rooms jewels more brightly lit to his gaze. Each doorway adding slightly more sunlight to every piece of jewelry.

After many years in his grid of treasures and upon unlocking each and every lock he could find,he eventually finds himself led to a grand door. More of a massive gate, built like the front door to a castle. The solid oak door intricately carved by a master artist.Golden and glistening itself in his sunlight. The swirling burned edges of the door, the absolute perfection in the angles of the decor whittled into its surface.Truly, even the door itself could be considered a great treasure.

He approached it with the same curiosity that he did with every lock. Searching now for the stack of papers and directions for the lock. Here he finds the most massive piles of paperwork he had ever encountered for any other door. Towers of them,packed into boxes and stacked to the ceiling. Completely engulfing the entire corridor. He finds there not only drawings of the most intricate lock, yet incomplete, but essays,even entire books and volumes of books written on the lock itself. Some written by people sacrificing their lives and sanity searching for this doors weakness. Others, a surprising amount of them saying that we were never meant to open this door. Warnings that behind this door lies only doom. A doom to destroy all the treasures of all the other rooms. To engulf and envelop the entire outside world, as it reaches and spreads itself back out through the now open doorways. To shut out the sun which had followed him all the while through the entire maze of this complex structure.

He reads every word of every page and every scrap of paper left by the others. He finds no answer. This door, to our knowledge has no weakness to exploit.

Completely destroyed, he turns and runs back through the doorways he had opened so far. Running past all the jewels still alight from his bright sunshine. All of them seeming to mock him and all of us for being unable to open the greatest door. WIth every footstep he feels himself a failure,disheartened and a fool. He finally reaches the entrance to this interconnecting dungeon that he once thought of as his paradise. He leaves his former sanctuary, sits beside a tree outside and begins to weep. He cries for hours, hating himself, hating the doors and hating the treasures they’ve shown him. He feels no shame in his release, only the shame of his failure.

Glancing down at the ground between his sobs he sees stone tablet just protruding from the ground near the entrance. He makes his way to it slowly. Picks it up and reads the chiseled words scribed on its surface in the stone.

It’s the story of man’s very first encounter with this entrance. It tells of men who had always been told of this door, how we were never meant to open it, how that behind this door only lies death. Punishment for our disobedience. It tells of the the man who happened to walk by it one day and really looked at it. How in a tiny crack in the door, shown the tiniest reflection of light back upon him. His were the first words written on the doorways instructions, how he was merely the start. A curiosity that led to finally opening the door.

Our man, now understanding that things written in stone are not always forever, makes his way back into the temple. All the way to the giant gilded gate. He stares for days at the oak doorway and after inspecting every square inch he finally meets the tiniest crack in the door. Inside he can only barely make out a dull glow. The reflection of his sunlight, almost imperceptible.He takes another glance at the well hidden hinges ,very well hidden, but not impossible to see. He knows we were meant to open this door. Again finding the notebook and pen and the very bottom of the stack of papers, he begins to beat and pry at the door.

© Copyright 2018 Eric Muhlbauer. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:

More Science Fiction Short Stories