The Door

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
Fliss has found a door in the hallway of her family's new house. It hadn't been there the day before.

This is based on an idea I initially had when I was about 13, and partially inspired by the HG Wells story, 'The Door in the Wall'.

Submitted: April 16, 2016

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Submitted: April 16, 2016

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The Door

 

The door hadn’t been there yesterday.

She mentioned it to Sophia casually.

“Do you know where that door goes?”

“Which door?” replied her sister. She had her earphones in and didn’t appear to be properly listening.

“The door on the third floor, the one at the end of our hallway.”

“Oh that door…” A shrug. “I don’t know. Have you tried opening it?”

She had tried opening it, her 12 year old imagination running wild. Perhaps it was an entrance to a secret passageway; or a hidden attic; or an undisturbed bedroom from the Victorian era, filled with dust and old portraits and porcelain dolls.

“It was locked.”

“Why don’t you ask mum or dad for the key?" Sophia offered sensibly. She was 17 and apparently uninclined to think too much on the matter that had her younger sister so excited. "It’s probably on that massive keyring Mr Stoakes gave them.”

A few minutes later she settled herself at the breakfast table. “Morning, Mum,” she said sweetly.

“Morning, Fliss. Did you sleep ok?”

“Yeah,” she grinned. “I love my room.” A short pause. “Mum?” she said, as neutrally as she could. “Where did you put the keyring you got from Mr Stoakes yesterday?”

“I think it’s in the top drawer of the sideboard,” came the reply. “Why do you ask?”

“Oh,” Fliss grabbed a piece of toast from the rack and started coating it in raspberry jam. “It’s just that there’s this door at the end of the hallway upstairs but it’s locked. I was wondering where it went.”

She didn’t mention that the door hadn’t been there yesterday.

Her mother frowned a little over the mug of tea she had raised to her lips. “If it’s locked there might be a reason for that,” she pointed out.

“I won’t touch anything, I promise! I just want to see what it is.”

Her mother shrugged. “Ok,” she said. “But make sure you’ve unpacked all your things first.”

“Yes, mum.” Fliss rolled her eyes, causing her mother to frown again. 

“Go and get your sisters,” she said shortly. “The toast’s getting cold.”

Sighing a little, Fliss did as she was told. On the hallway of the third floor she paused briefly, looking right, towards the door that hadn’t been there yesterday. Briefly she admitted to herself that she may have been wrong. It’d been dark when they’d all come in last night. Maybe it had been there but she just hadn’t noticed it. 

Or maybe she was right, and when she opened the door later she would find something incredible.

With a new bounce in her step she turned left. Sophia’s room was first, opposite the landing. She rapped on the door smartly. “Sophia! Mum says the toast is getting cold.”

“Ok, just coming,” came the slightly muffled reply.

Chloe’s room was next and opposite her own. “Chloe! Breakfast’s ready.”

“Ok, I’ll be there in a minute.”

Fliss headed back downstairs. Her Dad had joined her Mum at the breakfast table.

“Morning, Fliss,” he said brightly.

“Morning, Dad.”

“I don’t suppose you’d be up for helping me unpack some things this morning.” He caught his wife’s eye. “After you’ve done your own stuff,” he added quickly.

Fliss sighed internally. “Ok, Dad,” she agreed, trying not to sound too annoyed. She didn’t want to help her Dad unpack boxes. She wanted to go and find out what was behind that door.

Sophia and Chloe had appeared. 

“That goes for you two as well,” their Dad said. “After you’ve unpacked your things you can come and help me.”

Chloe groaned. “Dad, I’ve got so much homework to do.” Chloe was 15 and just starting her second GSCE year. Fliss couldn't help doubting that her sister's levels of stress were really necessary at this stage.

She was not the only one. “Don’t be silly,” their mum said dismissively. “You’re on your half term break and you’ve just moved schools.”

“Yeah,” Chloe said irritably, “and my new school have given me a tonne of homework to do before I start.” She scowled. “Apparently I’ve been learning the wrong science syllabus.”

“Well never mind,” her dad said lightly, clearly trying to change the subject. “You can do your homework this afternoon if you help me this morning.”

Fliss had finished and she quietly excused herself from the table, ignoring Chloe’s grumpy response. Maybe, she thought, I can really quickly check out the door now… 

She paused at the foot of the stairs, looking towards the sideboard.

“Fliss!”

Whoops. She turned back. Her mum was looking at her with amused annoyance. 

“Unpack your things first, remember?”

A sigh. “Yes, Mum.”

——

It wasn’t until 2.30 that afternoon that she finally opened the sideboard draw and retrieved the huge ring of keys. Her spirits fell a little. There must have been nearly a hundred keys on there - all different styles, shapes and sizes. Fliss could barely imagine how anyone could have so many things that needed unlocking. 

I’ll just have to try them all, she thought, before pounding up the stairs.

In the upstairs hallway she felt a strange sense of occasion as she finally stood in front of the door that hadn’t been there yesterday, keys in hand. It was a pretty average looking door, exactly the same as the doors to the bedrooms down the hallway, except that it had a lock, and the other doors didn’t. Curiously, Fliss knelt down, peering through the keyhole. It was pitch black. Slightly disappointed she stood up again, selecting the first key.

The first key didn’t fit. 

Neither did the second. Or the third.

Or the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh…

It took her 6 minutes to try all 39 keys. Twice. None of them were right.

Her mum was sitting at the table downstairs, on her laptop.

“Mum?”

“Hmm…?”

“Did Mr Stoakes give you any other keys?”

“No, just those.” She looked up. “Could you not find the right key for your door?”

“No.”

“Hmm…” She turned back to her laptop screen. “Well maybe it’s just not meant to be opened.”

Not meant to be opened? Fliss frowned. If it wasn’t meant to be opened then they shouldn’t have put a door there in the first place.

Later, as she went up to bed, she looked back down the hallway at the door that hadn’t been there yesterday. She didn’t see how she could have missed it, even in the dark. She was right, she knew it.

It took her a while to get to sleep that night.

——

The next morning when she woke up, she had nearly forgotten about the door. She got dressed quickly and headed down the hallway to the bathroom.

The door that hadn’t opened was opposite the bathroom door.

Fliss stopped, heart throbbing.

The door hadn’t been opposite the bathroom door yesterday. 

She went into the bathroom and thought about it while she washed her face. The door had moved. She was sure of it. Yesterday it had been right at the end of the hallway, but now it was much closer to the stairs.

She glanced over her shoulder. No, she wasn’t imagining it. The door had definitely moved.

She knocked on Sophia’s door. 

“Come in,” came the bleary reply.

Sophia was still in bed, looking at something on her phone. Fliss shut the door behind her and her sister looked up. “Morning.” She frowned. “Is everything ok? You look a bit weird.”

“You know that door I was talking about yesterday?”

“The one at the end of the hall?”

Fliss nodded. “Yeah that one…” 

Sophia looked at her expectantly. “Well what?”

Fliss shrugged. “No, it doesn’t matter.”

Sophia narrowed her eyes. “What is it, Fliss?”

Fliss dithered for a few seconds longer. “I think it’s moved,” she said finally.

“Moved?”

“Yeah. It’s got closer to the stairs.”

“Are you sure you didn’t just dream it?”

Fliss scowled. “Come see for yourself!” She opened the door and stood in the hallway, hands on hips, staring at the door that had definitely moved. 

Sophia peered out of her door, yawning. 

“It has moved,” Fliss said, “hasn’t it?”

Sophia shrugged. “I couldn’t say,” she said. “I haven’t really been paying attention.” She looked down at her little sister. “Did you find the key?”

“No, it wasn’t on the keyring.”

Sophia shook her head. “You must just be tired.”

“I’m not tired,” Fliss responded grumpily.

“Whatever,” came the reply. “But doors can’t move. That’s impossible.”

That afternoon Fliss went with her mum to get some more groceries. She considered mentioning the door again, but she suspected she would get a similar response to Sophia’s. 

When they pulled into the drive there was a unfamiliar car there. They found Mr Stoakes in the kitchen talking to Chloe and Sophia. 

“I just came to see how you were all settling in!” he said.

“Thank you,” replied Fliss’ mum. “Yes, it’s lovely here. Very big, but I’m sure it’ll be more lively once we get the other rooms sorted out and start getting some lodgers in.”

Mr Stoakes turned to Fliss. “Do you know anything about the history of this building?” He said.

In the background Chloe rolled her eyes before sneaking off up the stairs. 

“Um… No.”

Mr Stoakes smiled in a slightly strange way. “I was just telling your sisters about it,” he continued. “It was originally built as a hotel of course, but it couldn’t attract enough guests and the company quickly fell into ruin.” He leaned in and put on his best dramatic voice. “They used to say it was haunted.”

Fliss’ mum chuckled. “A big old place like this? Of course they’d say it was haunted.”

Mr Stoakes seemed to ignore her, still looking at Fliss. “And there have been a lot of… spooky stories to come out of this building over the years.”

Fliss thought about the door that hadn’t been opposite the bathroom door yesterday. She said nothing.

Sophia was grinning. “Come on Mr Stoakes, don’t get Fliss started,” she said. “She’s got a very active imagination. The next thing you know she’ll be organising ghost hunts around the gardens.”

Fliss scowled at her sister. “Ha ha ha,” she said sarcastically, before turning back to Mr Stoakes. “Actually, I think I’m a little too old for ghost stories,” she said primly.

Mr Stoakes was still smiling. “No one’s ever too old for ghost stories,” he said.

——

That evening her parents let her stay up a little later, watching a film. When she finally headed upstairs it was very dark, and the wind and rain were howling around outside. Fliss paused on the landing. Chloe was already in her room, but Sophia’s door was open.

“Boo!” 

Fliss’ heart nearly leapt out of her mouth as her sister grabbed her shoulders from behind. She spun around, glaring.

“That wasn’t funny!”

Sophia laughed. “Ok, ok, I’m sorry.”

There was a moment of silence as they both turned to look down the hallway at the door that hadn’t been opposite the bathroom yesterday. 

Finally Sophia laughed again. “I think Mr Stoakes’ spooky stories are getting to you,” she said.

“No they’re not,” Fliss said determinedly. 

“Whatever.” Sophia drew her little sister in for a hug. “Just try and get some sleep.”

Fliss smiled a little. “Night, Soph.”

“Night, Fliss.” She grinned. “And don’t have bad dreams.”

——

The following morning Fliss opened her door with some trepidation, already knowing what she would see.

The door was no longer opposite the bathroom. It was now opposite the landing.

The door had moved again.

Almost immediately Fliss found herself knocking on Chloe’s door. Barely waiting for a response she burst in.

“Chloe, that door’s moved again!” She cried. “I swear I’m not making it up. Yesterday it was opposite the bathroom, but now it’s opposite the landing.”

Chloe, still half asleep, glared across her duvet at her younger sister. “Fliss, what are you on about? What door?”

“The door I told you about yesterday,” Fliss replied impatiently. 

“You didn’t tell me about a door yesterday,” Chloe said, equally impatient. “Just leave me alone, ok? I’m trying to sleep here.”

Fliss pulled Chloe’s door shut behind her with unnecessary force. What was Chloe talking about? Fliss knew she’d spoken to her older sister about the door yesterday. She remembered the conversation.

Down at the breakfast table Fliss poured milk onto her cornflakes sulkily. She was right. Why did no one else seem to notice anything? She should have known better than to confide in Chloe, she thought to herself. Chloe never listened to her. She was always too busy being grumpy about something.

Maybe she could tell her mum…

No, her mum would never believe her. Neither would her dad.

She sighed to herself, wishing she had someone else to talk to. But she hadn’t started at her new school yet and all her old friends were so far away. It wasn’t the kind of thing to talk about over the phone. She didn’t even have a pet to pretend to confide in.

Her dad sat down opposite her. “Morning, dear,” he said a little absentmindedly, looking around the table. “Michelle,” he added looking over at Fliss’ mum, pouring out the tea. “You’ve laid an extra place.”

Fliss’ mum frowned, quickly counting. “So I have.” She sighed. “I must be more tired than I think.”

Fliss’ dad chuckled. “It’s the stress of the move,” he said teasingly. “Just like yesterday when you went and bought cat food with the rest of the groceries. You’re going doolally. ”

Fliss’ mum granted him a soft slap on the arm as she passed him his tea. “Speak for yourself,” she said.

Once Chloe had joined them at the table Fliss’ mum started going through the plan for that day, which apparently involved starting to sort out the garden.

“We’ll never get lodgers if our garden looks like the road to Manderley,” she said jokingly.

Fliss wasn’t really listening. She only knew that she had to do something about the door that wouldn’t open.

Fliss helped her dad in the garden until it started to rain again, and he reluctantly agreed that they had done enough for one day. Then she went upstairs and opened up her iPad. If there were spooky legends around the house, maybe she would be able to find some information online.

Just over an hour later, and she had found nothing.

“Mum?” she asked at dinner. “Is there a library in town?”

“I think so,” her mum replied. 

“Could you possibly take me tomorrow?”

Her mum shrugged. “Probably,” she said. “Is there anything in particular you’re looking for?”

Fliss shrugged as casually as she could. “Not really, but I do want some more reading books.” And I want to research local history, she added silently.

“Well remind me tomorrow morning.”

——

Fliss was almost asleep when there was a knock at her door. “It’s me,” said Chloe.

“Come in,” Fliss replied, sitting up.

Chloe closed the door behind her. “Tell me about the door,” she said abruptly.

“Um…” A little confused Fliss did as she had asked. “It wasn’t there the evening we first got here, then yesterday it was opposite the bathroom and today it was opposite the landing.” She frowned. “I did tell you all this yesterday,” she added quietly.

Chloe looked strangely pale. “But that’s Sophia’s room,” she said softly. “Sophia’s room is opposite the landing.”

There was a long pause. Fliss shifted uncomfortably. “Who’s Sophia?” she asked.

“What do you mean, who’s Sophia?” Chloe responded, eyes wide. “Your sister. Our sister. Sophia.”

Fliss’ mouth was oddly dry. “We don’t have any other sisters,” she said weakly. 

“We do, Fliss, we do!” Chloe moved until she was standing by the bed. “You have to remember. You have to try.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Sophia, our older sister. She’s seventeen years old, she wants to be an actress, she…” 

“Yeah, great Chloe. Really funny.”

“I forgot her too! How could I forget her? All of today, until just now…”

“Chloe!”

“It’s something to do with that door. It has to be.”

“Chloe, you’re scaring me!”

There was a deathly silence. Chloe took a step back. “You really don’t remember?”

“It’s not funny, Chloe,” Fliss said, trying to keep her voice level. Trust Chloe to come up with something like this. Of course she didn’t have another sister.

Suddenly Chloe sighed. “I’m sorry,” she said quietly. “I didn’t mean to scare you.” She leant in to give her little sister a quick kiss on the forehead. “Night, Fliss.”

“Night, Chloe.”

——

The door had moved again.

The next morning Fliss opened her bedroom door and the door that had been opposite the landing yesterday was right in front of her.

“Remember you were going to take me to the library today, Mum,” Fliss said at breakfast. 

“Of course,” said her mum. “Do you mind waiting until this afternoon?”

“No, that’s fine.”

It was drizzling again. Fliss scowled at the rain, not that she could expect anything else from England in October. Unlike the previous few days her parents didn’t appear to have any chores for her. Instead she grabbed her book and settled down on the sofa, trying to take her mind off the door.

Being an only child was great in lots of ways, she thought, but it did mean she had no one to talk to. Every day the door had moved closer and closer. Her parents hadn’t noticed, what with their bedroom being on the ground floor, and they almost certainly wouldn’t believe her. It occurred to her again that she was all alone on the top floor with the creepy door. It hadn’t opened for her, but what if that night it did open, and something came out… A something with big teeth maybe. A something that wouldn’t mind taking the short walk across the hallway to her bedroom…

In the end it was only a ten minute drive to the library. Fliss’ mum went off to browse the adult fiction section, and Fliss quickly grabbed a couple of vaguely interesting books to take out before asking the old lady behind the desk where the books on local history were. A few minutes later and she was scanning the index of the first book. There was nothing about the old hotel. There was nothing in the second book either.

She was about to give up on the third book as well when she noticed something else familiar in the index.

Stoakes, The Family p.161

She flicked through until she found the right page, and skimmed the long paragraph. Apparently the Stoakes Family were one of the oldest local families, having moved here just as the old hotel was being built.

Fliss glanced across at the picture on the opposite page. It showed the hotel under construction. A small family stood outside - a man, a wife and two young daughters.

Photo taken in 1862 - Albert, Maud, Charlotte and Alison Stoakes, the caption read.

Fliss looked at the old photograph with interest, her eyes falling on Albert Stoakes. His resemblance to the Mr Stoakes that she knew was extraordinary. She might almost think they were the same person. 

After the mysterious deaths of his wife and daughters in 1865, Albert Stoakes closed the hotel. It was reopened several months later, although the building has not been used for its original purpose since.

“Felicity?”

Fliss almost dropped the book.

“You had me worried for a second, honey,” her mum continued disapprovingly. “I didn’t know where you’d gone. What are you looking at?”

“Nothing in particular,” she replied quickly. She held out the other books. “Could I get these out, please?”

“Of course.”

It was on the drive back that Fliss finally asked, “What’s Mr Stoakes' first name?”

Her mum frowned slightly. “Why do you ask?”

Fliss shrugged. “Just wondering.”

“It’s Charles,” she said. “Although you should probably call him Mr Stoakes.”

Fliss couldn’t help feeling slightly relieved. It must be a coincidence, she told herself. It can’t be the same man. He’d have to be more than 150 years old. That’s impossible.

A voice flashed through her mind. “Doors can’t move. That’s impossible.”

Who had said that? Fliss wondered for a moment or two before sighing. Whoever had said it, they were right. Surely believing that the door was moving was just as plausible as believing that Albert and Charles Stoakes were the same man?

Maybe she was going mad.

——

Fliss didn’t want to go up to bed that night.

“Five more minutes,” she begged her parents.

“Fine,” her mum sighed wearily. “But that’s it.”

Eventually she had to give in and she ascended the dark stairs as slowly as possible. Once again the rain and wind were beating against the house, and Fliss couldn’t help shivering slightly. For the first time since she’d got here, she truly was scared.

On the landing of the third floor she stopped, looking down the hallway at the door that was opposite hers. 

Weird architecture, she thought suddenly. The room behind the door must be massive - there aren’t any other doors on that side of the hallway.

Except there had been.

There had been other doors.

Fliss’ arms under her dressing gown were covered in goosebumps. The door hadn’t been opposite her room before because that was where Chloe’s room should be. And opposite the landing… Sophia’s room. Except now the wall was blank.

I’m not an only child.

How could I forget about my sisters?

Chloe had told her about Sophia but she hadn’t believed it. But it was true. And then Chloe had vanished too.

Her hands were shaking, and her bare feet were freezing on the cold wooden floorboards as Fliss walked towards the door that hadn’t been there before. The door that hadn’t opened. The door that had moved. The door that had taken her sisters.

The door was open.

A warmth golden glow, like the light of a candle, issued through it, creating a wedge of soft light on the floor.

The door had taken her sisters. Maybe if she went through the door it would take her as well. Her parents would never know she was gone. They wouldn’t remember she’d even existed in the first place.

Or maybe she would find Sophia and Chloe. Maybe she would be able to save them.

Maybe she just had to know what was behind the door. 

Fliss took a deep, slow breath. 

She went through the door.



© Copyright 2017 Amy R. Beckett. All rights reserved.

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