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As One Door Closes (Fiction)

     In all the time that I had lived alone in that house, I swear I closed more doors than I

opened. It all started with the pantry. The door never stayed shut. At first I just figured I was

crazy, but rational thought told me it was something else. I thought that perhaps my cat had

learned how to work the knob. His food was kept in there after all. My theory was disproved,

however. It was about two months after I had noticed the door’s habit. I entered the kitchen,

eager for a snack. On my tiptoes, I snatched a box of cookies from the top shelf and then shut the

door. I settled onto the couch and flipped through the channels. My cat, Azazel, joined me and

snuggled into a crack between the cushions. Finally, I settled on a movie and the idea of a large

glass of milk. 

     Predictably, the pantry door was wide open. I cursed the cat and shut it. From the fridge, I

fetched the jug of milk then found the door was open again. I closed it and peeked into the living

room. Between the cushions, Azazel was still purring away. I thought hard and began to

wondered if I even shut the door. There was no way that I had imagined it. Turning back to the

kitchen, I caught sight of the door mid-swing. It stopped dead in its tracks when I saw it. Air

stuck in my throat, choking me. My feet were moving before the rest of my body. I sprinted

through the living room and out the front door. I tripped and hit the ground face first. The milk

jug burst and soaked the dirt. I wasn’t crazy, and my cat wasn’t the culprit. 

     After that day, courage renewed, I tried everything to keep the door shut. I taped it up, I

put a chair under the knob, I even bought weights and put them in front of it, nothing worked.

Somehow, the door always pushed open. One night, I sat in the kitchen, just watching and

waiting for the door to open. It only happened when I wasn’t looking. There was only one thing

left to do.  

     I took the door completely off the frame, hinges and all. It was a hard job, but I stuffed

the door into my car and headed for the trash dump. It was a beautiful sight, that door lying in

heaps of garbage. I was anxious to return home to stare into the open pantry and when I did I just

laughed. Doubled over and falling to the floor, I howled. My lungs and stomached burned, tears

streamed from my eyes, but still, I laughed. 

     I was up late that evening, my body buzzing with excitement and satisfaction. Every few

minutes I would walk into the kitchen and reminisce about the wonderful job I had done. Every

time, doubling the amount of dopamine in my brain. Around 3 AM, I forced myself to go to bed.

The sheets grew warm against my skin. I opened the windows, eager to hear and smell the

summer rain showers. I fell asleep and dreamed of it. The rain fell from the ceiling and flooded

my house. I was stuck in my bedroom, the water rising and the doors unable to open.

     I awoke with a start, sweating and gasping for breath. Looking around, I noticed the

doors to my bedroom and bathroom were open. But the windows I had opened, were shut and

locked. In front of the closet, Azazel sat staring into the dark crack left by the slightly closed

door. 

      “What are you doing?” I said. He didn’t budge. I snapped my fingers. Nothing. I got out

of bed and called to him again, “Azazel, stop it.” I reached down to pet him and found his hair

standing on end. Azazel yowled, scratching along my forearm. Blood sprang up immediately, as

the cat darted out of the room. I cursed him and clamped a hand down over the wound. I shut the

closet door with a little more force than I needed, and stomped into the bathroom. Searching

through the medicine cabinet, I heard a small click. It was the kind of click a door makes as the

latch slides out of place. I peeked out of the bathroom, and the closet door was cracked. 

“Dear God, not this again.” 

     I returned to the medicine cabinet, my arm slick with blood and throbbing. As I wrapped

the scratches in gauze, a slow squeak crept from my room. I looked back around the corner to

find the door creeping open, as if someone was pushing it from the other side. I watched as it

opened fully, my hanging clothes barely visible in the darkness. Before I could move toward it,

the closet door slammed shut with so much force the mirror on the front shattered. I screamed,

running from the bathroom. A quick left turn around the dresser put me in the hallway as the

closet door opened wide and closed again. The bedroom door shut behind me and banged against

my ankle knocking me to the ground. 

     Fighting the pain in my arm and the throb in my leg, I tried to stand. All at once, every

door in the hallway was forced shut. I limped down the hall as fast as I could, crossed through

the living room and went straight for the front door. Neither the knob nor the lock would move. I

tried the windows, then the back door, but they were all stuck too. The only place left was the

basement. 

     Each step moaned and creaked as I moved down them; I had never noticed that before. I

hesitated at the bottom of the stairs, afraid to move through another door. Gazing into the room

ahead of me, I searched for some reason to turn back. If I was going to get out, it was the last

outside door and my only chance. Still, I stood unmoving. The doors on the upper floor all

began to open and close. Rhythmically, they swung open and shut again. Tears sprung up in my

eyes, and the chorus of pounding doors coerced me further into the basement. A cool puff of air

brushed my back as the basement door swung shut. The few remaining doors in the basement

closed, except one. The one door I hadn’t opened in almost a year stood open. It stood,

welcoming. I was being led to my husband’s office. I’d hardly set foot in the basement since the

incident. I didn’t want to be here now but I found I didn’t have a choice, I was led. 

The room was dark, despite the fact that the small windows had no shades. I walked

closer to the doorway, stopping a bit short of halfway. The doors began slamming again, telling

me to keep going. I wasn’t in control anymore. My legs moved and I followed. Now a foot from

the entrance, I saw it swinging from the wooden joists. It was identical to the rope he had used.

The doors continued their hammering, somehow more forceful than before. I entered the room

and his desk chair slid in front of me. I tried to turn back, I wanted to turn back. The door

slammed shut. 

     I pictured him as I found him that night. It was raining, he was sad. He was so sad. When

we were together, we still felt alone. He hated to be alone. The fight was ugly and I slammed

every door I walked through, taking pleasure in the finality of it. With the rope dangling over my

head, I took a deep breath and stepped onto the chair. I had no control.  My eyes closed, I wiped

at tears smearing blood across my face. I don’t remember putting the rope around my neck or

stepping off. But all through the house, the doors applauded. Azazel watched from the window.

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