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
“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
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
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.