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The Light in the Door

The Light in the Door

A Story by Haunzwürthe

      The grandfather clock tolls a solemn tone at a quarter to one. Bishop lays curled by the fireplace sleeping uneasily. The fire crackles and spits, sending its light flickering throughout the livingroom. Low pitched drones sneak down the chimney, courtesy of the gusting wind outside. I sit in my recliner halfheartedly reading; the words escape me through careless glances. John Grisham is unable to keep my attention tonight nor has he for the past month. Only a few pages have passed between then and now. We would normally be asleep at this point, having left John's suspicions to the ghosts. But I cannot.

       My attention is held hostage by my restlessness. This house has betrayed me somehow. I trusted it as my home yet now it lies to me every night. The front door is most untrustworthy of all. Though I won't use it anymore, the deadbolt is latched for sure, checked countless times before. I don't worry as much about it letting something in. It's already let too much out. It's welcoming aura is supposed to be honest and I want to believe. Do I? I don't know. There isn't much I am sure about anymore.

      The noises start again from upstairs. It's lying to me again I know. Even though I've kept the lights on, the house won't tell me the truth. My hope has waned with each passing day and like every night in the past month, I have to check. A fool's hope, desperation, loneliness, whatever it is has driven me this far. John drops to the floor, his political chess match out of my mind, and Bishop looks up as I stand. I walk to the foyer and look at that door. It stares blankly with innocence, cluelessness as to what happened. But it knows. It is lying. Looking up the stairs, I listen as the footsteps creak down the hall on the second floor. I ascend and step onto the landing expecting... What? I don't know. Something to be there, an explanation. For what is supposed to be there, not what is there. The hallway lies to me just like the front door. It, too, knows but refuses to confess in its emptiness.

      It's warmer up here though not enough to keep the frost from creeping around the edges of the windows. Running water comes from the master bath. Bottles, lotions, and makeup line the sink. A towel lies crumpled by the tub, separated from "HERS" hanging lonely on the rack. I turn off the light this time. The bed moans and I turn around, again, wanting. The blankets and sheets are still in disarray. We would have made it together. A few notes of a lullaby sing into my ear causing my heart to jump. I leave our bedroom and turn off the light. I stand in the doorway of the other bedroom looking at the badly primed walls. Paint cans huddle together in a corner afraid to spill their blue hue on the crib and playpen. Tiny clothes, yet removed from their hangers, lie on top of the dresser. Hearing the clink of silverware downstairs, I turn off the light. The pictures on the wall hang in knowing silence through smiles and deceiving poses. Given one last chance to offer their confession, they only watch. My shoes lazily thud down the stairs and I turn off the light.

      Standing before the front door again, it refuses to give any answers. The smell of melted butter hits my nose. Going into the kitchen, my face is warmed by the heat of the oven but there are no brownies cooling on the rack. Dirty dishes fill the sink; we would have done them together. A playful giggle cuts through a gust over the house and the deadbolt clicks. I turn off the light. I return to the livingroom looking for an explanation and again finding none. The recliner, the couch, silent TV, and fireplace all know, yet conspire against me. Bishop looks at me from his spot in front of the fire. A soft whimper and a couple thumps from his tail tell me he knows too. He refuses to talk. The padding of soft footsteps leaving the porch give me hope once more. Bishop lets me leave and I go back to the front door. After a slight hesitation, I turn on the porch light and peer out the door and into the darkness. It is then the door speaks. The porch light brightens, spreading its light inside and on the lawn. It grows brighter and brighter until it is no longer a bulb. It is the sun, unusually blinding this time of night; I have to shield my eyes from it initially. Then I see her.

      She's standing outside smiling. Her brown hair hangs loosely tied down her chest. Her breasts have filled out her white bikini top. They rest above the growing bulge of her stomach which is just beginning to push out beyond her matching bottoms. Her bare feet disappear into the grass. She is smiling at me, waving, motioning me to join her in the water. She walks toward the dock and turns back, silently pleading, yelling words that don't reach my ear. I take off my shoes and socks, making a pile with my shirt and pants by the door. I look back through the frosted glass in the door. She is on the dock now, smiling, waving, begging. I smile, the first time in the past month and I wave back. Naked, save my shorts, I open the door and step out into the blizzard.

© 2014 Haunzwürthe


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Featured Review

I really like the pacing of this piece: it's manic and action filled, and very jittery. There's a great sense of restlessness which builds all the way through it, suspenseful, to the final conclusion, which is rather quite heartbreaking. A nice touch by including Bower - it adds a depth of humanity to your character, fleshing him out in 3D. If I were to really fetch for suggestions, I would say - tentatively! - that you can fiddle with way you deliver the end - show us the descent into delirium/mania a little bit more by altering the pace into something fluid, perhaps? But this is a mere suggestion, and one I've really had to press myself to think of. For such a short piece, the writing is tight and the pace well-measured, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Clever, with an unexpected direction of the events.

Posted 8 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

very suspenseful. sounds like he was having a bout of paranoia. the build up is profound right up to the very last line, when you can breathe a sigh of relief. when he sees her standing outside you don't know if it's a hallucination or apparition just by the way the story went. i didn't know what to expect the whole time. really cool story!

Posted 8 Years Ago


I won't claim to fully understand all that's here, but the sad loneliness, perhaps loss, comes through strong. It was a long time ago, but I remember experiencing something similar. As for the "I's", you can hardly avoid a lot of them when writing in first person pov.

Posted 8 Years Ago


I like how you had the environment change towards the end of the story, and the way the main character almost seemed serene at the end. It was very unnerving. I also liked how he seemed manic at the beginning almost rushing through the house. It gave this piece a nice duality. Very well written.

Posted 8 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I really like the pacing of this piece: it's manic and action filled, and very jittery. There's a great sense of restlessness which builds all the way through it, suspenseful, to the final conclusion, which is rather quite heartbreaking. A nice touch by including Bower - it adds a depth of humanity to your character, fleshing him out in 3D. If I were to really fetch for suggestions, I would say - tentatively! - that you can fiddle with way you deliver the end - show us the descent into delirium/mania a little bit more by altering the pace into something fluid, perhaps? But this is a mere suggestion, and one I've really had to press myself to think of. For such a short piece, the writing is tight and the pace well-measured, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Clever, with an unexpected direction of the events.

Posted 8 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

The fabric of this story is very well sewn as it brings together a vast patches of just about ever element that is needed to love a story.

Posted 8 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Added on September 28, 2011
Last Updated on February 16, 2014

Author

Haunzwürthe
Haunzwürthe

Bland, VA



About
-------------------------------- I am Mark but Haunzwürthe is more fun. -------------------------------- A brand new life sputtering in the wake of a broken family and the dissipating path o.. more..

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