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I walk down the cobblestone path to visit the old woman. The tattered house reflected the hard life the woman had lived. The seagulls across the street at a nearby pond swoop down simultaneously to feed on the helpless school of fish, all while the cool ocean breeze refreshes my perspiring body. It has been several years since the incident. It was two years and three months to be exact. Many wondered how it could have even happened. There were so many stories, so many rumors; I did not know what to believe. Finally, I will get to find out for myself.
As I look around, observing every detail, painting a picture in my mind for future reference, I notice something peculiar---a quick, but brisk, gust of wind. I shrug it off and then proceeded to loiter around the yard for another good twenty minutes, taking note of every detail possible. I have a photographic memory, which comes in handy when it comes to dealing with situations like this. I am devoted to my task at hand. After I gather all the information I need and more, I walk up to the door, stomp down several cobwebs, and gaze at the magnificent door in awe.
The mere sight of the large door sends shivers down my spine. Nevertheless, I am not about to let a silly doorway keep me from fulfilling my goal. I grasp the cold metal knocker with a death grip of fear due to the strange presence that inhabited the stoop of the ancient home. I hesitate for but a moment and then I knock. The loud boom of the two metals clashing echoes throughout the perimeter of the entire yard. If there is anyone home, then surely they would have heard the loud noise and will come to let me in. However, unfortunately, yet not surprisingly, no one was going to open the door into the mysterious home that has eluded me for the past two years. I sit in silence, for I don’t know how long, just starring at the termite infested wooden doorframe. Eventually, I let my curiosity get the better of me and I reach for the demon-incrusted doorknob.
My heart begins beating faster and faster as I caress the demon welded onto the knob. The demon’s eyes stare into mine as if it is mocking me, testing me to see if I have the guts to do what so many before me could not. But I’ve come too far to chicken out now. I gather all the confidence and adrenaline I can muster, and then turn the door handle ever so slowly—and push.
With a stroke of luck, the door is unlocked and opens with ease. Well if you consider an eardrum-bursting screech and the tearing of a rotten hinge with ease, than yes it opened quite easily. I made it, I was in. For some reason I just cannot wrap my head around the fact that I have even made it this far. But for God knows how, I have made it and then focused back on my goal. When I enter the room I immediately smell the lingering stench of shame and even fear. The atmosphere in the room is befuddling; the very tension itself is enough to make me feel like all the happiness is being sucked from my body. It is something I have never experienced in my entire young life. I peer around the shockingly small room to find that there is no one home. I have deduced this much because of the vast number of spiders’ webs that are stretched across the staircase in front of me and throughout the rest of the living area.
There is no way anyone has been here in months or possibly even years. But the spiders are the least of my worries. Hideous looking creatures that seem to have come from nowhere begin to scurry around my feet. The mere smell of the strange beasts is almost enough to make me be sick. They are hissing like snakes but I know that these things cannot be snakes due to their fat furry bodies. If I have to take a wild guess at what they are, I would say rats or some other kind of species of rodent. Speaking of rats though, I notice that whoever the unfortunate soul was who lived in this dreadful home has to of been the biggest pack rat I have ever seen. Everywhere I look,
there is either an old magazine or a large book of some sort. In fact, there is one book in particular that catches my eye.
It is relatively large, has a broken spine, and is grey with a red ribbon sticking out from it. The strange piece of literature is perched on top of a pile of other books a few yards in front of me. I am not even quite sure why exactly this book interests me, but I walk over toward the stacks of books and pick it up anyway. It is very dusty, so I take in a deep breath and blow the dust off. That seems to have done the trick, because I then realize that the book is not grey but, instead, is black. I turn it right side up and as I read the title, I feel a sinking feeling in my stomach. The title of the book reads, Welcome to Hell. Then a searing pain irrupts inside my chest. I collapse onto the ground in agony, still clutching the demented book. I want nothing more but to throw the book down right here-and-now, and book-it out of there. But I don’t. Instead, I make what I know will probably be the biggest mistake of my life. I open it.
Then, suddenly, I am engulfed by what I can only describe as darkness itself. My body feels cold and the area around me is chilling, yet the room I just occupied was humid and warm. I am paralyzed, and I cannot breathe. I am not in the room anymore. Even the book I was stupid enough to open is gone. I open my mouth to scream and curse, but nothing comes out. I scream and cry inside, but no matter how hard I try, I just cannot muster a single shriek to come from my cold dry mouth. Then I remember that in situations like this you need to stay calm. Therefore, I empty my mind and begin to think logically. I am confused about where I am and yet… It feels so familiar, as if I am nowhere, and also everywhere at the same time, No, not the same time, the same moment. What I am experiencing cannot really be described as a unit of time.
The sensation is almost peaceful. In fact, it is very peaceful. A sanctuary to the methodical life I was living. A sanctuary from all the problems going on in the world around me. Life itself is beginning to seem insignificant. Bright lights and eerie noises are filling the room simultaneously all the while I, mesmerized by the inhabitance of the place, am slowly losing recollection of the long hours from earlier ago. Images and emotions dance around in my deranged mind, tantalizing all of my senses. This goes on forever, days, years, I do not know exactly. But what I do know is that I will never leave this place. Why would I even want to? This is much better than my previous life. It is carefree and very pleasing. I don’t even care if I have gone insane. If being sane means going back to the turmoil and hate that is our world today than well, call me crazy. After what feels like an eternity of despair and joy I realize that what I am experiencing are memories. Memories of lost souls that hadn’t found there way in the after life. As I watch the memories… No, I don’t just watch these memories, I feel them, I feel the feelings of all these confused and weary poltergeists. I slowly am becoming wiser, well… maybe it is that I am just becoming loonier.
I don’t know exactly how long I lived in this moment; I stopped counting after what seemed like hundreds of lifetimes, a lifetime of memories and feelings for each poor soul that cannot fully pass on. It has not taken me long to get used to this lifestyle so I have accepted the fact that I, for no particular reason, am cursed—No, scratch that. That I, for no particular reason, am blessed to live in this hell like limbo for all of eternity. The truth is I don’t even know who I am anymore. I even am starting to believe that maybe my existence has vanished from the history of time and space. Then, just as suddenly, as I had entered the never-ending moment, as if waking from a well-needed rest, I am back in the old house.
Instantaneously, I recall everything that had happened in my own life. Finally, I could feel once again the insurance of knowing that I Am alive. I glared around the room in utter confusion. Because to my disbelief, everything is just as it was when I “left.” Well, almost everything at least. The spiders, the rodents, the books—everything is there except for the book. Instead of the book in my hand, there lay a small wooden cross. I don’t think much of it and so I stuff it in my pocket. I was stretched, spread eagle, on the ground in the same spot, I hadn’t moved. Even the clock read the same exact time as so long ago. It is hard to believe I still remember the time from before, but what can I say I have a good memory. But there is only one thing I don’t quite understand, one thing I just cannot digest, one thing.
You see I was so used to the life I had lived in. I wasn’t used to this. The moment I lived in was exciting and shocking, terrible but wonderful, depressing yet uplifting. And this life? Well, you would not understand unless you experienced it for yourself. This life was bitter, boring, and pointless. I longed to feel the rush of what I had felt for so long. However, as I said earlier, I have a photographic memory. Because of this memory of mine, I can still remember every single individual feeling that I felt back in that moment. I wanted to be back in that place so badly, more than anything. Then there was another gust of wind. Immediately I came to my senses and got out of there. As I depart from the House, I can finally hear it. I hear cries of insanity. It took me not but a moment to realize that they were my shrieks...I could not believe how little they paid me to go clean that house where there is a thin line between pleasure and insanity.