Front Door

I got home yesterday and we had a new front door. Not a replacement front door but an additional front door. Two front doors.

None of the other houses had a new front door. Also, none of them had no front door, which I thought maybe was a possibility, as if front doors were migratory and one of them might have decided to stay here for the summer instead of somewhere colder further up the road.

But front doors don’t work like that, I understand that now. Then again they shouldn’t work like this really either, whatever this was.

I entered the house through the old front door, but when I turned round to look at the new front door it wasn’t there, even though it should have been there, according to all the usual rules of doors and walls and space and sense. I went back outside and the door was there and then went back inside and the door wasn’t there and so on for half an hour or so, just popping in and out and staring at the door and staring at the no door, all the while a look of bogglement spread across my increasingly perplexed face.

I wondered what my neighbours thought of my behaviour. I could see one or two of them around, possibly watching while trying to look as if they weren’t watching, which is how I would have watched one of my neighbours if they kept popping in and out of their front door for half an hour in the middle of the day without letting them realise I was watching, which would have been rude.

Maybe they thought it was normal, for me. Maybe they couldn’t care less. Maybe there was no subterfuge to their not-watching stances at all, because they really weren’t watching me at all.

Maybe they were jealous of my two front doors.

All the while I was wondering about appearances, I was also thinking of ways to test the existence or possibly non-existence of the door. My main avenue of thought was of erecting an elaborate series of mirrors so I could stand outside and see inside (or stand inside and see outside), enabling me to look at the door and the no door at the same time.

Perhaps this simultaneous observation would cause the paradoxical door to collapse down to a single consistent state of either two doorness or one doorness, but I didn’t hold out much hope. If a paradox exists unobserved than surely it would also exist while observed. Otherwise it wasn’t so much a paradox as an unprovable delusion.

Anyway I didn’t have any mirrors handy, or at least any mirrors which weren’t attached to walls. And although might have been desperate to solve this mystery I was not quite desperate enough to enter the shed where the screwdrivers lived. You never know what you might find in the shed, nor, more commonly, what you might not find, and how long it would take to not find it.

Eventually I tried using the key to the old front door on the new front door. I’m not sure why this plan took so long to formulate but it did. When you’ve discovered a new door on the front of your house maybe I’ll accept your criticism but until then you should just accept that this whole door adventure was strange enough to slow even the sharpest of minds let alone my near useless heat-shrunk brain.

Also this plan would have been a good plan if the new door had a keyhole exactly the same as the old door, but it didn’t. It didn’t have any keyhole at all. It didn’t even have a door knob. All it had was one of those elaborate knockers you see in horror films where a big round ring made of some impossibly heavy metal is held in the mouth of some grotesque mythical beast, which in this case was a lion, if lions can be considered mythical, or beasts.

I knocked. The knocker made a heavy thudding sound that sounded like someone had banged their head on the hull of an ocean liner and then banged it again and again but slightly softer each time as the echoes vibrating through the door and the house and my heart and my skull eventually faded away to nothingness and left behind them a moment of silence as profound as a epitaph.

The door swung open and reflexively I stepped through.

It was my house inside, but this time with this new front door in the porch rather than the old front door. And also it was haunted.

You could tell because it was haunted in all the ways you’d expect a haunted house to be haunted. The curtains were closed and everything was gloomy and the air was still and cold and dusty and dead. The flowers were rotting in their vases. The eyes of the people in the photographs on the wall followed you as walked past them, and the people in the photographs were older than they should have been, gaunter looking and much more obviously dead, and even beyond that somehow more horrifying than you remember even your great-grandparents ever being.

Blood seeped from the radiators in the hall and it leaked from the fridge in the kitchen and it bled straight out of the taps. I picked up an orange from the fruit bowl and it burst like a water balloon in my hand, but a water balloon that was filled with blood and also possibly some bits of flesh and I think perhaps half an ear.

On the mantelpiece in the living room there was an eerie faceless doll that nevertheless watched me as I approached and then stretched out its arms towards me like a grotesque parody of a baby. A baby that was sat on the mantelpiece and was wearing a dress and had been left in my house for some reason that was impossible to fathom.

The stairs creaked as I climbed them and carried on creaking even after I’d stopped climbing them and was stood on the landing, the floorboards of which also creaked and moaned and undulated slightly as I stepped on them. The walls here were so thick with cobwebs they might actually have been made entirely out of spiderwebs I don’t know I didn’t touch them.

The bathroom was even more blood-filled than the kitchen and worse than that there wasn’t any toilet roll left or I suppose technically there was a toilet roll left but none of the paper, and someone had left the cap off the toothpaste and the toothbrush was on the floor and the soap was all broken and embedded with teeth.

I really needed the toilet and had done for a while but I’d been held up due to the door conundrum and then the haunted house experience, and I probably shouldn’t have tried going while I was in a haunted house even if it was still my house but I only needed a piss and so I had a piss and then almost immediately wished I hadn’t.

The blood in the toilet bowl was completely clotted and the piss started filling up the toilet and considering the rate it was filling up I was sure I was going to keep pissing until it spilt over the top and onto my shoes but luckily in the end I didn’t piss as much as I that and the toilet didn’t overflow at all but that was the only lucky thing because the toilet wouldn’t flush possibly due to the clotted blood but also definitely because it didn’t have a handle to flush it with and when I took the top off the back to manually manipulate the levers within I discovered that there wasn’t even any water in the toilet, just even more blood.

Always, everywhere, blood.

It was kind of monotonous really.

Also I’m sorry for going on about piss so much.

When I went back on to the landing there was an old lady floating away from me and through a wall and some red eyes glowed out of a dark corner and growled at me and a bat fluttered about and scratched at my hair and when I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror on the wall my reflection was out of sync with reality and also the writing on the t-shirt I was wearing in the mirror was forwards rather than backwards and said “FAT” on it in big letters in a really terrible font, even though the t-shirt I was actually wearing didn’t have any writing on it at all, it was plain, like all my t-shirts, because the idea of having writing on a t-shirt disgusted me on some level I could never really hope to explain.

The door to the airing cupboard swung open all on its own and inside I could see the towels in there writhing with maggots. The thermometer on the boiler said the water was still cold even though I’d put the water on before I’d gone out and also anyway, although I couldn’t tell for sure, I expect the boiler was filled with blood rather than water, filled to the brim with thick, cold useless boring old blood.

You couldn’t have a shower in blood even if it was nice and hot.

I closed the door and walked towards my bedroom. The radio was playing and the DJs spoke backwards and their words were like screams and the music they played was music I didn’t really like and slightly out of tune.

The display on the radio flashed like it did when there had been a power cut and so the time was all wrong. It said it was 00:00 (it wasn’t 00:00) and also I realised that that’s what it says when the power has gone off and only just come back on again but as the radio was on all the time the power couldn’t have gone off and I suppose perhaps the idea was that the radio had been playing powerlessly and that was supposed to be scary but to be honest it wasn’t particularly scary at all.

On my desk there was a suicide note written in my own hand detailing what a pathetic man I was and all the reasons why I deserved to be dead and from the light socket in the ceiling a noose hung down but on closer inspection you could see the rope was all knotted and frayed and which would, if I’d used it, definitely have snapped before I’d died, no doubt leaving me lying there weeping on the floor, not just alive but even worse deeply ashamed that my inadequacies extended now to a failure to kill myself and this shame I expect would have been even deeper and more encompassing than the shame I already felt during every moment of my life so far.

My bed was neatly made and completely empty but the quilt heaved slowly up and down as if there was something under there breathing or pulsing or both breathing and pulsing all at once. I thought it would probably be my own head under there, severed and eyeless and dead, or perhaps another one of those faceless dolls from downstairs, or maybe a tidal wave of rats would come spilling out, or there’d be a torso of some sort in there, or a coconut (I’m quite scared of coconuts), but when I finally pulled the quilt back there was nothing under there, not even a bloodstain or a piss stain nor one of the more shameful stains. There wasn’t even a cat under there, which would have been nice, and what I was secretly hoping for, as finding a cat under a quilt is one of life’s purest pleasures. But then this was a haunted house and a haunted house isn’t the place for nice things it’s evidentally the place for tiresome things and tedious things and terrible things and also blood and other seepages.

I went back downstairs disappointed at the lack of a suitably climactic denouement and went to the front door but now there was no front door and a hollow laugh emanated from everywhere in the house and laughed on and on but the back door was still there so I went out that way and climbed over the fence and went round to the front. The haunted front door was still there but I ignored it and went through the old front door and sat down in the living room and watched the end of the tennis, which wasn’t very good and went on forever.

Today when I got back from the shops I found four front doors, two garage doors, seven new windows, a couple of extra drains, and 43 new recycling bins, one for every possible variation of drinks carton, and a couple for discarded hats and old abandoned shoes.

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Notes:

1. Written on on July 13th, 2018

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