The Black Door (micro fiction)

The black door first appeared six days after Adam moved into the apartment. Waking briefly from a dream, he saw it across the room -- a dark rectangle where there should have been a blank wall. Strange, yes, but already he was being pulled back to sleep. In the morning both dream and door were forgotten.

Three days passed without incident, and then the door appeared again. He'd been sleeping less and less, and as he lay awake the light in the room seemed to change and the black door was there. This time he scrambled out of bed and made it to the adjoining bathroom -- slamming the door, pressing all his weight against it. His heart hammered in his chest. When the adrenaline wore off and exhaustion set in, he slept on the tiles.

The door was there the following night, and the night after. When it appeared again, he approached it -- terror and curiosity vying for dominance. The black paint was cracked with age and peeled away from the dark wood beneath. The wallpaper around the door shriveled and broke off into dry fragments. Adam, full of wonder and fear, caught one in his hand. He tried the doorknob, which barely moved.

From then on it was him and the door, and the waiting - for the door was always locked. It had to open to a place other than the sky beyond it, somehow. Adam would discover it, or die trying.

Weeks later, malnourished, he sat before the door. Eventually -- finally -- there was a knocking from the other side. A now reverent Adam grasped the doorknob and pulled the black door open. From across the threshold, a gaunt and withered thing dressed in rags -- its skin like petrified bark -- dragged him into the nothingness beyond.