Number One

The Door

I wake up, finally, from another dream plagued with things I have no memory of, a large house, with people sitting around a table, cowering before the flames that soon engulf them. The screams of a toddler, being pulled into a car that drives away abrubtly, leaving a cloud of smoke in its wake, and finally, a tall house that towers above the others on the street. I sit up, sweat running down my forehead and look around. I am, as always, sitting on a little hay bale propped against the moist wall, surrounded by empty crates. Judging by the slant in the roof, it is an attic. I eat no food, drink no water, but am still alive.

I torture myself, desperately trying to end the life I never asked for, here in this windowless, doorless place, undoubtedly full of secrets that I know nothing about. I rise, feeling productive, but realise, almost immediately, that it is useless, and sit back down. Here I sit for an indefinate amount of time, as usual, pondering how I know to speak, know what things are, when I seemimgly just appeared here one day, out of nowhere. When my eyelids begin to fell heavy once again, I reluctantly close them, falling asleep and letting the vicious cycle I call life begin again. I fall into a restless sleep, expecting the same dream as every other night I can remember. But it is different.

The dream is that of a seemingly endless corridor, that I seem to be walking through backwards. The corridor ends and I travel backwards through a door. A door, that leads directly to the attic in which I am confined. Whoever’s eyes I am seeing this through, turns around, and sees me, lying on the ground beside the hay on which I fell asleep. They move towards my sleeping body and reach out a silvery hand. Thir hand seems like fog, as it goes through my heart. I wake up, panting, an icy cold pain in my heart, but the figure is nowhere to be seen. Everything seems in order, everything apart from the door that stands ajar at the far wall, a golden light spilling from behind it. A shiver runs down my back, and I consider going over to investigate. Something tells me to go back to sleep, that when I awake, the door will be gone, and with it, my chance to find out what was behind that door. Curiosity and my will to change my pathetically boring and intriguingly mysterious life get the better of me and I stand up.

My hands shake as I brush little bits of hay off the white dress that I never seem to grow out of. I take small, tentative steps towards the door. I reach out to the brass doorknob which is pleasantly cool to my touch. Almost intantaneously as I touch it, the light behind the door is extinguished.

A cold shudder runs up and down my back, and the door creaks open as if pushed by an invisible hand. Behind it is a corridor, just like the one in my dream. Another few steps further into the corridor, and I begin to see my breath fogging up before me. “Slam!” The door closes behind me, upsetting a layer of dust that seems to have been undisturbed for a long, long time. Slowly, I turn around and look at what I think to be the back of the door, but it look exactly like the walls around me. Upon further inspection, I realise it is just like the walls around me and the door is gone.

The only way I can tell where the frame was, is a sloppy red outline, which looks suspiciously like blood. Beads of sweat form on my forehead and the back of my neck. I decide that I will not be able to get anywhere that way, and turn around to face the endless corridor ahead. For a moment I stand there, deading what I will find at the end, if there is one. Eventually, I force my legs to take a step forward, then another, then another.

So I walk, for a seemingly infinite amount of time, until I begin to become more aware of certain details. First, that the corridor seems to slope downwards. Secondly, the odd notes painted in blood on the walls. Not being able to read, I don’t notice that they are warning of the terror ahead. Thirdly, and most prominently, I can hear a droning sound, almost like a chant, but although it seems to be getting closer I can’t make out what it says. I continue, the sound of my heart pounding against my ears drowns out most of the chant. The sweat runs down my back and my dress sticks to me. Another eternity later, and the chant is almost audible. I see a dark purple shadow looming at the furthest point I can see. As I near, I see the shape of two men, shining in an iridescent purple. The chant is coming from them! I continue at a run, wanting to get my encouter with them over with, hoping it is not as bad as the dread I feel growing in me with every step I take towards them. Just as I am about to run into them, they dissapear, stopping the chant. They leave only a purple fog that stings when it comes in contact with my skin. In that split second before they vanished, I saw their faces, featureless apart from a looming smile adorned with rows upon rows of glowing white teeth.

The chant picks up again, behind me. I can hear it perfectly now. “The platinum effect” it says, like an advertiser promoting a tool or something. Terrified, I run, wanting to come to the end of this, the corridor or my life, at this point I don’t care, as soon as possible.

To my complete horror, the men follow me, their legs in perfect sync, both uttering the same chant “The platinum effect” over and over again. Ahead of me, the corridor changes. A small dot at the horizon shines a bright silver. My heart rises hoping it is the end, but sinks again at “The platinum effect” I near the dot, and realise it is not the end, but a hall of metallic statues, all wearing the same confused expression. I run into the midst of the endless sea of staues, and their eyes seem to follow me, their pupils wide with horror. I run by statue after statue, until I skid to a hurried stop, as I recognise some faces. The people in my dreams! The family around the burning table, there they are.

On the floor I find a knife, and in the back of my strained brain, I find a theory. I pick up the knife, and slice a large gash into my arm. Blood pours from a few layers of skin, but when the bleeding calms, where one would expect more skin or flesh, I see metal. Not just any metal. Platinum.

“The platinum effect” I think. I found the platinum, but what effect? Then, as if on cue, the metal under my skin begins to liquify, spreading over my entire body. Any part touched by it becomes motionless. I make a hurried decision to position myself next to the people from my dreams, know we must be connected somehow.

The platinum effect covers my entire body, leaving my head last. My expression becomes puzzled as I try to figure everything out. The platinum covers my neck, and as it spreads up my chin and nose, I feel a conclusion coming close. Just as I figure out who the toddler from the dream was, and where she was taken and what the attic of that house looked like, windowless, with only hay as a bed, the platinum effect finishes its job. I know everything now. My face would allow itself to relax, but just like everyone else, my expression stays puzzled, doomed to be frozen forever, but my eyes free to watch other victims join the gallery.

“The platinum effect”