Light shone down through a passing sun shower, reflecting off leafy flora, casting foliage-deep greens and colors of warmth through the windows. She’d finally made it back to port—she’d finally returned home.
Taking a side entry, she set foot in, shut the storm door behind, and let out her deepest sigh as she took the weight of the world off her shoulders and set it on the coatrack.
She half-lightly semi-lumbered over to the closest thing she could find to lay down on. To an audience of no one, she yelled out,
And stiffened her body straight just for a moment as she came backwards-crashing down into an upholstered sea of feather and fluff, catching herself letting a smile escape from her face for an instant before snatching onto it and putting it back where it belonged.
She replaced her momentary beam with the vague look of maybe-contentment she was more comfortable wearing and she put her headphones on, melting into a puddle that would make the most well-worn pillow blush with jealousy.
The mood wasn’t right. The music wasn’t there. The words wouldn’t come out. She just sat.
Day turned to night. Seeing her friends through the mirror in this moment wasn’t something she could bear. “What words would come out?”
She stared deep into the distance—both in front of her, and within her. She saw an image forming in her mind—an idea—a place—or maybe a door. At the same time, a seemingly very real door had presented itself to her in her room. As she closed her eyes to see if she could blink the apparition away, the door became a phantasmic portal in her mind’s eye, its surface glistening with the most vibrant shades of comfort and dread.
She’d seen this door before. She’d played its scene out—opening the door—in her head a thousand times. But each time, when the scene ended, the stage vanished—and so too did the ghastly gate and its dual, closed-eye likeness.
This time, the door stood firm. It called her in a way she’d never felt before. She had a sudden realization: the coatrack was empty; she hadn’t taken anything off when she got home. She felt mired in heaviness. She couldn’t pull her body from it.
Then, she was overcome by a cacophony of voices, louder and louder, until suddenly they fell quiet, a single voice silencing them. Its question loudly snapped into her mind:
“What’s beyond the door?”
She got up and walked toward the door. She inspected it with careful consideration, running her fingers across its cold surface. Then the door swept open.
Through that door she saw herself—in front of herself—staring at herself—staring at herself, each a blurrier and fainter version, all taken aback by a mysterious door sliding open. When she focused her eyes to confirm her suspicion that the self-series had no ending, she was awestruck:
She could see the end clearly.
And as soon as she saw it, her series started to collapse, disappearing more and more with her each forward step. With this realization, she felt resolved, she felt committed:
She walked through the door, embracing the unfathomable wonder, the indescribable beauty, the unspeakable horror that lie beyond.
The wayward maiden was on her way.
And, now, an unfinished missive to the wayward maiden whose edges press sharp when held…
Where did the bandaids disappear off to?