For as long as you can remember, your dad has had one big rule: never, EVER go into his office. It’s always been locked, so you’ve never tried. One night, your dad leaves his office, and leaves the door unlocked. Your curiosity gets the better of you. You enter his office. [Link to post.]
“Bye dad!” I waved at him from the front door while he backed out of the driveway. Mom was out of town for work, and he was headed to meet her. He suddenly decided to drive up and surprise her, so that they could drive down together. He waved back with a smile and drove off.
I walked back into the house and wondered what I’d do for the next couple of days on my own. Dad left me with a fully fridge, and some cash to splurge on pizza if I wanted. He was the best dad ever, and I’d only seen him lose his temper once. Mom always warned me not to bother him when he was in his office. Being seven at the time, I thought what I had to tell him was super important.
I remember hearing his angry screams the second I twisted the door knob. A second later he pulled the door open and yelled at me for half an hour about respecting his office and never going in there. Going in when he was there was a mistake I never made again.
It did not keep me from being curious though. Whenever I knew I’d be alone for a while I’d try to sneak in, but dad was super careful about always keeping it locked. On my way to the kitchen I stopped at the imposing black door. The door alone interested me. It was the only thing in the house that was black. I tried the knob out of habit, and my eyes went wide when it turned.
“NO WAY!” I yelled. Then, I clapped my palm to my mouth. The embarrassment turned to laughter behind my hand when I remembered I was alone. I put my hand to the door again and twisted. It moved. I began to push the door in, then stopped. Paranoia insisted I look both ways, up and down the hall. I let go of the handle and decided to wait. Last minute trips make it easy to forget something, and I didn’t want to risk being caught. I had the whole weekend.
I set up my bed in the living room and fell asleep watching TV. The next morning my eyes shot open, and I smiled. It felt like Christmas morning. I jumped off the couch and ran to check the driveway first. I would have heard him come in, but it did not hurt to be extra cautious. The driveway was empty and I ran to the dark door with a permanent grin on my face.
“This is it!” I whispered to myself. I grabbed the brass door knob. A twist and push later the door swung in. It opened so wide it hit the door stopper on the left wall behind it with sharp thud. The room was dark, with no sign of a window anywhere. The sunlight in the hallway did nothing to illuminate the interior. I just saw empty black, and had no idea how big the room was.
Not wanting to step in I reached my hand inside the room and felt along the wall on my right to search for a light switch. I ran my hand up and down the side of the wall as far as I could reach. I searched from tip toe to low crouch and felt only the rough surface of the drywall. No sign of a light switch.
“Oh yeah.” I pulled my phone out. I noticed a missed text from my dad telling me he got to mom safely, and I noticed the battery. “That’s what I get for sleeping on the couch.” Only 3% left. “Should be enough.” I turned the flashlight on. I shined it into the room, and saw only darkness. It was less effective than shining a flashlight down a well, as if the darkness absorbed the light. I took a deep breath and moved both feet into the room. Just a single step in. The darkness remained, but I turned my light to the wall to search for a switch. Then, I realized why the room was so dark.
The walls were even darker than the door. I walked sideways to my left, keeping my light aimed at the wall. I painted the wall with light, scanning it up and down then taking a step to the side to continue the search. After a bit I realized I’d taken maybe 10 large steps, easily over a foot each.
“This room’s pretty big,” I said aloud, finally comfortable with being alone. My phone vibrated in my hand and the flashlight shut off. The screen went bright white as it began to shut down.
“Yeah, it is.” I heard my dad’s voice say. I jumped and my head whipped around toward the door.
“Dad! I can explain!” I started to defend myself, but the doorway was empty. The white light from my phone’s screen died. “Dad?” I jumped again when I felt a hand on my shoulder.
“No son. I warned you not to come in here. I’m the one that will have to do some explaining.” His hand remained on my shoulder, but the door closed. I stood in complete darkness with my dad’s hand on my shoulder. I felt him pull me close, and he wrapped his arms around me. “I missed you so much…” his chest heaved against me, and sobs interrupted his words. “But I hoped you’d never come here.” I felt warm drops fall on my shoulders.
“But you’re three hours away?”
“That’s not me. I’ve been trapped here for years.” A heavier sob wracked his body. “Now you are too.”