Crowning Discovery

“That’s impossible…,” Dr. Marcus said. She wasn’t angry; the 50-year-old woman stared at the obsidian door in awe. The door stood 15-feet tall and 10-feet wide; it appeared to be made of metal darker black than anything Dr. Marcus and her team had ever seen. The metal was so impervious, they could not scratch off a sample with any of their tools. All testing was done on-site, on the door itself.

“You’d think so;” her assistant, Roy, chuckled as he put his gadget back in its case. “No mistake, I re-calibrated this thing a dozen times to be sure. Quantum-dating says that door is 45-billion years old.”

“And you do know our universe is only about 14-billion years old, right?” Dr. Marcus replied without taking her eyes off the door. Though they were hard to see on the dark metal, the door was covered with intricate engravings. It made her wonder what could do that to the metal when their most advanced tools couldn’t scrape off a single flake. Roy nodded.

“I do know that, but even if I didn’t; this door is 45-billion years old. Whether our universe was here or not doesn’t matter.” Dr. Marcus’ mind boggled at the thought of what might be behind the door as she tried to stare a hole through it. A beep sounded from Roy’s direction. After a few moments, he shouted.

“Oh shit!” His exclamation drew Dr. Marcus’ attention; she turned in time to see him checking his watch. His head trembled as if he were saying ‘no’ rapidly; he looked up at Dr. Marcus with saucer-sized eyes.

“We have to leave. NOW,” he said. He dropped to his knees and began collecting stray gadgets from the floor and tossing them in his bag.

“Why?” she asked.  Roy tossed his phone at her as an answer while he stood and jogged to another area to collect more gear. Dr. Marcus looked at the phone; it was a message from her researchers and a picture.

[Dr. M, I feel like I have to point out this isn’t an April Fool’s prank. It turns out those glyphs are different languages. We found Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, and English, among others we can’t identify. They all say the same thing. The door sealed away a powerful being. The engravings say, ‘Corona’ no matter the language, but that’s just Spanish for ‘crown’. Either way, the sealing is only temporary and it will open on its own. Today. April 1st. at 10:00 a.m.; don’t ask me how they got the time but it literally says 10:00 a.m. I’m calling our military contacts after I send this. If you’re near there, don’t be.  -Dr. Paulson. ]

“Ready,” Roy was ready by the time Dr. Marcus finished reading. She glanced at her watch. 9:59 a.m.”

“Go ahead, I’m betting it’s a prank,” she said. She tried to force a smile; Dr. Marcus did not believe for a second that it was a prank. Dr. Paulson was as dry and stiff as they come; he wouldn’t know a joke if it threw a pie in his face. “If it opens, I’ll run,” she winked. Roy rolled his eyes; the pair had worked together long enough that he knew she was lying.

“Good luck, doc,” he said with a shrug. As much as he knew she was lying, he knew he couldn’t talk her out of it. Aside from that, he valued his own skin more than hers. It wouldn’t be the first time he left her alone to willingly face danger; as he jogged away he hoped it wouldn’t be the last. 

Dr. Marcus lifted her wrist so that she could see it and the door at the same time; she watched the seconds count down. At 10:00 on the dot, a loud crack filled the small cavern. It startled her then she noticed a thin, glowing red line running down the center of the door. She thought it was a single door, but one side pushed open as she watched. The thin line of red light slowly grew wider as the right side pushed out toward her; Dr. Marcus clenched her fist unsure what to expect.

She heard a faint grunting sound, then she realized the door itself wasn’t making any noise. She expected to hear it dragging on the ground but the cavern was silent aside from the grunts.

Over several minutes, Dr. Marcus kept her eye on her watch, the door pushed open. The door stopped opening several times, and she heard heavier breathing instead of grunting. It reminded her of someone catching their breath. She got a better look at the door the more it opened; as far as she could tell it was at least five feet thick. 

Her curiosity about what might come out over-rode her fear. She knew something was definitely coming, and whatever it was; it was strong. After five minutes, someone stepped out from behind the door. Dr. Marcus couldn’t help but gasp; it drew the figure’s attention.

The middle-aged man wore a flowing golden robe. He sported a neatly-trimmed brown beard and a full head of matching hair pulled back in a pony-tail. A pair of pitch-black horns grew out of his head and curled back to resemble full-grown ram horns. He seemed startled to find anyone there.

“Hello,” he said casually. Though he was still catching his breath, his voice came out smooth and somehow calming. Dr. Marcus instantly felt relieved; she knew in her soul that she was safe in his presence. At that moment, Dr. Marcus decided her life’s purpose was to help this man acclimate himself to the modern world.

“Bring me something to eat,” he said, then he walked back into the room behind the door.

“Yes, Master,” Dr. Marcus bowed slightly, then turned around. She began running toward the exit hoping she could still catch Roy.

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