The Door by Angela Varelias: Gawler Short Story Competition, Youth Section, Second Place

I was adopted only a couple of months ago at the age of 10, my new parents Lance and Christen had me placed in the cold back seat of their car. It was horrible back there. The seats where ripped and had stuffing falling out, sometimes I would play with it but Lance would get angry at me. He never really liked me much so I began to refer to him as Dad in a desperate attempt to gain his affection. It didn’t work. I think that no matter what I called him, he would never love me as much as his own child. That’s understandable so I really didn’t press the matter. My mother Christen sat next to my father in the front seat, she wasn’t exactly the most loyal partner to Dad as I saw her with a couple of other men while we were at the park for a preschool excursion. She has no idea that I know but I guess Dad has his own secrets too.

One time, in the back seat while he took me to a doctor’s appointment he had a few cigarettes. Mum hates smoking it gives her asthma attacks. I warned him to be careful as I could smell it on him a mile away, I guess I must have got that from my biological parents. I sat next to Lily in the car. Little Lily looked young when I was adopted but we were about the same age. I liked to think of her as my little sister, though. We got along better than any sibling could possibly get along. We would always stay up late together and just talk. Well, she did a lot of the talking; I mostly just listened because I loved her.

Once we turned into the driveway, it was covered with little peddles scattered everywhere. The path leading up to the front door step was full of overgrown weeds. The brown two story house was held up by a tree next to my parent’s window. The tree was old and occasionally dropped down its branches which covered the whole front yard. As I walked inside the door closed behind me, the wallpaper had started to wear which gave the house a dusty smell. The floors creaked with every step I took all the way to the kitchen. Once I entered the kitchen, everyone had started eating I could smell the sweet blend of fresh herbs and spices Christen put in her original pasta. While we ate Lily slipped me her extra pasta that she couldn’t finish onto my plate.

After dinner Lily and I left to go upstairs to finish off her homework. We shared the same room, although there were many other rooms to sleep in I prefer to sleep around her, I felt secure. It got late and Christen walked into the room. “Lily it’s past your bed time. You too.” she pointed at me. Lily stood up. She started down the hallway to the bathroom to get ready for bed. As I followed I couldn’t shake the feeling that something didn’t feel right.

We went into our room and Lily turned off the light. Just as she did, I caught a flash of movement out of the corner of my eye. It was out the window, but as soon as I redirected my line of sight to where the window was no longer in my peripheral vision, what it was that I thought I saw was gone. I still remained alert. For my sister’s sake. I laid there in the darkness with nothing but the thin ray of light from the street lamp outside to illuminate the room. It wasn’t much. Time and time again I could have sworn that I heard subtle sounds just out the window… a twig break, leaves crunching, clothes jostling. And all the while I could smell a faint stench of sweat and blood. I kept my eyes open most of the night. The sounds outside subsided and the smell left my nose. I began to feel at ease. My eyelids closed.

Not long after that, I heard a very loud crash on the other side of the house. I was up in an instant. “THERE’S SOMEONE IN THE HOUSE!” I barked with extreme adrenaline coursing through me. “Wake up!”
Lily did, and as soon as I saw her sit up I ran to my parent’s room. Dad was dead. His neck was splayed open and gaping as blood spilled out of it, off the bed, and onto the floor. I saw that the master bathroom’s door was closed and just before it- on the outside- was a man.

He had a werewolf like structure as his posture was hunched as if he could not stand straight. He turned around and saw me and that’s when I saw him accurately for the first time. I won’t forget it. His eyes were large and beady and trapped with lust. He was styling a beard that was badly maintained. His clothes were dirty and his face was cold. Just then I noticed the same horrid smell of sweat and blood from earlier, but this time it was overwhelming.

He saw me. He saw me and grinned with a set of crooked yellow teeth. That smile threw me off. I thought that I was going to die, but then he turned back to the bathroom door completely undisturbed by my presence. I was terrified and didn’t know what to do. I just yelled and cried. I watched as he shouldered through door that was Christens only protection. I watched as he raised the large razor that he was carrying, but had obviously neglected to use properly. I watched as he sliced her open and tore her to shreds …

I then heard something; the last thing that I wanted to hear… It was Lily’s scream coming from behind me. The large monstrosity looked up from my butchered mother and stared at my little sister. I was distraught. He stood up and quickly started walking toward us. Lily turned and ran, and I was at a loss when he bypassed me and went straight after her. I ran after them both. I expected the man to kill her as he had the rest of my family, but I was sadly mistaken. He grabbed her by the arm and jerked her as a
way to make clear that he was in control. He dragged her through the house. I was making all of the noise I could now, hoping and praying that someone would come to my aid. He mustn’t take her. Not her.

As he passed me I tried to bite his leg. He didn’t respond except by putting his free hand on my head while Lily screamed in the other. He gave another crooked grin and a very cold, unnatural laugh. I followed him to the door where he dragged my helpless sister after him. He opened it, pulled her out, and slammed it shut behind him.

I had never properly looked at the door before. It had an unnatural blue colour to it with little patterns engraved around it. I didn’t smell like dust alike the rest of the house rather it smelt like a vanilla candle that died out only a couple of hours before. The door’s hinges where rusty and green as the rust had started the get moldy. I go to touch the door but am taken aback. As I look up at the handle I know I would chase after them. In a heartbeat, but I can’t. I sit here, looking at the front door. I look down at my paws. If only I could open doors.

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