Do you ever ‘see’ things? Like, out of the corner of your eye? Just, little flashes of movement? I do. All the time. I’ll be walking into a room, when, I swear, I’ll see something dash under the bed; or around the corner of the couch; or behind the fridge.
It scares me a little.
When I was a kid it terrified me. I used to tell my mom about it. She thought it was cute.
When I was really young, she assuaged my fears and told me that what I was seeing were fairies and elves. If I were a good kid and if I ate all my veggies, they would come to me in my dreams and take me to play in their magic gardens.
As I got older (yet still young enough to believe her), she changed her tune. She warned me that they were goblins. If I misbehaved, or ditched school, or didn’t do my homework, the goblins would come at night and drag me to their underground caverns where they would cook me up in a stew to serve to their king.
I asked her, once, how the “elves and fairies” managed to become “goblins”. Her answer? As kids grew up, they became more and more rotten, so the “good” spirits would turn away from them and the “bad” spirits would covet them.
By the time I was nine, she had me convinced that I was eventually going to be dragged to Hell and tortured for eternity.
My mom was kind of fucked up.
One day, when I was eleven, I came home from school and found the house empty. My mom was gone and so was all our stuff. I ran upstairs to my room. Nothing was there. Not my bed, not my clothes, not my teddy bear. I checked the bathroom: even my toothbrush was gone.
The police officer told me that my mom was “missing” and that he would do his best to find her. The social worker told me that my mom had “run away” but would eventually come back. She said she would help me find a temporary mom in the meantime. The neighbor said my mom was taken away, screaming and crying, in the back of a white van. And that I’d never see her again.
Those were all lies. I knew what was going on; the goblins had come and taken my mom away. But why had they taken all of our stuff?
I managed to sneak away while the police officer and the social worker and the neighbor were arguing about what had happened to my mom. I slipped through the patio doors, crept across the deck and hopped the back fence. Then I ran.
I ran, blindly and carelessly, not knowing where I was going, just needing to get away. If the goblins had my mom, I knew it was only a matter of time before they came for me. I knew I was old enough that I’d be taken right past the Goblin King’s stewpot and end up smack dab in Hell. I didn’t want to know what would happen to me then.
Finally, I had to stop; my lungs were burning and my legs ached. I had a stitch in my side and my whole body was trembling. I fell to my knees, head down, gasping for air. After a few minutes, I collapsed onto the ground and started sobbing; I was exhausted and terrified and I had no idea what to do. My mom was gone, my stuff was gone and I was all alone. I decided to just give up; I shut my eyes and waited for the goblins to come get me.
As far as plans went this was hardly the best, but I was eleven and I didn’t know any better. I waited for what seemed an eternity yet nothing happened. Finally, I lifted my head and carefully opened one eye, expecting the worst. Instead of a wall of hungry goblins, however, I was faced with just a wall. A wall made of dark, sooty bricks that stretched away in either direction as far as I could see. I stood up slowly and looked around. In front of me was the wall, behind me was nothing: literally, nothing.
I gasped and backed up until I was pressed up against the wall. What I was looking at was impossible, yet there it was: nothing. No streets, no streetlights, no houses, no people, no trees, no sound; absolutely nothing. A sea of black stretched silently before me and I just knew it went on forever. It was as if I stood on a cliff at the end of the world.
Too spent to cry anymore, I simply turned around and faced the wall, determined to ignore the darkness behind me. If there was a wall, then there had to be something on the other side and there had to be a way to get there. I looked first to the left and then to the right, trying to determine which way to go. When I looked back to the left, I jumped in shock: there was a door right there! It hadn’t been there a moment ago. I looked to the right, then back again. The door was still there. I stepped over to examine it.
It was a dark, thick, wooden door with a heavy brass knocker just at my eye-level, but there was no doorknob. There was a word written below the knocker, but it was very faint. I could make out a few letters – what looked like a capital “L” maybe a “c” and “n” – but that was it. I tested the door, pushing against it lightly. It didn’t move. I tried harder, shoving against it but still nothing. I was hesitant to break the silence by using the doorknocker, but that seemed my only option.
Taking a deep breath, I grabbed the knocker, ready to give the door a couple of good, hard raps. No sooner had I lifted it, however, when, with a small click, the door opened. It was just a crack, but it was enough. With a tremendous sense of relief I pushed the door all the way open and walked through.