O, Death: Part XIV

by Matt P.

“It’s not,” Ryan answered simply. He leaned in to the door, putting his ear against the dark wood and listening in the quiet of the hallway. He moved his head away from the door a moment later, and shrugged slightly. “So…that either means that you’re hearing something we aren’t, or you’ve completely lost your mind.”

Siobhan beamed brightly. “See, Annie, it’s a toss-up. You only might be a whack-job.” Antigone glowered at her sister as she stepped toward the door.

“Thanks, Bonnie, you’re a treasure,” Antigone offered sarcastically. She leaned in to the door to put her ear on it like Ryan had and looked like she was going to say something. But the moment her skin touched the door something shifted in the air. A pulse, like standing too close to a speaker and being able to feel the sound pushing against you. Antigone yelped and jumped back with wide eyes, looking around to see where it had come from. “What the hell…”

Siobhan, conversely, stepped forward toward the door and interposed herself between it and Antigone—Walter did the same. Siobhan held a hand out in front of her to try to feel at what happened, and moved her fingers slowly as if she could feel it moving between them. “New rule, Antigone isn’t allowed to touch creepy doors…”

Paul and Paolo, silent during the whole exchange, didn’t seem phased by it at all. “What happened?” Paul asked, looking between them. “Did something change?”

That caused all four of them, the Richards and Ryan, to stop and exchange a quick look between them. Walter sighed, his eyes rolling heavenward as if in great suffering. “Great, now I’ve gotten dragged in to the weird crap too. I’d kill Oberon if I hadn’t already probably killed him.”

They began to step away from the door, as it thrummed again and sent that wave of force in to the air. This time it was actually almost visible, little motes of darkness moving their way through the air. When Siobhan held her hand up again they curled about her fingertips, and the motes were warm and felt…angry. “Ok, that I see…” Paolo said with a note of panic rising in to his voice.

There was a loud creak, and a rumbling like thunder filled the hallway. The bass notes of its force actually scattered some of the dark motes in the air, only to be chased by more as the door slid open an inch.

“Shit,” Walter opined, reaching in to his jacket to pull out his pistol—a move that Ryan mirrored. They started backing everyone back toward the main hallway as the door slowly began to open, but Antigone pushed through them and turned to face her father directly.

“We have to close it!” She shouted as another wave of sound and force filled the hallway. More and more darkness was pushing out from within it, and the hallway was growing darker and more ominous with each passing moment. “We can’t just run or whatever the hell that is will get out!”

Walter shook his head quickly, his eyes flicking quickly between his daughter and the door. “Annie, there is no way that I’m going to let you deal with that alone. Not again!” His voice was heated and his face tight with concern. He raised his gun and leveled it at the door, as if expecting it to come charging at them. Siobhan couldn’t say it wasn’t a possibility, although she had no idea if shooting it would help.

“Dad, this has to be what killed all of those kids!” Antigone pushed his hand away as he tried to pull her back behind him. Siobhan edged forward so that she could see more clearly the argument—and the door. “You can’t shoot this, or trick it and stab it! I don’t know why, but there’s something about these doors and it responds to me and Bonnie—but mostly me.” She shivered as it pulsed again, and the profoundly disquieting noise of the door sliding open another half an inch filled the basement. “You trusted me before with Oberon, please…you have to trust me now or a lot of people might die!”

Walter looked at his daughter with the devastated eyes of a man who knew he had to do something terrible—and wasn’t sure he could bring himself to. “Antigone, we’ll find a way, we’ll get Morgan back here!”

Antigone started to say something, but the door was already sliding open another crack. Whatever was gathering on the other side was pushing, and it would be through completely before they could finish the argument.

Siobhan Richards was good at some things, and not good at others. But the one thing she was most excellent at in the world was acting in a heartbeat—and no one had ever called her slow. She jumped out, ducked under her father, and ran to the door at full speed. She threw her shoulder against it and the world exploded twice—first in what she was reasonably certain was a dislocated shoulder. And second as the door shifted and the darkness poured out from within it, surrounding her and filling the hallway with a deafening boom that trailed away in to the sound of laughter.

**** ****

There was screaming in her ears. Screams of pain, screams of fear, screams of the outside trying to get in. It was in her ears and in her head, and she couldn’t get away from it. It echoed and rebounded the walls of her mind, taking on a mocking quality at times—and others the tones of damned souls crying for release from torment. She couldn’t escape them, and she ran through the dark corridors of her consciousness to try to find some way out.

“Do not run, child…it is only the closing of your eyes, and then nothing…”