The Hallway of Eden

29 11 2008


The day that Daniel invited me over to his house was the day that my life changed in ways that I never thought possible.  It was the middle of Autumn, and the wind was blowing the fallen leaves across the ground like a litter of playful kittens.  His house was just a short walk from mine, with no fence between our places.  It was a very big house, with two stories, designed in the old colonial fashion.  He met me at the door, with a flicker of delight in his eyes, and he said, “Just wait until you see all I have to show you.  You’re not going to believe this.”  I stepped inside, and immediately I knew something was different about this place.  The front door had no entryway, and no threshold, and it opened to a hallway lined with doors.  “Welcome to my home,” he said.  He closed the door behind me, and then he led me to the first door on the right.  “Well, we might as well start with the first room, not that it’s better than the others.  It’s just that I couldn’t decide which room to visit first.  So I thought we might as well visit the first room first.  As you can see, this is the Mirand Room.”


I looked at the door, and it had a brass plaque labeling it as such.  “What does that mean?” I asked.


“Well,” he explained, “we call it that because of the mirand trees.  There’s a lot more to it than that, but that’s an easy name to remember it by.”


“What are those?” I asked.


“Well, let me show you,” he said, and he pushed the door open.  The door opened back to the outside.  I was shocked as we stepped through.  I turned my head to find the doorway that I had entered through, but it wasn’t there.  This was the only door to the outside.  In the distance, I could see my home, but it was different, somehow.  Between our houses was a grove of unusual trees, which turned out to be the mirand trees.  They had a violet bark and teal leaves.  The sky was a soft lavender, and everything seemed brighter than it should have been in the dim twilight.  “Watch this,” Daniel said as he approached one of the trees.  Gently, he stroked the wood, and it followed his guide.  As he continued to work it, he began forming it into a wall, until it merged with the next tree.  Here, he turned a corner and did the same thing, until he had formed four walls, topped with branches and leaves.  Then, he teased it with his finger until a hole opened in the middle of it.  He invited me to come through.  Once inside, he worked the wood until the hole closed, and we sat in our new tree house and talked about all kinds of things for a few hours.


“I don’t understand,” I said, “The whole world changed a little when we went through that door.


“Did the world change, or did you enter a new world?” he asked, with a raised eyebrow.


“I don’t know,” I replied, “Wasn’t that my house we saw?  It looked different, but it was in the same place.”


“It was your house,” he replied, “But it’s not the same house.”


“So we’re in a different world, entirely?” I asked.


“Not really.  It’s the same world…but I guess you’re right.  It really is different,” he thought about it for a while, and then ran his fingers through his black hair.  “Tell you what,” he said, “you go home and have some dinner, look around a bit, and then you can come back and tell me what you think.  I’ll be up at the house when you return.”


So I went home, and when I got there the place was the same but different.  It was shaped the same, but it was violet, and it had no front door.  I looked all around for some means of entry, and then a door opened in the middle of the wall, with my Dad standing there.  His skin seemed a little paler, and his hair was darker.  He asked me where I had been, and then he told me to get ready for dinner.  All through dinner I kept watching my Dad to see if he noticed that the world had changed, but if he did then he didn’t show it.  I tried to work the wood table by rubbing it, like Daniel had done, but nothing happened.  My Dad looked at me and asked me what I was doing.  “That’s not mirand, you know,” he said, “I thought you knew that.”  I just shrugged my shoulders and kept eating.  After dinner, I went to my room, and there I discovered that all of my toys were different.  Most of them, I could not figure what they were supposed to be or how to play with them.  After a while, I tired of them, so I decided to go back outside and visit Daniel again.  I tried my hand at forming a door in my bedroom wall, and it opened easily.


Out in the dark night, everything was magically just as easy to see as it had been a few hours earlier when the sky was still light.  On my way back to Daniel’s house, I noticed that the crunching of leaves beneath my feet was gone.  There were no leaves on the ground.  He was already standing at the door when I got there.  “So, how did you like it?” he asked.


“Very fascinating,” I said.  We stepped inside, and he closed the door.  It was the same hallway that we had been in earlier.


“Let’s see,” he hummed, tapping his upper lip thoughtfully.  We walked down the hallway a few feet and stopped in front of another door.  This one was labeled, “Retrocelleron. Room.”  He looked at me and wrinkled his nose a little and said, “This one’s kind of interesting.”  He opened the door, and it lead outside once again.  I looked back, and it was the only door on the whole building.  He picked up a rock and eyed a hill off in the distance.  Pulling back on it as though it were attached to some in invisible spring, he let go of it, and it shot through the air with a zip and landed somewhere on or near the hill.  “Here, you try it,” he said, handing me a rock.  He had me pull back on it just a little, and I could feel some kind of force resisting me.  Even as I held it still, the force increased until I could hold it no longer, and it shot off into the sky.  “It’s amusing, in its way, but it also has some annoying points to it, too,” he said, shrugging his shoulders.  You see your house over there?  Face it directly, then take a step back.”


I did as he said, and I felt that resistive force.  I was afraid that I would shoot like that rock, so I relented, but I found myself hurling toward my home faster than my legs would take me.  In a panic, I beat the ground with my feet to slow myself, and I stopped about fifty feet short of my home.


“That’s great!” he shouted, “Now come back!”


Determined not to do that again, I walked back.  As we re-entered the house, I noticed that the door was labeled, “Protocelleron Room.”  I asked him what that meant, and he didn’t know how to explain.  Once inside, he showed me that my “room” was called the “Erosion Room,” because order formed in a top-down fashion, and rocks and leaves and such gave way to decomposition.  On the outside of that door was the name “Arosion Room.”


The next room he showed me was the Anthropomorph Room, which was my favorite.  Here, the animals could talk.  After spending the night in the tree house (the normal sort) at my house, chatting with an owl and my dog, Daniel left us, saying, “Well, it’s getting late, so I’ll be leaving now.  You can stay here as long as you like.  Whenever you want to explore a new room, you can come and go as you like.  Just stay away from the Evil Room, if you see it.”


“What’s that?” I asked.


“It’s just something that you don’t want.  Just stay out of that room,” he said, and then he left.


“What was that all about?” asked Barney, my dog.


I tried to explain it to him but he seemed confused.


“So why did he say that you could go into all of the rooms but one?” Barney asked, “What’s so special about that one?”


I shrugged my shoulders.


Barney wouldn’t shake it.  He always was a bad dog, really.  “I wonder what’s so great about that room, that he doesn’t want you to have it?”


“I don’t know,” I said.


“You could just take a quick look around,” he said.


“I don’t think I should,” I said.


“Why don’t you just open the door and just look through it?” he pried.


I shrugged him off and walked back toward Daniel’s house.  I just wanted to get home and get some sleep.  I paused to consider the possibility that I was already home, but the incessant chatter from my stupid dog convinced me otherwise.  I entered Daniel’s house, labeled, “Anthroponovus Room,” and I shut my dog outside.  I was going to go straight back to my own “room,” but I stopped to look through a few doors on the way.  One was labeled “Holospectrum Room,” and on the other side the world was alive in wild colors dancing all over the landscape, and the sky was a raging battle of amazing hues.  After watching it for a while, I closed it and tried a few others.  Two or three of them didn’t have anything obviously different about them, and another opened to a world with a horizon that slanted at a sickeningly sharp angle.  Not wanting to venture into that one, I went to the next door, and just before I opened it I saw the words, “Evil Room,” labeled on a bronze plate, like the others.  I mouthed the word.  I had never heard of evil before.  I paused for a shamefully brief moment, then opened the door.


Outside, the world was dark, and the hills in the distance were alight like a huge candle!  A low hum began to call out from all directions.  The land was jagged and rebellious, rough and unforgiving.  Seeing that it was exciting, in its own way, I took just one step inside.  I heard a door open in the hallway outside, so I eased my door shut.  I ventured a few more steps.  I looked at myself, and I glowed like an angel.  Carefully, I walked through the dark, amazed by the bright crimson horizon.  When I got to what should have been my house, there was nothing but a fallen heap of a stone building.  It was then, that I began to think that I had made a mistake.  I stumbled within the half-walls, and the hum grew to a soft roar.  I found my Dad in the room that had been the kitchen, but he was just a skeleton.  His eye sockets gazed through me, and his mouth was agape in pure terror.  I recoiled in horror, and then it moved.  It lifted a hand slowly in my direction, beckoning me to come closer.  I stumbled backward and fell on my butt.  Blood seeped from the scrapes on my hands.  It was then that I noticed that I was no longer glowing like an angel.  I was quite a bit dimmer, now.  The roaring sound was getting louder, and I realized that I had made a horrible mistake in coming here.  Hurriedly, I headed toward Daniel’s home, a stone chateau in the distance, dark and cold.  I would throw myself through that door and never come back.  I would say my apologies, bow, scrape, give him all my toys and promise to never, ever, do that again.  The roaring got louder, and I realized that something, a whole army of something was coming for me, perhaps to do to me what they had done to my father.  I made a dead run for Daniel’s house, falling several times and bleeding more than I cared.  When I got to the door, I was relieved to see him standing there.  His face was stricken with grief, and he stood with his hands out to me, warding me off.  “No!  You can’t come back in!” he screamed.  He slammed the door shut, and I was left staring at a closed door, labeled “Life.”


“Let me in!” I squealed.


“No!” he yelled from the other side, “You can’t just leave the evil!  You can only drag it in with you and contaminate the good!  Then it will all be evil!”


“Just let me in!  I won’t bring the evil with me!” I begged.


“You already are evil!” he yelled back, “Just look at yourself!”


I looked at my hands and they were dark gray and diseased.  My flesh was gross, and my fingernails were gnarled.  Then I heard a large piece of furniture slam against the door to hold it shut.  I slammed myself against the door, but it was no use, and the voices were drawing near.  Had there been more light, I could probably see them by now.  I decided not to wait around for them to come to me, so I ran off into the night and got myself hopelessly lost.







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