|| Doorway to Hell?|
The building stood only a block or so away, on her deathbed Grandma had warned Todd not to enter it under any circumstances, though somehow that only increased his curiosity. No one could prove it, but Grandma was sure that her youngest grandchild’s disappearance the previous winter was related to that long abandoned building. Todd had never believed it though…
It seemed that almost everyone else in the area did believe; to even approach and touch the building was considered quite a feat of bravery among the adolescent boys of the neighborhood. One day a few had dared Todd to enter, after he had jeered at their antics; taking turns running up and touching the building’s door. A concerned resident of a nearby apartment complex had made an attempt at wiring the door shut to keep the kids out, but no one recently had had any desire to enter – over the years there had just been too many disappearances. Parents warned their children with dire threats of long grounding if they were caught near the place.
Todd was in another black mood that day, he had been kicked off the high school football team because of his grades and a fight with another student. It was the beginning of his fourth and final year on the team, and acting the macho football player had been core to his ego and self esteem during his high school years. The heckling of the young kids, calling him “Wimp,” and “Loser,” was hard to take, especially on this day. When one of the kids laughed and said, “Afraid to follow in your little brother’s footsteps? Such a big man!” Todd came close to strangling him. After shaking the kid senseless and dropping him to the ground, Todd saw the boy’s father approach, and stormed up to the wired door, ripping it off its hinges.
The man yelled out to him, “Hey, where do you think you are going? What were you doing to my kid? You must be crazy if you are going in there!” Turning to his son, the man helped the boy up from the ground, then herded the younger boys away from the building, shaking his head in disbelief.
Todd stormed into the building, noticing the dusty furniture piled near the almost opaque windows. He saw the old footprints in the dust, as his brother had, but instead of heading to the back of the building where it was lighter, he noticed a slightly open door in the corner, with an eerie red glow seeping out around it’s edges. There weren’t any footprints disturbing the dust in this area of the building, but Todd wasn’t paying attention to that, he just wanted to see what was causing the phenomena. He didn’t smell smoke, but the strange light looked almost as fiery as Todd felt, and he felt drawn to it without realizing it.
Notching the door open, he snuck a look and found that the door led only to a set of basement stairs. However, the area was lit by the strange reddish glow. Todd found himself halfway down the stairs before he even recognized that he had moved. When he reached the bottom, he saw the fiery opening the wall that was producing the strange light he had noticed from upstairs.
He was beginning to think that maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all, and thought he had turned around to leave. But instead his feet kept carrying him closer to the opening. He felt no heat as he approached, but he was beginning to panic, he couldn’t control his body, his feet continued moving of their own accord, despite his mental struggles to take back command of his movements.
Todd was not seen again for a week, when he returned, he was like a different person. He never told anyone in the neighborhood anything about his experience, looking pale and rigid if anyone even mentioned that building or where he had been during that week. He made no effort to rejoin the football team, never bullied the younger kids again, and his grades at school improved beyond all expectation. However, he remained in twice-a-week psychotherapy, after a month-long hospitalization.
He woke his parents often in the middle of the night, screaming out as he swam in nightmares. The only thing he had ever told his family about the experience was that someday he had to go back and find his brother, that he knew he would never have peace until he did. So the parents kept a close eye on him and continued paying for the psychotherapy, in the hopes of dissuading him from that goal….
You may also wish to read Stairway to Heaven? for the story of Todd’s brother and his experience in that building.
Note: Photo inside
This story is a sequel to Stairway to Heaven?
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