Following the good response to the initial challenge (and thankyou to all the willing participants), here is the new challenge. Write a story about a door. What it opens out onto. What it reveals. Who is coming in and why. Who is leaving. The door is opening..... around a 1000 words and you have til April 30th.
Having been remiss about submitting a story for the last challenge - I was in the process of moving country - here is my starter for ten.
The Blibby Blobby
The sun broke early that day, waking up the quartz fascia of the building and shooting great belts of light into its white rooms. They ricocheted off the metal fittings and lit up corners which would be in shadow at other times of the day. Ward One had four beds but only one was occupied. A man lay there. His face was grey; the skin mottled by years of abuse. Stubble sprouted from his cheeks and crown and a bubble of spit rose and fell with his uneven breathing. The crisp white linen and shiny bed rails held him in silent rebuke.
The door at the end of the ward opened suddenly and a nurse entered on a swoosh of air. She checked the man’s pulse, ticked the chart and straightened the covers. Her pale eyes swept over the man’s face without emotion. Satisfied that nothing else could be done for him, she waited.
Five minutes passed and the man’s breathing continued to rattle into the stillness. The door opened again and a doctor entered. He was young. His coat was white and a stethoscope sparkled at his chest. Arriving at the man’s bed, he picked up the chart and examined it.
‘Good morning doctor’
‘Good morning nurse. This man was brought in last night, I believe’
‘Yes doctor. He was on top of Claremont Towers; screaming and abusing the staff – drunk I suppose’ She sniffed and straightened her skirt. ‘Mr Claremont very kindly asked for him to be taken care of’
‘Thank you nurse’
‘If that is all, doctor, I will go and see to Ward II’
She left and the young doctor reached over to perform an examination. Six inches from the doctor’s face, the man’s eyes snapped open. The pupils were black holes in a sea of red. Startled, the doctor drew back. The man’s hand shot out of the bed covers and grabbed his hand.
‘ I've had it! It’s the only way out!’
The doctor smiled stiffly and attempted to take the pulse.
‘Good morning, I am Doctor xx and you are in the Claremont Clinic’
The man leaned forward and a grim smile lit his gaunt face.
‘No, I’m in hell, sonny. But I have won – I am getting away from it. It’s the only way to get away from it’
‘Away from what?’ muttered the doctor, craning his neck to see the watch on his trapped arm. The pulse was very rapid but so was his own. His heart beat was thudding in his ears. Where was that nurse?
‘The blibby blobby….’
The doctor suppressed a smile. Behind him, he heard a slight swoosh of air as the doors opened at the end of the ward. He patted the man’s hand reassuringly.
‘You are under the best possible care here – everything will be alright’.
‘No it won’t. It will never be alright again’. His eyes widened and, as the death rattle sounded in his throat, the light in them was extinguished and his head fell back on the pillow. The doctor was alone. He detached the man’s hand from his wrist and filled in the time of death on the chart. With a firm snap, he popped his pen top back and walked briskly from the room. Dust motes danced in the yellowing light.
The sun passed its midday high and began to sink behind the hills to the west of the city. Its flattening rays dazzled home-going travelers They fidgeted in their cars, adjusting their sun visors and fanning themselves with paperwork. The doctor was travelling home on the freeway. It was still early and the traffic was light. The evening air was cool and he drove carefully, his view of the world tinged the blue of his wraparound sunglasses.
Arriving at his apartment, he found the cat Sally sitting in the crumbs of his dawn toast. She winked at him lazily and didn't move. He picked her up and tickled her under her chin. Warm waves of static fanned up and prickled his face. They sat down together and he passed out. He dreamed he was on a beach; a bright tropical beach with blazing white sand. A slight breeze stroked his skin. Looking down, he saw a tarantula sitting on his knee. Its beady eyes waved gently then it buried its fangs into his leg. He awoke with a start. Sally was rigid, her back arched and fur perpendicular. Her claws were puncturing his leg.
‘Stupid cat! He flung her off and she hit the floor hissing, her lips drawn back and teeth exposed. Her gaze was riveted on the hallway door. The low evening sunlight had slid through the window and highlighted the woodwork. The hairs on the doctor’s neck prickled.
‘Come on sweetheart. What’s the matter?’ He bent to pick her up. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the light beam wobble. He glanced up. The shaft of sunlight was distorting, like a ripple over still water, and a shape emerging. Massively tall and lumbering, it passed through the light beam and towards them. Sally gave a terrible yell and raked the doctor’s arm. He dropped her and she shot out of the room with the doctor at her heels. He didn't stop until he had reached the end of the fire escape. He collapsed on the end step, his face covered in cold sweat and his head pounding. Sally had vanished. He staggered up and started walking. The lights on the traffic crossing were on red and he glanced back up at his apartment. All the lights were on – surely it had been day when he had fallen asleep – or was it just a trick of the setting sun? His heart had started beating erratically again and he could feel the blood rushing in his ears. Still looking back, he stepped on to the crossing. He didn't see the ambulance that hit him.
A nurse was smiling down at him.
‘Good morning, doctor. You gave us all a nasty shock!’
With a start, he realised he was in the Clinic.
‘What time is it? How long have I been here?’
‘Its eight o’clock. You were brought in last night by Charlie G – you stepped out right in front of him. Very lucky that he was only taking some old folks home! The way he normally drives, we would have been scraping you off the tarmac’
Twelve hours – he must have been here at least twelve hours. A sudden thought seized him.
‘What floor am I on?’
‘The first, of course’
The doctor started to fumble with his sheets. ‘ I've got to, er, go nurse. I’m back on duty for, er, six o’clock and I need to go home and change'.
‘Oh no you don’t’ said the nurse firmly ‘you have got concussion and you’re not going anywhere for at least 48 hours’
‘You don’t understand’ he was shaking now ‘I must go!’
He started struggling. Panting, the nurse pressed the assistance button and spoke firmly into it. Two orderlies appeared and held him down.
‘You’re not quite yourself doctor. I’m just going to give you a little sedative and you can have a nice sleep. After all, you are under the best possible care’.
She smiled calmly. At the end of the ward, the doctor’s horrified ears registered the door's opening with a slight swish and, as the nurse’s finger depressed the plunger and the liquid dispersed into his vein, he began to scream.