The Darkness Beyond The Doorway

By Holly Koponen

Wandering upon the streets of the poor I began my daily routes searching for food. Heading toward the dumpster where I usually got my dinner I saw a strange sight. To the left of my food haven was an ancient looking doorway glaring at me with its dark eyes. It was odd because it hadn't been there yesterday, but the darkness past the doorway smelled old enough to have been there for decades. Curiosity gripped me and I slipped through not knowing the danger I was throwing myself into.

A rectangle of light, shaped by the broken and beaten door, shone behind me sketching my shadow into the dirty steps. Cautiously I tested the first step. It gave an ominous creak and I began to wonder if going down would be a good idea. Suddenly the delicious aroma of something yummy wafted toward me. I didn't give another thought as the scent of something cooking shepherded me toward the source like a sheepdog leading cows into a barn.

Too engrossed by the smell I hadn't notice the crushed step and without warning it broke. I was sent falling and I gave out a wailing cry. It felt like an eternity before I finally hit the ground with a thud. With the breath driven out of me, I lay there gasping for air but thankfully nothing was bleeding or broken. When I had recovered the first thing I did was start hacking and coughing. The air down here was dank and choking. It smelled nothing like the delicious aroma I had followed earlier, more like the rank odour of unbathed pests.

Rising to a sitting position I began to examine where I had just arrived. The darkness was overwhelming, even my sharp eyes that usually caught the slightest movement were blind in this world. The only source of light was from where I had fallen through the steps but even that felt like a lifetime away, the distance making the luminosity weak and the darkness grow stronger. Abandoning sight, I looked forth to other senses.

Closing my eyes, I began to explore with my ears. Sharper now without the distracting movement of the shadows I found a new world. There was a strange dripping sound that seemed to echo from all around which must have been the reason for the dank air. Listening still I soon heard the whistling of a chilling breeze and the rustling sounds that it made. Shivering, I wanted to curl up into a ball, but I knew I had to find a way out.

Finally, I decided that I knew enough and that I should try to escape this bitterly cold prison. Rising slowly I picked a random direction and began to shuffle forward. The sharp uneven ground seemed alive as if it were trying to make my journey as difficult and uncomfortable as possible while I tried to navigate my way through.

I heard a sharp crack and I looked down in the skimpy light to discover why the ground was so painful to walk upon; it was littered in skeletons. So many different kinds yet so many like mine.

Suddenly a quick sound of pitter-pattering feet interrupted my freezing thoughts but it was over as soon as it had begun. Though it was gone I still gave a weak cry asking to see if anyone was there. I waited but nothing happened and I continued shuffling forward.

It was as if the torture was never going to end and that I was going to end up mad. When will the darkness depart and set me free? When will the laughing evil loosen his grip and end his demonic game? Questions fluttered like butterflies in my mind and I thought that I was going to end up crazy sooner than I had thought but all at once another event interrupted my reverie before the madness set in.

Reeking stenches filled my nostrils and I tried to cover my nose but it was no use. The foul odour was too powerful and nothing could stop it. It made my lips dry and I tried licking them but that was a mistake. Now I could taste it all, the metallic tang of blood, the icky oily flavour of unwashed fur, the gross bland feeling on your tongue when you eat rotten food. I could feel my lungs closing up, trying to block out the noxious fumes. Lungs burning, eyes watering, teeth chattering, and my ears were ringing with the silence that I endured it all in. Why oh why did I take that first step?

My pain-filled eyes abruptly saw movement and at last I found the source of the vile smells. The putrid odours became even more intense as it moved closer. Beady red eyes swayed back and forth as they observed me. They glowed abnormally in the darkness as if they were a light of their own. It bared its little white fangs in the glowing red light. A naked pink tail swished as if sending a message.

I waited for it to stop in fear yet it did not. It kept coming closer and as it did it got bigger. Soon I was the one who stopped in fear for there were more beady red eyes following the leader, rows upon rows of small glowing eyes. I shouldn't be afraid; I am the ruler and killer of these pests. What scared me was not the number of little buzzing eyes but the size of the original pair of eyes as they continued to grow bigger and bigger while they came closer and closer.

Eventually, after it took its time with its lumbering steps, it stopped a few feet away from me. In the end, my nose had grown used to the horrid stink so that was not why I had swayed on my feet, almost collapsing into a faint. It was because of the enormity of the gigantic five-foot tall rat. Its whiskers twitched and twittered as it smelled me, how it could do so through the stench I will never know. There was a sea of tiny rats wiggling and squirming and piling on top of each other, trying to get closer to me. Although they were tiny compared to the giant rat, they were huge compared to a normal rat, maybe about a foot tall. A look of disgust flashed through my face and the rats obviously saw it as their clambering began to grow swifter.

Unexpectedly the giant rat, obviously the leader, spoke to me. He said, "Cat. I am Curiosity. You come seeking only for yourself and invade our home. You come eager to know what is in the darkness and ignore your instinct to leave. You come to continue your Life and you arrive to begin your Death. Now, predator who is prey, you must DIE!"

This was the last thing I heard before the squeaks and squeals of ravenous rats came diving at me. They ripped at my flesh and tore at my tongue, drinking the blood I spilled. I tried fighting back but I was soon losing my strength. Rats, big and small, devoured my body and I could only endure it in silence as they filled my mouth to gorge on my insides. The unfortunate thing was I was not dead until the giant rat came to rip off my head. The poor rats still inside my mouth were devoured and soon the giant rat shuffled away as the rest of the nasty rodents ate my remains.

It was an ironic death, was it not? Curiosity killed the cat.

Did You Know

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