The barking was driving her crazy!
Yes she loved dogs but this was insane. Putting her hands over her ears, Patty looked around at the animals.
“Just pick one!” Larry said.
“I can’t just pick one! Getting a dog, especially a rescue is a huge commit… oh go and sit in the car Larry. I’m taking my time!” Huffing out of the rescue centre, Larry lit a smoke, regretting coming with her.
Patty cruised the cages, wishing she could take all the animals.
Some dogs barked, going crazy, a few were shy and avoided eye contact. The last cage on the left housed a terrified Yorkie. It had the sweetest little face and frightened eyes. It looked directly at Patty, seeming to see into her soul.
“Hi little guy” she said squatting next to the cage. After some encouragement he slowly moved forward until he could just reach to lick her hand.
“Hey – can I see this one?” she shouted to the handler.
“Oh he’s so sweet, just a little shy aren’t you? He thinks its supper time.” The handler bent down to scratch his ears and he looked nervous again.
Patty picked him up and immediately he snuggled in under her arm.
“He’s not much of a watch dog, but if you want companionship…”
“I’ll take him.”
The adoption was finalized and 2 days later the little guy was hers.
“What to call you… hmmmmm. You can’t be a Butch or a Killer obviously, also not Timmy or Tiny.” Nodding to herself, Patty settled on Springy for the bouncy little dog and he settled into their lifestyle.
Larry and Patty weren’t doing well. She thought he was lazy and demanding, he thought she was a bitch. Amazing how when men can’t think of a better word, they must swear. Moving into a new duplex, Patty hoped that it would revive their relationship, they loved each other and had been together for 3 years now.
Feeling frustrated, Patty saw that she had unpacked 17 of the 24 boxes, the rest was his stuff.
“Larry are you going to unpack?”
“When? Should I…”
“When I get to it” irritably.
Sighing with frustration she went to take a shower. Their bedroom had a long walk-through cupboard. Heavy, carved wooden doors opened onto dark shelves with enough space to put everything she owned in it and more. You could stand inside it. It was weird. Maybe at a stage that was a separate room, Patty thought to herself, towel drying her hair.
They ate red bean and bacon soup and grilled cheese in silence. Patty was tired but didn’t think Larry was. He had carried the boxes, big whoop! Pouring himself into a chair, he sipped his beer and turned on the TV.
“Amazing how the TV setup is done first!” Patty thought aloud.
Patty fed and walked Springy, then took her hot chocolate up to bed. She was exhausted but happy. Blowing on her drink she looked around the room. The calming greens and cream were lovely and her one indulgence. Her gaze settled on the cupboards. They really were bulky and strange. Springy lifted his head and followed her gaze. When he started growling she couldn’t believe it, he hadn’t done that before. Snuggling the pooch she smiled.
“What are you growling at, you scary doggy!” he stopped and licked her face. It was amazing how quickly he had become important to her. She popped him into his bed and was asleep before she finished yawning.
Something pulled her out of her sleep, reluctantly. It was Springy growling in the back of his throat again, staring at the cupboard. She put her hand on his head and he stopped. Patty sunk back into sleep gratefully.
The next few days flew and Patty finished getting the apartment the way she wanted it and headed back to work. Friday night was the best one of the week as far as Patty was concerned and she made a special dinner for her and Larry.
“Hey” she called when he got home.
“Starving! How was your day?”
They had a relaxing evening chomping down rib burgers and salad, it felt like old times. Larry even helped with the dishes.
Hugging him Patty said “We haven’t been connecting lately.”
“I know, I feel it too. Do you think we are just missing each other? We have been so busy lately…”
“Its possible.” Patty nodded and stretched.
“Come here you sexy thing.” She giggled as he squeezed her tight, launching a long, sexy kiss on her lips. They moved closer and Patty felt heat spreading out from her crotch, it was delightful.
“Mmmmmm… keep doing that.” She instructed. Larry obliged and they were soon naked in bed.
“Larry sure knows what he’s doing” Patty was thinking to herself when she noticed that the cupboard door was open, strange. The light was off and it was black inside. No, not just black, a kind of empty, light-eating black. Dead and airless. Larry picked up his pace and she completely forgot about the cupboard for a while.
Larry went downstairs, had a beer and fell asleep on the couch again. Patty showered, feeling tingly all over, dressed and climbed into bed. She was reading and absently scratching Springy’s ear when he started to growl. The cupboard door was open!
“I’m sure I closed that!” Patty jumped out of bed to close the door. As she did so, the light from her iPad caught the inside of the door and she noticed something odd. The wood looked like it had been painted. Interesting. Wondering why anyone would do that, she touched the area, then rubbed it. The paint came off in little balls, she rubbed the whole area exposing writing!
“What the hell..” she leaned closer trying to read the words.
Et portae inferni non est hic.
Et sic curro non conteret eum.
She sat back on her haunches wondering what she had just found. The door looked ordinary enough…but… She leaned in closer, rubbing again with her thumb, then her whole hand, then both. Slowly, slowly a picture emerged. It was hell. Tortured souls begged, shedding blood and tears, arms outreached to her. There were dozens of naked souls begging for release. It was fascinating. The pain and horror on their detailed faces was real and intense.
“Larry?” she shouted. No answer.
“Larry come and look!” she insisted. “Larry!”
Finally a grumpy face looked around the door.
“What? I was…” he stopped, staring at the art on the back of the door. He rubbed his fingers across it, picking up a bit of paint.
“I’m not sure but it sure is spooky.”
“It’s beautiful” Larry said surprising her. He never really noticed details. Once, after a haircut, he had taken 4 days to notice.
“I wonder what it means?” Patty stared.
“What are you doing?”
“Posting it into Translateme.com. It’s almost instant.”
He stopped, his face going pale. Turning the phone to her, she read:
The door to hell is this.
You cannot destroy it so run.
Patty laughed. “What! What a crock! You mean to tell me – our boring closet door, in the middle of this quiet little town, is the door to hell?” Patty raised her eyebrows and gestured with her hand.
“I…I dunno. That’s what it says.”
Patty laughed kissing him goodnight. “I’m going to bed.” Larry shook his head and went downstairs.
Around 3pm she awoke, Springy was growling into the cupboard again.
“Oh come on Springy, come.” She patted the basket but he didn’t move. The little dog’s body was arched and tense like a spring. The growling came out long and low in a continuous “grrrrrrrrrr…”.
She got up to pee and get the dog back to bed. A dim light shone under the door! “What the hell….” she muttered. “Sssshhhhhh Springy.” Moving closer and kneeling she put her ear to the door. It was very odd. She could hear a swishing sound, like air moving at a great speed. Putting her hand down she realized that the air was torrenting out under the door, its probably what alerted Springy.
Standing, she shook her head “this is nonsense, this is my house!”
Patty opened the door quickly and froze. In the middle of the door was a … a hole! It was spinning, seeming to make the wind she felt. Patty stared mesmerized. The hole looked like the center of a tornado, pulling, turning and shone with a pale blue light. The figures carved onto the door were moving, squirming, silently screaming, it was fascinating. Springy started barking a high-pitched squeal but she didn’t notice.
The hole was trying to suck the souls in, they were clinging onto each other, seemingly desperate to stay. Springy barked, the wind whistled and Patty took a step closer. It was the most beautiful and terrible thing she had ever seen. Arms reached towards her and she put her hand out, unable to stop herself. Springy barked and barked. It was too late. Patty was pulled into the hole! She felt herself moving, spinning and suddenly was flying through the air to this impossible door. She screamed, only once before it was cut off. Springy barked. The room was quiet and the hole disappeared.
By mid-morning Larry was getting worried. Patty had disappeared. Her cellphone, handbag and purse were all there but she was gone. Running his fingers through his hair for the 10th time didn’t help and neither did Springy barking and barking at the cupboard.
“Will you shut up!”
The little dog carried on and on. Eventually Larry thought to look. Slowly he opened the cupboard door and immediately it caught his eye. It was Patty! Her image was carved into the door! She was screaming, hands fisted. He started screaming, scratching at the door, Springy barked. “Patty! Patty! What the hell…” shaking hands called “9-1-1”, the cops came quickly.
Larry tried to show them the carving in the door and explain that it was Patty, they didn’t believe him. He begged, cried and screamed at them until they threatened to arrest him.
“Where is Patty?” they demanded. Eventually he couldn’t answer, wouldn’t explain again he knew they weren’t listening.
After many hours of interrogation, Larry was informed that he was a “Person of Interest” in the disappearance of his girlfriend Patty Jonas. Finally they let him go after he didn’t change his story. “Don’t leave town” they threatened. He didn’t, he went straight home.
Larry sat drinking a beer, staring at the cupboard door. He had cried himself ragged and no-one believed him, he was a suspect for shit’s sake! Hand through the hair again. He realized how much he loved her, how much they had both invested in their relationship
“That’s it! Give me my Patty back or I am going to destroy you right now!” Larry ran down the stairs to fetch his toolbox, checking that his heavy-duty hammer was there. He liked how it felt in his hand and ran back up, determined. Springy was growling at door, hair raised.
The cupboard door was now shut and he didn’t notice the pale light and wind as Patty had. He opened it and stopped… There was a blue, swirling hole. That wasn’t there before. He leaned forward with the hammer still in his hand and stared, it was mesmerizing. Something caught his eye, it was Patty, her mouth was open as if screaming and she was trying to shoo him away. Tears flowed down her wooden face. He leaned closer, his heart in his chest, holding his breath.
It happened so quickly that he never had time to react. Moments later he was carved into the wood, next to his beloved Patty. They would remain there forever. Faces tortured, screaming and begging for release. Springy stayed barking at the cupboard for days. Eventually one of the policemen looking for the couple, took pity on him and took him home. No-one ever saw or heard from Patty and Larry again.
3 months later, the realtor showed the sisters around the house. “Its an interesting story” she said. “The couple Larry and Patty disappeared. The police think that Larry killed her then either disappeared or killed himself. The house comes furnished and at a good price because of them.”
“We’ll take it!”