Hello! Not really done much worthy of bloggage this week, done a bit of running and a bit of swimming and some biking, but don’t want to bore everyone by being boring…!
I’m running the Keighley 10k on Sunday 10th March so will be doing a race re-cap sometime soon after that.
Until then, if you want to read it, here’s the first chapter of a novel I’m working on.
The Door In The Wall – Chapter One
When Billy’s parents told him that they were moving house, he lied and told them that he didn’t mind. He’d heard his mum and dad talking on a few occasions about money troubles and how they needed to move further from town, somewhere smaller. Billy wasn’t a spoilt kid and so didn’t cause a fuss when he was told they had to go.
The next few weeks were busy for the family, what with having to pack things up and sort out the new house. It was quite run down, his dad had told him one day, and so they’d be fixing it up as the months went on.
“So long as we have a roof over our heads, and have each other, what else do we need?”
Billy thought about how he needed a garden to play in, but didn’t mention it.
Moving day arrived and it brought with it a large moving truck, along with two big guys to carry their furniture. They didn’t say much, though one of them winked at Billy when they came inside to see what was to go, and both said ‘Yes’ when bacon sandwiches were offered. Beds, sofas and the dining furniture was soon loaded, along with dozens of boxes with each one marked for what ever room it was for.
His mother had one last check to make sure everything that needed to go was on the van, and then they locked the door and said goodbye to the house. It was a bit sad, thought Billy, but he had decided to start looking forward to his new home and his new bedroom which his father had said he can decorate in whatever colour he likes.
When they arrived at the house, everything was done in reverse. They said hello to their new home, then his mother unlocked the door and went round each room making sure nothing had been left by the previous owners. While she checked, the men from the van started to unload all of their things and were directed to whatever room they needed to be in.
By early evening the van, and the men, had gone. Billy sat in his new room unpacking boxes of books and toys, and put them on his shelves that had come from the old home. The walls were bare, with bits of paint coming away here and there, but his dad had told him that he could put up posters and drawings until they had the time to paint it properly.
When all his stuff had been put away and his bed had been made, Billy told his parents that he loved the new house and then said good night. He didn’t want them to know that he wished he was still in his old bedroom, where the paint on the walls wasn’t peeling away.
Through the night Billy woke up and panic took him as he needed a few seconds to remember where he was. He always slept with the curtains open and the moonlight came through onto the walls and the floor. He watched the shadows from the tree in the garden dancing on his floor, and then he noticed it.
At first he thought it was a shadow playing a trick on his eyes, but getting out of bed he got a better look. There was a door handle in the middle of the wall which he hadn’t noticed earlier. ‘How odd,’ he thought. ‘I can’t believe I didn’t see this’. He tried the handle, but it wouldn’t move. ‘Anyway’, he thought, ‘if it opened I’d end up opening the whole wall!’
Deciding to ask his dad to have a look in the morning, he got back into bed and, before long, slept again.
The handle was gone in the morning.
Billy saw as soon as he woke that it had gone. ‘I’m sure I didn’t dream it’, he thought. He was quite a logical child though, and soon convinced himself that it was imagination. He then forgot all about it for the rest of the day, and most of the following night, until a sound made him wake again in the early hours. The door handle was back in the centre of the wall, but this time there was a vertical cut in the peeling paint to the left of it, which came from the floor to about the height of Billy’s knees.
He knelt down near the thin crack and touched it gently. Billy thought that he felt a slight breeze come through, but couldn’t be positive. He got back into bed, and made sure to tell his father the next day.
“A door handle? In the wall? Are you sure?” His dad asked.
“Yes.” Billy said. “Only at night though, it’s gone by morning.”
“That’s what I said.”
“But it’s gone now?”
“Yes, it’s just there at night. Not before I go to sleep, and not after I wake up in the morning, only when I wake up through the night.”
“Huh.” Said his dad. “I’ll tell you what, next time, come wake me up. I don’t mind what hour, if it’s there I want to see it.” His dad then smiled at Billy, and no more was said on the matter.
That night Billy had trouble sleeping. He kept opening his eyes and looking at the wall, waiting for the handle to appear, but it wouldn’t. At about one in the morning he finally slept, but was woken a short time later by a noise. The handle was back again, and the cut to the left of it now reached to Billy’s waist.
He went into his parents bedroom to wake his dad. It didn’t take long, but it took a few minutes for his father to realise what was going on, though eventually he remembered the days conversation and followed Billy to his room.
His father looked at the wall, then looked at Billy, and back again to the wall.
“There’s nothing there.” His dad said.
“There was a few minutes ago! You took too long!”
“Billy,” his father began, “it’s a new house, to us at least, and you need sometime to settle in. To adjust. In a day or two you’ll be fine, sleeping through the night and without these dreams.”
“It’s not a dream!” Billy said. “There was a handle!”
“Shush Billy, time to get back into bed and go back to sleep. I’ll see you in the morning.”
He left the room, and Billy got back into bed. There was no point arguing, because Billy’s evidence had vanished back into the wall so it’d do him no good.
The next night was similar to the last. He awoke, saw the handle, saw that the cut was now as tall as Billy himself, and so went to wake his father. They came back, the wall was bare. His father told him that he was not allowed to wake him anymore for dreams about handles, and then went back to bed.
The following night, Billy noticed that the cut had now got to about six foot upwards and had changed direction; starting to go horizontally across the wall. He realised that it was starting to resemble the outline of a door, with the handle right in the centre. A few nights later he confirmed this with himself when the line had reached about six foot upwards, then two foot across the wall, and was now going back down the other side.
He began to get a little scared.
Every time he brought up the subject with his father, he was told the same thing. that he needed time to settle in, that his dreams would stop, and that he wasn’t allowed to wake his dad in the night.
A few more night went by, the cut in the wall getting closer to the floor each time, until Billy woke one more suddenly than any other night. He’d heard a bang but couldn’t place where it had come from. He looked at the handle, and at the outline of the door, because it was indeed now a full outline of a door, and went to get his dad. His dad told him, when he finally woke up, that he wasn’t coming to look at a blank wall again and that if it’s there now, it’ll be gone when Billy goes back to his bedroom because it’s always gone. With this, he turned his back and went to sleep.
‘Yeah, it’ll be gone.’ Billy thought to himself. He went into his bedroom and looked at the wall. The handle, and the outline of the door, were still there. He stood in front of the wall and looked it up and down. There was a slight tap-tap-tap sound which was getting gradually louder, as though someone was walking up the stairs. He looked out of his room, but the stairs were empty of life. Besides, the staircase was carpeted and this sounded more like footsteps on stone.
Back again into his bedroom, back again to staring at the outline. Back again to hearing the tap-tap-tap of footsteps. Slightly louder this time, and then louder still. It was as though… No. Wait, getting louder again. It’s as though someones coming towards the door, he thought, but from the other side!
Slightly louder and louder they became, each tap louder than the last.
Louder… Louder… LOUDER…LOUDER!
Then, nothing. Silence.
Someone knocking from the other side of the door.
Someone knocking on a door that shouldn’t be there.
Billy stepped slowly towards the door. He lifted his arm towards it, then rested his hand on the handle. He knew that it couldn’t be turned, however, so wasn’t overly worried just yet.
‘There couldn’t be anyone there, because it’s just a dream.’ Billy thought. ‘Besides, the handle’s stuck.’ Taking a deep breath, he put some pressure on the handle, which was enough to turn it until it clicked. The door frame cracked away from the wall as Billy took a step backwards, then it stopped where it was. Seconds passed before the door started to open more, opening, Billy realised, because it’s being pushed open from the other side!
He closed his eyes tight, but could hear something coming through the doorway. He almost screamed, but didn’t get the chance.
The next morning Billy’s father came into his bedroom to wake him up for school. He noticed that Billy’s bed was unmade, and that there was what looked like a blood stain on the floor near the wall.
There was no door though.
There certainly wasn’t a handle.
There was no Billy either.
Chapter Two (And Three!) Are available online to read: