This story is for Miranda Kate's weekly flash challenge. I don't do these every week, but if a story comes to me, I try to join in! This is from Miranda's post:
This week's photo prompt was taken by Alan Chaput, a Cozy Mystery author who lives in Savannah Georgia. I really love this image.
Took me a while to find something original, I had a couple of false starts, but I like what I finally came up with. Hope you do too.
Here's a link to the prompt photo.
Somewhat of a classic-style horror tale this time. Not sure where it came from. That's how it works with me. I don't sit down to write a story about (fill in with any subject), whatever that may be. If a story is there, it just pops into my brain.
Please note that anyone can join in with a story up to 750 words. Mine has 729 words for those who are counting (not including the title and byline).
There is a link to a downloadable PDF version of the story at the bottom of the page.
Behind the Blue Door
by K. R. Smith
The old building had stood on the corner for as long as anyone could remember. It had always been shuttered. On occasion, workers would come by to do small jobs on the exterior. No one ever went inside. It was only basic maintenance, however: fix a downspout, paint the doors in the same gaudy blue as before, or, more rarely, replace pieces of the old metal roof that had degraded.
It was the roof that initially spurred my curiosity. Metal roofs last a long time. How many years had passed that it now needed repair?
Still, it was just an old building. There was nothing of particular interest about it architecturally, and no known local history was associated with the aging edifice. Perhaps a century ago it might have been an important place of business or thriving hub of a community, though there was no visible indication of that now.
One day, a group of children were playing in front of the building. It was a favorite spot as little traffic passed along that street. A ball, driven with considerable force, struck one the painted panels comprising the main entry doors. The wood, dried from age and weak, shattered. In the opening appeared another layer of brick. The entrance, apparently, had been sealed for decades.
I pondered this. Why block the entrance with such a massive amount of masonry? There had never been a problem with vandalism in the area and this would certainly make showing the building to any potential buyers all the more difficult. Why go to such lengths to keep anyone from entering?
This puzzle consumed my mind on an almost continual basis for several weeks. One evening, while walking home from my position as a junior clerk, and as it was not too far out of my way, I stopped by the building to see if I might have missed some detail that would explain the situation.
I negotiated my way around the exterior, twice I should note, before stopping at the entrance with the broken blue door. An inspection of the remaining woodwork showed excellent workmanship; only the age of the materials had allowed it to fail. I reached through the opening and into the shallow space between the doors and the bricks. With much effort, I found a sliding latch that, in normal conditions, would release the door allowing it to open. Multiple coats of blue paint were now all that was holding the doors closed. I tugged at the doors repeatedly. Eventually, the old paint cracked, and the doors swung open. Although pleased with the results, I was still no closer to entering the building than before; the brickwork was still in place.
This did, however, give me an idea. Since the doors would also close and could be latched shut again, the removal of any bricks behind the door could be hidden. With the appropriate tools, and in the cover of night, I might gain my way into the building. Few people passed by there after dark, so my chance of being detected would be small. Once an entryway was made, I could close the doors, and no one would be the wiser.
Within a week, I had acquired the tools necessary to gain entry, then waited for a moonless night. This reduced the chance of being spotted and I needed little light for my task. I placed a piece of heavy carpet against the brickwork to muffle the sound. A few blows from my heaviest hammer on the deteriorating lime mortar were more than enough; accuracy wasn't important in this case. Although stronger than expected, the bricks soon gave way, falling into the building. I climbed through the hole and pulled the doors closed behind me as best as I could to hide my clandestine pursuit.
Finally, my curiosity would be sated. I lighted a candle. To my surprise, the entire building consisted of a single room which contained nothing except a small box on a table in the center. Setting my candle down next to it, the glow from its small flame illuminating the box. I brushed away a heavy layer of dust from the top. The box was finely finished and had an inscription on the lid. Just before opening it, I smiled. How quaint, I thought as I read the words aloud. "Pandora Box Company, Established 1817."
While you're here...