The Hallway: A Story for the Broken

"Time doesn't heal emotional pain, you need to learn how to let go. Be the kind of person who dares to face life's challenges and overcome them rather than dodging them. Your hardest times often lead to the greatest moments of your life."


-Roy T. Bennett


A Story



As if just waking from a long slumber, dazed, confused but calm he walked down an abandoned and darkened hallway, he could hear whispers behind the wooden doors that lined the left side of the hall. He couldn’t make out what exactly the voices were saying, all he knew was that they were asking for something. They wanted something from him. He couldn’t stop himself from continuously walking to try and open one of the doors. Even if he could work up the nerve it was too dark to see anything. He decided that he would just keep walking until he was out of this ominous, deserted area. As he walked, he realized not one door resembled another. If he focused, he could make out the colors of the doors, one was a faded red as if it had been sun-bleached for years, the next was black with engraving on it the color of copper. A copper door perhaps. He didn’t think anything about this place, all he knew was that he wanted to go home. Wait, where was home? He attempted to remember how he had even arrived here in the first place. Then he stopped walking and realized he couldn’t remember anything. He asked aloud, “Who am I? Where am I?” He heard someone laugh from behind the door to his right. Was that door there a second ago? It was the copper looking door. His chest began to feel heavy; his breathing grew rapid and he was overwhelmed with fear and panic! He tried to take off running and realized that even though he was going through the motion of running, he was moving no faster than when he was walking. Again, he heard the laughter but this time a menacing voice said, “You can’t leave yet, none of us can! You’re stuck here with us and there is nothing you can do!” The man replied, “Who are you and where is here!?”


Silence.


No one replied all he could hear was a breeze passing through this long and darkened hall.


“A breeze?” he questioned.


He thought to himself there must be an exit down that way. He began to walk back in the direction he was coming from. From the darkness, the voice asked, “Are you sure that’s the right direction?”


Startled the man yelled back, “There’s no other way to go!”


“Sure, there is, there are plenty of ways to go, you can go that way, this way, over there, over here or you could come and sit here with me,” chuckled the voice.


“Where am I!?” he asked in frustration.


“You’re scared, as you should be. You did this to yourself.


”What the fuck do you mean?! I don’t even know how I got here!”


He tried to run again, this time he was successful. He didn’t care where he was running but he was going to run until he couldn’t run anymore. Minutes passed, hours passed, maybe even days, and finally, he stopped running. Up ahead he could see there was an open door and there was a flicker of light coming from the room. As he approached the room, he heard the voice again, “I wouldn’t go in there if I was you. Unless you want to REMEMBER…” The voice though demented almost had a charming and persuasive sound to it, you could hear the smile in the words. He ignored the voice and entered the room with the open door. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing.


He now began to question himself, “Am I dreaming? Am I dead?”

What he saw were memories from his life, but it was the way he saw them that was even more peculiar. It was as if he was watching a 1920’s film about his own life. Everything was black and white, flickered and all he could hear was music from a phonograph. He stepped out of the room, he couldn’t see anything but the flickering light and couldn’t hear the music. He stepped back in and again it was there.


“I told you not to go in there,” mocked the voice. The man couldn’t help but reply even though he was reluctant, “What is this place and who are you?”


The voice hesitated, “This place? That’s something only you can answer and I’m no one.”


He stood there for what seemed like an eternity just watching memories, some beautiful, ugly, joyous and painful. One memory brought more pain than he could handle, he broke down in tears and fell to his knees. “I was just a kid, I wanted to forget that; I was so scared. I can still hear the bell coming from that apple. They used it to distract me. I kept knocking on the door screaming for someone to let me out, but no one ever came. There was no light in the room, only that from the moon streaming through the window. I broke the screen so I could get out of the room, I jumped out just to land in a thorn bush… I was alone.”


He stood up with tears in his eyes and left the room.

“Where can I go? How do I leave?”


No one answered. He began to walk the hallway and again he heard the whispers. They said nothing but said everything.


Grey door. Blue door. Gold door.


Door.


Door.


Door.


He had enough of walking this dark hall and passing these doors. The man decided he was going to enter the next door he came to, but as if it could read his mind the voice returned, “It’s going to hurt.” The man grabbed the door handle to the lavender-colored door and pushed it open, not yet entering instead just staring into the room. It was dark, however, he could hear laughter coming from the room. The laugh was so familiar he thought to himself. He tried to remember, nothing came to mind so he entered the room. Instantly tears streamed down his face, the tears blurring his vision. Another memory, more painful than the last. This memory was all by itself and seemed to play in a loop with nothing but the sound of her laugh. There she was as beautiful as he remembered. She looked back with a smile on her face, but not at him. No, she couldn’t see him. She was standing at the window waiting for something as she watched the snowflakes fall. He looked around the room and recognized where he was. The orange carpet, the crème colored walls, and the old blue chair; it was his old home. He looked back at her, “I think about you every day,” the man said aloud. “I know you’ll never know, but I love you so much and I’m so sorry that I’m not there with you, wherever you are.” The man stood there staring at her, waiting for the memory to play over again so he could see her smiling face.

The voice broke the moment and said, “She was waiting for you. Where were you?”


“I was gone, I was always gone,” the man said weeping as he continued to watch the memory replay. He turned around, stepped back into the hallway and closed the door.


He asked the voice again, “Where am I and what is this place?”


The voice spoke in a joke-like manner, “If you can find the copper door then you can find the truth.”


The man was infuriated at the thought of attempting to find the door again, “Do you know how many doors I’ve passed? It will take me hours to find it!”


“Well, you’ve already been here for much longer than you think and if you ever want to leave then you better start searching,” the voice spoke with sarcasm.


The man stood there trying to decide which way to walk. Finally, he took off in the direction that he thought would give him the best chance to find that door. He was ready to leave. As he walked, he began to ask himself questions about this place. I’ve entered two doors, and both were filled with memories of my past. Not just any memories but the ones I never wanted to remember. The memories I locked away so that I could continue smiling and living. Are all these rooms my memories; if they are, why are they here in this hallway with all these doors? The man pondered the thought of opening another door but as soon as he decided he would, there it was, the copper door.


He stood directly in front of it. As he examined it, he realized that the door was stained in black soot. The door was covered with engravings, the closer he looked, he realized the engravings were words, “Face yourself to let go of yourself.” The writing repeated itself all over the door. The man reached for the door handle and realized the door handle had engravings on it as well, “Open this door to open your mind.”


Before he opened the door, he pressed his ear against it to take a listen. He couldn’t hear anything and began to turn the doorknob. As he opened the door he was met with a gust of cold air. He studied the room, it was illuminated with candles and smelled of cinnamon and wine. The walls were made of stone and a dark, sticky substance dripped down them. As he entered further into the room, he saw that the floors were made of wood and stained with blood. Chills ran down his spine, the hairs on his arms raised, and he heard a whisper, “Welcome.” He looked up and saw a figure sitting in a chair across the room staring at him. He could not see the face, all the man could see were its golden-red eyes. It was draped in a black cloak and pouring two glasses of wine. He walked towards it and as he approached the figure gestured to have a seat in the chair near him. During the figure's gesture, the man saw that blood was steadily dripping from underneath the cloak and falling to the floor.


“Ahh, yes the blood, that’s a new one. Quite surprising I must say,” it was the voice he’d been hearing all along. “Go ahead have a drink, it’s OUR favorite.”


The man sat puzzled and at a loss for words. He picked up the glass and took a drink. They sat in silence listening to the flickering of the candles and the dripping of the blood on the floor. Once they finished their wine the man asked, “So, is this place full of my memories?”


The figure sat staring from underneath its hood and finally answered, “Well, this place is different to all. It’s the way you see your life and the way you manage, or should I say suppress the things you don’t want to remember. You choose to lock them up in rooms rather than deal with them and that’s why you’re here with me.”


The man still didn’t understand fully, “Okay, well where is here, who are you and how did I get here?”


“As I told you, only you can answer that question yourself, if you cannot find the answer then you’re not ready. Until then, you will suffer here with me.” The figure removed the hood and looked at the man. The man fell over in fright, screaming, “This is impossible! What are you?!”

The figure, a bloody mess, smiled, laughed and said, “I’m your darkness, I’m your pain, I’m your suffering… I’m YOU. Everything you refuse to face or to speak of comes to me. Unfortunately, there are no rooms left here for anything more. Can you remember now? Look at me, your pain, anger, and agony are overflowing. You couldn’t handle it. That’s why you did this, that’s why you’re here.”


“What did I do?!” the man questioned hysterically. He stared at the figure that was himself and realized that the blood coming from underneath the cloak was coming from his arms. He looked down at his arms just to realize that his too were dripping blood all over the floor. He began to scream, “I’m dead!? I’m in hell?! What have I done?!”


The figure began to laugh again and said, “You’re not dead yet. If you survive you will only end up back here again walking this hallway for eternity, avoiding entering the rooms for the fear of facing the things you don’t want to. If you ever want to go back, you need to open the doors, let them go and let me go.”


“I can’t.”


The man stood up, ran out of the room and down the hallway.


As if just waking from a long slumber, dazed, confused but calm he walked down an abandoned and darkened hallway, he could hear whispers behind the wooden doors that lined the left side of the hall.

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