When I crossed the metal threshold my heart beat one hard chest-quaking beat and forced my breath out of my lungs. That line, the distinct dingy hallway carpet onto polished hardwood floor metal line that separated outside from inside, unsafe from safe. The one I had crossed unscathed on countless evenings.
The exposed-brick wall stood as it did any other day. Tall. Rough. I had scraped my back sliding down to sitting in deep anguish when the call came, when I heard the news of his passing, and I still carried those scars. I had broken nails driving masonry nails deep into its heart to hang his picture. There it stood in comfortable foreboding.
It was late afternoon, warm and sunny. The sunlight poured in each window. Curtains, flower pots, aloe plants, and ugly trinkets decorated each. Each window held a secret, a family’s life.
The windows spilled a light I had not experienced before. The light called me to it. The light begged me to discover it. It led me. It wanted me.
There was an extra window, added years after the building was originally constructed; it was the very last window along the exterior, exposed-brick wall. It was beautiful stained glass decorated with many shades of blue. It did not have curtains or flowers. It did not have trinkets. I wandered to it and looked into it for the heaven it resembled. It was alive and held a secret I wanted.
Outside of this pictured window, obscured by beauty, was the building dumpster at the back of the alley, overfull with people’s unwanteds and left-overs. Nestled under the window against the wall was my small, overstuffed couch with the familiar red blanket with threads of gold.
I looked to the doorway. It was miles away, still open, and filled with unsuspecting people walking and driving and going unnoticingly on with their busy lives. The noises of the bustling city were muffled, like elevator music. The footsteps and voices of the people melded perfectly with the taxis, busses, and cars creating music to soothe my soul in these strange surroundings.
The smell of fresh homemade bread began to fill the loft. Nearly at once my eyes became heavy and my knees weak. I stumbled to the couch and lay my head on the cushion and pulled the golden-threaded blanket to my chin. The loft was becoming dark. The sky was becoming dark. And so was every other window except the one with the beautiful glass.
My eyes adjusted slowly to the strange light that surrounded the stained glass window and the wall. That window let out the light that had brought me to it when I first crossed the threshold. It shone with a light more beautiful than any day’s sunshine.
I stood up and looked again to the street. I saw nothing as if the street I had been standing on only a few moments before had disappeared. I walked towards the emptiness beyond my front door and felt a tickle on my hand. I looked down and saw the sleeve of my sweater unraveling, one string at a time. With each step forward another string fell slowly to the ground governed by a gravity that existed only in this strange timeless moment. Each little string floated to the ground, slowly rocking back and forth as if a feather.
One by one they dropped and formed from each separate piece one long rope. As I walked away from the beautiful window the rope moved closer to the brick wall. At the moment I reached the threshold, the rope suctioned to the wall. I stood. I stared at the one string still clinging to my t-shirt, and then turned to the wall.
I picked up the rope and began to pull myself back to the wall. Each step was heavy and labored as if I was walking through thick mud. I pulled myself forward. I reached the wall with great exhausting effort. I touched it. The wall was warm, as if the sun that had now gone had left its warmth in the bricks. I looked again to the window. It was shining brighter, now unlatched. I placed my hand on the glass.
I could hear a new sound now replacing the void of the bustle of the city. It was a voice calling my name.
“Lily. Lily,” the voice beckoned.
I struggled to open the window. When I paused to rest, it opened. Slowly, it opened outward, revealing the alley. On the ground was a clean, wooden, three-legged table. Sitting on the table was a large book with bright white pages. I could hear a new sound now replacing the voice calling my name. It was terrified. Frightful. Shrill.
I snapped my head around and saw a man standing by me. I reached my hand to him. He whispered to me. I collapsed at his feet.
I struggled to open my eyes. I looked up and my father was standing over me. He had my arm in a tight grip, petting my cheek, with tears in his crystal blue eyes, his lip quivering.
The sun was too bright for my eyes. I closed them. My head hurt.
The door to your house/flat/apartment/abode has come unstuck in time. The next time you walk through it, you find yourself in the same place, but a different time entirely. Where are you, and what happens next? Weekly Writing Challenge