I stared at the large dark blue door and waited. Perhaps it was animal instinct that assured me someone was lingering on the other side. That those quiet footsteps leading all the way to the door from the depths of the house had not been my imagination.
I waited. Why did they not open the door?
I wondered if I should ring again, perhaps they too had heard the bell but now waited, knowing I was here but needing some confirmation of my presence. More than the primal knowledge assuring me someone I couldn't see was there.
I shifted and cleared my throat, mentally preparing to ring once more. To my surprise I heard faintly my sounds mirrored from behind the door, a scrape of shoes on carpet and the quietest of coughs.
They must have heard me, they must know I'm here. I steeled myself and gripped the door handle. It was cold to the touch and smooth. So smooth I worried I would not be able to turn it.
It did turn, smooth and soundless, and I pushed lightly, hitching my smile back on my face.
The sunlight behind me spilled into the corridor, sending a growing beam of gold across a royal purple carpet and flower patterned wallpaper. It continued to open after I had stopped pushing and swung smoothly to the wall which it hit with a dull thunk.
There was a man stood just beyond the ark of the door, his body perfectly hidden in my shadow, cast by the setting sun behind me. All else in the corridor was lit but him. He seemed coated in dripping darkness, my shadow, but moreā€¦ Thicker, deeper.
I hesitated, the familiar words I had learned by heart many years ago, and spoken thousands of times and thousands of doors, were suddenly lost.