Patater Week - Day 1
Feb. 6- Get Together – (Coraline-inspired AU, magical realism, 6.4K)
Soundtrack: [Exploration] + [Dreaming]
There’s a low, paint-chipped door in the corner of Alexei Mashkov’s living room in Providence.
His agent tells him that the door used to connect to the apartment next to his, a long time ago, when the structure had been one. The door leads to nowhere now, only a wall of bricks. Alexei has even seen the wall of bricks in person, when he requested the landlord open the door for fun. He’s always been curious, after all, and the old, rusted key that the agent picks out from the cabinets only added to that curiosity.
“You’ll get yourself into trouble one day, Lyosha,” his grandmother used to tell him. Alexei had been young, perhaps seven or eight, when she warned him. “Don’t ask so many questions, and try to be happy, or the spirits will see, and take you.” She had said, “Don’t go through strange doors, and don’t follow voices, especially if they sing to you.”
“What’s so bad about singing?” Alexei had demanded, in a petulant way only a seven-year-old can manage. “I sing.”
“Yes, love, but they sing to confuse you,” his grandmother had responded. “They sing of a life better than the one you have, so you want to come to them. You see? They want to trick you and steal you away.”
Of course, Alexei had thought her warning had been metaphorical, if not slightly cryptic. She’d been old then, and easily confused. If you take out the spirits part, the rest sound more or less logical. He figured that she doesn’t want him talking to strangers and end up kidnapped, so Alexei had merely nodded and promised her. No going in strange doors, no following the singing voice, not that there’d been any in his life. Until now.
The bricks are nothing special: the seams filled with cement, the corners dusty with cobwebs. It’s nothing out of the ordinary, but there’s a draft that only Alexei can feel because when he mentions it to the agent, she only blinks in confusion.
“Why not lock it?” Alexei asks, when the agent pockets the old key and closes the old, wooden door.
“Why should I?” the agent says, smiling. “The wall is bricked up. Not like there’s anything that can come out. Now, let’s go to the kitchen. The structure itself is a little old, almost 150 years, but it’s been recently remodeled. It’s got a beautiful granite counter top—”
Alexei loves the house. But doesn’t know why he feels uneasy about the door. When he gets the keys to the house, he finds the rusted key again and locks the door.