“Oh Brandon!” calls Jake, doing that thing where he emphasises the last part of my name as ‘done’. “You gonna do this again?”
I’m breathing hard as I back away through the attic of our house, my step-brother’s voice chasing me into the smoky darkness. I almost trip over the old woodcutter’s axe that used to be my father’s, back when he was alive. Its sharp, glaring edge and the things that it can do to a person’s body makes my hands tremble. But not as much as my brother.
Jake chuckles as he creaks up the stairs. He stinks of the booze he’s been drinking ever since he turned sixteen. It’s always worse when he’s drunk — he doesn’t know when to stop. “The longer you wait, the worse it gets,” tuts Jake. He knows I don’t talk anymore. Talking back always makes it worse. Makes him hit and kick and cut and slice harder. So I’m silent when he tells me I deserve this. With his degrading words filling my head and bruises and wounds plastering my body, I sometimes believe him.
That same voice floating up the attic makes my thirteen-year-old heart thud like a rabbit’s. But it doesn’t scare me like it once did. Not since I discovered the door.
I tug the pleated drapes back to reveal a door of plain, moldy timber that looks like any old door in any old house. The icy dread clamped around my ribs thaws as I rub my fingers against the splintery wood and drag its smoky smell into my heaving lungs.
I remember listening to my father’s stories before I went to bed. He’d put his glasses away, the ones he wore to the weird, super-secret lab where he worked, and told me about his research. Doors that lead to other places in space. “And we have one upstairs,” he’d say with a strange little smile. I’d roll my eyes, but he insisted. “Our little secret.” And then he placed his hands on my shoulders and his face grew serious. “But you can never go inside. Never. Do you understand?”
But his words lose meaning as Jake approaches and the stink of the alcohol claws at my nose.
story by jeremy szal
i got it from google btw