It’s a little store, on a little street, in a little town. The kind of place you can walk right by if you aren’t looking for it.
I was looking for it.
When I pushed open the door it gave reluctantly, opening only so much as was necessary to allow me to slip through to the other side. As expected, the inside of the place was dark and dusty. There were all sorts of gadgets scattered about, stacked two to three deep on the shelves and balanced on all other available surfaces. In the back was a counter and behind the counter was a row of six doors.
The doors were sort of odd because they didn’t go anywhere. A rudimentary scaffold of unfinished wood held each of them upright so you could get a good look at them. If you wanted to you could also walk around behind them to get a look at the other side. What you couldn’t do was to open one of them.
“Buy it first, then you can do whatever the hell you want with it,” the proprietor was known to say as soon as anyone even thought to lay a hand on one of the doorknobs.
I had been saving for a long time to buy the green one.
“You back again?” the old man behind the counter whispered when he saw me.
“Yes sir. Back again. This time I have enough money I think,” I laid the pile of bills on the counter. He eyed them and nodded at me.
“Expect you do, Miss. Which one was it now?”
“The green one,” I said.
He raised an eyebrow. “You sure? Folks who buy the purple one come out smiling.”
“I’m sure. Green.”
“Green it is, then. If I’m not here whenever it is you finish just go on ahead and let yourself out the front.” He handed me a small silver key.
The key fit perfectly into the lock. I took a deep breath and turned it. A barely audible click signaled that the lock was disengaged and the green door could now be opened.
Oddly at that exact moment I hesitated. I’ve had the feeling a couple of times in my life that after this moment – this very next moment – nothing will ever be the same. And of course it never is. So I stood there, balancing on the threshold, not sure what opening the door would reveal but knowing that whatever it was, it would be momentous.
My hand was steady as I turned the knob and pulled the door open. Inside the open door frame there was – nothing. I could look through the opening and see the back of the shop; it looked exactly as it did if you walked around the line of doors and examined it close up. I blinked. Really? All that money in exchange for experiencing the feelings of a fool duped by a wiser but meaner soul? Nothing?
With great disappointment I stepped through the doorway – and started to fall. Or at least it felt as if I were falling. My feet stayed steady on the floor and my body stayed upright but the sensation of falling engulfed me completely. And then it was gone and I was standing in my Grandmother’s attic, just where I wanted to be.
Daily Prompt – Pick Your Gadget. Your local electronics store has just started selling time machines, anywhere doors, and invisibility helmets. You can only afford one. Which of these do you buy, and why?
Image is A Green Door in Brooklyn by Anahi DeCanio @ ArtyZen Studios