at the Dark Door
Serial by Roy Dorman
journey into dark magic
himself in the Bronx Community High School cafeteria, gangly, red-haired Rory
Davis thought back to the afternoon when he had become an only child. It
had been the afternoon before the day he had become an orphan. He thought about
those days a lot.
mother and his two younger sisters, coming home from dance lessons, had been
hit head-on when a semi driver who was tired and drunk crossed the center line
and killed all three of them.
been a troubled fifteen, already been pretty much estranged from his father.
His father hadn’t even waited for the funeral of his wife and two girls; he had
shot himself in the garage the day after the accident. No note, no anything. To
Rory, that had pretty much summed up their relationship.
He had gone
to live with his mother’s brother’s family. It had not been a hardship for
them; with settlements from lawsuits and insurance money, Rory brought plenty
of survivor’s benefits with him.
He had been
excited to move from Des Moines, Iowa, to an older Bronx neighborhood in New
York City. He loved his new high school and planned on starting a new life when
he graduated and turned 18.
initial shock of losing his family had worn off, he had grown optimistic about
his future. After what he had just been through, things couldn’t get worse,
could. And it began with a certain sultry and sophisticated brunette.
know I may look geeky right now, but I’m only sixteen; I won’t look like this
sixteen and I’m…um…twenty-seven,” said Adriana Ardelean. “A relationship with
you could send me to prison. To prison, that is, after I lost my business, my
house, and everything I’ve worked for these last…um…ten years.”
owned an occult store, The Dark Door, and Rory’s interest in the supernatural
had brought him to her business a couple of months ago.
share a history,” Rory countered. “We were both orphaned as teenagers and each
of us came away from tragedy with funds to make our own way in life.”
welcome in the store as a customer anytime,” said Adriana. “But as to being a
customer with benefits, no way.”
these two shared was similar in the end result,
but not how that result
had come about. Rory had become an orphan due to a cruel set of circumstances
beyond his control. Adriana had become an orphan by committing murder—50 years
on pillows in Adriana’s bed, she and Rory were talking about the future of The
Dark Door. Adriana had locked the store for the lunch hour and Rory had taken
the afternoon off from his city parks department summer lawn mowing job.
eighteen yet, he would be next month, but a couple of months ago he had
convinced Adriana there was no need to wait. In addition to Rory’s persistence,
she had also noticed he had been starting to outgrow his teenage awkwardness.
And she had some upcoming occult business where a trusted partner would be
ancestors had been dealing in the dark arts for over a thousand years. She was
the last of her line and, though she intended to live another couple of hundred
years, thought it might be time to consider producing an heir.
“inherited” The Dark Door from her parents. She hadn’t yet told Rory about her
part in their deaths, how black magic kept her young, or that The Dark Door was
not just the name of the occult store.
was a Dark Door.
selling the store?’ asked Rory. “Why?”
back to the land of my forebearers,” said Adriana. “I’d like to take you with
me if you want to come.”
said Rory. “I thought your family was from here in New York. And I’ve been
accepted at NYU for this Fall Semester. What’s going on, Adriana?”
out to tell Rory everything—or almost everything. The telling of her history
would take most of the rest of the afternoon and it was only because of Rory’s obsession
with both Adriana and the dark arts that he believed what she told him.
Ardelean family was originally from Romania, in a remote forested area—at that
said Adriana, slipping into an Eastern European accent for Rory’s benefit. “Transylvania
sounds so cliché, does it
“Are you a
vampire?” asked Rory, hoping it were true.
laughed. “Today’s accepted lore connected to vampires mainly comes from Bela
Lugosi, Christopher Lee, and Buffy. No, I’m not a vampire, but our
family’s work in the arts has given me the benefit of living a very long life.”
told Rory of her parents coming to America in the early 1800s. They had landed
in New York City and had purchased property in what was now the Bronx. Her mother
gave music lessons in a small flat above her father’s apothecary shop. They
didn’t need the money, having smuggled in wealth from Europe, but did need to
have businesses to justify that wealth.
happens when the length of life is prolonged by use of the dark arts, the
body’s continued good health separates itself from that of the mind. After
living more than three hundred years, a form of dementia crept into her
parents’ lives. They stopped seeing people from the outside world and became
As to their
deaths, Adriana decided to save that part of her history until she and Rory
were in Romania.
to take a shower and then we start packing for the trip,” said Adriana. “Get
out of bed; I know you want to.”
boy, move to Romania.”
later, Adriana and Rory were standing in the basement of The Dark Door. The
store had been sold to a distant relative of Adriana’s who was not involved in
packed much, just some clothes, books, and pictures of his mother and sisters.
quite a bit more. She had the belongings of both her and her parents (which had
to do with the history of their work in black magic).
were standing in front of a door Rory had not seen before. “Why can’t we just
stay here in New York and live happily ever after?” he asked.
gave him a withering look. “My family was never big on ‘happily ever after,’”
she said. “We were more into the ‘then everything faded to black’ ending.”
chanted some words in what sounded like Latin, and the door slowly opened.
Behind the door the absence of light was so complete it appeared the door
opened onto a rectangular sheet of polished black obsidian.
things inside the door and then help me with mine,” said Adriana.
tentatively pushed a small suitcase toward the darkness. Surprised it slid
through the seemingly impenetrable surface, he looked back and grinned at
Adriana. “Cool,” he said. “But if we put our stuff in there, how do we get it
when we get to Romania?”
get all of our things inside we will
go in and I’ll shut the door,” said Adriana. “An incantation will carry you,
me, our things, and the Dark Door to the basement of our new home in Romania.
I will open the door and we’ll start a new life. You have much to learn, but
you are young and we will have many lifetimes for you to learn what you need to
placing the final box of her belongings into the doorway, Adriana stepped into
the blackness. Rory stared at the sheet of dark and thought he could either
follow her or turn from the Dark Door and run up the basement stairs to the
could decide, a huge hairy hand reached out from the blackness and pulled him
through the doorway. Standing in complete darkness, Rory heard Adriana
chanting. He sensed the door closing and felt Adriana take his hand in hers.
the part where the scary background music usually starts, right?” she whispered
in his ear.
and hoped Adriana knew what she was doing. For Rory, the scary music had
started just before that hairy hand had grabbed him.
After a few
minutes, Adriana said, “We’re here. Take a few steps to your left so that
you’re against the wall.”
was still impenetrable. During the brief time they had been behind the door
Rory had heard the snuffling of what sounded like a large animal. He guessed
the sound belonged to whatever had dragged him through the doorway.
against the wall opposite you,” said Adriana. “When I open the door Angelika
will be in the center of the doorway and will go out first. I don’t expect any
surprises, but my family always had enemies.”
chanting, and Rory could sense rather than see the door opening. He smelled
Angelika’s intense body odor as she rushed past him through the door. There was
growling, high-pitched screaming, and then silence.
“We can go
out now,” said Adriana. “Stay against one of the basement walls and keep away
from Angelika; she can be unstable until her bloodlust has been sated.”
stepped through the door and hurried over to a side wall. His jaw dropped when
he saw the gargoyle-like creature who must be Angelika feeding on two corpses. Angelika
snuffled and turned toward Rory, gore dripping from her face. She picked up a
severed arm from one of the bodies in front of her and playfully offered it to
Adriana shouted. “Back behind the door! Now!”
snorted and shook her head in negation.
Cremito. Cremito,” chanted Adriana.
continued to mutter, but then howled as the hair on her head started to burn.
She put the flames out using both of her large hands and slowly walked through
the doorway, glaring at Adriana.
closed the door. Walking over to Rory, she took both of his hands in hers.
much to learn before you will be allowed to interact by yourself with
Angelika.” Adriana pointed to the heap of dismemberment in the corner. “She
would do to you what she did with those two who were waiting to ambush us.”
chance she and I will ever be buds,” said Rory.
scary music had stopped and Rory was once again ready for the adventures he was
sure to have in his new life.
To Be Continued
Dorman, firstname.lastname@example.org, of Madison, WI, who wrote BP #89’s
“Orphans at the Dark Door” (+ BP #88’s “Blood on the Riviera,” BP #87’s “The
Sepia Photograph”; BP #86’s “New Orleans
Take-Out” & “Not This Time”; BP #85’s “Door County Getaway” & “The
Gift”; BP #84’s “Goodbye to Nowhere Land” & “Nobody Should Be at 1610 Maple
St.”; BP #83’s “Door #2”; BP #82’s “A Nowhere Friend” & “Foundling”;
#81’s “Nowhere Man in Nowhere Land” & “The Box with Pearl Inlay”; BP #80’s
“Andrew’s War” & “Down at the Hardware Store”; BP #79’s “Cellmates” &
“Get Some Shelter”; BP #78’s “All Is as It Should Be”; BP #77’s “Essence of
Andrew”; BP #76’s “Flirting with the Alley”; BP #75’s “The Enemy of My Enemy…”;
BP #74’s “Doesn’t Play Well with Others”; BP #73’s “A Journey Starts with a
Flower”; BP #72’s “The Beach House”; BP #71’s “The Big Apple Bites”; BP #70’s
“Borrowing Some Love”; and BP #69’s “Back in Town” and “Finding Good Help…”),
is retired from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Benefits Office and has
been a voracious reader for 60 years. At the prompting of an old high
school friend, himself a retired English teacher, Roy is now a voracious
writer. He has had poetry and flash fiction published in Apocrypha and Abstractions, Birds Piled
Loosely, Burningword Literary Journal, Cease Cows,
Crack The Spine, Drunk Monkeys, Every Day Fiction,
Flash Fiction Magazine,
Flash Fiction Press, Gap-Toothed
Madness, Gravel, Lake City Lights,
Near To The Knuckle, Shotgun
Honey, The Creativity Webzine, Theme
of Absence, The Screech Owl, The Story
Shack, & Yellow Mama.