Beyond The Threshold
The path narrowed as she ran; her lungs burned with each breath. Then, up ahead, a steep incline appeared. She knew the area well enough and remembered there was a small, dark cave to take cover. With little time left for escape, Petra slid down the hill to the cave.
Crouching in the darkest corner, she allowed herself to regret defying her mother’s warning.
“Never go out in daylight,” her mother said. “That’s when they can see to hunt.”
Ten months ago, a terrifying event descended upon her village. Initially, no one knew what attacked and mutilated a campsite full of families in the local national park. The most disturbing detail of the attack was that it happened in the middle of a sunny afternoon.
Eight families joined at the site to celebrate several upcoming birthdays. Each person was stripped of every ounce of flesh—leaving only the bones. It had to be more than one animal to attack and was unlikely to be human. The question remained; what animal exists that would kill in such a manner?
Nothing of this magnitude ever happened in this quaint little town. Nevertheless, there is one group of people in town considered peculiar—the paranormal investigators.
For several months, authorities found whole families left in their yards as nothing but piles of bones; skeletons stretched out as if they welcomed death.
The darkness of the night finally blanketed the town, and Petra made her way home.
“Where the hell have you been?” her mom said, half screaming and half crying.
Hugging her mother tighter than she ever had, Petra said, “I’m so sorry, mom. I screwed up. I’ll never go out during the day again.”
“But, why did you? You know the danger. I can’t understand why you risked your life.”
“Because, mom, I hate being locked inside during such a beautiful day. I feel like our lives are robbed of joy. When is this all going to end?”
“I don’t know, Petra. I have no idea what it will take to fix this nightmare. I did find out a theory, though.”
“Really! Holy shit, tell me.”
“Before I do, tell me if you saw the creatures that are killing people.”
“Mom, I can’t believe you called them creatures.”
“If I tell you, please don’t freak out.”
“Okay, okay, I won’t. But, what the hell happened out there?”
“I was trying to walk soft and quiet down the trail through the woods in the back of our house. They were in the trees, mom. They were looking down at me, and when they saw me, they jumped.”
“What did they look like?”
“They looked like nothing I’ve ever seen; ever. They were pink-skinned, with huge, round heads and large eyes. Their wide mouths had pointed teeth inside and outside.”
Petra’s mom stood, staring at her. The silence, lasting only seconds.
“It was the paranormal society that started this hellish ordeal. Tell me more. I want to know more.”
“Well, they walked upright but ran on all four legs when they chased me, and they’re fast.”
“How did you get away—where did you hide?”
“I made it to the cave. But why do you think the paranormal investigators started all of this?”
“I watched them on TV telling the police chief and the FBI that they accidentally opened a portal to a dimension where these things are from.”
“How did they do that? I didn’t think they did stuff like that.”
“They don’t, but they teamed up with a congregation who perform rituals that open gateways to the dead. Except, this time, they made a grave error in judgment and opened up a gateway to a dimension of horrific monsters who can only see and exist in bright light.”
“So do they go back through to their world when it gets dark?”
“That’s the theory. You’d think performing a ritual to close the doorway would be the solution. Unfortunately, it turns out that it’s not as easy as just performing another ritual. Finding the correct ritual is the problem.”
“So we can’t go outside during the day and can only go out at night until this is fixed? That totally sucks.”
Petra felt as though life would never go back to normal. Exploring her world in the joy of sunshine was no longer an option. She wondered if they should move to another town. Or maybe this is all a dream, and she’d wake up to normal again. But, then, it occurred to her that she might be locked in her own private dimension. Yes, that could be it. Would she ever know? How could she ever be sure if she was trapped in an unconscious state? As she pondered these scenarios, she resigned herself to the reality that this was not her imagination.
The days, weeks, and months crept along towards a dark and ominous future. The only way to test if the entryway was secure would be to allow a small gathering of people to stay out during the day. Those chosen people, of course, would be the National Guard.
The experiment to close the door failed. Every business closed, and every family moved, leaving a dead town emptied of all human life. A concrete wall forty feet high with electric wire fencing at the top kept the rest of the world out and the creatures in—for now.
Exploring the unexplained is exciting and energizing for many. Fear can be both a deterrent from the unknown and a temptation to explore it. Where do we draw the line, or should we? Perhaps this puts a twist in the phrase, “be careful what you wish for.” Whatever can be manifested, you will have to face. Are you sure you want to know what is beyond the threshold?
Featured image by elvina1332 from Pixabay.