The Refrigerator Door
by Eric J. Krause
"Can I see you in the kitchen?"
Bryan jerked awake. He hadn't even realized he'd been asleep. Nadine, his girlfriend, glared at him from the kitchen doorway.
"What?" he said.
She gave an exaggerated sigh. "I said I wanted to see you in the kitchen."
"Why? We're the only ones here."
Nadine rolled her eyes. "Would you just get in here? Please?"
Bryan grunted as he stood up. There would be no arguing with her, but he couldn't think of what he'd done.
"What's the meaning of this?" She pointed at the refrigerator. Both its and the freezer's door were standing wide open.
He shrugged. "I don't know. I didn't do it."
"Well, when I left, they were both closed. Now look. The ice cream is melted, the frozen pizza isn't frozen, and I'm sure the sour cream and milk have spoiled."
He shrugged again.
Nadine threw her hands up. "Do you think they opened themselves?"
As soon as she said that, Bryan saw a little man on the counter behind her. It stood about six inches tall and wore a tiny green suit which made him think of a leprechaun. He wanted to point it out to Nadine, but it jumped out of sight behind the cookie jar.
Nadine slammed both doors shut. "You were in such a rush to grab a soda and put some ice in it so you could get back to the couch that you didn't even check to see if you'd closed the doors. Am I right? Don't even answer. I know I'm right."
She stormed out of the kitchen and he heard the bedroom door slam shut. He just stood there. He hadn't been in here since breakfast, before she'd left. He was about to go back to the couch when the leprechaun-thing came back onto the counter. It covered its mouth with one hand and pointed at him with the other. It's belly jiggled with laughter.
He took a step towards the little man, expecting it to bolt, but instead it motioned to the freezer. Bryan turned and watched the door pop open. Two more leprechaun-things, which looked identical to the first, jumped out. Once they hit the floor, they scurried towards the sink, opened the cabinet underneath, and scampered inside. The refrigerator door opened next, and four more followed. Bryan looked back at the one on the counter. It stuck its tongue out at him, then pointed and laughed. He stepped forward with every intention of smacking it across the room.
"You have neither the guts nor the strength, human," it said in a soft, squeaky voice. The six other leprechaun-things climbed up the drain and walked over to the first.
"While we distracted you in here," one said, "our pets captured your lady-friend."
Nadine. Bryan ran from the kitchen and burst into the bedroom. She lay on the bed wrapped in what he thought was a coil of rope. After a second look, though, he saw it wasn't rope, but a thick strand of spider web. Her lips were also glued shut with webs. Three spiders, each as big as German Shepherds, stood next to the bed. He took a step towards her, but the huge beasts cut him off. He gave her an apologetic look and hurried back to the kitchen. The seven leprechaun-things still stood on the counter.
"What's going on?" Bryan asked.
"Don't take it personally. Look outside. Don't be shy; we'll still be here."
Bryan took a deep breath and went to the window. He opened the curtains, but just as quickly closed them. Flames engulfed the whole neighborhood.
"You humans have ruled this world with an iron fist, leaving nothing for us. But we've been patient. We devised a plan, stored up our resources, and when we deemed ourselves ready, we struck. As you can see, it's going quite well."
The three spiders came into the kitchen carrying Nadine on a web stretcher. They set her down and turned their attention to Bryan. Before he could react, he found himself covered in webs and unable to move. His lips, like Nadine's, were stuck shut.
"They will make fine slaves. Nemby, the stove. The rest of you, the portal."
All of the little creatures except one ran to the refrigerator and jumped inside. Bryan almost choked on his own saliva. A huge tunnel had replaced the inside of his refrigerator. The spiders placed him on a web stretcher like Nadine's and followed the leprechaun-things into the refrigerator. He watched the straggler cast some sort of spell on the stove, causing it to spit fire around the kitchen. The little man emitted a gleeful laugh and followed the rest down the long tunnel.
Bryan looked back at his now-burning house, and all he could think was that Nadine was going to be pissed. The leprechaun-things hadn't shut the refrigerator door.