The Soul Door
by Eric J. Krause
He had no clue where he was or why he was here. A notion somewhere in the back of his mind told him it had to do with a girl, but what else was new? Girls were always getting him in trouble. No, to be fair, they didn't get him into trouble, but he got himself into plenty because of them.
The day started like any other Friday, with a too-early American History class. That had been a good idea when the semester began--get his classes over with to jump-start the weekend--but he hadn't factored in the actual getting up at the ass-crack of dawn, which put a damper on the weekend before it even started. That day, though, would be okay because of the frat's huge Friday the 13th Costume Bash. There was nothing better than a costume party to bring the slutty side out in girls. Add some booze, maybe a little weed, and he'd talk at least one out of her skimpy outfit.
Or so he thought. But where had he gone wrong? He looked around for the first time and found himself in a long hallway lined with doors on either side. This wasn't the frat house, and it didn't look like any of the sorority houses, either, something, he was proud to say, he had plenty of first-hand knowledge of. No, this reminded him of a creepy hotel, like in that old movie The Shining, starring that actor who always sat courtside at the Lakers' games. He half-expected blood to pour out of an elevator, or two horrifying twin children to appear in his path. He shook his head to get rid of those images, but it did nothing but solidify them.
"Hello?" he called out. "Anyone here?" Maybe he'd been drugged and brought to this hotel. He certainly didn't feel sober at the moment. But if that was the case, why weren't people bursting out of their rooms and telling him to shut the hell up?
He stumbled down the hall, but it seemed to never end. Even the huge wings of the biggest resorts shouldn't be this expansive. How long had he been walking? His legs rose and fell sluggishly, and strange colors bled out around the edge of his vision. No doubt about it; he'd been drugged. Too bad he couldn't enjoy it. Had someone slipped him something, or had he ingested it on his own? With those rockin' frat parties, either could be true.
After hours (or, more likely, minutes) of shuffling forward, he hit the end of the hallway. Instead of running into a bank of elevators, a set of stairs, or a separate wing with more rooms, the passage simply ended. No, that wasn't quite true. There was a tiny door up near the ceiling, much too puny for any person to squeeze through. Other than its size and location, it looked like every other door in the hall. No, again that wasn't quite true. This one had a miniscule room number attached to it: 13. All of the other doors wore nothing but white paint.
"You found it," a female voice sounded behind him. He let out a squeak, hopefully too low to be heard, and spun around. In front of him stood a girl in a devil's costume. A damn fine girl in a devil's costume. Pieces of memory floated through his mind, and he knew he'd met her at the party. On the dance floor. He told her she was the finest honey there, and she rewarded him by grinding into his crotch all through the song. But that was it. That's where the memories ended.
"Who are you?" he asked.
She ignored the question and pointed up to the door by the ceiling. "The soul door. For those who can't navigate to their eternity. No one knows where it leads." Her voice had both a silky smoothness and a raspy croak to it.
"What the hell are you talking about?"
"Those who die on Friday the 13th can't find the light. It's a magical date. Some say the door leads to everlasting paradise, while others warn of unending pain. Maybe it's different for everyone, like Heaven and Hell." She shrugged. "Maybe that's exactly what it is."
"I don't understand. Where am I?" He had to look down at her now, and he let out another screech, this time not caring that she heard. He hovered up next to the door, which now plenty big enough to accommodate him.
"Friday the 13th also brings out demons. We get to eat what we kill. And we long ago realized how much sweeter the souls taste if they felt the power of the door."
An energy, like the suction of a vacuum cleaner, pulled him into the now open door. He could see nothing but an unnatural blackness through the portal. Still without knowing what was going on, he allowed it to suck him in.
Before he could disappear through, something latched onto him and prevented him from moving any further. He glanced down and saw the girl was no longer a girl at all, but some sort of monster. Yeah, monster. That was the only way to describe her. Her body had elongated like a snake, and her arms and legs had vanished. Her long tongue had shot out like a frog's and gripped his feet, trapping him in place. Her face, so beautiful just seconds ago, now held no trace of humanity, but instead took on a mixture of reptilian and amphibious characteristics to match her (its) body.
He tried to yell out, to tell her (it) to let go and let him leave, but no sound escaped. The tongue snapped, drawing him into her (its) mouth. His existence faded to nothing.