The Locked Door

by Jonathan Paine


Fred has been working in a small restaurant, in the fictional town of Barriville, Massachusetts, since he graduated from high school. One day, a locked door in the back caught his eye. What he doesn't know is the scary secret behind the Locked Door.

When I graduated from high school, I worked as a dishwasher in a small restaurant in the town of Barriville, Massachusetts, for the summer. In the very back, behind the room where the dishes are washed, there was this door that was always blocked by some sort of mess. My boss at the time owned the whole building and claimed to be missing the key to the room, so he just decided to use the door as a sort of a wall to pile stuff in front of. One time, when my boss had me take out the trash, I spotted a door relatively near the other door. To my surprise, that door was also locked. Everyday, I found myself staring at the locked door when I was supposed to be washing dishes.

One day, my boss and I were trying to figure out where to put the newly arrived products that wouldn't fit in their normal spots. I decided to ask him, "Hey, Mr. Weaver, why can't we just find a way to open that door and use whatever room it's hiding as storage space for the food?"

"Since this is such an old building," he began, "it would cost more money to use that room instead of what we're doing now. Whatever room is back there is probably all rotted, anyway." He was on the taller side and always wore a shirt and tie to work. Over the nice clothing, he wore a white apron, smeared with grease and old food from over the years. He wore his black dress pants with about an inch of trim at the bottom, which just covered the laces. He walked away, leaving me alone in the room.

What was behind this door that intrigued me so? I felt that I just had to open that door. There was just something about it that I couldn't explain.

Around nine o'clock that night, when business began to die down, I had nothing to do since all of the dishes were cleaned. I walked over to the locked door and leaned against the wall to look at it.

At once, I heard a ghostly voice say to me, "Help me." The voice sounded like that of a man's, perhaps in his mid-forties. The voice caught me off guard and I nearly fell back as it was heard. I stood up at once and looked around for my boss to be asking for help, but he was nowhere to be seen. The voice sounded again and my heart began to race. I walked up to the front of the restaurant to find Mr. Weaver sitting down eating a sandwich.

"Mr. Weaver?" I asked.

He looked up at me, his mouth full of food. "Hmmm?"

"Did you call for me?"

He swallowed his food. "No. At least I don't think I did."

"I must've been hearing things, then."

"You must've." He turned and began to eat again.

I went into the back room and turned on the faucet to begin work on the dishes. As I stood holding a dish under the water, I caught a glimpse of a shiny object in the corner of my eye. Curiosity got the best of me and I found myself turning the faucet off and putting the dish down in the sink.

This shiny object was in front of the locked door, amidst all the empty boxes that had not never gotten tossed. I began to pick through the cardboard and eventually I found what had grabbed my attention. It was an old key as if someone wanted me to find it. I felt like an archaeologist after finding something very rare and valuable. I gently put the key in my pocket to avoid losing it and continued with the dishes. I knew that I couldn't do much more with the door until all the cleaning was done and I feared my boss catching me doing something other than my job.

Sure enough, just as I turned the faucet back on and picked up the dish, Mr. Weaver came around the corner to see if I was finished yet.

"Fred," he began, "come on! It's nine-thirty! We gotta get out of here by ten o'clock! Hustle!"

"Right, sir." I couldn't help but sound at least a little excited after my find. I felt that I even had a little smirk to go with it. I'm kind of surprised he hadn't noticed the way I sounded. He just walked away to go sit down again.

The following twenty minutes crawled by. I couldn't wait any longer. I just wanted to see what was behind that door. Soon enough, I finished the dishes and I found myself reaching into my pocket for the key. The feeling of the key against my the wet skin of my hand somehow pleased me. I let go of the key at once, realizing that I still had to remove all the cardboard from in front of the door.

I took a couple of soft steps to the pile of boxes and once again, I heard the soft cry for help. It didn't startle me so much this time but instead made me want to open that door faster. And I knew that it was coming from behind that door since Mr. Weaver claimed that it was not him. Before I grabbed a hold of the first box, I carefully looked over my shoulder to see if my boss was near. I looked just as he stood up to close the register. I knew that he was going to be there for some time, so I went on and began moving the empty boxes.

As I was removing the last box, I heard that howl again. With the volume that it now was, it alarmed me and I almost dropped the box. I once more glanced over at the front where Mr. Weaver was and I noticed that he hadn't budged as if only I could hear the howling.

I stuck my hand, which was still shaking from the shock, in my pocket and reached for the key. Pulling it out, I heard another cry come from that room and I dropped the key. I mumbled a curse and bent over to pick it up. Soon after, I placed the key in the lock and it fit just right. I turned it and listened as the door unlocked. I took the key out of the lock, placed it back in my pocket and turned the doorknob.

"Fred!" my boss shouted from the register, without looking away from his work.

I was so focused on getting the door opened that Mr. Weaver scared the crap out of me. I held the door against the frame, holding it by the doorknob. "Yeah?" I shouted back.

"I'm going out for a quick smoke. Can you keep an eye on the place? I don't want it to burn to the ground."

"Sure thing," I said back to him.

I watched as he stepped him, sticking his hand is his breast pocket to pull out a cigarette. As soon as he stepped through the door and rounded the corner, I turned back to the mystery door. Still holding the knob, I pushed the door forward, wincing at the loud squeaking of the door. Immediately, a foul smell reached my nose, like that of a dead person. I held my breath and carefully stepped into the room. There was an eerie feeling as I entered, a feeling I could not shake. It was as if someone was watching me.

I felt the inside wall for the lightswitch and I found spider webs instead. I quickly pulled my hand out because anything that had to do with bugs and insects disgusted me. I wiped the web off of my hand with a paper towel and began to think of a way to flick the switch without touching it. Suddenly, I conjured up an idea to my liking. I grabbed a spatula from the dish rack and held it so that the handle was facing out. I went back to the door and ran the spatula against the wall where I found the switch. The switch seemed a little stuck but I kept trying until I heard the switch turn on.

I poked my head into the room and saw nothing but old cans of food covered in spider webs on the shelves ahead of me. Disappointed at my find, I gently closed the door.

I then began to walk away from the door and head toward the front when I could have sworn that someone was walking behind me. As if every step I took, someone took a step with me, kind of like an echo. I turned around just to see if there was anyone, my heart beating fast, and sweat rolling down my face. There was no one in back of me, but I could see two shadows on the wall. I would've figured both were mine, except there was only one light shining on me.

Trying to ignore the second shadow, I turned back around and began walking forth once more. When I heard the second set of footsteps, I stopped right in my tracks, but the steps continued behind me, this time seeming to go away from me. Once again, I swung around and I saw that the second shadow wasn't near me this time. I looked around for the shadow and couldn't see anything. I kept looking, my heart beating as fast as ever. Again, I turned to face the front. What I saw right in front of me made me nearly pee my pants.

What I saw was a dark silhouette with glowing red eyes. It had its arms out toward and in a ghostly voice it said, "Help me. Please help me."

I stumbled back and cried, "Mr. Weaver!"

Mr. Weaver didn't seem to hear me but just continued to count his money.

Seeing that he wasn't going to do anything about my situation, I began to panic. This silhouette started toward me and I backed up at the same pace. It still had its arms outstretched and still asked for my help. I was just too scared to do anything.

In one swift motion, I turned around and ran for the door that had been locked for so long. I opened up the door and ran into the corner of the room, slamming the door behind me and unintentionally breaking the light bulb with my hand. Sweat now covered my body, my hair was soaked, and my hand was dripping with blood. I sat there for quite some time and I couldn't help but think about the silhouette. The more I thought about it, the more it reminded me of Frankenstein's Monster in the old Universal classics, the way it walked about asking for help.

I continued to sit there, fearing the worst. I wasn't even worried about my hurt hand. I couldn't see anything in the room, but I could hear the sound of some sort of gas seeping underneath the door. I backed After some time of this, the sound had stopped and I held my breath to listen in. There was no sound at all. I let my breath out again, almost relieved that the sound had stopped.

I sat there, just looking up and praying for this to just be over. I let my head fall back against the web-covered wall. While I looked up, I saw a couple of red lights forming, perhaps maybe six feet in the air. I began to push back against the wall as hard as I possibly could. Once again, there was that ghostly voice calling for help. It kept calling as I just cowered in the corner.

After a minute or two, the lights disappeared and the calling ceased. The door suddenly swung open and I shouted, "Please! Just leave me alone!"

"I thought I told you to leave this door alone," was the response I got back.

I uncovered my eyes and looked to see Mr. Weaver standing there with a look on his face that said that I really messed up. I couldn't think of anything more to say, so I just sat there.

"Well?" Mr. Weaver asked me. "Don't you have anything to say to me?"

I suddenly thought of something to ask him. "Just one thing, Mr. Weaver," I said with my voice quivering from the shock. "What is the story behind this room?"

"That's a story for another time, Fred," he said nervously. "Now get out of there so I can see you!"

"Mr. Weaver, I could've been killed by whatever it was that you had locked up back here," I shouted at him. I could feel the anger pulse inside of me now because I had a feeling that he had something to do with the room.

"Alright, alright, alright, I'll tell you," he said with the door handle still in his hand. "About ten years back, my brother and I owned this business together. One day, we had a massive argument back here and I hit him over the head with a can of food. I called the doctors immediately and they came to bring him to the hospital. He was pronounced dead on arrival. The following month, I was back here alone and I saw him in here again and he was trying to attack me for killing him. I ran out of the room and locked the door. Back then, I believed that a spirit had to stay in the place of its death. I thought that I had tossed the key into the woods, but apparently, I didn't." With that last statement, he glared directly at me, disappointingly. "Now, come on. We need to close up so we can go home."

I slowly stood up and began to walk over to him, the glass crunching under my feet. I remembered how my hand had been hurt and felt to make sure it was okay. A sudden shot of pain filled my hand and I winced.

As I neared the doorway, I saw the silhouette standing behind Mr. Weaver, its eyes glowing red. I stopped right there and I watched as the arms began to reach out for my boss.

"What?" he asked me. "What's wrong?"

I couldn't say anything and I just stood in terror.

I watched as the hands fell down upon Mr. Weaver's shoulders. Mr. Weaver looked back in sudden shock. He was completely lost in speech. In one quick movement, the silhouetted figure pulled him back and they both disappeared with the sound of Mr. Weaver's screaming.

I didn't know what else to do. I began to walk slowly out of the room, the glass still crunching. I just kept walking, exiting the restaurant and never to return.

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