Invisible Door

We had just moved into an old Victorian house, and we were still unpacking when my birthday came around; the occasion was bittersweet as the whole house was preoccupied with chores and unpacking boxes. I'm pretty sure that, with all the chaos, my family forgot it was my birthday. As the middle child of four kids with parents who never stop working, it's easy to be overlooked; Massie left early this morning, stealing the car and leaving, probably to drive three hours to see her boyfriend. Mom and Dad were livid when they woke up this morning to find that one of their cars was missing; they ran out of the house, taking Amy and May, the twins, with them, leaving me in an unfamiliar place. In their haste, they forgot I was still eating breakfast at the kitchen table. When they finally noticed, they just sent me a text saying how sorry they were; I didn't bother to reply, rolling my eyes and placing the phone on the table. And once again, I'm stuck being alone.

Around noon, Dad called, informing me that they were making their way back along with a quick happy birthday before hanging up. I decided to wander around the empty, quiet house, opening and closing doors until I found a door that opened to a staircase. I was about to climb the stairs that could only lead to the attic, but the doorbell ringing made me pause, deciding whether to ignore it or see who it was. I was about to go up the stairs when the doorbell rang again; huffing, I shut the door and made my way to the front door, opening it up to see a mailman holding a package. We both awkwardly stood there staring at each other, "Oh, cool, I wasn't sure if anyone was living here. Well, here's your package. Have a good day."

"Oh. Uh, ok, thanks?" I shut the door behind me with my foot and turned the box around, wondering who sent it, but I did not see a return address anywhere. Shrugging, I just decided to open the box because why not? No one is here, and it is my birthday. Going back to the kitchen to get a knife since I didn't know where the scissors were and didn't feel like going through boxes; setting the box on the table and carefully slicing through the thin tape on top and both sides, placing the knife down making it clatter on the table next to me. I opened the box, removed the packaging materials, and pulled out a fancy pair of 3D glasses. They were heavy in my small hands and twirling them around, they were perplexing; I didn't think they made 3D glasses so… sturdy. The frames were a deep matte black, the material was undecipherable, the glasses were too heavy for them to be made out of plastic, and it didn't feel like wood but had the smoothness of metal. They must have been handmade, but why go through so much trouble to make 3D glasses? Why would someone send something like this, and who sent it? Placing the glasses on the other side of the box opposite the steak knife, I dug through the box some more, trying to find some clues about its sender.

After looking for some time, I found a small handwritten letter: 'Dear current resident, I would like not to frighten you, but the house you just recently started to inhabit is filled with many secrets. Secrets that are hidden within the many walls of the ancient abode. For your protection, I have sent a pair of glasses that, if worn, will enable the wearer to see the invisible. P.S. The beings on the other side can only be seen while wearing the glasses. DO NOT let them pass any barriers. Also, if you wish to adventure past the safe space, make sure you always wear the glasses. Signed A Friend. P.P.S. Happy Birthday!'

I must've read the letter a dozen times, and my brain refuses to understand any of it. But curiosity got the best of me, and I put the glasses on. To no surprise, everything was the same besides everything having a tint to it from the tinted lenses of the glasses, which gave me a headache. Taking them off, I stuffed the glasses and letter in my hoodie pocket. I just decided to return to the attic staircase, not worrying about the mysterious person and how they knew it was my birthday; nope, I won't think about that. Instead, I focused on the attic, wondering if the previous owners may have left some things behind. What creepy stuff would be hidden in an old house?

Here I am again, this time with no distractions. Opening the door, I stood at the bottom of the steps, looking up at the long, narrow space. Gulping, a chill could be felt around me. A feeling I couldn't place engulfed me, but what was it? Why was I feeling this way? I did not have this feeling earlier. I couldn't move, so I went into my hoodie pocket, wrapping my hand around the glasses. They were warmer than they should be from being in my pocket. It was unnatural. I held on to them as I willed my legs to move, slowly making my way up the creaky steps as the light faded away the closer I got to the top using my other hand and pulled my phone out of my back pocket, turning the flashlight on I stopped on the third step to the landing hesitating for a minute before taking the last steps.

The attic was much bigger than I expected and utterly empty of what I could see. The floorboards squeaked with every step; taking my time across the room, not wanting to fall through the ancient wood beneath me. I went to the front of the attic, surprised to see cardboard boxes stuffed deep in a dark corner. The boxes didn't look like the ones we brought, and I am trying to remember if anyone has been up here. I get down on my knees to inspect the boxes and peel open the nicer-looking one. To my utter disappointment, it was filled with old leather-bound books, pictures, and loose journal entries. I pull the glasses out of my pocket and slip them on. I don't know why. It was just a feeling I had, something telling me I was missing something, and the glasses would help me find it.

Pulling books and papers out of the box and setting them in a neat pile next to me, I shuffled through it more, looking for… something. It was like a force came over me, and I couldn't stop until I found it. I was on the verge of giving up and moving to the other box when my fingers grazed over a metal object. Grabbing and pulling the object out to get a look at it, I found that it was a small bronze key. It felt heavy in my hand as I twirled it around. It was cold to the touch, like ice. Placing the glasses on top of my head to get a better look at the key without the distorted color of the glasses. The key was gone, but the weirder thing was that I could still feel the coldness of the key between my fingers. A little freaked, I quickly placed the glasses back, and the key came into view. The glasses really do let you see the invisible; a smile crept onto my face as excitement coursed through my body. What else is up here?

My heart raced at the thought of discovering any more hidden objects. I tightly gripped the key in my hand, not wanting to lose it while I explored more of the attic. I realized I didn't need the light from my phone anymore, not while I wore glasses. I turned the light off on my phone, placing it back in my back pocket.

I went over to the other side of the attic after putting the contents back in the box and gently closing it. The other side was darker, hidden behind a separation wall. The attic might have been used as a room at one point. I suddenly stopped and stared at the wall, perplexed at what I saw: a door that shouldn't be there. I move my glasses up and down in front of my eyes and watch in wonder as the door appears and disappears. Stepping closer, I wrapped a hand around the ice-cold handle and tried to turn it, but it didn't budge. Disappointed, I was about to leave when a cool breeze hit the back of my neck. Startled, I turned to see nothing there.

Looking down, I noticed the key still tightly gripped in my hand, and a thought passed my mind: an invisible key for an invisible door. A sly smile graced my lips, my heart pounding, my palms starting to sweat, and my excitement getting the best of me. My hand shook as I inserted the key, and a bubble of laughter passed my lips, happy that it fit. Gently turning the key, an audible click could be heard in the deathly still attic. Pulling the key out and placing it in my hoodie's pocket. I tried the handle again, and it turned freely this time. I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and opened the door. I stood there, eyes still closed, as I felt the sensation of a cool breeze engulf me, inhaling the fresh salty air. Finally, I opened my eyes; I couldn't wait to see what I discovered. A small gasp passed my lips as my eyes grew wide as I took in the scene before me: a night sky filled with thousands of twinkling stars so close I could touch them. Thick fog covered the ground, making it impossible to see; the billowy cold fog crept in through the open door, snaking around my ankles, making me giggle from the tickling cold sensation.

I was about to take that step into the unknown when I heard a door slamming and heated, angry voices. My smile dropped as I quickly closed the door, locked it, placed the glasses and key in my pocket, and went downstairs. For once, it didn't bother me that my family had forgotten my birthday or that my parents were still clearly mad at my older sister. This had become my favorite birthday ever and the best gift I had ever received.

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