The Thing In The Hall Way

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I couldn’t have been more than four or five years old at the time. I remember it being a hot, sweltering day, though. It was early, and I was ready to face another adventure outside the secure confines of our apartment, as any young child on a summer day would. Eager, excited and with Mom’s permission, I headed for the door that would lead me to a day of freedom and fun. As I sprung it open, I had no idea of the hideous sight that I was about to behold. It sat there on the recently cleaned, tiled, hallway floor as if it had the divine right to do so.

It was large, without xaggeration, large. Large enough to stop me dead in my tracks. It resembled a house fly, but one whose size I never knew existed. Its huge, ugly head twitched around, as if noticing my frightened presence. Its gigantic, majestic wings seemed at the ready for lightning fast propulsion. An aberration of the insect world. A freak of nature, perhaps. It knew no fear and it conveyed that to me. Without thinking, I was back in our apartment behind the security of the heavy wooden door. I trembled with fear and positioned myself so as to secure the door from opening.

Wait a minute, I thought. Its only an insect. It can’t possibly break down the door! What a fool I am. How dare that thing in the hallway stop me from going outside to enjoy the day? I collected my thoughts and I breathed in deeply and I managed to calm myself. I know I am brave. I will walk out there and challenge this thing! Wait a minute. What am I saying here? Its big and its unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. I know, I’ll peek out there again. That’s what I’ll do. Maybe its gone. Yeah, that’s right. It can’t stay there forever.

I could only muster up enough courage to open the door a crack. There it was, bigger than life again. Hell, I’m not going to chance it. I slammed the door closed. I’ve got to plot my next move. Mom’s going to be wondering why I’m not going out, and I don’t want her to know that I’m deathly afraid of an encounter with this thing. I waited, and I wondered. When will it go away? What will I say to Mom? What if friends come calling? They’d surely encounter this beast! The minutes ticked by as I stared at the peeling paint on the door, wondering if the horror was still behind it.

I could hear the other children playing outside through the window. I had to make a move. Surprising even myself, I ripped the door open. My eyes had automatically focused on the spot where the beast laid in wait. I prepared to run, but to my surprise, the monster was gone! I looked around, but no sign of him. I even ventured out into the hall a few feet, but nothing. I breathed a sigh of relief, and I burst forward toward the outside door and never looked back. I was elated as I reached the front stoop, and the other children watched in astonishment as I reached my destination unscathed.

I can remember the peculiar looks they gave me when I let out a ell of triumph and dropped to my knees and took a deep breath. I had conquered him, I thought. I had conquered my own fear. He was gone, and I had won. I couldn’t help but look back into the hallway. Each time that I’d open the door after that, I’d remember the beast. He had held me hostage, a victim of my own fear. He had made me look around the hallway every time I exited the apartment from that day on, expecting to see him again. He had entered my mind and he was part of my deepest, darkest fears. He had changed my life. He had really won.

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