Tim Waggoner was on a panel discussion I attended at the Ohioana Book Festival on Saturday. He’s a horror and fantasy writer who has published over twenty novels and one hundred short stories, but I had never read anything by him, so I found one of his short stories today to feature. It is available to read on his website here.
“When God Opens a Door” features a man named Darrell who feels like his seemingly perfect life is missing something, some spark. He becomes fascinated by a door at the local strip mall. It’s a plain metal door, but there’s no indication what’s behind the door and it’s always locked. Darrell hears screams and moans coming through it, but they’re a mixture of pain and pleasure that haunt him, maybe a better phrase is he becomes obsessed with them. Finally late one night he meets a woman he knows casually coming from behind the door, the chest of her shirt stained with blood. She encourages him.
There’s nothing to compare to the Place. It’s beyond anything you’ve ever experienced before. It’s . . . it’s everything.
He is eventually allowed admittance, but is the experience, as unique and amazing as it is, worth the price of returning?
Horror is not a genre I read often, but this wasn’t overly gory or creepy, just kind of disturbing. I thought Darrell was an interesting character, not likable, but understandable. He’s not content with his life, and the mystery of what is hidden behind the door grabs his imagination. He’s compelled to find a way in, and what he finds is weird, bloody and better than he could have fantasized. The story’s like a car wreck, repulsive but you can’t look away.
3 out of 5 stars
John hosts Short Story Monday at The Book Mine Set. Head over there to see what he and others have been reading.
I read “When God Opens a Door” online and the above is my honest opinion..