#FFC52 – 2014 Flash Fiction Challenge Week 22 – “When is a Door not a Door?”


This week’s Flash Fiction challenge, from the lovely mind of…

…ok, well, I can’t do that. I came up with this week’s prompt. I’ll allow you to decide if it’s lovely or not. ;)

Thanks again to the marvelous Thain in Vain, for sponsoring such a fun weekly challenge! One day, perhaps, I’ll settle on a format for the title… ;)

Without further adieu…

“When is a door not a door?”

Bill, my doorman, stood there smiling. I was used to this; he was cheesy,  but lovable.  Today, though, I was not in the mood. I’d walked in the door to find my apartment empty, save for a note from Cheryl. A real Dear John note, she’d left and taken everything.  My world collapsed. She ran off with some guy she’d been banging, apparently for years.

I won’t lie. I wasn’t in the mood for anything. Not even life.

I gave Bill a weak smile, fighting back my tears.

“When is a door not a door?” he repeated. I relented.

“When it’s ajar,” I sighed. He smiled, mischief in his eyes.

“That’s one answer,” he chuckled, holding the door open for me. Staring at my feet, I walked through it.


The first thing I noticed was the smell.

It wasn’t a bad smell, just a different one. Not the city. Not the stink of a million people crammed into a tiny little living space. Not the scent of asphalt and exhaust. This was fresh. Earthy. Pure.

I was in a forest.

I turned around. My building was gone. Bill, gone. I felt my heart sink, then begin to pound again, furiously.  I looked everywhere for Bill, for a door, for something that would explain this fucking madness.

In the jungle, I heard a roar. A strange, unearthly roar.

The fuck?

The roar came again. I trembled.


It’s been nearly a year now. I’ve found a way to live here. The vegetation here is edible, delicious even. I have shelter, food, water. The climate here is amazing – temperate, warm, all the time as best I can tell. There are dangers, yes, but I’ve conquered them all. I’m fit again, no room for fat when surviving.

And I am surviving. Thriving, even. Every day I awaken and I find myself renewed by the energy of this world, the strange beauty of the plants and creatures within. I find myself healthy, happy, alive. To think, how close I came to losing this.

I do get lonely, though.


I found her, crying, trembling in fear. At first I thought she was a dream, a figment of my lonely heart and mind, but when she saw me, she rushed for me, sobbing with relief. She fell into my arms, and I held her, comforting her. Wondering.

Eventually, she calms. She speaks. It’s strange to me at first…God, had I forgotten how to speak? I know one thing, I’d forgotten how strange it felt to be naked in front of another person.  I’d forgotten the need for clothes.

Her name is Eve. How crazy is that?

God, she’s beautiful.


We’re happy here. This place is perfect. Eden.

I was not surprised to hear her story. Pain, abandonment, lost hope. Her mind flirting with thoughts of the comfort of death.

And then, a doorman. Smiling. Cheesy, but a lovable sort. Asking a silly riddle.

When is a door not a door?



  1. This little tale appeals to me. Imagine moving from a world of hurt and heartbreak into paradise–Eden if you will. Many of us have wished for a dramatic change in our lives when times are difficult. Perhaps all of us could do with such a system restore in our modern, hectic world. Great work, Mark! And thanks for the interesting prompt! TiV

    1. Thanks TiV! :D I’ll admit, this one came from a lot of personal daydreaming. When my first marriage ended, I was in the lowest place I’d ever been. Thoughts of new worlds that would never be seen if I didn’t write them helped lift me from that darker place.

  2. I like this very much, Mark!

    A wonderful take in prompt, I love the idea of the doorman showing those who’ve perhaps not had the rub of the green in life that there is something better out there for them and giving them the chance to start again, free of all the material things that once held them back.

    1. Thank you Heather! The idea of escaping to something simpler, someplace primal and pure, after the devastation of a failed relationship is a core fantasy, I feel, to anyone who has been through it. So I thought it’d make a good story!

  3. Is it silly to be envious of a fictional character? If only we could start over from scratch, the way things were meant to be. Nothing but fresh air and water. No pollution. No technology. Just a simpler way of life that we’ve ALL forgotten ever even existed. Sounds like heaven to me.

    1. If it is, then I am the silliest person alive. ;) It’s one of the things I love the most about good fiction; when you love a character so much, you wish you could jump into their skin. Thank you so much for reading and commenting! :D

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