The Hall

English 9B Short Story

Short+story+authors+Austin+Horter+and+Connor+Trompen

Short story authors Austin Horter and Connor Trompen

I stepped into the hall, and as I did, a wave of darkness washed over me. I took a few steps out into the abyss and the door shut behind me, creaking as it did. I turned instantly to try and open it again, but it was stuck, same as me. It took a moment, but my eyes eventually adjusted to the vast expanse of nothing in front of me. The hall seemed endless. From where I was standing, I could not see the end. Or any sign of an end for that matter. Just then, a small glittering object caught my eye a little ways down the hall. There was something. I looked down the hall a little further and though I couldn’t see the end, I could see small reflections spaced out evenly along the wall. They were doorknobs! There must have been a hundred doors lining the sides of the hall, each one with a small brass door knob.  The hall had no light so it must have been coming from inside the rooms. 

I stood there for a moment, unsure of what my next move should be. If I moved from this spot, I had no way of knowing what would happen. But, if I stayed, I’d never find my way out. I paused to think and eventually mustered up the courage to take a single step forward. As I placed my foot down, the floorboards beneath me creaked, sending shivers through my body. I cringed and froze for a second.  I took another, and another, and another after that, each step making the floor shriek, each shriek echoing down the never ending hallway. After about ten steps, I reached the first door. I hesitantly reached forward and grasped the knob tightly. I twisted my hand around the handle to turn it, but the handle would not move. I tried again, no luck. Just the sound of my hand squeaking as it ran along the shiny surface of the knob.

 Now worried, I felt frantically around for anything to open the door. In my struggle, I fell face first into the door, barely catching myself on the knob… The knob… The knob felt differently than when I had grabbed it previously. It was rougher than I had noticed before. I regained my balance and felt around the base of the knob where the keyhole was. I felt the roughness again. It was a rope. I grabbed the rope off from the door and to my relief, a key was hanging on the bottom. I took the key in my other hand and placed it in the keyhole. The knob quit shining as the key blocked all light from escaping. I twisted the key slowly in the lock, it clicked rhythmically six times before a large, final click. The door slowly swung open, releasing a blanket of light that spread through the hall, covering all within its reach. I peered down the now brighter hall. The floors were old and made of wood, the walls were solid concrete except for where the doors were. Sadly, I still couldn’t see the end.

I turned my attention back to the open room. It was completely empty except for a single wooden rocking chair that sat in the middle of the room. I walked into the room anxiously. The entire room was a dull, beige color. There were no windows, outlets, or furniture besides the single chair. Most peculiarly, there was no light source yet, the room was very well lit. I didn’t dwell on that for long though, my focus was on the chair. It was dark colored wood and very well made. I looked the chair over, hoping to find any sort of clue in regards to the means of my escape. I looked everywhere on it with no luck. I turned away from it and left the room, slamming the door shut as I stepped out. The crashing of the door echoed down the hall with no apparent ending. The hall went dark again. 

I walked slowly over to the second room, same as the last. A key hung from that knob too. I took it, placed it in the keyhole and twisted. Click, click, click, click, click, click…. The second door swung open, same as the first. No windows, no light, just a single wooden rocking chair sitting in the center of the room. This room, however, was not beige, but a light blue color. I walked in and noticed a small piece of paper lying on the floor. I rushed over and picked it up. The top side was blank, but when I turned it over I noticed one word in the top left corner written in red: ESCAPE. But how, I wondered? I threw the paper back to the floor in disappointment. I immediately stood up and fled the room, slamming the door shut as I stepped back into the hall. I shuffled my way over to the next door, grabbed the key and opened it. The third room was the same as the first, except the rocking chair was just a little closer to the door this time. There was no exit, so I continued searching the rooms. The next four were the same as the first and third rooms, but the rocking chairs continued to get closer to the door. It was sort of eerie, like they were closing in on me. It was almost unsettling… That wasn’t my biggest concern though. I needed to find a way out of the hall. I shut the seventh door and made my way to the eighth. It was the same blank room, same creeping chair. The ninth and tenth rooms were the same, the chairs were nearly at the door now.

I went from the tenth door back into the hallway. I turned my attention to the glistening knob across the hall. Room eleven. There was something off about this one in particular though… The ten previous knobs had all glown a sort of yellow, this one however was glowing red. I shuffled across the hall and felt around for the key I knew was hanging there. It was there, hanging from the knob right where I expected it to be. I pulled it off and unlocked the eleventh door. As soon as I did, something very unusual happened. This door didn’t swing open as the others had. No blanket of light, no creaking, just the echo of the clicking lock down the hall. I pushed on the door, expecting it to give way, but it didn’t. No luck, it was like a solid wall. I backed up to the other edge of the hall and barreled all of my weight into the door. It opened ever so slightly, creating a loud sound of wood scraping against wood. I fell back to the floor dazed, and that’s when it hit me… The chair. The chair was preventing the door from opening! I shot to my feet and put my eye up to the opening. It was mostly a normal room except it had fully black walls, and as I had predicted, the chair was preventing the door from opening. The room was illuminated by a single red light above a second door on the opposite side of the room. An exit sign. 

“NO!” I screamed in rage, pounding my fists into the door. I knew it wouldn’t budge, but I needed to get in. Anger clouded my thoughts as I relentlessly attacked the door with my fists. After only a minute, I fell back to the floor, knuckles bloodied. I lay there crying, defeated. My one way out was obstructed by a single stupid rocking chair.

My mind still blurred, I rose from the floor and ran. I ran down the hall, past hundreds of doors, completely disregarding them. I didn’t care anymore, I needed to escape. I ran for what seemed like an eternity until I tripped and fell to the ground. The old boards gave way beneath me and gravity completely reversed. I fell up onto the floor below me, surrounded by darkness and  flying debris. The hall spun around me, now completely upside down. I landed hard on my side with a thud, and blacked out shortly after.

When I came to, something felt even more off than usual… I looked around in the darkness trying to figure out what it might be. Then it hit me. The doors. Where were the doors? I stood up in a panic, and again something felt off. I took a few steps forward and noticed the floor was no longer creaking like it had before. Frightened, I felt around for the hole that I had fallen through, but couldn’t find it. It must be on the ceiling I thought, but I couldn’t find it anywhere. I took a few steps back and the floor beneath me cracked and broke. I jumped forward, barely escaping another horrible fall. That must be the hole I fell through. But, if that’s the hole, then how is it on the ground and not on the ceiling where I came from? Shocked, I realized that the ceiling and floor of the hall had traded places, gravity truly did reverse. But this wasn’t my hall, not the one with the doors. This one was just a dark, empty abyss. I fell to my knees, my idiotic meltdown had led me to a complete dead end. I slumped down in defeat, laying on the floor yet again. 

As I put my head down, I glanced towards the end of the hall and noticed something. A red reflection, and more than just that. From my angle on the floor, I could see the light coming from under the door! I shot to my feet and immediately started a full sprint to the end of the hall. I reached the end surprisingly fast and began feeling around for the key to the final door. Oddly, I found it on the floor instead of the knob where it should have been. I picked it up and placed it in the keyhole. I twisted the key and the lock made three large clicks before swinging open. I threw the key back to the floor, gazed into the room, and…

It was dark. No light, no exit sign, no second door, no rocking chair, nothing. I had nothing left to lose now. I took a few steps into the room until I hit the back wall. I banged my head into it in frustration, over, and over, and over. Until…

I woke up, my alarm beeping constantly as I fumbled around to shut it off. I knocked it off my desk onto the floor. I flopped out of bed with a groan, still wrapped up in my blanket. I hit the floor with a loud thud and felt around until I found my clock. Once I did, I slammed my fist down on top of it. The beeping instantly stopped and I climbed up off the floor back onto my bed. I threw off my blanket, pulled on my jeans and made my way across the room. I kept my car keys on my door, hanging around the shiny brass door knob. I grabbed them off and opened the door. I stepped out into the hall, and as I did a wave of darkness washed over me.