My dearest friend Delia has contributed to a horror anthology called Descent Into Darkness. Although I swore that I would not read another horror this year — thanks to Stephen King whose IT numbed my brain — Delia’s The Door was determined to break my oath. I am glad it did.
“You know, there is nothing as tempting as a locked door. Or as maddening. A tempting, maddening mystery you’re not allowed to solve. Oh, but we were stupid…”
That’s quite an opening. Delia gets into business without allowing me the time to warm up. That’s how a horror should start and more so if it’s a short story. Every word counts.
The Door reminds me of Haruki Murakami’s stories which I loved. Perhaps because I see his motifs in Delia’s story too. A door. A missing woman. An elusive writer who hasn’t been in the sun for years. (Writers are fickle creatures…) A rookie journalist interviews this male writer whose second book is going to be published. And where does the interview take place? Of course in the house where the door is locked.
For the nameless narrator is a reporter, she slips into the writer’s head effortlessly. She is able to empathise and on the other hand, an inner voice asks her to pay attention to things which don’t fall in place (…the devil is in the details.) I love the narrator’s self-deprecating tone and the confidence of her inner voice too.
Delia’s writing is beautifully unpretentious. I can’t remember anybody breathing fear into me by describing one’s uncanny smile.
He seems relieved and the ghost of a smile flickers around his eyes then disappears. These little smiles make me uncomfortable but I try not to show it.
As the story reaches its crescendo, the sentences wash over me, one after the other, making me realise that it’s been a long while since I was in a great hurry to finish reading a story because I was honestly impatient to know how it was all going to end.
There is tension. There are details. The air is unmistakably eerie. The characters are unreliable. And they all come together organically to prove that Delia knows how to convert a non-horror-lover into a passionate horror-devourer. 🙂
The book has 19 more stories. I am thinking of reading one story a week. And if you love horror or even if you are a convert like me, Delia’s story and the book are waiting for you.