Challenge #02281-F091: The ThresholdsteemCreated with Sketch.

in fiction •  6 months ago 

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You'll need the wayback machine. A man stands in front of a door. It can lead anywhere. Dare you step through? -- Anon Guest

Presented for your approval, the image of a man in a grey suit. The man is also in tones of grey. To see him, and the door he offers you, is to see into different realities where anything from creeping horror to sublime delight awaits on the other side. It is, without a doubt, the trip of a lifetime. If you survive, it will be a life-altering experience.'

If you don't survive... well... people disappear all the time, don't they? The missing, the absent, the lost... those who are there one minute and gone the next. The shadows in the corner of your vision. The sensation of being followed, only to find no-one there. Those are the ones who failed to learn the lessons in the twilight lands, and are doomed to educate the others.

There's no name for the realm into which the grey door leads. Not one that can be spoken without sheer tonnage of cultural load crushing the reader with its impact. Call it what you please. The twilight realms, the kharma zone, the faewraith... what matters is that those who enter it are luckier than you may believe. Those who survive to come back are forever changed. Whether or not it is for the better is not for us to judge. The judges, after all, have already done their work.

They don't choose just anyone. They can't. It takes someone special to attract their attention. A heinous example. A walking strawman. Someone who deserved it. Someone who earned it. Someone who needs it. Someone... someone like Mel. You might know someone like Mel. They have an opinion about everything and, though it sounds logical, though it sounds reasoned and well-thought out, but is actually a parroting of the most ill-thought-out arguments to ever exist. The sort of calm, rational reasoning that justifies the murder of millions. You definitely know someone like Mel.

They are not always offered the door. Sometimes... they are Taken. Whisked away into the realms of Karma, where the world as they know it is turned upside-down. Where they see things through the eyes of their former enemy. Where the words they say as if they were true suddenly become truth. Where they actually are downtrodden and victimised. Where their lies come back on them as truth. Where they are educated or punished, depending on the whims of those in control.

Sometimes, they are even shown what their ideal world would be like. Just to show them exactly what kind of hell it would be.

You knew Mel. You knew what a pain in the butt it used to be to convince him that lizard people weren't secretly running the government, that the world would not be better without "those types" in it, that women actually needed more rights and men needed some different ones, too. You knew Mel well, before something happened and he was either Taken or he met a grey man in a grey suit and walked through a grey door.

You used to know Mel.

He's changed, now. He's lost now. He's wandering forever in a purgatory of his own making. He's seen the truth. He's seen his lies.

He's seen... He's been... beyond.

[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / digitalgenetics]

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