Writing exercise: doorway into adventure!

Here in the Journey, we have a history of doing simple writing exercises and prompts in our jabber chats. Katherine L. stopped by for a while to offer her help with editing; she mentioned her daughter Sabrina’s blogs from Cuba (very nice). After she left, Ajey and I decided to try a writing prompt. I came up with: write about an individual who steps through a doorway or portal into adventure. Take just 15 minutes (no editing).

Here’s Ajey’s partial entry:

Why had there been a warning sign for this part of the island? There wasn’t anything here but dense jungle foliage. It was really intense, thought Isabella, but then she looked around and let out a gasp. Some of the large bush in front of her had collapsed after the heavy, monsoon-like rains that had just passed over the island, and just behind that bush, and now visible, was a large polished marble rock. She had seen this kind of rock before, in the lobby of her newspaper building. It was not the sort of thing you would expect to find on an island.
Parting her way through the dense underbrush, Isabella slowly made her way over to the rock. She brushed some dirt off it. But the thing that most intriqued her was that the rock felt loose. She took both hands and started rocking the rock. It would only rotate in one direction, almost as if a lever had been positioned below it and somehow attached to it.
Well, “Here goes!” Isabella thought as she pulled on the rock with all her strength and then let it drop. Machinery was engaged, and the rock, with all deliberateness slid downwards, forcing her to jump up and out of the way. Now the rock, which had been a vertical eliptical shape, was laying horizontal on the ground.
“Okay, this is interesting” Isabella thought. But moving the rock didn’t seem to do anything. Its movement did not reveal a hole in the ground, or anything like that.
Momentarily unsure of herself because of what she had just done, Isabella edged back toward the road. She made sure that the sign warning trespassers away was now in front of her again. Was this just a trick to establish the fact of the islanders’ compliance, and to trick the insufficiently-compliant into revealing themselves? Would there be secret agents pulling up in Jeeps momentarily? Isabella shuddered.
Again taking stock of her surroundings, Isabella now noticed, almost outside the field of her vision, …

Here’s mine:

Sheryl stumbled into the dark, dusty room, struggling not to breathe deeply after her dead run through the hallways of this strange mansion. The light of several dim moons filtered through layers of grime and cobwebs that obscured the tall, narrow windows in the room. Ears straining to listen for signs of immediate pursuit, she fumbled with the heavy open door and wrestled it closed. The creaking hinges complained, rising to a horrible loud screech as the door closed.
Or almost closed.
Sheryl cursed to herself to see that some mismatch between the old door and the swollen wood of its frame kept the door from closing all of the way. Well, there was no helping it.
She tried to shut away the outside world, the terrors that had chased her, the dust in the room that tickled her nose in the stale air of this room. She reached out with her mindsense. Searching… searching… Yes, there it was, quite nearby now.
The Presence was bright enough in her mind that she walked forward with confidence despite her closed eyes, stepping neatly around the dark table to stand before a shelf. And there, at the level of her heart, it was: the Presence. She opened her eyes as she reached out and lifted the large, heavy book from the shelf. It seemed to emanate a strange glow her mind wanted to see behind her eyes.
She carefully placed the book on the table, her fingers tracing the delicate carvings in the old leather binding. Opening it, every blink of her eyes revealed to her the page she wanted, the page that called to her.
With the book opened before her, a faint breeze ruffled her long, dark hair. The air from the book smelled fresh. Almost she tasted the tang of the ocean upon the breeze. Almost it made the dark dustiness of the room around her fade into the background.
The door’s hinge creaked and the light from a torch cast her shadow upon the book.
Now fear made her heart rise within her. Almost she turned to face her pursuer; but her years of training steadied her will. There was no escape, no hope of survival in confronting the pursuer. There was only a moment to act.
“Sheryl! For God’s sake, don’t!” he called behind her.
She closed her eyes and stepped forward into the pages of the Book.

What do you think? I’m thinking perhaps this might be an interesting story to submit to our upcoming horror anthology.

Feel free to comment with your story/scene-let entries.

Tim is a founding member of the Journey, co-Municipal Liaison for the Naperville region of National Novel Writing Month, and the author of several short stories.

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