House With One Door and One Window

   The man in house number five carried an ordinary life, he lived in a highly structured society where everyone followed rules without fail. His town was made up of 35 houses all of which looked the same, except for one. The one odd house was different for having only one door and one window, it simply shot upwards as a solid form. The house with one door and one window lacked the distinct cutouts that the other houses had. No one lived in this odd house and no one questioned its existence, in fact a similar house was found in each of the towns surrounding theirs and just like this house, with one door and one window, no one lived in them as well. 

    The man from house number five started his day as he always did. He left his house and headed towards the main road leading out of his town, he was heading off to work like everyone else. The normally exchanged pleasantries were missing today, people seemed on edge and were whispering amongst each other. No one returned his greetings, no one stopped as he walked towards the city. Everyone was preoccupied with something that the man from house number five was unaware of. Everything around him seemed normal, nothing was out of order, it was only the people that were behaving differently. Not bothered by common gossip he went along with his day as normal, clocked in at his job at exactly eight am, sat at his desk and conducted his job as he did everyday. His work was systematic and did not require much thought, his mind was left to wonder as his hands sprang into a life of their own, carrying his daily routine. What were the townsfolk gossiping about? It was surely strange, he had never seen so many curious people in one day. Nothing had ever shook their lives, nothing dared to detour them from the set path of normalcy. What was it that was causing such a ruckus?

    At five pm the man from house number five clocked out and headed back to his house. As he made his way back, he could see the endless housing compounds stretching before him. Each town was made up of three stepped levels on which the tall and thin houses were built. As he reached the turn to his town he noticed a group of people huddled around two men and two women. The men and women had their arms outstretched in front of them and were talking about the red marks on their skin. The men had two red lines on their wrists, one woman had the same two marks but on her knuckles, while the last and most jubilated out of the group had two large smears running from her knuckles to her wrist. 

“I managed to force my hand into the device and it let me in,” the woman with the smears was addressing her audience that was growing by the minute, “I heard about it from my neighbour and I had to go and see for myself.”

“What was inside the house?” A curious child asked

“This you have to find out by yourself.” 

“I couldn’t get in, the opening at the door was too small, my hand didn't fit.” The other woman spoke, she seemed ashamed. She covered her marked hand and walked away from the crowd. 

“The device appeared on the house with one door and one window in town 33… no one knows who placed it but it is there, go see for yourselves.” One of the men with the marked wrists answered the question on everyone’s mind. “We both got in with ease, the opening was bigger than our hands. It closed in on our wrist as we turned the knob and stepped in”

    The crowd surrounding the two men and remaining woman was instantly overtaken with curiosity and they all made way to town 33. The man from house number five decided to ignore this frivolous gossip and headed back to his house. On his way back home almost everyone he passed was talking about the door and the marks. The entire town was abuzz with curiosity and excitement, this was the first time in their lives that such an unforeseen event occurred peaking everyone’s interest. People were leaving the town in throngs all joining the ever expanding line leading to the house with one door and one window in town 33. 

    The man from house number five woke up the following morning to a completely deserted town, everyone had joined the line to town 33. No one is going to work, everyone wanted to try their luck to open the door. Feeling defeated he decided to join the craze. It took him longer than expected to join the line since every time he thought he saw the end of it the line would grow even longer, stretching beyond his vision as even more people lined up. Dusk filtered through the sky as the man was met with the welcome sight of the end of the line. Nervousness of being the last person in it dissolved away as soon dozens of people joined behind him.

“I heard that less people managed to open the door today than yesterday… I don’t know how but the door seems to admit less and less people as time passes.” a man in front of him was engaged in a conversation with a woman beside him.

“Yes I even heard that one of the men that already got in tried to enter the following day but couldn’t. The opening changed size… I hope I can get in, I don’t want a mark reminding me that I wasn’t allowed in… how shameful.” She answered. 

    The line was moving at a slow but steady pace. The night had passed and the following day emerged, the man from house number five was still miles away from town 33. Something strange happened the day after, the line started moving faster than usual, it seems even less people are being admitted into the house with one door and one window in town 33. It took them almost seven hours until they reached town 33, and as everyone had anticipated the door was admitting little to no one. 

    The man from house number five was now standing face to face with the infamous door. It looked like every other door, nothing was out of the ordinary except for the device attached above the doorknob. A transparent object was covering the doorknob. Different layers of red lines, of what seemed to be the tubes carrying the red ink that was marking the wrists of whomever decides to open the door, concealed the doorknob. The object had one fixed opening, big enough to fit a thin human arm. Hesitant he reached his right arm towards the opening, it seemed big enough to fit his hand. Slowly reaching in, his fingers were first to go in, his knuckles followed, barely missing the wet edges of the opening. His hand fully reached inwards and he could feel the cold metal of the doorknob. He turned the knob and a loud mechanic sound was followed by the edges of the opening closing in on his arm. They left two distinct red marks on his wrist and the door unlocked with a satisfying click. The man from house number five entered the house and closed the door behind him, concealing the sounds of the people outside. He was the first person to be able to enter the house that day. 

    The inside of the house was empty, the walls were bare and they soared endlessly above his head. The single window let in enough light from the outside for him to be able to study his surroundings. Nothing was waiting for him inside the house with one door and one window in town 33, no treasure, no secret club or even a stairway. The interior was empty, just like the house with one door and one window in his own town nothing is out of the ordinary. People’s curiosity had taken over. Their curiosity had created a space worth waiting in line for days. A hyped up space that only existed in their collective imagination.