Jason Stephenson, Contributor
His house was much further out than the others, away from all the street signs and lamp posts, all the lights and people. He stood alone in the darkness, among the outskirts of the district, standing in the middle of the dry desert.
Jillian stood before his crossed arms, like massive front gates. The locks were coated in rust and scum - hardly ever touched or opened. But suddenly, a creak escaped from its hinges. Jillian took a few steps back as the gates slowly swung open. She clutched her purse, took a deep breath and made her way inside, and up the driveway.
LET ME IN
His front door was twice as huge as the gate - twice as guarded. Jillian quickly knocked three times on the door without hesitation.
There was no reply.
"Let me in!" Jillian said.
She knocked again.
"Let me in dammit!! I'm not going anywhere until you open this door!!"
She banged once more, fuming in the face.
"OPEN UP NOW!! I'LL STAY OUT HERE ALL NIGHT IF I HAVE TO!!"
Jillian threw her purse to the ground, took off her peach sweater and took a seat by the front door stoop.
"YOU THINK I WON'T DO IT?? WATCH ME!!" she screamed.
Jillian hummed to herself, minding her own business, checking her fingernails to make sure they weren't looking too shabby - waiting. His lawns were horrendous, mostly because there weren't any lawns to begin with. The land was completely barren - nothing grew there, no plants, no trees - nothing. It was just dirt and more dirt, everywhere. Jillian just couldn't understand, he was such a handsome man. Why was he so dreary and bitter? Had something gone wrong? Had he faced a storm in his past?
Jillian had just about enough; she pulled up her sleeves and grabbed a nearby hose. She didn't see the lantern burning in the upstairs room; she didn't see the pair of eyes watching her from indoors. She spewed the water over his dry soil, at last quenching its undying thirst. Her shoes were covered in mud and gunk and her hair was a total mess, but she did what she felt she had to - she wanted to. She knew she had to get her hands dirty for him.
The door squeak open, not too much, just enough to squeeze her body inside. Jillian dropped the hose to the ground, a smile on her face and slipped inside.
He was nothing like Jillian had ever seen before; there wasn't any furniture or carpeting or even a powder room to fix herself up - no, there wasn't any turning back for her, and she wasn't turning back, - not now, - not ever, she was there to stay. The door quickly slammed itself shut behind her. Bolts and padlocks, hundreds maybe thousands, all sealed themselves back tight, returning to their original positions as if led by restless spirits.
THE Treacherous Hallways
His hallways twirled in all directions, passages leading to dead-ends, some that led nowhere, a few ascending up steps, others that led down them, even some that just went on forever, never coming to an end. Jillian was going mad, she couldn't understand him, he was so difficult and stubborn. What is he worth it? Could she handle such a task? She didn't know anymore, she wasn't sure - NO!!! She couldn't stop! She had to get through to him, if it was the last thing she did.
Jillian searched harder running faster through the corridors, opening door after door, hunting each one from top to bottom. Where was he hiding? Why was he hiding?
Suddenly, his maze vanished, the passages the doors, the constant spirally of stairs - everything. Was he testing her perhaps? All that remained was a giant brick wall plastered with portraits, all of women. Beautiful women, stunning women, average women, ugly women most with red X's slashed cross their faces, others with question signs and some empty with pictures fully faded.
A broad banner rested above them labelled - My Past. Jillian looked to her right another banner was present labelled - My Future, below it - nobody. She looked directly before her and saw a door, and behind it, was the most blinding light - this door was the answer, Jillian knew it and she had to get through it.
Jillian slowly turned the doorknob, but he was locked, she wrestled with him, but it was no good. The banner above it was labelled - My Present.
"Let me in Matthew!!" she shrieked. "I know you're in there somewhere - you don't have to be alone anymore! Why won't you just open up to me?!"
She bashed against him repeatedly, until all her knuckles were sore and bloody. She slid to the ground, defeated. She had no more energy left. His walls were too strong. Jillian sobbed.
"... please ... let me in ..." she whimpered. "Help me, to help you ... I'm here because I want to be ... I love you ..."
Jillian slowly picked herself up and began walking away. What was the point anymore? She had reached a place in Matthew that she couldn't open - not by herself. He had to do it, he had to be the one to let her in.
With a sudden click, the door sprang open. Jillian without hesitation darted inside before he even could think of closing himself up again, fearlessly flooding herself in his shining light.
"I finally found you ..." she whispered, as the door quickly closed behind her.
Somewhere in the house, a particular wall that was once always empty, suddenly gave life to a painting, of the most beautiful woman of them all, below it, the name - Jillian.