Ever since Jordan was a small child, he’d been terrified of doors. He would never walk through one unless either mom or dad would hold his hand. As he got older, Jordan no longer had panic attacks at the thresholds of doors or the sills of windows, but he still felt a strange foreboding whenever he walked through one.
When Jordan turned eighteen, he moved off to college, and his fear of doors was all but forgotten. But then the shadows came: crawling things that jumped through doors and under his bed and seemed to giggle and coo at him while he tried to sleep. He had a roommate, so Jordan tried his best to keep quiet about it.
The health center gave Jordan some pills to take for insomnia. He took twice the recommended dose. And he told no one.
The old woman came to him one day. Jordan was alone in his room and rapped at his closet door. With more than a little trepidation, Jordan stood up from his desk and walked over to his closet door, trying to peek through the slits in the grill. He opened the door with a jerk and prepared to–he wasn’t sure what.
On the other side was a woman with brownish green skin, a huge nose that curled over her thin lips, and large blue eyes. She wore a red cowl that covered her head and shoulders and fell over her back like a cape. Her shoes shone as if they were made of gold. “Catklick, it’s you!” she said in a voice that sounded like a rusted English horn belting out some tune.
“Jordan,” he corrected, confused and nervous, but suddenly unafraid. There was something familiar about her.
The woman shook her head. “Catklick. Jordan is not what you are named. Come–you come home now.” She held out her wrinkled green hand, her nails black as night and sharp like talons.
Jordan shook his head and took a step back. “No,” he replied. “I’m not going anywhere with you.”
“Catklick, you must come home. You are eighteen years old now, and it’s time for you to take your place among the trolls. This human life no longer suits you.”
Jordan had this dream, that he’d been only a baby and had been placed in a crib, left behind by ugly little green men as they hobbled and hopped over doors and windows with a crying baby boy in their hands.
Jordan took her hand with some hesitation, and the woman pulled him through the threshold.