Two Doors

Two Doors

Matthew Richardson


The shapes don’t make sense at first. Maybe the yellow streetlights are reflecting perversely off the garage door. Maybe it’s a shadow cast upon the white aluminium. As I walk into the driveway though, I realise that my eyes aren’t playing tricks. There is a huge bulge in the bottom half of the left door; a metallic pustule ready to burst through.

The windows in the house are dark and expressionless.

Key fob pressed, and the mechanism works. Groaning and squealing, the door raises, unpeeling with a shudder from the back end of my Audi. The vehicle is skewed across the darkened room. My eyes strain past shattered tail lights and an open car door to the garage beyond. Serrated saw blades and medieval chisels glint in the dim light, hanging from hooks and providing reference points in the shadow.

Black against grey, a man is seated in the driver’s seat of my car. He isn’t moving. Backing off, I fumble for the mobile phone in my pocket. A half-breath catches in my throat at what I see on the floor. Body parts litter the concrete. Frozen steaks, chicken wings, pork chops and even the remnants of the Christmas turkey, all scattered where the rear of the vehicle has struck the chest freezer.

The strange driver still hasn’t moved, and I shift round to look at him. Cheek bones jut out from his face, jumbled scrabble-tile teeth fill his mouth, and a dirty tracksuit hangs off him. His face rests on the steering wheel, blue powder smeared around his mouth. Cobalt bubbles pop in his spittle as he breathes gently.

He’s out for the count. I should do something; call the police, a neighbour, a family member. For some reason though, I can’t move. I can’t decide what to do first. The only thing stirring in the garage is the air freshener attached to the rear-view mirror. It swings gently, urgently.

My attention is drawn to a flashing red light on the dashboard-door open. It strikes me that it is not the driver’s car door that is open; it is the passenger’s.

The yellow streetlights seem more dirty-orange from the garage. The light doesn’t reach far.

6 thoughts on “Two Doors

  1. This sounds like a great opening scene. Now we need to know who this guy is and why he’s passed out in the car! I gather he was in the process of stealing it — with a partner?
    A couple of small points seem to need smoothing: If I have it right, the narrator is standing in the driveway facing the back end of the Audi. (In rising, garage door scrapes back end of car.) The man’s head is resting on the steering wheel. How can the narrator see air bubbles, the man’s teeth or even his cheek bones? And how does he know the man’s clothes are “hanging off” him if the man isn’t standing. Descriptive writing, but much more than what the narrator would see, IMO.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Christine,

      Thanks for your comments! Unfortunately it isn’t an opening chapter, just a quick bit of flash fiction! I’m pretty comfortable with clothes hanging off someone slumped over a steering wheel. I think a jacket can hang from a sharp pair of shoulders just as trousers can from a pencil-straight pair of hips. You make an excellent point re POV. This would be easily fixed by moving the narrator around to the side of the vehicle, allowing them a view of the aforementioned drug addict features!

      Thanks for your feedback!



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