He had never noticed the door before. It wasn’t surprising, really. The door was well hidden.
And he didn’t really notice it as accidentally discovered it.
It was during a time of stumbling, of incoherent thought and speech, of confusion, of being lost. As he wandered through the halls, his dark thoughts consuming him, he paid no attention to where he was physically. All he was doing is trying to get away from the thoughts in his head. But no matter where he went, there THEY were.
In his disoriented meandering, he found himself in the room that brought him the most peace. It used to be someone else’s room, a child’s maybe. It had toys and books and stuffed animals in various places. There weren’t a number of toys - just a few. The room was filled with light, with hope, with happiness, if hope and happiness could be external and palpable.
He looked around at the objects. He saw a boy playing with the various item, lost in a pretend world. He saw the boy hugging the bear to his chest as as fell asleep. He saw him perusing the books very carefully, stopping on pages where the pictures would jump out and grab your attention. He pulled one such book from the shelf, the one with a man holding a sheep in his arms, and he knew what that book contained. It was the book of fairy tales, although he believed them then. That was “before”. The man startled at his thoughts and he looked around the room again.
The room was familiar too. There was something about it that was comforting. He sat down in a wooden rocking chair, and began rocking back and forth, back and forth. The steady motion made him close his eyes, perhaps to doze.
Faintly, he heard the sound of knocking. He startled, wondering if he were dreaming.
No. There it was again! He found his body getting up from the chair and walking to the outside wall where the knocking originated.
He ran his hands over the wall, considering the possibility of mice in the walls or a woodpecker looking for his breakfast. His motions nudged the curtain aside next to the wall and he was surprised to find a doorknob! There was a door there...skillfully hidden in the pattern of the wallpaper.
There was the knock again. It was more insistent this time, almost anticipating the opening of the door.
The man placed his hand on the door, and slowly, tentatively peaked out.
He stepped back from the door as he opened it further.
It was the man from the cover of his book; the one that was holding a sheep!! Only, this time, He wasn’t holding a sheep. He was holding him.