Red Door After Dark

Red-painted door
Red Door After Dark


L.P. Stribling

On a lightless street in the dark end of town,
A child is lost,
And mom’s not around,
But he’s old enough to be curious,
And young enough to be dumb,
He trusts that the night will grant him
And he hums, and he whistles,
And he follows the darkness deeper.

A red-painted door hangs open,
At the edge of midnight’s path
A twinkle, a flicker, A worn candlestick wick
Bids him enter, and the boy in the chill of the evening
Still more than willing and eager,
to see what there is to the night.

“Evan, my boy, where’ve you been?
I’ve been waiting for over an hour,
The minstrels have played, and
Guests have all paid, and gone home,
Which leaves you,
Off we go, on our way
I’ve no time left to left to waste,
In this dreary old place,
Come, come, come, quick to your room!”

The man at the bar, knows his name,
And his age, and his family routine,
And for a split second, the boy, hesitates.
“You heard me, did you not?
Did I sputter? Chop, chop!” He clapped his hands,
And the boy ran off to the back of the room.

And there he was led by two beautiful girls,
Young, dressed scantily with beads, lace, and gems,
Tantalized, he was ushered to a bed in the dark,
Only red lights above him flickered, in sporadic
Sputters before going out completely,
Leaving him in a limitless black.

And he slept.

“I think he’s ready,” hissed a beastly voice
“Well done, at least,
Legs, arms, and heart.
Have ourselves a feast.”
A tremble woke the boy with a start
A warm fetid breath made him gag in the dark,
Hisses and whines, canine to be sure,
The boy burst from the bed and cracked wide the door.

The leapt from the room, but his shoes on the floor,
Were a glue-like slowness, and with seconds,
He got slower.
Howls and hisses crept up his back, and they were on him,
Crawling, drooling, taking their time,

And behind the red-painted door,
At the edge of the dark, the boy became feast,
Torn apart for the beasts.

Old enough to be curious,
Young enough to be dumb,
Let us learn from the boy who sought fun after dark,
Behind red-painted doors,
Hiding dry hollow floors,
And a room in the back draped with girls, gems, and hunger.


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