The squeal of the hinge awakened Diyetta in a snap. In the darkness the door opened, scraping across the hard floor as it did. A smell of rust flaking off the unseen hinges reached her. The room stayed black. The darkness had been palpable before, and instead of light streaming in through the door, it seemed that the darkness blackened. The only thing streaming in was a waft of dusty, stale, ancient air that gave solidity to the air and filled Diyetta's mind.
She could taste it. The dust of the past - rotting bones, withered tree roots, death - swirled around Diyetta, now snaking into her nose, her mouth, her lungs. The hard, cold surface beneath her gave no comfort. Stone cold. A mausoleum. More death.
Diyetta was choking on the smothering darkness. Her mind swam with images of long-dead relatives. She coughed. A sputtering, dry cough. Her lungs were leaden, not releasing any of the poison air inside.
After the creaking hinge, all fell silent. How had the door opened?
"Hello?" she managed to choke out. Her voice sounded foreign. Echoes bouncing off the walls tore at her ears and reached through her core to squeeze her heart.
Heart racing, lungs gasping, eyes blinded by the dark, Diyetta did the only thing she could think of. She crawled toward the door. Whatever was on the other side must be better.
As one crawling under the smoke layer of a burning house, she hoped staying low would keep the rotting texture of the air out of her nose. With each inhale, she pulled her t-shirt over her nose and mouth, an extra measure to avoid contamination.
Diyetta felt the edge of the open door and moved around it toward her freedom. Or so she thought. Crawling on, slowed by stopping to cover her nose at each breath, she felt the frame of the door jamb. Diyetta used all her strength to move her face and head across that unseen boundary, only to die on the doorstep.
No t-shirt in all the world could have prevented death from invading her lungs and taking her life.
It's FICTION FRIDAY!
Every Almost every Friday I write a new flash fiction piece. If you have a writing prompt you'd like to see turned into a story, just leave it in a comment. Today's story came from the prompt "The Door Opens" in a writing group I attend most Mondays.