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Nigrum Portæ sat at the broken, forgotten table draped with a black dingy cloth. Everyone in the room stayed quiet and whimpered in fear of what was about to unfold.
The doors in every corner and on every wall peered down on to them. The spy holes and keyholes seeing all with their unseen eyes and watching all that has and has not yet taken place. The Gods of the doors showing mercy to them but tears everyone apart from the inside out. Their minds twisted, their perception broken. All they live for is for the Dark Door and him.
The four doors of the Gods stood in front of me and Nigrum Portæ, cutting through my very existence with his gaze from behind. The four Gods are each to their own. One of mercy, one of distress, one of rage, and one of sacrifice. Each God is given a door with a keyhole.
All the four doors stand side by side, in the middle of a room, not on a wall. The only person alive that has seen the doors open is him. But there are countless people who witnessed when the door was ajar, who are no longer alive. It is said that anyone who can stare down the Gods through the keyholes became a Door Mother, or the heir to Nigrum Portæ — a worthy prize for the risk of your life.
The first door towered over me. My small complexion easily over-powered by its presence. The door of the God of mercy. The only one that will wish me well. Tell me of the thing to come. But that is only what I have been told. The keyhole glowed white, as I leaned to it.
One knee on the ground, the other bracing against the door. Even though it radiated white, when I looked into it, all I saw was black. A deathly black. A black like nothingness. A black like if all the stars just disappeared in the night sky. But that’s right isn’t it? Mercy? Showing no hate, no nothing?
You don’t show compassion in mercy you simply don’t show hate or anything. I feel my whole body droop but without losing control. I feel all emotion leave my body, without me becoming desensitized. But that’s right isn’t it? Mercy is nothing. It has no place in the Dark Door.
The door for the God of distress, loomed in front of me. The keyhole expressing a burning purple. A purple like that of a bruise. A bruise inflicted from only brute force. A force that was quite the opposite of merciful. The purple splinters my sight but lets me see everything like an owl in its prime. Again, like the previous door I look through the keyhole. But the difference between the door of distress and the door of mercy incredibly obvious.
What I see next takes me by surprise, and shocks me more than it should've. The images of burning children, dead mothers, raped wives and mutilated fathers flash inside my head. I try to push back but he held me there. Forcing me to wail at the sights I cannot un-see.
I feel my empty self become filled with distress, and the shakiness of my arms and legs become uncontrollable. He rips back at my hair and I lay, just lay, in a pool of tears as I shake and quiver at the images branded into my eyes. He pulls at me again forcing me to the next door. The door of rage.
The door's keyhole, like the others, gleamed another colour. The colour you’d see as you watch everything you live by, be taken from you. The colour you’d see as you watch the man who burned down your house slink away. The colour of blood, and all that seems angry. A fiery crimson.
Once again as I did the last, I knelt and prepared. My eye bled as it reached the level of the hole. It bled like an unjust wound. But as much as the blood impaired my view and the light blurred my vision, what I saw was as clear as the task at hand.
I, as an orphan, never met or saw my parents but when I saw them through that hole, I knew it was them. I knew that the man whose head laid wreck and body crumpled next to it, was my father. And the once beautiful woman; now as a mush of blood, flesh and bones in places they should not be — was my mother.
The rage I felt was something I had never felt before. The anger boiled and my hand reached to my unused eye and tore it from its socket. But I felt no pain. No mercy for myself. Only rage. My left hand raised to my clenched teeth, and two of my fingers ripped from their old home. But again. No pain. Only rage.
It took time to calm me enough to talk and move with controlled actions, and he dragged me to the next door. The last door, the worst door, the door of sacrifice. This door's keyhole whispered to me, as it flowed an impossible black light. It whispered disgusting things like:
“Sacrifice yourself through the loss of yourself, you need no other than him and us, give us yourself,” and, “through the loss of life you will gain unimaginable death.”
Although they sound horrid and unbelievable, it felt right.
It felt like I would give anything to die. The keyhole still flared black, and when my one available eye peered through the last keyhole, it was greeted by a swallowing white. The voices became louder and felt more achievable. "
Take a life to take your own,” echoed and repeated. But through the confusion of the voices came the cry of a baby, for its mother. My baby.
“Take a life to take your own,” again and again, piercing my very soul.
So I did it for the Gods of the Dark Door. I killed my own child to take my own life, and live in eternal serenity and dread. I muffled its cries with my hand and blocked both its mouth and its nose. The rise in her chest slowed, and soon stopped. My one eye saw her pretty little face go blue, and her eyes roll back. A sacrifice was given and my gift will soon be received.
Nigrum Portæ knelt down behind me and spoke the words that I have wanted to hear my whole life:
“You are a Door Mother. But you are worthy of another title. You are worthy to be the queen of the Dark doors. But a human body holds you back. You belong with the Gods of the doors...”
This was the last that was said, before the lights of the keyhole blended in my vision and took me through the door of the Gods.