Frantically he pushed the door. It did not move. A voice filled the room. Please answer the question, that is all that’s required. The voice was calm and precise.

He began screaming, banging frantically on the door. It remained shut.

Soft and calm the voice repeated, please just answer the question.

Fire hoses did little to quell the fire.

The dying embers amid the rubble released the last gasp of smoke.

Firemen stood amazed. Only the door and frame remained untouched. There were no handles on the heart shaped door as it swung back and forth in the gentle breeze.

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Voice-Team
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Voice-Team (@voice-team)
7 months ago

An unsolved mystery, an allegory, an unasked question – what more could we want from 100 words? This story will keep us all guessing for a long time. Great writing!

Fuji
Fuji (@fuji)
7 months ago

Eric, this story is so different, and so absolutely intriguing. Is this a woeful tale of AI gone wrong? What’s the significance of the heart shape for the door? Is there a deeper symbolism here? I can’t wait to read it over and over and let the aha moments pour in. Great job!

Linda Rock
Linda Rock (@linda-rock)
7 months ago

What a conundrum you have presented us with Eric. The heart shaped door and the fire leads me to a heart on fire from which there is no escape. The question evades me but I get the sense the man is desperate for release but unwilling to answer the question. I have to assume he answered in the end as there is no mention of him among the ashes. As for the question, I can only guess it might have something to do with opening his heart. There, I have rambled on, probably totally in the wrong direction but it was fun analysing the words! Although in your comment to Fuji you mention dreams! Full marks for intrigue Eric.

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Linda Rock
Linda Rock (@linda-rock)
7 months ago
Reply to  Eric Radcliffe

I write for the sheer love of it Eric. Sometimes I may pause and wonder if others will understand a particular phrase or sentence or even dislike it but, when push comes to shove, I understand it and I like it. So I guess I write for myself, but I also take a lot of pleasure from receiving feedback from those who have taken the time to read and comment. That is the icing on the cake. OK, I’m back with another shot at your story! He is dreaming. The heart shaped door, with no handle, is his own heart and a question is burning inside him. Only the answer to the question will put out the fire and open the door. The answer comes to him and the door swings open. Am I at least a little warm… no pun intended  ? 

Marianna Pieterse
Marianna Pieterse (@marianna-pieterse)
7 months ago

Eric, when I read that he had to answer a question, I got the impression that this is a case of revenge and that the protagonist didn’t want to admit guilt. Your reference to the heart shaped door made me think this was maybe a romance gone wrong because of a fault on his part… which he didn’t want to admit to. So many possibilities though… Well done!

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Marianna Pieterse
Marianna Pieterse (@marianna-pieterse)
7 months ago
Reply to  Eric Radcliffe

Eric, I certainly enjoyed your story. It is seldom as simple as only one possibility! That is making writing even more exciting, because each person interprets it in their own way.

Last edited 7 months ago by Marianna Pieterse
Marianna Pieterse
Marianna Pieterse (@marianna-pieterse)
7 months ago
Reply to  Eric Radcliffe

I like Carrie’s take on it! Much less morbid than mine ?

Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary (@carrie-oleary)
7 months ago

Very intriguing story, Eric. If this is symbolism, I keep imagining some poor chap with sudden chest pain, wondering if he has heartburn or having a heart attack. The firemen with their hoses the antacid going through his system, like in the advertisement, then the heart shaped door swinging back and forth, the beating of his heart as the fire subsides. My brain does go off on strange tangents though ?

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Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary (@carrie-oleary)
7 months ago
Reply to  Eric Radcliffe

Now, there’s a really cool name for a character ?

Linda Rock
Linda Rock (@linda-rock)
7 months ago
Reply to  Carrie OLeary

Love your interpretation Carrie  ? . Eric suggests I look to the symbols again, I think I’ll go crazy if I do, I’m already half way there!

Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary (@carrie-oleary)
7 months ago
Reply to  Linda Rock

I’m all the way to crazyladyness. You have read my interpretation!

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Linda Rock
Linda Rock (@linda-rock)
7 months ago
Reply to  Eric Radcliffe

Thank you so much Eric for the explanation and congratulations on being a finalist. This was such an intriguing story that is so much clearer now! I did get it right that the door was his heart though so I will take some small comfort from that. I look forward to more fascinating and mind boggling stories from you that will probably drive me crazy but I will absolutely love them!

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo (@lotchie-carmelo)
4 months ago
Reply to  Eric Radcliffe

I love it, Eric. It is fascinating but thank you for your giving us the interpretation.

Lisa Gledhill
Lisa Gledhill (@lisa-gledhill)
7 months ago

Ohh..I love stories that make me think and stay with me for a long time after. Nicely done 🙂

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