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The Doorway   By: (1927-2000)

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A discerning critic once pointed out that Edgar Allen Poe possessed not so much a distinctive style as a distinctive manner . So startlingly original was his approach to the dark castles and haunted woodlands of his own somber creation that he transcended the literary by the sheer magic of his prose. Something of that same magic gleams in the darkly tapestried little fantasy presented here, beneath Evelyn Smith's eerily enchanted wand.

the doorway

by ... Evelyn E. Smith

A man may wish he'd married his first love and not really mean it. But an insincere wish may turn ugly in dimensions unknown.

"It is my theory," Professor Falabella said, helping himself to a cookie, "that no one ever really makes a decision. What really happens is that whenever alternative courses of action are called for, the individuality splits up and continues on two or more divergent planes, very much like the parthenogenesis of a unicellular animal ... Delicious cookies these, Mrs. Hughes."

"Thank you, Professor," Gloria simpered. "I made them myself."

"You must give us the recipe," said one of the ladies and the others murmured agreement, glad to get their individualities on a plane they could understand.

"Since most decisions are hardly as momentous as the individual imagines," Professor Falabella continued, "and since the imagination of the average individual is very limited, many of these different planes or, as they are colloquially known, space time continuums may exist in close, even tangential relationship."

Gloria rose unobtrusively and took the teapot to the kitchen for a refill. Her husband stood by the sink moodily drinking whiskey out of the bottle so as to avoid having to wash a glass afterward.

"Bill, you're not being polite to our guests. Why don't you go out and listen to Professor Falabella?"

"I can hear him perfectly well from here," Bill muttered and indeed the professor's mellifluous tones pervaded every nook and cranny of the thin walled house. "Long winded cultist! What is he a professor of, I'd like to know."

"Professor Falabella is not a cultist!" affirmed Gloria angrily. "He's a great philosopher."

Bill Hughes said something unprintable. "If I'd married Lucy Allison," he continued unkindly, "she'd never have filled the house with long haired cultists on my so called day of rest."

Gloria's soft chin trembled, and her blue eyes filled with tears. She was beginning to put on weight, he noticed. "I've been hearing nothing but Lucy Allison, Lucy Allison, Lucy Allison for the past year. Y you said yourself she looked like a horse."

"Horses," he observed, "have sense."

He was being brutal, but he couldn't help it and didn't want to. Professor Falabella was only the most long winded of a long series of mystics Gloria was forever dragging into the house. The trouble with the half educated , he thought bitterly, is that they seek culture in the most peculiar places .

"I'll bet she would have let me have peace on Sunday," he said. "It just goes to show what happens when you marry a woman solely for her looks." He drained the bottle; then hurled it into the garbage pail with a resounding crash.

Gloria's shoulders shook as she filled the kettle. "I wish I'd decided to be an old maid," she sobbed.

A very unlikely possibility, he thought. Even now, shopworn as she was, Gloria could have a fairly wide range of suitors should something happen to him. She looked sexy, but how deceiving appearances could be!

Professor Falabella was still talking as Bill and Gloria emerged from the kitchen. "I believe that it is possible for an individual who exists on a limited plane of imagination to transpose from one plane to an adjacent one without difficulty ... Great Heavens, what was that?"

Something had whisked past the archway leading into the foyer.

"Don't pay any attention," Gloria smiled nervously. "The house is haunted."

"My dear," one of the ladies offered, "I know of the most marvelous exterminator "

"The house," Gloria assured her coldly, "really is haunted... Continue reading book >>

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