I particularly like this post because it was what caused me to write my first novel White Picket Prisons. After someone read this they said, “Well? What’s behind the door?” So I decided to build a story around it. In 2006 I had an office in a 100 year old hospital that had been closed and would eventually be torn down. Doing a little exploring during my lunch hour one day I found it. The door was the old morgue door and it had the word Necropsy stenciled on it.
Tucked away in a small recess, around a corner and behind a vending machine, is a door. By today’s standards it appears unusual. It is not exceptional in its shape or other dimensions, but it is distinctly different in a way that is difficult to define. The door is made of wood, as are many doors. The grain of the wood creates an intricate spiral pattern visible through the amber finish.
In the nearly abandoned institutional setting, however, the wooden door seems out of place when compared with the more modern steel and glass sections of the edifice that contains it. The brass, bulb-style handle appears to be far out of place, an ornament from another time. The broad, windowless door serves as the dead end of a short, dark alcove. There is no light to brighten this exaggerated cubby; no windows nearby and no glowing globe hanging from the ceiling. It is as if the architects intended it to be ignored.
The door is almost hidden in plain sight. Although the nearby vending machine must certainly attract regular traffic, the floor in front of the door appears to be thick with the gray dust that always seems to coat the hallways of buildings usually referred to as institutions. It has the smell you recognize from the time you secretly found your way into the boiler room of your elementary school all those years ago. It is a smell that tells you that you are alone in a place entered rarely and only by necessity.
As always, if you like what you read at #ThePhilFactor please let me know by leaving a comment or hitting the Facebook, Twitter or other share button below. If you like this bit of writing and want to find out what is behind the door you could check out my novel White Picket Prisons now available in all the e-bookstores for only $2.99. It’s a fun, weekend beach read.