Helm Stories: The Mysterious Green Door
This story was written in conjunction with visitors to Hamilton Gardens, as part of the Hamilton Garden Arts Festival. Each person was asked what happened next, and their answer became the next part of the story.
You’re walking through the city, when you hear a noise, almost a whisper. You look to your left, to see where it might have come from, when you notice a door that you’ve never seen any of the other times you’ve walked this street. It’s a dark green colour, with a brass handle.
“How strange,” you think to yourself. You knock on the door uncertainly. Are you supposed to go in? You wait for a reply, but it doesn’t come.
You’re about to turn away, when you hear the whisper again, but this time you make out what it said: “Please, come in.”
You turn the handle and push the door open. As your hand connects with the timber of the door, you get a spooky feeling. Something strange has happened in this house. Is it haunted? Is the voice you’ve been hearing a ghost? You step in, letting your eyes adjust, and look around the room.
All of a sudden there is a flurry of light, and a person appears in front of you. It’s your mother, Colleen. “For the last time, would you put & away the washing?”
Her gaze lands several feet beside you. You can tell she can’t see you, or rather that one of the two of you isn’t really there. Just as you’re about to reply, there is another flurry of light and she disappears again, leaving you alone in the room. What sort of place is this?
This is all too much. You turn and run out of the house. You don’t have time for this kind of weird thing!
You carry on walking down the street, catching your breath. What did the voice want? Did it have some message of hope or doom about the world? Did it want you to pick up the mantle of saving the planet? You weren’t sure, so you kept walking.
It’s two months later, and the events of the mysterious room are far from your mind. In fact, you’ve moved to a small town for a new job. You’re on your way home from work, walking past the shops with your head in the clouds when suddenly you hear the voice again. You wheel around, and there you see it. The same green door, just as you remember it.
A little bolder this time, you push the door open unprompted. Another flurry of light catches you unawares. This time the swirling light forms the shape of your father. He’s telling you off — “Why didn’t you help your mother?” — but the cadence of his speech is familiar. You remember this from your childhood.
You speak, “Dad, what are you–”, but the light swirls around him and he’s gone.
You hate it here. You didn’t ask for this. You just want to look after yourself and yourself alone, so you hightail it out of there, vowing never to open another green door.
The job falls through, you fall in love, and you find yourself living in a large city on the coast, on the other side of the country. It’s a year later, and you’re out buying a birthday present; you always did leave them to the last minute. The racks of the department store are a maze, and you sit down for a break on one of the benches. You see, among the mannequins and glossy posters, another door. Purple this time. It’s very obviously out of place, but nobody seems to be paying it any notice.
You battle with yourself. You made a vow not to go into any more green doors. But, after all, you never said anything about purple doors.
“Why am I like this?” you ask yourself as you get up and open the door.
You step in, wondering which family member you’re going to encounter this time, haranguing you about your lack of responsibility, but the big swirling light doesn’t appear this time. Instead, the door swings shut behind you, and you find yourself standing face-to-face with… yourself.
Your double, the other you, opens their mouth and speaks, in your voice. They ask, “Why aren’t you taking responsibility for yourself? Why do you think the work of caring, of being responsible should fall to everybody else? The lone wolf doesn’t live as long as the pack.”
You’re not having this. You spin around to find that the door is locked behind you. You yell “What’s going on!?” and as you do, the swirling light appears again, this time engulfing you. You let out a howl as the light covers you, and then dissipates. As your vision slowly comes back you find yourself in your childhood home.
Your parents rush up to you, asking where you’ve been. You’re grateful to see them again, but then you realise… they’ve been dead for twenty years!
These stories were written by Jim Fishwick, a theatremaker originally from Sydney, Australia currently living in Kirikiriroa.
If you liked this, you may want to come to The Museum Of This Morning, an interactive show at The Meteor Theatre on Sunday 7 March.
This show was made possible by the support of Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival, and Jim’s patrons at Patreon. Consider joining them?
Have a lovely day xx