A Knock on the Door - A Short Story

Writing prompt from /r/WritingPrompts: “While sitting alone in the dark, the last man on Earth hears a knock on the door.”

Another sun set goes by. Setting on the horizon, the room is enveloped by the dark. Inch by inch the light is eaten from the floor. The heat of the day slowly changes to the comfortable cool of the night.

A bead of sweat rolls down my forehead. Though, I think I will allow it to take its path. At least it gives me something to do. The melancholy of the days presses my chest. It’s so heavy. What is this feeling? I hardly remember who I am or where I am? My house? Perhaps my own living room?

As if the entire world were not my own. Every mountain, cloud, and building is mine. Who else is here that can own them?

How many times have I rehearsed this in my head? Why? Why do I question myself when there is no one to judge me?

There is a knock on the door…

A knock on the door?

I sit up and stare at the entryway. I know I am imagining things. I haven’t seen another person in 7 years and I have walked far and wide.

No one…

A knock on the door…

My heart races. Some work of the devil coming to pay his last respects. I definitely heard a knock. There is someone there. I stand slowly, but stumble under the pressure of my own weight. My chest is so heavy but it is currently fueled by absolute fear and interest.

A knock on the door…

“Who’s there?” I gargle on the dryness of my throat.

A knock on the door…

“Please! I don’t want any guests!” I shriek.

I don’t want any guests? What does it even mean when I say that?

“And what if it were me?” A voice replied.

A voice! A person! I just heard a voice! That wasn’t mine! It wasn’t my voice! I approach closer to the door and reach for the handle.

My body is full of a complete fear that over takes every pulse to a tremble. My palms are breaking a sweat and I fully grasp the handle. As I look down, I notice my hand is full of youth.

My dryness and age completely away. I look down fully at my body and notice the same. It is as if my body has changed.

“Answer the door,” the voice commands.

At this, I rip open the door.

“Hey, dickhead,” the voice warmly calls out.

I look up at the figure only to be overtaken by enormous weight again. My heart sinks to my ankles, and my eyes pool with tears. I collapse to my knees and sob in the lighted dusk that enters through the door. My sobbing is inhuman. Something of a beast.

“Ivan!” I shriek through my tears.

My whole body is numb and tingles as if bugs have housed themselves in every piece of my body and are restlessly crawling in circles. My throat is full of mucus. I gasp for air and in doing so look up at the face of the youthful spectre ahead of me. He gives a small grin at me.

He is about 5 and a half feet tall. Somewhere between a beard and a shadow. A pink v-neck shirt that buttons at the top. Aviator shades tinted brown. And dark khaki pants. His hair gelled to the side.

“It has been a while, yeah,” he laughed while peering down at the pathetic praying figure that is me.

“Why?” I continue sobbing.

“You wanted me here.”

This is nothing but evil and temptation in front of me. Ivan is gone. Everyone is gone. Ivan was gone even before everyone was gone.

“I don’t know you,” my voice cracks between the cries.

“Of course you do, Al.” He crouches on his feet. “I was your best friend. You loved me. We met in highschool.”

“I know you look like Ivan, but I don’t believe it.”

He firmly grabs my shoulder. This torture! The pain of this is overwhelming compared to the pain of the lonely years. I want to believe this is real, which is what makes this all so horrifying.”

“It really is me, Al,” his smile faded from his face.

As his smile wiped away from his face, I actually started to believe it. Or at least, I really wanted to believe it and decided to just enjoy the hallucination.

“This is surreal. Even if it were really you, I wouldn’t know what to say,” I wipe tears from my eyes and start to catch my composure from crying.

“You were always the person that did not know what to say, and now here we are at the end and you are speechless,” one tear came out of his eye, but his face was still warm.

“The end?”

“Unfortunately, yes. I am here to take you away, much like the stories of the grim reaper.”

I wrap my fingers around my forehead and pull down at my face with the friction of my palms.

“This is just so much to deal with all of a sudden. I mean… I look like a young man again,” I pull my hands from my face and look down at them.

“When we die, we are put in our quintessential form. The form when we thought we were at our best,” he responded.

“And you and I look like our ages when I was deployed. Though, I have no idea what you looked like as we grew older. I haven’t seen you since then,” I explain. “But honestly, it is really weird to be seeing you looking exactly the same as the day I left.”

“From the look of both of us, those were the times of our lives,” he smiled again and leaned down to my level.

“Why didn’t you say more when I left, Ivan?”


“Why didn’t you say more? You were everything to me. My best friend. You were my heart and any kind of compassion to me at that time would have made a huge difference,” I began sobbing again.

“I’m sorry.”

“You’re sorry? I’m not looking for an apology. I’m looking for an explanation.”

“I didn’t really see this going this way. I thought you would have been happy to see me,” he stood up.

“I am happy to see you, Ivan. Incredibly so. Though, I have spent a lifetime considering this question and now that you are in front of me, I feel compelled to ask you: Why? Why didn’t you come to me when I left? Why was I at the airport alone? Why did I have to ask you if you were going to miss me?”

“Yeah,” He paused. “I’m sorry. For the rest of my life, and even in death, I have grown. When you left, I was going through a hard part of my life and I was naive. You were so different from me at that point.”

“But you have only seen the first parts of my life! You have also missed 60 years of other parts!”

Maybe I shouldn’t snap at him. While this is something that has always killed me, I do and always will love him. And I understand his explanation.

“Soon you will fully understand, but in death, a lot is revealed to you. Things about yourself and others. Though you have not seen my life, I have seen yours. You can soon see mine if you want.”

I stand. “I went from a life of perfect happiness to always longing for something that was constantly becoming harder to visualize.”

“Life is perfected when we long for more, Al”

Meet the Author : John Knetemann

John Knetemann smiling in a suit

From Denver, Colorado. Educated in Rapid City, South Dakota. Living in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

The most epic and daring content writer you will find on the east side of the Amstel... And sometimes the west side too. I am from the land of mountains, but now live in the land of very small hills and canals. Truly a native of the internet, I work with companies to build adventurous content, engaging social media identities, and addictively informative email campaigns.

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