He noticed the once vacant house next door had a new resident because the lawn had been mowed and the red flag on the mailbox was up, indicating the new owner had also received mail. A few days later he hadn’t seen anyone and just figured that eventually their paths would cross, that they would meet as most neighbors usually do. Several days had passed though and he still hadn’t seen anyone coming or going from next door, the only signs of occupancy would sometimes be a dimly lit upstairs room. Noticing too that the curtains were always pulled shut and the only window without curtains was the upstairs room, located to the front side of the house overlooking the gate and sidewalk leading to the front steps of the covered porch just below the window. The property was kept up nice and sometimes a package or two would be left at the front door, the upstairs room would often show a hint of light coming from inside. While he had taken notice of this, he wondered if the other neighbors had noticed too, and whether or not anyone had seen the person in the house next door. With his curiosity peaked, he wanted to have a look around the place, but without seeing anyone leave he wasn’t sure how to go about it. His curious intentions had gotten him into some mischief in the past due to his ever searching desire to explore the unknown. Being somewhat of a “gadgeteer” in his own right, he came up with a plan . . .
It did seem like a sneaky thing to do, but as he parked back onto his driveway after returning home from the store, he was once again reminded of what had become a mystery about next door, as he gazed over at at the house time seemed to stand still and he felt some sort of connection, compelling him to explore his growing intrigue with the place. Back inside, he quickly headed upstairs and opened his purchase from the computer supply store as he sat down at his desk, part of the home office base that he worked from as a screenplay writer for science fiction thrillers, he had received notoriety from his recent work, titled “Time Traveler”.
The small cameras that he bought would not be noticed where he would place them, on the side facing the next door house, at opposite corners of his house but tucked under the eve behind the water drains. Drilling the holes for the audio and video cables from the inside, then installing them from the outside as he would be cleaning out the leaves from the water drain with his back to the neighboring house while on a ladder. Lightweight enough to be held in place by adhesive, making the set-up quick and hopefully unnoticed. The camera movements would then be controlled from inside and could be viewed from his desktop computer. Both would face slightly inward, with the rear camera viewing the mailbox and the front gate next door. The front camera would face the upstairs window next door at a sharp angle to view inside the mysterious room. His house set just ahead of the neighboring house by a foot due to the addition of his home office a few years back, with eight feet between the houses and just the right camera angle to the upstairs window next door, he would be able to view maybe half of the sometimes dimly lit room. Not much to go on, but it was all he had going to find out for himself what was happening next door and not be noticed as he was doing so. There was something about the house next door that was drawing him closer, almost as if inviting him.
A week had passed with still not seeing anyone, everything was in place and as he sat down one evening at his desk, turning on his desktop computer, he couldn’t help but to think about how this would make for a great story about the neighboring house and the secrets it held . . . The faint light was again on in the upstairs room next door as he began to adjust and zoom the outside front camera in for a close-up and was disappointed upon viewing a totally white screen, further adjustments did nothing to alter or change the whiteout. Switching to the rear camera he could view the mailbox and the front gate just fine, so he planned to wait until the next day to figure out the reason as to why he wasn’t getting anything on the front camera. Before turning in for the night, he decided to go outside and have a look, using the ruse of raking up the loose leaves that had fallen from his earlier set-up of the cameras, but as he made the corner of his house, he noticed the front door of the neighboring house was opened about halfway. His innocent curiosity turned to concern as he then had a reason to go next door and inquire if everything was alright, as any good neighbor would or should do anyway.
Evening had turned to night as he approached the next door steps and with flashlight in hand he stepped through the slightly opened front door. Instantly he felt a sense of calmness and strange assuredness as he looked around the lavishly decorated vintage style interior that was nothing like the modern suburbian prefab style exterior that had been repeated with each house on the block. He was intrigued with the vintage photos on the wall, each were hung in hundred year old crafted frames of that era. As he stepped toward the narrow stairway leading to the upstairs room a light came on, illuminating the rest of the stairway as he continued to the top, somehow feeling mysteriously at ease with his very presence in the presumably empty house. Turning at the top toward the room with the dim light on he approached as if drawn into an existence from long ago — mesmerized by the hundred year old vintage decor and the custom framed photographs — his attention focused on a small writing desk with hand crafted ornate detail where the lamp had been placed, as if for him to see the photo that was laying below, illuminated under its glow, laying there as if on purpose just at the base of the lamp. His breath was shallow as he then knew that he was supposed to be there and that his presence there was also familiar, as if reaching out for a connection to a distant past. Standing at the writing desk he looked down at the old framed photo and with his flashlight in hand, he stared into eyes that only he knew, of a man that only he knew as well, sitting at that very desk nearly a hundred years ago with pen in hand, dressed in a high society business suit of that vintage era.
The man in the photograph, seated at the writing desk, was himself . . .
——– * ——– ——– * ——– ——– * ——–
Awakened by the sounds of a truck with its brakes squeaking, followed by the sound of metal as it hit the cement had jolted him into daylight and consciousness, realizing that once again he had fallen asleep slumped over at his desk. There was a knock at his door with the sounds of voices followed by the chiming doorbell, getting himself together he headed downstairs to answer the door. Opening his door he was greeted by a cheerful younger couple, they introduced themselves as the new neighbors while next door the movers were up and down the unloading ramp that had been rolled out to set on the sidewalk close to the front steps. The young couple said that the real estate agent told them their new neighbor was a famous writer and so with that they pulled the cover off of a beautiful vintage style writing desk with hand crafted ornate detail — the very same one he had seen just last night while exploring the house next door — they said that he was welcome to have it along with the old vintage reading lamp. He froze momentarily as he hadn’t yet tried to understand the previous night’s occurrences as actually happening, had he been dreaming, or was it something else, perhaps he had experienced a gateway to a past life, a “time portal” . . . He thanked them and after getting the small desk and lamp inside, he heard something else knocking around inside one of the drawers, he was then compelled to pull the shallow center drawer open and there, as he knew it would be, was the hundred year old photograph of himself seated at the writing desk, pen in hand, dressed in a high society business suit of that vintage era.
- Portal (Time Portal) >
- (1); Doorways in time, adapted in various genres, especially science fiction and fantasy, to transport characters to the past or future.
- (2); To connect presence with a distant past life or future yet to be.
- (3); A gateway to the past or future.
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