Peer Review by Quarkoala (United States)

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Behind the Door [a working title] - Extract Two

By: ect.13


I found myself at the door more than ever in the days that followed. Every spare minute I had, I was wandering back to that corner of the library; I could sit there, just watching the door, and the sign, steadfast and stubborn, for hours on end. Even when I wasn’t there, I thought of it: what was behind it? Why couldn’t I go there? I dreamed of the door, every night a different vision of the mysterious land beyond. It haunted my mind, always lurking in the shadows. I drove myself mad with speculation; images of abandoned classrooms, banned books and even murder suites were swimming around my head. Before, the door had been merely an amusement, a way for my fast-paced brain to pass the time, but it was quickly becoming an intense fascination, bordering obsession. 
It took a few days for me to realise the reason for my sudden, much deeper interest in the mysterious door: Zoe was right. I had become desperate to know what lay on the other side of the door; I wanted to open it, just a little, and see. With this realisation came days more of agonising - speculating and debating and deliberating with myself, before I finally decided to end my mental anguish. 

I had to do it. 

I stood, once again, in front of the door. Butterflies, no, more than butterflies - a whole zoo was rioting inside of me, kicking up the pit of my stomach. My fingers fiddled and fidgeted with the hem of my jumper, almost tearing it to pieces. Zoe was already trying the lock, seemingly calm and collected, her short hazel hair tied up in a stubby ponytail. Apparently, she had been geared up for this situation for a while; as soon as I shared my decision with her, she’d fished out what she called her ‘emergency pack’, but what I called a lock-picking kit, and marched me down here. Now, my friend had bobby pins in her mouth - like a true professional, I had pointed out - and was fiercely staring into the keyhole. 
I began to pace the bookshelves, walking up and down, my feet pounding the floor rhythmically. It felt like my mind would soon explode - it was crammed full of everything I had ever thought about the door, with a huge extra helping of panic now setting in. No longer in control of my body, I kept going, up and down the endless rows of books. What if it really was dangerous? What if there was a good reason for locking the door? What if the other side was a parallel universe? What if it was just a broom cupboard? What if I was caught? What if I was thrown out of the school? I’d never live it down. What if… What if.... I didn’t dare think any more. 

And then, a click. 
“We’re in.”

I took a deep breath, tried to steady my pounding heart, and walked over, step by step, to where Zoe was standing. My palms were sweaty and my insides shook with fear. Why was I overthinking this so much? I couldn’t tell. She looked at me, a sympathetic smile crossing her face; I looked back at her and nodded. She reached out and, as if in slow motion, pushed open the door. 

It was almost like looking into a mirror, except there was no one there. The carpet, short, scratchy and the ugliest shade of blue I’d ever seen, was exactly the same; the walls were an identical whitewash. As I stared in, I could only see what was behind me: rows and rows of bookshelves, endlessly intertwined and stacked high with literature. I blinked, trying to take it in. It was surreal - never, not even in my wildest dreams, had I imagined that it could merely be a continuation of the library I stood in. 
Zoe broke the silence. “It’s another library. Seriously - how boring does this place get?”
“Oh, shut up. It’s a restricted section - it must be. You know you’re as excited as I am to discover what they’ve been hiding from us--” 
“No. That thought had, unsurprisingly, not crossed my mind.” 
I rolled my eyes, unable to help myself. Her attitude, always with a substantial dose of sarcasm, was the absolute opposite of mine: whilst I had an unsatisfiable thirst for knowledge, she preferred to learn only what she strictly needed to know to maintain her grades. Both of us groaned in the face of the other’s approach, yet we were both too stubborn to change - and we knew it. 
“Well, then. I’m going to find out.” With a sudden burst of self-assurance, I strode forwards, through the door. 

Message to Readers

A quick heads up: this is the second part of a longer story that I'm writing - for a bit more context, you might want to read the first one too. You can find it on my page :)
Thanks so much for taking the time to read my work. I'll read and take into account any feedback - any of your thoughts are welcome!

Peer Review

I love how this whole thing is centered around the narrator's interest of what lies behind a door; a small thing, creating a big story. It especially characterizes the narrator.

This is completely optional: you can shorten times where you tell a lot about the narrator and Zoe, and try to add scenes elsewhere that show what the deleted parts told. You might not want to do this though, depending on the style and length of the piece.

Reviewer Comments

Is there an extract three coming soon?