Aphelion Issue 279, Volume 26
December 2022/January 2023
Long Fiction and Serials
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Flash Fiction
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The Rhyme of a Nowhere Door

by David Baresch

…We arrive…

We hover high in a starlit sky,
Below is a black hole of diode light,
For here lies a city, shimmering bright,
It splits the dark of an Earthly night.

And it's a city vast, it sprawls far and wide,
It's a masonry sea, it's a concrete tide
It swamps the miles of the rural-side
Smothering the breath of Gaia's life.

…We observe…

Below, we see the wandering crowds,
We see the masses in heave at roam,
We smell the sweat, we see the toil,
It's a storm of labouring human souls.

…We listen…

We hear the shouts from those streets underneath.
We hear the yell, the clamour the shriek.
We hear the cries, we hear the weep,
We hear those stricken with midnight's grief.


Police cars race, their sirens wail,
They scream of crime, they tell of fate.
For upon this night there are those
Who will never again awake to this world.

…We watch…

Beacons swirl, they blind the sight,
They startle onlookers who wonder with fright
For here reels a drunken rhyme
Of another rampant Earthly night.


A piercing screech rips through our ears,
Brakes squeal, wheels yield,
Tyres skid, rubber burns
And the air is perfumed with acrid fumes.


A dart of police cars stab to a halt,
They arrive outside a karaoke tower,
It's a tower tense, it's a tower taut,
And it's a tower rife with fret fraught.

Car doors swing wide, the police alight,
They dash towards that tower that soars,
They burst in through the sliding doors
And into reception a rush of officers pour.

…But there…

There they are met with a deathly hush,
No one speaks, no smiles are seen.
Fear, alone, here is deemed
As horror becomes a living dream.


One is lost, her name is Ka-Zay,
And of her fate, no one can say.
No one saw, so nothing is told,
And hence the dawn of a mystery grows.

…Pay heed…

Beware that time of drunken throng,
Beware those hours of senses gone.
For in that swamp of alcohol lost
Some will pay the most deadly of costs.


Sat nearby, on wooden crates,
We see the 'Two', they play at dice.
One is named 'Death' the other is 'Life'
And they place their bets in the pale of moonlight.

The die rolls, the numbers fall,
The dice stop, their totals show,
And the dice decides who will live
And who will die upon the passing of this night.

…And anon…

The dawn gives out its golden yawn,
But for some their sleep is deep,
'tis a sleep as ne'er known afore,
'tis a sleep that wakes to this world no more.

… So…

Let us traverse to an earlier time.
Let us watch that unsolved crime.
Let us re-live that dread, that clime,
Of a youthful life that fell out of rhyme.


3am is now the hour
And we ghost inside that karaoke tower,
A labyrinth vast greets our gaze.
It's like the crypt of the Minotaur's maze.


Here it speaks of he who preyed
On those a-wander, bewildered and dazed.
That beast who roamed in mythical days,
He who hunted and slaughtered and slayed.

…We observe…

Hours and hours of drinking have passed,
The howls of song wane at last,
Fatigue has grown, sleep calls,
Such is the weight of alcohol.


One friend, Ka-Zay, goes on her way,
In need of a toilet break,
She stumbles along those echoing halls
Weaving past those endless, endless, uniformed doors.

For here is a grid of miles of aisles
They angle from left to right,
While the crow of night drifts outside
Shrouding the hours of electric bright.


In that room of fading song
The strength of all friends has wilted, gone,
So, a text is sent to Ka-Zay
For they wonder why she is still away.

The clock ticks by, the mood grows quiet
And as from Ka-Zay there is no reply,
So, a text is sent for a fourth time
But there's no response to all four tries.


One friend taps to make a call
But a sad-faced emoji, alone, shows.
Fears arise, “let's find, Ka-Zay!”
And three girls up and go on their way.

…We follow…

We tread along that catacomb,
We walk the boards of identical doors,
We see the drunk, they reel, they croon,
They skip, they fall, and they whack into walls.


We see those slumped upon the floor,
Their senses aware of this world no more.
And spittle drips from drooping lips
While others rest on pillows of sick.

The powder room is reached,
“Ka-Zay? Ka-Zay?” call out the three.
But all is quiet, nothing is heard,
So, to the front desk they hurriedly turn.

There, their fears are told,
And a confounding mystery begins to unfold.
The police are called, the police arrive,
They listen they learn of a missing life.

The investigation starts,
“When was ka-Zay seen, last?
Where did she go? What did she say?
Who was she with? Show us the way.”

But nobody saw, so nobody knows,
Nothing is told, all leads turn cold.
An order is given, “Evacuate!”
And a mass exodus begins to take place.


All of the rooms are thoroughly searched,
All is done with meticulous care,
There must be a fibre, there must be a hair,
But of Ka-Zay, nowt is there.

…We leave…

We drift into the Police Ops room,
Here, searches are made on CCTV.
They hunt for killers, they hunt for thieves,
They hunt for the missing to help the grieved.

…Ka-Zay's last image is screened…

She walks along that 6th-floor hall,
She turns into that short corridor
It leads towards the powder room door
But after that Ka-Zay is seen no more.

…For there…

There, no cameras are placed.
It's an invisible dead-end space,
And of a clue, there is no trace,
As bemusement infuses this baffling case.

The video continues to roll.
A stream of clientele come and go.
They criss-and-cross that length of hall
But still Ka-Zay doesn't show.

The search widens, the lifts display,
Then, the stairwells and exits are streamed,
We see the many, they stagger, they reel
But of Ka-Zay, nothing is seen.

Next, the night time streets are viewed,
The bus-stops, the station, the taxi rank queues.
All are closely scrutinised
But of Ka-Zay there is no sign.

Therefore, it is deemed
That Ka-Zay must still be there,
Hidden somewhere, secreted,
Within that final recorded scene.

…So, we ask…

'What of Ka-Zay's fate?'
We can no more than guess.
Be it the gift of life?
Or be it the wrath of death?

…We take to our wings…

We follow a returning forensics' team.
We arrive back at that perplexing scene.
The stale of beer reeks through the air
As search is conducted with Sherlock care.

A ceiling panel is taken down,
An officer climbs up and in,
From left-to-right his torchlight beams
But of Ka-Zay, nothing is seen.

The sewers are rodded, the cupboards are cleared,
The tables are shifted, the sofas, lifted.
Yet, no hint of a clue is found
Of an act of murder of that most foul.

…Time passes…

Now an officer, alone, patrols,
He stands afore that dead-end hall.
He paces, he pauses, he gazes, he looks.
This, the last route that Ka-Zay, seemingly, took.

He views that claustrophobic space.
It's an area sparse, nothing is placed,
The hall is pristine, without a stain,
There's nowhere to hide a body's remains.

So, upon all fours he takes to the floor.
He scours the grey carpeted tiles,
He checks their tops, their undersides,
But nothing there catches his eye.

He stands, exhales and sighs,
He paces, his thoughts awry,
He questions, “How?” “What?” “Why?”
He gazes around that pale stark aisle.

A solid wall is on the left.
A single door is on the right.
A portrait frame hangs at the end
But of a crime, there is no sign.

…When …

The building's manager arrives, “Can I assist you?” he asks.

“Err… yes… before, did anyone else disappear from here?”

“Well, visitors do get lost. They're often drunk, their senses are gone.
But eventually they find their way back to their room of song.”

“And the wall at the end, what happened to that?
Was the portrait stolen, or scrapped perhaps?”

“A portrait, sir?”

“Yes, at the end, along there, the canvas is bare.”

“Oh, no, sir, no. That's not a frame, that's an old air-vent gate.
But now, of course, its use is spent, now, air-conditioners, alone, permeate.”

“An air-vent, you say? A ventilation gate? Well… how did such a thing operate?”

“Simple, sir, they were opened wide.”

“Opened wide? At these heights?”

“Yes, and the lofty breezes gave some respite
Against the strife that is Tokyo's humid blight.”

“But… were they safe?”

“Yes, of course, they had slide grills, they made good shields.
But now, on every floor all of the vents are sealed.”

…The officer walked towards the vent…

He placed a palm upon the frame,
In shock, it moved, it gave way.
And a shard of light blinded in
Along with a mighty rush of wind.

The vent was seized, the 'door' flew wide,
It smacked against the wall outside,
And a shear fall, of 20-metres or more,
Met the officer's eyes.

The outer springs reacted.
The aperture retracted.
It slammed back shut, just like a door,
And all was all as it was before.

Horror struck, the officer rocked,
His balance was almost lost.
He arched back upon his heels,
He dizzied, he staggered, he reeled.

He slumped, strained,
His blood drained,
His face contorted,
He trembled, afraid.

“My word!” the manager gasped.

“Water, please,” the officer asked.

And the manager hurried away, his face ashen and pale.

The officer breathed deep and slow.
He held fast as composure composed.
Then he dared to step once more
Towards that lofty air-vent door.

He spread his feet, far and wide,
He placed one palm on the wall inside,
With his other hand he gripped the frame,
He readied to open that 'door' again.

With great care, he pushed out.
Wind struck, it whipped, it wrenched,
Yet he held fast onto that vent
That rattled and wrestled with violent intent.

Then he risked to over-stretch,
He dared to crane his neck,
He leant out, beyond the edge,
And gazed down from that precipice ledge.

And there, below, an alleyway,
A dark and dingy narrow way,
And a pile of clothes lay on the ground,
Knotted and bloodied and turning brown.

For a fallen body flayed underneath,
And a hand protruded from out of that heap,
It gripped a phone, shattered and cracked
By a splintering, hurtling, slamming, whack.


In that silent, forlorn, space, the fate of Ka-Zay had finally been traced.

In the heights of a drunken night
Ka-Zay took a wrong turn,
She stepped out through A Nowhere Door,
'twas a door that led to life no more.

…We pause, we look, we reflect…

All the while sweet moonlight shines,
It kisses our cheeks, it soothes the mind,
And bells toll out their lullaby,
Echoing through streets with midnight chime.


Here we came, here we arrived,
Here we entered sentient minds,
And here we saw the rampant rhyme
Of another deathly Earthly clime.

…It is said…

'Beware the door that opens and greets, for another slams shut and revenge it seeks.'

© 2022 David Baresch

David Baresch has published with…

  • Aphelion Webzine
  • XR-Hub
  • The Telegraph media
  • New Humanist
  • Austin McCauley
David Baresch also…
  • Produces and publishes music videos
  • Creates and publishes original quotations

Find more by David Baresch in the Author Index.