Chapter 0:


The Gate

The bottle burst above his head with a loud bang. It left a dent in the wall and ripped the cheap, dark blue wallpaper. The glass shards cut into his arms, that he held protectively raised above his head. He didn't dare look up and instead remained huddled on the soft carpet. The man yelled at him.
"Are you out of your mind?" A woman's voice drowned out the flood of insults and curses.

"Can't you see what he's got on his arm, Jennifer? That fellow has earned himself more than a good beating with that!"
"Calm down John! You can't just throw a bottle at him!" 

The man rose from the couch and walked toward the woman, swaying slightly.

"You have nothing to say to me, not as long as you live in my place." He towered ominously in front of her. The woman didn't back away and held his gaze.

"You're drunk." she interrupted him.
That was a simple statement: calm and clearly formulated. A hint of disappointment wavered in her voice. Just as it always, when she came home.

"The hell I am!"

By now he was yelling so loudly that it was undoubtedly audible to all the neighbors through the thin walls. Not that they particularly cared, they never did.

"You're drunk." She repeated, emphatically slowly. "I can smell your breath all the way here."

Puffing, he stopped in front of her. Anger flashed in his black eyes. He took a deep breath.

"How dare you lecture me! Always complaining. Have you forgotten who you have to thank that you and this child are not rotting away on the streets? Go on, tell me."

Now, at the latest, all the neighbors should be awake. Maybe they even cared about the shouting, usually they cared when their sleep was disturbed.

The woman just stared at him in mute anger. The cold silence that spread between them was broken by a soft wailing. The cuts the glass had left on the boy's arms burned.

Almost instantly, the woman was with him, cradling him protectively in her arms.

"Don't worry I'm here now everything's going to be fine." She sat him down on the couch and turned back to the man.

"Now look at what you've done! How could you!" Her voice had taken on a accusing tone again.

"One more word Jennifer and I swear..."

"You swear what? How am I going to explain this to the doctor? You've gone too far this time. You..."

She got no further. The man lashed out and slapped her face with a loud smack.

"Don't you ever talk to me like that again!"That was it. The straw that broke the camel's back. The boy's left arm flashed red and the ceiling lamp started flickering.Puzzled, the man and woman stopped and stared at the ceiling. In itself, the flickering of the lamp was nothing special. It did that often, but rarely for so long at a time. On the carpet, which was once white and now yellowish bearing the traces of time, a black hole with the diameter of about one meter opened. The woman cried out and began to crawl away from the hole and towards the door. Puzzled, the man stared at the hole. It was endless, without bottom and without hope.  When John saw what was slowly pulling itself out of the hole, he cried out in terror, and turned away, trying to escape. However, he didn't get very far, after only a few steps he stumbled and fell with a thud on the carpet, which had once been soft, but now consisted only of hard, worn bristles.Sirens could be heard in the distance.And the skull grinned.


The Gate